Blog

6th May, 2018

What is GDPR and How Does it Affect My Business?

EU GDPR LogoIn May 2018, GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation will come into force replacing the current Data Protection Act of 1998. GDPR aims to give individuals more control over how companies use their data, and will introduce fines for those to break the rules.

GDPR is a massive step towards transparency, showing users exactly what happens to their data and who has access. Compliance however can be a big job – we’re updating all of our websites to include privacy notices to ensure we’re still compliant with EU regulation.

When does GDPR Come Into Force?

GDPR will be in force from May 25th 2018 across all EU member sates, and although the UK is set to leave the EU it has been confirmed that UK law based on GDPR will be drafted for Brexit. There’s no getting out of GDPR compliance.

What is GDPR?

GDPR is in essence a set of rules that organisations must follow when collecting and using user data. This applies to everything from Facebook posts to contact form responses. If your website is already displaying cookie banners and a privacy policy you’re in a good place, you won’t need to update much to get compliant.

How do I Get GDPR Compliant?

  • Take a look at the official ICO document for self assessment, this will guide you through the specifics of compliance
  • Make sure you display a privacy notice
  • Ensure users specifically agree to you using their data, and state why and how you are using their data

What is a Privacy Notice?

A privacy notice in essence outlines the following for users:

  • Who the organisation collecting user data is
  • What is going to happen to the user data
  • Who will have access to the data

A privacy notice is similar to a privacy policy and will need a few key pieces of information, set out in the ICO guide to privacy notices.

What about Google Analytics?

Google Analytics would be classed as a data processor under GDPR, this means that you’re sending google user data for processing (for showing hits, bounce rate, time on page…). If you’re using Google Analytics you should declare this in your privacy notice along with the information you collect.

If you are able to identify individual users in analytics you should ask users for permission before you collect any data. This means that you shouldn’t load any analytics scripts before the user gives their consent.

Wrap-Up

GDPR overall is good – users are able to see what happens when they click ‘submit’ on forms or when posting to a website, and there are much clearer rules for organisations showing what they can and can’t do with user data.

Need Compliance Help? We’re here to help, contact us to see how we can ensure your business is compliant with the new regulations.

17th April, 2018

Our Best Small Business SEO Tips

One of our most common tasks is to get small businesses ranking on Google, it’s massively important for a business to rank in the top 10 for their main keyword, for example “florists cumbria”, local SEO like this can be achieved in a couple of key ways so here’s our best small business SEO tips….

Google My Business

Google My Business is a listing tool for business on Google, it provides at-a-glance information for potential customers, including address, opening hours, phone number and the main service the business provides.

If a customer were to google the name of your business, for example “The Multi Barrow Company”, then the google my business box would likely appear in the sidebar. If a customer were to google a more generic term, for example “Roofing Whitehaven” then a selection of businesses would be shown at the top of the search results, along with a map of their locations, giving customers more than one choice of local business.

Google My Business is a great way to get your business out there, and it’s not complicated to get listed – signup at google my business for a free listing.

Links from Other Websites

Links are massively important for SEO, think of a link from another website to yours as a vote of confidence – if another website is linking to you then your site must have value, and is likely a useful resource. Google have previously said that one of the factors their search algorithm takes into account is links, making link building a key part of SEO.

Building links can be time consuming but this is definitely worth it, with each link link you could see your site move in the rankings and eventually you could start climbing page 1 and into the top 10 sites.

Directories

Directories are a simple way to build links, a local example is the Cumbria Growth Hub Business Directory, this site allows you to submit your business name, info, logo and most importantly a link to your website. This website has authority as the site itself has plenty of links, meaning that this link will have a better effect on your site.

Guest Posts

Guest posts are posts written on a website by a different author, this works both ways – sites can exchange articles for links (e.g. a credit at the bottom of the article) and will be picked up by google in the same way as a directory link. This is a more time consuming way to build links but this can be worth it, with these posts being viewed by potential customers that could view your website.

Content is King

Content really is king when it comes to SEO, and you need to find the perfect balance between too many keywords, and too little content. Gone are the days where you could write “web design” 40 times on one page and google would value the page more for “web design”. Now content needs to be considered valuable to users, but also must include your keywords.

Using a keyword tool, e.g. google keyword planner should should show you the most common searches around a topic, e.g. roofing cumbria, by using these keywords you should be able to piece together content for your site that includes the exact keywords customers are searching for, whist of course still retaining a proper readable article.

