5 steps to prepare your website for Brexit

August 16, 2019

At present, the UK is due to leave the European Union as of 31st October 2019. Even though the vote to leave Brexit was way back in June 2016, much uncertainty remains even at this late point in the process. Learning how to prepare your website for the implications of Brexit should be considered. Firstly, understanding how Brexit will affect your business as a whole is vital. We’ve found some useful articles to help fellow business owners here and herebrexit website ready

 

1. Trade

If you run an e-commerce site, purchase products from the UK or engage in any trade across the EU then you’ll likely suffer from higher prices, longer shipping and custom hold-ups and in turn hiked prices for your customers. It may be useful to contact UK suppliers and providers that you engage in to seek assurances. Back in January, Amazon, the largest marketplace in the UK noted that businesses trading on the platform should prepare in case of a no deal Brexit. This remains a real challenge but while there are many uncertainties, this may present a chance for Irish companies to promote buying Irish. If the expected skyrocketing of prices from the UK comes to fruition then there may be a huge potential to bring customers back shopping locally instead of using Amazon, Ebay and other online platforms.

2. Data Protection

Data protection has been heavily in the limelight in recent years. This is mainly due to the GDPR changes that came into place in May 2018. EU wide regulations were updated to protect user data processed by organisations and many businesses were forced to take action in order to meet these stricter guidelines. With the UK leaving the EU, this may require some further thought especially if you own or run a website and process data to or from the UK. If storing any of this data, using a newsletter service such as Mailchimp or taking payments from UK customers then you may need to consider reviewing and amending your existing processes and terms. You can read more on this on https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/bf5200-data-management/.

3. Currency

Since the Brexit vote was announced, pound sterling has been volatile to say the least. The conversion from € to £ has gone from £1.28 to £1.06 over this period and how it will continue remains unclear. As a website owner and especially if dealing with currency conversions, it’s vital to prepare for a worst case scenario. This PDF can help you prepare in detail.

4. Growth and Expansion

Growing your online business within the UK market again remains unclear but in order to protect your business, preparing for a worst case scenario is advised. Many companies may struggle just to stay afloat after a potentially hard Brexit so future plans to expand in another market will need to be examined in a realistic manner. 

5. Website Security

As GDPR is now a vital area of many websites, a critical component on this is ensuring data stored and processed is fully secure. The implications of a data breach can be catastrophic for businesses. A secure website allows you peace of mind that data held is fully secure and allows you to focus on other key areas such as website sales. The storage of this data should be treated as a potential serious security issue. If you have any questions regarding the website hosting or data storage then please use our contact form to send a message – https://2cubed.ie/contact/

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any required changes to your website which may be impacted as a result of Brexit. In addition, we also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services and our website process – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Website Specification

When you are deciding on a new website, it’s important to take into consideration a number of factors. As you can see on the graphic below, we’ve created a simple process to assist with this. This planning process is critical to ensure you have a clear picture in mind for a new website. Failing to cover these steps before a website is created can lead to items or processes to be overlooked and cause problems down the line.

At 2Cubed, we want to ensure you have a clear picture in mind when considering a new website and we can assist you fully with this process to ensure success. 

What to consider?

Planning and building a new website is a complicated matter. Items can be overlooked and when a specification is not clear. A good starting point is to look at some websites you admire and list why you think so. 

Design or Redesign?

Are you looking for a completely new design or a refresh of what you currently have? 

Expectations

It’s crucial to consider your expectations when planning on a new website build. What is it that you are looking to achieve with the new site? Do you have any goals or ambitions for what you’re looking to achieve?

Information

What is your company all about? By documenting this, you can make it clear to your web design agency what you are all about and by using tag-lines, slogans, mottos etc to allow end users understand your ethos.

Budget

A new website is a huge investment and you’ll need to ensure you consider this carefully when developing a website specification. Defining a budget allows your agency to consider the expectations vs budget and help you plan accordingly.

Timeline / Deadline

Deadlines are a crucial are of the website specification. Setting a deadline firstly allows the entire project to be split into separate deliverables to keep all parties on the same page and to also ensure your expectations are met.

Functionality

Will your website users need to register? Are you selling products? At this point it’s beneficial to consider each and every element. 

