1 July

Why You Should Get In On Social Media Advertising

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By Bayshore Solutions’ Digital Marketing Team

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Social media advertising is a relatively new and cost-effective way of increasing attention and traffic with the aid of social media platforms. Companies use social media marketing to accomplish their goals by publishing interesting content in social media channels that is then consumed, liked and shared by customers and potential customers. This may also result in electronic-word-of-mouth (or eWOM), which refers to any kind of statements that the customers share using the internet, social networks, websites, or instant messages, regarding a product, event, service, company, or brand.

Now social platforms are making it increasingly possible to add to this content marketing base with display advertising that is presented to your social following and social audiences that exhibit similar profiles, interests and demographics. So what is the benefit of putting effort into yet another (or moving limited budget over to) advertising channel?

Social Media Advertising Impacts

Consumers are spending plenty of time using social media. Therefore, social media platforms are an outlet for consumer knowledge on researching, discovering, and sharing of information about any brand or product. Studies show that social media advertising has created way to reach these very targeted audiences and provide a direct, convenient link between them and your business. Given the nature of this connected brand fan-base, businesses that use social media advertising can see the benefits with social promotion of their products almost instantaneously.

Social Media Advertising Benefits

Social media advertising is an excellent way to make a business more powerful as it offers various benefits including:

  • Increased Brand Recognition

Organizing your website content and improving its visibility can be very valuable. Social media advertising is a channel for the voice and content of your brand. This is essential as it simultaneously gives prospective customers more access to you, and makes you more recognizable to existing customers.

  • Improved Loyalty to Your Brand

The brands that have engaging activity on social media channels enjoy the benefits of a higher level of loyalty from their customers. A strategic social media plan can help establish a solid group of devoted customers.

  • Higher Conversion Rates

Social media advertising may also result in higher conversion rates in some distinct way. Basically, the most essential is the humanization element; brands become more humanized through increased interaction on social media channels. In Social media channels brands can interact just like people, making it more appealing and relational to conduct business.

Costs Associated with Social Advertising

If you have already experienced success with paid search, you should test the channel of social media advertising. The growing number of businesses modifying their online advertising and making paid social part of their strategy are becoming more visible in social media ads. Bayshore Solutions’ social advertising campaigns for our customers have shown positive lead generation results at dramatically lower costs per lead and significant ROI.

Paid social media is reasonable and you do not have to out-spend the competition to yield your desired results. This is an excellent tool to advance digital lead and sales generation strategies for your business, in a quick and cost-effective way.

To learn more about how Bayshore solutions can help grow your business with Social Advertising, Contact us today!

Bayshore Solutions

Bayshore Solutions

Passionate People, Creative Ideas & Inspired Results! We Integrate Technology & Marketing Expertise to Deliver Measurable Results for Our Customers.

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24 June

PCI Compliance: Is Your Company Prepared for the Upcoming Changes?

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By Rachel Murphy, Bayshore Solutions’ Accounting Team

eComm

Does your company accept credit card payments? If so, you are required to comply with standards set by the Payment Card Industry, i.e.: be PCI compliant.

There are multiple items that will transition from best practices to requirements on July 1, 2015 in accordance with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standards. Below are some of the key changes you (and your IT department) should be aware of, especially when it comes to your online presence.

“Assure Your Secure Sessions”

Broken Authentication and Session Management (Section 6.5.10)

Typically, when you visit an eCommerce website that accepts credit cards, enhanced security is put into place to ensure the details of your transaction or credit card information cannot be exposed. The new standards require that coding techniques address security issues related to authentication and session management. Some of these include:

  • Flagging session tokens (i.e. cookies) as “Secure.”
  • Not exposing session IDs in the URL.
  • Incorporating appropriate time-outs and rotation of session IDs after a successful login.

If you are using a content management system (CMS) or shopping cart that is widely available, it is very likely that these security measures are already integrated into those systems. For instance, nopCommerce is a very popular .NET eCommerce solution that is PCI compliant and one that Bayshore Solutions uses for many of our implementations. However, there are still some custom-built eCommerce platforms out there that may not use these techniques and could lead to exposure and data breaches.

