One day 2 weeks ago a group of friends was enjoying a night out in the West End. They were looking forward to a quality meal and a Saturday night show – but it didn’t quite go according to plan.
Whilst waiting on a tube platform one of the friend’s wives had her pockets picked and her iPhone was stolen. Using her husband’s phone they registered the phone as stolen with Apple and continued on to the show. Thankfully they were able to put the theft behind them and have a great night in London.
Later that night a message pinged on her partner’s phone from “Apple”.
“You’re iPhone 12 Pro was found at 00:35 GMT. View location here” it said, along with a link. He clicked the link and up popped Apple’s “Find my” iCloud screen and asked for his wife’s PIN.
When the PIN was entered, up popped a map with a location – although it was a location in Australia.
Confused, worn out and little drunk from the night’s revelry they both decided to go to bed and approach things with a clearer head in the morning.
Sunday came and they both woke feeling more than a little concerned that Apple had managed to get the number for his Samsung phone to send the “Found iPhone” message to.
He opened the text again to click on the link but it no longer worked. Thinking back he remembered that he thought the map he had seen during the night looked a little odd. It was of a lower resolution than expected and lacked the ability to scroll around or to shrink or enlarge.
The penny dropped. They’d been scammed.
Thankfully, with bank accounts secured by bio-metrics, the bank accounts were secure and a quick check on shopping apps showed nothing had been bought, yet. Passwords were changed just to make sure.
A phone call to their service provider helped put their minds at rest. The PIN was required by the thief so that they could simply wipe the phone and sell it on.
Although nothing more than a phone was lost, the stress my friends went through, allied to the hassle of getting hold of a replacement phone and setting it up was bad enough.
So, be warned. If you have an iPhone stolen be wary of messages popping up on phones belonging to people in your contact list announcing that the phone has been found.
Have a great Christmas, a happy new year and stay Cyber Secure.
I look forward to communicating with you in the new year. If you need any help, please, just ask. You can reach me by phone – 01793 23
I’ve been writing, OK moaning, almost annually about the stupidity of some people, feelings that are based on nothing more than their choice of passwords.
Every year, I hope things will get better. And every year they never seem to. More and more people are falling victim to Cyber Crime.
What happens is that major data centres are hacked and the hackers release details of the accounts they have acquired. Then a security company, such as NordPass in this instance, comes along and grabs all the data and simply finds which are the most popular, least popular and weakest passwords. Then they publish a “Top 20” of the most common passwords.
And the fact that things rarely change shows that a lot of people aren’t learning the lesson. There appears to be an assumption that simply picking a password that includes a per name, a birthday or something similar will be OK.
But, guess what, if you are being targeted by a hacker, they’ll already have that information, and they’ll use it to break in to your bank/savings accounts, go shopping online using your Amazon account (or a different shopping account) and have their ill gotten gains delivered elsewhere. Alternatively they’ll use a Pavement Pirate to steal the delivery from your doorstep.
According to the research, the passwords used for streaming platforms are often the weakest but if I can get in to your Amazon Prime Video I can also get in to your Amazon Shopping account and don’t fall in to the trap of using the same password for multiple accounts, or simply incrementing a password for different accounts. So, no more Password1, Password2 etc.
Just to recap, here’s how to create a really strong password
Rule 1. Make it longer than 12 Characters Rule 2. Include numbers and symbols Rule 3. Use a Password manager. they are everywhere these days and loads are free, such as the ones built in to your web browser Rule 4. If you use a Password manager, let it create the really complex passwords for you Rule 5.If you don’t use a Password Manager, think of 3 words and substitute some numbers for l3tt3r5 Rule 6. Don’t write your password down, anywhere Rule 7. Don’t send user names and passwords together in an email. Send a user name by email and the password by SMS, for example
Believe it or not, 123456 was also the most popular password in 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018.
And if you want to read the 2019 to 2022 internationally most used passwords lists you can read them on the NordPass website.
Please don’t allow yourself to become another statistic in Action Fraud’s Cyber Crime files, be smart and get strong passwords.
Here are the most common passwords in the UK
1/ 123456 2/ password 3/ qwerty 4/ liverpool 5/123456789 6/ Arsenal 7/12345678 8/ 12345 9/ abc123 10/ chelsea 11/ qwerty123 12/ football 13/ dragon 14/ password1 15/ cheese 16/ letmein 17/ 1q2w3e4r 18/ monkey 19/ killer 20/ rangers
And, for the record, I have 1,175 unique, very strong (over 16 Characters, numbers and symbols) passwords securely stored in my Password Manager and if you want to check to see how secure your password is, NordPass provide a secure way to see how long it would take a hacker to crack a password of yours. Their tool will also let you know whether your passwords have been found in any Hacker databases.