UI / UX

After you decide on budgets, timelines and functionality, how will this all transition into front end user interface and user experience? Many times, consideration of these factors is left aside and may become an issue in future as the website is out the to the world.

Further Information

Thinking about any extra information or off topic items considered outside the above ensures clarity when moving forward with your web design project.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with developing your website specification, helping you to understand in detail what’s involved in a new website project. We also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Strong Customer Authentication

August 2, 2019

From 14th September 2019, the manner in which payments are processed is changing. Strong Customer Authentication is a new rule coming into effect in Europe. What this means is that an extra layer of security is added when making a purchase online and currently this usually is via an SMS sent from your bank with a code to input but as technology is developing rapidly, options such as fingerprint and facial recognition can be used but this is dependant on your banks’ verification process.

How do I know this will impact my business?

If you have an e-commerce store then you’ll need to ensure you have a clear understanding of this new rule.

In order to meet this new PSD2 regulation, you should ensure you are fully compliant if your business is impacted by this new update. If any of the following apply to you, then you’ll be impacted by SCA.

  • Your website serves customers within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • If your business is located within the EEA
  • You accept card payments on your site (credit, debit etc)

The method used to achieve compliance with this new change is called 3D Secure 2. Our friends at Stripe have some excellent detail on this which you can read here https://stripe.com/ie/guides/3d-secure-2

How will this affect me?

2Cubed have been in contact with Stripe to clarify what action is required and many of our customers who use Stripe, Global Payments, Shopify Payments and so on have been in touch for clarification. The good news is that no action is required on your end. The liability will lie with the e-commerce platforms in order to meet compliance. The following info came directly from Stripe; Right off the bat if you’re using a third party plugin/platform such as Squarespace, Wix, WooCommerce etc then they will be carrying the liability of ensuring your store/checkout flow is SCA compliant. We are working closely with our partners to get their integrations updated before September.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we are on hand to assist you with any of the e-commerce needs above, helping you to understand this new regulation. We also offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Google Shopping

July 26, 2019

If you own or run an e-commerce store, you may want to consider looking into Google Shopping to help get the most out of your selling experience. Google Shopping is a powerful platform that allows you to display products from your website directly on to the search results page.

Setting up a Google Shopping feed and combining it with Google Adwords, allows you the opportunity to get your products in the faces of users without them having to click through to your website and search for the desired product. Many CMS platforms now support plugins to allow you create the shopping feed directly from the back-end of your website which will save time and hassle. 

Once your product feed has been created, it can be seamlessly integrated into Google Merchant Centre. and from here connected to Google Adwords to develop campaigns. The main benefit of setting this up is an increased level of engagement with online shoppers, increase your click-through rates and a greater chance of new customer acquisition.

Google have really ramped up this feature in 2019 and this is fully expected to continue in the coming years. The prominence placed on these product ads is likely to grow as Google look to consolidate merchant products to compete with the likes of Amazon.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we would be happy to help you with any of the e-commerce needs above, helping you to create and manage product feeds. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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Google AMP in 2019

July 12, 2019

Google’s AMP project was launched in 2016 and after a slow start, soon became a common feature across mobile search results. AMP or accelerated mobile pages, is a framework developed by Google to rival Facebooks Instant Articles and the technology allows pages to load almost instantly. Last year, we wrote a post about the importance of AMP – See here. So what has changed in the past year and how important is AMP now? 

Nowadays, online users expect everything instantly. Waiting 10 seconds for a website to load is a big no-no in 2019 so enabling AMP can help enormously in getting traffic into your site while getting ahead of your competitors.

Google have now branched out and added some more features to the AMP framework. At present, it’s possible to create:

  • AMP Websites
  • AMP Stories
  • AMP Ads
  • AMP Email

You can find more information on all of the above and see some case study ‘success stories’ by viewing the AMP resource website – https://amp.dev/

Many sites are now seeing the full benefit of having AMP enabled content on their websites and this is likely to increase further into the near future so this needs to be factored in to your thinking if you own, run or manage a website.

