Emma Taylor-Lane

14 June 2022

eCommerce

Elementor #2265

Website eCommerce, Security, Maintenance and Support – why and how

If you have an online store, your website is your shopfront in the 21st century. When choosing to purchase from your store, potential customers look at a whole range of factors before making their purchase. In this blog, we look at what those factors are, why they make a difference, and how Demystify Digital can help.

What are the factors?

The main factors to ensuring the success of your website are:

·       Security

·       Maintenance

·       Support

We’ll look at each of these in turn.

Why is security important for SMEs?

Online shopping has become more popular than ever, thanks to Covid-19. The UK has the most advanced eCommerce market in the Europe, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). In 2019 it was worth £192 billion in B2C sales.

When you think of website security, you may be thinking you’re not important enough for criminals to bother with. That’s simply not true. Just as eCommerce offers unlimited opportunities for SMEs, so it offers unlimited opportunities to fraudsters.

Security is important to protect both your business and your customers. Any organisation that collects any kind of data from their website users, from names and email addresses to credit card details, has an internationally recognised duty to protect this data. Failure to protect this data can result in punitive and harsh damages.

Without a proactive security strategy, businesses can risk the spread and escalation of malware, attacks on other websites, networks and IT infrastructures.

How to know if your website is secure?

The simplest way to know if your website is secure is to check the website address in the top bar of your website browser. If it shows a padlock or an HTTPS address, it has a security certificate. This demonstrates that your site can be trusted with your users’ data.

How to make your website secure

There are various ways to secure your website for your users.

SSL Certificate

The easiest way is to ensure you have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) for your website domain. There are various types available that offer different levels of security. All of them offer extra reassurance for your customers, but the higher the level of security, the better.

Confused about which SSL Certificate is right for you? Then visit our website www.demystifydigital.co.uk, email us on sales@demystifydigital.co.uk or call us on 01903 372 402 for more information. We can arrange the appropriate certificate for you.

Make frequent software updates

Websites are based on various software tools, such as content management systems (CMSs), website plugins, WordPress, etc.. It’s vital to ensure that these programmes are updated to the latest version on a regular basis. This not only repairs glitches and bugs but also installs the latest security measures and patches. Outdated software can easily be targeted by criminals who know the vulnerabilities.

If you’re not sure if your website is updating regularly, Demystify Digital can put your mind at peace through our hosting and DNS services.

Password management

It’s not just website users who should be wary about using simple passwords – website owners should be too. While they’re one of the easiest ways to maintain website security, they’re also the weakest link if not managed properly.  A study showed that a quarter of passwords can be cracked in less than three seconds.

Website administrators should change passwords frequently. And passwords should be strong with a mixture of letters, numbers and special characters, but easy enough to memorise. However, it can be difficult to achieve both, so it’s worth using a password manager tool which creates complicated passwords and securely stores them.

Even more importantly, any web hosting service should use two- or multi-factor authentication, which provide additional security layers. This often involves a user receiving a code via an SMS message which must be entered along with the password for extra security. This prevents people sharing passwords for unauthorised activities.

Secure personal devices

Personal devices are often targeted by hackers to gain entry to a secured website. This can be done, for example, by stealing FTP logins, which allows criminals to inject malicious data and files into a website. Personal computers can be secured using anti-virus and malware products. Another option is the utilisation of firewalls, which block incoming malicious connections.

Access control methods

Any business with a website needs to define the access permissions for different users who have the right to access the organisation’s website. This is because it’s been demonstrated that 95% of cyber-attacks are due to human error. Employees with access permissions to specific areas but not the expertise can make errors that result in disastrous attacks.

Access controls enhance website security by limiting the number of people whose actions can result in errors. There should be role-based access control policies. For example, there is no reason a content creator needs to be able to access code. Only the developer or website administrator should be able to access it.

Change the default configuration settings

This is a step that many organisations tend to overlook.

As already mentioned, cyber attacks often involve bots that can perform automated scans on vulnerable websites. They also scan for websites that use software tools that contain default configuration settings.

These default settings may not provide the security and protection needed to meet the unique website’s needs, so are vulnerable to attacks from viruses or malware. Default settings should be changed asap. These include:

·       User controls

·       File permissions

·       Comments settings

·       Information visibility

Make frequent back-ups

When it comes to security, you should prepare for the worst. Companies should always be aware of the risk of an attack.

Backing-up your website is an essential security measure for preserving the privacy and security of any associated information. A back-up consists of a snapshot pf all the essential site components and allows the website to be restored in the event of an attack. This would include themes, plugins, databases, and essential files.

Need help with your back-ups? Demystify Digital can handle all your hosting and back-up requirements to ensure the safety of your site. Email us on sales@demystifydigital.co.uk or call us on 01903 372 402.

Continuous monitoring

Malware and viruses are capable of hiding and are elusive. This is why malware programs are considered to be among the most prevalent threats to website security. However, continuous monitoring can help to identify the presence of illicit programmes.

