Invest in Keeping your Website Secure

Invest in Keeping your Website Secure

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So you’ve recently had your website developed; it looks great, the launch went smoothly and you’ve had great feedback from all of your clients and customers. You won’t need to look at it again for another few years now…right?

…Wrong. Your website is now an extension of your business and much like your staff, your services or any other element of your practice, it is an ongoing investment. You could think of your website like a garden; if left unattended, weeds will grow and your plants, which were once thriving, will wither and die. To get the most out of your garden you must maintain it regularly to keep it fresh and functional and more importantly, to prevent any pests from growing.

But where do the ‘weeds’ and ‘pests’ come from? WordPress currently powers 23% of all websites in the world and as a result of its popularity, it is a popular target for hackers and data thieves worldwide. You may not think your personal or business website has anything worth being hacked for but websites are compromised all the time, with the majority of breaches coming from out-of-date themes, plugins and WordPress core, so it’s important to keep on top of your updates.

So how do you keep your website secure?

Ensuring your plugins and themes are running on the latest versions not only fixes any bugs or security features, which developers constantly search for and fix, but it also protects your website from being exploited. As it is common practice for hackers to search for websites using out-dated plugins with known security holes, it’s vital not to underestimate the importance of updating your website to prevent anyone other than yourself gaining access to your website.

Finally, are there any other steps you can take to protect your website? Absolutely!

Another great way to protect yourself, should you be on the unfortunate end of a cyber attack is to have a recent backup of your website. Taking regular backups of your website will allow you turn back the clock and revert to an older version of your site, to get back online after any mishap and to keep your business running smoothly. Timescales on how far back you can revert however will vary depending on how regularly you or your hosting company takes backups of your website.

So to summarise, the easiest and most efficient ways of protecting your website:

  • Ensure all of your plugins are regularly updated (it’s good to check at least once a week).
  • Ensure your WordPress core is running on the latest version (updates generally happen once every few weeks)
  • Take regular backups of your website so that you can quickly get your business back online

If you need any help with updating and maintaining your website, just give us a call and we’ll let you know how we can help.

Thanks for reading!

Emily.

Listening to Your Customers To Benefit Your Brand

Listening to Your Customers To Benefit Your Brand

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We have quoted this before, but it is relevant to today’s topic:

Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon

No matter how hard you try to manage your brand, opinions will always be influenced by what your customers see and hear. In the digital world we live in, information exchanges are instant and on a global scale so it is increasingly important to respond to your customer’s voice.

To try to maintain a positive brand image, show that you are aware of your customers’ opinions and work with them to make your brand what they want it to be.

You will only be successful if your customers are happy, so listen to what they have to say.

But remember one important thing…you will never please everyone, so don’t try!

There will always be a multitude of differing opinions, so go with the majority if you’re trying to make a big decision, like rebranding.

A well-known brand that has recently hit the headlines in the design world for its rebrand is The Huffington Post. It is now known simply as HuffPost, as this is the name that readers were shortening it to on a regular basis.

The Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen, has been quoted* as saying, “Sometimes it’s a good idea just to embrace the name that your audience has chosen…HuffPost is already the name of the mobile app and the name on most of the social accounts, and as the world moves further and further away from desktop toward social and mobile, it makes perfect sense to unify the branding.”

Another brand that shortened its name to match what customers called it, was Wilkinsons, who since 2014 have been known simply as Wilko. At the time, a spokesperson was quoted as saying “[We are] migrating to Wilko as the popular and endearing name that our customers have given us.”

Listening to your customers is essential, not only in rebranding, but in everyday business. We have met many companies who say “we know what our customers think”…but do they really know?

As part of our brand audit, we often carry out customer research and sometimes the feedback is surprising for companies, but it allows them to address any issues that are raised.

How often do you ask your customers for feedback?

To show that your brand is trustworthy, reliable and approachable, think about how you can best reach out to your customers and listen to their comments.

If you need any help in this area, as always, we are here if you’d like to chat.

Until next time,
Gemma

 

*https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/04/25/arianna-huffington-ok-huffpost-name-change-rebrand/100875490/

How to Get Your Brand Noticed at Exhibitions

How to Get Your Brand Noticed at Exhibitions

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If you have a brand identity to be proud of, you want to display it at its best in every instance. One of the largest formats it will be used in, is at events and exhibitions, where passers-by will automatically form a perception of your company based on your visual identity. It may be the difference between whether they decide to stop and talk to you or not.

