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What is encryption & how does it work? 

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The practice of protecting sensitive information with codes and ciphers is thousands of years old. Today, it’s a technical art form that secures digital data that is being sent, received or stored.

Better known as encryption, this protection method masks digital information so that only those with the correct encryption key can decipher it.

Understanding encryption is crucial as you manage your own website and develop or design websites and apps for your clients.

Types of encryption

There are several different encryption methods — the algorithms or ciphers used in scrambling data — that designers and developers can use. To encrypt data, you need a key to alter it. You could use a symmetric encryption key, which uses a single randomly generated private key that the sender shares with the receiver. Or you could use an asymmetric encryption key that uses a public key to encrypt the data or message and a private key to decrypt the message.

Which methods should you use in coding and designing? That will depend on the sensitivity of the information being sent or stored, the data file’s size, how the data will be sent (email, FTP), and the encryption standards your receiver prefers.

Encryption examples: When do you use it?

There are a number of encryption standards to understand, along with when it’s best to use them.

AES, or the Advanced Encryption Standard, is one of the most popular file encryption methods in the world. It’s a symmetric block cipher and offers protection of sensitive data shared in closed systems and stored in large databases. It is also a good choice for emailing information that is not extremely sensitive, like your new product catalogue and price list or sending a large ZIP file via email.

Open PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy, uses a symmetric key to encrypt and an asymmetric key to decrypt data. The private keys can also verify the authenticity of the sender. This adds an additional layer of protection when sharing information across open networks. Open PGP is a good choice when sharing sensitive information like payroll deposit data with your financial institution.

SFTP or Secure File Transfer Protocol, communicates over a secure connection. It uses public key encryption and password authentication. SFTP encryption is most commonly used in server-to-server file transfers, such as information exchanged with healthcare providers.

FTPS, or file transfer protocol secure, uses two data connections. A public key encrypts the data, a public key certificate provides authenticity and a private key decrypts the data. Legal, government and financial services entities rely on the security of transferring files via FTPS.

Secure Mail uses asymmetric encryption. It protects personally identifiable information in the body of an email, such as proprietary business information or personal information like an account number.

AS2 or AS4, also known as applicability standard 2 or 4, use digital certificates and various encryption standards. With AS2 or AS4, you can request a message disposition notification or receipt that verifies that your recipient received and decrypted the message. You get legal proof that you sent the message and that it was received (also known as non-repudiation of receipt.) AS2 and AS4 are commonly used in EDI transfers for business information like invoices or purchase orders.

For web designers and developers who use WordPress as their platform of choice, WordPress Salt Keys help to secure your WordPress login information. These security keys help protect any information stored in cookies required by WordPress to log in. Instead of using PHP, WordPress saves your info so you don’t have to enter it every time you log in. While convenient, this can pose a security risk. Salts work to encrypt your password into a series of random characters that can be tough for hackers to crack without knowing your salts.

Why is data encryption important?

Businesses require secure websites and applications that will protect their data, their customers’ data, their systems and their brand. Keeping security in mind from the start of the design or development phase is important for many reasons:

  • Every industry mandates specific compliance regulations for data protection. Including encryption into the design and development process can help result in a final product that will not be subject to fines and sanctions.
  • Data breaches cause reputation damage. Encryption protects against breaches and resulting reputational damage.
  • Customers value privacy and want to be assured their data is secure. Encryption improves the security posture of applications and sites and delivers a valuable competitive edge.

How do you know if a website is secure?

Here are a few ways to tell, at a glance, if a website is secure:

  • Check the URL and look for the “S” after “HTTP.” This indicates the information passed from the browser to the website’s server is protected by a secure sockets layer (SSL) . This certificate ensures an encrypted connection. In addition to checking that the URL reads “HTTPS,” another quick way to tell if a website is secure is to look for a small padlock icon next to the URL in your browser’s navigation bar.
  • Scrutinize the domain. It’s not uncommon for fraudsters to cleverly mimic a trusted website address. For example, switching out the letter “o”and replacing it with a zero will make the word “micr0soft” look similar enough to the tech giant to fool you into sharing information on an unencrypted site.
  • Look for reputation assurance. When visiting a new website, check for examples of legitimacy such as a privacy policy, contact information and social media accounts. Without those signs, the site may be unencrypted.
  • Verify trust seals. Many sites, especially ecommerce sites, will feature a trust seal verifying that a third party has vetted its legitimacy. Take a moment to click on the seal. It should redirect you to a verification page from that third party. If it doesn’t, that may indicate a less-than-secure site.
  • Check for malware. A site with poor encryption may become infected with malware. You can tell this has happened if the site you are on issues suspicious pop-ups, features poor spelling, grammar and an unprofessional design, or promotes hard-to-believe offers.

