Trending December 2023 # 9+ Free Trials That Can Instantly Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts # Suggested January 2024 # Top 18 Popular

You are reading the article 9+ Free Trials That Can Instantly Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts updated in December 2023 on the website We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 9+ Free Trials That Can Instantly Improve Your Online Marketing Efforts

I just wanted to share some of the Internet’s most incredibly marketing software that can help you instantly improve your rankings, conversion rates, and revenues in a relatively short amount of time. And oh yeah, you can try each for free!

1) Ontolo – Ontolo is an extremely powerful (semi) automated link prospecting and building tool that can help your business dramatically improve its link profile in a relatively short amount of time. The trial period is 14 days and will provide you with 1000+ new link prospects for the whopping price of $0. Credit card is required. *Note – for the best results make sure you set up your campaign carefully and follow all directions. I cannot stress this enough…

2) SEM Rush – SEM Rush provides incredibly valuable intelligence data on your competition. It estimates your competitors’ top keywords, cpc, traffic stats, and more. No credit card required! Simply sign-up for a free account and use the code which can be found over at SEO Book for a free two week trial.

4) BuzzStream – Another great link building tool (among other things) is BuzzStream. For 14 days you will be able to find oh so juicy link prospects and effectively prioritize, manage and scale your efforts through BuzzStream’s convenient interface. Credit card required.

5) Raven Tools – Raven tools is a comprehensive SEO, social, analytics, and overall marketing package that is both simple to use and very useful. You can better manage and visualize your marketing data by having it all conveniently located in Raven’s dashboard. Trial period is 30 days and no credit card is needed.

6) Wordtracker – For seven days you will have access to Wordtracker’s awesome keyword research tool. A great thing to consider when starting a new project or launching new products. Wordtracker is very robust and gives you tons of info on long tail keywords you may have never even considered (that’s the point). You will also have access to their link building tool I highly recommend. Credit card information required.

7) Free Adwords Credits – Get tons of free traffic using Google Adwords free trial credits. I don’t need to go into too much detail. Free traffic is a no-brainer. Credit card required.

8) SEOmoz – (and all the free trials that come with it!) – One of the best free trials you can get your hands on, hands down. Not only will you have access to Linkscape/Open Site Explorer data – you can also: research keyword difficulty, have your SEO questions answered by professionals, identify broken links and see graded on-page optimization reports, and that’s just for starters. You will also be eligible for discounts and freebies for a ton of other marketing services, products, and even industry events. Don’t miss it! 30 day trial requires a credit card.

9) Constant Contact – For 60 days and no credit card information you can use one of Constant Contact’s marketing offerings. Pick from: surveys, email marketing, or event marketing. All are great tools to help jump start your marketing efforts.

Magic Combinations

Normally I would recommend taking each free trial one after the other in order to get the most benefit. However I realize that some of these offers might end soon – and not everyone has enough time to fully experiment with each. As a result I will propose a few combinations that can give you some great results and best bang for your buck (which is to say a whole lot of bang and no buck at all)

This combination is great for businesses who are just launching their sites. You can use SEM Rush or Wordtracker to discover new keywords you should be targeting – and then use SEOMoz’s keyword difficulty tool to prioritize and decide which ones to go after first.

Create your own surveys using Constant Contact or Survey Monkey and then use Mail Chimp to send the survey links in an email blast to your customers for tons of free data (make sure you offer something in return like a discount or chance to win a prize)

There are tons of other free trials out there too –


…and the list could go on and on

I just want to call attention to the fact that I am not encouraging you to simply take these free trials and bolt. I have personally tried each of these services and am a paid subscriber to a few as well. All of these products and services are extremely valuable to your online marketing efforts and are well worth the money charged. Please show some support to these awesome companies who are confident enough in their products to offer free trials to (hopefully appreciative) marketing professionals like you and me. Great job guys…keep it up!

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How Brand Marketing Can Increase Your Candidate Attraction Efforts

If you want to secure the top talent in 2023, you need to position your company as an employer of choice

As a marketing professional, you’ll be well adept at maximizing your brand in order to attract new customers. But have you considered how brand marketing can increase your candidate attraction efforts too?

After all, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to entice candidates out of their current roles, with the ONS reporting that UK employment hit another record high at the end of last year.

As such, if you want to secure the top talent in 2023, you need to position your company as an employer of choice. With this in mind, below we explain how brand marketing can increase your candidate attraction efforts and what you need to do to get in front of potential employees.

