What's this Heartbleed bug and what do I need to do about it?

By now, you may have heard about the Heartbleed bug (if you are already confused, just relax as we’ll explain it below) and you probably have some questions.

In short, a pretty major bug was found in the popular OpenSSL software library and its being called the worst security hole the internet has seen.

The OpenSSL library is used by a large number of websites to protect your transmission of data. Whenever you access a site using https (compared to http) or you see the security lock icon in your browser, you’re transmitting data over SSL. And until now, we've always known this transaction to be secure.

Well, that changed this week when this bug was announced and companies began patching their systems.

So, what does all this mean for you, the end-user? First off, there’s nothing you can do to fix the problem. That is up to all the companies that run the servers – they have to apply the necessary patches to each server to fix the bug. Furthermore, there’s no way to know if any of your information has been compromised.

Our strong recommendation is that you change passwords for any website that you log into. You’ll want to change your password AFTER you’ve verified the particular company has patched their systems.

Here’s a link that is keeping an up-to-date list of the top 100 sites and whether they’re affected and if they've installed the patch.

http://www.cnet.com/news/which-sites-have-patched-the-heartbleed-bug/

Some of the more popular sites that were affected include:

  • Google
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Yahoo!
  • Amazon
  • Bing
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
If you have accounts on any of these sites, please take a few minutes and update your passwords today as these sites have already applied the necessary patches.

Put your Ideas into Action


I’m sure this has happened to you. You have a great idea, forget about it, then a month later find out that someone is doing the exact thing you thought of. You may have even started to execute your idea, but after a few weeks, you put it on the back burner until you gave up on it altogether.

Sounds familiar right? It happens to the best of us.

Why do most of our ideas never see the light of day? Mainly, it’s due to our habits getting in the way of execution. So how do we break those bad habits and start executing our ideas? Below are a few tips to get started.

1. Divide work into 3 steps
a) References - Information you’ve collected
b) Action Steps - Things to do right now
c) Backburner Steps - Things to do later (after you’ve completed your action steps)

Dividing your work into steps will force you to constantly have something to do. By working in steps, the excitement of having a new idea will be less likely to fizzle out because you’ll constantly have something you need to accomplish.

2. Avoid Distractions
Things like email, phone calls, texts and social media can distract you from doing work. If you’re worried about answering emails, voice mails, or updating your company Facebook page, you’ll lose focus on the work you need to get done to make your idea come to life.
Try to set aside time each day that is “distraction free”. Ignore social media, leave the emails for later and set your phone to silent. Without being bombarded with distractions, you’ll find you get much more work done.

3. Measure your Meetings
Meetings are much more effective with a plan in place. Have a kickoff meeting regarding your new idea and give action items for each person in the group. In the meetings that follow up, measure the progress on those action items and set new ones. This will make sure all team members have a role in making the idea come together and will keep the excitement level for it high.

New ideas are always exciting at first, but after a while, that excitement can fade, along with your motivation to work on the idea. Don’t let this happen! Stopping work on your idea means someone else does it before you. Use the above techniques to help turn your ideas into the next best thing.
What are some things you recommend that help you concentrate on your ideas?

Do you have a great idea in the works? ACF’s team of experts can help turn that idea into reality. Contact us today to learn more!

How to Get More People to Read Your Content

Looking to get more readers? Follow these formatting tips!

The content on your website is important. It includes all the information about your products, services, and great things that your company does. You know that poor copywriting can cause potential customers to go somewhere else.

You have put in a lot of time and effort to make sure it sounds perfect. You know it sounds great, but you aren’t getting the response you had hoped for.

Your web traffic isn’t increasing. You’re not receiving many calls.

Why?

The truth is, people are probably not reading it.

Don’t be discouraged. Instead of reading, many people tend to “scan” a webpage to look for important details instead of reading everything word for word. We’re sure your content sounds great, but the way you delivered it may be the reason why people aren’t reading it. Below are a few tips to make your website content more readable that won’t require much editing time. We promise you won’t have to rewrite anything!

1. Line Breaks
Shorter paragraphs are easier to read, so try to break up anything long into smaller chunks. Have one idea per paragraph and keep the sentences short. The more white space you have on your page, the easier it will be for people to scan.

2. Subheadings
The use of subheadings is another great way to break up content. It allows users to easily scan what your paragraphs are going to be about. Use them to give your readers the general idea of what is talked about. The more engaging your subheadings are, the more likely someone will read further into the paragraph, so keep that in mind.

3. Bulleted and Numbered Lists
Did you notice how this post is a numbered list?

People like reading lists because they are easily scannable and create a visual break for the reader. Is there content on your page that could be used in a list? Try using one instead of putting the content into a paragraph.

4. Pair Images With Captions
Captions are often the most read content on a web page, so if you use images on your page, be sure to add a caption underneath them. It will let the people scanning your page understand what the image is about. If the caption is intriguing, they’ll likely read the rest of the content on your page.

5. Add internal links
 Adding links in your content to other pages on your site will help keep people on your site. Is there a page on your site where someone could get more information about a particular topic? Add a link to that page and watch your traffic increase.

Did you notice how we link to other articles at the end of each post? To do that, we use the linkwithin plugin for blogger. If you have a blog, you can use it too by clicking here.

6. Format for the Scanner
Since many people tend to scan a page before reading all the details, formatting your content will help those people get the gist of what you’re talking about. Bold important parts of your copy, emphasizing the key things you want the reader to get out of it.

Just a few small changes to the copy on your webpage can instantly make that page more readable. Do you have any additional tips that can make a webpage easier to read? Share them with us in the comments.