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W&D Weekly
February 24, 2016
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The Talk

Ben Landers

Some business owners think hackers only target big companies or fancy e-commerce stores. To some extent, this is true—individual hackers typically focus their efforts on large, lucrative targets. However, the vast majority of hackers create automated scripts and programs that crawl the web in search of vulnerable websites. Most small-business websites get hacked in this automated fashion.

No matter what size your company, your website is a target. Getting hacked isn’t just embarrassing, it’s costly. Besides the damage to your company’s brand, trust and reputation—which are difficult to quantify—it also affects leads and sales.

When your website gets hacked, Google typically removes it from search results pages and applies a penalty until you resolve the issue and show that the hack has been fixed. The typical window and door company gets anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of their website traffic from Google, so being penalized in this fashion can be devastating.

How to Protect Your Site
One of the simplest ways to prevent your website from being hacked is to use strong passwords for your website hosting account as well as your website’s content management system (if you use a one). Overly simplistic passwords are perhaps the single biggest reason many small business websites get hacked. Use passwords that are at least eight characters and that include upper/lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.

If your website is built on a CMS like WordPress, you must make sure your WordPress software and all the plugins used on your site are updated on a regular basis. Like Microsoft Windows, WordPress and plugins periodically have updates; mostly to patch identified security issues. When plugins update, you must update your site. A good web marketing firm can do this via some type of webmaster services agreement or as part of the hosting package they offer you.

Increasingly, consumers turn to the web first when researching windows and doors, so you need to invest in your website and overall presence online. But, because hackers are constantly trying to transfer the value you’ve created into their pocket, take steps to protect what you’ve worked so hard to build.

Has your website been hacked? Or, are you worried about the potential that it could be hacked? What measures do you take to protect your website? Weigh in on this week’s poll, post about your experiences in the comments section online, and/or drop a line to share your thoughts.

Has your website been hacked?
Yes, and I put measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Yes, and I'm concerned it will happen again.
No, because I have measures in place to prevent it.
No, because I've been lucky so far.
I'm not worried about hackers.

What systems does your company use to ensure all the details of an order are correct?
Half of respondents to last week's poll said they used all systems listed to ensure order details are correct. Read the Full Results

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