Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme – May 2021 Update

A new round of the Covid-19 Online Retail Scheme totalling €5 million has been made available for Irish businesses to improve their websites or improving their online retail offering. The funding amount is up to a maximum of €40,000.

The scheme is targeted primarily to businesses with a physical location as well as an existing online presence. The grant can also be used to implement a digital strategy.

The scheme has already helped many businesses across Ireland to enhance their online sales and could be a fantastic opportunity for your business to grow. The scheme opened for applications on 4th May 2021 and closes at 12pm on 25th May 2021.

Am I eligible?

This scheme is open to Irish based businesses with at least 10 employees on or before February 29th 2020 with a primary focus on a B2C model. Further eligibility criteria can be found here – https://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/online-retail/online-retail-scheme/online-retail-scheme.html

How do I apply?

Applying for the scheme is easy and more information can be found by clicking here.

Contact 2Cubed

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, helping you to build your online presence. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Core Web Vitals

As far back as 2012, when web technologies were far behind what they are now, it was estimated that just a 1 second delay could cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales each year. Slow loading webpages can cause a host of problems including higher bounce rates and lower conversions and can have a negative effect on business success overall.

In today’s busy world, nothing frustrates us more than having to wait. Whether it’s a bus, a train or a website, we expect everything to be instant nowadays.

When we look at website speed from the outside, it’s a very complex issue. The amount of variables taken into consideration just to load a webpage are considerable and this varies for each and every website. The technologies in place, the hosting setup, optimisation and much more are all factored in to this.

On top of this, speed and mobile usage should be optimised fully to enhance Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). By keeping on top of this, you can ensure that you are maximising one of the factors that go into your search ranking.

Core Web Vitals – May 2021 – Google Update

The upcoming Google Pagespeed Experience update has now been pushed to roll out in mid-June gradually rather than in May as previously announced. Page Experience Signals will now play a huge part in search rankings. The purpose is to ensure end users have a great experience when visiting pages on your website.  https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2020/11/timing-for-page-experience

New Technologies for a Faster Web

Clunky, old websites can and will most likely cause havoc for SEOs and keen web traffic analysts once this new update is released. Our resident speedster Scott Kennedy has been spending hours upon hours researching solutions for a faster web! Scott’s project WPGridsome (https://wpgridsome.com/) is available for viewing and describes the technology that’s gone into it. Running a Google Pagespeed Test gives some hugely impressive results – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.

There’s also a fantastic explanation of the overall process and infrastructure here – https://gridsome.org/docs/fast-by-default/

Using the Jamstack architecture can help enormously and can take your website to the next level performance wise. This modern technology offers a wide range of benefits and is just one of the ways that can help – https://jamstack.org/

Other ways to improve Google Pagespeed Insights scores?

Some tips for improving your score without an entire new site architecture are as follows:

  • Image optimisation
  • Serving images in a next gen format
  • Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
  • Remove unnecessary plugins
  • Improve your hosting package
  • Implement website caching
  • Optimise your database

Tools for Testing Speed

Google Pagespeed Insights
Pingdom
GTMetrix
Think with Google
LightHouse Metrics

Get in touch now to discuss your options! 2Cubed can help you to improve your website speed giving your users a far better experience. You can call us at 051-440425 and ask for Stephen or follow the link below:

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Website Redesign or Website Reskin?

Category: Tips and Tricks

There comes a point for every website when they are faced with a crossroads. The website may have been around for awhile, it may have become outdated and stale or perhaps it simply just isn’t performing like it use to anymore. It’s at this point where you the website owner will have to make a decision on how to rejuvenate and breathe new life into your website so it will hopefully perform well again.

Reskin or Redesign? Making the right choice

It’s at this point where you will decide whether your website needs a reskin or a complete overall website redesign. Think of your website as a house, sometimes a house simply needs a fresh coat of paint to improve it however if the issues are deeper, simply painting over the cracks won’t solve the issues in the long term and thus a reconstruction would be required, your website acts much the same.

Redesign

A full website redesign refers to overhauling all, or nearly all, of the code and look of a website and would generally require a lot of programming work to give the website a brand new distinguishable look. Using the house metaphor from earlier, in this case, by doing a full website redesign we would be tearing down the old house and building a brand new improved one in its place.

Reskin

A website refresh (commonly known as a website reskin) is akin to as we mentioned before giving your house a fresh coat of paint to improve its overall look and make it more appealing.

The huge difference between a website redesign and a website reskin is that a website reskin won’t necessarily change your website’s core functionality at all but it will give it a new look. You are changing the external aspect of the website so visually it’s different but the internal remains the same whereas with a website redesign the external and the internal both change drastically.

