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Just how secure is Apple Pay? Uh oh.

(Tech News) With Apple Pay being a key feature of the new Apple devices, consumers begin to wonder, just how secure is the Apple Pay feature?

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All hail the Apple Pay system

One of the best features of the new iPhone is the Apple Pay system. It allows iPhone 6 users to take a picture of their credit cards, verify the numbers, and add them in to their Passbook so they can use these cards at a later time.

This is also supposed to allow the user to pay without ever providing the business with their credit card number. But, they seem to have forgotten that not every one will use this feature as intended. Some people may scan a credit card and begin to use it without the cardholder’s permission.

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Consumer Reports (CR) actually gave this potential problem a test drive. Glen Derene, from CR, scanned and verified a few credit cards that were in his name and then proceeded to add two of his CR co-worker’s cards (presumably with their knowledge).

It looked like it was going to work, at first, but when prompted to verify by email, text, or a customer service call, using it would be difficult. This two-step verification system would require access to the cardholder’s email, phone, or the ability to answer security questions with customer service.

However, if you think about this in terms of theft, it becomes a bit worrisome.

Why this is so worrisome

Say you leave you purse at a restaurant and do not realize you have left it until you are almost home; if someone were to take it, they would more than likely have access to your phone and your credit cards. Theoretically, someone could add and verify your cards, since they likely have your phone from your purse. If you enable the passcode feature on your phone, this would of course, slow any thieves down a bit, but it is still a bit worrisome.

According to CR, Apple Pay works by a process known as credit/debit card provisioning. “You aim the camera of an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, or one of the new iPads at a credit card and the device reads the card number, customer name, and expiration date off the face of the card, then encrypts that data and sends it to Apple’s servers.

Apple then displays any terms and conditions to which the card-issuing bank needs the customer to agree. Once those terms and conditions are agreed to by the end user, the Apple Pay servers send information from the device (which can include the last four digits of the phone number and location information) and info from the user’s iTunes account to the bank for verification.

No additional verification needed

When Derene attempted to add his wife’s card, it was added with no additional verification necessary. She knew he was attempting to use it, but he was not an authorized user on the account.

Derene stated, “that was unexpected, since it is my wife’s private card, and she has never authorized me as a user. Also, that card isn’t associated with our family iTunes account. In fact, I have no current financial relationship with Citibank at all,” and yet he was allowed to fully use her credentials as if he had the actual card in his hand, making several purchases.

Derene did reach out to Citibank to ensure this was not just an unfortunate glitch, and was told sine he had all the vital information, including the same verified address, the system assumed he was authorized. He also reached out to other financial entities involved with Apple Pay, and no one really wanted to provide much detail about how provisioning works. Not too comforting considering the amount of damage that could be done, should your credit card information fall into the wrong hands.

In defense of Apple Pay

In defense of Apple Pay, there have been instances were credit card information has been stolen through air waves, as well as, several cases of major corporations’ data files being hacked.

Basically, your credit card information has the potential to be stolen any time you use it, but if you use Apple Pay, you may want to take a few extra steps to ensure it stays a little bit more secure: enable a pass code, make sure your credit card fraud alerts are enabled so you know if your card has been used, and regularly check your statements to ensure all purchases were made by yourself or an authorized user.

But, they do need to mandate a two-step verification regardless of whether or not your possess all the “correct” information.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. wonderYrednow

    October 26, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Or maybe using the fingerprint pass code on the iPhone 6 would slow down potential thieves.

    Of course, if you cut off your finger and left it in your purse….well, that would speed things up for the thieves.

  2. jmmx

    October 26, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Interesting article with some good points.

    I do have some issues with this:

    “Say you leave you purse at a restaurant and do not realize you have left it until you are almost home; if someone were to take it, they would more than likely have access to your phone and your credit cards. Theoretically, someone could add and verify your cards, since they likely have your phone from your purse.”

    First – if you lose your cards than you have problems Apple Pay or not.

    More importantly, Apple Pay usually works with Touch ID. TID requires you to have a passcode. Assuming your their does not know your passcode then he is locked out of your phone.