And PLEASE, if this applies to to you – STOP USING PASSWORD or 123456
Have a great Christmas, a happy new year and stay Cyber Secure. I look forward to communicating with you in the new year. If you need any help, please, just ask. You can reach me by phone – 01793 238020 – email – firstname.lastname@example.org or just hunt me down on Social Media
Andy Poulton here, your Chief SEO officer and the person who frequently writes about the need to be aware of scams arriving by email and the need to keep your passwords complex and not duplicated.
Well, guess what? I just fell for a Phishing email. And it serves to indicate that you can’t let your guard down for a single minute – because that’s what I did.
Background to the scam
I have a couple of domain names of my own and a number of clients who’s websites and domain names are hosted by One.com. I knew 2 domains were up for renewable in October 2023, I’d had reminders and even received invoices for the renewal but had yet to pay the bills.
It was the last full week of the month and I needed to get around to it. So, on Wednesday 25th I was working on a project, mentally creating a to-Do list and thinking about other tasks that needed completing too – so I think all of my mental capacity was in use.
Then, this dropped in my inbox. Yes, looking at it in hindsight shows how flawed it is but, with minimal spare mental capacity I just thought “heck, lets just get it done and dusted” and without paying any attention to anything in the email, quite the opposite of the advice I regularly hand out, I clicked the “Pay your invoice” link.
I landed on a familiar looking page and paid no attention to anything bar the credit/debit card details boxes. I filled them in with genuine information and clicked “Submit”
The page cleared and I was left staring at the “buffering” spinny wheel of death for much longer than I should have been. (Probably no more than 20 seconds) and it was at this stage that my intelligence finally kicked in.
I went back and read the email. Of course it wasn’t from One.Com
I took a fresh look at the payment page, realised the error (stupidity) of my ways and panicked.
My vision saw my card details being sent to a lovely bunch of scammers who, with the Fullz (pretty much everything they needed) were rubbing their hands in glee that another fool had fallen for their tricks and were opening up the online stores, ready to go on a spending spree.
I opened my business banking app, saw that nothing had yet been taken and phoned my bank from within the App. My call was answered quickly and I was put through to the Fraud Department. I explained how stupid I had been, asked for my card to be cancelled, and requested a replacement. Which arrived just 2 days later.
I then conducted 2 complete virus and malware scans of my PC using 2 different anti-virus applications just to make sure that nothing nasty had been downloaded.
I also checked my account at least twice a day (and I still am – just in case). It seems I have had a lucky escape. Nothing has been spent on my account.
So, this is a warning. No matter how much pressure you may be under, please check carefully, every time you respond to an email demand for payment.
Be careful out there.
And if you need help with your Digital Marketing, SEO, Email Marketing, Social media etc don’t hesitate to get in touch. I won’t spam you and I certainly won’t share your details with spammers and the like.
If you answered that it’s for your customers then go to the top of the class because all too frequently I work with websites that either have little or no focus or are simply flights of fancy for the chief executives or business owners.
The key to having a successful website is understanding what it is that your customers need to enable them to open communications, leading (hopefully) to business transactions.
I built my first commercial website in 1995 and have watched website design develop and evolve, with new technologies, user behaviours, and design trends shaping the way we create digital experiences.
Some of these new ideas have been great and have moved the design principles forward whilst many (such as scrolling images, aka scrollers, aka image carousels have seriously held good design back. Here’s my thoughts on Image Carousels.
Let’s get past trends and fashions and take a look at 10 golden rules of website design which combine timeless principles with modern considerations to ensure your website is not only visually appealing but also user-friendly, accessible, and effective at achieving its goals.
You do know what your goals for your website are, don’t you?
1/ Start with a clear purpose. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you’ve arrived?”
What do you want your website to achieve? Do you want to generate leads, sell products, or simply provide information?
Once you know your purpose, you can start to design a website that will help you achieve it. Think about the information your customers need. Group the pages together into topic/subject/project families to make it easy for customers to find the information they need. This also helps the search engines understand how your services/products sit together.
3/ Don’t lose sight of your website’s target. It’s very easy to do as you get deeper in to content creation. You hit your stride talking about the things you love but customers don’t need to know everything, they need to know how your products/services will make their lives better.
They want to know the benefits, what they will get out of engaging with you, not a list of the “things” you do, no matter how exciting you find it. There’s a well worn phrase that covers this, “Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak” because it’s the sizzle, the sound of hot steak, the smell of the hot steak that sets their imagination running. You can read more about this here.
Keep your audience in mind. Who are you designing your website for? What are their needs and interests? Make sure your website is easy to use and navigate, and that the content is relevant to your audience.
3/ Design Use a clear and consistent design. Your website should have a consistent look and feel throughout, from the colours and fonts to the layout and typography. This will help your customers understand that they are still on your site, no matter how deep they get. It will help them find their way around, create a sense of visual harmony and make your website more user-friendly.
