Ways to Speed Up Website Loading Times

Website loading times have a huge impact on your ranking in search. So, it’s one of the most important issues to address for SEO. There are quite a few quick wins that will make your website faster. And a lot of them are free or incredibly cheap to implement. We’ll discuss ways to speed up website loading times including:

  1. Using image compression to reduce file sizes.
  2. Employing lazy loading to reduce the bandwidth burden.
  3. Applying minify to streamline code on your website.
  4. Using browser caching to make repeat visits faster.

Image Compression

Images are some of the most bandwidth-heavy elements on any website. So, you’ll gain a lot of benefit from making these files as small as you can without losing detail. WordPress has a host of free or cheap image compression options available. You simply install and activate the plugin, then chose the level of compression and let it run. Remember that the number of pictures you have makes a difference too, so try to group images together if you can for fewer requests. That way, it is trying to load only one large image instead of 6 small images.

Lazy Loading

Lazy loading does what it says on the tin. When you install a lazy loader, your images and text will only appear for the viewable screen. That means, if someone hasn’t started scrolling down the page, the content isn’t being retrieved. Because nothing is loading unless it’s needed, site speed goes way up. Enabling lazy load is easy for WordPress and most other platforms since it’s core to modern design. If you have an older website, it’s a great idea to check that it’s activated for better load times. Your website administrator can help you with this.

Minify

When you minify code, what you’re actually doing is getting rid of any unnecessary comments, punctuation or pointless characters within the script. Similar to lazy load and image compression, some WordPress plugins offer this with an all-in-one tool. You’ll need to minify all the code on your site including Java, CSS and HTML to see the most benefit. Once the erroneous characters are removed, your site will perform better and load faster. That’s because it’s not having to read as much data to deliver the page. In this case, less is more.

Caching

Caching is like memory. Your visitor’s browser can store all the info it needs about your website and save it for later. That way, on repeat visits, they don’t need to load everything from scratch. You can set the limits on how long you want the data stored. And best practice suggests a year is a great refresh period. If you need more info about how to implement caching, check out Google’s advice.

 

As we said before, page loading times are extremely important to your search engine ranking, so improving it is critical. We hope these tips helped and if you need more, check out our previous article on SEO.

Choosing Web Hosting for Remote Working Operations

Find the right type of web hosting for remote working teams

With the new normal taking shape each day, remote working looks like it is here to stay. Remote teams still need to adhere to the same rigours and legal requirements while away from the office when it comes to data security, cybersecurity and access controls. Web hosting for remote working is often not considered until it’s too late and you’re facing a crisis.

Why should your web hosting service matter, exactly? Well, it all comes down to security and traffic levels. We’ll break down the common types of web hosting and remote working implications of each to make the choice a simpler one.

Shared Web Hosting

Shared Web Hosting

Shared hosting does what it says on the tin. Several domains are hosted in the same servers and they all share RAM (Random Access Memory) and CPU (Central Processing Unit) resources. Because it’s shared, it’s cheaper. Often making websites an affordable option for sole-traders or small businesses. However, that affordability does mean that resources can become strained if your ‘server neighbours’ experience high traffic volumes.

Remote Working Verdict: Best for small operations with low traffic, high risk of vulnerability.

Virtual Private Server VPS

Virtual Private Server (VPS)

A step up from shared hosting, a VPS gives you some dedicated space on a shared server. It’s a great option for SMEs who don’t have a lot of technical expertise. It offers more storage and more security than standard shared hosting. However, it doesn’t fix the problem of traffic impacts on server stability. We only recommend them for low to medium traffic websites like a B2B service provider.

Remote Working Verdict: Good for SMEs with low to medium web traffic levels, medium risk of vulnerability.

Dedicated Server

Dedicated Server Hosting

A dedicated server is very secure and can host high levels of traffic due to a lack of shared resources. The downside is that these require a fair bit of technical know-how to maintain and operate. If you need total control and space to scale, dedicated servers make sense for the cost. They aren’t cheap though. You’ll want to look into managed hosting if you don’t have an internal IT team.

Remote Working Verdict: Good for large businesses with high traffic needs, low risk of vulnerability.