What does your brand say about you?

Before you get started, ask yourself, what does your brand say about you as an employer? If you were a potential candidate, what would you think about the organization if you were to visit your website?

Your brand isn’t just your company logo and website. It’s how you interact with customers and candidates, and the type of information you put out into the public domain.

With this in mind, think about how you want to position your brand and how you want candidates to view you as a potential employer. For example, while you might adopt a formal tone with potential customers, you may choose to speak to candidates in a more ‘human’ manner.

Once you’ve figured out how you want to get your brand across, you can start to explore different ways of using your brand to increase your candidate attraction efforts.

Maximizing social media

When it comes to marketing your brand, having a social media strategy is vital. With the potential to reach thousands of users, it’s important that you’re not only pushing your products in front of prospects, but also using these platforms to boost your candidate attraction efforts.

So, consider the messaging you want to put out there. A mix of different content is the best approach. You might want to promote specific vacancies in your company, pulling out the key perks of each specific role. For example, you may include the names or details of exciting clients or projects they could be working on, the software they’ll use and any bonus schemes they may benefit from.

You may also want to push positive images around internal events, employee promotions, or successful campaigns that individuals have worked on.

Alongside this, another way to showcase your brand is to publish employee testimonials. Ask your employees why they wanted to join the company and what they enjoy most about their job and working for you. Then, write these up into short, snappy posts and use images to help bring them to life.

This is something that we do at CV-Library and it gives a nice snapshot into what it’s like working in certain departments. We’ll then link these posts to the relevant section within our careers page.

Responding on employee review sites

One thing to be aware of with social media platforms and employee review sites is that while they’re great for employees to promote your company in a positive light, they also open up the potential to be targeted by disgruntled employees, past or present.

So what should you do if you get a negative employee review online? It might be tempting to shy away in the hope that no one will see it. But, it’s likely that with a quick search on Google, candidates will find it some way or another.

As such, use these platforms to take control of your brand marketing. Address any concerns that are raised and show that you’re taking a proactive approach to bettering your workplace. In doing so, potential candidates will see that you’re committed to keeping your staff happy, only helping to improve your candidate attraction efforts.

Considering your careers page

Whether it’s called ‘Work for us’ or ‘Careers’, having a dedicated area on your website that explains the benefits of working for you is crucial. As mentioned above the vast majority of potential recruits will research your company online, so make sure you’re giving them the insights they need.

Your careers site should be the hub of all of your recruitment marketing efforts. Especially as candidates will go to your company website first. So, be sure to include relevant images, employee testimonials, details of your vacancies, interesting stats and information on the key perks you offer.

What’s more, you could also include information on any awards you’ve won. Essentially, it needs to give the ‘wow’ factor, making candidates want to join your company, immediately.

Understanding SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is now a huge part of recruitment and the good news is, you’re likely to be one step ahead in this area if you work in marketing. With this in mind, consider how you can utilize SEO in your brand marketing efforts, particularly when it comes to your careers site.

For example, if you have a company blog, make sure you’re using it to publish insightful content that people within the industry are going to want to read. That might include posts such as ‘A day in the life of a content marketer’, or ‘What’s it like to work in content marketing’.

It’s extremely important to be competitive and if you’re seen to be a marketing thought leader, potential candidates will be more familiar and engaged with your brand.

Again, SEO is important nowadays as most candidates start their job search on Google, so think about what you can do to make to work for you. That includes optimizing your job posts by using the correct keywords and including important details such as salary and location.

Interacting with candidates

A huge part of brand marketing comes into play when you’re speaking with potential recruits. Nowadays, candidates are king and you need to ensure they have a positive experience of dealing with your company. With this in mind, ask yourself the following:

How long are you taking to get back to candidates that you want to bring in for interviews?

Are you giving constructive feedback after you meet candidates?

How long are you taking to make a job offer?

These are just some examples and certainly not an extensive list, but it should get you thinking about how you’re interacting with candidates and whether it could be impacting your attraction efforts.

After all, individuals that feel as if they’ve been waiting around for too long, or that have multiple offers on the table, will likely go for the opportunity where they feel most valued.

Are you using brand marketing in your candidate attraction efforts?

If you’re looking to grow your workforce in 2023, ensuring that you understand how brand marketing can boost your candidate attraction efforts is extremely important.