Since most websites may look normal on the surface, but have hackers working in the background, an easy trick to check for malware is to search Google. Simply type “site:domainname” into the search bar and you can find SEO spam within any of the links indexed on Google. Be sure to swap in your website’s name for “domainname” and comb through the results to identify any instances of malware on your site.

Finding SSL website encryption

Security is a big deal for anyone doing business online, so it’s a big deal for developers and web designers. Protect your website, your customers’ data and the websites and apps you develop with an SSL certificate from GoDaddy. It safely encrypts information during transmission and builds trust in your brand.

Find the right SSL certificate to protect your site or your projects.

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How to get a perfect Google PageSpeed score

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Your Google PageSpeed score from Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool is one of the most visible scores for a website owner.

Receive a low score in red, and you know that your website isn’t up to standards. If you’re reading this article, you probably know the feeling.

In this article, we’ll discuss practical steps to get a perfect PageSpeed score on Google. Feel free to invite your web developer along for the ride. Let’s take a technical look at improving PageSpeed.

Related: Not sure how to prepare for Google’s SEO rank change? Republish your website

Why does a Google PageSpeed score matter?

Think with Google stat

A Google PageSpeed score of 90 or above is considered good. Fifty to 90 is a score that needs improvement, and below 50 is considered poor.

Do those scores really matter?

 

According to a “Milliseconds Make Millions” study conducted by Google and Deloitte, improving your load time by 0.1s can boost conversion rates by 8%.

In other words, the PageSpeed of your site can have a big impact on conversion and bounce rates because first impressions matter. Customers are impatient, which is why another study from Google and Ipsos found that 77% of smartphone shoppers are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.

There’s certainly a business case to be made around a good PageSpeed. But, there are also some common myths around a perfect Google PageSpeed score.

Limitations of Google PageSpeed scores

While PageSpeed score can be a valuable metric for evaluating website performance and improving customer experience, it does have some limitations.

Some of the limitations to be aware of before getting obsessed with obtaining a perfect 100 PageSpeed score include:

  • User experience can’t be captured with a single metric. Good user experience is not captured by a good PageSpeed score. That’s why Google released Core Web Vitals standards to help quantify the user experience. Understanding the different metrics of Core Web Vitals is more important to your users’ experience than PageSpeed.
  • User experience can’t be captured with a single “representative user.” PageSpeed scores are computed using a predetermined device and network settings. In other words, the metric doesn’t take into account real-world performance, which is highly variable due to differences in users’ devices (i.e., mobile vs. desktop), network connections (i.e., 3G or 4G), and other factors.
  • User experience can’t be captured by lab data as well as it can on field data. Field data is gathered from your actual users and takes into account what devices and networks your users are on and appropriately mirrors those conditions when testing performance. Lab data is performance data collected within a single, controlled environment. If you want to verify the real performance experienced by users, field data offers a more realistic view of what your users actually experience.

Bottom line is that a good PageSpeed score does not equal a good user experience. A site owner should care more about consistent speed improvements in the real world, because studies show a fast website can benefit from improved conversions.

With that said, let’s begin our exploration on how to get a perfect 100/100 PageSpeed score on Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

10 tips for accomplishing a perfect PageSpeed score on Google

What steps have websites with perfect 100 Google PageSpeed scores taken to optimize their websites?

To help your business enjoy a fast website, we asked small business owners, digital marketers, plugin authors and web developers about the actions they have taken with their websites. From choosing a reliable hosting provider to image optimization, here are ten tips to help you get a perfect 100 for your Google PageSpeed score:

  • Choose a fast, reliable hosting provider.
  • Select a lightweight theme.
  • Purge plugins.
  • Reduce and optimize your website’s JavaScript.
  • Optimize images.
  • Browser caching.
  • Code minification and compression.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN).
  • Use multiple speed testing tools.
  • Find an all-in-one, cloud-based service.

Read on to learn more.

1. Choose a fast, reliable hosting provider

glasses sitting in front of a computer

Server response times are one of the top reasons for a slow loading time.

Many of the cheap hosting plans small businesses have are shared servers. Being on a shared server means that you are sharing your server’s processor and memory with several other websites, which can impact your performance.

