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5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

How to Avoid Making Impulsive Purchases from Success-Promising Gurus

I recently attended a 3-day business conference in Vancouver. There were about 500 people in attendance, all business owners and entrepreneurs who where there to network, learn and be inspired.

All in all, it was a great event that resulted in my meeting new people and gaining valuable insights that I brought home with me to infuse into my business.

The conference boasted nine high-profile speakers including thought leaders like Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray and James Malinchak. Their talks were entertaining, insightful, informative and motivating.

They certainly learned the craft of being an influential presence on the stage well.

But make no mistake, each of these speakers were there with the sole purpose of promoting their wares and influencing the audience to purchase their key strategies, programs and courses that promised business success.

And they succeeded.

The volume of people that ran to the back of the room to grab their limited-time, extraordinary low-cost offering before it was sold out was mind boggling.

As a member of that audience, I was fascinated by what I was witnessing. Perhaps it was my state of mind or the confidence I already felt in my capabilities of achieving further business success, but I was not at all tempted to be a part of the crowd to run to the back of the room and grab a purchase.

I looked around and saw men and women who were involved in a variety of different businesses and industries. Many of whom where desperate to get that SECRET FORMULA that would transform their struggles into riches.

And the speakers on the stage knew this and played right into their hands.

Throughout the 3 days, the audience was presented with lots of solutions, advanced systems and formulas on how to achieve success in their business. But the problem is, not all proposed solutions were ideal for everyone.

But what is a business owner and entrepreneur to do?

They are attending such events to help them with their business so are naturally attracted to the offers made up on the stage.

To help you avoid making irrational and emotionally-based decisions when faced with the pressure of live event and even free webinar offers I have put together 5 steps on what to think about first before jumping in with the crowd and grabbing your purchase:

  1. Think things through first.

    Ask yourself if this opportunity is truly going to get you a return on your investment if you make the purchase. What are you willing to commit to in order to get the most out of that investment?

    The key here is to understanding success is not just going to happen by signing up but actually doing the work. Are you realistically willing to do the work? Are you going to be 100% committed to this or will you get home, set it aside, and promise to get to it when you get a chance?

    None of these programs will get you the results these presenters are talking about if you’re not committed enough to follow through on every single step provided.

  2. Be objectively critical.

    When these speakers are on the stage, they are sharing their best success stories possible – the cream of the crop. Often this reflects only a minor percentage of those who have taken the program.

    Be objective. And don’t make emotionally-based decisions that compel you run to the back of the room and purchase. This is exactly what they are counting on.

  3. Decide if your business can truly benefit from what you will learn.

    Just because they are telling you this on stage doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you, your business model, and your goals.

    As an example, if you have the gift of service and support, then more than likely you will not do well learning to be a speaker on stage despite that presenter saying “anyone can do this using my system and processes”.

    If you have the gift of, say, music, then being a published author is probably not something you should pursue despite being provided with a “fool-proof, iron-clad method that will get you on the Amazon best seller list”.

    Ask yourself if what this presenter is offering is exactly what you need to learn in order to reach your business goals or is there something better suited for you available elsewhere? Do you really need to learn all of this yourself or is hiring someone who is an expert in that area a better decision that will help reach your goals quicker without having to become an expert in that field first?

  4. Recognize the emotional manipulation that’s happening.

    We see this all the time. Whether you’re attending conferences or online webinars there’s always a “limited time offer” that makes it irresistible to pass up.

    Don’t let these “one-time-only” offers lead you into thinking this is the only chance you’ll ever get to take advantage of what’s being offered. It simply isn’t true. It’s a sales tactic that preys on people who make emotional decisions and don’t want to be left out or miss out on an incredible opportunity.

    These programs will all still be offered after the hype ends. Even if that means paying $50 more, so be it. Give yourself time to objectively work through the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth your investment or not.

    Don’t let your emotions be triggered by the slick sales speech or written sales copy on a page.