Colocation

Colocation

If you have your own servers, you don’t need to maintain a physical presence to store them. By simply renting racks and cabinets, you can run your own end to end infrastructure for a fully-remote operation and have complete control over your servers at all times. You’ll need technical expertise in the team or managed hosting services to manage and run a co-located service, however.

Remote Working Verdict: Good for medium to large businesses with no physical offices, low risk of vulnerability.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud Hosting

A cloud hosting service uses many computers working together to run programs across multiple servers without much real risk of downtime due to the scalable nature of the platform. It has increased in popularity in recent years for businesses of all sizes. The web host can activate additional resources to account for traffic spikes and prevent downtime which offers better stability.

Remote Working Verdict: Good for businesses of any size, low risk of vulnerability.

Hopefully, we’ve helped answer some of your questions about web hosting, but if you want to know more, just reach out to one of our knowledgeable team members here.

Domain Name Fame – 10 of the most expensive domain names

For those who aren’t sure what we mean by domain name, this refers to the

For those who aren’t sure what we mean by domain name, this refers to the URL that appears in the search bar when you land on a certain website. Like Google.com, Facebook.com, and BBC.co.uk, this is what people need to remember to type into the URL bar when they want to find your website. So ensuring the domain name is short and punchy is fundamental to a successful website. Punchier URL’s tend to be more expensive domain names.

The problem is the number of websites out there. Finding a unique domain name is tough, particularly when you are in a sector with lots of competition. You can forget the generic URL’s that you might have wanted – to find something unique as we approach 2020, you have to think outside the box.

But this article isn’t here to tell you what to do. This article is to inspire you – so without further ado, here are 25 of the most successful, and most expensive, domain names ever.

Introduction

It is worth noting that many of the organisations involved in purchasing and selling the most expensive domain names, do not want actual figures revealed. From wanting to keep their competition at arm’s length, to wanting to retain their financial anonymity in the public sphere, there are many reasons to keep these numbers quiet.

But their want is not enough, and for the last few years, the health of the domain name market has become public knowledge.

Cars.com

Cars.com is the most expensive domain name that has ever been sold – coming in at just under £700 million. Of course, if you think about it, something as simple as “cars.com” could refer to any number of things, leaving the clever people behind this domain name with the users looking for rental cars, new cars, used cars, taxi cars, and everything in between.

If you’re looking to earn that top spot and invest in a great domain name, GoDaddy’s domain appraisal tool enables you to test the value of each domain name related to your business – using old search history and location to test the effectiveness.

CarInsurance.com

Another car one – slightly more targeted perhaps, but still worth a hefty £40 million on the market!

Insurance.com

Closely following its car-specific counterpart is the more general “Insurance.com”, referring to everything from home insurance to car insurance, life insurance and more. Insurance is something everyone has to deal with at some point and so this generic domain name serves as an umbrella over a massive chunk of the market. That’s probably why this domain name is worth just under £30 million.

VacationRentals.com

As we approach 2020, jobs are getting busier and annual leave is becoming more and more valuable – or at least that’s how it seems; particularly when we look at how much the domain name for Vacation Rentals fetched in. At a whopping £28 million, “VacationRentals.com” solidifies our love of a holiday home.

And the rest…

Counting down from the number 4 spot it is easy to spot a common trend in the most expensive domain names – and that is their generic nature. Perusing the list, it is easy to identify why these domain names have sold for the most – simply because the sheer volume of traffic they will be receiving from generic search terms must be huge. After all, for someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re looking for, a generic search term is the easiest option.

  1. PrivateJet.com
  2. Voice.com
  3. Internet.com
  4. 360.com
  5. Insure.com
  6. Fund.com

You can check out your own domain name’s worth by entering it into NameBio.com, or using the dedicated GoDaddy tool to evaluate your domain name.

Need help with domains? Get in touch!

Best Web Design Trends for 2020

As we approach 2020, we are starting to see some obvious trends appearing across various sectors

As we approach 2020, we are starting to see some obvious trends appearing across various sectors – not least the online world. Website design is one of the areas that has inevitably seen the most change in recent years. Web design trends change as we take technological leaps towards the future of online.