Upgrading to a dedicated hosting plan at a reliable provider is the first step to take if you’re serious about web performance. The investment in dedicated hosting is considerably more than a shared hosting plan, but the benefits of fast loading times, high uptime availability, security and support.

There’s no solution that can overcome poor hosting, so consider the investment and choose wisely.

2. Select a lightweight theme

If you’re on a CMS like WordPress, selecting a lightweight website theme is vital to load speed.

Several website themes come loaded with CSS code and large files that impact page size and increase the number of server requests.

The more server requests and the larger a page file size may be, the longer it may take to deliver your theme and site content to a user.

That’s why a poorly written website theme can significantly increase your website’s load time. Selecting a lightweight theme with clean source code can reduce dependent requests, eliminate unused code or CSS files, and address the majority of speed issues.

“We recently switched our website to a streamlined Elementor theme from a more cumbersome one,” says Thorin Yee of Best Companies AZ. “By investing in a lightweight theme, we were able to eliminate CSS and JS files that slowed down our site. The foundation of a website is critical. If you’re putting in the effort to change your site speed, it won’t have much of an impact if the site itself is not structurally optimal.”

Rewriting or changing a website theme is a tough choice to make as a small business owner because of the investment. But again, there’s no remedy for a bloated website theme, so select your foundation carefully.

3. Purge plugins

Plugins on WordPress

Go easy on the plugins.

The more third-party plugins you add to a website, the slower a site can become. That’s why it’s a bad idea to use five or six plugins to optimize different aspects of a website, such as addressing render-blocking resources or unoptimized images.

Instead, it can be much more convenient to install and monitor a single tool that accomplishes speed optimization objectives.

Installing additional plugins can add significant overhead to your server and end up increasing load times. Try researching plugins and monitoring your site’s performance using lab data after adding or deactivating each one. Once you’ve found an optimal plugin mix, test out performance scores over a 28-day period using field data to see if the site has improved.

4. Reduce and optimize your website’s JavaScript

Render-blocking JavaScript is one of the biggest reasons for a slow-loading website. And yet, JavaScript is jam-packed into website frameworks, CMS themes and plugins.

Reducing and optimizing your website’s JavaScript isn’t a quick fix, and will require an experienced developer to analyze your website’s code.

Google PageSpeed Insights, along with other performance tools mentioned in this article can help a developer identify render-blocking JavaScript that could be eliminated to improve page speed and performance.

Admittedly, seeing the “eliminate render-blocking resources” suggestion from Google PageSpeed Insights can produce a paralyzing feeling of not knowing what to do. There are several all-in-one plugins that can help minify or defer your JavaScript. But, it’s always best to test these plugins in a staging environment before deployment to production.

5. Optimize images

Editing images on laptop

Optimizing images is a little less of a technical change, and easier to grasp for business owners than optimizing JavaScript.

Using an image format like WebP can help improve a performance score, since WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs and 25%-34% smaller than JPEGs. Reducing the image size or deferring offscreen images can also improve mobile experience and decrease bandwidth usage.

“Image optimizations are especially important for mobile users, since Google is mobile-first indexing and large image files take up data on mobile,” says Carey Wilbur of Charter Capital. “Not only will resizing or reformatting images to next-gen formats help PageSpeed Insights, it’ll also help you keep people on your website longer. Which is a win all away around.”

6. Browser caching

When a website loads, information like static content, a CSS file, external resources, scripts, and more needs to be requested. These requests all impact loading speed.

Browser caching gives a web browser the choice of retrieving that information from a previously stored version or the server.

This can make a big difference in terms of how quickly a web page loads.

 

To see a big boost in PageSpeed scores, enable browser caching using an all-in-one plugin, a specific caching plugin, or a managed hosting service.

7. Code minification and compression

Code minification modifies files and makes them compact, thereby improving website performance through compression of clean code.

Minifying code is particularly useful for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files because unnecessary or redundant data is removed, without affecting how the resource is processed by a web browser.

If all that sounds technical, many plugins today offer code minification and compression as a feature. Research all-in-one plugins to ensure that they have this functionality.

8. Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Content delivery networks (CDNs) offload the resource requests that can bog down the loading times of a page’s main content. For example, using a CDN to cache images and content enables pages to load more quickly for users accessing web pages with large resources.

CDNs may sound technical, but this should be a feature included by a reliable hosting provider. Check with your web host to see if you have access to a CDN, and if so, see if it can be enabled to help address slow page speed.

