We as humans are constantly becoming more aware of our impact on the environment. Here are a few steps that your business can take to help protect the future of our planet.
1. Change up your commute
It’s no secret that one of the worst things for the environment are cars. There are multiple ways you can travel to work that will reduce pollution such as using public transport, riding a bike or simply walking. Riding a bicycle or walking to work can promote a healthy lifestyle as well as reduction to your travel expenses. Of course, the latter would be more beneficial for the environment, but not everyone lives close enough to work to be able to ride or walk there. Carpooling can also be a great way to tackle reducing CO2 emissions for employees who live further away.
2. Support other eco-friendly businesses
One of the easiest ways to act on sustainability is to speak and partner with like-minded brands. This way you can easily share ideas and collectively come up with a plan to reduce your environmental impact. You can also use the partnership to promote each other’s businesses as sustainable, thus bringing in more customers.
3. Switch to Cloud Computing
There are a number of benefits to Cloud computing for small businesses, one of which is that using the cloud can benefit the environment. There are numerous cloud-based applications such as Google Apps, Apple iCloud, Adobe's Creative Cloud and Microsoft Office 365, all of which allow you to create, share and access information from anywhere. This can potentially help your company to reduce printing, postal and travel costs, which all contribute to helping the environment.
4. Go paperless wherever possible
In an increasingly digital world, going paperless is now much easier. There are a few steps you and your business can take to reduce paper waste, such as giving your customers the option to receive paperwork (such as receipts, contracts, etc) email or post. Additionally, you could send all meeting, invoice and other office documents electronically. However, if you do need to use paper, make sure to recycle it properly.
5. Cut down on packaging waste
If your business sells and delivers a product, you’ll most likely send it in packaging. Many larger conglomerates are regularly criticised for the amount of waste included with their parcels. Your business can compete with them by offering customers very little waste, therefore finding appropriate packaging for your products is very important. You should seek eco-friendly and easily recyclable materials to use in your packaging and if possible, using a low-emissions delivery company. Although it may be more expensive in the long run, the results will speak for themselves.
Remember, ‘going green’ is not a gimmick and can involve a lot of effort when done properly. Customers are always the first to recognise authenticity, so make sure you’re making conscious efforts and take genuine steps towards helping the environment. Good luck, your customers and your planet will appreciate the effort! Don’t forget to include all the ways you are reducing your carbon footprint on your website and social media, it may help others follow your example.
It’s no secret that WordPress is a market leader when it comes to website building. In fact, 33% of the world wide web is powered by WordPress and they have a 60% market share for content management systems!
One of the best things about Wordpress is its flexibility. If you already have a WordPress website, you’re probably already familiar with its vast amount of plugins and customisation options.
However, with almost 55,000 plugins in their directory, it can be a little daunting to find the perfect plugin for your website. Here’s a list of some of the best plugins with the potential to increase the functionality and performance of your website.
WooCommerce is one of the best WordPress plugins if you want to sell anything online. It’s owned and maintained by the makers of WordPress and powers an impressive 30% of all online stores. It’s very easy to set up and can be integrated into your existing website. As well as the initial storefront plugin, WooCommerce also have a vast number of additional extensions to optimise your website.
With WooCommerce you can offer your customers extendable shipping options, free shipping, local pickups, flat rates, and many more. It also has multiple payment options for your customers including cash on delivery, credit card and PayPal - a very convenient feature for a plugin to have and very much appreciated by customers as well. From physical products to event tickets, software, or service plans, you will be able to sell anything using this plugin.
In this internet first world, search engine optimisation and its advantages are more relevant than ever. Yoast SEO helps to guide users into creating the best content that will in turn help you rank higher in search engines.
You can choose a focus keyword and check that it has been used appropriately with the page analysis tool. It covers everything from your written content, to image alt tags and meta description. It even ranks your posts readability and suggests ways your can best align your text and photos. Additionally, with the snippet preview tool, Yoast SEO assists in improving how your page/post will look in search engines.
Jetpack is an essential plugin for a successful WordPress website. It is designed to increase your traffic, boost your page speed as well as optimising your images and website appearance. Jetpack also takes care of your site security in order to protect your website against hackers across the internet.
Duplicator gives you the ability to move your entire WordPress website from one location to another - basically ‘duplicating’ it, as the name suggests! It allows you to backup and transfer your files, themes and posts to wherever you want them to be. It’s a perfect plugin for setting up a website from scratch, re-branding or when you’re working with a web design agency, because the chances are that you’ll want to move servers after a while.
Word of warning; this plugin does require some technical knowledge. If you plan to migrate WordPress or backup WordPress it may be best to speak to an expert if you’re not a computer wizz. Also, don’t forget to back-up your files and databases beforehand.
Beaver Builder is a live drag-and-drop page builder plugin for WordPress. It is considered to be one of the best on the market. It even comes with an inbuilt ‘tour’ to help quickly familiarise yourself with their interface. Web pages and layouts made using Beaver Builder are designed to be fully responsive across devices with fast loading times. It also supports core and third party WordPress widgets and shortcodes - meaning you can use all your favourite plugins with it.
Honorable mention - Gutenberg
Wordpress have developed a page builder which is included as part of Wordpress 5.0 and later. Gutenberg removes the need for a third party plugin, but the Classic Editor plugin allows users to switch to another page editor if you’d prefer it. It uses 'Blocks' to plan out your page, which allows users to insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content.
What are your favourite plugins?
With the new year well and truly upon us, many of you may be looking into starting new ventures, or even breathing some new life into existing businesses. One important, if not THE most important, factor to consider when inventing or reinventing your company is your brand. Although we cannot touch or feel brands, companies like Apple have brands that are worth more than $200 billion! But what does it take to make a successful brand? Here are some things to consider:
When creating a brand identity, you should think of it as a visual representation of your brands values. It should be designed to communicate your company's overall message as well as promote your business goals. The most important parts of brand identity are:
Visual elements of your brand identity should be used consistently across all promotional and marketing materials such as business cards, packaging and your website. Each part of your brand should have the same basic style and design elements, this will support a clear and cohesive branding package.
Brand identities can help to differentiate your company from competitors as well as appropriate its positioning. Thus, creating a brand with a professional, creative and individual design can help you stand out to potential customers.
