Update from HTTP to HTTPS before July

Update from HTTP to HTTPS before July

Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is the secured version of HTTP. In simple terms this is the protocol through which information is sent between a browser and website. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is simply that HTTPS uses encryption when sending the information. This helps to protect information that is being transferred including login details, form submissions and even bank details.

Browsers have gradually been increasing their security levels and marking websites as secure or not secure in recent years, but in July browsers will begin clamping down on those websites still using HTTP. Here we explore HTTPS and why you need to make the switch.

How does HTTPS work?

HTTPS uses either Secure Layer Sockets (SSL) or Transport Layer Sockets (TLS) to secure and encrypt connections. The system creates two ‘keys’ that mean information can only be unlocked with the correct code. The private key is kept by the website owner in their server and this allows them to decipher the information and convert it back into useful data. While the information is being transferred, however, the data cannot be intercepted or captured.

What is the HTTPS certificate?

When a website uses a trusted SSL digital certificate the browser will check this and then display a trusted padlock symbol that reassures the user that the website is protected. With this symbol they will know that the website is able to protect their data.

Why do you need to change to HTTPS?

Whether you are collecting data on your website or not, there is about to be a shift in the way that secure and unsecured websites are treated. In July all HTTP sites on Google will be marked as being unsecured and the other browsers are soon to follow suit. The reality of this is that anyone visiting a HTTP site from July 2018 will be given a warning by their web browser that the website is unsecured. Even if you aren’t collecting data from customers this will be enough to send them looking elsewhere.

How do you change to HTTPS?

To upgrade your website to HTTPS you simply need to follow a certification process, establish your SSL and upgrade your systems. To find out how to make the switch before July, contact Westcountry Media to discuss the options and processes.

4 simple checks for a trusted website

4 simple checks for a trusted website

A recent survey by the Office of National Statistics shows that cybercrime increased by 8% last year, with over 3.6 million cases of fraud and more than 2 million reported cases of computer misuse. This increase of online fraud cases means consumers are having to become more adept at spotting fake or untrustworthy websites.

So displaying trust is one of the most important things your website has to do these days. Research by Nielsen Norman Group shows that a users trust needs must be met before they are willing to go forward with a transaction. Unfortunately, this often means they are discounting trustworthy sites that are not following best practice. So basic steps should your website take to help persuade users that you are a trustworthy business?

Green Padlock (SSL Certificate)
Due to recent government and consumer campaigns, customers have been trained to look for the green padlock icon displayed in the address bar of most browsers. This ensures there is a secure connection between the website server and the user’s browser, helping to protect information during transmission and reducing the risk of hackers intercepting personal information. If you haven’t already done so, you should contact us to implement secure SSL hosting as soon as possible, not least because this can also help improve your SEO.

Full contact information
Too many companies still make the mistake of not showing thorough contact information on their website. A contact number is a must, and it should be a landline if possible, consumers don’t typically trust companies that only show mobile numbers. But don’t stop there, you should also display your full postal address and postcode if possible. This helps to put people’s mind at rest that you are a real physical business and that they can contact you if something goes wrong.

Company registration information
Most people are not aware and even some larger companies make this mistake, but It is a legal requirement for limited companies to display their registered company number, place of registration and registered office address on their website. Typically this information is displayed in the footer, on a terms of business page or on the contact page, but it can go anywhere, so long as it’s there. Aside from being a legal requirement, this information can go a long way to proving that you are a legitimate business. If you operate in the B2B space, you will find this information is one of the first things customers look for.

Clear and concise T&Cs
All companies require terms and conditions to operate but do they really need to be written in legalese and hidden away where they’ll never be seen. Documents such as your privacy policy and returns policy should be written in a clear and concise style, providing the information the user seeks quickly and efficiently. Try to resist the temptation to write two thousand words in long-winded paragraphs without any subheadings. This makes them difficult to read and most customers have become accustomed to viewing such pages with mistrust.

The vast majority of sites we see are making at least one of these basic mistakes which are potentially costing them thousands in lost revenue every single day. Users of all ages are becoming more web savvy all the time, not because they want to, but because they have to. By failing to implement these simple trust forging elements on your website, you risk losing valuable business.

In most cases, the solutions are easy and cost-effective to implement, so if your website fails one or more of the above checks get in touch with one of our specialist team today and we’ll work to get it sorted. You only have one chance of gaining a users trust, so it’s in your interest to get it right first time.

Happy holidays from Westcountry Media

Happy holidays from Westcountry Media

It’s that time of year again, we want to send a massive Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year to all our clients.

We’ve been working hard all year and are already preparing to settle in for a cosy, comfortable and Ferrero-Rocher-filled festive season with those we hold dear. We hope whatever your plans are, they’re full of joy and drive for a happy and prosperous New Year.

But right now, as the colder nights roll in we want to take this opportunity to thank every single one of the customers, friends and contractors that have already crossed our path this year.

And so, that’s all from us this festive season. We’re proud of the work we’ve already done. And the great projects we’re committed to for the new year.

