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3 Ways to Stop Bots from Messing Up Your Traffic Analytics

Segun Balogun

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Not all bots out there are good bots. Trolling your sites are malicious automated machines that can cause a number of problems. These bots inflate analytics data and can be responsible for attacks on your site. They are even handy tools for scraping and copying your content. Before you can properly use analytics to accomplish anything you need to have good analytics data. The old saying “Garbage in, garbage out” is doubly true in this case.

Content traffic data is important in determining how successful your content marketing strategy has been over a period of time. It also allows you to develop new strategies built around improving your content marketing.
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These bot visits skew the data so that you can’t trust the numbers to gauge your performance. It’s crazy – the 2014 bot traffic report by Incapsula found that over 50% of all website traffic was due to bots. It was also discovered that if you build your brand and become recognizable, it was likely that you would see more of an influx of bots to your site.

3 Key Ways to Deal with Bots & Win

Sounds like a “lose-lose” situation, doesn’t it? If you improve your visibility and market more and get a wider outreach then bots will also take more notice of you and the chances of a bot attack go up along with your popularity. Luckily, you can control bot visits relatively easily. The idea behind blocking bots is to find out where they come from and stop the source.

This might seem like a complicated piece of internet wizardry, but the reality is as simple as the following steps:

  1. Locate your Log Files: Servers all have a series of log files that make a record of visits to the website from each user based on their IP location. These logs are usually stored on your server. If you have a hosting company that gives you cPanel as your hosting front-end you can simply access your logs by clicking the link in the main cPanel window (the first window you visit). If you use Apache for your front-end, your logs will be in the /var/log folder. IIS users can configure their logging through the local computer’s control panel. In the control panel, you select administrative tools, then internet services manager, then select website, right click and then select properties, select website in the tabs then available, then on to properties and finally the general properties tab. In typical fashion, the Microsoft logs are the hardest to get your hands on.
  2. Figuring Out the Most Visits by IP and User Agents: When you get your log files downloaded, it’s a simple matter to consolidate them into a single text file and then import them into Excel (or whatever you prefer to view your log files in). Excel is a very innovative way to manipulate data so that you can make sense out of it. When you import your data into Excel you can select the space delimiter to get the right data into the right columns. With a little cleaning up you’ll have usable data almost immediately.

Utilizing Excel’s Pivot Table Builder, you can create a pivot table to link number of visits to Client IP and then get a feel for the counts of visits from malicious IP’s. Client IP’s determine where your visitors are coming from and can easily give you insight into where most of your visitors are based. Renaming the table headers to Client IP, Hits and finally a User Agent column gives you a setup to determine which IP’s have visited your site the most. The User Agent determines the browser version and the operating system version that your visitor was running. Obviously, bots would have none of these so it’s just a matter of determining which ones are blank to pinpoint the presence of bots.

  1. Blocking the IP: After you’ve figured out which IP is the bot location, you can now move forward in blocking reference to the bots in your analytics reports. Additionally, if you’re concerned about security, you can also block the bots from accessing the site altogether. Google Analytics gives you the option to block individual IP’s. It also comes with a built in bot-checker that you can enable in the Admin panel under View Settings and by selecting “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders.” A handy tool for filtering your analytics to get a more realistic view of your outreach. Omniture gives you a bit more control about your analytics viewing and tabulation by giving you the option to exclude individual IP’s, exclude a set of IP’s (if you have a large number of bot entries) or create a processing rule that ignores certain IP’s and IP ranges.

On the server side of the spectrum, you can limit the availability of your site to certain visitors based on their IP. CPanel includes a handy IP Deny manager which allows you to enter IP’s that you can deny access to. In Apache, you can utilize either the mod_authz_host module or the.htaccess module, but the former is the more preferred method for controlling access. Open IIS Manager allows blocking through its features view, then navigating to the IP4 Address and Domain Restrictions, then to the actions pane and finally adding the IP address of the bot into the Add/Deny Entry list.

The Threat of Bots and How to Combat Them

Even though bots can be a nuisance, being aware that they exist and are an active threat allows you to deal with them. These methods, although they do work, are not 100% effective in determining whether an IP is a bot. Constant traffic monitors via third party solutions can give you a more secure method of streamlining your traffic and keeping bots away from your pages.

Similarly, the introduction of ReCaptchas can stop bots and prove to be a viable measure, although it can be quite annoying if you’re a human to prove your humanness. At the end of the day the security of your site is of the utmost importance. It’s better to prevent bots from accessing your site than having to deal with the fallout of their malicious actions. Prevention will always be better than cure, and when it comes to websites, bots can deliver quite a blow to the viability of your content marketing strategy with very little effort.