When you have an identity package, your branding will be included on all your marketing materials, thus increasing brand awareness. The more your brand is feature, the more memorable it will become and the more customers it will reach.
Brand identity allows customers to connect more personally with your company. Therefore, with an effective brand identity, you can build customer loyalty and trust.
Similarly to a brand identity, a logo should be used consistently and can help with brand differentiation, memorability and customer loyalty. Although, it could be argued that without a logo you do not have a complete brand identity.
Logos are intended to be the ‘face’ of your company. In one small visual, they're purpose is to communicate your brand identity and what your company represents. Studies have repeatedly shown that people recognise and relate to images much better and faster than text. In this new image cantered, internet-led, social media dominated world the logo has never been more important. A strong brand name and logo helps to keep you at the forefront of your potential customers. Therefore, you should try to make your logo unique and instantly recognisable to your brand.
When you add human characteristics to a brand name, you start to create a brand personality. They help customers relate personally and emotionally to your company.
Your brand personality is usually linked to your branding strategies and marketing activities.
Things like your brand name, colours and fonts used, as well as your chosen logo all have an effect of your brands personality.
Taglines, product packaging, and marketing communication strategies have a huge role in defining a brand’s personality.
The best way to figure out your brand personality would be to write a list of keywords that best describe your brands character as if it were a person. Think about how you want your brand to be perceived by your target audience and how it should make them feel.
We hope this is helpful, and you can always get in touch with us if you’d like any help with branding for your business!
You already know the well-known saying ‘new year, new you’, well why not use 2019 to apply this to your business? Here are some ideas to inspire you and help your business in 2019.
- Create a new website
Whether you have a blog, corporate website or e-commerce store, updating your website on a regular basis has many benefits. Here’s a few reasons why updating your website or creating a new one can benefit your business:
- It’s good for your SEO: Search engines love content and especially new content. A regularly updated website can be crawled more often and has more pages in the index.
- You can update information that may be outdated on your website and improve the user experience.
- Have you been using analytics? If not, why? It’s a great tool to see how your website in performing and to analyse your audience and their behaviours.
- You could even use 2019 to revamp your whole website to make it responsive on mobiles and tablets.
- Get on social media
If your business is already on social media, that’s great! If not, consider that there are now over 3 billion people using social networks all across the globe and many of them use social networks to engage with their favourite brands. On social media you can engage with your customers as well as potentially reach new highly targeted customers. Unlike traditional media, social media offers two-way communication. They allow you to interact directly with customers, and likewise give them the chance to interact directly with your brand. Additionally, social media posts are a great way to drive traffic to your website! For instance, you can share content from your blog or website to your social channels. This is a great way to get readers as soon as you publish a new post. You can also use social media to promote your products or services - but it’s best to use Dave Chaffey’s 70:20:10 rule! Always remember to keep your posts entertaining and informative, that way your followers will be glad to see your new content in their feeds and will keeping you top of their minds.
- Have a brand refresh
Nowadays trends are constantly changing, so it can be difficult to maintain a modern image. Brand refreshes can help your business grow, adapt and keep your company at the top of your industry.
- It will help you to reach new customers. When you focus on new aspects of your business and promote them correctly, people will take notice. Rebranding creates the potential create new growth for your business in an ever-evolving market.
- Rebranding can be the most effective way to set your company apart from competition. Differentiating your brand shows potential clients that your services are unique—and shows customers that you’re the experts!
- Design trends can play a major role in how potential or current customers perceive your company and what you offer. Ensuring that your look is always ‘on trend’ shows your customers that you pay attention and keeps your business relevant in your respective industry.
- If you’ve recently expanded your products/services or set new goals for yourself, rebranding is a great way to show that your business is evolving. While it’s important to stick to your traditional services and story, updating your services and they way you promote them could help you get more business.
- Create a promo video
The world now is so fast paced, it can be difficult to find new, exciting and unique ways to advertise your business and products/services. Video marketing is not a new idea, but it’s certainly proving to be a powerful, effective part of marketing strategy. In fact, statistics have revealed that more than 80% customers buy a product after watching a promotional video. It may seem obvious, but in this fast-paced world, video content is preferred over written content simply because it is much quicker and easier to process. Because of the nature of video content, users feel more connected and involved with businesses thus impacting conversion rates and sales. Videos themselves are more explanatory and act as an excellent engager, marketers are leveraging them to attract more sales and even to increase brand awareness. Also, as videos are more engaging and easier to understood, visitors are likely to spend more time on your website or social media pages if they have video content. Users find it easy to consume content via videos when compared to reading blogs or articles. Video marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing as it gets the maximum return on investment due to their visual, easily consumable nature. It has been revealed by a number of statistics that on average, a user spends 88% more time on a website that has a video. They are also expected to receive better responses from customers than written content.
- Create an app
It has become a given that all large businesses will most likely have an app, but what about small businesses? Should they be investing in creating an app? Well if you’re hoping to attract new customers, increase sales, build your brand image, or improve your customer experience, the answer is more than likely yes. Depending on the service or product provided by your business, a mobile app could be the next logical step.
Here are a few benefits that may help you determine whether investment into a mobile app is right for you and your business:
- Apps allow businesses to use unique features to engage with customers, such as mobile scheduling, notifications, and loyalty programs. Mobile websites, while necessary and useful, do not tend to have features that keep users coming back to interact with your brand. In contrast to websites, apps allow you to send push notifications or text messages to send reminders to prompt customers. These can include anything from appointment reminders to sales and special offers.
- A mobile app basically opens a direct line of communication between your business and your customers, allowing you to have more personalised interactions with them.
- They also make user engagement more efficient by reducing touch points between them and the business. Which in turn make it easier to convert users to paying customers.
- Apps can also assist with building brand recognition and awareness by recreating your brand image. According to Inc., 80% of customers believe colour can increase brand awareness, making consistency and an easily recognizable design for your app essential.
So there we have it, lots of new ideas for you and your business in 2019. If you would like any further advice, please contact us.
Running a small business can be costly, especially when it comes to marketing. The costs involved with design, print and online marketing can all add up before you’ve even begun making a profit. At Cyber we are small business champions and want to help give you the best tips where possible to maximise your resources. So here are 5 great places where you can get your hands on free stock photos!
Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free stock photos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist - even for commercial purposes. You can copy and change the images however you like.
Canva is a free online graphic design tool that allows you to create images like social media images, posters, banners, infographics and pretty much any graphic you can think of! In addition, they have a comprehensive catalogue of stock imagery that is free to use when designing your artwork. They also have a whole range of templates available, so if design isn’t your strong suit, no need to worry!
Possibly one of our favourite websites - Unsplash is an online portfolio of free photos donated by some incredibly talented photographers. They are organised by collections such as ‘nature’ ‘animals’ ‘travel’ and ‘fashion’. NASA even has their own collection (yes we do spend way too much time on here). The photos are available for use by anyone, but it’s polite to credit the photographer where possible.
Pexels is a great little website that allows photographers to upload their work, and also scours the web for the best free stock photos to add to their collection. All photos are high quality and available under the Pexels license. Their mission is to empower creators and give them access to some of the best photography out there - for free!
And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always try Google Images. Simply type your request into the search bar, click on ‘Tools’ then ‘Usage rights’ and ‘Labelled for reuse’.
So there you have it! If you have any more questions about design for your small business, you can call our friendly team on +44 (0) 1284 330188 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you considering a website redesign? Or are you launching a website for the very first time? That’s great! However there are a lot of design and user experience considerations to take into account, especially on your home page. Think of your home page as a digital storefront - if it isn’t appealing, welcoming and easy to access, then you won’t attract customers. Here are 5 things to consider when developing your website home page:
Font and colour choice are very important in web design and can contribute to user experience, user perception, readability, and even mood. When choosing your typography, it’s best to choose between 2 - 4 fonts in order to differentiate different parts of the website without distracting the user. Very few people will sit down and read each and every single word of your content, therefore, the fonts you select need to be readable at a glance. Additionally, colour and formatting can be used to draw the eye to particularly important information.
It’s true, a picture speaks a thousand words. Pictures make up a significant part of websites and are used to inspire, engage and explain information to the user. However, when not used in the correct way, images can be a turn off. Ensure images are the right quality and not blurred as this can spoil the aesthetic of your site. Large images will also need to be compressed to ensure they load quickly, as waiting a long time for an image to load can frustrate a user. Pictures also need to be relevant to the page content. An eye-tracking study by Nielsen discovered that participants ignored images when they served no purpose other than to fill the page with a visual.
Purchasing online has an added element of risk in that shoppers can’t physically see or experience the product or service they are interested in. One method of reducing this perceived risk is to add testimonials to a website. Use testimonials on your home page to showcase some of your best customer feedback as this can help build trust and credibility in the minds of your potential customers.
Whitespace is essentially empty space that forms part of a website. Rather than cluttering a website home page with graphics, text and information wherever possible, the use of whitespace can help to create a clear layout that is easy for users to follow. It can be really useful to help break up big blocks of text and help guide the reader down the page to your call to action. Less really is more!
5) Call to action
When you attract a customer to your website the ultimate goal is for them to take some form of action - whether it’s making a purchase, filling in a contact form or signing up to a newsletter. The best way to guide the user to carry out these objectives is to use something that’s known as a ‘call to action’. These are touchpoints in the form of buttons or links that stand out using assertive language to tell the user to do something, such as ‘buy now’ or ‘sign up’. They should be colourful to stand out, use straightforward language and be highly visible on the page to ensure minimal drop offs. Think carefully about where these should be placed on your home page.
So there you have it! If you have any more questions about designing a website for your business, you can call our friendly team on +44 (0) 1284 330188 or e-mail email@example.com.
If it’s true that a picture can speak a thousand words, then a video can speak ten thousand words. Video content really took off in 2005 with the launch of YouTube and since then has been on a steady slope to success. Fast forward 13 years and almost nearly all social media channels are dominated by video content, with a Facebook executive recently predicting that all content on the platform will be video in less than 5 years. Aside from its popularity there really are genuine reasons why your business, big or small, should be investing in video content:
1) It’s the most watched content online
According to Hubspot, 500 million people are watching Facebook videos every day, Snapchatters watch 10 billion videos a day and 82% of Twitter users watch video content on the platform. With statistics like that, it’s clear that video is absolutely dominating social media.
2) It helps with SEO
The more content your business can produce, the more klout your business will have and the more search engines will favour you and video content is no exception. Videos can also be optimised for search engines from their title and description - which are all beneficial to a SEO strategy. Similar practices apply - ensure that you are not cramming in unnecessary keywords and that the description accurately describes the content of your video.
3) It’s great on mobile
The increase of mobile devices has lead to more of us watching video content on the go - on our commute, when we are out at the weekend or on a long journey travelling. 90% of consumers watch video on their mobile devices - video content and mobile devices were made for each other!
4) It provides the highest ROI
Although video content can be costly to produce, 83% of businesses claim that video content provided them with the highest ROI. These days you do not necessarily need a quality video recorder as the cameras on our mobile devices have amazing quality! What’s more, consumers don’t mind videos that are more ‘real’ as it makes the business appear to be more authentic.
5) It encourages engagement
Many studies show that people are a lot more prepared to watch a short video than read an article. Being able to capture the attention of your audience makes it much more likely for them to engage with it, and based on social media algorithms the more engagement, the more you post will be shown to others.
Overall, investing in video content can require a lot of time and resources, but the benefits are not to be ignored.
The way we shop is changing. The high street is deteriorating and what we once knew as brick and mortar has now turned into click and order. Retail businesses are now recognising the need for an online presence. But how can this presence be enhanced to stay ahead of the competition? Here’s 5 ways to increase traffic to your e-commerce website:
- Social media
By 2021, the number of worldwide monthly social media users is expected to reach an astounding 3.02 billion—well over 1/3 of the world’s total population. Social media provides an incredible platform for you to raise awareness for your business. The beauty of social media is that it’s free and you have access to customers right at your fingertips! Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are a fantastic way to market your products visually, while the likes of Twitter and Facebook can help you build a community and relationships with customers and drive them back to your website.