So, be sure to make the most out of social media, your careers site, and SEO, as well as practicing good communication, and you’ll stand a much better chance of securing the best recruits this year.

9 Conditions Your Breath Can Reveal

Bad breath also known as halitosis may be embarrassing, but in some cases, it may even cause anxiety. There are several health conditions, foods, and habits that are the main causes of bad breath. In several cases, you may improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. The main cause of bad breath is poor dental health habits which may be also a symptom of other health problems. If you have a problem with persistent bad breath in your mouth, then it can be also a symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is mainly or commonly caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth. If gum disease is not treated, then it may harm the jawbone and the gums. 

If you do not brush your teeth regularly then food particles may remain in your mouth and encourage bacterial growth between teeth around the gums that causes bad breath. Chewing or smoking tobacco may also cause bad breath, decrease your capability to taste foods, irritate the gums, and stain teeth. There are several other dental causes of bad breath are yeast infections of the cavities and mouth and poor fitting dental appliances. Many other diseases may cause bad breath such as diabetes, seasonal allergies, gastrointestinal issues, kidney or liver problems, chronic lung infections, and many more.

Find out these 9 Conditions Your Breath Can Reveal

There are several conditions your breath can reveal are discussed below – 

GERD May Cause Bad Breath – There are several digestive conditions including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and acid reflux may cause bad breath. If food does not move through the digestive system, then it may start to decay thus less amount of undigested food can even vomit which causes bad breath. During the condition of acid reflux, it makes stomach acid flow the wrong way back into the tube which links the throat to the stomach that causes a sour smell. 

Fishy Breath May be a Symptom of Kidney Failure – A fishy-odor urine smell bad breath that is similar to ammonia which can indicate kidney failure in the human body. The main work of kidneys in the human body is to remove toxic chemicals from the blood by creating urine. In the case of kidney failure, the kidneys become so damaged that they are not capable of filtering toxic chemicals and waste products from the blood in the human body. If this condition occurs then the toxic chemicals and waste products are not discharged and may accumulate nearly in each part of the human body. In this way, the fishy smell may occur if the kidneys fail which affects the respiratory system and can cause breathing problems. 

Postnasal and Allergies May Drip Lead to Foul Breath – Many respiratory tract infections such as sinusitis, flu, and bronchitis are very common causes of bad breath. These three respiratory tract infections may send mucus that is filled with bacteria through your mouth and nose which may cause bad breath. The nasal congestion can force one to breathe through the mouth which may lead to the growth of bacteria and can cause foul bad breath. 

Smoking causes foul breath – If you smoke regularly then it may cause a foul smell through the mouth. Smoking is mainly based on tobacco that yellows your teeth and increases the risk of gum disease and mouth cancer.

Sleep apnea may cause bad breath– After a night of sleeping, morning breath may be normal before brushing the teeth. During sleep, saliva production reduces gives odor-producing bacteria and provides an opportunity to multiply and grow. However, the slow production of saliva throughout sleep may be occasionally caused by leaving the mouth open for a long time. Individuals with sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea can cause difficulty in breathing through the nose and are more probably to breathe through their mouths which causes bad breath. 

Breath Tests May Diagnose Lung Cancer – There are several lung infections including tuberculosis, pneumonia, pulmonary abscess, bronchitis, and emphysema may also cause bad breath. Generally, lung cancer causes a distinct bad breath and now the bad breath is being used in early detection. Individuals with asthma are more probably suffer from dry mouth because asthma restricts airflow thus, they breathe through their mouth which may cause bad breath. 

Bad breath due to sinus – Bad breath may also be caused by microbial infections, growth, build the sinuses. Sinus is the inflammation of the nasal sinuses which can be a short-term acute inflammation that is also caused by an infection. Nasal polyps are jelly-like and soft which can also block the airway and lead to sinus infection. This type of infection may cause bad breath due to run-over of post-nasal drip. Thus, post-nasal drip, sinusitis, and nasal polyps are the main causes of bad breath because they promote the build-up of foreign objects, microbes, ad many more which may cause bad breath.

Bad breath due to Tonsil Stones – Bad breath can also be caused by tonsil stones or tonsillitis. Bad breath is also associated with tonsilitis which may occur in recurrent and acute chronic forms of tonsilitis. Sometimes, food debris, mucus, bacteria, and dead cells can get trapped in the crevices in the tonsils may build up, and finally, calcify to form tonsils stones. Tonsil infection may also cause bad breath and is the main indicator of a tonsil stone. 


