Category: Services

Invisible Spam Protection

Since the origins of the internet, the battle with spam began. In recent years the tide began to turn with the introduction of Googles reCaptcha. Over the years it has appeared in many different forms. The most universally hated seems to be the garbled, twisted, smudged words that had to be deciphered before you could proceed. Is that a “1” or an “l”- a zero or the letter “O”? Maybe you see two letters where there should have been only one. No matter how much you tilt your head, squint your eyes, and move your chair back, it was never a pleasant user experience. This obviously began to impact on the user experience causing frustration and a reduction on submissions, so the online communities demanded more.

Now that it’s finally here, and we’re definitely impressed. It works like a dream, and the vast majority of users will never even know it’s there, except for those rare occasions when your mouse movements are particularly robotic and you see the image challenge. Get in touch today to find out about reducing spam and adding Invisible reCaptcha to your forms today.

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The benefits of having live chat on your website

Live chat is the informal sales assistant of the digital world – there to help boost customer confidence by answering quick questions about products and services without submitting a formal email request.

How effective is it?

This research study – “Making Proactive Chat Work” was conducted by Forrester Research and it found the following:

“Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”

There was also an e-marketer.com survey that showed that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. The survey goes on to say:

“62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again. A further 38% of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself. All these attitudes were even more prevalent among respondents who bought online at least weekly.”

This convenience creates a more inviting shopping experience and has a direct impact on customer satisfaction giving you an edge over your competition and driving sales up. Customers are much more likely to return to websites where they know that they are going to receive the support they need with minimal effort.

What is it, really?

Ultimately, live chat is a real-time messaging system – between you and your customers, your team and your customers or a third party and your customers depending on what level of support you need. They range from free services (with a small setup and installation charge) to subscription-based services depending on your needs and budget. The chat window can be fully branded for an additional cost or might have some branding for the provider – we are very open with our supplier partnerships and you’ll notice that we leave the branding on our live chat windows.

Talk to us today

If you’ve been thinking about installing a live chat system on your website and would like to find out more information then get in touch today and we’ll run through the various options available.

What is the best backup solution for your business?

Backup is essential for modern business but with so many different methods available how can you pick the one that is best for you?

There are a few important variables to consider including how much data you have, how sensitive the data is and to what extent you can still function as a business without it.

How much data do you have?

How much data you need to backup and the combination of total data and daily generated data will have a significant impact on your decision. Although physical disks are getting larger in capacity and cheaper, if you have a lot of data (read, tens of terabytes – not gigabytes!) then an on-site backup server (especially if you are keeping previous versions of files) might not be the most feasible or cost-effective solution. This is where cloud solutions really excel – almost unlimited storage capacities at tiny prices.

Storage is cheap, but time is not. An important and often overlooked factor is fast your internet connection is and how long it takes to backup the data you generate each day and how long it would take to download all of your data from the cloud in a disaster situation. If you have a super-fast leased line this they might not be a problem, but if you are sharing a building’s internet connection or have a slow transfer speed then this could be a major problem.

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How sensitive is your data?

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and all of the other big names spend a lot on security to ensure that your data is safe however it is still stored nu-encrypted in a public data-centre. An on-site backup server gives you full, secure access to your files and data but there are also other options out there; cloud backup and storage services tuned specifically for privacy with 100% data encryption and private, UK servers with 100% network uptime and 1-hour hardware replacement SLA’s.

Monitoring and Testing

All backups should be monitored so that if anything starts to fail, it can be fixed before it puts any data at risk. In a similar way, recovery should be simulated on a regular basis so that you can be confident that the data is being duplicated perfectly. In our experience, this is where most backup solutions fall down. They are set up, untested and when the time comes to recover data files are corrupted or not available.

The best of both is the best for most

Our recommended solution in most cases is for an on-site NAS Server that is set up for regular cloud backups. This provides you with the best of both worlds; an on-site backup for instant recovery of files combined with the resilience of an off-site cloud backup if there were ever any major disaster.

Our Managed Spotlight NAS drives (built with Synology hardware) are completely scalable, secure and integrated with cloud backup solutions such as Amazon Glacier for cheap, reliable off-site backup.

Read More Spotlight NAS

Implementation

The first step of any backup strategy should always be a consultation and risk analysis of your current infrastructure. This will allow us (or any other consultant) to identify current vulnerabilities and put a plan in place.

Talk to us

If you’d like to book a consultation or talk to us about any of our backup solutions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Making sense of your Google Analytics Traffic Reports

Google Analytics is a fantastic resource, but a minefield to get around – engagement, acquisition, goals – all of this information can be collated and used to boost your business by a trained SEO expert. But how can you use this information if you are not an expert?