    If you get all the way home before realizing you lost your purse, the first thing to so would be to get on your computer, and use Find mi iPhone to deactivate it, then call the credit card companies to notify them.

    If you lose your physical cards to thieves, you will always have problems. If you did not have your cards with you because you knew you had your iPhone, will that certainly would be better.

    • Michael Long

      October 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      “More importantly, Apple Pay usually works with Touch ID. TID requires you to have a passcode. Assuming your their does not know your passcode then he is locked out of your phone.”

      It doesn’t usually work with Touch ID, it requires it. You can’t use Apple Pay on a device without a passcode set and Touch ID enabled. Disable Touch ID and/or the passcode, and you lose the ability for the system to access the encrypted token in the Secure Enclave.

  3. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  4. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  5. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  6. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  7. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  8. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  9. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  10. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  11. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  12. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  13. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  14. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  15. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  16. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  17. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  18. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  19. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  20. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll stick with Apple Pay for secure transactions. The above scenarios are associated with physical card theft. Apple Pay or not, If someone gets ahold of you card, you are screwed. There is bandwagon effect in play to shoot holes in Apple’s security measures. Apple has taken an existing standard and made it better.

    Sour grapes will always bring forward dubious criticism. You will see arrows flying from the supporters of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has actual security flaw as opposed to the circuitous flaws leveled against Apple Pay.

  21. rolandestrada

    October 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    The final answer is very secure.

  22. Michael Long

    October 27, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    This has to be the stupidest article I’ve ever seen. If a woman leaves her purse behind with a bunch of credit cards in it… SHE’S ALREADY LOST THE CARDS!

    Further, you just need to jot down the numbers to steal them. The phone’s not needed at all.

    But since you seem to think that they’re equally insecure, let’s try this. We both go to a seedy bar. You leave your wallet with credit cards behind, and I’ll leave my Apple Pay-enabled Touch ID protected iPhone behind.

    We then wait to see whose card numbers get stolen first, and whose appear second (if at all).

  23. Alfiejr

    October 28, 2014 at 4:07 am

    anyone that doesn’t have Passcode turned on is an idiot begging to be ripped off. not to mention TouchID makes Passcode drop dead easy to use and airtight (don’t insult us with James Bond latex finger mold scenarios – damn few of us are international spies) for Apple Pay devices.

    the CR guy got his wife’s card to work because the accounts’ address was the same. so Citibank was sloppy – drop them. but i got separate email notices for each credit card i scanned in – all my own. Chase was not sloppy – use them.

  24. rolandestrada

    October 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Research is critical when writing articles like these. It’s easy to get clicks with inflammatory headlines. But when the facts fall down in the main article trouble ensues. Take a look at the flack of over CurrentC’s 2015 rollout of its’s payment system. CurrentC is the reason behind CVS and other merchants banning Apple Pay and Google Wallet as forms of payment. Even though some of these merchants have had NFC payments enabled for some time.

    These merchants have banned NFC not because it is inherently insecure but because they have contractual obligations with CurrentC.

    There are two good articles on this subject – John Gruber at Daring Fireball and Josh Costine at Tech Crunch. It’s a follow the money scenario.

  25. rolandestrada

    October 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    If you have doubts about Apple Pay security versus CurrentC, go take a read of Nick Arnott’s post on iMore. CurrentC as a story is exploding all over the net. Will it cause CurrentC to implode before it actually launches? One can only hope. Take a look at the one star reviews of CurrentC on the iTunes app store. Hilarious!!.

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How to safeguard your small company’s data without distrusting staff

(TECHNOLOGY) Even a tiny company has valuable data that can be stolen from inside – without adopting a policy of distrust, you can take preventative action

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data theft

Data breaches are scarily common in today’s digital world, and even gargantuan businesses can easily be brought to their knees should a wayward phishing attempt (or a disgruntled former employee) succeed in making off with valuable information.

While your small business probably doesn’t have all of the same calibre of worries as your more monolithic counterparts, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your data can’t be stolen to devastating effect, even if you think the data you have is irrelevant and not worthy of being stolen (you’re wrong).

