What do you want it to look like?

Whether you’re in the inspiration or creation stage of your project, talking about art is hard! I find it most helpful when my clients can answer the following questions and provide their own digital artifacts.

  • Please provide the urls of up to web SIX sites that you think are most like the ‘style’ or ‘image’ you  would like for your web site. Be specific if you like the site’s colors, text layout, or other ideas you have.
  • Are there existing graphics, logos, photos, images for the site?
  • Do you have a color scheme in mind?
  • Would you like to have any animated graphics, text or video on your web site?
  • Would you like to have any sound or music on your web site?

Looking at stock photo sites or ‘best of’ websites are a good way to get inspiration when building a website. Pop your targeted keywords into Google and look at the sites that come up. Why do you think it works or doesn’t work?

Why I like to use Dropbox for website artifact sharing

Have you heard of Dropbox? It’s the data exchange and backup security blanket I like to snuggle up with when starting a new project. I use it to distribute standard documents like quote sheets and project worksheets as well as store offsite copies of important data like website backups. Clients can easily share digital artifacts (photos, media, documents) through their web browser or smartphone. The drag and drop interface and familiar file tree system makes it very simple to manage items for our projects.

Why I like LastPass for credential sharing

“So many passwords, so many requirements. Capital letter, numbers, no spaces, something random so it can’t be cracked, but something memorable so you don’t have to write it down… Aww snap! it can’t be one already used! Why do they make this so hard? Who really wants my passwords anyway?”

Pretty much for the simple reason that your passwords are valuable. Phishers and hackers want to access whatever accounts of yours they can take gain from…. bank accounts and online purchase passwords can be compromised to run up your bills and deplete your resources. Email accounts are opened and sorted through for passwords, compromising or private photographs, credit card numbers, etc. Anything that can be sold. Even your private address book will be taken apart and sold for direct marketing parts: emails to spammers, phone numbers to insidious call centers, etc.

If you have a website, they might like to use your public face to promote their business via your url. They can do this by altering your website directly if they get password access to your ftp, control panel (c-panel) or content management system passwords (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla). They can make it so visitors to your site pick up and propagate nasty bits of  code to further the benefit of their cause. And… they have lots of ways of doing this, and are changing tactics all the time.

Hint: “I have 3-4 passwords that I use for all of my accounts.” Is not a good example of good password management.

Good password management is hard. There are many tools available to help you manage your passwords. The one I’ve come to like is LastPass.com. I recommend my clients use it and offer this video to explain their services:

http://youtu.be/RM0fzHxMASQ

Having all of my passwords accessible from any browser anywhere has come in handy multiple times. I’ve even been able to ‘come to the rescue’ for clients with lost passwords while on vacation. Since I maintain password sets for my client projects my sanity has been saved on numerous accounts. It can be used to broadcast password changes across project groups. If you’re going to use LastPass, make sure you do not use the master password you set up for ANY other password but… make it memorable. Instead of using a Strong Password Generator to assign a random password, make sure it’s something you will remember without writing down.

There is of course the cold reality that any service or software can be subject to attack. Passwords can be guessed, keyloggers sit in coffeeshops waiting for you to log into your PayPal account. If you don’t think LastPass will work fo your,  do come up with your own system that works, employing encryption keys, browser tools or simple effective pneumonic devices. A ol’ fashioned  notebook or rolodex system might work best for you, but all systems have limitations.

Recently LastPass announced that they’re now supporting all devices for free. It was one of the few paid iphone apps I have ever purchased. It was worth every penny and still is.

Sure looks weird around here....

Remember the website I had 10 years ago that said ‘The Shoemakers’ children never have any shoes?’ I’m here again to say I’m too damn busy with projects to make this website prettier for now, but I had to disable those items that were not serving my site.

 

Don’t use old tech, kids! Just like I tell my clients. If you let your site get out of date, it’s not secure.