In response to the threat of a new year and predictions coming in from all angles, this article deals with some of the most obvious trends we can expect to see in 2020.

Adaptive Design

Adaptive design refers to the ability to enjoy a website – from any device. Being adaptive quite literally means adapting to suit all manner of devices. The content has to alter its format in line with the size of a screen. For example, a black of photos on a laptop screen may become a single file line of photos down the page of a mobile device – increasing user readability.

One of the most important things to look for in an adaptive design is an edited Menu design. This includes an obvious menu button and an easy-to-use menu list.

Notifications

When you sign up for something, it’s likely that your phone will pop up with an automated message to allow push notifications. If you’re anything like us, you typically say no. (If only to avoid the constant stream of notifications that apps and games can send to you every single day.) However, in 2020 the notification trend is set to rise. Users are acknowledging the value of knowing when something is about to happen or when an important news story hits the headlines.

Motion Design

Motion design refers to short videos – known as GIF’s – which allow users to interactively engage and explore something they may be interested in. GIF’s are especially useful when compared with more standard videos as they take up less space on the webpage and result in much quicker load times, keeping the user engaged and preventing them from clicking away in frustration. However, it is also worth noting that GIF’s are typically small bits of video content and will not provide an in-depth exploration of your product – for that you may well need a video.

Video

On to the more standard videos now, and despite the rise of GIF’s, video content is still set to increase in value as 2020 approaches. After all, if a video interests us then we are likely to watch to the end – just look at the sheer number of views on Facebook videos all over social media. The content is nothing special, yet the interest is peaked and users tend to watch to the end.

Users like relevant, simple and minimalistic videos that provide the information they need without extreme explanations or lengthy introductions.

Robo-Chat

This one comes back to AI – something we all know is coming! Artificial Intelligence sounds quite frankly terrifying, but the chances are that the invention of AI will make life easier for many of us, if for no other purpose than they can screen user questions and provide an engaging FAQ feature. ChatBots are created to mimic a real conversation, using built-in responses that are pre-determined by real humans. These responses are instant for users, with 24/7 service and an ability to help with basic issues regarding the website.

While they won’t replace human interaction; because some users will want to talk to a real person, their value is set to skyrocket.

Interactivity

People like to interact with tech. To feel like they are getting real value from a site, the more interactivity present, the better. This could cover everything from videos to animations and much more!

Minimalism

This might seem pretty contradictory considering we just covered interactivity, but minimalism is often as effective. Minimalism involves a simple user experience in a number of ways. This includes the design, colour scheme, volume of buttons and graphic details. It’s easier to understand and it will convert better.

What’s on the Out?

There are a few things we are likely to say goodbye to in 2020. First, one of these is in line with our final trend, and that is a complex design. The more complex the design, the harder the site is to navigate – and that’s simply not good enough anymore.

Lastly, a feature we can wave goodbye to is background scrolling. This means longer load times and an annoying pause as the background took a few seconds to catch up. This is unacceptable as we enter 2020.

The Rise of Chatbots in 2020

When you enter into a chat room on the business website to ask a question or request further information

When you enter into a chat room on the business website to ask a question or request further information, you will face one of two results: a 2-hour wait for the next available human agent, or a chatbot. Similarly, when you call a helpline, you’ll soon find yourself humming along with the hold music until you finally get connected – unless you seek help with the automated chatbots.

In truth, at present, we see chatbots as more of an obstacle than a solution, as we try our hardest to get past them and through to a real human who might actually be able to help us. However, with 2019 coming to an end, experts are starting to predict a real rise in the number of chatbot-led interactions we can expect with businesses. And while we may see them as annoying robotic and unhelpful, the truth is that chatbots are not only consistent but also provide round the clock service and can store endless information.

So, with that being said, how will chatbots be used in 2020 and what should we look out for?

“Chat” bots

A very literal application of the term “chatbots” – we are likely to see a rise in voice-activated assistance, much like the popular Alexa application. This will enable you to speak to the bot and have it talk back.

Conversational bots

Conversational bots take the above one step further and will allow bots to not only answer basic queries but also engage in opinionated conversation.