  5. Do your research.

    This may not necessarily be the case for headliner speakers we see on the stage, but sadly, there are a lot of very smooth-talking “gurus” out there who are nothing but smoke and mirrors. They offer a lot of hype but little substance.

    Do your pocketbook a favour; before investing in any kind of program or product, research the person selling it first. Do a Google search and see if any bad reviews come up. Ask people in your social media groups if they’ve had any experience with that person and what were the results.

    Your goal is to make an informed decision, not an emotional one based on the promises of the sales copy. And if you do encounter negative reviews – listen to your gut. So many times wrong decisions are still made because, as human beings, we’re highly influenced by emotions and we can easily justify our actions based on those promises despite finding evidence to the contrary.

After reading this, you might think I’m against purchasing programs and courses all together but that’s not the case at all. I’m not saying not to invest in business growth strategies, but instead to make informed, objective decisions on which investments to make in the first place.

The sad fact is that marketing can be a very manipulative process that is meant to create fear- and lack-based, emotional responses. The people we see on stage, as well as those that do highly visible free webinars, are masters at pulling these emotional triggers.

Simply be aware of that manipulation and follow the guide I outlined above to help you decide whether or not your business can truly benefit from that investment you’re being asked to make.

Do you have any stories of acting on impulse and regretting the purchase later?

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crime

How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crime

Is your business secure? It may not be. Many unscrupulous individuals are operating online looking for new ways to exploit honest people.

I was recently pulled into a scam enacted by someone yet to be identified via a freelance work website. Because of how personally this affected me and my brand reputation,  I’ve decided to write today’s blog post about securing your business online.

My personal experience involved Upwork.com, which is a website boasting about the value of freelance talent.

As the old saying goes: there is nothing more expensive than cheap labour.

There is nothing more expensive than cheap labourClick To Tweet

Someone posing as me purporting to be a writer/editor from NYC took a job writing a book for a client and the results were bad. 3 chapters completely plagiarized bad.

Even worse – the fraudulent work got blamed on me! This person’s profile had my name and my photo and her client found me (the real me) through a Google search that matched my profile photo. You can imagine the shock I felt of being falsely accused of ripping someone off!

After realizing this was a clear case of identity theft, I immediately contacted UpWork to have the fake profile taken down. This person’s client did the same; we hope they were able to get a full refund of the monies spent on the useless book written for them.

Scary stuff. But compared to what others have encountered it’s small potatoes.

While hiring and supporting local talent has always been my thing, if you have to outsource (overseas or via those freelance sites), then a great idea to protect yourself is to insist on seeing a scan of government issued ID. Take your identification proof one step further and insist on a video conference before making any commitment.

Fraud is on the rise

2016 saw a significant increase in fraud over 2015. While the numbers show the amount stolen went slightly down the volume of theft went up. A lot.

While those figures relate more to consumer fraud if you’re the seller, you can be out of pocket money if the claim means sending the now used product back to you.

The point to take home is fraud is up so you need to take action to prevent yourself and your customers from becoming victims.

How to prevent and report cyber crime

According to The National Cyber Security Alliance there are several steps you should take to protect your business and customers:

  • Evaluate Risks

    Identify what types of fraud or crime you may be most susceptible to. Do you work with medical information? Financial information?
     
    Even if the purpose of your business is simply B2C there are steps to be taken to protect yourself.
     
    Users who purchase through your website are trusting you to keep their financial information safe so take steps to do so such as having SSL installed for any e-commerce or sensitive information and it’s wise not to store it.

  • Monitor Threats

    This can be as simple as making sure no spam messages are opened or any emails with attachments are scanned with some sort of antivirus software. While the software is not 100% effective it will stop the better circulated scams.
     
    Click here to read more about potential threats.

  • Report Attacks

    If you are the victim of a cyber attack you are going to get frustrated and with good cause.
     
    Currently Canada is really vulnerable when it comes to cyber crime and your best hope is just to call the police. While promises have been made to address this, very little has been done and international criminals are impossible to go after.
     