You should engage your development firm to thoroughly examine your current software and coding to ensure any data or authentication risks have been properly addressed.

“Sharing is Not Caring”

Additional Requirement for Service Providers (Section 8.5.1)

If you allow any service providers with remote access to your premises (for example, for support of POS systems or servers), each provider must use a unique authentication credential (such as a password/phrase) to access your systems.

Otherwise, it becomes too difficult to identify the user of the account in the event of a breach. Using shared authentication is one of the easiest ways to access vulnerable data, and this change will provide increased security over previous non-password methods.

“Selfie-Hacks”

Penetration Testing (Section 11.3)

Of all the mandated changes, this one has the potential to be the most challenging and costly to implement. Merchants (that’s you) will be required to regularly test their security systems and the related processes surrounding their entire network. It’s known as penetration testing, and you are essentially trying to test the network for vulnerabilities. To simplify, you’re paying someone to hack your network.

Penetration testing is generally a highly manual process. While some automated tools may be used, the tester uses their knowledge of systems to penetrate into an environment. Often the tester will chain several types of exploits together with a goal of breaking through layers of defenses.

For example, if the tester finds a means to gain access to an application server, they will then use the compromised server as a point to stage a new attack based on the resources the server has access to. In this way, a tester is able to simulate the methods performed by an attacker to identify areas of potential weakness in the environment.

 

The excerpts listed above are just a few of the upcoming changes that may affect your firm, and you should be aware of all of the standards in place and how each one impacts your business. Remember, if you accept credit cards in any fashion, even if it is through a web site, you are required as a company to be PCI compliant. Not doing so can open your company to financial and legal risk in the event of a data breach.

Bayshore Solutions Offers PCI compliant web development and hosting infrastructure. Learn how we can help your eCommerce business stay compliant and competitive in the marketplace. Contact us today!

Source: Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, v3.0, © PCI Security Standards Council

Rachel Murphy

Rachel Murphy

is an Accounting Manager at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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15 June

Still Moving Pictures: Evolution in Website Design

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By Derek Prospero, Bayshore Solutions’ Design Team

It’s easy to forget a time when websites struggled to display even the smallest images. If you remember the early Internet days, you will recall tiny screens, limited colors, and slow-loading content – even simple text.

Consider for example everyone’s favorite case study, Apple.com. In case you weren’t there or don’t remember, here’s what it looked like in 1996:

AppleThen

Back then, sites were defined largely by their text and solid blocks of color. Displays were unable to produce sharp lines and curves. Broadband connections were unavailable to average consumers. And so, web design was itself handicapped by technological limitations. Today, many of those limitations are gone.

Flash forward 20 years, and this is Apple’s current homepage:

AppleNow

Increasingly, the best website designs are embracing standards defined by print design decades ago. And with attention spans simultaneously dropping, imagery is shouldering more of the message than ever before.

Less words, more pictures. That is exactly why it’s more important than ever that each picture be carefully selected and purposefully edited to shape the one-thousand-word story being told.

There is much subtext in a picture. Who, what, when, where. Colors, age, gender, expression, race, lines and composition are just a handful of the messages being silently conveyed in every photo. A perfect image is not necessarily without flaws, but rather serves its story and tells it clearly. A website’s homepage imagery will tell more about a company, and quicker, than any combination of words – even the company’s name itself.

Because of this, Bayshore Solutions places the highest priority on selecting and perfecting imagery. Whether custom or stock, there is no reason why colors shouldn’t underscore the brand. There’s no excuse to abandon a great location shot because of a cloudy sky when it can be fixed in post-production. Changing a person’s frown into a smile can drastically change the entire feel of a portrait. Artfully cropping a subject can increase its impact.

In this regard, imagery can be thought of as raw materials from which stories are crafted. It’s more vital than ever, and it will never go back.

If you would like help designing your business website to impress and engage your customers and drive the results you need, Contact us today!

Derek Prospero

Derek Prospero

is a Senior Designer at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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5 June

What Happens After Go Live?