Factors to Consider

When you are deciding on whether you should have your website redesigned or re skinned there are a few factors in particular you should take into account such as:

  • Budget

Sometimes a website only needs a reskin instead of a complete redesign but this is something you need to be sure of because if you pay for a reskin and then a complete redesign 6 months later it was a waste as you should have just went straight for the redesign.

  • Time

The time involved in doing a full comprehensive website redesign would require a lot more time and effort than just a reskin. Therefore, since a website redesign will take more time, it will come down to budget as more hours will equal more cost. If time and budget is too much of an issue for you then a reskin may be a more fitting option for you than a full redesign.

  • Security

As well as budget and time, the security of your website can also be a mitigating factor in your choice. When your security is poor on a website you can experience a whole host of issues. These include slow load times, errors and even risk of viruses all which will drive customers away. Often these issues can be easily solved and rectified through correctly and efficiently optimising the existing code and content.

However, if the actual platform that the website itself is running on is an insecure or unstable platform then in this case doing a full complete website redesign and enhancing or changing the website platform would be the best course of action.

It is generally recommended that a website goes under a full website redesign every 2-3 years and a reskin or refresh every year or so. By implementing consistent website redesigns and reskins this will ensure that your website will always look modern, user friendly and will help increase success for your business.

To find out more about getting your website redesigned or re-skinned Contact 2Cubed today!

You can also contact us on 01 905 8114 or 051-440425, email hello@2cubed.ie

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7 Reasons Why You Should Hire 2Cubed

When choosing a website provider, there are many things to consider. For many people this will take them outside of their comfort zone and can be an entirely new experience and choosing a provider you can trust is essential to help ensure your web design project goes as smoothly as possible. Whether it’s website development, design or SEO, 2Cubed are here to assist you along the way!

1. Trust

When you choose 2Cubed, you can be confident that you can place your trust in us to help you along the way. We are here to offer guidance and assistance for any questions you may have along the way from project conception to completion. We are focused on helping you achieve your goals and vision.

2. Expertise

With many years of experience in the broad field of website design & development, we are perfectly placed to tailor and execute even the most complex of projects. We have many years experience dealing with web design & development in many industries, API Development, connecting complex systems and interfaces and much more. You can view our broad range of services here – 2Cubed Web Design Services. Our graphic design process allows you to tailor your approach and we are here to help along the way step by step. Your design will only reach programming once you are fully satisfied!

3. Transparency

When you sign up to commence a partnership with 2Cubed, we remain fully committed to be open and transparent along each phase of the project. When we create your project plan, we will ensure that the steps listed within your plan are fully transparent for both parties. This helps to keep the working relationship open and clear. If we feel like your expectations are unrealistic then we will challenge the reasoning behind this and come up with a solution as to not impede or restrict you moving forward.

4. Due Diligence, Process & Care

We aim to exercise caution and care when you approach us for a working partnership. Before commencing, it’s important that both parties are on the same page in terms of the scope of the project. Open and honest communication is at the forefront of our principles. Our carefully planned process is built on years of experience and serves as a valuable tool – https://2cubed.ie/our-process/. This is a core part of our business and one that helps you to fully understand the steps along the way in a simplified manner.

5. Fully Managed Service

At 2Cubed, we offer a wide range of services ensuring that you don’t need to worry about items such as:

  • Hosting
  • Backups
  • Security
  • Domain Management
  • Updates, ongoing maintenance and much more

By taking care of this, we make sure to take the stress and hassle of doing so away from you, allowing you to focus on your own business!

6. Training

When your new website is ready to go-live, we offer an option to have training on using the CMS; adding products, pages, posts and much more. This gives you the flexibility to allow your team members to keep the website up to date with the latest information. Whether it’s adding / editing product data or amending content on page to writing a blog, we will guide you through each and ensure you are comfortable using the new site.

7. Aftercare and Support

When your website is pushed live to the world, you can rest assured that you won’t be left in the lurch. We aim to support you fully in the weeks after the launch and moving forward beyond this. We provide Website Maintenance for hundreds of websites across Ireland and we offer a fully managed support system for each of these. This gives you the comfort that you can reach out with any questions or issues after go-live and will be fully supported.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, helping you to build your online presence. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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SEO Trends 2021

Category: News SEO

In 2021, you might be familiar with the concept of SEO. However, many website owners aren’t. In fact a large percentage have no idea how their site is crawled, indexed, ranking or performing in general at all. This can be a problem, particularly if you have made a substantial investment in your online presence.

Free SEO Audit

Before we get started, 2Cubed are offering a free SEO Audit for the month of February. We will crawl your site and make suggestions for improvements and how those could be implemented.

