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What is an SSL Certificate and do I need one?

What is an SSL Certificate and do I need one?

What is an SSL Certificate and do I need one?

Is your website secure?

If not, Google Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, is letting visitors know about it.

To the left of the web address there is a little security status icon. If you land on a page that doesn’t have SSL,  you’ll see a little circle with an ‘i’ in it. Click on it to reveal a message that announces:

“Your connection to this site is not secure.”

“You should not enter any sensitive information on this site (for example, passwords or credit cards), because it could be stolen by attackers.”

Doesn’t sound great, does it? It gets worse. Since Chrome’s latest release (Chrome 56) in January, non-secure pages containing password and credit card input fields get marked as ‘Not Secure’ in the URL bar: 

And if Chrome has major concerns about the privacy of your site’s connection, or perceives it to be “Dangerous’ you’ll get this howler:

How can I make my site secure in Google Chrome?

Have you ever noticed the extra ’s’ at the beginning of the web address? You know, some url’s start with http://www. and others https://www. Well, that little ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.

When you go to a site that uses HTTPS, the website’s server is using an SSL Certificate. You’ll see a little locked padlock and be informed that the site is ‘Secure’. A little like this:

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL is used to securely encrypt communication between you and a website, so it keeps your details secure from hackers. It’s highly recommended for all e-commerce websites or sites that use forms to ask for personal details you don’t want getting into the wrong hands.

Does my Website need an SSL Certificate?

If you have an e-commerce website (online shop) then yes, absolutely. In fact, most payment gateway providers will insist on it so that you can take payments securely.

However, until recently, most other websites were less likely to need one. But in a bid to improve security across the internet, Chrome’s latest update means many more businesses will want SSL. Companies will want to avoid having scary warnings broadcast to people visiting their website. After all, they can appear quite off-putting to the vast majority of web users.

Benefits of SSL:

  • You don’t scare off your visitors.
  • It helps your Google ranking.
  • You look more professional.
  • It helps you gain trust from potential customers.
  • You get more data in your Google Analytics report.
  • The data passed between you and your visitors is secure.

How do I get an SSL Certificate?

Prices start from just £29 +VAT per year.

* During the Coronavirus Lockdown period we are offering a SSL Certificate free of charge on all Nettl built websites for the first year! – Offer ends after lockdown period finishes) *

Don’t scare your customers away! Contact us today on 028 9600 2193 and let’s chat. 

Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary

ONE THING
IS FOR CERTAIN

These are extraordinary times.

Being in business is often about adapting to adversity. Coping with the unexpected. And challenges our ability to adapt. To change.

We’re hearing that Google Ads are getting more expensive, as businesses are piling into paid search, to offset face-to-face meetings. Last week, we did our highest ever number of Search Engine Optimisation site audits. One thing is certain, people will be spending more time online in the coming weeks.

 

Your online presence can be your saviour throughout the uncertain times ahead.

Ask yourself

  • Can you update your website easily?
  • Can you order your products and services online?
  • Is your website easy to find?

Update your website

Clarity is sanity. People can handle a pandemic, but they’ll lose their ship if they’re kept in the dark. Keep everyone informed by publishing key messages on your website.

Tell people you’re open for business, have temporarily relocated or changed opening hours. What products and services are still available and how? Let customers know how to get in touch.

Situations change rapidly. You might need to update your website quickly. All our sites come with a Content Management System (Or “CMS”) built-in. Easily edit information yourself, instantly. Without needing special software or a degree in computer programming.

Work out your web shop game

Nutters bulk buying pasta. The crazies hoarding beans. Supermarket shortages. People staying indoors. No wonder online shopping is growing so fast. Even if you don’t trade in toilet roll, are you getting your share of online sales?

eCommerce site

Keep the trade routes open to more customers with an eCommerce site. It might cost less than you expect to get started.

Infoproducts

If information is your bag, load your website with videos, guides and downloads that help your audience, all the while growing your database and positioning your brand.

Bookings

Wouldn’t it be better right now if your website synch’d with your calendar or booking system? So customers see live availability. How many more video chats or scheduled phone calls could you arrange with the time saved on travelling?

Security

Every website which processes transactions or stores data needs an SSL security certificate (the little padlock in the browser). We’re here to help. You can get one for just £1 in March and April.

