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Not Secure Warning – New Google Chrome Web Browser is Coming!

chrome 35Heads up!  Google are releasing Version 56 of the popular Chrome web browser version.

Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but this update will include a warning for non-HTTPS websites – in other words, those websites that don’t use SSL [Secure Sockets Layer] and have a SSL certificate installed. A message will appear in your browser location bar that will say “Not Secure” on any website pages which collect passwords or credit card details.

This warning will label these websites “Not secure” in the browser location bar – which let’s face it – is not something that you want your customers to see! It will immediately mark your site as not secure and likely to impact on sales and lead generation.

We reckon that some website visitors may assume the “not secure” indicates malware, while others may think your payment processor is going to steal their money 🙁

But a quick fix is on hand…

Firstly, this is what the warning will look like in the first instance:

not secure

Chrome 56 Not Secure warning

This warning will be displayed at the launch of Chrome 56.

It’s worth knowing that Google Chrome will label all non-HTTPS pages in incognito mode as “Not Secure” because visitors who use this mode of browsing have an increased expectation of privacy.

The final step in the staged rollout will mean that Chrome will be labelling all plain HTTP pages as “Not secure”.

The final step warning will look like this:

not secure chrome final warning

Eventual treatment of all HTTP pages viewed using Chrome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Will This Happen?

There’s a handy online calendar here you can check for rollout dates.

At the moment, Google say 31 January 2017 is the Live date for the roll out. If this is correct, by the date of this blog post, you have exactly 1 week to get your site 100% SSL and avoid the “Not secure” message appearing on your webpages.

What Should You Do?

Firstly check with your hosting provider to find out how to set up SSL on their system. Some hosts offer free SSL, for others you may pay around the £35-50 mark annually. Don’t ignore any easy installation method your Host offers and decide to set up your SSL manually as you may be opening yourself up to a world of pain.

Google has a technical description of how to implement SSL on your website. You will also find many guides describing how to set up SSL for WordPress with a simple Google search.

Need Help? 

At Fiddly Bits we are able to add FREE SSL certificates to WordPress websites which will renew themselves automatically via most website hosts for just £49+VAT.

We have a limited number of spaces for this work over the next few weeks, so to register your interest please email here ASAP.

**** If you already host your website with us then don’t worry, we’ve got your back, your SSL will be added during your January housekeeping 🙂

Cool Free Image Websites – Spruce Up Your Social Media!

cool free image websitesIn social media we know that a “picture paints a thousand words” so using photos is a great way to grab attention and help your social media stand out from the crowd.

If you are keeping costs down then finding cool free image websites becomes really important – but you shouldn’t let saving money stop you complying with the law. Downloading any images you find on the internet willy-nilly is a recipe for disaster and a total no-no!

Beware of simply using a Google Images search and downloading what you find – these images  are not necessarily free to use. In many cases, the photos will still be covered by photographers’ copyrights and you can get into a lot of hot water! Don’t think for a moment that the photographer won’t find out you’ve “borrowed” the image – many use automated software to search the web and find their images.

The trick is to find websites which offer free images AND make it clear where their images are sourced and are licensed under “Creative Commons” – which enables you to download and use images for free, often without attribution [always check this!]. Always check on each individual free image website to make sue you know what the licenses they use:

  • Creative Commons zero means that you can use the images in any way you like, without asking permission or by crediting the creator.
  • Creative Commons with attribution means that you can use the photo in any way you like, as long as you credit the creator.

Attributing an image is easy: If you include a photo on one your website pages or social media platforms, add text that cites the photographer (“Photo by Jane Doe or ©Jane Doe”) and if possible include a link to their website.

Be sure to check each photo image website’s license page or FAQs page for specific details.

Here are some of the best free stock photo websites I’ve discovered:

Pexels – a favourite of mine

Death to the Stock Photo – interesting photos also available in a free monthly subscription [paid extras available]

Unsplash – they release 10 new pics every 10 days under the creative commons public domain license.