If you have a bad breath issue then it may be embarrassing in society, office, college, any occasion, and many more. But bad breath may also link with severe diseases that are discussed in this blog. So, if you had a bad breath issue for a long time then immediately visit a doctor for a normal checkup. 

Can You Improve Your Pc’s Performance For Under $50?

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Last Updated: November 30th, 2023

Despite new hardware offerings being at their most expensive, upgrading your PC for performance gains doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Many gamers using older generation hardware will be surprised to learn that you can actually yield a good performance increase from as little as $50!

Gaming has become hugely popular over the last couple of decades, even more so thanks to the recent pandemic which is currently causing havoc across the globe. Gamers of all ages are dusting off their old gaming PCs in an attempt to abolish boredom during this testing time.

Unfortunately, thanks to hardware degradation and the increasing demand newer gaming titles put on your hardware, there’s a high probability that your old gaming PC won’t be able to live up to new gaming demands. The only option left to achieve your goal of gaming bliss is to upgrade some of your major hardware – well, sort of. 

In the following article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how you can extract good performance gains whilst only spending $50 and below.

So, let’s waste no further time and get straight into it!

With times being so difficult, we understand that discretionary spending is hard to justify. That being said, we feel the below upgrades will make a serious performance improvement to your PC – without putting you in too much financial stress. 

Note: We understand that the following upgrades won’t work for every user. However, as we’ll discuss, if you are using older/lesser hardware, they will certainly provide a performance boost for you as an individual. 


For individuals using a hard drive, upgrading to an SSD is by far the biggest performance increase you can do to your computer. An SSD is, on average, around 5-7 times quicker than a hard drive – meaning everything installed onto an SSD will load and run much faster in comparison. 

Unfortunately, for people with a large media collection or games library, transferring all your data to an SSD isn’t a viable option – they’re far too expensive for those kinds of antics. That being said, you can still pick up a 240-480GB SSD for your primary games and operating system – using your hard drive as a backup drive instead. 


System memory isn’t hugely important when it comes to gaming, but it can make a real difference when it comes to your everyday usage scenarios. For older PC’s using 4 or 8GB, increasing that to 16GB can be a real boost to your PC’s overall performance. By doing this, you’ll be providing your PC with the necessary memory to run most games and processes. Obviously, this isn’t the only factor that affects gaming or creative workflow performance, but it is an upgrade that can yield good performance gains. 


Keeping your system cool is largely overlooked by many gamers and general PC users. For those unaware, when your hardware becomes too hot, it starts to run less efficiently and increases the rate of degradation – two factors no one wants to experience. 

One way of reducing those temperatures is to have a well-designed, balanced cooling configuration inside your case. 

The fans are one of the key components that make up an efficiently cooled case and can be purchased at a relatively cheap cost. 

Look for two or three additional case fans that offer good CFM and airflow and you’ll likely see a small improvement in the overall efficiency of your PC.

Whilst the methods above offer a good performance increase for individuals willing to spend under $50, we understand not everyone has that much available cash to spend on PC components. That said, there are a few ways you can increase your PC’s performance without spending a dime. 

Note: These methods may not be available to all users – some CPUs are locked and can’t be overclocked.


The first and most popular method of extracting extra performance from your PC is to simply overclock your hardware. Overclocking is a way of boosting the speed of your CPU, GPU, and RAM via the motherboard’s BIOS menu.  

Overclocking can be considered a risky procedure to perform if you haven’t got the right tools or hardware to back it up. However, for the most part, overclocking can be done safely and gives you a real performance boost. 

As a general rule, overclocking your hardware can grant performance gains of up to 20%. However, always remember to check internal temperatures, and if glitches start to occur, reduce the overclock until your system is stable. 

Cleaning Up Your Drive

Cleaning your drive is a simple process and one that should be done on a more regular basis – that goes for all of us. When I say clean your drive, I mainly refer to running cleanup programs that make your drive run more efficiently – such as disk cleanup and disk defragmenter.

Over time, your hard drive will start to store temporary files and other unimportant data that slows the efficiency of your PC. To rid your drive of these files, you can simply run the Windows disk cleanup tools which will automatically remove any unwanted files. 