Improved messaging

Despite the anticipated rise in speech-activated interaction, messages will still be the best way to communicate with bots and will be improved and extended to include text messaging as well as emails and online chats.

Business setting

Used to seal and deal and monitor business deals around the clock, bots are the future of 24/7 business as they provide a service that never stops. 2020 is sure to see business bots increase in activity and prominence as the business world engages chatbots across the sector.

AI meets Chatbots

Chatbots driven by artificial intelligence is the closest thing we have to a real human-robot. These chatbots analyse data to predict or anticipate what a customer may need. They lead them to the right solution before they have even fully articulated the problem.

Mimicking real talk

Chatbots are programmed to understand certain forms of communication. This can cause issues with accents and unrecognisable languages. However, businesses are becoming ever more global and expectations for global optimisation is at an all-time high. So, it is going to become increasingly important that chatbots understand natural language.

Customer Insights

Customers will enjoy chatbot interaction far more in 2020. This is mainly due to the rise in customer insight data presented to chatbots. Bots will be able to trace the path a customer took to land with them. This personalisation and customer insight can increase conversions.

Increasingly human

The problem remains that we, as humans, prefer to interact with other humans – particularly when we have a problem. In 2020 however, the increase in AI-driven chatbots will enable the bots to become increasingly human. Both in their interaction and activity, they can offer customers the level of humanity they desire.

Adaptive Chatbots

An adaptive chatbot takes the data it’s given and presents valuable solutions. They are built to match the setting and sector it is working within. This currently requires a lot of manual updates, taking up valuable employee time and resource. As we approach 2020, however, optimised and adaptive chatbots will start to take over – reducing the need for human input.

Call Centres

In 2020, automated call centres are finally set to become a reality – and it’s all thanks to AI-driven chatbots who can work 24/7 and acquire enough intelligence to assist customers towards their end goal.

Chatbots are on the rise. With the changes that will be coming in 2020,  every business should consider investing in one.

Need help with your deployment? Talk to us!

Harnessing The Power Of Online – The Side Hustle

The foundations of a successful side hustle are built in your spare time; working around the

The foundations of a successful side hustle are built in your spare time; working around the daily demands that life throws at you. As such, a truly successful side hustle requires time management and commitment – and some helpful online hints. That’s what we’re here for (among other things).

Project Management Tools

First up, organising your demands and ensuring you have a handle on what you need to be doing. Keeping track of clients is all very well when you have a small business and a targeted client base, but as your side hustle grows it can be easy to lose track of promises you’ve made and workflows you’ve taken on.

There are a number of online project management tools that you can use to your benefit, ensuring your time is planned out to ensure maximum productivity.

One of the most popular is Trello – a one-page planner of sorts which allows you to create as many Job Streams as you like. Splitting your commitments into smaller chunks can help it seem more manageable, and Trello’s addition of useful tags allows you to easily highlight which jobs are Urgent, which are Ongoing and which are New Business. Trello is a visual way of presenting your tasks, and each individual entry is moveable. Another great feature of Trello is the ability to add multiple team members to each card, and even assign responsibility to individual people.

The other project management tool that’s worth a look is Asana – an online cloud software system that enables users to schedule tasks, plan how different project demands fit together, and – perhaps more usefully of all – quickly identify overlaps in your schedule.

Invoice Tracking Tools

Creating invoices is fairly straightforward if you have access to simple software such as Microsoft Word, but that doesn’t make it any easier to keep track of which invoices have been sent out, paid, and are still outstanding. That’s where online Invoicing Tools come in.

There are several free tools that you can find online to keep your finances in order, allowing you to keep client information safely stored in one location and presenting summaries around how much you’ve earned.

Invoicely is the first of these free tools. You can personalise your profile with company logos, personal information and an area to store your client details. The homepage dashboard enables you to see pending and paid invoices all in one place, and the quick and easy invoice creation feature sends out invoices automatically – with clients able to pay via Stripe, PayPal, BACS and more.

Payment Processors

Working hard to create a successful side hustle is all very well, but ensuring you get paid is one of the most important parts of success. Collecting payment can be a challenge, and that’s why presenting as many convenient options as possible is always preferable to, for example, only accepting cheques or cash.