From your logo, brand identity and style of your exhibition banners, through to your choice of banner and material type; they all create that important first impression. The people on your stand also represent your brand, so it is essential that they are reflecting your brand’s personality and values.

A few weeks ago, Hyphen exhibited at the Love Business Expo at Donington Park and we wanted to showcase our dynamic new branding so that we would be easily noticed amongst the other exhibitors. We know that our brand style, with its bold geometric shapes and bright colours stands out, so we kept the designs simple, to let the brand identity do the talking. We also chose a unique exhibition stand, to show our creativity, which can be seen in the image below. The front panel of the bridge allowed us to bring the key information right to the front of the stand so it would really get noticed and read by visitors. We completed our stand with a branded desk and cube seats to create a consistent brand image across the whole stand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few tips on displaying your branding at its best at exhibitions:

  • Ensure your exhibition materials are consistent with your branding guidelines and all your other marketing materials.
  • Don’t have too much text on your banners – people don’t have time to read it.
  • Avoid information too low down as it’s likely you will be standing in front of it.
  • Choose one main message for your banners/stand.
  • If you want to have promotional giveaways, choose items that are relevant to your brand.
  • Don’t fill your stand with clutter. Try it out beforehand in the correct space and decide what items are essential and what could be left behind.

If you are looking to make a big splash at your next exhibition, Hyphen can design something unique that will attract attention, whilst still adhering to your branding guidelines. We can also make recommendations for the best type of banners and materials for your brand style and manage the printing and production of exhibition stands and display material.

If you need any help with making the right impression at your next exhibition, please contact us.

The Importance of Having the Right Online Presence

The Importance of Having the Right Online Presence

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With a large percentage of the population heading to the internet, rather than a local store to do their shopping, it is increasingly important for retailers to not only have an online presence but to provide the right online services for their customers.

For a business to successfully target all its potential customers, it is essential to have an online presence, as around 64% of internet users are signed up to some form of social platform. Customers expect to be able to get instant and effective results by comparing prices and quality, searching for discounts and buying the item they want, all from the comfort of their own home or on the go. If your brand isn’t present during multiple stages of the customer’s path to purchase, you will be limiting your reach and missing out on a large number of customers.

A recent example of this would be the loss of the Leicester store Fenwick, which has been trading in the city since 1962. The store is planned to close by the end of March with a loss of nearly 100 full-time jobs. The Fenwick Group chairman, Mark Fenwick, was quoted in the Leicester Mercury as saying “The challenging trading environment and gradual loss of footfall has made it impossible for us to find a way forward that enables the business to trade successfully.”

After reviewing the brand for ourselves, we believe that although the business was active on social media, both Twitter and Facebook, and had a website that provided a wide range of information for customers, they didn’t take into consideration what their customers needed from them online. If the company had invested in a full online shopping system, then we believe that they could have retained more business. Having an online shop also allows you to track how your customers arrive at, interact with and exit your website through Google Analytics, allowing you to adapt your website to suit the needs of your customers.

It is important that every business stays on top of current consumer trends as well as conducting thorough research into their customers and their expectations of the brand, to formulate their marketing/ business strategy. By doing this, you will have gained insight into what your customers want from your business and can effectively put measures into place to keep your current customers satisfied, as well as looking to gain new ones.

Conducting a brand analysis and formulating a strategy can be outsourced to a branding/marketing agency, who specialise in such operations, which can save you time, money and reduce associated risks.

If you need to take the leap into the digital world or to take the next step for your online presence, give us a call today on
0116 232 5931 or email us on hello@yourhyphen.co.uk

 

Until next time,
Sian

Search Engine Marketing – Should You Be Using It?

Search Engine Marketing – Should You Be Using It?

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The competition for visibility in online search results is fierce, making it essential for brands to show themselves as a presence to be reckoned with online. Alongside search engine optimisation, search engine marketing can increase the visibility of your brand on the results page, meaning if you’re not there, your competition most likely will be.

