Captchas: Are you human?

Are you human?

Captchas protect against spam robots and increase the security of your own website


1. April 2021In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw5 Minutes

Security is a big issue for websites. You can think of very different things, such as backups for emergencies, or security measures that should make access more difficult for hackers. This post is about captchas and how we have just improved them for our customers.

What is a captcha?

The word «Captcha» is an acronym and stands for «Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart ”. In German: “Fully automated Turing test to distinguish between computers and people”.

A captcha is a hurdle that is used to tell people and machines apart. The hurdle can be easily overcome by humans, but is recognized as difficult by bots. This is especially important because there are so many “bots” on the Internet trying to gain access to websites, record spam comments and the like. If you have now installed a captcha, a small test appears that is easy for humans, but difficult to bypass for automated processes.

A captcha makes it difficult, for example, to post spam or brute force attacks on websites.

Where are captchas used?

Captchas can be seen in different places on the website:

  • Log in
  • Registration
  • request password
  • To place an order
  • Complete Order
  • Create a comment
  • etc.

Not all of these options need to be offered. Often you can only find a captcha when logging in and maybe when creating a comment. A captcha should work where there is interaction between users and the website.

What do captchas look like?

There are very different captchas, visible and invisible. For example, older captchas look like this:

Distorted letters are more legible for humans, but a little harder for bots.

There are different types of captchas, for example:

  • Text captchas
  • Math captchas
  • Icon captchas
  • Photo captchas.

The captchas are being developed further and further because hackers do not stand idly by as the path is blocked. The ReCaptcha from Google, for example, is also popular, offering various images to choose from and the user has to click on the palm trees, the cars, the hills, crosswalks, motorcyclists or similar.

Do Captchas Make a Website 100% Safe?

No. There is no such thing as 100% security. However, captchas should be part of any security strategy because it increases the hurdles. Using captchas already locks out a lot of hackers. Think of it as a layer from a multi-layer security concept.

Captchas and WordPress

There are a lot of plugins for WordPress that offer captcha functionality. Some integrate the Google solution, others offer, for example, a small arithmetic problem that has to be solved. Which captchas work well on a website must always be tested.

For example, there are some captchas that have been customized for the WooCommerce online store, while others have no such customization. If there is no support for certain tasks, a captcha can lie across. While this applies to every extension, a captcha is about the direct interaction with the user of the website. Here it should work particularly easily and reliably.

Support may be necessary, for example, for:

  • WordPress login
  • Online shops with registrations, accounts, etc.
  • Newsletter registrations
  • Forum software
  • etc.

New Captcha solution for Kursiv customers

In our service package for WordPress customers, we are now also including a tried and tested captcha solution that has proven itself best. Various solutions have been in use so far, but each solution has its drawbacks. For example, Google ReCaptcha works great, but Google tracks websites. Certain math captchas with calculations didn’t work with an online store. These and other experiences led to the search for a new solution.

A plug-in was found that covers most requirements and is also very easy to use. The captcha works with icons and can be understood intuitively.

This solution is simpler than any previous solution, it is fast, there is no tracking and mostly works perfectly. This plug-in also has a honeypot function. A honeypot is called a diversionary maneuver. It is the wrong lead that bots often fall for.

The new solution was installed and tested on all of the websites we maintain. Kursiv offers one more service to make it easier for you to maintain your website.

Italic WordPress Support

Shipping pier near Altnau on Lake Constance (Switzerland)

How do you get pictures for your own website?

How do you get pictures for your own website?


6. January 2021In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw6 Minutes

Anyone who has a website knows the challenge: You always need images so that the message, the product and the presentation succeed. Communicate, emotionalize, explain and sell images. But where do you get these photos from?

The Kursiv picture agency existed from 1997 to 2018. For more than 20 years we have bought pictures worldwide and licensed them to many customers mainly in Switzerland. A standard requirement was the image search. In the good years we searched hundreds of thousands of images every day for customer inquiries. It was about the topic, the imagery sought, the available budget and much more.

Today anyone who has a website is faced with image searches. Almost overnight, images became relevant to anyone who runs a website. No text can do without a picture. But where do these images come from? Obtaining images is new territory for many people.