There are a few payment processors out there that can link to your mobile device for payment on the go, linking seamlessly to your side hustle website – making direct payment quick and easy.

Stripe is one of the most popular as it allows you to accept payment online or through a face-to-face transfer. There are of course fees included with each payment, and Stripe tends to take an average of 3% per transaction – but without hidden fees, you can rest assured that the rest of your money really is yours.

Stripe also sends out receipts to your clients. And it includes features that show you how much money is coming in.

The Power of Apps

If you’re a side hustler who’s constantly on the go, time management apps are probably a good idea for you. (Particularly if you work and are paid by the hour.) Hubstaff has both a free and a paid version of the app. But even just using the free version will allow you to track your time effectively for invoicing. If a client puts you on a budget, Hubstaff will help you keep track of that. It will tell you the amount of time to spent on that specific project to ensure you don’t go over.

The extra features such as payroll software and team scheduling come with the paid package. They are an excellent investment if your business looks set to grow.

Another good app for time tracking is Toggl. Toggl focuses on watching how you spend your time. It features one-click timers and tracking reminders to monitor your allotted schedule for each job.

With an overview summary board available as well, Toggl encourages users to view reports. This can help you establish where you can save time and make more money.

In short, planning your time around a growing side hustle requires some dedication – there’s no escaping it. But you don’t have to go it alone, and it doesn’t have to be entirely manual. With so many apps and websites available to support you, keeping on top of your workload has never been easier.

Getting The Most Out Of Google My Business

Operated by Google, Google My Business is a way for business owners to take control over exactly

Operated by Google, Google My Business is a way for business owners to take control over exactly what their users and potential customers see in the search results listings. With a dedicated account that is solely used to influence Google search information, users can manipulate this data and supply information that their customers might need – including open hours, a contact number and photos of services or products.

Of course, another important feature of this is your location. By setting your location, you’re enabling potential customers in your area to search for what they need – and what you can provide – and be directed straight to your door.

So, how do you optimise this information to ensure that it is actually seen by the right users?

Get your foot off the starting block

The first step is, of course, to create your Google My Business listing, and fill in as much information as you possibly can. If your business doesn’t have a physical location or base, that doesn’t mean a Google Business account isn’t important – you can simply skip over the location and instead opt for a Service Area which allows users to see where you operate your services.

Pick the right Category

Picking the right category is how Google will narrow down searches towards or away from you. The categories already exist, so it is simply a case of selecting the one that most applies to you and your business – but don’t just pick the first one you see that seems relatively appropriate. The list of categories is large and quite specific, so make sure you pick the very best one for your business.

The importance of imagery

The world is shifting towards image-heavy social media platforms and videos, so ensuring you have some great visual content for potential customers is a sure-fire way to attract their attention. Using high-quality and professional photos where possible, your profile should show off your products or service results to any potential client who seeks more information. After all, first impressions are still the most important.

Double-check your information

If your business has a Google profile, an Instagram account and a Facebook page, it is imperative that you make sure the information aligns across them all. Consistency is key, not just for your customers who may be looking for vital information, but also for Google – who will penalise you for inconsistent detail; resulting in a negative impact on your SEO.

Encourage Reviews

Online reviews are a minefield. Businesses can shy away from reviews simply because they feel people will only comment on a negative experience. This is not the case since good reviews can seal the deal for one business over another in many cases. If a friend recommends a great restaurant, what are the chances you’ll visit that one over an unknown? Exactly.

Think about your area – and area code

If Google doesn’t think you’re a local business, they won’t recommend you to individuals searching in your local area. Using a local area code is one easy way to prove to Google that your location is correct. It will make Google more likely to recommend and suggest your business to users in the area searching for similar.

Make sure you know what Google does and doesn’t like, and stick to it

Google publishes guidelines for Business listings. Take the time to read it and familiarise yourself with what NOT to do. For example, adding keywords may be a good thing. And you may think you need them everywhere… but inserting them randomly into your business name can work against you. If it looks like you’re trying too hard, Google will suspect you’re not legitimate and you will be penalised. Another example is having a number of different listings all pointing towards the same business. You may think multiple listings means multiple chances of appearance, but all it means is that Google will punish you.