Even though most search engines are now offering paid advertising, by far the most popular is Google AdWords, totalling around 80% of paid ads on the internet. Google AdWords has some great features, including;

  • You only pay when someone clicks. One of the reasons search engine marketing is so popular, is because you know exactly where your money is going. You will only pay when someone clicks on the ad.
  • You set your budget to control costs. With search engine marketing, you set the budget to whatever suits you. You can put a cap on what you spend daily and it’s flexible for you to change at any time.
  • Targeting. Search Engine Marketing allows you to target your ads by location, language, keyword, and audience.
  • Fast results. Organic search traffic is important for long-term website marketing, however it has a longer cycle to prove ROI. Search Engine Marketing can show results fast; you can start a SEM campaign on Monday and start seeing results in terms of traffic the next day (depending on a variety of factors, obviously).
  • Tracking. You can easily track how well your advertisement is doing online by viewing how many people you have reached, how many people have clicked on your link and how they have interacted with your site.

When set up correctly, you are almost certain to see the effects of your campaigns through increased traffic to your website, with the intent to increase conversions. But when set up incorrectly, Google AdWords can eat through your budget quickly, by either being badly targeted or being poorly managed.

One client we are working with has recently experienced just this. An employee had set up a Google AdWords account using a personal email, meaning no one else had access to the account, then kept campaigns running which were no longer necessary. The campaigns were later discovered and turned off, but by this time the company had already suffered a loss of around £9,000.

Correct management of your account decreases the risk when running PPC ads, and can increase your chances of running a successful campaign. If you’d rather outsource your online marketing to a specialist, make sure the company you choose are fully trained and certified, for example Google Partners are approved by Google to manage PPC campaigns.

Outsourcing to a specialist can also save you time and they will be able to provide advice and solutions that otherwise may not be available.

If you wanted more information on PPC campaigns or Hyphen’s Google Partner status, contacts us by calling 0116 232 5931 or send an email to hello@yourhyphen.co.uk

Until next time,
Sian

Understanding Google Rankings

Understanding Google Rankings

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Businesses everywhere are competing to optimise their website, in the hopes of appearing high in search engine results. In such a competitive area, the first thing you need to do is understand Google Rankings.

 

How do Google Rankings work?

There is a three-stage process for how Google works, which are:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Providing answers

Crawling

Google uses software known as ‘web crawlers’ to discover publicly accessible webpages, the most well-known crawler is called ‘GoogleBot’.

These crawlers (also known as bots, or spiders) look at webpages, and follow links on these pages to other pages/ websites. Much like you would do if you were browsing the web. They follow these links, and bring back data about the pages they have been on to Google’s servers.

The crawlers start by re-visiting pages from previous crawls, as they look for links they pay special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites and dead links.

 

Indexing

Pages gathered during the crawling process are then put into an index, so we know exactly how to look things up. Google’s index is over 100 million gigabytes and staff have spent over 1 million computing hours building the index so far.

When you search for something in Google, the algorithms in place look up the search terms in the index to find the appropriate pages.

Googles indexing systems will look at different aspects of a page, such as:

  • When they were published.
  • Whether they contain pictures.
  • Words and their locations.
  • And much more.

Pages with a variety of media will be given a higher quality score, as no one who searches for the term ‘design’ wants to just see a page full of the word ‘design’ and nothing else.

 

Ranking

Google rankings is the term for how your search results are displayed in Google.

The algorithms look at your query and use over 200 signals to decide which of the millions of pages and content are most relevant answers for the search query. Google rankings are constantly changing and the algorithms that are used see over 500 improvements per year.

Examples of these signals include:

  • The freshness of website content.
  • The number of links to your site and the authority of those links.
  • Words on the webpage.
  • Synonyms of your search keywords.
  • Quality of the content on the site.
  • URL and title of the webpage.

 

Spam results

Google works 24/7 to fight spam, in an attempt to keep your results relevant and the majority of spam removal is automatic. If spam is found, manual action is taken and they attempt to notify the website owners. Website owners can fix their sites and let Google know.

 

By understanding how Google rankings work, you can start to piece together why it’s important to use effective SEO and how to implement it.

We have previously posted about the basics of SEO, which may help to give you a little more direction for your digital marketing. However, we know how complex SEO can seem, especially as trends are constantly changing, and time is often short in your working day, so our experts at Hyphen are always here to chat. We would be happy to meet up to go through what you are looking to achieve from your website and help put a plan in place to boost your Google rankings.

If you found this blog useful, be sure to share this with the buttons on the left!

Until next time,
Sian

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