Public Domain Archive – public domain images available on this website

PicJumbo – downloadable photo packs available

New Old Stock – retro heaven! Vintage photos from public archives and free of known restrictions.

StockSnap.io – handy search feature and all use creative commons public domain – no attribution needed

 

Are You Creating Images for Social Media Covers/banners? 

Here are some sizes for social media cover photos, header images, and channel art:

  • Facebook cover photo: 851 x 315
  • YouTube channel art: 2560 x 1440
  • Twitter header: 1500 x 500
  • Google+ cover photo image: 1240 x 700
  • LinkedIn company page banner image: 646 x 220
  • LinkedIn showcase page hero image: 974 x 330

Keep a check on the required sizes for social media images as they do change from time to time.

You may be wondering whether you can create a unique image for all of them or can you get away with using just one image to rule them all? If you only consider size, then a YouTube channel art image created the right way could effectively be cropped to provide an image for all your other social media platforms. Or, for that matter, any template that is larger than 2560 x 1440 would work.

Use Your Facebook Page to Improve Your Know, Like and Trust Factor

Alison Rothwell

Alison Rothwell

One of the best reasons for using social media is to improve your Know, Like and Trust Factor. A good social media presence helps customers get to know you, get to like you and then trust you enough to buy from you.

Businesses should establish a consistent presence online, especially on social media, because a whopping  74% of consumers rely on social media to making a buying decision.

Here are some quick ways to pimp your Facebook Page to improve your Know Like and Trust Factor:

Your Page Content:

  1. Make sure you fill this in completely, and add your url to every section you can!
  2. Add events – you can add online events as well as offline.
  3. Making sure your Short Description, Mission and Company Overview all begin with your URL so it shows first when someone visits your page on a mobile device.
  4. Be sure to check how your page shows on all mobile devices.

Your Cover Image:

  1. Have a clear and relevant Cover photo – your cover image is ALWAYS on show – Make sure it is high quality. Use an image that is at least 851 x 315 pixels. Facebook expands any image that’s smaller than these dimensions which makes your cover blurry and look kind of crummy.
  2. Remember your Cover photo is ALWAYS visible – whether peeps Like your page or not.
  3. Only use images of products or services that you actually sell!
  4. Consider updating your image for seasonal events or sales to keep it fresh!

Here are some free and paid resources to help you create cover images:

Your Profile Photo:

  1. Remember this is a square image: Your profile pic is uploaded at 180 x 180 pixels, but displayed at 160 x 160 pixels. So a rectangle will be cropped, so best to start with a square image.
  2. Make it different from your personal page profile image !

Use Third Party Apps:

  1. Let people sign up for your newsletter without leaving Facebook.
  2. Cross-promote your other social media platforms by using an app to include content from Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
  3. Add an online scheduler to your page – I use: Acuity.

Here are some resources for you to take a look at to help you add apps to your page:

 

 

 

How to Create a Content Pillar for Your Marketing

writing content pillar

Looking to learn how to create a content pillar? Curious as to what one is?
Here’s my advice for using a content pillar in your marketing plan and why its worth investing the time to do this.

Why is Content Important?

When you are building a website for your business, one of the most important parts of making sure it is successful, is to create strong, viable, and relevant content. Content is the most important for several reasons; the most important being it is the easiest way to communicate your message to customers. As well, content is one of the key factors which determines where you will rank on the Google search results pages. These content articles are key for building your website into one which stands out from the other thousands of websites on the web today.

What is a Content Pillar?

A content pillar is essentially a specific, and full, piece of content material that is centred upon a specific subject. This content material is then broken down into several other smaller pieces or derivitives, including articles, podcasts, videos, and more. The pillar is based off of one theme, and is built on several smaller blocks focused on the same theme. These pillars are based on your business, and should add support to your overall marketing campaign and business brand awareness. But there is much more to creating a content pillar than that.