Please fill in the form below here to get started or contact us here https://2cubed.ie/contact/

Top SEO Trends 2021

  1. Speed / Performance (Core Web Vitals) – This is a huge one and formulates a big portion of the Page Experience Signals. Load times are a huge contributory factor when it comes to bounce rate. This means a missed sale, a missed opportunity to connect with a potential customer and it shouldn’t have to be. Google Search Console is your friend here and will flag any issues that require attention. Google have said Core Web Vitals will become part of the overall Page Experience Signals rolling out in May 2021. You can read more on what this means here – https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/page-experience
  2. Search Intent & Relevance – Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Relevancy is key now as more search users are asking questions they want answered straight away.  Keep your content relevant to the service you provide and you’ll have a great chance of competing for those priority terms! Ensuring you have content with good readability and relevant text is certainly a winner in our eyes. Try to answer questions your ideal customer may have within your content.
  3. Keyword Research – Keeping with the Search Intent theme in mind as above, detailed keyword research is vital in order to prepare and develop content to drive organic traffic. Time can easily be wasted implementing a strategy incorporating low volume keywords. Using a good keyword tool can help with this. We like the Ahrefs Keywords Explorer (but it’s not free). Google Keyword Planner is a great tool but you require an Ads account in order to use it.
  4. Technical SEO – This is and always will be a relevant and important element. Rather than ramble on here, you can view our previous post covering this topic. https://2cubed.ie/2019/06/a-quick-guide-to-technical-seo/.

Some further things to look out for and be aware of in 2021 are Visual Search, Meta-Data Optimisation Structured Data.

Our team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have regarding SEO. Check out a full list of services and our website process here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

You can use our dedicated quotation form below or contact us with any questions you may have here.

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Website Maintenance Costs Ireland

Category: News

Last year, there was a huge shift in the number of businesses either improving or building an online presence. The ongoing situation has also allowed website owners to analyse and review their websites in detail along with the hosting and website maintenance package that’s in place in most cases.

website maintenance costs ireland

Your website is the online face of your business, so it’s important to ensure you are in the best hands when it comes to looking after it.

What is Website Maintenance?

Essentially, website maintenance is a fully managed service involving the following:

  • Hosting
  • Support
  • Security
  • Updates

Taking care of the above not only guarantees website uptime but keeps your site secure from hacks and security breaches. Just a small amount of downtime could have a negative effect on your overall business so ensuring stability is absolutely essential.

You can read more on 2Cubed’s website maintenance offerings here – https://2cubed.ie/services/website-maintenance/ and here https://2cubed.ie/services/website-management-maintenance/

How much does Website Maintenance cost in Ireland?

This is a question we are asked quite frequently! Every site is different and has different requirements and functionality. Given this, it’s tough to give a set cost for maintenance. Assessing a website individually and uniquely allows us to present you with the most affordable and effective package for your business. You may find that tiered packages are to your suiting but more often than not we have found that they don’t necessarily work. Some other considerations to get an accurate price are:

  • The overall size of your website and the expected resources to host it comfortably
  • Custom functionality built in on the website
  • API connections
  • eCommerce functionality
  • Expected traffic levels; especially during promotional periods such as Black Friday / Cyber Monday etc

2Cubed Website Maintenance services

Just some of the services we offer our clients are as follows:

  • Support 7 days a week
  • Priority 1 Incident Support 24×7
  • SSL Renewal and redirects
  • Hosting Monitoring and Uptime checks
  • Daily Back up on AWS
  • Patching and Security Updates
  • Virus Scans
  • Provision and maintenance of CMS and plugins
  • Content changes and amendments to pages
  • 24/7 monitoring on Manage WP

Shop around for quotes but ensure that you are given an accurate cost based on your needs including the amount of hours of development each month needed to keep your website up to a satisfactory level. 2Cubed would be delighted to assist you in this process. We guarantee to give you the most accurate pricing possible.

Our team is on hand to assist with any questions you may have regarding website maintenance. Check out a full list of services and our website process here – https://2cubed.ie/services/

You can use our dedicated quotation form below or contact us with any questions you may have here.

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LEO Online Trading Voucher – 2021 update

  • Financial assistance for businesses to build a presence and trade more online
  • Up to €2,500 available with just 50% of this coming from your business
  • Businesses that have already received an online trading voucher previously are eligible to apply for a second voucher

The LEO Trading Online Voucher scheme has been in place for a number of years and has offered thousands of businesses the funding to start or help with trading online. The good news is that the scheme is continuing on into 2021.

With Covid-19 hitting many businesses last year, the 2020 scheme was a fantastic way to build online platforms as many businesses looked to get an eCommerce element in place. The vouchers are worth up to €2,500 or up to 50% of the total (whichever is less).

In order to apply and be eligible for the scheme this year, you must:

– Be trading for at least six months
– Employ between 1 and 10 staff
– Attend a Trading Online Seminar with your Local Enterprise Office

More information on the scheme can be found here – https://www.localenterprise.ie/Wexford/Financial-Supports/Trading-Online-Voucher/

You can download the LEO Trading Online Voucher application form by clicking here.

