Month: June 2018

How Local Google Business Listings are Great for SEO Campaigns

How Local Google Business Listings are Great for SEO Campaigns

When it comes to starting a National Marketing Campaign it can be hard and take some time to gather traction. What most people don’t know is that starting in a local area can help you boost traffic, create conversions and develop a higher domain authority. Lots of companies want to be a national competitor straight away but this process takes time and hitting local business first can be a great way to help you swim in an already crowded pond!

Local Google Business Listing

Google’s Local Business Listings (Google My Business) is the pioneer in helping you attract local business from all around your area. It allows people to find your company, your website and your contact details, all in one quick and easy search.

It also gives you the added bonus of having reviews. Reviews are one of the first things that will determine whether a customer will want to use you or not.

A local business listing can also have a negative effect on your search rankings if they are incorrectly optimised and maintained. Something as simple as a wrong phone number or address can contribute to Googles Ranking algorithm. Making sure that all your company data is correct, adding images and simply updating it regularly can help to boost local rankings.

Local Google Business Listing

Local Keywords

When trying to rank for a local audience it makes sense to target localised keywords, for example; instead of trying to hit ‘Construction Services’ you can aim for something more around the lines of ‘Local Construction Services in Manchester’, these type of key phrases can help your audience find their local Construction Services if they live in Manchester.

The advantage of using these types of key phrases is that they have less competition making it easier and faster to rank for in search results. The only issue with hitting these key phrases is that there will be less traffic going to them. This is both a negative and a positive because there will be less traffic searching that long key phrase, however; the people searching them will be the right audience and will help to reduce a website’s Bounce Rate.

Summary

We believe that marketing in a local area can have a positive effect on the overall SEO campaign with increasing traffic and audience. Gaining local traffic and establishing yourself as a local business online can be a great stepping-stone to help you get into a national market. Jumping into a national marketing campaign can be lengthy, time-consuming, and expensive. Going local first can help give your business the boost it needs before going national.

For more information about what we can do for you simply get in touch – call us on 01925 563 960

Is Woocommerce the Superior eCommerce Platform?

Is Woocommerce the Superior eCommerce Platform?

As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, more and more people are turning to Woocommerce in pursuit of getting ahead of the competition. Since the launch of Woocommerce in 2011 over 2 million websites are now integrating this popular eCommerce platform into their site with a multitude of different uses ranging from a simple single product page to a massive selection of variable products in an online store.

In comparison, Woocommerce proves itself as the most popular eCommerce platform having over six times the amount of users as its main competitors Shopify and Magento. This popularity comes from a surplus of reasons why people prefer Woocommerce as their desired eCommerce site. Here are just a few of the major ones to help you decide if Woocommerce is the eCommerce platform for you.

If you are considering building a Woocommerce website please Contact Us or call us on 01925 563 960 and we can arrange a personal scoping session to help you out.

No License Cost

Unlike Shopify and Magento, Woocommerce does not have a licensing fee. This means that when creating an eCommerce website Woocommerce is the most cost-effective solution. For new and upcoming businesses that do not have the capital to keep up with an annual license fee that platforms such as Shopify and Magento charge, Woocommerce becomes the ideal eCommerce platform. You simply require a hosting provider and domain and away you go.

Ease of Use

Another accolade Woocommerce has earned itself is its ability to be understandable and easily interpreted by both the more and less technical people. Even though there are some elements to Woocommerce that are more advanced than others which can be daunting, this platform takes the top prize for being a great and simple platform for those with less knowledge in online shops right up to a wonderfully complex system for those with a greater understanding in theme development.

Highly Customisable

Maybe you do not want a traditional eCommerce platform that lists products that people can buy. Maybe you want something unique and special, something more personalised to your desires; Woocommerce is the platform for you. Due to its simple and professional nature, it is known to be a highly customisable platform with a wide selection of pre-built plugins that have a variety of weird, wonderful and niche functionality allowing you can make an eCommerce platform tailored to you.

Security

With Woocommerce being the hugely popular platform it is, updates are pushed out on a regular basis. Not only does this minimalise the number of bugs you may encounter but also makes sure that the plugin is always up to date on the latest security changes and updates meaning that you need not worry about any security breaches or flaws. If you would like to read more on website security, please feel free to read Our GDPR Blog.

So now that you are aware of the benefits, what is your opinion on Woocommerce? Do you think that this is the platform for you? Or do you think you would prefer another eCommerce platform such as Shopify instead? If you would like us to build you a personalised Woocommerce website please Contact Us or call us on 01925 563 960.

What is Liquid Template Language – An Introduction

What is Liquid Template Language - An Introduction

To really understand what liquid template language is, you need to delve into the world of eCommerce and take a good look at Shopify. If you are a new user of the Shopify eCommerce system, you wouldn’t know instantly what code sits behind all of the pretty interfaces and easy to build product options. But as a web designer or developer, you may wish to find out more about what goes on under the hood of Shopify.