    If you are a victim of cyber crime contact local law enforcement and cross your fingers. But the bad news is you are likely to get no resolution. This is something to consider if you’ve been hiring anyone overseas.
     
    In the US reporting cyber crime is much easier. You contact the FBI via this website.  They have the capacity to address international criminals and recently America has cracked down on international crime operating within its borders.
     
    For those reading from any other country I encourage you to do your own due diligence regarding protocol for reporting cyber crime so you’re prepared should you ever need to be.

  • Execute a Security Plan

    For this the recommendation is to work with your ISP on a cyber security plan. While your ISP may be worth talking to you should really speak with your website’s hosting company first and foremost.
     
    The security of your customer’s info and your business is delicate so make sure your host knows to have things such as routine backups of all information made and stored on another server.
     
    Most of the majors stay on top of things but it’s always worth calling them for a quick review especially if you have pertinent info for them that may help.
     
    If you have been a victim already let your host know what happened. The information may help others down the road.

  • Safeguard Your Clients

    The suggestion found in this article of scanning all USB drives routinely is a good one. Sometimes the information can be air tight behind the most advanced firewall but it still gets out.
     
    One of the easiest ways to exploit technology is social engineering. Many times the information isn’t so much stolen as leaked by someone internally.
     
    Have a privacy policy in place and make sure your employees know that any time they connect anything to your computer network it will be scanned.
     
    Make sure all software is updated and that all computers connected to your network are running the most updated version of their operating system.

  • Educate Your Team

    This is an easy one.
     
    Have protocol in place that ensures your employees follow all steps noted above.
     
    All computers must be scanned when attached to a network and all USB drives as well.
     
    Most people are accustomed to this now so don’t worry about implementing it suddenly.

Stay Safe

By taking measures to protect yourself you’re ahead of the game should something occur. Scrambling after you’ve been a victim only helps the people who have stolen from you by giving them time to disappear.

Online business is only likely to grow even more and along with it fraud. The complexity of the scams will evolve and hopefully so do the solutions. In the interim I hope you enjoyed these tips and that you never become the victim of cyber crime.

If you have been a cyber-crime victim, share your story in the comments section below.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Instead of risking your business by hiring an unknown freelancer from a freelance website or one located overseas, turn to the experts with a proven track record for your graphic design, website, SEO and online marketing needs. eVision Media is an “all under one roof” boutique firm who bases their success on your success
>> CLICK HERE FOR SOLUTIONS YOU SEEK

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

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About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Red Flags to Avoid When Outsourcing Your Business Needs

Red Flags to Avoid When Outsourcing your Business Needs. 11 Tips on Hiring the Perfect Dream Team Instead Of Wasting Time, Energy and Money on Duds

11 Tips on Hiring the Perfect Dream Team Instead Of Wasting Time, Energy and Money on Duds

While many entrepreneurs start their business handling everything themselves to get their business going, there comes a point in their business growth when it makes sense to outsource.  Whereas other entrepreneurs decide to get their business off the ground by outsourcing the help they need right away.

My first hire was a programmer and it was the best decision I ever made – by bringing him onto the team, it expanded my offerings to our clients in a big way. It also relieved me of the pressure of having to keep learning more advanced programming in the ever-evolving web development industry.

Having someone on my team who’s expertise was in programming made much better sense and I never stopped there where I now have experts in many fields on my team.

Hiring new team members can take many forms. You can hire someone as an employee, a contractor or a freelancer. Any of these options are a great way to get the help you need without having to hire full time help.

But when you are hiring new people, especially if they are strangers on the Internet, you do need to be careful.

Be careful when hiring new people for your team. Here's some tipsClick To Tweet

Below are some tips to avoid the hidden dangers of hiring new team members to be aware of:

  1. Handling of sensitive data. If you are sharing information such as logins, passwords, and bank information with a new member, not only do you need to be careful in how you share that sensitive information but also in what they do with it.

    For example, don’t Skype any kind of sensitive data, it’s not secure.  Even email can be tricky. And require they shred or dispose of that data properly to ensure it doesn’t get compromised on their end.