Monthly Readable Reports

Our easy to understand monthly SEO reports are written in plain English to tell you exactly what is going on with the traffic to your website without any of the complicated jargon. We’ll show the most interesting data first and include your overall page views, any new referrals, the bounce rate and other website performance data and we’ll compare that to the previous month and let you know if it is an all-time high or low.

React with confidence

You’ll be able to see if there is a spike in tablet visitors to ensure that the website is mobile-ready as well as identify if one advertising source is referring more or fewer visitors than others.

AdWords Ready

If you use Google AdWords then we’ll include your paid search data, including an overall spend analysis

Transparent E-Commerce

If you sell items on your website then our reports can provide a comprehensive insight into your digital business. We’ll link your campaigns together, measure user interaction and aim to quantify your website’s success against previous periods.

Included in our SEO Packages or available separately

All of our SEO Packages include these reports but if you would like a better understanding of how your website is performing on a month-to-month basis then we can set you up for just £15/mo+VAT

Talk to us about SEO reports or click here for more information about Strategic SEO Campaigns

Why Choose A Professional Web Design Company?

It doesn’t matter whether you are a plumber or an international company because you need to make sure that your website has an online presence. This is so you can attract people in your local area or people across the world. Even new customers can embrace your brand and on top of this, it is a great way for you to attract existing customers who might have visited you before as well. If you do have an online presence then you need to make sure that it is substantial enough to attract people to your site so this is something you need to think about as well. The reason why you need to make sure that you have a website design company is that customers don’t want to spend hours searching around the high street stores and they don’t want to find out what company is the best in terms of word of mouth either.

Basically, being online is no more than just a good addition to your marketing. It is now one of the many things you need to consider when you are launching a company or even taking an existing one to that next step. With more and more people heading online by the day as well, you can already start to see why it is so important to be online and this is just the tip of the iceberg. One of the other things you need to think about is the age of smartphones. Smartphones are the future and now people are using them to get online faster than ever before.

So why are people reluctant to go to a website designer? It’s all because they don’t know who to go with when there are so many choices available. A lot of people do make their own websites and they are probably very proud of them as well. The thing you need to think about is would you go as far as mending your own car if you “thought” you knew what to do? Probably not and for that reason, it is now more important than ever for you to make sure that you get someone who is trained and more than capable of completing your project for you. On top this, you may feel as though a quick site is all you need to start the customers flowing but in reality, when you do this, the end result will probably look poor.

When you pay someone who can offer you a lot of value for your money, this is always good and they can bring you so much experience as well. After all, these days, having a site just isn’t enough because you also need to think about how you are going to get it ranked in the search engines and how you are going to integrate it into social media as well. On top of this, you also need to have knowledge on PPC because this is the one thing that will help you to get leads and it will also help you to make sure that you can be found when someone actually searches for your name so this is something you need to keep in mind.

When you hire a good website design company, they will have all the experience you need to get the job done and they will also know what makes a good site compared to what makes a bad site. They will probably have experience in your niche and they will also be able to offer you a site that is very responsive as well as one that will continue to surpass your expectations. Of course, a good site is required if you want your customers to have a good experience when they are going through your site and you also need to make sure that it is responsive as well. This is easier said than done but the three main things you need to think about are the designing, the coding and the navigational experience. This all comes down to how experienced your website designer is and these three elements will add up to how good your website is at the end of the day.

A good website designer will always sit with you to talk about what you want from your site as well as asking you how you would like to improve it. They will also take into account any thoughts and considerations you might have as well as asking you if you are comfortable with the price in general so you know you can count on them and all the experience they have to offer.

So as you can see, if you are thinking about getting your site designed but you have some doubts or if you just want to make sure that your site is professional then you really will want to make sure that you hire a professional website design company. An online presence could absolutely transform your business and it is the best way for you to make the most out of your online presence. You could get local pages setup, discounts for your customers and anything else you want and this is one of the biggest benefits you get when you hire their services. Why don’t you give yours a call today to see how they can help you? It’s never been easier.

What are WordPress Custom Post Types?

Post types tell you what type of content you are posting to your WordPress website. There are two default types of content available – posts and pages. Posts are normally used for blog posts and dynamic content, and that means that when you post your initial blog post, it changes when the second one is posted. Pages are normally used for static content, which means that they are not specific to a certain time. Of course, sometimes you may have content that isn’t specific to what you need, but you should know that it is possible for you to create your own type of content using WordPress Custom Post Types and it is actually easier than ever to do.