Many developers make the mistake of believing that Shopify uses some elements of PHP in its main code base, similar to how most other eCommerce platforms do, some include WooCommerce, Magento, OpenCart and PrestaShop. Unlike these other eCommerce platforms, Shopify has its own purpose-built templating language called Liquid it uses for themes for your online store.

Is Liquid a language or engine?

Some developers call Liquid a type of templating language, whereas, other people believe that it is an engine for Shopify themes. In simple terms, this is just a label and both terms in their own right are correct. I prefer the term “language” as with other traditional coding languages such as PHP, HTML and jQuery, these have syntax with a common output, IF statements and loops. Even with these similarities to other coding languages, this is where the common factors end. Shopify’s Liquid Templating Language is intuitive and has so many benefits over conventional coding practices.

Liquid Files

Once you’ve managed to get under the hood of Shopify and start to look at the actual theme development aspect of the eCommerce platform where do you find these liquid files? Like HTML and PHP, the files will always end in the language extension. See below:

  • afilename.php
  • afilename.html
  • afilename.js

This is no different with liquid template files as these end in .liquid, for example, “afilename.liquid”. This is the easiest way to establish what code you will find inside the actual file.

Once you have opened a .liquid file you will find some code you will be familiar with, HTML. Liquid templating language is a mixture of normal HTML code and also liquid constructs. You can easily distinguish the liquid tags from HTML code as these will follow one of the following patterns:

  • The double curly brace delimiters {{ }} denote some output
  • The curly brace and percentage delimiters {% %} denote logic

For an established designer or developer with some past experience should be able to read this code easily without any extensive training.

How Does Liquid Work with Shopify?

Shopify eCommerce platform will decide which templates are to be shown to the frontend user of the website. For example, if the URL is http://myshop.myshopify.com/collections/tshirts Shopify will render the collections.liquid template.

Once Shopify understands which template to show to site user, the template will be parsed to look for Liquid placeholder tags. These placeholders are replaced with relevant data from your stored database. It does take some time to understand the connection between Shopify and how the templates work but once you get the hang of this, it will be much easier to work with.

What Are Placeholders?

Placeholder is the simplest form is a piece of code that will be changed when the template is sent to the browser to parse. The information sent to the browser will usually be some logic as discussed earlier using tags like {% %} or output using tags such as {{ }}.

[markdown]
“`html

{{ product.title }}

“`
[/markdown]

As you can see from the above example, this is a mixture of HTML tags (Heading 2) and .liquid code {{ product.liquid }}. This is using the simple output tags from Shopify’s coding language and when passed to the browser will change the Liquid into information pulled from the database. In the example below I have left the heading 2’s in:

[markdown]
“`html

My New Online Store

“`
[/markdown]

Unless you use a filter on the Liquid tag this will print exactly what is stored in that field in the database. Filters will allow you to adapt further.

Logic Tags

As with other languages, Shopify’s Liquid Templating Language allows you to apply some logic. Please see the example below:

[markdown]
“`html
{% if product.available %}
This product is available
{% else %}
Sorry, this product is sold out
{% endif %}
“`
[/markdown]

The logic example above is an IF Statement. By using Liquid logic we can determine the output that is rendered based on whether things such as product stock level is equal to in stock. Liquid code goes one step further and as well as IF, ELSE and END IF logic parameters, Liquid allows you to use boolean logic such as true or false.

Summary

Liquid, in a nutshell, is a very powerful offering brought to the table by Shopify’s ever-growing eCommerce store system. Liquid has so many benefits and advantages over its nearest rivals in terms of usability and adaptability. For any new web designer or developer with some HTML experience should be able to get off the ground quickly with Shopify theme development.

10 Benefits of using Shopify for your Ecommerce website

10 Benefits of using Shopify for your Ecommerce website

Shopify is a hosted eCommerce solution and is fast becoming one of the biggest and most successful eCommerce platforms in the world. To put Shopify into some numerical context, currently 270,036 websites using the Shopify platform, with a market share of 13% against other eCommerce platforms such as Magento and WooCommerce.

Here are 10 reasons while we would recommend using Shopify for your eCommerce website.

1. It’s a hosted Platform

Shopify is a hosted platform. This means instead of hosting the site on your own server it is hosted on there own optimized servers. Unlike self host platforms like Magento which require a very particular server setup to run smoothly, Shopify manages the hosting and server config which ensures your store is always run at it best.

2. Security Updates

Due to Shopify be on hosted platform and the way Shopify stores are built using Shopify’s own language (Liquid). Any security updates that need to be done on the eCommerce platform are automatically performed as needed without any downtime for your store allowing you to continue to generate revenue through your store. Platforms like Magento requires the host to perform these updates and with older stores and the multitude of 3rd party plugins these can cause your store to break, leaving you hanging while the plugin developer or host catch up and create fixes.