Planning What’s Most Important

In order to create an effective content pillar, you must plan what is going to be the most effective and efficient theme or topic to begin with, and how you are going to break that down into smaller blocks. For example, if you own a plumbing business, your first pillar may be focused on bathroom plumbing, which is one of the most sought after aspects of plumbing. You would then break that down into articles on services you offer, videos highlighting previous client’s satisfaction with your work, and photos of completed bathroom work.

Make it Shareable

Content is useless without the ability to share it and allow more people to view it. Larger content pieces tend to be less interesting to casual viewers and readers, and are skipped over by those which are shorter and more to the point. By making it straight forward, your customers will not have to spend as much time reading, which will be beneficial for them, while also making it easy to create for you. Shareable content can open up a new range of audiences for your business, exposing your brand to new sources of money.

Make it Relevant to Today

Your clients, customers, and any visitors to your business’s webpage are not interested in content that is old and outdated. They do not want content that is not applicable to their daily lives today. In order to give them what you want, you must keep up to date with what they are thinking, feeling, and interested in. Your content must keep up to date with the latest techniques, products, and services that are in your field. If you are behind the times, your credibility will drop, and you will build a content pillar that will only need to be rebuilt in the end. 

42 Things to Blog About

things to blog aboutIt’s one of the most challenging things about blogging – getting started. If you ever get stumped on what to write about, here are 42 ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.

  1. Comment on a news event and on how it relates to your field.
  2. Write a How To post. Walkthroughs, tutorials and how to’s tend to do very well online.
  3. Bust a Myth. What are common beliefs people hold in your industry that simply aren’t true?
  4. Tell an entertaining and educational story. What were some turning point moments in your career?
  5. Create a Q&A post. What are common questions people have and what are their answers?
  6. Examine a Problem. Take an issue that people often get stuck on and go in depth into its causes and solutions.
  7. Write a Top X List. For example, “Top 50 ways to get blog traffic” or “Top 12 hip hop dance moves.”
  8. Ramble. Just talk aimlessly and passionately about a subject. Be sure to set it aside and read it a day or two later to make sure it’s relevant before you post it.
  9. Write about common pitfalls. What are mistakes that beginners might make without knowing it?
  10. Interview an expert. Post it in audio or video form on your blog.
  11. Review a product. What are its benefits and its drawbacks? What sets it apart? Would you recommend it?
  12. Comment on state of the industry. What’s going well and what isn’t’ going well?
  13. Ask your audience a question. What do they think about Topic X?
  14. Post the top resources for someone in your industry. Give links, downloads, videos, etc that might help them in what they’re trying to do.
  15. Make a prediction on the future. What do you think is going to happen in the next 12 months?
  16. Write about an in person event. For example, “What I learned at Affiliate Summit X this year.
  17. Share a provocative opinion. What’s an opinion you have that just isn’t politically correct? [be careful!]
  18. Why someone is right or wrong. Write a post about why you think someone is right or wrong about a certain subject.
  19. Make something complex simple. Break a hard process down into its parts and make it easy to do or follow.
  20. Share a thought process. How do you get from point A to point B in your thought process?
  21. Blog about a personal experiment. What’s something you tried? Did it work or did it not work? What would you do differently and what would you recommend? 
  22. Write a sarcastic post. It shouldn’t be aggressive, but be a little satirical post that contradicts popular opinion. 
  23. Analyze someone else’s success. Why did they make it? What did they do differently than other people?
  24. Analyze someone else’s failure. Why did company X or project X fail? What was the key mistake? 
  25. Write about the pros and cons of X. What are the benefits and drawbacks?
  26. Take the alternate position. What does everyone else think? What do you typically stand for? Try taking the other side.
  27. Write about a book in your industry. Review it or write a synopsis.
  28. Write a post designed to be inspirational. Not a how to, but something that gives people a sense that they can do it too.
  29. Write an Update post – How it used to be, how it is today. For example, “X used to work in the past, but with the recent changes in the market, you really need to do Y to get the same effects.”
  30. Write a post for experts. Give specific how-to’s and little known industry knowledge.
  31. Write a post for newbies. Make it easy and answer questions that beginners often ask.
  32. Share a secret in your industry. What are things that people on the inside know but tend not to share?
  33. Do a multi-part post with cliffhangers in between. Write a great post #1, then leave people wanting for more before part 2.
  34. Write a followup on your most popular posts. Take your top 3 articles and expand on those topics.
  35. Host a poll and then post the results. Analyze why you think the poll turned out the way it did.
  36. Write an open letter to someone well known in your industry. For example, “An Open Letter to Steve Jobs” went viral when the iPhone 3GS came out.
  37. Show off! What you did and the results you got.
  38. A “What I wish I did differently” post. Use what you know now to analyze your successes and failures.
  39. Address common frustrations in the industry. Where do people generally get frustrated and not know how to move forward? Let them know they’re not alone. 
  40. Around the world view. How is X done similarly or differently around the world?
  41. Creative ways to do X. How can you do things differently than other people?
  42. How to speed up X. How to do a process faster than it’s normally done.

