6 Types of Content Your Website Doesn’t Need

Content is king, marketers say – but not all of it. Indeed, some content can harm your website, slowing its performance, irritating visitors and badly affecting its search engine ranking. The way to deal with this is to check your site regularly and get rid of the damaging material. Here, we’ll explain what to look for.

1. Heavy images

Images are important elements of any website and can have a positive impact on user engagement. However, they are data-heavy and can slow down the loading time, damaging SEO and user-friendliness. While we are not suggesting you delete your images, what we do suggest is following best practice by optimising them for your site.

This means using PNG files of 72 dpi which are much lighter and can be loaded more quickly than larger files. At the same time, use an image optimising plugin that will take existing images and create light versions of the right dimensions for your theme. To speed up your site even more, consider using lazy loading or a content delivery network.

2. Popups

While popups have been proven to help increase conversion rates, they are one of the most annoying features of a website and can lead to user abandonment, especially if you use multiple popups. If you don’t need them, take them down. If you do, ensure you use them minimally and have them appear when the user is leaving the page, not halfway through reading your content. You also need to make sure that closing them is easy and that they don’t appear on every page. Pay particular attention to how your popup works on mobile screens where they can be even more problematic and harder to close than on a desktop. 

Remember, also, that a popup adds an additional script to your website which will affect its performance and impact SEO.

3. Overeager cookie consent popup

Cookie consent is something all websites are required to ask for; however, users end up getting incredibly annoyed at having to click ‘accept’ every time they visit a site. So, while you can’t dispense with the law, you can make acceptance far less of a trauma.

For a start, consider replacing page dominating cookie popups with less obtrusive methods that don’t interrupt the user from reading the content. Secondly, set the cookie consent form to appear at the same frequency as your shortest cookie life. Once you have permission to store cookies on a user’s device, you don’t need to ask for it again unless you start collecting new cookie information or change the length of the cookie, the purpose you use it or the way the information is used, stored or shared. This means, if your shortest cookie life is 30 days, you’ll only need to ask for consent every 30 days.      

4. Broken links

Links are important for both the user experience and SEO. Internal links help users find the content they are looking for more quickly and enable search engine crawlers to discover and index content on your site. Outbound links are considered by search engines to add value to your content and can, therefore, improve your SEO.

While working links are good, broken ones are not. Users get frustrated if they click on a link to a page that doesn’t exist anymore and this can lead to them having a poor impression of your site or even leaving it. That poor experience is noted by search engines when they follow your links and this too can lead to the pages that they appear on being downranked.

You need to check for and amend broken links regularly, especially if you have been deleting pages or changing URLs. The easiest way to do it is to use a link checking plugin that will take care of the legwork for you.

5. Out of date content

Hidden in the metadata of your web pages is the date on which the content was published. While this isn’t visible to your visitors, it is to search engines which use it to understand how up-to-date your content is. As the world changes so quickly around us, search engines look for fresh information, considering it more relevant to a user’s query.

At the same time, the users themselves want the latest information – someone searching for ‘Best clothes shops in Bradford’, for example, would be disappointed if they found a page containing a list of shops of which many had shut down.

For websites, this means regularly going through your content, deleting pages and posts which are completely out of date and updating outdated information on those that still had some relevance. For companies which have product and service pages where there has been no change to what’s on offer, it may seem that there is no need to make changes. However, even making minor tweaks now and then will refresh the content for both users and search engines and update the publication date at the same time.

6. Third-party ads   

A helpful source of income, many sites display adverts, including video ads, from third-parties like Google and Bing or show imaged-led links to content on other websites. While the odd, discretely placed ad does little harm, some sites can go overboard and this can significantly slow down the loading time of the page and become a major obstacle to reader retention. It can have a serious impact on SEO, user engagement and conversion rates. You are most likely to see this overloading of ads on newspaper websites.

Ideally, you should test how the loading time of your website is affected by the ads you show and use analytics to see if they are impacting your ranking, traffic and engagement. If they are, you should remove the worst offenders until you reach a satisfactory balance.    – Read more

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IT Security Checklist for When Remote Workers Return

Following months of remote working, companies everywhere are starting to bring employees back to the office. While this is a positive step forward, it also poses a number of IT security concerns that will need to be tackled to prevent business systems being left vulnerable. Here, we’ll look at what those concerns are and provide a list of security checks that you may need to carry out.

Predatory attacks

Today’s predatory cybercriminals seek out vulnerabilities and weaknesses they can exploit. Just as they have targeted remote workers using security holes in routers, VPNs and remote desktops, as well as through phishing attacks, they will see opportunity in the inevitable security oversights which will happen when workers return to the office. Avoiding this means organisations need to implement a ‘return to the office’ IT policy, which should include a thorough audit of their IT systems and devices, as well as refresher security training for staff.

Vulnerability checklist

While every company will have its own circumstances, here is a range of security issues you might want to consider, together with possible approaches to solving them.