Contacting us

If you have any questions on this scheme, please reach out to us in the same channels as you normally would:

Technical Support – support@2cubed.ie

General Enquiries – by using our contact form or by emailing hello@2cubed.ie. You can also avail of the LiveChat service on our website.

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Strong Customer Authentication – PSD2 2020 Update

Category: News

Lat year, we wrote a blog post covering the new requirements for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). This post can be found here.

Initially, the deadline for compliance was September 2019 but given the difficulties this caused, many central banks had agreed to an extension to allow providers extra time. The updated deadline in Europe is now December 31st 2020.

What is SCA?

Strong Customer Authentication is a system to increase security standards for online payments and reduce fraud. If you’ve ever made an online payment, you may have had to verify this payment via a verification code or other method. SCA2 is an enhanced version which also covers subscription payments. The central bank in Ireland issued their guidance for these payments here – https://www.centralbank.ie/regulation/psd2-overview

What do I need to do?

As a website owner, you will need to ensure that the payment systems in place on your site are fully up to date.

If you own a WordPress site and take payments, you’ll most likely use Stripe or Paypal for accepting payments. The responsibility to make sure the systems are up to date lies with these payment providers. Generally, they will release an update for the payment plugin in use on the website and if you are a maintenance customer of ours, we will ensure these updates are applied during maintenance time. This is as much control that we, as a website service provider have in this case.

Woocommerce have released some guidance on this topic also – https://woocommerce.com/posts/introducing-strong-customer-authentication-sca/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you. We also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

Contact us today for more information on the services we provide – Contact Us

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Ensure Cookies are Compliant – Deadline Passed

Category: News

The date for the grace period has now passed. From October 5th, the Data Protection Commission can issue fines for non compliant use of cookie technology on websites. Following on from our previous blog post on this topic, we explained the ins and outs of the compliance measures required. You can view that post here – https://2cubed.ie/2020/09/cookie-compliance-gdpr/

2Cubed have been working with a trusted partner called OneTrust to help customers ensure compliance is met. The cookie compliance tool on offer is a ready made solution to ensure compliance.

If you’d like to have your website audited for cookie compliance, we can do this for you. Some considerations to keep in mind to ensure compliance is met.

  1. Review cookies currently in use on the website
  2. Whether or not you are offering users the option to manage their cookie preferences without ambiguity
  3. If a user chooses to reject cookie usage, are cookies then blocked for that user?

Get in touch now to discuss your options and to get you on the path to compliance today! You can call us at 051-440425 and ask for Stephen or follow the link below:

Contact 2Cubed Web Design

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***Please Note***

The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice or guidance. It is simply to inform you of the upcoming deadline and what you may do to help to achieve compliance on your website. Each and every website is different and therefore requires analysis individually. You should seek legal advice for all matters concerning GDPR or cookie compliance in your area of jurisdiction.

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Cookie Compliance – GDPR

We’ve heard so much over the past few years about GDPR and protection of personal data. In May 2018, the European GDPR regulation came into force and caused many businesses to re-evaluate how they process and store customer information.

Cookie Compliance

More recently in Ireland, the Data Protection Commission have undertaken audits of a number of websites in varying industries to gain an understanding of compliance. For the most part, a high number of websites are not compliant. The full guidance can be found here – https://dataprotection.ie/en/guidance-landing/cookies.

What are cookies?

Cookies are small files stored on your browser when visiting a website. They essentially track your movements throughout the website to improve browsing experience by storing specific information each time you visit a site. They can also be used for may other purposes such as;

  • Necessary for the function of a website
  • To track data for Analytics tools (Allowing webmasters to track traffic and behaviours on the website)
  • Used for Advertising in order to tailor relevant ads to a user

Earlier this year, the European Data Protection Board issued guidance regarding the use of such cookies. The main finding from this report, which you can view here – https://edpb.europa.eu/sites/edpb/ was to allow users more freedom over the use of cookies. This means that a user must clearly give unambiguous consent when they land on a website. Implied consent is no longer a valid method.

Solutions

From the 5th October 2020, the DPC will be carrying out further audits and may even issue fines where compliance is not met. 2Cubed can help you to ensure you are compliant. We have been working with a company called OneTrust to help with this. You can read more here – https://www.onetrust.com/products/cookie-compliance/. Don’t delay now, protect your website. Please contact us for more information or to get started – https://2cubed.ie/contact/.

***Please Note***

The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice or guidance. It is simply to inform you of the upcoming deadline and what you may do to help to achieve compliance on your website. Each and every website is different and therefore requires analysis individually. You should seek legal advice for all matters concerning GDPR or cookie compliance in your area of jurisdiction.

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