WordPress Custom Post Types

Custom post types are defined by the user and they are one of the features that make WordPress so flexible. You can create as many of these as you want and each one is like a box that you can put your content in. You can also find them being used in conjunction with various plugins, take news plugins as an example. If you had your own coffee shop and you wanted a way in which you could post about the types of coffee that you sell, you would be able to create a custom type for this. This would help you to make sure that all of your content stays separate and it also helps you to make sure that you can distinguish them for your users as well.

Of course, you can do this in any way that you want and you can also customise it as much or as little as you need to so there are always plenty of options available when you choose to create custom posts as opposed to pages and posts as standard.

We’ll let you know if we think a custom post type is right for your website, but if you have something in mind don’t hesitate to contact us.

Next Generation Cloud Hosting

Have you ever considered the thought of cloud hosting? Maybe you have been thinking about shared cloud hosting but you’re not quite sure if it is a viable option for you? Either way, it is a great way to make sure that your site is protected and when you do host your company website on a cloud, you will be putting it on an extensive network instead of a single server.

The (old) limitations of shared hosting

When people discuss shared hosting platforms they are usually talking about a number of websites (hundreds or even thousands) sharing the same resources on a single server. This means that the performance of your website depends greatly on it’s co-websites and if one of those is particularly hungry, then it can draw resources away from your website.

A better, cloud solution

Cloud hosting works using clusters of servers in unison to distribute your website across the network so that if requirements fluctuate across different websites, the system can compensate accordingly calling on additional clusters to deliver power when it is needed ensuring that both the hungry website and your website run quickly and efficiently. This network solution also increases the reliability of the system, so that if a single server goes down, your website still stays online. Whilst reliability and uptime are still greater on our managed VPS or Dedicated servers we are so confident with our cloud hosting that it comes with a 99.9% SLA.

In short, because cloud servers don’t rely on individual server power, databases or other websites to power yours, you can get faster loading speeds as well as an increased level of reliability.

WordPress Hosting

Cloud hosting is great for WordPress websites, however, it does reply on the WordPress developer/website designer knowing what they are doing. The website configuration itself can be the difference of loading in a split second or four seconds. As Google now ranks sites based on the performance, fast loading times are essential for both SEO and for user experience.

So as you can see, cloud hosting has certainly advanced over the last couple of years and you might be surprised at how much it could benefit you (and how little it can cost).

Levelling Up

For the next level of performance, we also have VPS, Hybrid and Dedicated servers available for websites that have particularly heavy traffic or bespoke on-site processing requirements.

To find out more about any of our hosting plans just get in touch and we can help you find the perfect package to meet your needs

Hope for the best, plan for the worst! Backup and Security

You have probably heard a lot of people talk about how important it is to have good backup and security for your hard drive and computer in case something goes wrong, but at the end of the day, the same concept applies to your site as well and there are plenty of things that you need to look out for.

Bad things can happen

Unfortunately, bad things can happen. Websites are attacked every single day and although measures can be taken to help prevent these whether it’s that your site is attacked by a malicious script, spammed or even directly attacked for its data or to commit fraud.

It is not just hackers and spammers you need to worry about. Hosting companies can experience outages, floods, electrical problems and more. If your only backup is located within the same data centre, any major incident that occurs there could mean that your website and the backup of your website are lost. This effectively drops the value of your website to zero.

And let us not forget about human error 😉

Hackers

Hackers are all over the web. They usually use their skills to try and steal credit card information but a lot of people choose to hack sites because it proves how good they are, and it may even cause a bit of trouble as well. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how much security you have, things can happen at any time and by having a website backup in place, you can be sure to make a difference.

Minimising Damages – Backup and Security

If you log into your site one day and you are greeted with an error, time again then you will probably get a sinking feeling in your stomach. The feeling that tells you that something is wrong, and before you know it, you come to terms with what has just happened. If you don’t have a website backup in place then this could mean serious problems for you later down the line and for this reason, it is always important to make sure that this is the case.

One way to keep your website more secure would be to keep up to date with all the latest WordPress updates, but at the end of the day, this can only do so much for your security and if something catastrophic should happen then you might not be able to protect yourself against it. All of our Webmaster packages come with daily snapshot backups but If you don’t have a website backup in place then it might be a good idea to contact your agency to get one sorted.

For more information about backup and security or to see how we can help keep your website fast, backed up, secure and up-to-date please don’t hesitate to get in touch today
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Manchester

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Beehive Mill
Manchester
M4 6JG

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