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By Lucy Esteves, Bayshore Solutions’ Project Management Team

If you thought that launching a website was the last phase of a project, guess again. It’s just the beginning.

To start, get set up with a maintenance plan.

There are several options that can help you meet your online goals. A content plan, including topics, a schedule and goals are top of the list. The content plan could result in needing some infographics or custom calls to action to make it really valuable content. To save yourself the stress of regularly producing content, try to have a reserve of posts and media stored up so that you can effortlessly syndicate.

The content plan is just one part of your schedule. We recommend putting together a full and very detailed calendar for all of the tactics you’re going to cover. For example, if you’re using social media as one of your outlets for marketing, make sure you have your scheduled posts ready to go. This will make those timely, more impromptu posts easier because you won’t be creating under pressure, and the content will be organic.

Include in your detailed plan checks of webmaster tools, resubmitting your site map, or any potential obstacles and anticipations. Our team is ready and waiting to help take you to the next level. Get on a maintenance plan, too. It will assist in budget planning for this most important phase of your online goals.

With all the hard work that goes into building a website, it’s easy to feel like the work is over when it launches. It’s best to consider the construction phase as an introduction to the ongoing story of your site: a living, breathing place for your message.

If you would like help building, launching and maintaining your best business website, Contact us today.

Lucy Esteves

Lucy Esteves

is Director of Project Management at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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27 May

Your 10 Point SEO Check-Up for 2015

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By Valerie Noel, Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team

seo-checkup

Answer the 10 questions below to determine how your SEO strategy stacks up in 2015:

1. Are you re-using content across pages of your website?
All pages on your site should be 100% unique and have original content. As we’ve identified previously, SEO is a long-term strategy and shortcuts should not be taken, including reusing content in order to increase the number of pages on your site. The search engines will catch up!

2. Is your website easily found in the local search results?
Visibility and consistency is key when it comes to localized search results. Not only do you want to make sure you are found, but also that your business information is the same across the search engines.

3. Have you checked your site’s analytics recently?
Regularly checking analytics provides insights into how visitors are interacting with your website. Based on historical analytic data you can identify areas for improvement and improve your user experience.

4. What are the actions you’d like visitors to your site to complete?
Getting visitors to your site is the first hurdle – next you want them to convert! Additionally you want to measure the conversions so that you can measure performance.

5. How does your website appear in Webmaster Tools?
Google and Bing Webmaster Tools provide a glimpse into how the search engines view your site. You don’t want to ignore this as many technical SEO items can be uncovered here.

6. How quickly does your site load?
Site speed is not only a factor for search engine algorithms, it also affects a user’s experience with your site. If your site takes too long to load a visitor can easily click back to the search engine results page and visit another website.

7. Is your site mobile-friendly?
It is not uncommon to see mobile and tablet traffic make up more than half of the visits to a website. Also with the recent Google update focusing on the mobile-friendliness of a website it is even more crucial than ever to make sure visitors from mobile devices can easily navigate your site.

8. Are you URLs user-friendly?
The way your site appears in search affects whether or not a user clicks on your site or the site above or below you. In addition to a clear title and description, a URL that clearly indicates what page the user will be taken to can positively impact how many people select you over your competitor.

9. Does your site have an XML sitemap?
Search engines spiders are constantly crawling hundreds of millions of websites. You want to make this job as easy as possible for them and the most effective way is by creating an XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is different from an HTML sitemap, and clearly indicates which pages to crawl and index on your site.

10. Do you have Title tags throughout your site?
Accurately titled pages are beneficial not only for SEO but for visitors as well. The title you give each page on your site determines what appears for the user in the search results and at the top of the web browser. Every page on your site should have a unique and descriptive title related to the content of the page.

The above are just some of the many services Bayshore Solutions provides inside of a complete digital marketing engagement for a variety of our customers. If you would like help with any of the areas of search engine optimization Contact us today!

Valerie Noel

Valerie Noel

is a Digital marketing Account Manager at Bayshore Solutions Digital Agency. Passionate People - Creative Ideas - Inspired Results.

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