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all about analytics [infographic]

all about analytics [infographic]

all about analytics [infographic]

home / Archives for February 2018

In our latest infographic, we explore website analytics and how statistical information can be used to understand and improve website performance…

what are website analytics?

Website analytics are the measurement and analysis of data about how people are accessing, using and engaging with your site.

why are analytics important?

People often produce statistics reports about their website’s visitor numbers, bounce rate, page views and other information without considering how this actually relates to wider business goals and whether improvements can be made. Website analytics are only important and useful if they help to elucidate whether a website is working and how to optimise the site and increase conversions. It’s worth remembering that just because something can be counted doesn’t mean it’s worth counting!

Find out more about website analytics in our infographic below:

Website analytics infographic by Pedalo

If you’d like help analysing or optimising your website, our website management and support services are designed to maximise online results and ensure your site is always secure and up-to-date. For more information, please get in touch.

website functionality testing

website functionality testing

website functionality testing

home / Archives for February 2018

We explore how to test your site’s forms and functionality to ensure everything is working correctly and giving users a great experience…

what is website functionality testing?

Functionality testing means making sure that everything on your site works correctly, both from a front-end user perspective and in terms of back-end administration and system integration.

why is testing functionality important?

If your website isn’t functioning correctly, you may be losing users who give up when they encounter a link that doesn’t go anywhere, a form that won’t submit or a payment system that doesn’t work. Alternatively, even if everything is functioning for users, data may not always be effectively transferred into your inbox or database, such that you miss out on the opportunity to record important information, collect payments and/or engage with users.

how can you test your site’s functionality?

We recommend starting with Nibbler, a great free tool which tests your site and provides a comprehensive report scoring overall performance. It also provides more detailed breakdowns in terms of accessibility, marketing, user experience and technology, with suggestions for the most important areas you should improve.

These are our top five recommendations for testing site functionality:

  • Webforms – make sure that any contact/signup forms are working correctly. This means checking that fields are displaying effectively, users are able to type in their information, address finders are working, and error messages are coming up when mandatory fields are not completed. Also make sure that data is being submitted to a live database or email address and not getting lost in cyberspace. It’s advisable to make forms as simple as possible by eliminating unnecessary fields, and give users clear information about what will happen when they submit their data, as this will encourage form completion.
  • Links – regularly check links across your website, including those directing to internal pages, those going to external websites and any buttons/links within your site menu or design. Make sure to set up redirects for any pages that you delete or change the URL for, and have a 404 error page to encourage users to stay on your site even if they encounter a broken link. Find out more on our broken links blog.
  • Search boxes – check that your search box is working and displaying relevant results for users. If it’s not finding all of the relevant pages on your site, listing things in an illogical order or not showing what each search result relates to, you may need to update your search box design or add a Google search box instead.
  • Calls to action – does your site have a clear message for users? A clear call to action helps guide users as to what they should do when on your website, whether that’s to read articles/information, purchase your product, sign-up to your mailing list or make a donation. Check whether your site conveys what you want users to do with an easily clickable message and/or button.
  • Payment processes – make sure that users can make payments or donations on your site in a quick and simple process to avoid them dropping out at the checkout stage. Ideally users should be able to do this without providing too much personal information or having to login. Ensure that any costs (including additional postage/admin fees) are clearly explained, that users have a choice of payment methods, and that error messages come up when card information is incomplete. Also double check that payments are made securely and that your security certificate is displayed.

Finally, don’t forget to check everything both on desktop and mobile/tablet as well as across different browsers.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer to leave website functionality testing to the experts, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

how & why you should update website software

how & why you should update website software

how & why you should update website software

home / Archives for February 2018

We explain everything you need to know about updating website software, focusing on WordPress and Drupal. If you have any questions or would like us to check whether your site is in need of updates, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

what is updating software?

Website software – such as WordPress, Drupal and associated plugins and modules – needs regular updates to fix bugs, increase security, enhance and add features, and generally improve performance.

why should you update website software?

If you don’t update your site software, you’re facing the following risks:

  1. Compromised security – older software versions have vulnerabilities which can be exploited by hackers. For example, 83% of WordPress sites that are hacked don’t have updated software.
  2. Poor performance – new software is designed to overcome previous issues and improve key areas of site performance such as page speed and browser compatibility. Without updates, users may have a frustrating experience and exit your site before engaging.
  3. Missing out on new features – using old website software will mean you have access to fewer and less effective features with which to demonstrate your work and engage with customers.

how do you update website software?

If you have a WordPress site, updates are fairly simple. The system has in-built notifications, highlighting updates to both the main platform and plugins when you login to your dashboard.

To update website software, simply go to the ‘notifications’ area and click to install. Alternatively, if you don’t login to WordPress regularly, you can either turn on automatic updates (in ‘update options’ on your dashboard) or sign up for email updates with the WordPress Updates Notifier plugin.

For Drupal, things are a bit more complicated. Firstly, Drupal makes the distinction between minor updates (eg. from version 7.1 to version 7.2) and major upgrades (eg. from version 7 to version 8). It recommends that you always install the latest update for your version, but consider more carefully if and when to upgrade to the next major version, as not all modules and themes are compatible with upgraded versions.

To begin the Drupal update process, start by finding out which Drupal version you’re currently using. This will be stated in the back-end of your site, in Administer (or Administration) > Reports > Status report (or, for very old versions of Drupal, in Administer > Logs > Status report). Then, you’ll need to decide which version you would like to update to and use the specific advice for how to do so on Drupal.org. Currently, only versions 7 and 8 are fully supported by Drupal.

However you update your site, make sure to check for and install new updates regularly to keep your site working at its best.