 

curled from sitepronews.com

Experienced Social media Manager , Website designer/Manager, and Search Engine Optimization Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Public Speaking, Writing, HTML, and Content Marketing. Strong marketing professional with a Bachelor of Science in education focused in Industrial and Technology education from University of Nigeria , Nsukka. For a FREE 30 minute chat about your digital marketing strategy.

Business

Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business

Carolin Petterson

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We live in the world of startups – they’re everywhere, customers dig them and they are successful. The whole idea of a startup, however, is quick establishment and low investment, which is quite challenging to achieve.  Although the point of startups (contrary to popular belief) is in no way to crash and burn quickly, this is often the end result, owing to the fact that entrepreneurs still aren’t used to this new way of doing business. Fortunately, everything about startups is logical and easy to wrap your head around, as this article aims to show.

Everything starts with an idea

There is nothing more fruitful for a business than an original idea – something that has never been done before and that is completely innovative. Of course, we live in a world of technology, connectivity, and being the first one out of almost 8 billion people to come up with an idea is not only difficult, but borderline impossible. Unfortunately, even if you spend hours researching and reading, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an innovative idea will come to you.

Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business

Fortunately, the majority of modern startups are based on an existing idea, only improved in some way, or in a different niche. For example, opening a flower shop is in no way a new idea, but opening a flower shop that uses cute little colorful cardboard flowerpots might turn out a success.

Everything starts with an idea that needs to be either original or innovative.

Having a partner is always a cool idea

…especially if these are your baby steps in the world of startups. Ideally, a likeminded friend with similar interests and with the same amount of passion for the project is the perfect choice.
Firstly, the world of business is scary – going through it alone is not only frightening, but also difficult. A partner to share your business successes and failures with is a welcome thing.
Secondly, you might have a huge network of sources, such as investors, testers, potential employees, etc. but it will never be as big as when pooled with a partner’s group of contacts. For example, you might know the perfect candidate for an IT expert for your future business, but your partner may contribute with an awesome web designer.
Finally, there is nothing more rewarding than coming up with something with someone else – this will deepen your friendship and turn out to be a hugely valuable experience.

Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business

Round up a passionate team

You don’t have time for CVs, cover letters and recommendations when recruiting – you need to rely on your own personal contacts and the help of big data. Don’t be afraid to spend days on social media research – the perfect candidate might not become obvious by their CV qualifications, but by what they post on their social media pages. For example, a good SEO professional will have a ton of necessary prerequisites, a college degree, more than a couple of finished SEO courses and a neat, professional LinkedIn profile picture. On the other hand, an awesome SEO professional will constantly post about interesting SEO-related stuff on their social media – this means passion, and passion is invaluable, especially when it comes to startups.

Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business

Don’t be afraid to outsource

Unless you are incredibly lucky, you won’t be able to fill every position that is required for your startup, and even if you do, you might not be financially able to employ everyone full-time.

Shortcuts to Quick-Starting a Business

This is why outsourcing is a perfectly viable option; for example, if you can’t afford a personal assistant while starting up your business, but you’re tight on time, hire appointment setting services for making cold calls and generating leads.

Name and domain

Remember that you don’t have to rush with the name. Despite the fact that you’re planning on starting a startup, you still have time enough for the perfect name to pop into your head. However, if the perfect name does happen to come to you, make sure that you check the domains for availability and that you coin it as soon as possible – there are a lot of people in the world and someone may well come up with the identical name.

These tips are the basics of what you need to know before getting a startup going. Keep in mind that your idea doesn’t have to be original, but innovative; don’t be afraid of having a partner; be especially focused when it comes to hiring, but don’t be reluctant about outsourcing if necessary. Finally, coin your future domain name on time.

 

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Blogging Tips

Four Steps to Branding your Blog

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Setting a firm foothold in the online community is not easy, no matter what industry and niche you are pursuing. Still, the digital environment is the biggest promoter of every story and every event in the world. It should only come natural that millions of people around the world are yearning for glory by writing their personal blogs, each and every one with a mission to inspire others with their infinite wisdom and make a connection on a deeper and more meaningful level. In other words, the competition is tough. Here are a few tips on how to make your story stand out from the reeds and gather a loyal following.

Boost visual identity

Humans are visual creatures. According to the Social Science Research Network, 65 percent of us are visual learners. In our story, visitors will decide whether to go on with your content or leave your blog in less than a second. Bloggers often make mistakes by overcomplicating the design of their websites. The success of your blog will be determined by the ease of use – navigation, commenting, sharing via social media. So, instead of trying to bombard your visitors with information, go with a transparent and minimalistic design that is original enough to grasp the visitors’ attention. Remember, your goal is not only to make them read through your website but also to share it with their friends.

Tip: In addition to unique visual identity, you need a stunning logo and catchy colour set that will make your brand instantly recognizable to the public.