Cloud storage and increased collaborative tool use means that things like sensitive documents and files are at increased risk of theft. Small businesses are especially susceptible to this due to a lower likelihood of advanced security usage, so it pays to know what kinds of things you might be at risk of losing.

According to MUO, employees are most likely to steal collaborative documents, consumer databases, and any resources devoted to research and development.

Safeguarding these items can be tricky due to their relatively high-traffic use, so a preventive strategy is your best defense.

It should be noted that trust in your employees is crucial, and treating them like they’re poised to steal from you at any moment is not a particularly effective management strategy.

However, it’s important to be aware of the following reasons – and possible preventive measures – for employee theft of data.

Firstly, corporate espionage (as dramatic as it sounds) is still something you have to worry about as a small business owner. It isn’t uncommon for competitors to bribe (or even simply persuade) current employees to share data, even if your competitors are relatively small themselves.

Your employees should know that data is sacred (and confidential), but employing things like intrusion systems and holding trainings for recognition of espionage can help prevent this problem.

Those competitors might also try to snag some of your employees, and not just for their work ethic. Employees may save their own copies of documents that they think will be helpful in their new workspace; in doing so, they can unwittingly aid your competitor with much more than their skillset. Again, reminding your employees that all work documents are both confidential and property of your brand can cut down on accidental data theft in this category.

Non-Compete agreements and NDAs can also prevent this kind of theft, intentional or otherwise; if an employee chooses to leave your business, making sure they are aware of their contractual obligations is key. Perhaps the worst competitor you can have is a former employee who launches their own business in your field, though, and this is a situation in which data theft can be intellectual. Once again, Non-Competes and NDAs are helpful in mitigating damage in this context.

Finally, angry employees can find themselves doing a myriad of dumb (and harmful) things, up to and including data theft.

As mentioned earlier, early prevention is the best way to keep your data on your servers and out of your departing employees’ hands. Restricting employee access to files and folders can limit the number of possible breaches, and the aforementioned Non-Compete and Nondisclosure agreements are absolutely crucial in any business that deals in data–just make sure you’re discussing the terms of those agreements with employees as they come and go.

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Twitter bid on hold, Tesla stock plummets: What’s next for Musk?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The surprising bid of $44B coming in for Twitter from none other than Elon Musk is now on hold and Tesla stock is down. Is Musk in hot water?

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elon musk offers to buy twitter

In the largest corporate privatization deal in U.S. history, Twitter has accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy 100% of Twitter for 44 billion.

Musk plans to privatize the company and do away with ads, a nearly 5-billion-dollar revenue source for Twitter, which accounts for 90% of their total income. Musk’s plan to do away with ads was nothing short of strategic. Musk is a free speech absolutist – or someone who believes that free speech should be unrestricted at all costs.

Advertisers are the main reason speech is restricted on social media platforms. For social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter who rely on advertisers buying space on their platforms, as well as sponsored content, to make most of their profits eliminating this revenue stream is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Without these restrictions or community guidelines, advertisers would not advertise on social media, and the sites could not generate much of their revenue.

But, when your pockets run as deep as Musk’s, I suppose revenue doesn’t particularly matter.

Some changes Musk plans on making are as follows: He claims, that despite the lack of advertisements, he will quintuple Twitter revenue by 2028. He plans on doing this while cutting Twitter’s reliance on ads to less than 50% of the total revenue. He also plans on growing the platform’s user base. He claims by 2025 there will be 69 million users on Twitter (however, considering 69 is his favorite number I’m not sure if this is accurate or another one of his famous trolling stunts). He also plans on offering a paid service, Twitter Blue, which will allow users to customize their Twitter experience for only $3 a month.

However, advertising is not the only hurdle to free speech on a social media platform.

Now Musk will face a barrage of questions and restrictions from government watchdogs, regulators, and activists. Twitter could even end up being banned in other countries if Musk attempts to skirt regulations. Musk wants to strip back content moderation rules and stop the censorship of new organizations; he has also not answered questions about how he plans to go about this, only stating that he’d only allow free speech that “matches the law”.