9. Use multiple speed testing tools

While PageSpeed Insights is the most visible speed testing tool for small businesses, there are several other performance tools that can offer different perspectives on how to improve page speed.

Here’s a list of performance tools and their benefit to website owners:

Lighthouse: Gives you personalized advice on how to improve your website across performance, accessibility, PWA, SEO, and other best practices.

WebPageTest: Allows you to compare the performance of one or more pages in a controlled lab environment, and deep dive into performance stats and test performance on a real device.

TestMySite: Allows you to diagnose webpage performance across devices and provides a list of fixes for improving the experience from Webpagetest and PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights: Shows speed field data for your site, alongside suggestions for common optimizations to improve it.

Speed Scorecard: Allows you to compare your mobile site speed against your peers in over 10 countries. Mobile site speed is based on real-world data from the Chrome User Experience Report.

Impact Calculator: Allows you to estimate the potential revenue opportunity of improving your mobile site speed, based on benchmark data from Google Analytics.

Chrome Developer Tools: Allows you to profile the runtime of a page, as well as identify and debug performance bottlenecks.

Marketers may enjoy using TestMySite, Impact Calculator and Speed Scorecard to measure ROI while developers may get more benefit from using PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Chrome Developer Tools or WebPageTest to identify and correct performance issues.

Related: GoDaddy Website Design Services and Google Lighthouse — design meets power

10. Find an all-in-one, cloud-based service

Our website, Markitors.com, did all of the steps above and topped out our PageSpeed scores at 75/100 on mobile, and 95/100 on desktop.

We needed an all-in-one service that combined caching, image optimization, lazy loading, code minification and compression to put our site to a perfect score.

For that, we turned to NitroPack.

“NitroPack combines everything needed for a fast website in one service,” says Deyan Georgiev, CEO at NitroPack. “Our built-in features and their unique implementation in one cloud-based service lead to our outstanding performance.”

After installing a paid plan of NitroPack on Markitors.com we saw our 75/100 score on mobile and 95/100 score on desktop go directly to a perfect 100/100.

Mission accomplished.

Next steps

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix to get a perfect 100 on your Google PageSpeed scores. In most cases, you or an experienced web developer will have to dig into your site’s code and optimize it.

It’s a journey.

 

But, as demonstrated in this article, there are immediate steps you can take to make your website faster and get close to a perfect 100 score.

If you are a DIY’er business owner who is comfortable diving into a code base, start by making your site more lightweight by reducing and optimizing your JavaScript.

If you’re looking for an immediate boost with minimal time spent on improving page speed, consider investing in a fast, reliable hosting plan and installing an all-in-one, cloud-based service like NitroPack.

Or, if these steps are over your head or low on your priority list, forward this article to an experienced web developer so they can get started on improving your site performance.

The hardest step to improving is often the first one. Hopefully, these steps will help you achieve a perfect 100 Google PageSpeed score and improve your customer experience as a result.

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Marketing

How technology is changing the advertising industry

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  • Technology has upended the advertising business.
  • Changes in ad tracking and consumer habits are impacting how advertisers reach people and spurring new competition for ad dollars.
  • Here's a breakdown of Insider's coverage of how ad buyers and sellers are impacted.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The advertising industry is going through big changes as technology changes upend consumer habits and where and how marketers reach them.

Apple and Google's phasing out third-party cookies threatens to upend longstanding ad targeting practices. The acceleration of streaming TV has fueled the chase for TV ad dollars.

The shift to online shopping has attracted new players for digital advertising.

Insider has been tracking these trends at some of the biggest advertising buyers and sellers, including WPP, Omnicom, Google, and Amazon, and rounded up our coverage.


The crackdown on ad tracking is changing advertising

Targeting changes are forcing advertisers to come up with new ways to reach consumers. Google and Apple have sent shockwaves through the ad industry when they announced changes that would put an end to longstanding ad targeting practices in the face of pro-privacy regulation.

Those moves have led marketers, their agencies, and adtech companies like LiveRamp and The Trade Desk scrambling to find workarounds.

Read more:


Marketing meets tech

Mars Inc M&Ms
Employees work at the chocolate maker Mars Chocolate France plant in Haguenau.

CMOs are finding new ways to zap ads at people by building homegrown tools, using targeted ads, or ​​snapping up ad tech and martech companies.