Don’t take your eye off the SEO-ball

SEO is still super important and ensuring your entire website works in line with your SEO strategy will go a long way towards giving both your website and your business listing the legitimacy that Google looks for. Make sure your keywords are relevant and present. Look to create content that focuses on your local area – as well as any wider offers.

Our Top 10 Key SEO Trends for 2020

The Winter months have well and truly set in, and with the end of 2019 fast approaching, it’s time to turn your attention to your 2020 strategy. Arm yourself with the most up-to-date info on SEO Trends for 2020.

Keeping up with the constant developments is a never-ending job all of its own, and unfortunately the same goes for keeping up with the competition. The internet is an endless minefield of competitors all vying for attention from prospective customers and clients – and the best way to get this attention is via the global search engines.

But as technology and content information matures, so does Google. It is no longer enough to just write a great blog – now it has to work alongside and in partnership with a specific set of rules implemented by organisations like Google.

Without further ado, here are 10 ways you can use SEO to harness Google’s attention and make sure your website features in those all-important top search results.

1. Consider featured snippets

When you Google something and wind up on a result page, generally the first thing on the screen is something called a Snippet. This literally does what it says on the tin, offering the searcher an extended preview of what they might find on that first site result – whether it’s instructions, tips or generic information.

To gain a chance at being the featured Snippet for any given search term, ensure you are answering the most common questions in clear and concise language. The Snippets receive a high percentage of clicks so it is worth spending the time tailoring your content accordingly.

2. Voice recognition and voice-driven searches

Our phones and smart devices are getting clever by the upgrade, with many now offering users a chance to search for anything they want – without having to tap a single button. While this has been attributed to accidental searches and even unintentional holiday bookings, it seems the powers of tech have honed and matured the technology to enable voice search to grow in popularity.

To work in partnership with this trend, you need to think about how people are searching using their voice – rather than their keypad. In short, the searches will be more detailed and keywords will become more conversational.

3. The growth of Artificial Intelligence

The majority of drivers may not be ready for driver-less cars yet, but artificial intelligence is on the rise and has recently become one of Googles most trusted advisors when it comes to user searches and search result algorithms. In short, the AI robots have learned what makes an article great; creating their own set of rules that we, as content creators, have to abide by if we want to continue to perform well online.

Does anybody know what these sets of rules look like? It’s all trial and error.

4. Online security

First GDPR and now this – if a user doesn’t feel that their information is safe when browsing your website, they won’t use it. It’s as simple as that. Increased user security is a trend which is only going to continue to grow, and SEO trends for 2020 are no different.

5. The power of the blue tick

Blue ticks have never meant more than they do today. A sign of status and popularity in the online world, a blue tag tends to mean that someone is a verified influencer – usually with an extremely large following and valuable networks.

Having one of these influencers endorse your brand is a priceless tool that enables your brand to be seen by networks and potential customers you couldn’t even dream of reaching before. Allow the social media trend to improve your website traffic and widen the reach of your content.

6. User experience

Remember the days when everything took minutes to buffer? We used to sit in front of the screen and watch the buffering wheel for days on end – but not today. Today, users want everything instantly, and if it’s not instant on your website then they will simply head to a different website that is. It doesn’t matter if you have great content – if the user experience isn’t exactly what they expect, you will very quickly find yourself losing valuable visitors.

Quick load times, an easy to navigate website, and optimised content for all devices – they’re all important!

7. Videos vs. Written content

Facebook has launched a new video viewing page which takes you straight onto another related video once your first one finishes. This subtle but clever way to introducing you to new content highlights how important video is becoming in the world of online content, as users are now just as likely to watch a tutorial as they are to read one.

Youtube advertising has never been so popular. As SEO trends for 2020 go, online videos will take over – pulling viewers away from their television screens. Make sure your videos are optimised in terms of SEO, to harness the power of this ever-growing trend. Great keywords and descriptions can mean the difference between a viral clip and a video that falls flat.