4/ Images The Chinese reckon than 1 image is worth 1,000 words. Not only do pictures communicate concepts and ideas far faster than words they can be immediately assimilated. Pictures, used properly, also break your content up and make a page look more appealing and easier to read.
Use high-quality images and videos, preferably ones that you have taken (or had taken for you) rather than stock images that can be seen on hundreds of similar websites.
The use of Images supports and boosts your SEO (with properly named files and effective Alt Tags) whilst videos have to be optimised in their own right for optimum “findability”. Make sure your images are high-resolution and your videos are clear and engaging. And remember, YouTube is the 2nd most searched sit on the web.
5/ Think Mobile Over 1/2 of the visits to your website are likely to come from a mobile device, check Google Analytics data for your own website. The higher the percentage, the more you need to focus on the mobile experience ensuring your website is optimised for mobile devices. This means using a responsive design that will adjust to the size of the screen.
Don’t take it on trust from your web developer that your website “works on mobile”. It might be OK but check it yourself, or better yet, ask somebody who hasn’t been involved in the development of the site to check it out – from a customers perspective.
And Google will look at the mobile version of your website first, so a mobile focus also helps your SEO.
7/ Keep it simple. Your website’s navigation should be easy to understand and use. Make sure your main menu is clear and concise, and that your submenus are organized in a logical way. Steer clear of using jargon in your navigation. You might know what it means but potential customers may not.
Ensure similar products and services are in groups (or families) and make sure they link to each other. This helps visitors and Google. If you have a lot of pages then use a Post-It note per page and use them to help with organisation by grouping relevant ones together.
8/ Calls to Action Don’t leave your customers to guess what you want them to do. In his book, “Don’t make me think” by expert Steve Krug, Steve has condensed his knowledge in to the title. If a visitor to your site has to think “what’s the next step?” or “what do they want me to do now?” then you’ve already lost them. Your page has to do all the hard work, you can’t see customer’s body language and you can’t hear interest in the tone of their voice when on the phone.
To overcome this you need to use clear calls to action. Tell your visitors what you want them to do, whether it’s signing up for your email list, making a purchase, or calling you for more information. Your calls to action should be clear, concise, and easy to find.
9/ Use effective SEO. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of making your website more visible in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are a number of things you can do to improve your website’s SEO, such as using relevant keywords and phrases, creating high-quality content, and building backlinks.
The starting point is understanding the words and phrases your customers are likely to use when looking for what it is you do. Then you need to embed those words and phrases in your website in the places that the search engines examine.
10/ Test and iterate. Once your website is up and running, don’t just sit back and wait for visitors to come. Test and iterate your website regularly to see what’s working and what’s not. This will help you improve your website over time and make it more successful.
These are just a few of the golden rules of website design for 2023. By following these principles, you can create a website that is both beautiful and functional, and that will help you achieve your business goals.
In addition to these 10 golden rules, there are a few other trends that are important to keep in mind when designing websites in 2023. These include:
The rise of voice search: More and more people are using voice search to find information online. This means that your website should be optimized for voice search, using clear and concise language that is easy for people to understand.
The importance of video: Video is becoming increasingly popular online, and it’s a great way to engage visitors and communicate your message. Make sure your website includes high-quality videos that are relevant to your content.
The focus on user experience (UX): User experience (UX) is more important than ever before. Your website should be easy to use and navigate, and it should provide a positive user experience.
By following these trends and principles, you can create a website that is both effective and visually appealing. This will help you attract more visitors, convert more leads, and grow your business.
What to do next. – This is the call to action for this post. If you would like an impartial review/evaluation of your website, or are thinking about launching a new site then get in touch and I’ll be only too happy to help.
I can help with your website, your SEO, your Social Media, Email Marketing and much more and I even offer a free consultancy session. You can just drop me an email or just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146.
In today’s interconnected digital world, Solopreneurs, sole traders, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face an increasing number of cyber threats that can have severe consequences for their operations, reputation, and financial stability. Cybersecurity has become a critical aspect of business management for all businesses as they are often targeted by cybercriminals seeking to exploit their vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that are easier for the cybercriminals to take advantage of than in larger companies that have dedicated cyber security teams. This article explores the importance of cybersecurity for SMEs, highlighting the risks they face and the measures they should take to protect themselves.
Growing Cybersecurity Threats:
Small businesses and Sole Traders are an attractive target for cybercriminals. This is due to their limited resources, inadequate security infrastructure, and lack of awareness. This makes them a very profitable target for Cyber attacks such as data breaches, ransomware attacks, phishing scams, and social engineering opportunities. All of these are on the rise, and SMEs are increasingly falling victim to these malicious activities. The financial and reputational damage resulting from such incidents can be devastating for a small business.