  2. Have them sign a non-disclose agreement. If you are sharing intellectual property with your team members, it’s important to get a signed agreement that states they agree not to disclose certain information outside of the team circle.

    You’d hate to think that your virtual assistant would take your new $5000 program and leak it to your competitor or worse yet, rebrand it and sell themselves.

  3. Get references. It’s important to speak to someone who has experience working with them to find out their work habits, ability to communicate, focus to detail, and turn-around times.

    In my experience, it takes a certain personality type to be able to work independently and reliably in a virtual team atmosphere. Not everyone can work efficiently outside of an office space.

  4. Hire someone who is in alignment with your company values. This is especially true if you are looking for an assistant who will be representing your company with the public or your clients.

    For instance if you are hiring someone to do social media for you or as a customer service liaison, they are acting as the voice of your company.  You want to be sure they conduct themselves in a professional manner that reflects your own values.

    Over the years I have witnessed how terribly bad this can go for clients who have hired assistants who have not represented their company very well.

  5. Avoid payment hassles. If you hire a freelancer from a website and they want you to pay them on the side, that’s a huge red flag that puts their integrity in question.

    Also make sure if you hire someone from another country that you can pay them through a safe method such as Pay Pal.  Also be clear on the exchange rate differences between countries and ensure you’re clear which currency you have to pay them in.

  6. Research this person. It’s always a safe practice to do some research on your candidate. Do a Google search and check them out on Social Media. You may uncover some shady dealings or inappropriate behaviours that would make the person a bad hire.
  7. Cheaper is not always better. In fact hiring someone more experienced at a higher rate will often result in higher quality work in a faster time. Think about this hire as a business investment, not a means to get cheap work done or your business could suffer.
  8. Review their portfolio. If the position warrants it, ask for writing or design samples to show the quality of their work. It’s important to know they have the work experience and skills they claim to have. Never assume what they’ve written on their bio or in their resume is 100% accurate.
  9. Try a test project first. Find a small way to first see how the process of working with this person goes. Having a good working relationship with someone is just as important as having someone with the skills to do the job.
  10. Set deadlines. When you work with someone virtually, you are at the mercy of their schedule (unless they are an employee). If they have a deadline on another project or a busy workload, your project may come last.

    Make sure the freelancer you work with communicates well on when you can expect completed work.

  11. Check for understanding. Before a resource gets too many hours into a project you want to make sure they have a good grasp on what you want.

    Checking on progress from time to time to review that their work is on target can save headaches, upset, and unnecessary fees for redoing work down the road.

By following these guidelines, you can then say “Bye Bye Cheap Freelancers, Hello Dream Team!” because that’s what you end up building – a dream team who is with you in the long-term that will help grow your business.

At evision Media, we are a full suite boutique agency that provides many different web and marketing services for our clients all under one roof.  Our experienced team can provide you the brand, website, and digital marketing support you need without having to find a new person for each of the areas you need help in.

Are you thinking of expanding your team so you don’t have to do it all yourself any longer? Or do you have any further insights to share on what to be aware of when hiring? Share in the comments section below!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

Website Security: 7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

We have all heard in the headlines about major companies like Chase, Target, and Home Depot having data breaches with Ashley Madison being one of the latest high-profile victims.

The threat to small businesses on experiencing attacks by hackers is very real and not something to ignore.  In fact, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association over 44% of small businesses have had their systems hacked.

The Dangers of Not Protecting your Systems

It’s easy for a small business owner and entrepreneurs to say “Oh it won’t happen to me.”  Or because they are too busy with the day-to-day operations of the business not to make website security a top priority.

But the dangers of doing nothing are alarming.  Hackers can:

  • Break into your database and steal customer information.
  • Deface your website and put inappropriate pictures or text on it.
  • Submit malicious code through forms to deliver viruses and other harmful code to visitors who enter your site.
  • Log into your email server to send spam through your server.

