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Google’s Mobile-First Update

One of the biggest updates to Google’s algorithm that his been in the pipeline for a while now is their Mobile-First Index. Whilst this was announced last year, the launch isn’t due until 2018, though reports have been circulating that they have already begun to operate the algorithm on a small number of websites.

The Mobile-First Index half explains itself within the name, they will index by mobile-first. Previously though having a mobile-friendly website was important, Google would base most of your rankings on the desktop version of your website. This algorithm change will mean that Google will look at the mobile-version of the website first and this will form the priority when it chooses where to rank a website.

“Google has previously said that content that’s not deemed mobile-friendly will not rank as well. That remains the case with this new index.” – Search Engine Land

If you already have a responsive mobile-friendly website you don’t need to be concerned about this change as you’re already set to go! Anyone without a mobile-friendly responsive design however should look to upgrade their website before the change in order to keep or improve upon Google rankings.

If you have any concerns regarding mobile-first or wish to discuss any web project, get in touch.

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What is a SSL Certificate and why do I need one now?

When visiting a website, you may notice some begin with http:// and some begin with https:// the difference is the “s” being a SSL Certificate. SSL Certificates provide an extra layer of security for a website through a cryptographic key, but we won’t get into the exact web jargon here.

As of 2017, browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have decided to bring ‘Not Secure’ messages to the front-and-centre of websites for visitors, promoting online safety. The browsers will now display warnings when users are on websites without SSL certificates, letting users know they are not secure. Further warnings will be generated if the user is required to use passwords or use a payment gateway.

Further to the browsers clamping down on websites without SSL certificates, popular payment gateways will no longer work correctly or at all without an SSL certificate present on a website.

Google also lists SSL Certificates and secure websites as a ranking feature, so not only do SLL certificates benefit security and user experience, they also benefit SEO!

Why You NEED an SSL Certificate

Don’t just take our word for it, the benefits speak for themselves!

HTTPS loads websites far faster than HTTP

Faster websites means higher search rankings. Test the difference here

Firefox will warn users about entering any information if you don't have an SSL

Warnings will appear in login fields and checkouts.

Browser User Warnings

“Eventually, Chrome will show a Not Secure warning for all pages served over HTTP, regardless of whether or not the page contains sensitive input fields. Even if you adopt one of the more targeted resolutions above, you should plan to migrate your site to use HTTPS for all pages.” Developers, Google Chrome

“To continue to promote the use of HTTPS and properly convey the risks to users, Firefox will eventually display the struck-through lock icon for all pages that don’t use HTTPS, to make clear that they are not secure. As our plans evolve, we will continue to post updates but our hope is that all developers are encouraged by these changes to take the necessary steps to protect users of the Web through HTTPS.” Mozilla Firefox

How Do I Get One?

Contact us for a quote in switching over to HTTPS by gaining an SSL certificate.

Social Media Mistakes

We’ve spoken about why you need to use social media before in another blog post, but in a nutshell, it can be a powerful marketing tool if used correctly. Whilst you’re probably constantly being told what to do on social media, we’re going to tell you what not to do.

ONE. Don’t spam your followers.
Whilst regular updates are the main point of usual social media, its possible to take it too far and to literally become a spammer. Try to avoid posting to often and definitely do not spam the message inboxes of other accounts!

TWO. Don’t ignore comments, replies and messages.
Social media, the clue is in the name, it’s all about being social. Interaction with your peers and followers is the main reason for social media and don’t ignore responses or comments. Even worse than that, never reply in a negative tone. If you have a complaint raised on your page, try and politely re-route them to sending a private message or email.

THREE. Don’t be fickle when it comes to updating your profiles.
There’s nothing worse than the profiles that get started, post about 100 times a day and then disappear from the face of the internet. Try to pace yourself with well timed and well thought out posts. Quality over quantity applies!

FOUR. Don’t have an inconsistent brand image.
We could talk about the importance of branding all day but even all the more so important is the consistency of your brand across your platforms. Does your profile match that of your website for example? If not, speak to a designer about revamping your cover photo for a seamless and professional image .

FIVE. Don’t be too serious and robotic at all times.
No matter how professional your business, social media is not the place for all the formality you can muster. We’re not saying that everyone should let loose of all spelling and grammar and use emojis, just that its worth being a little more accessible and a little less corporate.

