Archive for month: February, 2017

The Importance of SSL Certificates for Your Website

28 Feb
28th February 2017

If you’re considering obtaining an SSL certificate for your website but aren’t entirely sure what it is or what the benefits are, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post we’re going to cover basics of what SSL certificates are and why you might need one.

SSL, or secure sockets layer, is a method of securely handling sensitive data such as credit card numbers, customer name and address etc. whilst this data is being transferred from a customer’s web browser and a company’s server. Possessing an SSL certificate reassures customers that information they send to your server is encrypted and also helps ensure that your site is less vulnerable to things like hackers and phishing scams.

If you are in the business of e-commerce and are taking direct payments from customers via your website, the necessity of an SSL certificate will be obvious. But even if you aren’t specifically involved in e-commerce, there may be some advantages of going ahead and purchasing an SSL certificate for your site. For example if your website uses a log-in feature or has a contact form, the data sent through these can also be encrypted via SSL for enhanced safety and security.

Another cool thing about SSL certificates is that they can actually give you an SEO ranking boost. This means that your website will be more visible in Google searches, as Google has indicated a preference for sites which are SSL secured. This was observed as far back as 2014, but whilst the initial ranking boost was somewhat negligible, now in 2017 the SEO impact of an SSL certificate is much greater. On the flip side, not only is SSL beneficial SEO-wise, but it’s also understood that not possessing an SSL certificate can actively hamper your search rankings.

Now we’re going to take a quick look at the three types of SSL certificate to try to help you determine which one is right for you. These are domain-validated, organisation-validated, and EV or extended validation certificate. Let’s take a closer look at each one in turn.

A domain-validated SSL certificate is the most basic of the three and is typically recommended for use on internal systems only. It’s also known as a low assurance certificate.

The next step up is an organisation-validated certificate which requires specific documentation from your business to prove your identity. This kind of SSL certificate is also referred to as a high assurance certificate.

If run an e-commerce website, an EV certificate is what you will want to procure. It’s the most rigorous of the three in terms of security and, as a result, can take a little bit longer to set up. It’s definitely worth it though. You can tell when you are on a site with an extended validation certificate as you will see the green padlock icon beside the https in your browser bar, indicating that the site is secure for online transactions.

So that covers our basic guide to SSL certificates. If there’s anything you think we may have left out or there’s anything you’re not entirely clear, we’d love to hear from you – either get in touch with us or leave us a comment below.

What is Content Marketing and How Can it Benefit a Small Business?

24 Feb
24th February 2017

If you keep one eye on current eCommerce and digital marketing trends, you may have noticed this term “content marketing” being bandied about a lot recently. But what is content marketing? What exactly does it mean and what are its implications for your business?

If you research the term “content marketing” online, you may be led to think that it’s some scientific, inaccessible, mysterious art form known only to the digital marketing and SEO elite. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to sign up to some exclusive webinar or download some gimmicky e-book to learn about the basics of content marketing and how it can benefit your online presence.

Essentially, content marketing involves sharing content online that “does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” You’ll have probably had the experience of scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed and encountering a video post which shows a tasty looking recipe with instructions on how to make it. This immediately engages your attention, before you even realise it has been posted by a major supermarket who obviously have a vested interest in sharing such content – “follow this link to shop ingredients” etc.

The theory behind content marketing is that your customers are far more likely to engage with content that is less spammy and explicitly sales-oriented. You’ll get more shares, more comments, more likes and, thus, more exposure. If you are looking for a simple and cost-effective way to get your name out there, content marketing is the perfect solution. All that is required is a dash of creativity, inspiration and innovation.

The holy grail for any content marketer is, of course, to “go viral.” But creating content designed to go viral is kind of like making up your mind that you are going to win the lottery. These kinds of things can’t really be forced. When something goes viral, it’s usually the result of a proverbial “perfect storm” with a lot of good luck involved. Endeavouring to draw attention to your brand by filming your dog doing something cute or filming an “hilarious” prank on your flatmate may come across as a bit desperate to the modern digital marketing savvy consumer. It’s a good idea to bear in mind the tone and message you are conveying with the content you share online and it’s important to have a consistent voice.