Provide useful content

While the visual identity of your blog will grab the reader’s attention, the focus of your brand should be your stories. The quality of your writing, as well as the point of view your offer and the feelings you evoke is what makes them addicted to your website. You should have realized by now that you won’t be able to cater for everyone out there, so be sure to target a specific niche based on research. Focusing on the desired audience will allow you to develop a loyal pool of followers that will promote your brand further on. Don’t be discouraged by the initial size of your niche community. Even the smallest of niches can have a large fan base.

Tune in tone and style

The third important element of branding is to develop the style and tone of your voice. It has been proven that people react differently to distinct styles, while they respond indifferently to styles that are hardly distinguishable from one another. You need a style that is both simple enough to understand and engaging enough to draw attention. Finally, your content has to breathe authority. If you manage to position yourself as an authority figure, your Google ranking will improve, and people will gladly recommend your blog for guidance.

Keep it alive

Your content will be shared more and if you develop a living personality and use your blog to communicate with people. As a result, not only will you maximize your brand recognition, but also manage to personalize your blog. When they share their opinions, people want feedback, they want their questions answered. Failing to meet this leads to decreased return rate and even worse, creates ambivalence among the visitors. Apart from communication skills, you also need to include some old-fashioned yet effective methods of engagement like gifts, contests, giveaways and promotional items People who specialize in industrial design in Melbourne can provide you with unique and interesting ideas for promotional items.

Creating a blog people will connect with takes careful planning, time and effort. Following these guidelines, you will be able to develop a long-lasting brand and achieve wide publicity and prominence within your industry.

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Blogging Tips

Small Home Office Design Tips for Maximum Productivity

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Small Home Office Design Tips for Maximum Productivity

Whether you have a small corner in your living room or a spacious empty room, turning it into a home office will boost your productivity and creativity. Not only will you feel more motivated to work, but you’ll also get rid of any distractions that might be keeping you away from the task at hand. In just a few easy steps, you can design an office that radiates with style and comfort and that will ensure your maximum efficiency.

Inspiring color schemeInspiring color scheme

Since colors can greatly affect your state of mind, it’s important that you pick a stimulating yet not overwhelming color scheme. If you want a hue that will evoke calmness and concentration, green is the perfect choice because it can create a balanced atmosphere of freshness, vitality and natural energy. Yellow is an optimistic color that will bring positivity and liveliness into your office, but too much of it can be quite distracting and even cause anxiety. Another energetic color is red that brings about excitement, but since it’s quite a powerful hue, it’s better to use it for accent details.
When painting your office, you should aim for a balanced look because an excessive use of a particular color can have a negative effect. For example, using too much red can cause unease, irritability, and even aggression.
A simple yet stylish solution would be opting for a neutral color palette for the backdrop while introducing colorful and bold details to add character to your office. Pale gray, white, ivory, and beige are all elegant hues that will create an ambience of openness in your small home office.

Appropriate lighting

Lighting is one of the most important design elements for your home office that will not only inspire productivity, but also bring style and comfort. Try to use natural light as much as possible by placing your desk by the window. When it comes to artificial lighting, you should have plenty of bright and clear light that will enable you to focus and avoid straining your eyes. In addition, lighting fixtures, such as vintage desk lamps or stylish standing lamps, will make for lovely decorative details.

Organization for productivityOrganization for productivity

Designing an organized, tidy, and structured look in your home office is crucial for your focus and productivity. By giving every item in your office its own place, you’ll keep the clutter under control and minimize any possible distractions. Not only will you be able to focus on your work, but you’ll also emphasize the beautiful features of your workspace. Therefore, you should declutter your office, keep it clean, label your documents, and have a tidy and organized desk.

Trendy storage solutions

Open and floating shelves, decorative boxes, hidden compartments, antique bookshelves and plenty of other storage solutions will elevate your office design while eliminating chaotic and cluttered look. Instead of cluttering your desk with piles of papers and office materials, you can introduce stylish storage compartments that will maximize the functionality of your office. If you have a small corner office, you can hang floating shelves on an empty wall or add vintage wooden boxes where you can keep your old papers and files. Another great solution is picking multifunctional furniture with hidden compartments. For example, if you need an additional seat in your office, you can introduce a trendy ottoman with hidden storage.

Personalizing with accessoriesPersonalizing with accessories

Your home office should reflect your personality and taste and you can use interior design to achieve this. By using stylish accessories, you can add character to your office while expressing yourself. In addition, if your office features a monochromatic design, accessories will bring in colors, patterns, and texture. For example, you can use stylish area rugs to introduce lovely patterns and create an atmosphere of coziness. Paintings will reflect your personal style and elevate your office décor, while house plants are natural accessories that will both embellish your office and increase your indoor air quality.

When designing your home office, you should focus on functionality, order, and aesthetic appeal to create an atmosphere of coziness and stylishness that will ensure your maximum productivity.

 

 

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