However, several European countries are changing their laws. New laws in the United Kingdom and The European Union (which comprises 27 European countries). The EU, for example, has enacted the Digital Services Act and The Digital Markets Act which aims to create a safer digital space, while protecting the rights of users and leveling the playing field for businesses. These acts extend to social media. The acts, in part, heavily fine companies that refuse to curtail illegal content on their platforms. However, as of May 9th, 2022, EU Industry Chief, Thierry Brighton, met with Elon Musk in Texas and they have reached an agreement regarding free speech and The Digital Services Act. Yet, the pair has not gone into detail about what exactly their agreement entails. When asked, Musk simply stated that it “totally aligned with his thinking”.

Musk may have circumvented the largest spanning cyber laws, but that does not mean he’s out of the woods regarding governmental regulation of Twitter around the world.

Now, the decision for Musk to purchase Twitter, and go public was a polarizing one and was met with mixed reactions. People did not hold back, and many roasted Musk for his decisions.

Some of my favorite reaction tweets are:

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Okay, but they make a good point. He’s been heralded as a “Real-life Tony Stark” and there’s nothing technically stopping him from being Iron Man.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Live your dreams I guess, Elon.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Disgruntled Tweet about Musk Bid.

Sure some people are disgruntled by the whole ordeal, but there’s really not a way to boycott this. In fact, the user base is only projected to grow for Twitter, with Elon at the helm.

Elon Musk Meme

And, in true Musk fashion he trolled Twitter users, critics and fans by tweeting a series of Tweets detailing which companies he was going to buy next.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Musk then said would buy America’s most popular fast-food chain, and fix the most common complaint. I have to admit, I kind of want him to follow through on this one.

First, he threatened to buy Coca-Cola and put the cocaine back in, referring to the inception of the popular soft drink, when it first contained cocaine.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

Lastly, the new Twitter CEO threatened to shut down the entire platform altogether, so that all the users go outside.

Elon Musk Twitter Tweet

UPDATE:

As of Friday the 13th (spooky), Musk announced his Twitter bid of 44 billion dollars is currently on hold.

He claims he still plans on following through with the acquisition, and he will owe Twitter a one-billion-dollar breakup fee if he does not follow through. However, if he can afford to spend 44 billion on a social media website, I have to assume one billion dollars isn’t much of a deterrent for him. The bid could be on hold for multiple reasons.

He could be trying to negotiate a better price for Twitter, the deal could be falling apart or he could simply be walking away. One issue is that he was going to borrow against his smart car company, Tesla, but Tesla stock has been plummeting as of late. A part of me wonders if this is some kind of bizarre stunt in order to get media coverage and attention prior to unveiling a new concept at either Tesla or SpaceX. After the frenzy the news of Musk purchasing Twitter has caused, the deal may not even go through, and once again, the future of Twitter remains uncertain.

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How to audit your site to really make sure it’s built for visitors, not for YOU

(ENTREPRENEUR) As a business owner, you may find yourself taking a more “set it and forget it” approach to your website, but this isn’t getting you visitors

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website redesign

As a business owner, your business is likely on your mind more often than not. It should be. But the way you design your website should reflect your readers, clients, and customers. As hard as it may be to let go of your personal taste, that’s exactly what you need to do to better serve customers.

Let’s be honest; how often do you actually look at your website? Probably when something’s broken or right when you roll it out, but not much beyond that.

I’ve had more business owners than I can count that have wanted me to fix their site… but are clueless about how long there’s been an issue. It could be a months-long problem they were simply unaware of until someone brought it to their attention—or worse, they don’t even realize there’s a problem because no one spoke up. They just went elsewhere.

Prospective clients or customers want to do business with professionals. When they visit a broken website, they don’t see you as a serious business owner, but as someone who doesn’t even care enough to operate a functioning site. It’s harsh, but it is the truth. First impressions matter. Your website is that impression, and it needs to appeal to everyone who visits it.