- Content marketing
Content marketing requires a little more legwork, but can offer a whole host of benefits. Firstly, it adds value to your offering. For example, if you’re an online vintage fashion store, your customers are likely to be fashion conscious and keen to read about trends and styles - so why not have a go and write a blog post, create a video, or create an e-zine celebrating the latest trends. It will make you stand out from the crowd, give customers a reason to come back to your site regularly, and also help with your website’s search engine optimisation too.
- E-mail marketing
One of the best ways to increase traffic and conversions is e-mail marketing. Being able to send tailored e-mails to a relevant audience directly to their inbox is marketing gold. In 2018, e-mails are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with “forgotten basket” and “we thought you might be interested in” e-mails able to cleverly tempt keen customers back to your website for a second look. With great platforms such as Mailchimp available for free, it doesn’t need to cost the earth either.
Being top of the search engine results pages is every business's dream - but sadly not every business's reality. SEO is constantly changing as the way we search online constantly evolves. At the moment, Google is rewarding responsive sites, relevant keywords and fast load speeds. Ensure your keywords are planned for each webpage. As previously mentioned, content marketing such as regular blog posts will help too.
If you’re looking for a quick fix and want to reach customers immediately, you can pay for your adverts to be shown on certain search results. This is relatively cost effective as you are only charged once a user clicks on your advert, not when it’s viewed. What’s more, you can advertise your products on Google’s shopping pages to enhance your listing.
These are just 5 ways to increase traffic to your e-commerce site, and there are lots more out there. If you have any recommendations, let us know in the comments.
Search engine marketing has changed a lot in the last few years. We’ve moved on from Google’s simple list of blue links and have moved on to an all-singing all-dancing page with features like rich snippets and business listings taking centre stage. So how can you do SEO in 2018? Here’s the lowdown…
- Plan your keywords
Search marketing in 2018 is all about relevance. Google’s mission is to ensure they best match the search results with each query, and the key to staying in Google’s good books is keyword research. Stay on top of what your customers are asking for, and how they are asking for it. Moz has a great keyword research tool here. We recommend crafting a primary keyword for each page, then having a couple of secondary supporting terms.
- Enhance your listing
With a little coding, businesses can now control how their listing appears in the SERP’s. This has enabled features such as Knowledge Graph and rich snippets to frequently appear on results pages. Rich snippets have proven to increase click-through rate by 30%, according to Search Engine Land. They’re great for pages like recipes that allow you to display key information such as reviews, cooking time, calories, cost of ingredients and more all in one search result.
- Page load speed
Research indicates that the quicker the page, the higher the ranking. Although many businesses want their site to be unique with lots of features like videos and images - this can slow your page down and negatively impact your SEO. Google offers a free page speed test that you can use here that will give your business a score out of 100 and provide you with recommendations.
- Voice search
According to Google, 55% of teens and 40% of adults use voice search daily. With this in mind, it’s important to optimise your SEO strategy for voice - which isn’t as simple as you may think. The way people use voice search is incredibly different as people are speaking in whole sentences rather than short keywords.
Overall, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest developments in SEO in order to stay ahead of the pack. If you would like to speak with one of our experts, please contact us on +44 (0) 1284 330188 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
SaaS tools have grown incredibly over the past few years. There are hundreds available that can revolutionise the way small businesses operate - and more importantly save valuable time, money and effort. However, according to research by Salesforce, only a quarter of SME’s are aware of how online applications can help to grow their business. We want to outline some of the best cloud-based applications and how they can help your small business:
Say goodbye to your slow, old and expensive accounting software and hello to Kashoo. Kashoo is revolutionising the way small businesses manage their finances with their impressive ‘anytime, anywhere’ cloud-based platform. Kashoo is available across multiple devices and allows users to carry out a range of tasks on the go including sending invoices, making payments, viewing profit and loss accounts and keeping up to date with their tax status. You can enjoy a 14 day free trial, and prices start from just $19.95 per month.
Zendesk is a simple yet powerful cloud-based customer service tool to help small businesses better engage with their customers. Apparently, it was started by 3 friends in a Copenhagen loft who wanted to bring ‘a bit of zen’ to the chaotic world of customer support and is now used by 200,00 businesses worldwide. Zendesk gathers customer queries across phone, chat, email, social media, and any other channel you can imagine, all come together in one place. You can enjoy a free trial, and prices start from $75 per seat, per month.
The days of list-making, 100+ page documents, and extensive company procedures are over. Trello is the handy one-software-does-all that manages all of your plans, projects, pipelines ranging from the largest company re-branding project down to what sandwiches to serve clients for lunch. And what’s more, it’s free! They’ve recently been acquired by Atlassian, so we’re excited to see what more is to come.
Communication and collaboration
Microsoft have recently launched their new cloud-based collaboration software, Microsoft Teams - and it certainly does not disappoint. Harnessing the power of communication, Teams is part of the Office 365 suite and allows team members to communicate via phone, video and voice - anytime, anywhere. You can live-stream meetings, co-author content and set up private chats. Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions start from just £9.40 per person, per month.
Are you already using cloud-based software to streamline your business? Let us know in the comments below.
In 2015 Ofcom announced that the UK is now a ‘smartphone society’ and that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online. Despite this, many businesses are failing to adapt to these changes and do not have websites that are compatible with mobile devices. Here is the importance of responsive design and why it matters to your business.
What is responsive design?
Firstly it’s important to understand what responsive design actually is. Responsive design considers the way your website adapts to screens of different sizes. The dimensions of a desktop screen differ to those of a tablet, which differ to that of a mobile phone. Responsive design ensures that your website design isn’t compromised when viewed across different devices, and that the visitor still gets the optimum experience.
Why is it important?
Imagine a potential customer has just visited one of your stores and is looking for a product that is out of stock but available online. Your sales staff recommend them to visit the website to proceed with their purchase, so the customer pulls out their mobile phone and logs on to the website. The website looks out of date, the text and images are blurry, the menu is hard to navigate - let alone complete the order. The customer is put off and you have lost out on their business.
What are the benefits?
As discussed the main benefit of responsive design is to ensure a seamless transition of your website across devices, providing customers with an enjoyable browsing experience. They are more likely to revisit the site, recommend it to their friends, and hold your business in higher regard. In addition, the mobile first movement has impacted the way that search engines rank websites, and those with a good responsive design take priority in the search result listings.
How to plan for responsive design.