Cyberattacks can lead to significant financial losses for SMEs. Data breaches can result in the loss of sensitive customer information, leading to legal repercussions, fines, and lawsuits. The cost of recovering from a cyberattack, including investigation, remediation, and system restoration, can be exorbitant for SMEs with limited budgets. Additionally, businesses may experience a loss of customer trust, impacting future sales and long-term growth.
The reputation of an SME is a valuable asset that can take years to build but can be destroyed in an instant due to a cyber incident. A breach of customer data or a successful hacking attempt can tarnish a company’s reputation, resulting in decreased customer loyalty and damaged relationships with stakeholders. Rebuilding trust and recovering from reputational damage can be a challenging and time-consuming process for SMEs.
Compliance and Legal Requirements:
SMEs must comply with various data protection and privacy regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and industry-specific requirements. Failure to meet these obligations can lead to severe penalties and fines. Implementing robust cybersecurity measures is crucial for SMEs to ensure compliance with these regulations, protecting both their customers’ data and their own legal standing.
Investing in cybersecurity can provide SMEs with a competitive edge in today’s business landscape. Many customers prioritize security when choosing a service or product provider. By demonstrating a strong commitment to protecting customer data and maintaining secure operations, SMEs can build trust with potential clients and gain a competitive advantage over less secure competitors.
One of the most effective ways of demonstrating cyber security to the outside world is through the Cyber Essentials schemes where businesses that can demonstrate their cyber security are provided with a certificate that proves their cyber security credentials to existing and potential customers
Supply Chain Risks:
SMEs are often part of complex supply chains, working closely with other businesses. Weak cybersecurity measures within an SME can create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to larger organizations. A breach in one link of the supply chain can have a cascading effect, affecting multiple businesses. Therefore, SMEs must prioritize cybersecurity not only for their own protection but also to ensure the security of their partners and customers. Many large organisations often demand proof of good Cyber security practices and the Cyber Essentials program is a good way to demonstrate this
Employee Awareness and Training:
Employees play a crucial role in maintaining cybersecurity within an organization. SMEs should invest in cybersecurity awareness and training programs to educate their employees about best practices, common threats, and how to respond to potential incidents. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity, SMEs can empower their employees to be proactive in identifying and mitigating cyber risks.
Proactive Cybersecurity Measures:
SMEs can take several proactive measures to enhance their cybersecurity posture. Implementing strong password policies, regularly updating software and systems, utilizing multi-factor authentication, encrypting sensitive data, and regularly backing up critical information are some essential steps. It is also advisable to invest in reliable antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems to protect against external threats.
Collaboration and External Support: SMEs can benefit from collaborating with cybersecurity experts, industry associations, and government agencies. These partnerships can provide valuable insights, guidance, and resources to help SMEs strengthen their cybersecurity defences. Engaging with third-party cybersecurity providers can also offer specialized expertise and solutions tailored to the specific needs and budget constraints of SMEs.
Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning:
SMEs should develop comprehensive continuity and disaster recovery plans to ensure business operations can quickly resume in the event of a cyber incident. Regularly backing up data, testing backup and recovery processes, and establishing redundant systems are vital components of such plans. By preparing for potential disruptions, SMEs can minimize downtime and mitigate the financial and operational impact of cyberattacks.
Ongoing Risk Assessment and Adaptability:
Cybersecurity is not a one-time effort but requires continuous monitoring, risk assessment, and adaptation. SMEs should regularly evaluate their cybersecurity measures, identify vulnerabilities, and implement necessary updates or upgrades. As technology and cyber threats evolve, SMEs must stay informed about emerging risks and adopt proactive measures accordingly.
Building Customer Trust:
Strong cybersecurity practices help SMEs build trust with their customers. By prioritizing data protection and privacy, SMEs can assure their clients that their information is safe and secure. This trust can result in increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth recommendations, and repeat business, contributing to long-term success and growth.
Cybersecurity is of paramount importance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in today’s digital landscape. The increasing prevalence of cyber threats and the potential financial, reputational, and legal consequences emphasize the need for robust cybersecurity measures. By investing in cybersecurity, SMEs can protect their sensitive data, maintain customer trust, comply with regulations, gain a competitive advantage, and ensure the continuity of their business operations. Through proactive measures, collaboration with experts, and a focus on employee training, SMEs can mitigate cyber risks and safeguard their future in an increasingly interconnected world.
If you need help with your Cyber Security I can help and can even point you in the direction of a really excellent Cyber Security company if you need more in-depth help and support.
Get in touch – even if it’s just for a free consult. You can call me on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146, email email@example.com or book a slot using my calendar and we’ll take it from there
Web analytics is the process of collecting, analysing, and interpreting data about website usage. Understanding the data will help you understand how visitors are using your website, and this is information that you can feed back into the design of your website.