Enabling AMP on your website can be tricky but once done correctly, it’s fairly easy to maintain and use on blog posts etc. For example, a number of WordPress plugins are available to help with layout, templates and amplifying content. As an example, you can view our previous post on this topic on your mobile device by clicking here – https://2cubed.ie/2018/06/the-importance-of-amp/amp/

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

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wordpress plugins

8 Great WordPress Plugins

July 5, 2019

If your site uses WordPress, you’re probably familiar with plugins. Plugins are there to make life easier, essentially. We’ve gone through some of the top plugins on WordPress and picked out 8 that you may want to consider for your site.

  • Woocommerce – Woocommerce powers over 40% of all eCommerce websites on the web. Powerful and easy to use, it allows you to manage products, orders, discount codes and much more. You can read more on Woocommerce here
  • Yoast SEO – Yoast is a plugin to help with SEO on your site. Yoast is a free plugin but the premium version offers more features for advanced SEO. See here for more information.
  • WP Rocket – A number of caching tools are available for WordPress sites and WP Rocket is one of the most popular. Caching helps to maximise site performance and improve speed. The free version offers limited features but a premium version with more advanced options is available. You can read more on WP Rocket here
  • Elementor – This page builder has become one of the more popular tools out there in the past year and the reviews are outstanding. This powerful page builder allows you to easily manage page content and includes both a free and premium version. See here for more.
  • Smush – This plugin is mainly used for image compression and resizing. Having multiple large images on your site will cause issues with speed and performance. Smush helps with this by automatically compressing images once uploaded and again comes with either a free or premium version. You can view the full list of features here
  • Slider Revolution  – Powering over 2.5 million websites, Slider Revolution allows you to add sliders, carousels and more. Currently there isn’t a free version but it is cheap to purchase and includes a good deal of functionality but the premium version gives access to many more templates and features. View a full list of features here
  • Sucuri  – This security plugin helps to flag any security issues or breaches on your website and alerts you if anything does happen. Generally, your website host will look after security but this added layer of protection gives you peace of mind. See here for more info 
  • Redirection – This plugin allows you to easily manage 301s, 404s and more which can help reduce errors and improve site ranking. This plugin can be a useful tool but used incorrectly it can cause some issues. Take a look at more features here 

These are just some of the tools you can use to improve your WordPress site. *Please be aware that installing and updating plugins on your website may cause some issues*

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

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A Quick Guide to Technical SEO

June 28, 2019

In this post, we’ll look at a critical element of search engine optimisation; Technical SEO. This has become a fundamental and sometimes overlooked area of SEO but we’ll explain why it’s more important than ever below.

Technical SEO contains many topics we could dive in to, but by understanding the key elements, it should allow you to gain an understanding of what it is and best practices to follow. As you would have seen in or SEO Audit post, technical SEO was listed as a key element along with on-page and off-page optimisation.

So, what exactly does it mean? Essentially, the technical health of your site indicates how well Google and other search engines can crawl and index the information on your website. If they encounter any issues, these will be flagged as errors or warnings in Google Search Console.

By resolving these issues, you’ll ensure your site is in good standing from a technical sense and means that the site crawlers can index your site fully without any obstacles. Some of the common issues you’ll need to address are as follows:

  • 404 errors – nobody likes seeing these, especially soft 404s. You can manage 404s by implementing 301 redirects
  • 5XX errors – server errors or timeouts which are blocking access to pages
  • noindex issues – noindex is commonly used to block access to a page that you do not wish to be indexed (such as private or secure pages). If you submit a url in the sitemap but it includes a noindex tag then you’ll need to address this
  • blocked by robots.txt – another method to block access to a page. You can see more here – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203#indexed_though_blocked_by_robots_txt
  • Mobile Usability – Google analyse each page and flag any anomalies that may cause a poor user experience on mobile. For example, if clickable elements are too close together, if a page is not fully mobile responsive, text is too small to read and so on. Keeping your site fully mobile responsive ensures a good user experience, decreased bounce rate and just an overall better experience for your website users.  

Most of the errors above can be viewed on the Index Coverage Status report within Google Search Console – https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7440203#submitted_but_noindex

This brief overview of technical SEO should hopefully give more understanding of the variables a search engine goes through in order to show your website on Google.

At 2Cubed Web Design & Development, we can assist you with any of the needs above, allowing you to ensure your website is in good technical standing. We offer a number of services to help you grow your online presence. Check out our list of services – https://2cubed.ie/services/

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What is Structured Data?