The biggest recommendation we can make is to plan for your audience. Take the time to research what devices they are using and when. If they are young and mobile savvy, ensure your site is compatible with popular mobile phone brands such as Apple and Samsung. If they are of the older generation, place more effort into enhancing your desktop experience. Research new trends - for example many mobile devices now have larger screens (the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus) so be sure to plan your user experience around this.
If you’re interested in investing in a responsive design for your website, Cyber can help. Give us a call on +441284 330188 or e-mail email@example.com to discuss your needs.
Despite the rapid adoption of technology across the world, we are still experiencing businesses who run heavily on paper. Many continue in this way simply because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or because “we don’t understand technology”. However web-based processes don’t need to be scary, and can bring a whole host of benefits. Here are 5 reasons you should make the change:
Storing information on paper requires a large amount of space which can build up around the office or warehouse. The information can also only be organised in one way, changing that can be time consuming - it can take an incredibly long time to re-organise all those sheets, files and folders. Storing your data digitally reduces the need for space, and the data can be organised with a single click of a button. If you want to organise data by order number, customer name, purchase date - the options are endless. And just as easily as you changed it, you can change it straight back!
- Easily updated
So you’re working with a customer, but they decide to rebrand and change their company name. This means you have to find all files that relate to their account, and either erase each section or dispose of them and create new ones. That is going to cause a lot of headaches! With web-based processes, you can simply search for that account name, and change it instantly, no headaches involved.
- Access anywhere
It’s likely that more than one person will need to access data on orders and customers. This becomes a problem when everything is kept in a single place. If sales reps are out at client meetings, managers are in board meetings or customers are calling the warehouse and require information, it can be difficult or virtually impossible to access. With web-based processes, everyone can gain access to a digital database and have the information they need at their fingertips.
- Quick search
There’s nothing more stressful than not being able to find a record of something when asked. Paper-based records can be incredibly difficult to search through in a time sensitive situation. As many people likely have access, files can be misplaced, lost or even risk being stolen. By moving your data to the web, information can be searched with the click of a mouse, and is always available when you need it.
- Legal compliance
The laws around data management and privacy are changing with the introduction of the new GDPR next month. Being able to retrieve, destroy and update the data you hold on individuals needs to be a seamless operation to avoid penalties. Keeping records on paper can seriously jeopardise your compliance and put your business at risk, however with a digitally based database you can be back in compliance within minutes.
At Cyber, we can save you time and money by enabling a move from paper-based processes to more efficient web-accessed systems. Centralising data allows you to respond faster to changes in business needs and gives visibility of the most important information from the shop floor to the board.
If you’d like to talk about your needs, call us on +44 (0) 1284 330188 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
So you want to build an app? That’s great! The big question is - will it be for web or mobile? Before embarking on the exciting journey of developing an app, it’s crucial to understand the key differences between the two. Apps are developed and perform differently on the web vs online, but they can also be very similar too. You may wish to develop one or the other, or both to deliver the best user experience. Here are some points to consider:
When it comes to accessing apps, ‘native’ or mobile apps are downloaded by users through a ‘store’. For example, Apple devices use the App store, and Android users access the Google Play store. Web apps are simply hosted at a URL on the world wide web.
When it comes to mobile apps, integration is one of the main benefits. For example, social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat revolve around access to the phone’s camera and microphone - something that simply cannot be replicated on a web app. Take time to think about what the main purpose of the app will be, and how much integration into the device it will require.
Apps, in general, require a huge amount of maintenance and there’s quite a big difference between how updates are run on mobile compared with web-based apps. Mobile apps require updates to be carried out by the user, whereas web apps will be updated by the developer with no input needed from the user.
It’s common knowledge that mobile apps can be more costly to develop than web-based apps, so consider whether what you are planning to create can be achieved using a more cost-effective web-based solution.
Mobile apps are regulated through the download portal such as the App store or Google Play store. This gives users confidence that the apps will be of a certain standard, whereas no such thing exist for web apps as of yet.
If you’re interested in launching an app for your business, Cyber can help. We don’t build games, we build operational apps - stuff that takes your data and processes and puts in the hands of those who need it, when they need it. We use the very latest Xamarin development platform and associated technologies so the apps we build can be compiled for use on Android, iOS and Microsoft devices rapidly.
We also build beautiful web apps that save you time and money by enabling a move from paper-based processes to more efficient web-accessed systems. By centralising data you can respond faster to changes in business needs and gives visibility of the most important information from the shop floor to the board.
Give us a call on +441284 330188 or e-mail email@example.com to discuss your needs.
The news of another hack or cyber-security breach is no longer groundbreaking and is quickly becoming the norm. The rate at which sophisticated hackers can access sensitive and highly valuable information is ever-increasing - a huge concern to companies large and small. Here are 5 simple ways you can step up your cyber-security in your business.
- Update passwords regularly
Changing passwords regularly can minimise the time that criminals can access it for. We recommend between 30-180 days, with 6 months being the maximum. Ensure your password is over 8 characters long and uses letters, numbers and symbols. Apple’s ‘keychain’ function is a great tool to create super strength passwords.
- Use two-step authentication
Passwords can only provide so much protection, so we recommend making the use of two-step authentication where possible. For example, when logging into your businesses social media accounts, you can request for additional information to be confirmed in order to validate your identity and protect your account from being compromised.
- Use a VPN
Employees using open wireless networks are a big risk to organisations and increase the likelihood of sensitive information being accessed. It is recommended that you set up a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your browsing history and prevent hackers from seizing any sensitive data or passwords.
- Be wary of third-party apps
Installing third-party apps on your devices can easily lead to a security breach if not managed correctly. Be sure to read reviews in the App Store to ensure the app is legitimate and limit the amount of access it requires to what is necessary.
- Educate your employees
Education is key. Ensuring all your employees are familiar with and understand protocols when dealing with sensitive company information is paramount. Small measures can make a big difference - consider hosting a short seminar to brief your team on the do’s and don’ts or create and share an e-mail newsletter with a handy guide.
These 5 steps may seem common sense, but the majority of breaches are due to human error. When it comes to cyber-security, you can never be over-prepared.