1. Checking on-site systems

On-site servers and network devices left unused in the office may not have had any updates since the lockdown began. Before using them, the IT department should check every device for vulnerabilities, install any patches, update software to the latest versions and update its antivirus so that the newest vulnerabilities can be scanned for and detected.

2. Bringing devices back to the office

Whether employees have been using their own or company devices for remote working, there are obvious risks to reconnecting them to the business network. Just as with the equipment left in the office during the lockdown, vulnerability checks, patching and software and antivirus updates will need to be carried out.

3. Resetting passwords

Password resetting should be a key priority when remote workers bring their devices back to the office. It is possible the device was used by family members during the lockdown, letting children access online lessons, for example, and this may have led to usernames and passwords being shared. At the same time, device and business system login credentials may also have been used when registering with other online services. Updating passwords for devices and applications can quickly solve any potential issues.

4. Transferring locally stored files

It is quite possible that staff may have created new files or downloaded and stored business documents and data on local drives of their devices during the lockdown. On return to the offices, these files should be transferred to more secure locations on the company server where logical control policies keep them protected. Local versions should then be deleted.

5. Delete unauthorised apps

The huge reliance on the internet for entertainment, education, communication and shopping during the lockdown means that some staff using business owned devices for remote working may have installed software not authorised by the company. These applications might have vulnerabilities or data privacy concerns and should be deleted before reconnection.

6. Review spam filters

The increase in phishing attacks aimed specifically at remote workers during the lockdown remains a major threat and IT staff should check that email filters are operating as required to prevent these kinds of emails getting through. The use of email certificates that digitally verify and encrypt company emails should also be considered.

7. Review logical access controls

The urgent need to enable remote working may have led companies to relax some of their access control permissions during lockdown to facilitate a smoother running of operations. While returning to the workplace doesn’t necessarily mean these extended permissions should automatically be reversed, they should be reviewed. – Read more

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Essential Content Types for Online Sales

My Post (16).pngGreat content is essential if you want to sell goods and services online. It’s what informs, advises, and persuades your visitors that buying from you is the right decision. Google, meanwhile, hails high-quality content as its most important ranking factor, enabling content-rich sites to increase their traffic. Content, however, comes in different forms and here, we’ll look at the different types needed for selling online.

1. Product descriptions

The most basic and yet fundamental form of content is the product description. This is the copy on a product page that gives vital information about the product and which also helps to persuade the customer to buy.

On a website, product descriptions, images and customer reviews are the only things a visitor has to help them make a purchasing decision and the description, therefore, needs to provide all the information a customer could find out if buying from a shop. This includes the products’ features, specifications (dimensions, weight, colour, etc.) possible uses and benefits.

2. Category descriptions

One step up from the product page is the category page. Many eCommerce sites simply fill these with product images and short descriptions. Others make greater use of content to give general information about the products found in the category. The importance of this is that such content is likely to be keyword-rich and this can benefit the page from an SEO perspective, helping it to rank on search engines.

3. Tools

Most people don’t consider website tools as a form of content but they can be incredibly useful. On eCommerce sites, perhaps the most advantageous tools are product search boxes and filters. Rather than visitors having to browse page after page of products, they can simply type in what they are looking for and then filter the results, e.g., by colour, size, customer rating, etc. Product comparison tools are also quite common.

You’ll find tools on other types of website, too. For example, garages have tools that let customers type in their registration number to find out the exact tyres they need and supermarkets provide tools for customers to book home delivery slots. They are all there to make the experience of buying easier and more convenient and, in doing so make themselves highly valuable.

4. FAQs

Customers often ask the same questions about the products and services that a company sells. If the answer isn’t in the description and they are unable to find it on your site, they can be discouraged from buying. One increasingly common type of content that provides a solution for this is the FAQ section. Simply make a list of the most regularly asked questions, answer them and put them in the most appropriate place on your website. You can always link to it from other pages if needed.

5. Customer reviews and ratings

Reviews and ratings, whether about individual products or about the company itself, have become an essential element of the business website. Customers want social proof that the things you say are true and will look for independent verification from your previous customers.

6. Self-help

User forums and knowledgebases are found on many sites where customers need ongoing support about the products and services they have purchased. Found on countless sites, they provide expert guidance and community help with a wide range of needs and even enable customers to ask advice about specific issues. Websites use them as they help develop long-term relationships with customers. What’s more, they are often full of important keywords and can be searched online, enabling new visitors to find your website.

7. Blog posts

Blogs are one of the most valuable types of website content. They enable the company to attract new visitors by providing information and advice that helps people solve problems. In doing so, companies can recommend their products and services as part of the solution and increase overall sales.

What’s more, a blog positions the company as an expert in its field, improving its reputation which helps generate even more sales as well as creating loyalty among its customer base. Furthermore, as blog posts are indexed and searchable on search engines, they help attract more new visitors. – Read more

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