Would you prefer not to worry about website software updates? We offer on-demand website maintenance to help keep your site up-to-date and maximise its performance. Get in touch for more information or to discuss your requirements. 

using wireframes to improve user experience

using wireframes to improve user experience

using wireframes to improve user experience

home / Archives for February 2018

Are you laying out plans for a new website or site redesign? We explain how wireframes can improve your site’s user experience (UX)…

what are wireframes?

Wireframes are like an engineer’s blueprints or an architect’s drawings – they’re an in-depth plan of the layout and functionalities of a website. There are no design elements at this stage, but the entire structure of the website is laid out in detail – including all of the site pages, where each button leads, and what happens when you interact with each section/item on a page.

Wireframes enable everyone to visualise the new website. They act as a communication tool between stakeholders to ensure everyone is in agreement. It means that web design planning can be approached at a strategic level, when all the information is laid out clearly. Wireframes also speed up projects and reduce costs while improving the quality of the finish website product.

why do we use wireframes?

We create wireframes to gain a clear understanding of your users’ goals and needs, and ensure that your business proposition and key messages are communicated clearly. They help us design the ideal user experience for your site, decide on content layout, and define hierarchy levels and site functionality.

Wireframes give clarity to everyone involved in a web project, allowing us to think about and plan ahead for every scenario a user can encounter when using the site. A flawless wireframe paves the path for the entire web project and ensures a smooth transition into design and development phases.

how do wireframes improve web and mobile user experience (UX)?

Wireframes are brilliant tools for thinking about the answers to key web design questions such as:

  • Structure – where are all the different elements placed, and how do they relate to each other?
  • Content – what type of information is displayed on each section of the site?
  • Functionality – how will the site interface work, and what will a user be able to do?
  • Informational hierarchy – how is information organised, prioritised and displayed?
  • Engagement – what will the user see at each stage when performing an action on the site?

Wireframes take all of the information and insights collected during UX research and implement them into an optimised website structure. They’re a valuable tool for ensuring a seamless and well-planned web design and development. Wireframes ultimately ensure that your website caters to users in the best possible way.

If you have any questions about wireframes or UX, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

why HTTPS is important & why you should upgrade

why HTTPS is important & why you should upgrade

why HTTPS is important & why you should upgrade

home / Archives for February 2018

In this blog, we explore why HTTPS is more important for your brand perception, security and online success than you realise, and how simple it is to upgrade your website to HTTPS…

why HTTPS is important

This Mashable article by Mashable has a great explanation of what it means to use HTTP as opposed to HTTPS on your website: “The next time you visit a cafe to sip coffee and surf on some free wifi, try an experiment. Log in to some of your usual sites. Then, with a smile, hand the keyboard over to a stranger. Now walk away for 20 minutes. Remember to pick up your laptop before you leave. While the scenario may seem silly, it essentially happens each time you visit a website that doesn’t bother to encrypt the traffic to your browser — in other words, sites using HTTP instead of HTTPS.”

HTTPS is a secure version of HyperText Transfer Protocol (or HTTP), keeping your website and users safe. It encrypts your wbesite data and provides a confidential browsing experience.

how HTTPS impacts digital marketing

  1. Site ranking: Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, much like mobile-friendliness. This means that sites using HTTPS are preferred and ranked higher than sites that don’t. Google is also warning users against non-secure pages by displaying a red cross over the padlock next to the URL. These steps show that Google is taking web security seriously.
  2. User trust and conversion rates: When a visitor uses your site, they are trusting you with their personal information and details. Users are becoming more and more aware of security issues and most will look for the signs of secure browsing before keying in any personal details. Many users will be put off by a non-secure site, thus impacting your conversion rates.
  3. Guarding against impersonation: HTTPS ensures authentication of the website and associated web server. This means that no one can impersonate your organisation’s website and serve false content. Otherwise, spoof sites can steal your traffic or, even worse, serve misleading content to your users.
  4. Fending off attacks: Upgrading your site to HTTPS helps guard against potential attacks which could compromise user information. Phishing leads a user from your site to a spoofed site or delivers malware; this is a broad attack which can be launched from any location. Alternatively, sniffing is targeted locally at someone in your user’s vicinity, where access is gained via an unencrypted wireless network, web server or browser. Either type of attack could have serious repercussions for your organisation’s reputation.

benefits of using HTTPS

Confidentiality: Your data/information remains encrypted and only your browser and server can decrypt it, thus guarding against cyber attacks.

Integrity: HTTPS protects data from being modified without your knowledge.

Authenticity: Essentially, this tells the user that you are who you say you are, and that the content on your site is authentic and hasn’t been tampered with.

why shortcuts don’t work

Using HTTPS only on a part of your site: Some websites use HTTPS for authentication (log-in, registration or payment) only, but this is not enough. Your whole site must be served on HTTPS to be truly secure. The minute the site switches to regular HTTP, it is no longer protecting the user’s privacy or temporary identity (facilitated by cookies), and hackers are getting better and better at making use of this.

Asking for email verification only: Emails are just as vulnerable as credit card details. A site requesting only email authentication is just as vulnerable as one requesting payment information, as email is universally used as a password reset mechanism. Hackers can gain access into an email account, and then use it to obtain the password for just about any other website (including websites where purchases or regular payments are made).

transferring to HTTPS is easy

Fortunately, it’s easy and free to transfer your site to HTTPS. All you need is an SSL certificate, which is how the internet verifies that you are who you say you are. Let’s Encrypt offers free, automated, open SSL certificates.

Once you have your certificate, you just need to configure it to your site, which is straightforward and can be done quickly. It’s even possible to insert a piece of code that automatically renews the SSL certificate so that it’s always up-to-date.

So why not make the web a safer place for your users with HTTPS?