There are signs that indicate website security issues that need to be addressed:

·       Users are logged in without their knowledge

·       Website files are modified or deleted without the owner’s knowledge or consent

·       The website repeatedly freezes and/or crashes

·       There are noticeable changes on search engine results such as harmful content warnings or blacklisting

·       If there is a noticeable change in website traffic

Any of these signs can indicate that your website has been infected. While websites can be monitored manually, it’s better to use automated monitoring processes. These are a better security solution as they can continuously monitor the website and allow it to operate as normal. It’s also cheaper and more efficient than manual monitoring.

It’s good practice to run a new vulnerability scan whenever a change is made to the website, as changes can introduce new vulnerabilities. There are free online website security scanners that can help detect security flaws. However, paid-for scanners do a better, more comprehensive scan.

Firewalls

We’ve already mentioned firewalls for individual PCs, but they should also be deployed on websites.

Firewalls protect websites by blocking malicious connections that can compromise its security. Organisations can create and maintain security rules that meet their individual needs. Network firewalls are usually used by organisations that manage their servers and by web hosting providers.

Validate all user input

Validating user input protects against attacks such as SQL injection. This is when a hacker enters SQL code into an input field on your website, for example, a name field, where code is entered instead that fools the website into giving up its data.

Fortunately, it’s easy to guard against this potential vulnerability. The data entered must be validated to ensure that it’s safe and can be done either client- or server-side. Server-side is safer as client-side can be circumvented.

Understand third party security issues

Almost all websites depend on third parties. These third parties might be hosting companies, the CMS, plugin companies, or designers. Each third party is a potential risk, for example, if you use WordPress, any vulnerabilities that WordPress has are potentially vulnerabilities of your website. It’s the same for any plugins or third-party code.

The website hosting company is a third-party risk. They are often the target of cyber-attacks, which can affect all the websites on their platform. However, hosting companies are well aware of these risks and take measures to protect their customers.

Create a website security blueprint

To sum up the main website security protocols, it’s essential to develop and maintain a plan for implementing them. This is far more effective than taking an ad-hoc approach.

It is important to develop an actionable and detailed website plan. This should outline the objectives the organisation wants to achieve through implementing security measures. The following six-step checklist should be applied:

1.       Gather information on main security issues

2.       Plan a counter-process

3.       Execute the plan to discover any vulnerabilities

4.       Document the results

5.       Address the identified security vulnerabilities and correct them

6.       Verify the website’s security

Confused about security? There’s no need to be with Demystify Digital’s fully hosted services. We look after your security for you. For a FREE consultation, call us on 01903 372 402 or email us on sales@demystifydigital.co.uk.

Let’s move onto maintenance. 

Why is maintenance important?

If you don’t keep your website up-to-date, monitor improvements, or maintain your site, it can have a real and negative impact on your business’ performance. No matter how well your site is designed, however much you’ve spent on it, a website will soon become less effective if not maintained correctly.

What is eCommerce website maintenance?

eCommerce website maintenance is the process of checking whether an eCommerce website is performing as it should. eCommerce website maintenance and support services are the major elements for guaranteeing the success of your online business.

This can be ensured through:

·       Keeping your online shopping portal up-to-date

·       Taking regular back-ups that are stored remotely

·       Updating security regularly

·       Posting fresh and unique content

·       Boosting traffic organically

·       Improving conversions

·       Guaranteeing an outstanding shopping experience

Why does it matter?

If you have a car, chances are you check it over every so often. Why? Because you want it to keep working. You should take the same care with your website for the same reason. If you don’t take care of its repair, upgrades and overall maintenance, it can have a very negative impact on the performance of your business.

eCommerce website and support services are key ingredients for ensuring the success of your online business, as they improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and other important factors.

Whatever the size of your business, without appropriate maintenance, your business will suffer!

What is eCommerce website maintenance?

eCommerce website maintenance is the process of checking whether or not your website is performing the way you want it to, and appears healthy. This helps to ensure that your security is up-to-date and that your content is fresh and unique. Together, these help to ensure a happy customer shopping experience, with greater traffic and higher conversions.

How eCommerce Website Maintenance Can Accelerate Your Growth

Since Covid-19, more and more people are purchasing online. Online competition has never been fiercer. Your website is your shopfront.

When customers land on your website, they want to see that you’re a legitimate, professional business that’s offering what they’re looking for. Ensuring that your website is regularly maintained, with repairs and updates, you’ll be able to attract more visitors and convert them into customers.

We’ll look at the benefits of maintaining your eCommerce website in detail.

Better customer experience

If you land on a website and it looks unprofessional, with broken links, poor graphics and slow loading, chances are you won’t stay long. Now, imagine landing on a sleek, well-maintained website that is easy to navigate, has great images, and fast loading speeds, and you’ll probably stay a while.