If you’re fortunate enough to make a great first impression in person, you might be okay. But if not, say goodbye to all those potential clients and site visitors—they don’t have time to waste waiting for your website to load or to refresh the page to get what they need.

Don’t set it and forget it

You’ve got so much going on with your business that your website simply won’t be top of mind for you. I get it. It’s like the guest bedroom or bathroom in your home. You set them up once with fancy towels and soaps, brand new pillows that aren’t crazy comfortable, and bedspreads that never change. Not exactly the best experience for your guests—the same goes for your website.

Did you design your guest bathroom with no input or consideration for your guests? If so, you may have done the same with your website, which means you’re not addressing their needs. What do they need from you? What are they looking for on your site? Are you giving them a great experience? When you launch your website without input and then just set it and forget it, you can forget new clients and customers, too.

What do your clients or customers want from you?

“But I want a pretty website that looks like a brochure!” I get this all the time. I tell my clients that we can certainly build a website like a brochure in the sense of it being a sales tool, but it needs to have substance. Your website should be based on your visitors’ needs and it should be functional. You wouldn’t print a brochure with blurry photos or dozens of typos. Why launch a website that doesn’t operate how it’s supposed to?

Your visitors’ wants and needs

You can add all the bells and whistles to your website, but if they don’t serve your customers, who cares? Instead, start small. Hubspot suggests video:

  1. Adding video to your email marketing campaigns can boost click-through rates by 200-300%
  2. Embedding videos on your landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%
  3. 90% of customers use product videos to help them make purchasing decisions
  4. 65% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after they watch a video about it
  5. 59% of decision-makers would rather watch a video than reading articles or blog posts

With numbers like that, why wouldn’t you add video?

Your customers are telling you they want video—do it! Consumers are also sharing interesting information about what they want and need, and how they respond when these needs aren’t met:

  1. 57% of internet users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed website on mobile
  2. com revenues skyrocketed by 35% when they listened to their community by incorporating suggestions into their homepage redesign
  3. 88% of online customers won’t return to websites that are difficult to use and have a poor user experience
  4. 85% of UX issues can be resolved by leveraging a usability test on a group of as few as seven users
  5. Visitors judge a website’s credibility based on its aesthetics, concluding within 3.42 seconds
  6. 81% of website visitors think less of a brand if the website is outdated
  7. First impressions are 94% design-related
  8. 75% of consumers admit to making judgments on a company’s credibility based on website design

Are you focusing on the right things?

Arbitrarily making decisions about your website to cater to what you think customers want doesn’t do any good for you or your customers. Have you been obsessing over what colors to use on your site? Or what your logo should look like based on trends? Instead, focus on how to effectively market your company to your customers based on their needs.

It’s easy to pour yourself into your business. You may have built it from the ground up and be attached to your design, name, or logo. And hell, you may have even seen a lot of success. Congrats! But remember, you don’t want to set it and forget it. If you’ve reached a plateau or are spending too much on marketing, you may consider revamping your company’s image.

How do I get there?

Everyone needs help—yes, even you. Work with someone who can create an exceptional customer experience that isn’t dictated by your specific taste and preferences. They can help you build a website that helps them understand your business and what it’d be like to work with you. You’re creating that welcoming, comfortable guest bedroom—that first impression—online.

Gain an understanding of what potential visitors, clients, or customers are looking for when they come to your site. Once you’ve got that down, work with a creative team to bring your business to life. You’re here to tell them everything you know about your customers and their wants and desires. You’re not here to micromanage them and end up with a website that caters to you and you alone. Remember that.

A note to the creatives

You create stunning websites, designs, content, and more for your clients. But with your portfolio, everything seems to fall by the wayside. Clients want to see your work and how professional you are to work with. You may be very artistic, but do your clients understand what that means? Or are they looking at your portfolio, wondering what exactly you do?

Make it easy for potential clients to understand what you do, how to work with you, and how you’ll meet their needs. Remember, as much as your clients can get in their own way of success, so can you. Be clear, be professional, and highlight all you can do… for your clients.

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