3. Apps

Shopify has their own app store which can be used to extend the functionality of your site. These apps are all vetted and approved by Shopify before they can be added to the store. If they are costed then they operate on a subscription base, this payment model means that as long as the app is on your store you will get updates for the plugin automatically and be able to get support from the plugin developer without extra charge. Platforms like Magento have numerous plugins which are not vetted by the platform, can cost £100’s to purchase and charge extra for future support and updates.

4. Customisable

Shopify websites are designed to be customizable and put a lot of control in the eCommerce website owners hands. Your stores theme can be edited within the control panel of the site from the simply moving the content and section on the pages to making edits to the different templates files if you wanted to. Shopify has its own vetted theme store and we can also help build a new theme to fit your brand.

5. Customer Support

In addition to the support we can offer, Shopify also has its own customer support team who can help 24/7. In addition to this they also have excellent documentation in there help center on a number question and topics you may have about your store.

6. SEO & Marketing tools

Shopify has a built suite of tools to help you manage marketing your store and to see a number of stats about your store and it performance. It also has built-in functionality to optimise it for search engines. Also on the App Store you will also find some additional options that can be bought and added in giving you better options.

7. Multiple sales channels

Shopify can act as more than just online store. The Shopify admin can also add sales channels for the following out of the box:

  • Shopify Point of sale system which can be used in your physical store(s)
  • Buys buttons which can be used to add products to other sites
  • Facebook so you can see items from your facebook page

There are also a number of apps to integrate with other external systems which help to make sure your stock level stay the same across all your platforms.

8. Abandoned cart recovery

Shopify has built-in Abandoned cart recovery which means you can alert your customers if they abandon their carts without checking out after a set amount of time.

9. Refund, privacy, and TOS statements

Shopify has a generator built directly in the admin to help to generate GDPR complaint Refund, privacy, and TOS statements. These are a great starting point and are easy to edit to your needs. As GDPR has been the flavour of 2018 so far, this has been one of the biggest benefits allowing small to medium businesses to do what they do best, rather than worrying about legal informational pages.

10. Built-in payment gateway

Shopify has its own built-in easy to set up payment gateway with competitive rates. Or if you already have a payment gateway you prefer then Shopify has support for all the popular gateways including:

  • Amazon Pay
  • Authorize.net
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • SagePay
  • WorldPay

a full list of the UK supported gateway can be seen here: https://www.shopify.co.uk/payment-gateways/united-kingdom

Why don’t you get in contact today to see how we can help you to get your online store up and running on Shopify.

GDPR: What does it mean and how can you comply?

GDPR: What does it mean and how can you comply?

 

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation Law, more commonly known as GDPR, is a newly updated law within the European Union. This law took effect on May 25th 2018 with the intention of giving people control over their personal information and how it is handled by any organisation with access to that data.

Why am I receiving GDPR emails?

Because of this new law, many companies now have to update their privacy policies to comply with GDPR. These companies then have to send out update emails to make sure that their customers are aware of these changes and can opt out of any future if they desire. Not complying with this new law can land the company with a substantial fine of either 4% of the company’s global revenue or €20 Million, whichever is higher! If you are a company owner and are unsure if your site is GDPR compliant or are unsure how to make your website compliant please feel free to Contact Us or call us on 01925 563 960 and we can do it for you!

Does this law apply to me?

In short, more than likely yes. If you are a business owner that collects data of any user that is a resident of the EU then this law applies to you! Even if you are not a business located within the European Union, this law will apply to you as long as European residents have access to your website. Even if you are only a small business with few employees or even self-employed this law still does apply to you, the law may make few exceptions but on a broad scale expects every business, large or small, to comply with it.

What is required to make my website GDPR Compliant?

Whilst I will not cover all the points that the GDPR hits (as there is so many of them) I will cover the general website related issues with a broad stroke. If you would prefer us to do it for you, please feel free to Contact Us or call us on 01925 563 960.

Before collecting any data from an EU user, you must first acquire clear-cut consent that tells the user exactly what they are signing up for, what you are doing with the information that they are supplying you, where that data is being stored and how you are storing it. For example if you plan to be sending them any emails or putting them on a mailing list, they must be made abundantly aware of your intentions.

To make sure that you meet the criterion you must make sure any checkboxes that relate to sharing information are not pre-ticked and that any terms regarding their information must be separated from other terms and conditions. An effective solution to comply with this is by creating a privacy policy page that is separate from your terms and conditions page. The privacy policy page will then cover all the points regarding the user’s information in a neatly presented format. Make sure to link the user to this page so they can see it and read it before accepting!

Even though we can make your website GDPR compliant, we cannot write the privacy policy on your behalf, you will have to write this yourself. Don’t be alarmed though! WordPress, the CMS we primarily use, has now started issuing Privacy Policy templates for each new build we do so all that will be required from you is edit the supplied content to make it personal for you!

In Conclusion

If you are still concerned about your website not being GDPR compliant, please feel free to read the full GDPR document here and Contact Us or call us on 01925 563 960 if you need assistance.