The importance of running website updates

The importance of running website updates

Once you’ve got your website up and running, it’s easy to let it just tick along, and many of us take the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it’ philosophy. When the work starts piling up and you’ve got more pressing matters to contend with, it’s not hard to see how updating your website could end up at the bottom of your to-do list.

Yet making sure your website is running on the latest platform, has the most current software and plug-ins, and is backed up daily are essential tasks that every business owner can’t afford to ignore. If you’re not keeping your site current, you run the risk of problems occurring. At the very least, this could make your website sluggish. Reduced functionality and slow speeds could worsen the user experience, and you may find your audience turning off in their droves. Ultimately, this could impact on your bottom line.

On a more serious note, if your website isn’t properly updated, you aren’t fully protecting your site, and this represents a huge security threat. Your data could be hacked or stolen, and you leave yourself vulnerable to bugs and viruses. If you have sensitive information kept on your site, such as customer details, you have an obligation to ensure that this is fully protected. With security threats constantly evolving, keeping on top of updates means you are safeguarded against the latest assaults doing the rounds.

At Westcountry Media, we understand that you might not have the time or expertise to keep your website in check, but that’s where we come in. Our management service has been introduced for your peace of mind, letting us get on with your updates and daily backups, so you don’t have to. Get in touch for further details including options and pricing.

The importance of going the extra mile with SEO.

The importance of going the extra mile with SEO.

Every website owner understands by now that investing in search engine optimisation is critical to the success of their online venture. Even with just a basic understanding of SEO, and professional insight into the best keywords for their business, most can find their way with relative ease to the first page of Google search. However, it is from here that truly great leaps can be made in terms of web traffic, if you are ready to go that extra mile to reach the top.

Statistics consistently show that the top ranking position in Google search receives 30-50% of clicks versus a mere 8-12% for the second placed listing. This large disparity clearly shows the value of investing in hitting and maintaining that top-ranking search position for your SEO keywords.

You may have built an attractive, interactive website with compelling calls to action, well placed, eye catching images and a steady stream of quality, relevant content, but without a solid plan for driving traffic to your website by ranking high for your target keywords, your efforts are not going to yield the dividends you are looking for.

Investing in a professional search engine optimisation strategy is a great way to set out a solid plan to consistently deliver the top ranking SEO results you need, and understand for yourself how to maintain a number one spot on Google for your target keywords.

Westcountry Media have been doing just that for local businesses across a range of sectors for over 6 years, and during this time we have accrued a loyal client list of over 300 local businesses from Asset label Suppliers to jewellery wholesalers . Make sure your name is on the list and get the rankings you deserve by dropping us a line to arrange a meeting about an SEO plan for your business.

The ultimate ecommerce system for your business.

The ultimate ecommerce system for your business.

A lot of the skill in building a website which delivers results is knowing what to build and what to buy. In our view at Westcountry Media, one of the easier decisions in this line is the choice between an off the shelf ecommerce system and a custom made one. A turnkey solution is much better – in this day and age, building a brand new ecommerce system for your website is about as sensible an idea as commissioning your own custom-built delivery van.

It’s not just a matter of cost, although packaged solutions are vastly cheaper than custom built ones. The fact is that an off the shelf system is bound to be more stable and reliable, because it has had many more development hours invested in it, and has a large base of existing users to help find and fix bugs. It’s also supported by software company if problems arise or new features need to be added, whereas a custom-made system might need to be largely rewritten from scratch.

The only advantage of building a custom system for an ecommerce site used to be that it gave you the flexibility to integrate the ecommerce system with the rest of the site and to add exactly the features that you wanted. But this isn’t really an advantage any more. Westcountry Media’s preferred ecommerce system is called WooCommerce, and it is incredibly flexible in terms of the features and extensions you can add to it. It also integrates seamlessly with WordPress and is designed to blend in with the most popular WordPress themes.

The way that WooCommerce works is that you have a basic “Core” package which contains all the features needed for a relatively simple ecommerce site. You can then add “Extensions” that allow the system to handle things like shipping options, different payment options, product bundles, reviews and so on. Basically, any feature that you might ask for in a customised system, WooCommerce has an extension for. The difference is that it comes at a fraction of the cost and with better reliability.

But the real advantage of the system is that it can also deliver features which are seen by the shop-owner, not the customers. You get all the data views and analytics you might want, plus the ability to handle discounts, coupons and marketing. If you were commissioning a custom-built system, you would need to be very careful to define exactly the back-end features that you thought you needed, and changing your mind at a later date might be very expensive. With WooCommerce, the Core product has a lot of the most common user requirements and Extensions are easy to add in.

Because it’s a package we have a lot experience with, we recommend WooCommerce to our clients; we can cut development time to an absolute minimum as we know our way around all the options. It’s a proven market leader, powering something like 30% of all online stores and you can see why when you use it. There are plenty of difficult decisions to make when building your online presence, but this is not one of them.

To view some of the standard features of WooCommerce download the PDF or contact us for more details.