Improve online visibility

More than ever, people will be sat in their pants, searching for stuff online. Videos to watch, things to read, new skills to learn, ideas to do, stuff to make, products to buy. And right now, they’re looking for you. Or at least, people like you.

Who will they find? Will it be you?

In addition to Google rewriting their magic formula, the world has changed. Your business has no doubt evolved too. Markets move, behaviours change, competitors adapt. SEO is ongoing activity that improves user experience, relevance and authority amidst all these changes.

Don’t self-isolate your website. Get found. Use search engine optimisation to climb the ranks and pull in the crowds.

To help, we’re offering free SEO site audits in March and April.

See how your site is performing. Claim your free seo audit. There’s no obligation to purchase.

Together, we’ll get through this

Bold entrepreneurs do not lack spirit or ingenuity. There will be disruption of course. But when we pull together, we’ve shown we can rise to the challenge.

Every business across the country has a role to play. It’s business as unusual. But we need to keep the wheels of commerce in motion and together we’ll get through this.

10 Website Questions

10 Website Questions

10 questions you should ask before meeting your web designer

New year. New site?

There’s something about the start of a new year that inspires people. A fresh start. Renewed enthusiasm. Goals and resolutions.

That’s why so many businesses think ‘new year: new website’. For some, the Christmas break can provide the breathing space needed to take a step back and think about the bigger picture.

So for those business owners, marketeers and pioneers out there, we’ve created 10 questions for you to mull over, over a mulled wine or two. Or cola.

Use these pointers to help you plan. It will uncover the motivations and intent behind the project, helping you and your design team define and achieve your online success.

#1 – What is the main purpose of the website?

It could be to simply provide information about your business. It could be about your product, a shop, to get bookings, to sell tickets.

Is the website an essential part of your business? Or is the website a place to provide information on the company, an extension of the brand (microsite), or a side project?

It might not be a business at all! Perhaps it’s an event, community or charity you’re looking to raise awareness about. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have clarity on what is the one single main purpose for the website.

#2 – What do you want the website to achieve?

This is an extension to the question above because it goes deeper into understanding the ‘why’ over the ‘what’. And in doing so, your design team will be in a stronger position to make recommendations.

For instance, the main purpose for your website might be to provide information about the business. But this could be in order to position yourself in the marketplace, establish credibility and trust, or simply help people find the nearest distributor.

#3 – What defines success?

Would the project be a success if delivered on budget by a certain date? Or do factors such as number of hits, repeat visitors and time spent on site come into play?

Are you looking for rankings to improve? User feedback to be more positive? More active users? Your database to grow? Enquiries to double? Sales to increase?

It’s impossible to know whether the project was a success unless you set clear, measurable goals from the beginning. These need to be numbers and dates. (So, 10% increase by month three. 25,000 subscribers in year one, that sort of thing).

We’ve thrown a few ideas at you there, and it’d be nice to have them all, right? But it’s better to focus on one. It makes design choices and split testing more effective to have one clearly defined objective.

#4 – How will they find you?

Bear in mind that although website design and user experience are pivotal to the success indicators listed above, your offsite activity is likely to play a more influential part than the website itself.

For your signups to grow, your enquiries to double and your sales to increase, we need to get people there in the first place. The only way to do that is to signpost people to your website from other sources. People won’t drive past your website (well, unless it’s on a building, van or billboard!).

A mix of online and offline marketing activity is essential to drive people TO your website. Even if it’s the BEST WEBSITE EVER, a co-ordinated launch is needed to get the right people talking about it.

Throw in a little amplification, and it can snowball from there. But there’s a reason e-bay advertise on billboards. There’s a reason Google send you stuff in the post.

#5 – What’s your budget?

Asking how much a website costs is a little like asking how much a house costs to build. The budget required for your unique project will depend on the options you choose along the way.

So it is important to have a figure in mind that you feel comfortable investing. And it is an investment. Because you should consider the value of your website to your business. Some will see a website as an overhead. An expense. Don’t. Your website is an amazing opportunity to connect with your customer and establish long term relationships.

Consider the point above and remember to allocate something in your budget for promoting your website.

#6 – If you’re redesigning your website, why are you changing it?

Was it something your last website did to upset you? Perhaps your current website doesn’t seem as attractive as it used to. Or could it be that your business is into new things now? Maybe you’ve just grown apart.