Whilst this won’t have a huge impact on performance, it can give you a little boost when it comes to overall running speeds. 

Optimize Your Graphics

The last tip is for gamers – optimize your graphics. If, like me, you want to play your favorite games in the highest possible settings, the last thing you want to be doing is reducing them for a performance increase. However, one of the best ways to get a smoother, higher average frame rate whilst gaming is to optimize your graphics. It’ll lessen the stress put on your PC and will make the overall gaming experience much smoother – albeit less aesthetically pleasing.

Check out our comprehensive gaming graphics and optimization page here.

Why not check out some of our other hardware and performance improving pages below. They’re a good place to start if you want more specific information on some of the topics we’ve discussed above.

So, there you have it guys, our quick rundown of how to improve your PC’s performance for under $50. We’ve tried to keep this article fairly short and sweet, linking to more in-depth pieces for people who want to try some of the methods recommended.

Ultimately, the best way to get more performance from your PC is to upgrade its hardware. Whilst that is the case, it doesn’t always have to cost you an arm and a leg. As we’ve shown, you can easily get better performance without going crazy on a new 2080Ti or the likes. 

How To Improve The Manufacturing Process: 6 Steps That Can Help You

AI, analytics, IoT and modern apps can play an important role in today’s construction companies. Learn six steps that put these techniques to good use.

Keeping up with technological change is comparable to jumping on a moving rail. Manufacturing companies need to try to run daily operations, while also incorporating on technology like AI and IoT in an effort to modernize and compete. However, to enhance the production process complete, you need to begin somewhere.

Here are 6 steps that can help you do just that 1. Automate manufacturing processes with AI

Manufacturing continues to experience global transformation. Artificial Intelligence will reduce the amount of resources necessary to execute a few predictable and repetitive measures, in addition to automate a number of the rest of the measures. Start looking for ways to implement the tech, as it could yield such strong results. By way of instance, AI will help reduce costs and enhance the production process, such as stock management, materials motion, bookkeeping and quality management.

2. Collect data with IoT

Similar production lines do not necessarily shield against distinct outputs or yields. In reality, given that different resources are usually assigned to every line — also as version downtime as a result of mechanical or technical problems — it may be difficult to compare different manufacturing lines and ascertain the typical causes of downtime whenever they are not being monitored.

IoT devices assist collect uptime data of their equipment, manufacturing output, production rate and other valuable information. They deliver more visibility to what occurs in the manufacturing lines and gather meaningful data on different runs. A number of the devices contain temperature sensors, infrared detectors, high-resolution cameras, counters and a number of other connected gadgets which drive information to a centralized place, where it may then be examined, providing companies with the capability to test the collected info and gain insights to what happens from the creation.

3. Get insight with analytics

In terms of management, the data collected from different systems may be examined within a longer time period. By employing available BI tools such as Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, MicroStrategy or Domo, direction may obtain some insights into manufacturing trends, profitability online or byproduct. BI tools may also help know exactly what customers need.

Related: – How to Open a Real Estate Business Online

4. Share information with users

New technology does not occur in a vacuumcleaner. If CIOs wish to enhance the production process, they need to involve workers and earn change direction simple for them. 1 method is supplying a centralized place for information.

This can be accomplished by centralizing videos, how-to guides and other training stuff, together with normal operating procedures in an enterprise content management system.

More organizations are creating business content management platforms available to their team members — even if it is the one thing they will have to gain access to from the community.

5. Personalize productivity tools

To increase employee participation — particularly with individuals that have an immediate impact on manufacturing — manufacturing companies are turning to programs which encourage real-time communication and information sharing. The achievement of these tools is dependent upon their capacity to provide significant data to end users at different levels within the company. Employees have to have the ability to comprehend what they are able to influence and has to have the ability to find the change first hand.

Related: – How to Start a Business: Step-by-Step Grow your Business.

6. Use mobile devices with business apps

Manufacturing businesses have utilized cellular devices, such as handheld scanners, to assess inventory for several decades. Nonetheless, regardless of workers utilizing radio frequency handheld scanners, paper-based workflows and checklists across many businesses continue to be commonly used.

To reduce this inefficiency, some businesses are embracing tablets or tablets to deliver digital types. Smartphones and tablet computers can get information with more performance, in addition to embrace different company apps which may help monitor manufacturing data and supply access to company data the employees will need to enhance the production procedure.