As a business owner, it’s important to understand these dangers and know what needs to be in place in order to minimalize your risk of being compromised.

How To Protect You And Your Website from Hackers

  1. Keep your Website Platforms and Scripts Updated. If you use a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla etc., it’s important to install updates as they become available.
     
    The makers of these platforms often find and fix security holes that will leave your website vulnerable to attack.
     
    Wordpress is especially vulnerable due to the extent of its popularity.
     
    Same applies for shopping cart systems or plugins and scripts that facilitate extra functionality on your site.
  2. Be Careful with User Uploads.  While allowing users to upload an avatar, picture, or other file to a website or form can add interactivity, it also allows a way for malicious scripts to be uploaded to your server.
     
    Ensure security measures are in place that check submitted items from users to check if they are safe before uploading them to your website server.
  3. Protect Your Web Forms.  It is possible for hackers to fill out a contact form and place malicious code into the name or email fields.
     
    Having a tech person review your website can protect you from leaving this opportunity open to hackers.
  4. Set Up Strong Passwords.  While many people are learning the importance of strong passwords, some still leave their usernames at ‘admin’ or set simple passwords like ‘password123’ or use the same password for every online account they have.
     
    Passwords like first names, pet names, and simple words are easy to guess. There are algorithms hackers can use to easily figure out your user ID and/or password when either are very simple.
     
    Adding numbers, symbols, and capital letters to a password makes it harder to expose.  Plus, many password management programs can help you generate a random hard-to-guess password.
     
    This may seem inconvenient to have to memorize a more complex password but doing this to avoid being hacked is very much worth the effort.
  5. Lock Down Your Directory and File Permissions. It’s important to have someone with technical expertise review your hosting server directories to make sure the read, write, and execute permissions are set in a way that allows for maximum security.
     
    Look at folders, directories and individual files to review their settings to ensure your website is as secure as possible from harmful attacks.
  6. Set Up A Generic Website Error Page. If you have a portion of your website where users need to log in with a username and password, be careful what information you share on the error page.
     
    For instance if someone is trying to log in and gives the wrong username, it’s better to have a generic error message that says “wrong username and password combination”. This way, you’re not providing would-be hackers any clues to guessing the login credentials.
     
    Having the ability to lock a user from trying to log in after too many failed attempts can protect your website as well.
  7. Use A SSL Certificate. If your website has a shopping cart system, a membership component, or collects sensitive personal data via online forms, it’s always wise to get a SSL certificate installed.
     
    A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate will protect the data that is being submitted into your website by encrypting it as it travels from the web browser to your web server, making it much harder for hackers to intercept and malign.
     
    Not only does an SSL protect your data but it also invokes a sense of security for your customers when they go to purchase. You will probably lose sales if you don’t have an SSL installed.
     
    Additionally, Google gives a small SEO ranking benefit to websites with SSLs installed.

Make a Point to Review Your Website Security Today

If you feel uncomfortable doing a security review yourself, hire a “techie” to do it for you.

Plus, when you are hiring a web developer, making sure they are aware of security issues and take a proactive approach to protecting you is important. Ensure they give your website the regular security updates it needs can keep your business website safe.

Has your website ever been hacked?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

SEO Outsource Mistakes to Avoid That Will Save You a Lot of Grief

Avoid These SEO Hiring Mistakes and Save Yourself a Lot of Grief

As a business owner, there’s a lot to juggle on a daily basis.  Balls are continuously flying in the conversion funnels in efforts to create and sustain a profit.

One of those balls, which should be a substantially large one, is marketing. And when it comes to marketing, your chief goal of course is to get more sales.

In order to accomplish this, having a professional website should be at the top of your marketing list due to it being your primary marketing piece that’s working on your behalf 24 hours a day, all year round.

But just having a website is not enough.

Aside from thinking about keeping your website up-to-date, you also need to be thinking about SEO: Search Engine Optimization.