These are 42 things to blog about. Anytime you get stuck, just come back to this list to help inspire new blogging ideas.

How to Create the Perfect About Us Page

startup-photosMy favorite webpage is usually titled “About Us.” Now the main thing to remember is that you may think it’s all “About You” [your business], but really it should be titled “For Them” – because it’s one of the key ways you can communicate your brand and increase trust between yourself and your potential customers.

By nature I’m a nosy creature and there’s nothing that makes me lose interest in a website more than a dull, lifeless About Us page. I’m sure you’ve seen them – a scant paragraph of text something along the lines of:

“We are a widget business based in Any County. We produce lots of different widgets to fit all budgets.”

As a customer I want to know

1. Who you are? – a personal and chatty note from the owner works well here and a photo added is even better. Brief staff biogs are often helpful too as it immediately reassure your customer that they are handing their cash over to a professional organization who employ people rather than a hobbyist in a back bedroom. If you are a solopreneur, then just make sure you include the personal note with some tasty biographical information included.

2. What’s Your Mission? – Are you “in it” for something more than making money [if I’ve hit the nail on the head there, then best not mention that]. Customers love to know why you do what you do – did you create a product to solve a problem? Did you set your business up as a result of a personal experience you had? Do you have strong ethics or have a passion for helping others? If you support any charities or do voluntary work, then think about adding it to your About Us page.

3. What’s Your History? Consider adding the history of your company here. Can you demonstrate an “impression of increase” to your customers. Such as, “I began working from my kitchen table, now I have an office and employ staff” or “I started with just one service, now I offer 3 different ones.”

3. Blow Your Own Trumpet! Have you won or been nominated for any awards? If so, here’s the place to dust off your decorations and place them on this page for all to see. Place a link to your media/press page here too.

4. Do you a special offer or a freebie for customers? Think about highlighting it on this page  [include links] and make the most of the extra traffic an “About Us page” generates.

5. Remember to use images, especially photos to illustrate the page. Perhaps of a best selling product? Your office? Include your logo too if it works.

6. Sign off with some kind of “call to action” to encourage interaction.

7. Make sure you also include some contact details, however brief. Make it easy for a customer to reach you as this builds your credibility and increases trust.

Seen any cool “About Us” pages? Let me know below!

How to Find Your Perfect Keywords

keyword research How to Find Your Perfect KeywordsFor many small business owners, the words “perfect keywords” and “keyword search” generates one of two responses.  They’ll either groan and shudder [or even start to whimper] or simply shrug their shoulders and look a little puzzled.  The fact of the matter is that many people don’t know how to or have never taken the time to do even the minimum of keyword research their business needs to get Google love.

Keyword research is actually not that difficult once you get to grips with the essentials and the information you gain about your marketplace can be invaluable.  Once you know what keywords your target market is using to find what you and your competitors offer, you can position your company so they the find you instead of your competition.