To make the most of your website’s data it’s important to understand key terms like bounce rate, conversion rate, and sessions. Google Analytics is the most used by SMEs. Google Analytics 3 provides a lot of information about the way visitors use, interact with and move through a website. However, GA3 is highly reliant on tracking cookies, something that the EU have taken against on privacy grounds. As a result, at the time of writing, Google is in the middle of migrating from Google Analytics 3 (GA3) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a migration that is due to be completed by June 2023.
To help you understand the most important GA4 metrics here are 10 essential web analytics terms to get you started.
This is the count of visitors to your website within a specific time frame. The count starts when a visitor enters your website and ends when they leave, or after a period of inactivity, usually 30 minutes. Users numbers are important to understand, although it’s equally important to understand what they do whilst they are on your website and how long they stay on it.
A pageview is a count of the number of times a page on your website has been viewed. This metric is useful in measuring the popularity of your content and determining which pages on your site are the most engaging. Page Views divided by Users gives you an average number of Pages Viewed per visit, To get the full benefit of this metric you need understand what you want people to do whilst they are on your site, and how many pages they have tpo visit to complete that goal. Generally speaking, the higher the average number the better but if you have a small website it’s unlikely to be more than 2 or 3.
3/ New Users
Users is the count of the total of visitors to your website over a given period of time. A “New User” is a person who visits your website for the first time within a specific time frame. New Users are important to measure because this figure counts how many different individuals are visiting your website, which is crucial in determining the success of your marketing efforts.
4/ Engagement Rate
The Engagement Rate records the number of people who actually do something when the visit your website. In GA3 the Bounce rate was the percentage of visitors who left your website after only viewing one page, the Engagement Rate is a more positive view, looking at visitors who do something. Visit another page, watch a video, spend more than 20 seconds on your site etc.
A low Engagement rate can indicate that your website is not meeting the expectations of your visitors, and they are not finding what they are looking for.
5/ Conversion Rate
Conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who complete a specific action on your website, such as filling out a form or making a purchase. This metric is crucial in measuring the effectiveness of your website in achieving its goals. However, to be of value you must understand what it is you want your visitors to do and set the correct Goal in the “Conversions” screen.
6/ User Acquisition
This information helps you to understand how your visitors reached, or found, your website. Is your online advertising working? Are your Social Media campaigns delivering visits to your website? Is your SEO paying off?
The “User Acquisition” menu answers these questions, and more – such as which traffic source delivers the best Engagement Rate.
Core metrics include
Direct – Visitors who know your web address, from their “favourites”, from a business card, from a phone conversation etc.
Organic Search – Visits that started on a Search Engine, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo etc.
Paid – Traffic from Pay-per-Click Ads, such as Google and Bing Ads, Facebook Ads etc.
Referral – Visitors that have arrived after clicking on a link on a third party site, such as a directory site
Organic Social – Visitors who come from a Social Media platform, from clicking on your profile or something in your Newsfeed not after clicking on an Ad.
7/ Average Engagement Time
Time on site is the average amount of time that a user spends on your website. This metric is important in understanding the engagement level of your visitors and how interested they are in your content. Like a lot of the metrics here, it does mean that you have to understand your website and website goals. How long does it take to get from the Landing Page to your goal page. For a small site, with just a Home Page and a Contact Page this could be a matter of a few seconds whilst for a larger, eCommerce website for example, it could be several minutes but understanding your website is key to properly understanding the Average Engagement Time.
8/ Landing Page
Contrary to popular belief, not all Visitors will land on your website’s Home Page. Search Engines will want to provide searchers with a link that is most appropriate to their search, for example. This makes it easier for searchers to find what they are looking for.
A well planned Ads campaign will take people directly to the page or product that most closely relates to their search.
People may also save specific pages in their Favourites.
Understanding Landing Pages and Engagement Rates for Landing Pages will enhance your understanding of the performance of your website.
9/ Tech >Device
These days, Google search takes a Mobile First view, which means it looks at the Mobile version of your website first. However, it’s important to understand how many visitors to your site come from mobile phones, desktops and tablets because this will guide you as to the most important format for your website. For example, if only 5% of visits come from Mobile devices then you need to focus on the Desktop/Laptop version of your website but if more than 30-40% of visits originate from mobiles then you need your prime focus to be on the small screen versions of your website.
10/ Demographics/User Location
It is important to understand where your visitors live. If you are an exporter you need to know that people in your target markets are finding, and visiting your website and if you only trade in the UK it’s important to ensure that the majority of your Visitors come from the UK. If you receive a lot of visits from territories that you don’t serve it might be that your marketing is being sown in countries that you don’t serve and this is wasted effort and wasted money, especially if you are using paid advertising to attract people to your site.