Now if you’re a typical business owner, you may not know a heck of a lot about SEO. It’s a term you’ve heard kicked around and probably understand it’s something you should be doing but that’s as far as it goes. Because it’s such foreign territory for you, you keep putting it off or worse, you hire the first person who sounds like they know what they’re talking about.

And this is what many nefarious scam artists are counting on.  

So before you embark on any SEO project, read this article over first and get yourself educated on the mistakes many unsuspecting business owners make when they’re ready to take action and outsource their SEO to achieve their marketing goals.

Firstly:

Watch Out For The Scammers…

By now, the odds are extremely good that you’ve been contacted, probably multiple times, by some  SEO “expert” telling you how dire your Google rankings are and saying you “must do this or that” to get your website higher up in the search engine rankings.

And if you’re not well involved in the online marketing or SEO industry, what they’re telling you probably sounds very compelling.

You receive promises like:

“We will submit to a Gazillion Search Engines and Directories for $59.95!”
“We guarantee Page 1 rankings in Google!”
“We guarantee thousands of Visitors every Month!”
“Just spend thousand$ with us, plus a $500 monthly fee and we will make you rich!”

Please do yourself a favour and immediately delete those emails or hang up on those callers. These people  are trying to scare you into hiring them and making promises that simply cannot be guaranteed. They are scammers that prey on those that don’t know any different.

…And Be Cautious of the So-Called “Experts”

But there’s also another group of people that requires caution. These people are very well intentioned but simply don’t have enough expertise to be giving sage advice on how to get your website search engine optimized.

I have heard from many where their children, business coaches, IT administrators, copywriters and even their gardeners have “great” SEO and marketing advice and sure-fire ways to create instant success.

Yep, expert advice in this field is about as common as ants at a picnic.

But sadly that promise of instant success rarely, if ever, materializes.

The thing is, the SEO industry is evolving at a furious pace and just like the liquid web, it is changing dramatically. One must always be open to new ideas but also have a well informed grasp of sound and current principals.

In the world of SEO, what worked yesterday might not work today and what works now might be obsolete tomorrow.

So not only is the advice those “experts” are giving is possibly untrue to begin with, it’s guaranteed that it will shortly become as extinct as the Dodo bird.  And if they aren’t actively involved in this field of study, they won’t even know that what they’re doing and advising is old, ineffective news.

The Secret of Search Engine Secrets

The truth of the matter is, no one knows the deep, dark secrets of Google and other search engines.

No one knows what the magic formula is to get higher up in their search results except for Google themselves. And they aren’t telling anyone what they know!

What all us legitimate SEO specialists can do is test, tweak and repeat until we get the best results for our clients.

Now of course, we also have our tried and true methods that we know will garner great results for our clients.  And it’s that kind of methodology that you need used on your website to get the most benefits from any SEO efforts.

So who can you trust?

Because of all the scammers and ill-informed people out there that are not producing the results that honest customers are paying for, the world of Internet Marketing and SEO has a very poor reputation.

So what can you do as a business owner to ensure you hire the right person?

  • If someone is approaching you via unsolicited emails or phone calls, this is red flag #1. Even Google says, “Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.”;
  • Do your due diligence and ask a lot of questions;
  • Don’t let someone “wow” you with their fast talk of grandiose promises;
  • Find out what their processes are and flush out the ones who use “black hat” tactics that will eventually get your website blacklisted;
  • Ask for a list of referrals and follow up with each one of them. The results from past efforts are what speaks the biggest truth here.

Hiring people who are only going to plug your website into a bunch of online tools might be able to produce impressive looking reports, but will hurt your rankings, and your pocketbook,  in the long run.

And hiring those that don’t have enough experience to truly understand the fundamentals of how to optimize your website for search engines is going to result in your money being wasted with a minimal return on your investment.

And if you are thinking you should be doing this yourself, don’t be fooled into thinking this should be as easy as adding in a few keywords to your copy and you’re good to go. It’s far more complex than that.

Ultimately, there are many benefits to hiring a professional SEO company. One that knows what search engines are looking for and how to best position your website to be indexed favourably.

