The 8th of February 2022 will see the marking of 'Safer Internet Day' – an awareness campaign designed to highlight the importance of good social media practice for young people, with staying safe online being at the forefront of their message.
While targeted at individuals, there is plenty online brands can take from Safer Internet Day too. With websites serving as the face of the business, all online businesses must be aware of what constitutes online safety on their own platforms – especially if they draw customers away from social media to their sites.
Here, we're going to cover this in detail –as well as give you tips on building a safe and secure website.
How brands can prioritise staying safe online
Safety for eCommerce brands is vital – and it's not just about the technical aspects of running your own online business.eCommerce security impacts customer experience and brand longevity – the reputation the brand will create with its security will reverberate long after any issues are addressed. With social media offering a great marketing opportunity, reputations can quickly spread amongst people who are interested in what you have to sell; make it a positive one.
So, if you sell products online – whether on social media, a third-party marketplace or your own store, getting to know the basic behaviours of eCommerce safety will help to protect both your brand's technical security and reputation.
Here are some strategies for staying safe online, providing protection to both your brand and your customers:
Invest in a secure website.
The platform you use will have a huge impact on your web security, so you should ensure that you go for a software provider that is sophisticated and has a proven track record. Once you decide on a solution, you shouldn't just settle for the default security setting; enquire about customising it with plug-ins, packages and tools. Doing this will enhance your security where possible, while making the platform unique to your business.
Make frequent updates.
Staying on top of your software updates is key to keeping a secure and functioning website. You should update your site as soon as any new updates are announced (often, you can do this automatically). Also make sure that you remove any old updates (especially website plug-ins) as they can pose a security risk (with them being ripe for exploitation by attackers). Another key update to look at will be your SSL certificates – these are the security protocols that ensure your site is safe to use for people who enter in their information (including their payment information).
Speaking of which…
Learn about payment security.
One of the most important jobs as an online merchant is to ensure the security of your customers' payment information. If you can offer them a completely safe way of entering in their details and paying quickly and easily, then you will carve out a reputation as a trusted seller. So your customers knowing they'll be staying safe online goes a long way in ensuring repeat business.
You should understand what constitutes good payment security – and promote it to customers. The first step is to use adequate encryption and SSL certificates; the PCI SecurityStandards Council is a great place to start learning just what you need to do.
If you use a third-party vendor (such as an Amazon or PayPal gateway, etc), you should familiarise yourself with how they handle customers' details. You should also verify card and address details to reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions – Geo-targeting can help eliminate fake transactions as it's a way of understanding a customers' location.
Manage your data safely.
On a similar theme, all data you collect from customer's should be managed safely; never take it lightly and don't endanger the trust they have placed in you. You should ensure that you understand just how important privacy is for your brand and that all your staff understand the importance of data protection.
You should endeavour to purge customer data frequently and don't store more data than you need to – all this reduces the risk of it being compromised. You should also have a data recovery plan in place – this is something that's often overlooked by online businesses, which costs them much time, effort (and money) in trying to restore data in the event of an issue arising. Planning for failure is better than failing to plan –you'll be able to get things back up and running quickly, maybe even before your customers notice.
Prepare for surges.
When a website goes down, it will be vulnerable and costly – not just in a financial sense, but for the brand's reputation too. Surges, which happen when more traffic arrives than the website is expecting, can overwhelm sites and lead to them experiencing downtime. This is a common occurrence during busy seasons, such as Christmas (for example). Setting up your site to manage surges at key times should be enough to ensure that it won't experience downtime; preserving a good browsing experience, closing sales and boosting the reputation of your brand.
Overall, a brand that can offer safety will always stand the best chance of being successful. A web environment that is faster and leaner will be more profitable – staying safe online provides the foundation to build your online brand upon.
If you're interested in learning more about any of the points raised in this blog or simply want to know more about online security in general, our dedicated website marketers will be pleased to hear from you.
Promote: Helping to create safe, online brands
Here at Promote, we are a vastly experienced digital marketing agency that has a proven track record of helping all manner of business operations to improve their standing on the internet, allowing them to gain the attention that their products and services deserve. Aside from offering website and social media management, we can offer a vast range of digital marketing services and training – from SEO and PPC, Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO), e-mail marketing and so much more.
If you would like further advice on creating a safe and secure website, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our expert team today. You can give us a call on 0118 380 1002 or alternatively, you can send an e-mail to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.