If you would like to discuss this issue, feel free to e-mail the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we had to put a pound coin in a jar every time someone said “there’s an app for that” we’d be incredibly rich by now. There are thousands of mobile and desktop applications launching every day, and they are seamlessly transitioning into our modern-day lives. From banking and financial management, health and fitness, entertainment and games, the list is endless. But did you know that apps can be great for business, too? Here are our top 5 apps to help improve your business efficiency.
After using Basecamp, 89% of people said they had a better handle of their business. Now that’s something to shout about! Basecamp integrates all of your business operations and communications to create a single platform that is, as they claim, a “central source of truth”. Teams can be grouped by department or project, work can be organised using the ‘to-do’ list or schedule tool, you can collaborate via a communal message board and you can monitor the whole machine using progress reports.
Wunderlist is a simple yet effective list-making app that allows you to easily keep track of tasks. Lists can sync across multiple devices and you can set reminders for urgent tasks that have a strict deadline. Tasks can also be shared with other members who can collaborate and comment when needed. Less really is more!
This is the Google Drive we’ve all come to know and love, but on mobile. It allows you to access all your files from any device - presentations, spreadsheets and word documents. The real beauty of this app is that it allows you to easily edit, collaborate and share - on the go.
If you run a business it’s likely that you will have to present at some point, whether it’s to directors, suppliers, customers or retailers. If you want to give your presentations that extra ‘wow’ factor, Prezi is a great place to start. Hosted in the cloud, Prezi lets you work on your presentations wherever you are, on any device, and even without wifi! Plus, the stunning templates and seamless slide transition will really give your audience something to talk about.
Grammarly is a savvy app that is essentially a free grammar checker. Easily upload reports, essays, presentations and pitches to the app and it will highlight any issues that need addressing. What’s more, the desktop and mobile app checks anything you type in the browser such as blog posts, e-mails and web content. Say goodbye to hours of proof-reading!
We hope these apps will help you achieve your business goals in 2018. If you use any other apps, we’d love to hear so feel free to comment below.
We are pleased to announce we have just completed a new website redesign for Suffolk Family Carers. Suffolk Family Carers is an established charity, helping family carers of all ages across Suffolk get the support they need to live fuller lives.
The organisation provides valuable support, information and advice to carers and their families across Suffolk. They campaign on issues that affect family carers to ensure their voice is heard, and aim to drive change in communities to enable family carers to have a life of their own alongside their caring role.
The new website includes some great new features including:
- a dedicated events calendar
- information on courses and groups with a new booking facility
- an online forum where members can share thoughts and feedback
- the option for resource and space booking and payments
- a brilliant site-wide search function
- a live chat element where users can speak with the support team
Cyber’s Dominic Compagnone said “We are delighted to provide Suffolk Family Carers with a fresh, modern and more user-friendly website. We hope the new functions such as the events calendar, course booking and live-chat will provide users with an enhanced online service.”
You can view the new site now at: www.suffolkfamilycarers.org.
If you are interested in a new website or a redesign, please feel free to get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling +44 (0) 1284 330188.
You may or may not have heard about the GDPR in the news, online, or on social media. If you don’t know about it, it’s about time you get up to speed.
In 7 months time one of the biggest pieces of privacy legislation in over 20 years will come into effect across the EU. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on the 25th May 2018 and aims to give consumers more power when it comes to controlling the use of their personal data. The new legislation aims to ‘harmonise’ a variety of current EU laws into one overarching law that covers the whole of the EU. And yes, the UK is still expected to comply despite our Brexit transition.
Any country in the world handling data on any EU citizen has to comply, and the UK plans to adopt GDPR, with some additions, into UK Law under the UK Data Protection Bill which is currently being debated in the House of Lords.
All firms that manage customer data will be affected - so in this day and age pretty much every organisation, big AND small. Some smaller firms will have a tougher time with compliance due to a lack of in-house IT and legal capabilities, so it’s important they pay extra attention. According to law firm Collyer Bristow, 55% of small businesses are still unfamiliar with the legislation. The more unsettling fact is that if these firms were hit with the maximum fine for non-compliance, 18% would be insolvent.
With this in mind, here are some key points to be aware of:
• Consumers will have the right to request a legible copy of all information a company holds on them.
• Consumers will have the right to request that a business deletes all of the data it holds on them, also known as the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ however this is subject to any legal obligation to hold that data.
• Businesses will require clear consumer ‘consent’ in every case when gathering their data, and additional consent for third parties including marketing, maintenance and support. It’s no longer a ‘one tick box for all’ situation.
• Cyber security will need to be integrated at the design stage, rather than an afterthought. Organisations will need to provide proof that this has been implemented.
• All businesses will be required to give notification of a cyber breach. Regulators also require all companies to put a solid procedure in place to show how a breach will be dealt with.
To help, the ICO has put together a handy guide on 12 steps all businesses should take now. You can view it here.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to understand what is required and to prepare. As they say, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’.
If you would like any further information or advice feel free to contact us.
You may or may not be aware of our new software offering, Scanalytix. In a nutshell, Scanalytix delivers simple, clear Google Analytics reports directly to your inbox on the 1st of every month.
Why did we launch Scanalytix?
A few years back, we decided to build a tool that allowed us to provide clients with their most important website data. Our main motivation was that simply providing access to Google Analytics wasn’t enough. With a few major exceptions, most of our clients were small to medium businesses and some were an owner/operator setup. These people simply don’t have the time to learn how to retrieve the information they really need. We wanted to solve this issue, and so we set to work.
Skip forward a couple of years, a few changes, a new name, a product identity and finally a connected subscription service. Scanalytix was born.
How does it work?
This new automated monthly service presents your Google Analytics data in a simple, clear and easy to read report. Delivered to your inbox on the 1st of every month, Scanalytix analyses the previous month’s analytics to give you the earliest opportunity to review and to act upon the data provided. The reports identify the most relevant information in a clear, concise PDF direct from your Google Analytics account that can be used in reviews, presentations, management meetings or just for reference.
What are the benefits?
1. It’s straightforward.
You are provided with the basic information to help you understand how many visitors you had, where they came from, how they used your site and how long they were there.
2. It’s valuable.
Scanalytix simplifies the data and removes all the jargon so you’ll be able to see the true value in getting to know how your customers use your site. Scanalytix speaks plain English and presents information in a beautifully simple and clear format.