Round-Up

SEO is complicated and these are only a few ways to boost your local sites SEO, we’ve been doing SEO for years and know the ins and outs well, so if you’re looking for a little more support and advice please do get in touch for a chat.

30th July, 2016

What is Cloudflare? Our Ultimate Guide

Introduction

In a nutshell, Cloudflare is a web service that allows you to add an SSL certificate, DDOS protection, Caching and other goodies to protect and speed up your website, for free. It’s good practice to have a system like this in place to prevent any attacks and to make sure your website is safe and secure for visitors.

Cloudflare Logo

Cloudflare Logo

Setup

Setting up Cloudflare on your website is actually extremely simple. Signup at cloudflare.com and enter your website address, i.e. ourwebsite.com and they will automatically scan your website for any subdomains and redirects you have in place. Once this is complete you will be instructed to change your name servers on the domain to correspond with their chosen servers.

Once you have changed over your name servers you’re pretty much ready to go, then it’s just a matter of toggling what modules you want on your site and hey presto, you’ve got Cloudflare!

Support

Cloudflare Support

Cloudflare Support

Cloudflare offer support via a massive FAQ section, where you will find answers to a multitude of questions from the Cloudflare community. You will also find phone numbers and email addresses on the Cloudflare website if you would prefer to speak to someone.

CDN

Cloudflare is also a content delivery network or CDN. A CDN is used to make sure users around the world are served your website quickly. If your server is based in London and you’re accessing your site from Florida it’s going to be slower than if you accessed it from Bristol. This is where a CDN helps.

A CDN stores your website around the world in different locations to make sure that everyone gets a super fast copy of your site. Pretty nifty, huh!

DDOS?

DDOS, or a denial of service attack is a malliloucs attack in which a cluster of infected computers or zombies are all instructed to send multiple requests to your website at the same time. The aim of the attack is to render the server unusable in an attempt to take down a website or to access unauthorised data.

SSL

Cloudflare offers a free SSL certificate for all website son the system. An SSL certificate secures connections to your website and will make sure that any eavesdroppers will not be able to decipher information your customers are submitting via forms on your site.

Having an SSL certificate is now good practice for any website as this proves vital for security and also helps your site ranking as Google favours website with an SSL certificate.

Pricing

As I mentioned earlier, Cloudflare is free – but there are 2 more tiers available on the system. The Free tier includes SSL, Stats, DDOS protection and performance increases. The Pro Tier includes more speed features, mobile optimisations, realtime stats and a WAF, or Web Application Firewall. Finally, the Business tier includes 100% uptime, better DDOS protection and Railgun web optimisation.

You can definitely get away with using a free plan on your website. The free plan includes all the base features required to ensure your site is safe and secure and that your visitors data is safe. If you are looking for extra piece of mind or a business solution, the Pro and Business packages are definitely something to look at but keep in mind that there isn’t really many differences between the two packages!

Round-up

I personally feel as if all websites should be using Cloudflare or a similar service to protect their websites. Not only does Cloudflare offer fantastic security benefits but the system will also ensure your website is consistently speedy!

I use Cloudflare on all websites at Cumbria Web Solutions and am confident that they are all safe and secure at all times. The addition of monitoring tools is also a huge benefit as you can monitor sites without logging into separate accounts.

I would definitely recommend cloudflare to anyone with a website, no matter how big or small and recommend that you sign up today at cloudflare.com – you won’t regret it!

21st July, 2016

How to get verified on Twitter

What is Twitter Verification?

Twitter Verification Badge

Twitter Verification Badge

Twitter verification is simply a way of showing users that yes, this is the real account for ‘X’, a sort of assurance that information will be correct and that views will be of the person they say they are.

What’s new?

Today, twitter launched a new online application process for users to get the blue verified tick on their account. Before now, Twitter was in charge of deciding who got the tick so only those with a lot of followers, or those in the public eye would be able to get the Twitter tick.

Now, there is an online form to submit to Twitter to get verified. We have submitted our application with the reason that having a Twitter tick means we’re more trustworthy and would be able to benefit from more business because of this.

The fact that now anyone can apply for the verified tick means that the tick is less important. The tick used to be there for twitter accounts that were regularly faked or parodied, making sure you’re tweeting and getting information from the right person. Now, with anyone able to apply for the tick a question hangs over it – is it really that important anymore?

