Facebook snubs BlackBerry – what this means for your site

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Facebook snubs BlackBerry – what does this mean for your website?

Facebook snubs BlackBerry – what does this mean for your website?

It’s official. Facebook has announced plans to stop supporting BlackBerry OS 10 by the end of the year, meaning it will no longer support social media apps on the device. As Ars Technica reports, this follows on from a similar move by popular messaging app WhatsApp, which will also end its BlackBerry support by the end of 2016.

This blow to BlackBerry is hardly a surprise. After all, the device once known as the “CrackBerry” has been all but buried by an avalanche of iPhones and Android devices over the past 10 years.

But what does it mean for your website?

Devices change, websites respond

We’ve all had the experience of loading up a website on our smartphone and having to pinch and slide like crazy before we can read the text – perhaps looking up the opening hours of a local Thai restaurant or doctor’s office. And we’ve all hopefully experienced the joy that comes from using a well-built, “responsive” website that can adapt its layout and styling automatically, depending on the device we’re using.

Importantly, responsiveness matters for web browsers too. A responsive website will shift its presentation to meet the needs of Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc, and should also adjust to the size of your browser window.

But the fact that huge companies like Facebook are finally backing away from BlackBerry is a reminder that not all devices are created equal.

When building a new website it’s near impossible to create something that will look perfect across every device and in every browser, from the shiniest iPhone to the version of Explorer still running on that ancient family PC.

Testing matters

All this adds up to one time-consuming but important task: testing. Checking how your site looks on today’s most popular devices and browsers is a key step in the launch phase, along with testing things like contact pages, links and image load times.

That said, it’s also useful to remember that your site won’t necessarily look perfect everywhere. Don’t panic if a small number of users report that it looks a little “strange” on their particular device.

If you do know someone who still owns a BlackBerry, send us a screenshot of how your site looks to them. We’d love to see the results!

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WordPress security 101: Your guide to a secure site

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WordPress security 101: Your guide to a secure site

WordPress security 101: Your guide to a secure site

While WordPress offers a reliable base for your website, the fact is that hackers are always changing their strategies. Here are some of the key things you should be doing to stay one step ahead and make sure your site is protected from cyber attack.

Key plugin: Wordfence

Wordfence is the most downloaded WordPress security plugin for good reason. It does the heavy lifting when it comes to securing your site, continuously monitoring, patrolling and blocking today’s ultra-advanced cyber attacks, hacks and online security threats.

What else can I use to protect my site?

Along with using an intrusion detection and prevention system like Wordfence, these key steps will add additional layers of security:

  • Keep your WordPress core, themes and plugins up to date. This is your most important security step. A product like Wordfence will provide email alerts when a theme, plugin or WordPress core needs updating.
  • Use strong passwords for all user accounts.
  • Choose a reputable hosting provider where websites on shared servers are isolated from each other.
  • Remove any old, unmaintained web applications, along with old backups, from your website.

How do I backup my site?

If you’re unlucky enough to be hacked, backups are one of your most important tools. Having the ability to restore your website to its “pre-hack” state makes it easy to eliminate malicious code and get everything back to normal quickly.

We recommend selecting a hosting provider that automatically backs up your site daily and retains backups for at least 30 days. This 30-day retention is important – in some cases it will take a number of days before you detect that your site has been hacked, making those older backups crucial to be able to return to a clean slate.

We also recommend you keep a secondary backup of your website through a source like iThemes BackupBuddy, which can be set to back up your site automatically.

When in doubt, get advice

Finally, if you’re in ever doubt about whether your WordPress site is 100% secure, don’t leave it to chance. Get the advice you need to make sure your site is always safe.

Contact us if you’d like to know more.

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Why a responsive site is more important than ever

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Why A Responsive Website Is More Important Than Ever

WHY A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

In a major shakeup of Google’s oft sought-after and frequently maligned algorithm. Google will now penalise websites in their rankings for not being mobile friendly. These changes will affect the non responsive websites starting later this month, it is important to note that this will not affect your rankings when a user searches from a desktop. Read more here

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Why we challenged the mobile-first mindset

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Why we challenged the mobile-first mindset

Why we challenged the mobile-first mindset

 

In this mobile-first age it might sound odd that we recently advised one of our best clients not to invest in a mobile-friendly website upgrade. We want to share the reasoning behind this advice – it could be valuable to your company as well.

 

Client first, not mobile first

 

I must admit that our advice to this particular client initially seemed counter-intuitive, even to me. After all, Google now all but requires mobile optimisation to ensure high quality search rankings, not to mention the fact that over 30% of all online traffic now comes from a mobile device.

 

But our decision had to be data driven. To find the best solution for this particular client, the answer had to reflect what their customers were doing – not the behaviour of everyone else’s customers. So we worked closely with them to understand the precise usage profile of their website and customer base, looking at the volume of traffic coming from Google and, more importantly, the volume of traffic coming from mobile devices.

 

The results for this client revealed distinct patterns. Right now, this company isn’t gathering traffic from organic search – its users are much more likely to go direct to the site itself. And less than 3% of these users are heading to the site on a mobile or tablet.

We worked closely with them to understand the precise usage profile of their website and customer base

The future is tailored

All this isn’t to suggest that mobile should be forgotten for this client, or any other client – far from it. But our focus at this stage has to be on current customer behavior, and these customers simply don’t use mobile devices. This will change, of course, but leaving mobile-optimisation on the “incomplete” list for now meant this client could free up funds for important product planning and refinement work.

How we build client-centric strategies

We analyse each client’s website data to create a strategic blueprint to guide them in their decisions. In every case, we work as closely as possible with clients to find ways to target their most valuable leads – and avoid unnecessary spending. This includes:

  • Using metrics to constantly track changes in user behavior.
  • Measuring product performance over time.
  • Fine-tuning mar-comms initiatives in line with our findings.
  • Conducting regular digital fitness checks.

These steps continue to help us and our clients understand how each piece of the puzzle is performing, guiding our ongoing digital response. This is how we make sure we’re providing the right support and working towards outcomes that are much more than the standard digital solutions – in line with clients’ resources and real needs.

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