3. It’s insightful.
From your very first report (which you get FREE!), Scanalytix will provide brilliant insight into how your visitors are engaging with your website. From that, you’ll be able to make faster decisions about how to improve your site and increase the business it generates for you.
4. It’s measurable.
The beautiful charts in Scanalytix make it really easy to see the results of your actions month on month and, if you’re more of a numbers person, you’ll get those too!
5. It’s effortlessly reliable.
Once it’s set up, Scanalytix is delivered on the first day of every month as a beautiful PDF direct to your inbox so you can act on the information immediately.
How do you sign up?
You can find out more and sign up on the website here. For just £10 a month you will receive a beautifully presented, automated report direct to your inbox. What’s more, we’ll give you the first month FREE when you sign up! If you’re interested but not sure it’s for you, why not download a sample report here.
(This is the first time we've produced an article in both written an audio format. If you'd like to listen rather than read, please just click the play button on the player below.)
Think back to your digital business in 2009. For some of you, your business may not have existed then. For others, your website may still have been in the transition to ‘Web 2.0’: The advent of dynamic, user-generated content instead of static pages. Others will have fully adopted this and be reaping the rewards and the rest probably didn’t have a website at all.
2009 is an important year in the progression of web design and development but the chances are, you won’t know why.
In 2009, a guy named Luke Wroblewski, a designer who’s worked at the NCSA, eBay, Yahoo and also started several tech successes, first coined the phrase ‘Mobile First’. Very simply this is the notion that website and software owners should develop for mobile devices first and then build out feature and functionality for desktop.
Remember, in 2009, the iPhone wasn’t the powerhouse it is now: It was the third generation 3GS. Blackberry was still the go-to enterprise standard. Samsung had just released the Omnia: At the time, smart phone development was comparatively early-stage and browsers on these devices were poor.
But Wroblewski seemingly saw past what they were and looked to what they’d become. He was perhaps able to see to where we are now – a moment in time where more than 80% of UK adults have a smartphone. Where device adoption and development continues at a pace. With 4G connections now standard and super-fast 5G, expected just a few years ahead. Device screens getting thinner, sharper, brighter, larger and requiring lower and lower power. Pocket processing power thousands of times greater than the once largest Super Computers and that social media, which was itself in its infancy, would deliver advertising revenues of more than $50bn just 7 years later.
Perhaps what he saw however, was far more simplistic. Apple and other smartphone manufacturers had ramped up their investment in smartphone devices. As their adoption grew, so too did the potential for them to get bigger and better. That would only lead to greater adoption, more features and functionality with consumers relying on them more and more as their ‘go to’ device. Ultimately, this moment in 2017 where they are the norm, not the exception. That development brings huge opportunities: Among them, an ability to deliver web content specific to those devices. It’s been possible for years but, even in 2017, it’s not the adopted standard – and it’s only just starting to show real signs of going that way.
Referring to the fact that device users tend to be multi-tasking, for example walking down the street while searching, or scrolling while talking, Wroblewski said ‘Partial attention requires focused design’
But why is all of this important and why should you start paying attention?
Let’s look at websites and let the stats speak for themselves.
According to Google, 61% of users said they would be unlikely to return to a website they had difficulty using on a mobile device and 40% would visit a competitor site instead. Think about those two numbers alone in the context of your website visitor statistics: What a wasted opportunity! And if that wasn’t enough, what about this: smartphone conversion rates are up 64% compared to desktop conversion: Simply, people are more likely to convert on mobile device.
57% of people say they wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.
88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device will call or go to that business within 24 hours.
And, if you still need convincing, how about this? 72% of consumers that land on a poorly designed mobile site will NEVER VISIT AGAIN.
Think about your own device use just for a moment: How many day to day tasks do you carry out on your phone. How many times in a day do you unlock your phone. If you want to search for something, do you walk to a desk or simply reach into your pocket? And if you search on your phone and the website you land on doesn’t render properly, what do you do? Persevere or go to the next site that works for you. The one that lets you search for what you want or navigate in just a few clicks to the purchase you want to make.
Now think about your customers. They are no different from you. But while you read this, knowing your site is probably not as optimised as it could or should be, you might have just lost a sale or an opportunity to get the contact details of a lead.
We speak to potential clients regularly and it still surprises us how few of them have considered a mobile element to their websites at all, let alone focusing on mobile first and it’s only when we talk about some of these statistics or look at their Google Analytics data that they suddenly see the need to do so.
Mentality is shifting. It’s a slow-burn not a sea-change. Even public bodies such as the NHS have begun issuing tenders with a mobile first focus because they can see how patients are using their services differently and that drives an urgent need for change in their online provision.
Our clients are increasingly aware that even if they have 70% of desktop users now, that probably won’t be the case in 1, 2 or 3 years from now and changes to their sites should be made sooner rather than later in order that they don’t fall behind. We’re rebuilding a number of sites for clients right now for this reason.
Again, think about your own device usage and then think about your business website and then call me.
My name is Dominic Compagnone, I’m Commercial Director at Cyber, a web and software development company and you can always contact me by mobile first: 07989 555775 or if you are one of the 79% of people that reads and replies to email on their smartphone, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll be publishing this blog in a number of places including LinkedIn and, to make one final point, that makes it likely you are listening to, or reading this on a mobile device…because that’s where more than 60% of their traffic comes from!
I’ll leave that with you and I hope to speak to you soon!
Many people with Google Webmaster Tools accounts, will have started to receive emails with this subject line - "Chrome will show security warnings on" and then their website domain name.
The email is alerting people that Google will start placing a warning on websites with any type of input field on them, that do not have an SSL certificate installed. Input fields are on registration forms, email contact forms, newsletter signup forms - basically they have many, many uses.
Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a 'NOT SECURE' warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.
It looks like the process started back in May, and now Google is formally alerting website owners that they need to take action.
What do you need to do?
This is fairly straight-forward. Install an SSL certificate on your website. Something anyone with an e-commerce website should of had for many years now. An SSL certificate verifies that the site is who/what they claim to be, and encrypts traffic between your browser and you. It is important for the general security of the internet.
How do I install an SSL Certificate?