Change is good. Websites change all the time. They should constantly grow and evolve to adapt to things like user behaviour, technology, search engine algorithms and the law. Popular reasons for change include:

• The need to make the website work better on a mobile
• The desire to sell products online
• Making it easier to edit and add new content yourself

Discussing these points not only ensures the new website ticks the boxes but also helps us anticipate things to consider in the future.

#7 – Who are your audience?

How you approach this question will very depending on whether it’s a new website or a redesign, a new business or an established one. If it’s new there’ll be a bit of guessing. If it’s established, you’ll have data to work with and existing customers to ask.

But either way that’s just the start. Because there is a difference between knowing your audience and really understanding what type of people they are. It isn’t enough to only know that they are certain types of businesses in certain areas.

Consider the people visiting your site. What are their ages, interests, hobbies, favourite brands? By understanding the type of people using your website, you and your design team can make more informed choices on the design and delivery of content.

#8 – What do they want?

Now you have a clear picture about who your audience is, really focus on their needs. What are they looking to do or find on your website?

Thinking about this will help you deliver what the audience wants more effectively. You can design your content and navigation around it. The clarity makes designing landing pages incredibly simple.

Don’t assume. If you have existing analytics data, we can use this, alongside surveys, to help figure this out. If it’s a new enterprise then do some research online. Organise a focus group, talk to potential buyers, ask on Facebook and linked in, create a survey on Survey Monkey.

Working with your design team, you can sculpt the user flow and experience to suit. You will likely be rewarded for this through sales and search rankings.

#9 – Could your website be a campfire?

Think about the community you serve. If your company installs boilers then fab. Business info, check. Boiler service booking functionality, check. But how about we add some useful content about safety or energy advice?

Imagine you sell camping products. Super! Publish a blog, add videos, provide value for free. Your website could thrive from adopting a content-first approach.

Provide the campfire for people to gather around. Build a community and recommend products to an engaged audience.

#10 – What other websites do you admire?

This is a powerful and efficient way to understand your website aspirations from a visual and user experience point of view.

You can take hours to write a design brief but sometimes a few example visuals with notes really gets us on the same page. If you’re not sure, that’s ok. Often, after a short conversation, your design team can recommend some sites that might be up your street.

Designing a new website should be a creative and satisfying project that you can really enjoy.

 

We’ve created a pdf that you can download for free.
You can complete it in acrobat, print it off and fill it in, or just use it as a guide.

Winter Website Check

Winter Website Check

5 thrifty checks to make sure your website is roadworthy this winter

Security

Google are on a mission to make the web a more secure environment. So if you’ve not got an SSL certificate for your site then now is the time. SSL certificates encrypt data sent between visitors and a website. They help keep sensitive information, like credit cards, away from the bad guys.

It’s essential if you sell stuff online. But even if you have a contact form, your visitors will get security warnings in Google Chrome if you do not have SSL. Because Chrome has 47% of market share, this change is likely noticed by millions of people. And recent HubSpot Research indicates 82% of people would leave a site that is not secure.

We can add SSL certificates for you from £29 +VAT.

Speed

There are lots of website speed tests on the web that can be used to show the site you’ve built is sluggish and horrible at loading, uses bad code and that anyone who’s purchased the site should feel ashamed. But while it’s nice to get green marks on all speed tests, what matters is the actual feeling of speed rather than the architectural site recommendations. Plus, these tests are not always accurate. They often fail to detect speed improvements your site is already using.

It’s about balance. Speed is important, but so are aesthetics, functionality and the ability to update easily. We can help create pages that feel fast AND look fabulous.

Mobile

Mobile friendly websites may seem like old news. So you might be surprised to hear Paypal claim that only 18% of small businesses in the UK have a website that adapts to a mobile device. If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, you shouldThe majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device. With that in mind, we need to think about our audience. Websites where you have to pinch and zoom make for a poor user experience.

It seems crazy that so many small business websites are failing to make the grade. They could be gaining an edge on their competition. But they’re sat on the bonkers bus. Probably fiddling with an unresponsive site.

Test if your website is mobile friendly.

GDPR

Hey, can I get your number? No? Email then?
How about in return for a free guide or coupon?

If your website doesn’t ask for a few details, it definitely should. It’s a great way to increase your (hopefully engaged) audience. But whether you’re looking to serve a community, or sell online, you need to keep the new GDPR rules in mind. Even if you only have Google Analytics on your website, or a simple contact form.