8. Quality Content

A pretty simple one really. You can do all the SEO and tagging in the world. But without quality content, you will never be able to retain potential customers. Give them value, well-researched information and clear calls to action! In a fast-paced world, your content needs to prove itself as informative yet entertaining; useful but also high quality and approachable.

9. Dwell time will increase in prominence

Time on site is about to become even more critical as one of the key SEO trends for 2020. If a user is spending lots of time on your website, that’s good. The search engine will know that the quality of your content and website is likely to be high. This is going to become even more of an influential factor as we enter 2020.

10. It’s not going to be just about Google

Google pretty much owns the search engine world. The phrase “Google it” is used to answer most questions asked by millions of people every single day. However, this could be set to change, as other search engines rise in prominence.

Likely, SEO requirements will differ particularly as different and new search engines work to attract users and gain support. We’ll have to watch this space to see what happens…

Want to learn about web design trends for 2020? Check out this post!

 

Unpacking the value of SEO

Unfortunately for those new to the game, SEO isn’t just a quick fix. It is in fact a series of tricks that work together to give your website the best possible ranking it can get in the eyes of Google. You may be thinking that the customer matters to you, not Google. But if you’re not ranked, you won’t appear for customers. That’s the value of SEO.

Having said that, it’s not like the search engines offer a guide to good SEO. In fact, they tend to keep quiet about the best way to steer SEO in a favourable direction. This leaves us to figure out the algorithms and how to rank highly. So, without further ado, here are a few of our top tips on how you can improve your own SEO on your website without hiring in experts and content creators.

Get to grips with Google analytics

Before you can truly understand which avenue your SEO should be going down, first you need to get to grips with your website’s current performance. Analytics will give you some insight into how people are currently coming across your website and how they are interacting with it, so that you can understand your website traffic and determine which search terms are leading people to you.

In essence, why are people coming across your website and what are they searching for to bring them to you? What’s the current value of SEO for you?

Understand your keywords

The next step is to identify what keywords link your service to the people who are visiting your website. Write down all the words that you think are key to your business proposition and what you offer, and then use keyword tools to figure out how valuable those terms are.

Engaging tools such as Google’s free keyword planner are useful here as they give you some idea of how many searches each keyword has and how competitive the word is among other websites. It will also then provide you with some suggestions around keywords relevant to your site, to help you build out your list and bid on the words best suited in both yours and Google’s opinion.

Trust us, this will all help your website to rank better among its competitors, leading to increased website traffic and subsequently more business.

Optimise your website according to your SEO strategy

Once the keywords are established, your website needs to be brought up to speed. This involves implementing the chosen words into as many aspects as you can – NATURALLY. This is key. Making sure the sentences flow smoothly and that the keywords are well integrated is critical to ensuring a good ranking. If Google thinks it’s nonsense, you could be worse off than you were before you started.

Key areas to focus on include the web page URL, heading tags, image names and alt tags, title tags and your web page meta descriptions. A lot of this will be happening in the back end of your website and won’t even be something that is obvious from a visitor point of view. But Google is always watching…

Make sure you don’t lose sight of your content

Keeping the content relevant and up to date is vital for SEO. Not only do new news stories and blog posts give you increased opportunity to integrate those keywords to your site, but they signal to Google that your website is active and relevant in its field. Create high-quality content that will interest your audience, and they’ll stick around to read it. If you start letting the content drop, you’ll swiftly see a corresponding drop in your website traffic.

Out with the old

Likewise, old content is pointless. Update your old content where necessary, and if it’s no longer relevant then simply scrap it.

Internal links

Google is a big fan of internal linking and proof that every area of your website is relevant to the overall industry you’re providing a service in.

Optimisation

In a world where most browsing is done on the go, ensuring your website is optimised for mobile usage is absolutely crucial – not only for your users but for your Google ranking. Mobile matters and Google have recently revealed that the status of your website optimisation is a factor in ranking your site among its competitors. So, don’t let it fall by the wayside!

Site Speed

Much like the above, site speed is another thing that you think is out of your control but impacts SEO a lot. People care about how long it takes for a web page to load. Improving your site speed is something that can make a big difference in overall website satisfaction.