How To Protect Your Identity Online: 9 Expert Tips

These days, however, there are probably quite a few people on the Internet who’ll have a good idea if you’re a dog. They probably also know, or could easily find out, your name, what you look like, where you live, where you work, your date of birth, the name of the first school you went to, and maybe your mother’s maiden name as well.  

If that sounds frightening, then perhaps it should be – identity fraud accounted for 68% of cases filed to the National Fraud Database in 2023, and the majority of these cases (86%) resulted from online interactions, according to Cifas, a cross-industry UK fraud prevention service.

If someone does manage to piece enough information together about you, they can open bank accounts in your name and use them for money laundering, apply for loans and more. You will then be chased to pay back those loans, and the police might think you are the one responsible for money laundering. Sorting this out and proving it wasn’t you can take time, involve a lot of stress and could even cost you your job. Identity theft can ruin your life, so protecting your identity should be a top priority.


Remove your personal data from commercial databases

Hundreds of data brokers collect and sell your personal information, increasing your chances of spam, scams, and identity theft. Take back control of your data privacy. Opt out of these databases with Incogni.

Fortunately there are more than a few tools at your disposal to help better protect your online identity, as well as adopting some best practices and taking proactive steps. Here are the main ones you should know about – and put into action!  

1. Use a password manager

One way people can get to your personal information is by guessing your passwords and logging into accounts that contain that information. 

Maintaining separate passwords for each and every account you use is a drag, not to mention impractical.  

You could come up with strong and unique passwords for everything that requires one, and maybe even write those down on a piece of paper, or in a notebook, and keep that somewhere safe. That, obviously, isn’t convenient for times when you’re out and about.  

You could in theory take that notebook with you, but, of course, if you lose your notebook, then you’ve got to reset passwords for everything and start again. If it’s stolen, then, well, you’ve just given whoever’s stolen it a veritable goldmine of information.  

You could also use a third-party service such as Facebook or Google to sign into other apps and services – a more convenient solution, but then, of course, you’re giving Facebook and Google, or whoever, an even greater idea of your browsing and spending habits.  

A more practical option is to use a password manager, an app which stores and encrypts login details for every service you use behind a single, strong master password.  

Jim Martin / Foundry

The best password managers can protect your accounts with biometric logins meaning you can use fingerprint scanners and front-facing cameras on your phone, laptop, or PC to confirm that it is indeed you that’s logging in, and not someone else.  

A good password manager will also support multi-factor authentication by default, which means when you correctly enter your master password, you’ll also be required to enter an additional code, securely sent to you through another app. Speaking of which…

2. Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication, commonly expressed as ‘2FA’, or sometimes ‘two-step verification’, is a simple but effective way of adding an extra layer of protection to any account you regularly sign in to.  

IDG / Ashley Biancuzzo

With two-factor authentication set up, once you’ve entered your password – the first factor of authentication – you’ll be sent a four or six digit code to enter as well – the second factor of authentication.  

If you don’t have access to that second code, then you’re not getting in. That means it doesn’t matter if someone has correctly guessed your password: they still can’t access your account. 

The best approach is to have authentication codes sent to you via an authenticator app, such as Authy, Duo Mobile, Google Authenticator, or Microsoft Authenticator. Some password managers, like Dashlane and 1Password, come with their own built-in authenticators.  

You could also consider investing in a security key. These hardware devices have to be plugged into one of your laptop’s USB port, or tapped on your phone to authenticate via NFC. You need to be careful not to lose them, much like your house keys, and they’re not supported by all that many services online.   

Security key options include Yubico’s YubiKey 5C, CryptoTrust’s OnlyKey, and Thetis’s FIDO2. 

3. DON’T have authentication codes texted to you

While 2FA is a great idea in theory, in practice, it’s not a good idea to have companies text you authentication codes.  

The reason for this is simple: SMS text messages can be intercepted, and it doesn’t require costly equipment or extensive technical knowledge to do so. Once someone has your authentication code, then they could very well gain access to a number of things; your online bank account or investment portfolio, or whatever you’re trying to log in to. 

If a service supports 2FA, you should check if you can use an authenticator app instead having codes via text/SMS. 

Alternatively, there might be an option to be sent authentication codes via email instead. That’s a more secure option, as your email provider should be encrypting messages in transit as standard. However, if your email account is compromised, then you’re at risk. 