Image acquisition

Anyone who wants to keep a website alive needs new texts and new pictures on a regular basis. The keyword “regularly” shows that it would be good if you had something like an “image source” to which you can fall back.

The requirement is not new and the following methods have worked well:

  1. Take photos yourself
  2. Picture agencies
  3. Photographer.

Of course, if you want to take photos yourself, you have to have the necessary equipment and experience. For some, that’s a possibility. If it does not concern a private website, but the presentation of your own company, you need good quality and appealing and consistent imagery. This increases the requirements. Image agencies can offer something like this, but this is associated with financial costs. If you need unmistakable pictures or lots of pictures, a photographer is the cheapest option.

Know-how about images

There is a blog on the subject of stock photography on our own website kursiv.com. Many topics related to image acquisition are clarified here. The last post is about the question

In the article, various reference options are presented and weighed against each other. An important statement is that pictures are not available for free and that supposed “free pictures” also come with a price.

Planning the website

Once you have a website, that’s the starting signal for further development. Anyone who wants to have long-term success with a website needs some planning. It is always about the question of what would be interesting for the visitor to your own website. Which topics best reflect your own service? What questions do my customers have? What do visitors need to find when they land on the website?

Each subject includes both text and images. Thinking about it is especially important when you have no ideas. Planning makes it possible to call someone for advice, get ideas and then gradually get closer to your own goal.

Typical characteristics of good websites are:

  • Topicality
  • Relevance (for the purpose of the website)
  • Information.

The visuals play a big role in all of these things. Our world and our communication today are primarily visual. When choosing photos, it comes down to keywords such as:

  • theme
  • Imagery (its own, unmistakable visual identity)
  • Emotionality.

Imagery

There is no such thing as a single good imagery. The visual language should be adapted to your own website and topic. You can think generously. It’s not about the individual picture, but about the appearance of the website as a whole. Do the pictures match? Does it seem personal or more distant?

No two websites are the same. The requirements for insurance are different from those of a bakery. The website of a daily newspaper shines with reportage photos, while an automobile manufacturer skillfully emotionalizes the technology with outstanding photography.

How do you come up with a visual language? The first step is to become aware that your own visual language is part of communication. It is already now. It is always communicated. Communication is often better with good visual language. This has a direct effect on the acceptance of the website and plays a role in the customer’s trust in the service offered.

Get the right pictures

It doesn’t matter what type of image acquisition you use. The decisive factor is whether you are pursuing a good strategy that contributes to the success of your own company. You should not only consider the image price, but also, for example, the effort required to search for an image. The effort can be significantly higher than the price of the image itself. Legally correct usage rights should be guaranteed in any case.

Further articles on photography and image acquisition can be found here: kursiv.com . Are you looking for advice on the subject? Here is the> Contact .

Photo credits: Lake Constance near Altnau. © Karsten Risseeuw.


Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Image optimization now part of WordPress support

Your website will be faster


6. November 2020In WordPressBy Karsten Risseeuw4 Minutes

Every website needs regular maintenance. That’s why there is the WordPress support subscription from Kursiv. In this service we package many services that together ensure the operation of a WordPress-based website. This includes regular updates of all components, external backups, caching to increase performance, security optimization and much more. Now there is a new service: image optimization.

Why image optimization?

Modern websites use a lot of images. Generous images are emotional, communicate well and are a business card for the company. Good pictures are essential today. There is, however, a downside: very large pictures are “difficult”. Their file size slows down the website. In extreme cases, the website becomes slow, which has an immediate effect on acceptance by the viewer. Google also rates fast websites better than slow websites.

It’s like a letterbox – if the letter doesn’t fit in there, it has to be deposited as a package in front of the door. Not everyone is on the go with fast internet. This is comparable to the size of a letter box. The lighter and narrower the letter, the more mailboxes can be served.

Image optimization can help here. The image size can be reduced, for example, by increasing the compression or by removing unnecessary information (e.g. EXIF data in the files). This makes the images smaller and the website automatically becomes faster. It’s not that easy, because you need a balance between optimization and appearance. If the compression is too high, the file size will be reduced, but it will also reduce the image quality. Here you need good tools for the result to be successful.

Online optimization with ShortPixel

An image optimization can be achieved with the help of specialized tools before the images are uploaded. The alternative is an optimization directly in the website. This last option is significantly easier than the manual optimization before and also more consistent.