There are things you can do externally too. Promote your content in other places. Think social media, through guest posts on other related sites and even in directories. If you’re an expert, play on this and ensure that everything you do online links back to your own website.

This is a strategy known as backlinking and is another way of showing Google how relevant you are – by having other relevant websites link to your site. It’s like a recommendation without direct endorsement. But for Google, it is enough to show that your content is valuable. This means your website deserves to be up there with the other strong contenders.

Keen to learn about trends in SEO for 2020? Click here.

Cybersecurity for small business websites

All too often the media shares stories of large organisations and companies that have been hacked through their website. Customer data and private information gets stolen all the time. The unfortunate truth, however, is that it’s not just these large-scale companies that are being targeted. Small businesses are just as likely to be targeted. We’re just far less likely to hear about it. That’s why cybersecurity for small business is just as important.

Recovering from a security breach is expensive and can be catastrophic for a small business without the necessary cybersecurity measures in place. Read on for some of our quick cybersecurity for small business tips.

Keep your domain information private

If a hacker has access to your name, your email address or even your mailing address, they can use this information to hack into your website or worse. The more personal information they can collect about you, the easier their job is, and you could find yourself facing a case of stalking or identity theft. Employ domain privacy to shield all your personal details from hackers and identity thieves.

Invest in an SSL certificate

Many internet users now will not trust any website without an SSL certificate in the browser bar, and we know Google relies heavily on SSL certification for a good ranking. However, this isn’t just a good investment for business – it also protects your site from hackers by encrypting all the data stored on it. All of our hosting packages come with free SSL certificates as standard!

Automatic backups

One of the most damaging ways a hacker can destroy your business is to crash your entire website or cause such problems that customers can no longer access your site.

With an automatic backup, you can work safe in the knowledge that should anything happen, you know you have everything you need to get the site up and running again quickly and easily. Ensuring that the automatic backup updates itself on a daily basis is key to being able to restore as recent a version as possible should it become necessary.

Malware scans and removals

It sounds like something out of Doctor Who, but cybercriminals are now a very real threat to small businesses that work online. With access to coding that can steal data and allow access to your site at the click of a few buttons, cybercriminals can attack a site before you even realise it’s happening. That’s why automatic malware scans are so vital.

These malware scans perform regular automated scans on your entire site; identifying and removing any potential threats to your security. By investing in one of these, you can be sure that any vulnerable areas will be identified and fixed before a hacker can exploit them.

Domain renewals

Another thing worth investing in simply because it can be done automatically is domain renewal. After an allotted period of time, your domain will come up for renewal and if you don’t act quickly you can lose control of your business domain name. Not only is this bad for business, but it also leaves you expired domain open for exploitation and unregistered access, whereby any cybercriminal could find out yours and your customer’s personal data and email addresses.

This can be prevented with automatic domain renewal. It’s an easy way to register your domain name so it refreshes annually. This can generally be managed through the billing information on your domain registration account.

Automatic updates

Staying up to date is one of the best ways to ensure foolproof security. It ensures your cybersecurity is working on its newest and most effective version. Many updates that become available have been created to patch up the flaws left open in an old version. So, neglecting to update with them can mean that your site is still open to those flaws. And once a hacker gets in, it’s too late.

Set up WordPress and plugins to update automatically, to offer automatic protection.

Check your passwords

Creating a password is often a toss-up between choosing something easy to remember and hard to guess.  Trust us, the latter is much safer.

It’s important that not only you but anyone with access to your site uses a secure and unique password. Hackers can find a different way into the site even if your own password is super secure.

Login Forms

If customers can log in to their own accounts, you’re at risk of letting in a bot. Bots try thousands of login combos; allowing them into your site. Then they release malware to damage the business from the inside.

By adding protection layers to your login forms, this should be avoidable. Things like reCAPTCHA, are good examples, as automated bots are unable to identify these. It’s also worth enabling a tool that gives customers a set amount of login attempts before they become locked out. This annihilates the potential for trying multiple logins until one works.

These ideas are just some of the basis in cybersecurity, but they will ensure increased safety for both your business and your customers. And we think that’s an investment worth entertaining.