Get Your Twitter Verified…

You can get your twitter account verified by going to verification.twitter.com, there’s a quick form to fill in where you can get your twitter verified and receive the prestigious blue tick!

3rd July, 2016

Web Design in Seascale

For those of you that haven’t yet heard of Cumbria Web Solutions, we’re a new company offering web design in Seascale who can give you a professional and modern website design from just £160.

Web Design in Seascale

Cumbria Web Solutions is run by Daniel Mace, Lancaster University Computer Science Student and experienced web developer. Daniel has worked with Sellafield LTD, West Lakes Academy and Lowther Medical Centre in the past two name but a few.

Web Design in Seascale - Calderthwaite Home

Calderthwaite Home Page

Since starting the business in December 2015, We’ve worked with a few businesses in Seascale. The new Roomers website is one of our newest designs, along with the new Calderthwaite website which we are still putting the finishing touches to. We’re really enjoying working with you and hope to meet more business owners in Seascale soon.

We are always on the lookout for new projects so if you’re looking at getting a new website or even just a little bit of work on your current site – please get in touch!

Get In Touch!

You can email us: [email protected] or use our contact page for more information.

 

8th April, 2016

Tell your story with a business blog

Every business has a story to tell, no matter how old the business and having a business blog will help you tell your business’ story and bring more exposure to your business.

Many companies in the UK have heritage, especially those in the transport industry – normally family businesses that have been built up over a number of years. With this sort of business there’s always a story to tell, from the first premises and vehicle to the first employee and major developments – it’s all part of your business’ history and it should be shared!

The Big Lemon - A company with a great business blog

The Big Lemon Bus & Coach Company – A new company with a great story. 

Example: The Big Lemon, a story of how a new idea became one of Brighton’s key transport services and a unique bus operator. http://thebiglemon.com/aboutus/

Another great reason to have a blog is exposure – it’s great for Google Search as your websites content gets more relevant and there’s more of it – making your site much more interesting and this can help you climb the Google Search rankings, good news for any business!

Along with the online benefits there is also the key factor of brand and business recognition, if someone reads your blog and knows the story of your business they’re more likely to come to you for services, they will remember you!

The rules of having a Business Blog

Now, there’s a couple of rules when it comes to business blogging, and blogging in general – you’ve got to keep at it. There’s no point having a blog if you don’t post, a little like a Facebook page, you have to keep it up to date, otherwise your content will become old – posting at least once a month will be perfect.

Along with regular posting, your content must have some weight, again there’s no point in posting a blog without having a topic or something that people are going to read! Make sure you’ve got some points to write about or some news to share – this makes for good content and something that your customers current and future will enjoy reading.

Social media is a great way to share your posts – if you have a Facebook or Twitter page, use it! Make sure you share your posts for current customers to read, this will increase their awareness of the business and will hopefully make them return, especially if the post has some news or a reason to visit.

Stick to these simple rules and you’ll have a successful business blog, especially if you make sure you share on social media, where you will be able to gain a bigger exposure.

If you have any blogging tips please let us know below!

4th April, 2016

Facebook – You either have it or you don’t!

If you’re a local business the chances are you already have a Facebook page; but are you using it effectively?

Let’s start off with how you probably already use facebook — it’s a now and then sort of deal, you post if you’re closing for a week while you’re on holiday or if there’s any updates of that nature, maybe the occasional photo or milestone.

This approach is fine, it keeps your customers informed with the ‘big news’ — the stuff that matters, but will it engage with them and make them want to return? Chances are, probably not!

facebook-ipo-stocks-001-640x480Let’s say for example you log in once every day — say just before lunch (people look at Facebook on their lunch break, so push content out just before noon) This is a good time to post a frequent update, so something along the lines of “Lovely view from the café today!” with a decent picture from your business, make sure it looks attractive and that there’s something in the photo your customers want — a nice cup of tea, ice cream, gifts, a G&T, whatever it is, make sure it’s well framed and enticing.

These regular updates will keep reminding your customers about your business, and will make re-visits more frequent — especially if there’s something new to check out.

The thing with Facebook for a business is that it’s a take it or leave it sort of platform, you’re either active or inactive — and if you’re inactive you may as well delete the page, and here’s why: If people message your page you won’t see it unless you log in, and your customer feels ignored: if you have facebook, use it and you will increase customer satisfaction and will hopefully gain customers from this!

We use our facebook page to show off our new portfolio work, offers, and general updates – as long as there’s quality content going out to our followers we’re happy!