I’ve been looking for a good solution for a long time. With ShortPixel I have now found what I am looking for. The service is now part of the Kursiv support subscription for WordPress. The solution has been extensively tested and the results are outstanding. My photography website is an example ( karstenrisseeuw.ch ) that lives from high quality images. The page became extremely much faster, with the same image quality. Depending on the website and images, between 30% and 80% of the image sizes are saved. Other italic websites have also seen major improvements, including kursiv-software.com and fmstarter.com .

Update for all customers

The image optimization will now be implemented gradually for all customers in line with this experience. The implementation is harmless and one of several optimizations that are implemented anyway. There are only benefits associated with it. If you have special requirements, we will first contact you, for example if you sell high-resolution images (for example photographers or picture agencies).

The support subscription for WordPress now includes:

  1. Regular updates of all website components (5–7 times a week)
  2. Additional external backups
  3. Optimized caching
  4. Optimizing security
  5. Optimization of the images (new).

If you have any questions, we are> here available for you.


5 tips for a better website

5 tips for a better website

The website as a communication tool


30. April 2020By Karsten Risseeuw5 Minutes

There was a time when you saw your own website as a business card. There you could look up the address of the company, maybe check the opening times, find an email address and things like that. That time is over, because your own website is now a means of communication. Let your website do the work for you!

The website as a point of contact

Today’s websites are not static information, but living organisms. In the best sense of the word, websites today can be a point of contact between website owners and website visitors. Just as today, for many people, email has been replaced by messaging or the phone has been replaced by WhatsApp video calls, so the idea of a website as a mere address card has long been outdated.

Websites are points of contact today. Here not only factually correct information is conveyed, but also useful tips and tricks as well as emotions and ideas. Comment functions allow interaction. Maybe there is a newsletter or small surveys are made. On a website you not only refer to yourself and your own products or services, but also offer solutions to specific challenges. The website visitor “feels” the quality of the offer on the website.

5 tips for a better website

  1. Topicality
    Write regularly. It is better to collect small contributions frequently than to publish a compendium once a year.
  2. Concrete benefits
    With a web offer, the benefit for the website visitor should always be in the foreground. It is best to put yourself in the shoes of the visitor and take up questions that can be written about.
  3. collect ideas
    Questions are often asked, especially when talking to customers. Each question is perfect as a basis for a post. Of course, you don’t always have the opportunity to write an article straight away. That’s why I made a list myself, where I can quickly write down ideas for new topics. Otherwise they will be forgotten. This is how you help yourself.
  4. planning
    For some people the texts and ideas are bubbling up, while others struggle with it. Anyone who is responsible for their own website has to think ahead. If you don’t like to write yourself, does someone else do it? A good rule of thumb is to provide updates at least once a month. As soon as a post is recorded, it can be used for newsletters or for distribution via social media. Are new posts recorded on a regular basis – no matter how small! – any planning can be advanced more easily.
  5. customer service
    A website is also something like a shop window. Customer care starts here. It is important to write new things regularly even when there is no news to report. Use these “dead times” for tips and tricks. The website visitors will be grateful for that.

The main topic: generating values

Whether you have the structure or rather the content of your website in mind during an evaluation does not initially matter. In all considerations, only the values that you generate for your customers are really important. In times of social distancing and limited customer contact, the website can play a decisive role.

No website is made to last. What works well in creating the website may not work after two or three years. Make an evaluation of the benefit every now and then. Is the structure correct? Are the right topics being addressed? Do new ideas have to be implemented?

Many companies have significantly less work these months. Is this the perfect opportunity to improve something on your own website in small steps?


WordPress and hosting

WordPress and hosting

How do you keep your website going?


3. March 2020By Karsten Risseeuw3 Minutes

Web hosting is not just web hosting. There are big differences. Some providers come up trumps with very low prices, but have to host a large number of websites on a few servers. This makes the unit price cheaper, but it comes at the expense of performance.

There is no general rule of good or bad. The website itself can also be “slim” or “full figured”. If you use a lot of pictures or complex animations, you need more power than a simple page with mostly only text. A shop can also have special hosting requirements and multilingual websites are logically much “bigger” than monolingual websites. Only the interaction between hosting and website shows the performance.

