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Is your web URL missing the ‘s’ in https?

Is your web URL missing the ‘s’ in https?

Posted on Sep 20, 2017 by Anna Vehslage

Throughout history, we have seen a direct correlation between the rise in population and the rise in crime rates. This has held true in the digital space as well with cyber thefts as the fastest growing crime in the U.S. From intruders to hackers, it is imperative now more than ever we as professional marketers secure our websites to protect both our business and our users. Google has recently campaigned for website owners to convert to HTTPS by rewarding secure URLs with a minor SEO boost. Google currently holds 77.43% of the market shares, making SEO vital to the success of your business’ site.  Not only is making the switch the ethical thing to do, it’s quickly becoming a necessity.

HTTP… ‘S’

HTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure. So, what’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? A layer of security. HTTPS comes with a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, which encrypts data to ensure only the intended server and browser can read the information. In other words, an SSL certificate is a small data file that monitors and transfers data safely between two points. Although nothing on the web is 100% secure, encrypted data is usually of no use to hackers. HTTPS will also prevent intruders from being able to listen to communication between your users and your website. Images, cookies, scripts, and HTML are all exploitable for intruders, and they can use unprotected communications to insert their own advertisements, trick users into giving up information or installing malware. These intrusions can happen at any moment, and it is crucial that we protect ourselves by adding an SSL certificate to our websites.

‘S’ means business

Web security is no longer solely important to just e-commerce. Every website should be securing the information of their users in order to be competitive in the marketplace.

Google Chrome is officially listing HTTP-based sites as “unsecure,” which means if you haven’t made the switch to HTTPS you could lose some business. HTTPS is a stamp of approval for website users. When entering an HTTP site, Google will give users a “Not Secure” warning, which can scare them away from sites even if the actual risk is minimal. Google is also ranking web pages with HTTPS higher than websites using HTTP; therefore, not only will users be turned off by unsecure websites, you could lose prospective viewers.

How to get an ‘S’

With the need for cybersecurity increasing, getting an HTTPS security certificate has become more streamlined and accessible. NameCheap offers SSL certificates for as low as $39 per year, and WordPress, which we use as our CMS, offers SSL certificates for free. It’s time to secure your website—obtain your SSL certificate through the resources listed here:

Let’s Encrypt
Comodo
Thawte
GoDaddy
Digicert
Symantec
GeoTrust

SSL certificates have many advantages including higher search engine ranking, uninterrupted traffic and higher credibility amongst users. Acquiring these certifications is both accessible and mandatory now more than ever. Securing your website is imperative to ensuring visibility and continued growth for your business. Don’t let your website go unseen.

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Facebook and Instagram Updates: What You Need to Know

Facebook and Instagram Updates: What You Need to Know

Posted on Sep 12, 2017 by Anna Vehslage

Facebook and Instagram are constantly evolving platforms, therefore, the company continues to update algorithms in order to stay ahead of marketers needs. While these updates provide us with new ways to capture our audience, it is challenging to keep up with the latest capabilities and ensure we are capitalizing on every opportunity. This month, Facebook and Instagram are releasing game-changing updates—here’s what you need to know:

Facebook

Facebook Watch has officially launched, seeking to be the ultimate binge watching destination. With intent to rival YouTube, Facebook aims for “Watch to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans and earn money for their work”. How does this affect your brand? Watch will incorporate ad breaks into their content, giving your brand the opportunity to be viewed by a heavily engaged audience. Facebook is very heavily populated, so advertising on Watch could be the perfect way to connect and expand your reach. Influencers have also become a hot topic in the world of marketing over the past couple of years, many of which have built their following on YouTube. With YouTube as a strong competitor, Facebook Watch offers influencers an innovative platform to reach a larger audience in addition to their current subscribers. While it is still in the testing phase, be on the lookout for ways you can utilize Facebook Watch as it continues to unfold.