Brands like Anheuser-Busch, Mars, P&G and L'Oréal have ramped up efforts to gather data on consumers as platforms clamp down on ad targeting and e-commerce accelerates.

Read more:


Adtech is hot again

Even as advertisers slashed their spending in the economic downturn, the rise of streaming TV and online shopping has benefitted adtech companies that help connect ad buyers and sellers and solve advertising and marketing problems.

Investors are pouring money into firms like like TVision DoubleVerify that are solving problems in digital advertising. Other firms are going public as Wall Street fell back in love with adtech due to broad macroeconomic changes.

Read more:


Ad agencies are getting disrupted

While the established holding companies scramble to adapt to the digital shift, new ad companies focused on digital specialities and armed with new private-equity funding threaten to take their place.

Read more:


Retailers are seeking a piece of the ad pie

Instacart Shopper Car
Instacart is adding 30-minute delivery.

A new set of companies sees an opportunity in selling advertising include food delivery companies, online retailers, and brick-and-mortar grocers. They're hoping to replicate the success of Amazon, which claimed 10.3% of the US digital ad market in 2020 and is competing with Google and Facebook for ad budgets.

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Running a Business

10 Tools Used in Construction Project Management You Should Know

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Everyone knows construction projects can be challenging to manage, and building something new can take long. That’s why it’s essential to have some tools to help you stay on top of the situation and ensure the project is finished on time and within an acceptable budget. This article goes over different construction project management software for different types of projects.

Construction project management tools

1.  Scheduling software: For those who work in any trade or field that requires completing tasks over an agreed period, scheduling software can help keep track of deadlines and ensure both workers and managers know when things will be getting done.

2.  Launching software: This is an excellent tool to use when you need to discover what products your target audience wants, as well as what areas of the business they are most interested in. It can be used on any project, from construction to marketing and sales.

3. Project management software: This is software that is used specifically for managing a project. It comes with tools designed specifically for specific industries. It can help you accomplish everything you need, from planning schedules to budgeting costs and figuring out how much money you will need to complete your project.

4.  Job costing software: This can be helpful when you want to keep track of the money spent by different teams within a project. It isn’t a tool that is used often, but it does have its uses.

5.  Budgeting software: Once again, this software is handy for planning budgets and keeping an eye on how much money your project is making or losing. It helps you break up the process into smaller parts and take advantage of more than one program at once, making things easier for those working on more significant projects.  

6.  Bidding software: This is also budgeting software, but it helps show bidding prices. By putting bids into this software, you can have all the proposals involved in the project in one place, making it easier to track who is going over budget and who isn’t.

7.  Procurement software: This tool has an extensive database of millions of companies in the same field that you need to buy from. This way, you can ensure that you get precisely what you need at a fair price before purchasing anything, so your project will be more efficient.

8.  Delivery management software: You can use this type of software to help manage your deliveries and ensure that the information you need to track all of your deliveries is available.

9.  Product management software: This is a tool to help people discover what products are popular with consumers, as well as helping you decide on where you should be spending your money. It saves a ton of money by allowing companies to get exactly the items they want but still gives them options to make sound business decisions.  

10.  Sales and marketing management software: This is a must-have tool for sure. It helps businesses such as yours figure out what products you should be selling, how much you will need to spend on advertising, and what items you should be selling on your website.

Factors to consider while choosing a construction management system.

1.  Cost considerations: Even if you have a big budget for the software and hardware costs, it is still essential to consider some cost-cutting measures when choosing the right solution for your company.

2.  Project and resource management: Suppose you are planning to manage a large project with multiple resources. In that case, you need to ensure that the construction management software allows users to create specific workflows for each project phase.

3.  Quality assurance tools: A suitable construction management system will help you manage every aspect of the project from start to finish. That’s why it should offer users a suite of quality assurance tools to track the performance of every resource involved in the project.

4.  Reporting tools: A suitable construction project management system should offer users a wide variety of reports. These reports help in assessing the project’s performance and offer suggestions about how to improve upon it.  

5.  Integration with third parties: A suitable construction management system should have a robust design to link to all the relevant third-party software.

6.  Agility: The project management software should enable users to manage projects by dividing them into small parts, which can be further developed accordingly to achieve desired results.

Conclusion

There are other technologies for use by construction companies like collaboration tools, mobile solutions, web-based tools, etc. The choice of software depends on the type of industry, specific needs, and the company’s policy regarding the implementation and use of different technologies.  

Choosing the best software for construction projects is vital as it can help increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve project management.

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