Category : Internet Policy

10 Bases you need to cover before you change web services

The Internet is not just something to think about this year. You should be using it as your the first step in your marketing. If you aren’t paying attention in earnest and allocating budget accordingly, you may already be behind. No situation is perfect. Attrition happens in every business. There is always a competitor with an aggressive sales staff or an upstart that is hungry and calling on you for your business. I’ve heard every line, and even get the emails myself. And the grass is always greener…

First, it’s OK, but move forward with caution. Your Web Guy most certainly holds some, if not all of the keys to your digital kingdom. For a smooth transition, don’t piss them off. They can do more collateral damage in 10 minutes than you have probably considered. Security mistakes are most often made close to home or close to work, where our guard is down.

Sometimes enough is enough. You’ve decided you need a fresh start with your web game. I built my business on being helpful when a website relationship had worn out it’s usefulness. So, before you make a move to change your service provider, take your digital inventory and make sure your cache is in your control.

1) Domain Names/DNS – Do you have administrative access to the account and login for the domain names you think you own? I can’t tell you how many businesses have their domains on a Go Daddy account and then have no idea where their hosting is. Your domain registration is the key to your website being live. It is the single fastest way to cripple or redirect a site

2) Hosting Services – Who is hosting your site? If you don’t know, you can start by checking your WHOIS record. Network Solutions provides an easy to use WHOIS checker You need to know that your personal information may be published as part of the record depending on who set it up for you. We recommend using your business info or a PO Box for your record. This is also a primary place for people to scrape business addresses and emails for communication or SPAMMING purposes. Many hosts offer a Privacy feature for an additional annual or monthly fee.

For identifying your host, look for the Nameservers. These 2 – 4 web addresses often begin as followed by the host domain. You may have to do a little digging. Go Daddy does not use their root domain for their nameservers.

3) Email – There are the eMail addresses for your business and domain and there are Mail Marketing systems like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, iContact and Demand Force. These systems will have their own logins and you may need to remove logins or accounts of your agents.

4) Social Services – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, You Tube, Vine, Stumble Upon, Tumblr, Pinterest and that’s the short-list. Make sure you have and keep a log with your account information with every account that has been set-up or claimed on your behalf.

5) Google/Bing – Search Engines include their own service for you to submit information about your website. It’s typically called Webmaster Tools and this is where current sitemaps.xml need to be submitted to insure that your latest content is indexed. This is the first step in telling the search engine who you want to be. Bing uses a Microsoft account to verify your business listing and to login to its webmaster tools. These days everything Google is managed from one account.

6) Citations / Maps / My Business-g Have you received a phone claiming they’re Google and they have to fix your listing? The odds are, unless you recently set-up or ran an Ad Words campaign, then this is an outside firm wanting to sell you their citation clean-up service. While this is a legitimate way for you to build links and be discovered in a variety of applications and mapping services, make sure you are buying from a credible source. You should also check with your web marketing person or SEO, they might already be doing this for you.

7) Analytics-g – Google Analytics is the Free-est and easiest way to keep track of your website performance. Ideally you want your Analytics account tied to your primary business Gmail account. If you don’t know what that is, this is the first thing you need to make sure you get control of. If the other guy has it all tied in to his accounts alone, you may have to start from scratch which with analytics can mean years of data lost.

Also, when a new company is taking over your website, it is always great to have a backward view in which you can benchmark their success.

8) Advertising – Ad Words, Facebook, banner ads and more. Your Ad Words account should be controlled and linked to your Analytics account. This is the best way to benchmark those ads performance. Know whether or not your FB business page is tied to your personal FB account. It should be, even if you don’t use Facebook. Know what other accounts might be tied to your name and your credit card.

9) SEO / Links – There are two kinds of links that a web developer may employ to achieve your web goals. The first may be links providing images or content to your existing site. This includes embeds for videos, images, and links to other websites. Make sure you know how your site was put together and that you understand what relationships you are severing. If all of a sudden your website has gaps or broken images, check the code and see what the source of the missing image or embed is. Chances are the address or content no longer exists. You can do this by right clicking in the Google Chrome browser and selecting “Inspect Element” or “View Source”.

When building  a performing website for Google and Bing, your web guy will engage in a variety of activities to help expand your inbound links from other websites. If these relationships are suddenly severed, or your guest content is pulled, your rankings could be affected immediately.  So, keep tabs on the programs they are engaged in to help your performance.

10) WordPress/CMS – Make certain that you have an administrative level login and that you or someone you are working with knows how to update user accounts and lock out your previous administrator. Unlike a website that is composed of static HTML pages, Content Management Systems are usually dynamic, so you can’t just cut and paste your site into a new server. These systems are often PHP driven and database dependent. This means, there is a lot of programming and special exports that need to be conducted to smoothly move your site to another server. Make sure you are working with someone who is an accomplished programmer or has expertise in moving WordPress sites. Otherwise, you may have to rebuild your site from scratch.  Also, ask your previous provider if they have historical backups available to you.


I hope this helps as you are deciding on a new web firm. If you would like a confidential evaluation of your current status, we offer a one-time, no commitment, digital audit for $150 – Sign Up Today >>  

Speaking of back ups, watch for my next article – “Your hack may only be as bad as your last back up” and we’ll discuss website security in the age of hackability.

– Stephen Sutherlin, Peregrine Digital Media

This is a general overview and is intended for entertainment/informational purposes. These are simply my opinions and should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any companies mentioned. I do not work for or intend to imply affiliation with any of the aforementioned companies. 


-g = Google
Google Account = Gmail, Google+, My Business, Maps, You Tube, Ad Words, Webmaster Tools (and many more you may not be aware of).

*As with everything I publish about my industry, by the time I hit submit some element presented here may have changed.


Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

Being hailed as Mobilegeddon by the SEO Community

This shift in Mobile delivery in the Google Algorithm this time has a number of people scurrying to figure out what to do. Desktop results are not overtly affected by this update. Luckily for our clients, we either have been working on new mobile ready-platforms to rollout with this change or we were already there. A primary pleaser for Google in this change is a responsive website. They clearly laid out the ground rules in advance and even have provided Webmaster Tools to verify how they are reading you.

There are a few approaches to mobile. You can serve a separate mobile version of your website using coding and scripts, or you can develop an application on-web or downloadable on device. Or you can utilize Responsive design. Apps and other content take other plans like content management and app proliferation. Often these approaches require resources to maintain and promote.

Responsive Design

Google has been abundantly kind to responsive websites in this shift. So let’s examine. A responsive website is one that changes or adapts based on the screen that is reading the page. HTML 5 and CSS3 allows for media queries to identify page delivery based on the size of the screen the content is being served to. Therefore, good responsive design anticipates and adjusts content to fit the user’s device. If on a desktop, the page has three columns of content, but in the mobile version the columns stack organizing the content down the page instead of in columns. The content adapts to the screen.

This is not an update to be ignored. With a growing migration of web users to smaller screens, your web presentation there becomes important. And if your architecture is getting in the way of you being seen in Google’s mobile universe, it is now officially time to update your web presence.

For more on this, read Search Engine Land’s Article



Web Maintenance – Security

The maintenance of a website in 2015 must include protections from dubious users who seek to gain access to your site. Hacking and cracking are real and the perpetrators are usually better equipped and more tech savvy than the average business owner in the U.S. Hackers and crackers have varying motivations and objectives when trying to get into your framework and few are as blatant as to reveal their presence, unless that is their objective.

Since Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. has been and continues to hack objectives in the world, the world is hacking back. And never forget, that our children are the ones that like to do it just for kicks. So what are the motivations of a hacker? Sometimes they are trying to take over your website to visibly say something. This is rare, because the user will notice it and take action to remove the hacker from the system. I have only seen one instance of this, and it was an Iranian, who published a message on the site’s homepage.

More likely the hacker wants to gain access to your system. They may just be whetting their chops trying to hack you in preparation for a bigger hack on a bigger system. Sometimes this includes their testing of their automated cracking software on your gateway.

And many times there is a serious objective. They want to link farm off of your backend and make your site serve links that you would never approve of. Or even worse, they use your servers to send out SPAM and get your domain shut down for serving it. Typically a hack is never as bad as your last clean backup. So taking measures is important to the standard practices your should incorporate as a website owner.

Hackers will continue to find vulnerabilities in web programming, it’s pretty much what they live to do. You just have to be aware and ahead of the game. Keeping your website up to date, backed up and monitored is nothing short of what you would do to protect your home or your business property. It’s becoming an important part of basic website maintenance.

WordPress 4.3 update

Last week WordPress posted a major security release and update to their systems and their vendors were encouraged to immediately update their programming.

WordPress Major Security Update

If you have WordPress running your website, then this is one update you cannot ignore. Your web security could depend upon it. Due to an inaccuracy in the WordPress documentation there became a widespread mis-usage of a common code tag. This led to a deep vulnerability that needed to be addressed in the major update 4.2 “Powell”. Subsequent update 4.2.2 closed the remaining gaps and publishers scrambled to update their plugins and themes.

If you know you are running WordPress, you need to update your site immediately. Contact your webmaster to make sure this gets done. All of our clients updates were done upon release of the new updates.

For more information, here are some additional articles.

Security Updates for Our Plugins – SEO by Yoast

WordPress 4.2.2 Release – WordPress

Original Cross-scripting issue identified (XSS) 4.0.1 – WordPress

Your Hack may only be as bad as your last back up

The Internet has exploded with hacker activity, and you’d be amazed if you knew how often your site is being probed or attacked. Most sites may receive this kind of activity, but if a failure happens to you. There are a few step you can take to recover.


Set up a back-up system, or insure that your host is doing it for you. If you are using dynamic database system that utilizes PHP or a Content Management like WordPress or Drupal, make sure you have security measures in place. You want to institute higher security measures on dynamic sites, because there are more susceptible to code injection and take over. Typically, with a proper back-up, once the invaders have been flushed out and passwords changed, you can have your site back in a day (fingers crossed.)

If you have been hacked, the first thing you need to do is contact your host and inform them, then contact your web-services provider if they are separate. Key information (LIKE PASSWORDS) needs to be reset on your website and hosting immediately.
*May require an expert

  • *FTP accounts – scrub these with new passwords delete any unfamiliar accounts
  • WordPress/Drupal/Joomla/etc logins need to be reset, especially those with admin clearances, look for unfamiliar accounts
  • *Email logins should also be updated

If you would like more on this topic, read here

Web Maintenance – Security

Net Neutrality – ABQ Business First Poll

For those of you who are confused about net neutrality, I have this opinion on it:

The telecoms claim that by being able to meter and control connection speeds, they can pass the savings on to you and I, the end-users. They will then leave the high-use websites and ISPs to fight and bid for the fastest speeds, which means big dogs like Google and Netflix will buy large to protect their dominant positions and leave small business owners and small-scale ISPs to suffer ever increasing costs for their web operations and a frustrating consumer experience, because you have no guarantee that the websites you like will be readily available. It will essentially bring the open and equal internet of  today to it’s knees, and be replaced by only content from the highest bidding corporations. It’s Internet super-highway robbery!

For some historical perspective on this topic read the book
“The Future of the Internet and how to stop it” by Jonathan Zittrain

This graphic is the property of Albuquerque Business First