Google places emphasis on content which it perceives as having value. Therefore if you are creating a video, infographic or blog article which is replete with useful information, not only will it be more likely to reach a wider audience and help with your brand exposure, it will also have the added benefit of effecting a positive SEO impact. Examples of this include how-to articles, explainer videos, and infographics which relate to your industry. Remember, the goal here is to generate interest with engaging content – content for content’s sake, if you will. From there, brand exposure, leads, and sales will come. We said that content marketing shouldn’t be explicitly sales-oriented, but that’s not to say you can’t include a link to a relevant landing page, as long as it’s appropriate and does not dilute your message.

So let’s also compare to traditional advertising, when asking “what is content marketing”. If you think about it, content marketing isn’t all that different from traditional advertising. Consider the famous Cadbury’s advert with the drumming gorilla from a few years back. That advert wasn’t explicitly trying to persuade people to buy chocolate and it got all the more attention and interest because of this. Modern content marketing levels the playing field slightly – you don’t necessarily need a huge budget and professional marketing team to compete with the big guys anymore. The disadvantage of this levelled playing field is that there are a lot more voices now competing for your customers’ attention. As a result, only the most interesting and captivating content will rise to the top. Take a moment to ask yourself what this could be and how your business could achieve it. It’s kind of cliched, but terms such as thinking outside of the box and brainstorming can actually come in handy here. It’s advisable to devote a bit of time to bouncing ideas around before you start sharing content. Once you begin content marketing, the next step is to begin measuring engagement. But the slightly more advanced world of analytics and metrics is something we will cover in a future blog post. For now, it’s time to set forth and think about how you will capture your audience’s attention, good luck!

Featured image courtesy of DigitalRalph.

Belhaven Smokehouse: Shopping Smoked Produce Online

23 Feb
23rd February 2017

In this post we thought we’d examine some of the advantages of buying smoked produce online. One retailer who have recently transitioned to selling their produce online is Belhaven Smokehouse.

Online shopping has become ubiquitous in recent years and is increasingly becoming used as a means of ordering more and more specialised and niche products. Combine this with the increasing popularity of locally sourced, fresh, organic ingredients and produce and the result is that we are increasingly seeing specialist shops move from having a presence on the high street to having a shop online.

Belhaven Smokehouse are proud to offer a wide selection of the finest smoked produce with everything from smoked fish and smoked cheeses to a wide arrange of complementary accompaniments such as dressings, oils, condiments, oatcakes, biscuits and drinks. They’ve carefully sourced our product range to ensure we provide only the finest quality smoked produce at affordable prices. If you’re looking to stock up your freezer, you will be pleased to learn that every order over the value of £65 qualifies for free mainland UK delivery.

They pride themselves on their varied assortment of smoked produce products which includes fish such as salmon, trout and white fish. They supply both hot and cold smoked salmon, perfect for those seeking some culinary inspiration. Smoked fish can be used as an ingredient in a wide selection of mouthwatering dishes or can be enjoyed on its own as a main course in its own right, perhaps served up with some Mediterranean veg on the side.

As well as fish, they’re also renowned for their selection of delectable smoked cheeses such as cheddar and our popular Dunlop which they cold smoke in their own smokehouse. Whether you are seeking ingredients for a dish or simply something special to lay out on a cheeseboard when having guests over for dinner, their range of smoked cheeses will definitely not disappoint.

They’ve designed their online store to be as easy as possible to navigate and they hope you’ll agree! You can shop by brand or category and if you have any queries at all regarding any of their products, their UK based customer support team will be delighted to help you out. As well as being lightning fast, their checkout process is 100% safe and secure for your peace of mind.

They’re passionate about smoked produce and they are thrilled with the possibility of sharing that passion and enthusiasm with their customers. Having their very own online smokehouse affords them the chance to inspire you to do greater things in your kitchen, using the finest locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

At Belhaven Smokehouse they welcome customer feedback so if you have any comments or suggestions at all, do not hesitate for a second to contact them either by email or on 01368 864 025 if you prefer to have a chat. That’s all for now, be sure to stay tuned for updates, news, recipe suggestions and much more in the near future!