Understanding these ten essential web analytics terms is crucial in optimizing your website, measuring its effectiveness, and making data-driven decisions. By analysing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your website’s performance and can make changes that can lead to increased traffic, engagement, and sales.
I hope this list of terms is helpful and if you need help understanding what Google Analytics is telling you about your website, whether that’s GA3 or GA4 then please, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call me on 01793 238020, email firstname.lastname@example.org or just search Chief SEO Officer
Web Safe Fonts – What are they and do you need them?
What are Web Safe Fonts? Do you need Web Safe Fonts? What Impact will they have on my website?
Every single internet connected device has, pre-installed, a number of fonts. These are instantly available to web browsers.
Which Fonts are Web Safe?
Times New Roman
These are a mix of “Serif” fonts (those with little “tails” such as Times New Roman and “San Serif” fonts – which don’t have any fancy frills.
Times New Roman is a Serif font, and was designed to look good, on printed paper, It was designed in 1931 for The Times newspaper.
The Aerial font was designed in 1982. It is a license free variation of Helvetica (so free to use) and both were specifically designed with the aim of being easy to read on a computer screen.
When a Web Safe Font is used, the device accessing the website doesn’t have to download any font to open the web page in the browser. This is the fastest way of presenting written content.
Non-Web Safe fonts are great, though. They can add fun, they can add a certain seasonality, they can look like handwriting (Cursive fonts).
They give a web designer access to hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of individually crafted fonts, which can really enhance the look of a website, when used effectively.
However, before a browser can display a page with a non-Web Safe Font, the browser first has to find where it can download the font from, and then download the font. In this era of speed (needing to open a website in under 3 seconds) this can slow the site down.
Web Safe Fonts – the Font Size Conundrum
Not only that, but if the font can’t be downloaded, the website will default to Times New Roman (typically) and this could make the site look ugly because the page formatting will be out, and it could render the text unreadable because some fonts have to be set to a significantly larger size to be rendered in a readable way on screen.
Thanks for reading and remember, if you have any problems with your website, SEO or any other part of your digital marketing please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’ll be only too happy to answer any questions that you might have
Twitter’s great, isn’t it? Really good for keeping in touch with your Followers, for keeping up with the latest news, raising awareness of your business, demonstrating that you know your stuff and acting as the starting point for conversations that could lead to business.
But if you’re following more than 100 people it can become quite a challenge to find Tweets from people that are of particular interest due to the speed your Twitter news-feed fills up with new Tweets.
But there is a solution that makes things so much easier – and it’s called Twitter Lists
What is a Twitter List
Simply put, Twitter Lists are like filters. You add people you follow (and you can add people you don’t follow too – more on that in a bit) and when you only want to see their Tweets, you simply choose the relevant list and all the Twitter noise from everyone else is immediately filtered out, just leaving you with updates from people on your lists.
For example, I have a F1 List so when I want to catch up on the latest Formula One news, I go to my F1 list and all I see are Tweets from the people that I have added to that List, all of whom are involved in F1 in one way or another.
Types of Lists
There are two types of lists, public and private. A Public List is one that all Twitter uses can see and a Private List can only be accessed by yourself. The types of lists that you could have include.
If these were my lists, then I’d set the business-related ones to “Private” so that my competitors can’t easily see who my clients are etc.
Now, when I want to interact with my clients to see what they’ve said, and to add my own thoughts/comments all I have to do is click on the relevant list and the rest of the Twittersphere goes away.
Making your First Twitter List
Click on the “More” link on the LH side of your Twitter Page (Desktop/Laptop) and this opens a new menu. Simply click “Lists” to get into your Twitter Lists.
If you don’t have any Lists, or want to start a new one, click this icon at the top of your screen, give your new List a name, add a description if you want to and you’re good to go. There’s a final option here, “Make Private” this means that only you will be able to see the List and the accounts that you have added, unlike a regular List which is visible to all Twitter users.
If you are using your phone, all you have to do is click on your Avatar or personal picture at the top of your profile to open a similar menu, and “Lists” is right there.
Once you have given your List a name (and a Description should you wish) then just click “Next” and Twitter will show you a box which will enable you to add people to your list.
Conduct a search and when you come across someone you want to add just click on “Add” and that account will be added to your list.
Adding People to your List from your newsfeeds
When you are reading Tweets and come across someone that you’d like to add to one of your Lists, all you need to do is click on the three dots menu that’s at the top right of every individual Tweet (on desktops/laptops AND mobiles) and use the “Add or Remove from Lists” option. If you have more than one list, you’ll be asked to choose which List or Lists you want them added too.
How do I see what people on my lists are sharing?
All you have to do is head back to the menu on the LH side of your Twitter news feed, click “More” and then” Lists” or, on your Phone, access the menu that you get from clicking on your image/avatar and select “Lists”. You’ll be presented with all of your lists, and you just click the list you want to see.