Here’s how to find your perfect keywords from the Fiddly Bits team:

Step 1: Simply think of a handful of relevant words to start with.  You can pull them out of the air, do a bit of brainstorming or mind mapping. Keep this thought in mind- what do you think your clients might be using to find your business?
You can also check your Google Webmaster Tools account to see what they’ve been using over the last 3 months to find your business. Or , by “right clicking on a competitor’s website” and clicking “view source” you can check the meta data on your competition’s websites to see what keywords they’re using.  Pretty cool, right?
We like to call these half-dozen or so starter keywords “seed keywords.”

Step 2: Once you have a handful of words to start with the next step is to choose your keyword research tool.  There’s loads of them out there on the web so you’re not stuck with the first one you find.  Google and Yahoo both offer keyword research tools as part of their Pay Per Click [PPC] advertising service and there are also tools you can subscribe to.

Make sure if you’re choosing one which you have to pay for, that they offer a free trial so you can make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. We recommend the pretty awesome Market Samurai which we’ve used forever.

Step 3: Now you’ve selected a keyword research tool, the next step is to open your account up and plug in one of your seed keywords to create some results.  For example, let’s say you’re creating a hand knitting online course and hunting for keywords to optimize your website.  You may use “hand knitting instruction” as a seed keyword.

Step 4: Follow the keyword tool instructions [often no more complicated than hitting enter] and now you have anywhere from 10 to thousands more keywords.  Some will have potential and some definitely do not.

Step 5: Look for keywords which have good popularity.  Meaning they’re used by people often.  If only a handful are using some of the keywords you get ,they’re not going to generate much in the way of traffic to your website or ultimately, sales.

Step 6: You’ll also want to look for keywords which don’t have tons of competition.  That doesn’t mean you don’t use the words “knitting instruction” to optimize your website if that is the single most popular keyword phrase people use to find knitting courses online, however if everyone is using that keyword to optimize their website it might be difficult for you to rise to the top of the rankings – which is, after all, your ultimate goal.

Step 7: If you’re searching for keywords to use for search engine advertising [PPC] then it’s really important to pay attention to the cost of the keyword or keyword phrase.  It’s far too easy to blow an ad budget in a day with the wrong keyword!  Not all keyword tools provide this information [although Market Samurai does].  Remember, if you’re going to be doing search engine advertising, then you can use that search engine’s keyword tool to generate results.

Finally, keywords do change over time so it pays to make keyword research a regular process.  Some business owners are always looking for the next best keyword phrase, while others prefer to analyze their SEO on a quarterly or annual basis.  Take the time to make sure you’re optimizing your site and do a little keyword research – it’s really going to not be as bad as you think, and will get you ahead of all those competitors who can’t bear to even start!

Why Google is Hating on Your Website – And How to Fix It!

wordpress helpHere’s the big mistake many website owners make:

They spend all their time worrying about what they should be doing outside their website – like building links to their website, social media posting and paying for Pay Per Click or Facebook adverts and completely forget to check whether their website is capable of getting Google love in the first place.

You see, there’s a long list of things on your website that Google expects to see – and if it doesn’t, Google will hate your website and the result is you’ll not get organic traffic, you’ll pay more for PPC and that’s on top of your website visitors not enjoying their time on your site, leading to higher bounce rates and less sales.

Here’s the WordPress Fiddly Bits heads up to avoid the Google hate – watch out for the one on images – it’s a super simple fix!

Lets start with what Google really hates to find on a website:

1. Broken links – Yup, links that take you on a road to nowhere [or a 404 page] are frustrating for your customers and disliked by the big G. You should ensure your website is free of broken links and keep a regular check of any links you have to external websites, making sure they’re OK too. Let’s face it, any broken links you have – whether on your own site or ones elsewhere

2. Lack of a Privacy Policy – Google expects to see you have a website Privacy Policy AND that it is available for the user on every page of your site [hint – you make this happen by putting the link into the footer area of your website so it can be viewed on every page].

While you’re at it, making sure you have loads of “trustworthy signals” on your website like your company contact details, terms and conditions, Cookie policy [if you’re based in the EU] and any security seals as this will give you more credibility in the eyes of potential customers.