Did you know that 89% of businesses compete on customer experience? This is an increase from 36% in 2010, and is likely to rise even higher. If you want to generate maximum revenue from your website, you need to maintain it. If you want to provide your customers with an outstanding shopping experience, maintenance is essential.

Stronger SEO

Chances are that when your customers first find your business it’s through a search engine. Google and other search engines use crawlers that visit your site and look for information that indicates the value of your site. Search engines analyses key metrics such as keyword optimisation, site errors, overall layout, and structure of the site plus loading speed.

If the search engine crawls your site and finds unnecessary redirects, error pages, duplicate content, broken links, or slow loading speed your rankings will drop, losing you customers and revenue.

Enhanced business reputation

People buy from websites they trust. And the appearance of your website goes a long way to building that trust. If your website looks unprofessional, it makes your business look unprofessional. That means that potential customers won’t convert to spend money with you because they don’t trust you.

To enhance your business and its reputation you need a website that accurately represents your business and its professionalism.

Did you know that Demystify Digital can build and maintain whole eCommerce websites, and we can provide fresh and original content? Why not find out more by calling us on 01903 372 402 or emailing us on sales@demystifydigital.co.uk.

Cost-effectiveness

There’s a saying that a stitch in time saves nine. That’s true of your website as well. If there are problems and you ignore them, they will get worse, affecting your website’s performance. Failing to deal with these problems in a timely manner can end up costing you more money in the long run, both through lost revenue and through the cost of repairing your website.

Again, it’s like a car. Regular maintenance will save huge repair costs in the future. So, look for a maintenance package that proactively looks for problems and solves them before they become issues.

Maintenance areas

We’ve covered why you should maintain your website, so let’s see the three maintenance areas every business should concentrate on:

Storefront maintenance

As already said, your website is your shop front. When a customer lands on your digital store they’re judging you based on what they see and experience. And if it doesn’t meet their expectations, they leave.

So, to make the right impression on your potential customers, you need to ensure that your website matches your professionalism. This includes layout, structure, colours, design, graphics and everything else that makes your site look professional and ‘put together’.

More and more people are using tablets and mobiles to browse and purchase from websites. The right website maintenance service ensures that your website is easy to use and navigate using any platform.

Security maintenance

We’ve already talked about security, but it is the foremost reason for needing website maintenance. Cybercriminals are always trying to break into websites, especially eCommerce websites. Almost half of UK businesses have reported having cybersecurity breaches.

Website maintenance helps to ensure the safety of your site. Regular security checks will help you to identify any weak areas and allow you to tackle them before they become an issue.

Marketing maintenance

This is – potentially – the most important aspect of website maintenance. Most people find your website through digital marketing. The higher your site ranks on search engines, the more people will visit it. So, website maintenance is essential.

Checking your marketing campaigns and launching new and powerful ones utilising the latest marketing trends and keywords is a vital part of your website’s visibility.

Signs your site is failing on maintenance

There are a number of signs that your website isn’t performing as it should and needs maintenance.

Ranking issues

Your site used to rank on the top pages, but now your traffic has dropped and you’ve discovered that your site is on page two or worse. Why?

This is a good sign that your website needs maintenance. No matter how good your products are and how great your customer service, if you’re not on page one of Google, you’re going to struggle. This is time to act, before it gets worse.

Not mobile-friendly

As already mentioned, more and more people are using their phone or tablet to browse and purchase online. They need to be catered for. Failure to do so is a loss of sales. You need to check how your site operates on different devices.

Broken links, poor layout, bad images

These are all red flags for potential customers. Broken links can proliferate when they’re ignored, and have a real impact on your site. Broken links should be considered a serious red flag.

Poor layout and bad images are another sign of a potentially fraudulent site. That’s not the image you want to give. Or perhaps you put up a Hallowe’en or Christmas layout and it’s now March. You look outdated and unprofessional. It’s essential to keep your website updated

Speed issues

In this modern day age of high speed internet, people expect websites to load quickly. If they don’t, chances are they’ll navigate away from your site.

A slow loading website can also be a sign that it needs maintenance. Loading speed can be checked by using the Google Page Speed Test feature. If the score is below ninety, your site needs urgent attention.

Website support from Demystify Digital

Whatever age your eCommerce website, whatever business you’re in, Demystify Digital offers a full maintenance package, ensuring your website always performs the way it should, and that users know their data is secure.

We offer a FREE analysis of your website before making any recommendations and putting together a maintenance plan. We also offer full rebuilds if you’re looking to completely overhaul your website for the ultimate customer experience.

Why not contact us today for a FREE consultation on 01903 372 402 or email us at sales@demystifydigital.co.uk

Tag Post :
Share This :

Recent Post

Categories

Book a meeting today!

Think or can help or need to talk? Book an online Teams meeting today or call 01903 372 402


Book meeting!