Because they understand that each search engine has their own set of rules, algorithms and regulations, etc.,  SEO specialists know what to apply to websites in order to get optimal results from the search engine indexing process.

And it’s an added bonus when that SEO firm also has a firm understanding of online marketing so that you can benefit from that area of expertise too.

But don’t expect an overnight bonanza of high rankings and tons of traffic.

Optimizing your website for search engines is not a quick fix to achieving your marketing goals. Working with an SEO specialist to achieve higher website rankings and exposure can take up to several months or even longer.

So patience is a virtue when it comes to search engine optimization. It’s during this time that you can focus on your other more direct online marketing efforts like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, social media marketing, blogging, newsletters and other strategies that will help you achieve your business goals.

If your website needs proper SEO that will drive qualified traffic back to it on a daily basis, that’s what Daniel on our team does all day long; it’s his specialty and is very good at it. Click here to contact him for more info.

Do you have any SEO horror stories you want to share? Leave a comment below!

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

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Beware of Phishing attack targeting your PayPal account

An email came in this morning that warned me of my PayPal information being in error and needed to be fixed within 24 hours. Luckily it went to my junk mail folder but just in case it didn’t for others, this is clearly a phishing attack – it was not sent by PayPal and if you click on the link they provide to update your information, it would go to a nefarious website, http://58.65.241.10/manual/mod/mod_python/.cgi-bi… PLEASE don’t go there, I’m just showing that it isn’t a PayPal website URL at all. I cut off the end of the URL as well to avoid any accidental clicks.

The subject of the email was: You have 24 hours to confirm your PayPal personal information

Then it reads:
Dear PayPal member,

This e-mail was sent to you because we have detected an error in your billing information during our regular schedule account maintenance and verification. This might be due to either following reasons:

* A recent change in your personal information (i.e. change of address).
* Submitting invalid information during the initial sign up process.
* An inability to accurately verify your selected option of payment due an internal error with our processors.

You have 24 hours to click the link below and confirm your PayPal personal information, otherwise your ATM Debit / Credit Card access will become restricted:

Click Here

Sue

Telus WEBMAIL ACCOUNT email – phishing attack

For anyone with Telus.net email accounts out there – beware of an email phishing attack that you might get.  The one I received had the subject line: WEBMAIL ACCOUNT and then proceeded to say that Telus is upgrading their database and require account holders to confirm their email identity.

DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL – JUST DELETE!

The From: email address is: webmailaccount@libero.it so it is not from Telus as the tricksters want you to believe.

Visit this site: Fraud Watch International for information on how to protect yourself and receive detailed information on what you should do.

Susan

PayPal Account Security Measures Notification – Phishing Message

It’s such a shame because PayPal is such a great service and emails like these cause people to think that PayPal is the offender but in reality, they are the victims of someone stealing their identity and using it to glean private information from unsuspecting people that get these kinds of emails in their in box.

It all looks legit enough, but upon looking at the source code, these emails are NOT coming from PayPal at all – if you get an email like the one below – DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK! It’s a phishing message meant to capture your personal data. Just delete!

Here’s the first part of the email:

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Secure Your PayPal Account!

Dear PayPal ® Customer,
While performing it’s regular scheduled monthly billing address check our system found incompatible information which seams to be no longer the same with your current credit card information that we have on file. If you changed your billing information or if you moved from you previous address please follow up the link bellow and update your billing information: If you didn’t change any of this information you still need to follow up the previous link and update your existing billing information because it means that our database regular scheduled update wasn’t made correctly. Choosing to ignore this message will result in to a temporary suspension of your account within 24 hours, until you will choose to solve this unpleasant situation. We apologies for any inconvinience this may caused you and we strongly advise you to update your information you have on file with us. To secure your PayPal account please visit the link below:

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Always be cautious and suspicious of such emails – no matter who it is from. The subject line often looks official and important so if in doubt, contact the company the email was supposed to be from or check with your web developer and avoid getting attacked.

Sue