Instagram

As Instagram continues to evolve as a successful marketing platform for businesses, it is important to stay informed on updates in order to take advantage of the best ways to build your brand visually. Bolster your brand with these three updates:

Targeting Options

Instagram now has the capability of targeting users by tracking their engagement on your business account. You can utilize this in two ways: first, you can create a custom audience of people who have viewed three seconds of your Instagram video, and then target and serve ads to that specific audience. Second, you can target users based on their activity on your business profile. This feature allows you to set a time frame for the designated conversion, and include or exclude certain audiences and activities. This update will allow you to target an audience that has already engaged with your brand, and ultimately increase your ROI.

Broadcast with friends

Instagram Live has already been extremely successful since its launch, and they are about to roll out new features that will allow marketers to continue connecting with their audience on a more intimate level with original content. Instagram is currently testing a new feature that will allow you to add and remove a “guest” to your live video. Brands will be able to hold interviews and broadcast testimonials with real customers live on their Instagram stories. With Instagram’s new capability to save the story to the camera roll, these videos can be posted at any time for users who missed the live broadcast. This new feature offers promise to brands engaged in event marketing tactics and promotions. This is an exciting opportunity for brands to showcase real conversations with their consumers while increasing their visibility and potential reach.

Banned Hashtags

Up until this update, you could hashtag anything—#Kansas, #Food, #HumpDay, #Hashtag. While this allows branded content to show up on different feeds, this has been problematic in keeping Instagram’s content appropriate. In order to start censoring content, Instagram has put a halt to certain hashtags in an effort to ban posts that violate community guidelines. What does this mean for your brand? No content will show up when you click on a banned hashtag. Don’t let your post be missed—review this list of banned hashtags.

Facebook and Instagram continue to revolutionize the way we connect with consumers, and it is imperative that we as marketers keep up with the latest capabilities in order to stay relevant on social media. Finding ways to utilize every function of Facebook and Instagram helps brands grow their social media presence and connect with a larger audience. Don’t get left behind, stay ahead of the trends.

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HMG Named Leading Digital Marketing Agency

HMG Named Leading Digital Marketing Agency

Posted on Aug 17, 2017 by Emily Ballard

For the third year in a row, HMG Creative has been named one of the top digital marketing agencies in Texas. Clutch is a research and review firm that identifies and ranks top service agencies that produce high-quality results for their clients. The ranking is based on a matrix of factors which include company experience, client list, industry recognition, market experience, and client reviews.

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Is SEO Still Relevant in Marketing?

Is SEO Still Relevant in Marketing?

Posted on Jul 13, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

The general concept is that higher value content achieves a higher ranking in search results, which ultimately increases visibility and drives website traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) gives your site a fighting chance, by aligning its structure and content to the complex algorithms used by search engines. However, these algorithms and strategies are constantly changing, and have thus made it a struggle to keep up. In a quality-focused world of consumer choice, the question arises: is SEO is still relevant?

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What’s Booming in Austin?

What’s Booming in Austin?

Posted on May 30, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Earlier this year, U.S. News ranked Austin, Texas the best place to live in the United States. The city is growing faster now than ever, and people are wondering what is drawing such a large crowd to Austin. Along with it being the Live Music Capital of the world, Austin’s job market is thriving and businesses are flourishing. U.S. News analyzed the cost of living, job market, quality of life and desirability to determine rankings which resulted in Austin being the most desirable place to live in 2017.

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The Difference Between AR and VR

The Difference Between AR and VR

Posted on May 25, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality blur the line between reality and fantasy. VR transports our perception into another realm, and AR introduces elements of illusion into the lens of our everyday scenery. Whichever technology you choose to alter your reality, this concept is gaining attention in the digital world. VR goggles went from an idea in a lab to a Christmas present in an incredibly short time period. AR has come a long way as well—it went from being a simple concept to the star of the hit iPhone app “Pokemon Go”; however, even these seemingly new forms of technology are beginning to be replaced by new advancements.

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