This is where it can be really easy, or more complicated. A lot depends on your website host - who you pay to have your website online. Many of these offer 1-Click installs for SSL certificates, quite often for free thanks to Lets Encrypt, SSL for Free and other similar services.
Some don't have this option, or if they do its a chargeable service. You might be quite capable of doing this yourself, you might need some help. Its straightforward, but there are risks if you get things wrong, and you definitely want a good support desk available if you run into trouble. There is also a decision to make as to whether you have a free certificate, that usually needs renewing every 3 months, or a commercial one that you can buy for many years at a time, offers a wildcard, and often provides a warranty for the end user.
Alternatively, you can have someone do all the hard work for you. If you have any questions about installing an SSL certificate on your website and what sort you need, please get in touch and we'll be happy to help.
It can be difficult to know and take into account every factor that affects your e-commerce website, attracts visitors and keeps them interested in your products.
Here is a select list of some of the most important factors to keep in mind:
Making sure the customer does not have difficulty navigating and buying products may sound like an obvious point to make; however, many websites unintentionally let this happen due to overloaded pages with long load times, inconvenient menus and unnecessary clicks.
With the high number of e-commerce websites available for customers to use, there is huge competition to attract visitors to choose your site over others. Ensuring your website is accessible to as many users as possible – including those with disabilities or who aren’t familiar with technology, for example – will help give you a boost in this area.
When visitors first come to your website they should be able to tell what it is selling by how it looks and instantly understand the products that are available. Not being able to tell from the outset what they can expect to find, visitors will often leave for another website.
If you are interested in discovering more about what you can do to make your website a success, why not take advantage of our free review? We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and use our expertise of having run some of the most successful online sales platforms in the world to help you identify areas where you can improve and ensure those improvements are made smoothly.
Give us a call on 0203 657 2560 or email email@example.com to discuss your free review and find out more about what we can do to help.
Cyber is a plain-speaking, creative digital services agency. However, our customers don’t like the term ‘digital services agency’, and we agree!
We are creative technology engineers for desktop, web and mobile apps, using our expertise to create amazing ideas and experiences to help you achieve more. See some information on our services below:
We integrate systems, manage data and automate processes that have previously taken valuable resources. Pretty cool of us, right?
We build beautiful web apps to help save you time and money by enabling a move from paper-based processes to more efficient web-accessed systems. Who doesn’t want more free time?
People are going crazy for mobile apps; unfortunately, we don’t build games. However, we do build awesome operational apps that take your data and processes, putting them in the hands of those who need them, when they need them. Much better than any game, don’t you agree?
At Cyber, everything works better if we start with ‘why’, because by knowing ‘why’ we can show you ‘how’ and then deliver the ‘what’ and it doesn’t need to cost the earth. That’s the Cyber way.
Get in touch if you would like to know more about how we can help you and your business. For further information, please contact us on 0203 657 2560.
The recent outbreak of the Ransomware affecting businesses across the world is an important warning for those running out of date or un-patched software.
We had a busy weekend checking every machine we support and every system we’ve ever built. Not to be complacent, we’re delighted to have been ahead of the game this time with zero breaches.
Ransomware is showing worrying trends: Malwarebytes show an increase from 17% in 2015 to 259% in 2016. WannaCry spreads by infected machines joining a network, rather than the traditional ransomware attack vectors, which previously required each machine to be infected separately through malicious attachments. It is approaching 200,000 global infections with the worst areas affected being Russia and Europe. The USA is starting to also heat up.
It uses a known Windows exploit called EternalBlue, created by the NSA, and released to the public in April 2017 by a hacking group known as the ShadowBrokers. Microsoft did fix the problem in April but it seems that many system administrators have not updated their systems with the latest Windows patches. What is really scary is that an organisation like the NHS are running 15-year-old operating systems such as Windows XP. These have been unsupported for three years, although Microsoft have taken the unprecedented step of releasing patch fixes for Windows XP on this occasion. The powerful feature of this malware is its ability to perform network scans over TCP port 445 (SMB) and compromise other machines. The result is encryption of files and the demand of a ransom payment in the form of Bitcoin. It also installs a persistent backdoor to access and execute code on previously compromised systems allowing for the installation and activation of additional software, such as malware.
The spread of the attack was brought to a sudden halt when one UK-based cybersecurity researcher found, and inadvertently activated, a “kill switch” in the malicious software: It turns out that the virus was coded to check to see if an obscure website address was registered and live and to halt if this was the case. This could easily be overcome in a modified release, which is what has already happened. Yes, this has indeed slowed the initial attack but this is only the first wave of such wormable ransomware attacks.
The warnings that cyber security experts have been sounding for years has finally come to the attention of the public. To remain secure, more money needs to be spent on cybersecurity and organisations need to ensure they use only modern patched operating systems. They also need to educate their staff in safe computing and, of course, to simply back up. Either regular off premises, or non-network attached, backups would have limited the damage of this modern nightmare.
Similar risks apply to software and services running older unpatched versions of PHP, MySQL, .NET, Perl. All manners of services and applications that businesses rely upon are all at risk if they are not maintained and secure.
At Cyber, we remain concerned. We too have some longstanding clients who have yet commit to up-grading from some of oldest versions of Microsoft .NET, SQL and PHP. We are working with many of them to address these issues now.
Cyber always recommends monthly checks of frequent security updates and complete annual reviews of software in use within a business to ensure it is up to date and any major version changes are assessed and implemented accordingly. With the risk at it's highest, these frequencies should be dramatically shortened
Get in touch if you would like to know more about what software you are running in your business, discover if you are at risk and find out how we can help. For further information, please contact us
If you'd like a PDF copy of this briefing, please click the button below.
* Some data provided by Dr Kevin Curran, senior member of the IEEE and professor of cybersecurity at Ulster University.
As a successful leading-edge, design-led, software development company, we have grown by listening to the needs of our clients. By providing specialist teams delivering cross-platform and cross-browser apps for desktop, web and mobile we have broadened our offering considerably in recent times. As we plan moves into exciting new areas of development it’s important that our branding clearly reflects our core skills and business ethos. As a result, we are announcing the arrival of Cyber, the trading name of Portcullis Digital. Over the coming weeks we will be sharing news of the exciting new product development launches we have planned from a very creative software business. We are Cyber.