See, it’s easy and a really useful way to manage your Twitter followers.
Advanced List Use
When you follow someone, they receive a notification that you have followed them and so they might follow you back, but they might be a competitor and you don’t want them to know you are Following them. So, don’t follow them, just add them to a List, and make it Private.
Look at other Twitter users Lists.
If you look at someone’s profile, you’ll be able to see how many Lists they have simply by clicking the 3-dot menu by the “Notification” bell icon.
Click on “Lists” and you’ll see their Lists and who they have added to their Lists.
If you see a List you like the look of, just click on “Follow” and this third party List will be added to your Lists and you can access it in the same way that you access any of your Lists
Go away, set up some lists for yourself, add some people and have a bit of a play to get the hang of the way they work. You can thank me for saving you lots of time later.
Joking aside, if you do need any help with Twitter, Social or SEO just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146 email email@example.com or share your question with me on Twitter or LinkedIn and I’ll be delighted to assist.
It’s the new year. Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? Was one of them to go to the gym to get fitter and lose that Christmas podge?
Well, your website is not dissimilar. Over the years that you’ve had it, it’s hopefully been updated, edited, had new content added and irrelevant content removed. But is it still contiguous?
When was the last time you went through it,
Page by page
Link by Link to make sure everything is still working
Word by Word to ensure all your words still send the right message
Image by image to make sure your pictures are fresh, relevant and up to date.
To check that the navigation doesn’t take a visitor to the wrong page – or even worse, a 404 Error Page
To ensure that all pages load in under 3 seconds
Checking that your Shopping Cart (if you have one) still works
That your shopping cart is easy and logical to use. Ask someone unfamiliar with your site to make a trial purchase and ask for their feedback.
Ensure that the whole transaction process still functions as designed
And that your site is super easy to use on a small (mobile phone) screen
Oh, and the SEO is still top-notch, you’re using the right keywords, your Header Tags are using relevant Key Words, your Meta Title and Meta Descriptions are the right length and not duplicated, that your images have SEO relevant file names, all images have Alt-Tags and all images are of an appropriate size. That your content has keywords featured in the top one or two paragraphs but that keywords are not overly repeated. That nothing’s been missed, no stone left unturned, and your links to your Social Media profiles still work.
It’s so easy to take these things for granted, to trust that your developer has done their job but such complacency could lead to a decline in your business because you’ll never find out until it’s too late. Nobody will tell you if they encounter a problem, they’ll just go to their search engine of choice, probably Google, and look for somebody else to service their need.
Unlike a lot of website SEO evaluations, mine will be carried out by me, not by a machine, so I’ll come back with a far better evaluation and detailed list of recommendations that you can carry out, that you can pass to your developer or you can ask me to implement. And if you book your *Website Workoutby the end of January 2023 you’ll get 100% of the cost back if you choose to let me take on your SEO.
Carry out the in-depth Website Workout yourself (but you might slip up if you are overly familiar with your site so getting a third party to do it for you is always the best option
Get in touch to talk about other options. I can help with your website, your SEO, your Social Media, Email Marketing and much more and I even offer a free consultancy session, or you can just drop me an email or just give me a call on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146.
There’s increasing talk in the media, and in advertising, of VPNs as an apparent cure to all your security woes and as a potential money saver. But what is a VPN and do you actually need one?
What is a VPN and how does it Work?
The acronym VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Virtual in that it’s not, in the strictest sense, real, your VPN only exists for the duration of your use, Private because your connection is encrypted which prevents bad actors form listening in and Network because your VPN builds a private network between your device and an endpoint. It’s often likened to building your own tunnel from you to the endpoint with the data being very secure as it travels through your own tunnel.
Do you remember in some old films when the detectives would say “we can’t track this person, they’ve bounced their call, internet connection etc, off at least 9 different servers across the world”? Well, they could have been using a VPN.
Back in the days when I was employed as a consultant, my employer used a VPN so that we could securely connect to the office network when working remotely. And that’s what a VPN does, it allows a more secure connection across the internet.
Your VPN provider has a number of endpoints that they provide, around the world and when you connect to one, your data is encrypted before it leaves your device and pops out on to the internet at one of these points-of-presence with everything in-between making it’s way through your own, encrypted, secure, tunnel.
Imagine you pop in to your local coffee shop and hop on their free wi-fi to check your emails, perhaps do a little shopping and check your bank account. All your data flows through your coffee shop’s wi-fi router (Local Network in the graphic above) and out on to the internet (Public Network). However, it’s very easy for someone with a malicious intent to set up their own connection to the cafe’s WiFi and pretend to be the free WiFi service. If you connect to this all your data goes through their system (and it could just be their laptop) which allows them to pick up your connection, analyse your traffic and steal your data. This is called a man-in-the-middle attack and is pretty common and very easy to pull off.
