Tag: Web Design

5 important tips to improve Website Security

As the internet becomes ever increasing popular, to nobody’s surprise, so is the amount of private information that is shared over it and with this, the number of hackers and people trying to steal this sensitive information.

Even with the new GDPR law implementation in May, many websites are still insecure and the information is still prone to be stolen and misused. Stealing information is unfortunately very common in this day and age with big corporations such as the NHS and TalkTalk being hacked and security breaches always showing up on the news.

This guide is to help you increase your website security and prevent hackers from gaining access to your website, downloading malware and stealing information.

 

How to protect your website

There are various website security procedures you can follow to help protect yourself from hackers. With many layers of website security, it usually means even if the hacker would manage to penetrate one of the defences there will be many more that will stop them in their tracks. Here are just a few ways you can improve your website security and protect your business:

 

Secure Servers

Some companies are in belief that it is a good idea to self-host their own websites as it is a cost-effective solution and all of the website data is kept in-house. We are inclined to believe that this is not such a great idea, as these servers tend to be insecure and therefore a potential website security breach. We recommend hosting your website on a secure server that many companies, including ourselves, can provide. To read more into the different types of hosting available click here.

 

Strong Passwords

This may not come as a surprise to a lot of people but we cannot stress it enough the importance of strong passwords. A strong password is just not the combination of characters to make a secure chain it is also making sure it is memorable and known by as few people as possible. Your password can be the as complex as you want it to be but it means nothing if you cannot remember it. Complex passwords tend to end up being written down and placed in an easily accessible location; this, of course, does not really improve security when the details are out in the open for anyone to find and use.

 

Updated Software

Software is constantly being improved upon and updated to the extent of when you open the program and there is an update available you get mildly annoyed. Although once you update the software and seems that nothing has changed, the odds are something has and that something has to do with an improvement in website security to prevent any breaches. The reason software is so regularly updated is because as soon as a security flaw is located hackers will try to capitalise on the situation and will attempt to breach the software to get into your website.

 

Using HTTPS

You probably recognise these letters from May 2018 when the new GDPR laws were rolled out throughout Europe, you can read more about GDPR here. If you missed the whole GDPR situation then you will still definitely recognise it from many website URLs, such as ours. Using HTTPS does more than just put a quaint little lock icon next to your website name, it also ensures that the content your website is sending is secured and cannot be tampered with or viewed by any unintended people whilst it is being sent across cyberspace.

If you are unsure on how to secure your website or want to make sure your website is on a secure server then contact us or call us on 01925 563 960 and we will move you to our servers and install a FREE SSL certificate.

 

Security plugins

We are big fans of WordPress here at Mosaic and with WordPress comes the vast selection of plugins available, with those comes the security plugins. There is a huge variety of different security plugins available to install such as WPMU’s Defender and Wordfence. These plugins are amazing at locating and locking down any security flaws it detects throughout your website and comes with the added feature of being able to scan your site files to detect any potentially hacked files that may have already snuck their way through your website security and breached some files.

If you’re fearful of the potential of your website being hacked and would like assistance in setting up website security and protecting you and your client’s information why not give us a call on 01925 563 960 or Contact Us to discuss how we can help you.

What is a Branding Kit?

In today’s day and age, image and how we are perceived is becoming the forefront for most people. With the introduction and increasing growth of social media platforms such as Instagram and SnapChat, the world is becoming more and more focused on appearance. Even though in the past what we wore, ate, drank or did was important to friends and family, with these powerhouses of social media becoming an everyday need to use. Instagram is all about showing people a sneak peek into your everyday life and many people are becoming in there own right a brand.

Before we delve deeper into the understanding of what a brand identity and what a branding kit is, we need to first understand what branding is.

 

What Is Branding?

Branding is something that is memorable to the person looking to buy a particular product. If you were to buy a mobile phone most people would say buy an Apple iPhone or a Samsung device. If you were to buy trainers, Adidas or Nike would sure be at the top of your list. Brand awareness and exposure are critical to a business’s success. For you as a business being able to see the general public identify your business against a product or service shows the great success of this.

 

This is why branding is first and foremost important but also gives identity to your business.

With any small business, their image is important to improve your revenue and for people to remember your business. A catchy name and a Yellow Pages advert used to be all a business needed to get leads or work flowing in but this kind of marketing does not work as well anymore. Consumers are looking for professionalism on all fronts to invest their money and time into a product or service.

 

Below are seven different steps you can take to improve your brand identity and utilise a branding kit.

 

Brand Identity

Even though the idea of building a branding kit is to coincide with the overall brand identity, you first of all need to look at what you want your brand’s image to be.

 

Who are our businesses target audience

Helps identify how your brand’s image is perceived. If you a young App development agency you would be appealing to a younger demographic whereas a catering company for the elderly will need to cater to this target audience. It is important to find this as your brands use of language across emails, website, letters, leaflets, vans, etc will need to reflect this narrative and audience selection.

 

Consistency is king

Most businesses start off with good intentions and develop a branding kit which will allow them to build different marketing strategies but over time due to many different factors, the branding toolkit can forget about. By misusing the branding kit or using the incorrect logos, colour or fonts you could come across to your client as sloppy and unprofessional.

By keeping the consistency optimal your brands image across all different mediums such as your website and social media platforms will come across well to potential prospects and turn them into clients.

 

Keep it simple

This has to one of my golden rules for brand kits and business identities. If you take some of the biggest brands such as Apple, their whole is based on simplicity. Lots of small to large companies invest lots of man-hours and cost to create brands that are overcomplicated and fussy causing them to miss the mark with potential clients. If you keep your brand message, look and persona clean and simple this will portray your brand’s identity well across all of your branding toolkits.

 

Develop a branding strategy

Lots of businesses jump at the chance to improve their image by throwing themselves directly into a rebrand or chance their branding kit without a second thought. This can prove to a be a costly mistake as with anything you need to prepare and plan your strategy for a branding toolkit.

 

Research different media and brands

You may feel that looking up your businesses competitor is like cheating but all research is important. By investing time in looking at what your competitor is doing is a worthy step to better your branding success going forward.

Other avenues to take in developing a successful branding kit is to make sure you look at different media outlets such blogs to ensure your branding is bang on trend rather than several years too late and instantly looking outdated to your potential prospective clients.

 

Brands Always evolve

If you feel like a business you have navigated your way through the whole branding maze successfully and have a brand toolkit that demonstrates your business in a nutshell, this is great news. However, this is something that needs to evolve as time passes. Brands in today’s market cannot remain static as the image of your brand can be seen as ‘stale’ as more time passes. If you take Nike there marketing and branding are always evolving and taking a new direction and keeping up to date with current trends. As a small business owner, you will need to make sure your brand and branding kits also do the same.

 

Invest In a Digital Agency With Graphic Designer

My final point to wrap this up is if you are unsure on anything always invest in a digital agency such as Mosaic Digital Media Ltd as we have some of the top talents in the NorthWest who can help your business develop a branding kit to shout about.

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.