June 20, 2019

As structured data becomes more important, you are likely to see the term more and more. So what exactly does it mean? And what does it mean for your website? We’ll explain in more detail below.

Google and other search engines are always working hard to understand the content on your website. By implementing structured data, you can ensure you give the search engines clear and explicit information, allowing more accurate and descriptive search results for the end user.

By doing this, your website visitors may see more rich and interactive results on the search page.

 

You can see more descriptions of these search results by clicking here – https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-gallery

Most of the major search engines combined to create a special project Schema.org. The Schema.org website gives more info on how this data is populated and show examples of these ‘schemas’ and how they should be used.

Why does this matter?

Structured Data is an important element of SEO nowadays. Any information you provide to Google in a clear and easy manner, means they gain a better understanding of who you are what your website is about and can only help to increase rankings.

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

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Google’s Mobile Search Update

You may have noticed a new layout while searching Google recently on your mobile device. Around the end of May, Google released an updated visual layout for the mobile search results page. This refresh was released to introduce a more modern and user friendly layout. Google say “we’re unveiling a visual refresh of the mobile search results page to better guide you through the information available on the web.” This was referenced on the Google blog here.

The familiar green font on the ads has now been changed to a black label with a simple ‘Ad’ reference. See below for reference:

As you’ll see from the above image, what Google have implemented is an opportunity for companies online to introduce their branding to users on the web before even landing on your site. This is done by using the favicon image which is uploaded on most websites. You’ll generally see this small icon on your browser tab while searching from a desktop or laptop.

What does this mean for me?

In order to take advantage of this update, you’ll need to make sure your website has an active favicon set and specified. There are some rules behind this:

  • Your website and the favicon need to be crawlable to Google (meaning you need to ensure your site is fully accessible to Google’s Spider). This can be a complicated issue, but we can help you with this if required – Contact Us
  • The favicon should be similar to your overall branding on your website. This will allow users to identify and recognise your brand online with ease.
  • Google will resize your favicon to 16px x 16px. They recommend uploading your file in multiples of 48px square to ensure clarity. For example, 48×48 or 96×96 etc.
  • Any favicon that Google see to be inappropriate will be removed and replaced with a default icon image.

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

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5 Great Content Marketing Tips

5 Great Content Marketing Tips

June 5, 2019

As traditional marketing has become less effective in this modern digital age more and more have turned their focus towards content marketing for their marketing needs. Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing content that can not only attract your target audience but actively retain them which will mean the chances of customers turning into conversions on your website will greatly increase. Content marketing allows you to actively develop a relationship with both new and existing clients.

Here are 5 great content marketing tips to ensure that your content is the best it can be:

Create Great Content

Just simply creating lots of fresh content isn’t enough, you need to ensure it’s good relevant content. When it comes to content the approach of “Quality over Quantity” should always be taken. By having great content users will be happy which will create a positive user experience.

Understand your Target Audience

Before you start to write your content you should always first be clear in your mind of whom this content will be targeted at. By knowing the target demographic you are creating content for you will be able to tweak and tailor your content to best meet the needs of this market of readers which will ensure that they will find the content relevant and useful.

Social Sharing

When you have published some great content to your blog don’t sit back and relax! Now you need to ensure that your content gets maximum exposure. A great way of doing this is sharing your blog post on your social media channels such as facebook, twitter, Linkedin etc… It is also a smart move to enable social media sharing on your blog posts which will encourage readers to share your content. The more your post is then shared the more exposure and web traffic you will get.

Simple Language

Keep your content simple and easy to read! Don’t make your content too intelectual with big words that are going to be a chore to read and understand. Keep it simple, straightforward and to the point, that what users want and that’s the kind of content that they will appreciate.

Calls to Action

All great content should contain effective calls to action. Such as click here to read more, click here to share our post etc… By having these call to actions you will promote readers to further engage with and share your content which can lead to it being exposed to others who would not have seen it otherwise maximising your content exposure and website traction.

If you can incorporate these 5 content marketing tips into the future creation of your content then you should see an increase in your website’s level of success as a direct result.

To inquire about content marketing with 2Cubed please get in touch today!

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