3. Empty Pages – or at least ones with little or very poor content. Google needs to know what your website is about in order to rank you in the search engines. If you don’t have enough content [let’s say 300+ words per page or blog post] then you’re not helping your website – or yourself!

click for website review wordpress help

 

 

 

 

 

4. Slow websites – Yawn. We’ve all had that experience when you click on a link in the search engine rankings and the website downloads – slowly – in fact, sometimes, glaciers have been known to move faster than some websites we’ve had the pleasure to speed up.

Your first port of call is the Google PageSpeed Insights. There you’ll get advice from Google but for starters you should reduce the size of your images [see next point], host your site on a quality server, and use a CDN [content delivery network] or caching plugin. Around 3 seconds is the download speed to aim for – yes, really!

5. Image Problems – Bulky images can really slow your website down. You should resize your images to the exact size they should be before you add them to your website, so your website doesn’t have to waste valuable time resizing them for visitors.

A plugin like WP Smush will reduce the size of images for you at the click of a button. While you’re at it, make sure every image you use on your website is named correctly and has a title and description too [known in the bizz as alt-text].

6. Rubbish [or non-existant] Meta Data – Meta data is geek-speak for the information you give search engines about the content of your site, which is not normally seen by users [apart from the meta descriptions which are seen in the search engine rankings].Brush up on your best keywords and use a plug-in such as YOAST to make sure you have every page on your site correctly optimised.

7. Out of Date Websites – By out of date, we mean plug-ins that need fixing, or themes which are several versions too old. Keep your themes, plugins and above all your WordPress framework current. Not only are you risking being hacked with out of date software [see below] but you’re going to end up with a creaky and breaking website with stuff not working and resulting in unhappy visitors.

8. Hacked websites – Make sure your website security is super tight. With WordPress plugins such as Ithemes and Wordfence which are easy to set up, there’s no excuse for letting the Bad Guys wreck your online business. If you are hacked, then you must fix your site ASAP [you are backing up every day, aren’t you?] because if Google comes visiting and finds your site repeatedly down it will remove you from the Google index 🙁

[NOTE] Looking for WordPress help? We can give your website a full detox, with an actionable report plus a strategy call for just £97+VAT. Click here for the skinny.

New WordPress Website Review from the Fiddly Bits Team

wordpress  website review detoxWe’re very proud to launch our new WordPress Website Review and Detox!

It’s the perfect solution if you are scratching your head trying to work out why your WordPress site seems to lack Google Love!

SEO success depends on what happens on your site as much as everything that happens off your site. Slow websites, ones with broken links and poor content, with unoptimised meta data [KLAXON: GeekSpeak!] can get you into Google’s bad books. And the sad thing is that unless you use special software which has x-ray eyes, then you’d never know 🙁

The good news is that the Fiddly Bits team can look at your website for you [with their own x-ray eyes AND the special software] and tell you what you need to get fixed to get into the Google game.

Our Website Detox is a review of all the key areas of your website which will affect your search engine optimisation [and therefore your Google rankings].

It works like this:

We deliver a Website Review covering all of this:

  • Visibility issues: Find out if Google can actually access all your content and make sure you haven’t got any page errors making you invisible!
  • Meta Issues: Those bits of important website information like titles and descriptions. We check they’re all present and correct.
  • Content: We’ll let you know if you have enough content for Google to read [or too much!]
  • Link issues: The can or worms noone wants to open! Are all your links working properly? Optimised? Or are they sending your customers on the road to nowhere…
  • Image Problems: So often overlooked – a picture paints a thousand words – but a broken or unoptimised images makes you speechless in Google.

Then, you’ll get:

  • A PDF with all your website issues listed.
  • Our Website Detox Guide – a secret squirrel manual to help you get friendly with your website – including the latest must-have plug-ins and cool tips.
  • A 30 minute strategy call with Alison on any topic you’d like [although it may be more useful for you if you stick to online marketing, SEO, social media, websites and all that Jazz!]

To get all the deets simply click here.