WordPress is a website platform that combines content dynamically. Each time a page is called up, this means that various modules must be brought together before they can be shown as a single page. This takes computing power and loading time. Caching plug-ins that create a calculated version from dynamic pages that can be displayed much faster are therefore particularly popular.

For this optimization, too, it is crucial that the hoster provides sufficient performance. A website with caching is faster for the user, but the pages still have to be calculated once on the server (especially advantageous when there is no visitor to the website). The website must therefore also have performance available if, for example, all pages are regenerated once a day.

There are a lot more considerations in making the website into a fast website. Often it is also a trade-off between speed and cost, or between speed and versatility. Hand-made HTML pages can be much “lighter” than a dynamic website based on WordPress. However, we ourselves choose WordPress as the preferred platform because it is extremely versatile and still quite user-friendly. This is a conscious choice that has always proven itself with us and with our customers – it is not for nothing that WordPress is the most popular platform for websites worldwide.

Back to the original question, where is the best place to optimize the website experience? We would be happy to discuss this with you, because every website is unique.

Contact

How to keep your WordPress website secure

How to keep your WordPress website secure

Your website security is an ongoing issue


4. March 2019By Karsten Risseeuw1 Minutes

WordPress is the most widely used software for creating a website in the world. The platform offers endless possibilities and it is constantly being improved and developed.

The downside is that 90% of all website attacks involve WordPress. WordPress is not unsafe, but because of its widespread usage, WordPress is a grateful target for hackers. Anyone running a website today has to take security measures.

WordPress security

There is no 100% security for any website. It’s about constantly optimizing security while implementing a good backup strategy. When it comes to security, it is about critically questioning one’s own behavior and to use available options for protection.

  • Do not use an account with the name «Admin»
  • Use secure one-time passwords (use WordPress suggestions)
  • SSL certification for the website encrypts the connection between the website and the user
  • Switch off unnecessary services in the website
  • Use security plug-in (defense against brute force attacks, connection to security standards, configuring htaccess files, etc.)
  • Change standard login pages (plug-in)
  • Regular malware checks
  • optional: two-factor authentication
  • optional: external backups (ie not with the hoster)

Kursiv offers optimized security settings as part of a service package for WordPress websites.


Your WordPress website

Your own WordPress website

You can do a lot yourself. We do and organize the rest!


12. September 2018By Karsten Risseeuw3 Minutes

Your own website with WordPress

WordPress is perhaps the most widely used website building software. There is hardly anything that cannot be mapped with WordPress – portfolios for designers or photographers, web shops, event calendars, courses and much more. There are websites for restaurants and cafes, newspapers and magazines. Shops present themselves and their offers. WordPress is not perfect, but it is very flexible. There are also countless themes and plug-ins that can be used with little effort.

So WordPress is popular. Nothing is easier than building your own website with WordPress.

Helping people help themselves

But how do you get your own website? It’s not always easy for everyone. Italic offers help for self-help. We’ll help you set up and build your own WordPress website. You can decide for yourself how much you do yourself and what we contribute.

What it takes for a website

Do you want to revise your website or maybe create a completely new website? We would be happy to discuss your ideas and various options without obligation. Websites, one could almost say, are living beings in their own right. You’re born, it takes time to grow, it takes care and attention, and good social interaction. If all of this succeeds, websites are loyal companions for your tasks and they form a good interface with clients, suppliers and interested parties.

We define together:

  • Action
    We define the desired procedure in the first conversation. It is about general questions like: What do you expect from your website, what do you expect from us and what would you like to contribute yourself?
  • planning
    After an initial conversation, careful planning is often required. It’s about concept, design, target groups, functionality and much more. We see this as an advisory role and as part of a project.
  • implementation
    Planning in clearly defined work steps helps to implement the agreed goals within the budget.
  • Training and introduction
    Some prefer to do as much as possible themselves. Others prefer to work with us on the website from time to time. Others want to be trained by us. You determine what serves you the most. We would like to assist you with know-how, time and support.
  • Support and maintenance
    We are happy to help whenever necessary. We can call or remote via Support software help. You can find more information on our support page. We offer the maintenance of your website as Service at.

Inquire now