For this reason, it’s good practice to automatically delete any kind of authentication email that’s sent to your account. 

4. Use a VPN 

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a good way of securing your online activity, as a VPN encrypts all of your network traffic, preventing anyone from keeping a log of your online sessions.  

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Well, almost anyone – the only organisation that could know which sites and services you visit and log in to is the VPN provider itself.  

This is why, when shopping around for a VPN provider it is important to check to see if the VPN provider operates a strict ‘no connection logs’ policy, and, more importantly, if that policy has been independently verified.  

VPNs that have made the grade in this regard in our most recent round of testing include NordVPN, CyberGhost, and PureVPN – see our round-up of the best VPN services for a full breakdown.  

5. Use burner email address 

While newsletters can be great ways of finding out about promotions and getting some money-off vouchers, it might be a good idea for you to sign up to these using a dedicated email address, instead of your main one.  

Foundry / IDG

While 2-for-1 deals and cheap pizzas are great, what’s not great is when marketing companies share subscriber information with data brokers, which can lead to you being sent a lot of marketing emails for things you never even signed up for in the first place, or aren’t even interested in.  

While that in itself is not an inherent security risk, what it can do is make it harder for you to spot scam emails and similar phishing attempts, which often disguise themselves as legitimate marketing emails. Plus, who wants junk mail? No-one. 

If all marketing traffic is funneled towards a specific email account, it leaves your mail account with emails you might actually want to read. 

6. Ask data brokers to delete information they hold on you 

Data brokers, such as Acxiom, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion make money from selling information about you to marketing companies.  

Tech Advisor/Foundry

Information about you can come from a variety of sources, from companies selling your data to third parties as described above, from analysing your web browsing history, and your shopping history.  

While the UK has now left the European Union, the terms of the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) still applies.  

Under Article 21 of the GDPR, you can order companies to stop processing any personal data they hold on you for the purposes of marketing, and under Article 15, you have the right to make an SAR (subject access request), where a company must share all and any personal data they hold about you, for free.   

In the U.S. your rights currently vary from state to state, but you still may be successful in contacting a company or organisation with an SAR – or SRR (subject rights request) as they’re also known. U.S. based non-profit Privacy Rights Clearninghouse maintains a list of data brokers, which states they’re located in, and whether or not they allow an opt out.  

As per the Australian Privacy Act, you can request access to the data that a company holds on you, and request to correct any incorrect information, delete it or de-identify it, if it is no longer required for their purposes. 

In order to make any kind of access request, you will need to provide some basic information – such as your name, home address, phone number email address – and possibly some supplementary information, such as your account name/user ID, so that a company can correctly identify you and process your request.  

You can also pay third parties to contact data brokers on your behalf, if you are short on time – organisations offering such a service include DeleteMe, Incogni, OneRep, OptOutUK, and PrivacyBee. 

However, data brokers may not respond to requests made on behalf of individuals by third parties such as these. It might be that a company can only tell you who holds data about you – in which case it would then be up to you to contact the company, and request that they delete any data held on you.  

7. Lock down or delete social media accounts  

In addition to getting rid of the inevitable cringe posts and photos of you with regrettable haircuts/outfits/both, closing or deleting old or inactive social accounts and blogs can be a good idea, especially if they contain anything too personal.  

In short, if you’re no longer using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any kind of platform, consider deleting it, or, at the very least, lock down the privacy settings to control who can see that data. That way you still maintain a presence on those platforms, but they’re much less likely to be used by anyone trying to impersonate you.  

8. Don’t share too much online

Comedian Stewart Lee once memorably described Twitter as “the Stasi for the Angry Birds generation”, and famously does not maintain a personal social media presence.  

Tech Advisor/Foundry

While you might not want to employ the same approach to social media as Mr. Lee, his main point about revealing one’s whereabouts and habits on a public online platform like Twitter is worth keeping in mind.  

Posting a photo of you in front of the house you’ve recently moved into, then later complaining that your landlord still hasn’t fixed that downstairs window, and then announcing to the world that you’re about to go on holiday for a couple of weeks, could all add up to you coming back home to a nasty surprise.  

9. Opt out of sharing data

Also, moderate what you share online, and be savvy about how someone looking at your profile might join the dots. Use some form of multi-factor authentication, but don’t have codes sent to you via SMS if at all possible, and consider using a password manager and a VPN to better protect yourself and your online activity.

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