 

3 DIY SEO Tips

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the practice of optimising a website to rank well on search engines. The algorithms and bench marks that search engines use to decide your websites ranking are ever changing, and so keeping up can be daunting. Whilst true SEO takes a lot of time and expertise, there are a few ways that you can boost your ranking prospects without even an ounce of coding knowledge.

ONE. Keep it fresh

If there’s one tip we always pass onto clients upon finishing their website design, its to keep it updated! Both search engines and your viewers love fresh content on a website, it shows your business is still active. The easiest way to update your website is to blog about topics relevant to your business.

TWO. Google my Business

Local SEO is important if your business has a base or appeals to a target location. Google my Business is Google’s own local “directory”. Google my Business puts your business info in local search results, on Google Maps and Google+. If you haven’t already, create a Google my Business page https://www.google.com/business/ and if you do have one, make sure its filled out in full with helpful, well written content.

THREE. Analyse and Adapt

It’s all very well optimising your website, but you have to know it works! We recommend Google Analytics. It’s easy to set-up and can provide you with a wealth of information on how your website is performing. From Google Analytics you can see where your traffic is coming from and how well the page is performing.

 


 

For more SEO tips and advice, contact us. We can generate a report on your website to find out what areas you need to improve and even take the pressure off and do the hard work for you.

 

3 Reasons to Use Instagram

If you haven’t heard of Instagram, where have you been? As of January 2016, Instagram has over 400 million monthly active users. The photo-sharing app is the most visual of social media networks and perfect for those willing to get a little creative.

Engage with your audience

There are 75 million daily Instagram users, so no doubt some of them are your target audience. 90% of Instagram users are under 35 and so provides the perfect opportunity to target a younger, new audience.

Mobile friendly

Instagram is a primarily mobile only based social media network. Overall internet use is now pretty much equally split between mobile and desktop, but specific social media use is actually more popular through mobile devices.

Instagram taps into the mobile-online community, something that is becoming more and more important.

Visual Advertising

As with Facebook and Twitter, you can now advertise on Instagram. The benefits of advertising on Instagram is that the adverts appear in the same format as the normal feed, giving less chance of the advert being skipped over.

Advertising on Instagram is always image based and so design is key. Think engaging photography or an eye-catching professional design. As Instagram is linked through Facebook, the ads are set up in the same way as Facebook Ads (read more here).


If you’re still unsure which social media sites work best for your business, get in touch.

Finding and Using Stock Images

When finding images to use for your design, be it for print or web, chances are at some point you’re going to have to turn to stock images.

If an image speaks 1000 words; you want it to say the right ones! We have a few tips on looking for stock images online.

Don’t Steal from Google!

Whatever you do, don’t just go on Google Image search (or any other search engine) and download the first image that takes your fancy. A lot of images on Google are copyrighted, meaning you can’t just use them freely as you please. There are many cases we’ve heard of where the the original photographer / owner of the image will pursue the matter through the legal system, forcing you to take the image down and pay compensation.

It’s not even worth using the image and adding credit or a disclaimer, you may still be liable without appropriate permission from the owner. If you want to use an image online and are not sure whether it’s copyrighted or not, assume it is and contact the owner for permission.

Free Stock Image Resource

When hunting for free stock images, we use Pixabay. All images on Pixabay are free from copyright and can be used royalty-free, even for commercial purposes! Unlike some other free websites, attribution is not required on Pixabay. The clean-cut design and easy search function makes it easy to find a wide-range of high-quality photographs, illustrations and vectors, all for free!

Recommended Stock Image Resource

When finding high-quality, paid-for stock images, you won’t be short on supply. There are quite literally dozens of stock image websites, it just comes down to what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend. In general, we use Fotolia, which has a huge range of images that won’t put too much of a dent in your wallet.

Create your own!

If you’re looking for something more specific, then you’re probably going to have to create it yourself. Though it may cost more, the option of using images you have commissioned makes for a more personal and tactical approach to your imagery. Whether it’s hiring a photographer for a photo shoot, or a graphic designer / illustrator for creative imagery, when you choose to create it yourself there are no limits.