The rules come into force from 25th May. You’ll hear about this a lot. Because it’s kind of a big deal. It’s tempting to think “I’ll deal with it in May”. But there’s some easy things you should do right now, which mean you won’t run into trouble later.

Promotion

If you build it, they will come. Except, they won’t. It might work for baseball fields, but not for your website. You have to tell your customers about your services, in different ways, regularly. If you don’t, your competitors will. Successful marketing relies on a mix. Have you noticed the eBay billboards in your town lately? Even Google send you stuff in the post. If these juggernauts depend on a blend of offline and online marketing, then it’s reasonable to believe it might just be the way forward for us too.

How many different ways are customers able to find out about your website? Speak to us about proven ideas for increasing the volume, and quality, of visitors to your site.

SOON – It Is Coming!

SOON – It Is Coming!

If your business uses email marketing, sends direct mail or makes sales calls, the law is changing what you can and can’t do.

Some things you might do today will no longer be allowed. From 25th May 2018, General Data Protection Regulations – or GDPR – come into force. You’ll hear about this a lot. Because it’s kind of a big deal. It’s tempting to think “I’ll deal with it in May”.

But there’s some easy things you should do right now, which mean you won’t run into trouble later. The new GDPR law is complex and extensive. It goes well beyond what we can fit in this guide. However, we’ve put together some practical advice on things to help you start to comply.

What data are you collecting about me?

You might be thinking, “nah mate, I’m not collecting any data”. If you use any tracking tools on your website, like Google Analytics, then yes. Yes, you are. People have the right to know what personal information you’re storing about them. And what you might do with that data. The law applies to data which could be traced back to an individual. That even includes things like their computer’s IP address.

If your site doesn’t have a Privacy Policy, it needs one to comply. It needs to tell people what you’re going to do. We can provide a template. Edit it for your business and remove the bits that don’t apply.

Ask us to add a Privacy Policy page, starting at £49.

But did you let them say no?

You need to explicitly ask permission to send someone email marketing. They must opt in.

It’s not ok to assume you have permission. It’s not ok to hide it in your privacy policy. And it’s not ok to pre-tick a box which people have to untick. Those things might have been allowed in the past, but not any more.

Start getting consent now. Don’t wait for the deadline.

On your website contact forms, registration forms or check out pages, we can add tick boxes if you don’t have them. Or if you have pre-ticked boxes, we can re-programme the default setting.

If we’ve designed your site already, ask for our Opt-in, tune-up service which starts at £99. If we haven’t, let’s talk about getting your site compliant.

But when did they say it was ok?

So we know we have to ask people to opt-in. Is that enough? No. There’s more. You need to record when they gave you permission. And you need to log exactly what they were shown when they opted in.

If you get an email notification when someone registers or checks out, that may be enough to comply. Provided you store the email securely and it clearly shows what the tick box said. If you’d like to manage consent better, ask us about adding a customer database to your website.

What about my existing customers?

Now here’s the thing. GDPR says, if there’s another law that conflicts with it, you should pay attention to that law instead. When it comes to email and telephone marketing, PECR legislation takes priority. The good news is, PECR allows a thing called‘soft opt-in’.

PECR says, if you got someone’s email address when they bought something, or negotiated to buy from you, then it’s ok to send marketing about the same kind of thing they were interested in. Nice.

The bad news is, PECR is being replaced. New stricter ePrivacy law is being debated in parliament. Nobody knows whether soft opt-in will be allowed. So it makes sense to get explicit opt-in when you can.

Will you just leave me alone?!

People have the right to tell you to stop marketing to them. And you must make it easy for them to opt-out of receiving future marketing. From today, make sure marketing emails tell people how to unsubscribe. That could be saying ‘reply with “unsubscribe” in the subject’. Or make it smarter, with a link to click.

On printed mailers, tell people what to do to stop receiving mailers. Perhaps a number to call, an address to email or a link to visit. Don’t wait until May to do this – make sure your mailers comply when you next reorder. The second – and most important – part, is keeping a ‘do not contact’ list. Once someone has opted out, it’s critical you stop sending stuff. Or face stiff fines from the regulator.

Ask about building an Opt-out landing page for you – these start from £199.

Protecting staff and customers in your business

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