If you use a VPN it doesn’t matter about the man-in-the-middle because your data zips right past that, secure in it’s own encrypted, tunnel, on the way to the endpoint – which is where it gets decrypted and sent on it’s way to your chosen website.
Why Should I use a VPN?
There are a number of reasons why you might choose to use a VPN.
The first is SECURITY
As noted just now, it’s not overly difficult to intercept web traffic, some of which will contain personal data and security related info – user names, passwords, banking data etc and a VPN can overcome most of the risks associated with the interception of privacy related data, keeping you safe from identity fraud and theft.
The second is SAVING MONEY
Your VPN provider will have endpoints in a number of different countries and if you select one of those countries then the internet will think that’s where you are – because that’s where your internet connection and data look as though it’s originating.
This means that you might find subscriptions (Netflix, YouTube, Spotify etc) are less expensive in other countries, that flights and holidays may cost less if booked from somewhere other than the UK and so on.
It’ll take a little bit of research but here are a couple of examples.
Spotify Premium costs just $1.58/month in India (the cheapest) but $18.39/month in Denmark (the most expensive).
YouTube Premium is similarly priced, costing just $1.56/month in India but $15.95 in Switzerland.
Not all VPNs provide access to the least expensive countries but there are many good deals to be had, although you do need a VPN that is able to bypass Geo-Blocks, the technology that subscription providers use to catch VPN users and stop them getting the best deals.
The third is HIDING YOUR LOCATION
When conducting an SEO review I have to appear as a random, anonymous, user when researching client sites. Unfortunately, due to the way that Google works, if I just use my regular browser, Google knows it’s me – even if I choose “Incognito” mode. This means that Google presents search results based on known likes, browser and search history and a wide range of other metrics – which is pretty useless.
So, I use a Browser that rejects cookies, stores no history and has a built in VPN. This ensures that I see results that are unfiltered, for the most accurate results. The Browser that I use for this is the Epic Privacy Browser and it’s free to download and use
I also have international clients and conducting a web search in the UK will show me results biased towards the UK. Again, by setting my VPN endpoint in the country I want to research it looks as though I am connected to that country and so I get to see search results from that country.
Some UK services, BBC iPlayer for example, block you from accessing shows and films when you are outside of the UK because they don’t have the necessary Copyright licenses to broadcast shows to the rest of the world. When on holiday abroad this could limit your access to entertainment. Using a VPN will help bypass this restriction.
Many service providers on the internet use details from your internet connection to tailor services to you and target ads at you. A VPN will prevent them from attributing your browsing history to your PC/Phone although if you are logged in to Google, Facebook etc this becomes null and void.
A good VPN will also scan files as you download them, provide Ad Free results and ensure that there’s no data tracking or storing when you are searching.
So which VPN should I choose
As with all things technology related, the real answer is “it depends”. If you just want to anonymise your web browsing then browsers such as Brave (no VPN but blocks trackers and a lot of Ads) or Epic (the one with the inbuilt VPN – although it only has EndPoints in 8 countries) will be sufficient for your needs.
Probably the most well known VPN is provided by Nord and they regularly run a range of special offers. Their normal price is £94.35PA for a 2 year contract although this does enable you to use their VPN on up to 6 different devices. However, at the time of writing this is reduced to £33.65PA or just £2.49/month and you get an additional 3 months free (prices are exc. VAT)
Another leading VPN is SurfShark. Their “Unlimited VPN” package is currently just £1.74/month for the first 26 months and can be used on an unlimited number of devices
My current VPN of choice is TunnelBear but for no other reason than when I signed up I got a lot of bandwidth for very little money. It has some limitations but none that I have found impact on my use
If you have a 2TB plan (or greater) storage plan with Google then you can use their free “1” VPN on phones (Android and iOS). However, it does mean that you are trusting Google not to look at your data as it passes through their servers. You also can’t control your EndPoint so it’s no good if you want to browser from different countries
Beware of “Free” VPNs because nothing’s ever free. A free VPN may come with ads and it might also sell your data on to unidentified third parties.
Free VPNs also may limit the Bandwidth they provide which will limit the downloads and streaming you can do.
Free VPNs may also limit your Speed which also makes them useless for streaming and downloads will take quite a while longer than you are probably used to.
And finally, if you have any VPN related questions then I probably know enough to be able to answer your question or point you in the direction of someone who can.
If you need assistance with your SEO, Email Marketing, Social media or any other type of online marketing activities then I can definitely help you so you really should get in touch – even if it’s just for a free consult. You can call me on 01793 238020 or 07966 547146, email firstname.lastname@example.org or book a slot using my calendar and we’ll take it from there