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Category "IT"

Internet Cookies: What are they and why do websites use them?

IT, Web Design, , , , , ,

Internet Cookies: What are they and why do websites use them?

If you browse the internet or work on a computer, it’s likely that most days you come across ‘cookies’. Not the edible kind that may appear on your desk, the ones that pop up when you first enter a website. When cookies were first introduced, there was a lot of skepticism around them with the popular belief they were intrusive spying mechanisms tracking every move you make on your computer. In reality, they are a harmless device that makes browsing easier.

Contrary to popular belief they are not big scary programs eating all your data. They don’t actually do much at all. Cookies are simply ‘text files’ which you can actually read using the ‘Notebook’ program on your PC. They contain simple data usually just the site name and a unique user ID. That’s it.

cookie, website

How do they work?

When visiting a site for the first time that uses cookies you may notice a pop up notice about cookies. Firstly when you visit the site, a cookie is downloaded onto your computer. You may notice that if you visit that site again, the cookie pop up doesn’t appear. This is because the cookie contains relevant information linking to the site, so when your PC checks to see if it has the cookie already, it sends the information back to the site. The site in turn, then ‘know’ you’ve visited before and in most cases, tailors your experience. For example, the site may vary the content you see based on how many times you’ve visited the site. Simple right?

The Good

Some cookies are more advanced. For example, they may record how long you visited the site, links you’ve clicked on and even preferences for layouts and colours. Some also store data on what you may have put into your shopping cart to tailor what you see, making your experience easier. The general role of a cookie is beneficial with the sole purpose of making your interaction with frequently visited websites, smoother. And to no extra effort on your part, what’s the issue?

The Bad

The only issue with cookies is how you feel about organisations and the government storing information about you. There’s nothing secret about the information gathered using cookies, but you may not be comfortable with the idea of your name being added to marketing lists or you being targeted for special offered or tailored online shopping experiences. You have the right to decline if you wish, but if it’s only benefiting your time spent online, let them be.

 

What the law says

The majority of modern websites use cookies and it’s likely you’ve never paid much attention to them running in the background as you browse, which is perfectly fine. As of May 2012, and EU law now requires all sites that use cookies to seek your permission to use cookies and store your data. When a cookie pop-up appears, in most cases you can simply click to say you understand the cookie policy, or ignore it if you choose to.

In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) closely monitors sites to make sure that they comply with this legislation, so there will be no avoiding the regulations. If you wish to make changes to the way cookies are used on your PC, you can. Click on the ‘tools’ menu of your internet browser but there’s no real reason to block cookies as your privacy and data are protected.

Why are they called cookies?

Unfortunately, internet cookies don’t take there name due to their delicious chocolatey tasting nature. The real reason they are called cookies is actually unknown. There are a few theories as to why:

– Hansel and Gretel theory: If you’re familiar with the children’s story you’ll know Hansel and Gretel used cookie crumbs to mark their tracks through the forest so they knew where they had been. This story mirrors the way internet cookies are used to track your activity online

-Magic Ticket Cookie theory: This is another story that refers to programmers years ago, used the name magic cookie to refer to a short piece of data that passed between programs. The contents couldn’t be seen and usually not accessed until the program has passed the file back to the sender. So the file is used like a ticket to identify a particular transaction or information. Similar to the cookies we know today.

cookies, website

-Cookie Monster theory: Another story suggests that when a clever programmer left his company, weird things started to happen with the computers. Every now and again the computer system would stop and the screen displayed a message saying: “Gimme a cookie”. The system wouldn’t return to normal until the person operating the computer would enter the word ‘cookie’ into the system. The root cause couldn’t be changed unless a complete rewrite was done, so it was decided to leave the code where it was. And thus, computer cookies where born.

Whatever the real reason is for cookie, they’re no more harmful than the ones sat in your tummy!

References : www.bbc.co.uk   www.cookiecontroller.com


DATE: Oct 24, 2018
AUTHOR: admin

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

IT, Tips & Advice

Why Is Digital Marketing Important for your business?

It’s easy to see the number of mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices around you. Most likely you are reading this on a laptop or mobile. The way we consume and share information these days is mostly through our computers and mobiles, so it’s easy to see that being online and connecting has transformed our daily lives and put everything we need on one tiny device in our pockets. This is one of the reasons digital marketing has changed the way businesses can promote and advertise their businesses and services.

Measurability

Websites are arguably the single most important marketing tool a business can use acting as an online storefront for your business. But compared to physical visits from customers to your ‘store’, it can be hard to know how much consumer traffic your business has or how to track your progress. With digital marketing, you can monitor changes in sales, customer traffic, site visits, etc. or more importantly how they got to your website. Through social media/email campaigns? Natural search and SEO? Recommendations from friends? This can all be tracked through digital marketing as well as developing campaigns to improve your marketing and giving you real information on whether you’re reaching the right people.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

Affordability

Compared to traditional marketing and advertising racking up expensive bills for advertising slots and printing, etc., digital marketing has allowed small-medium sized business to be put on a level playing field with big corporations regarding affordability. Using social media platforms and email marketing, for example, can boost consumer traffic and increase sales for a fraction of the cost that printing leaflets and posters would cost.  At the same time, you get a much wider audience that potentially spans the entire world, and less paper and materials get wasted. Similarly, online banner adverts on websites generally cost less than adverts placed in more traditional methods like daily newspapers or magazines. With the data that is generated by these online advertising techniques you also get feedback on how your marketing.

Why Is Digital Marketing Important?

Speed

Marketing online reaches your audience much quicker than traditional marketing. Instead of spending time and money on printing and distribution you can reach double the audience you would, in a fraction of the time in just one click. Digital marketing allows companies to be efficient and agile. Writing a twitter or facebook post takes a few minutes, but designing, printing and distributing leaflets can take weeks. An e-mail marketing campaign can be written and controlled when it gets sent out, and you can monitor who has opened it, whereas an advert can take a week to place in a newspaper and you never know how many people have seen it.

Engagement

The world now revolves around being online. So moving your business online and utilising digital marketing can bring a dynamic edge to how you advertise yourself. Digital marketing is so popular and important is because it’s so convenient for everyone to use. You can converse and connect with customers in just a few clicks and interact with a broader audience than ever before which allows you to do more than sell; you can sell smart while leaving a standing impression on customers. Market research and monitoring your campaigns can better inform you for future promotion and help you to reach the right audience for your business. Being online allows you to synergise with other professionals and businesses to help improve and build on your campaigns or for feedback and assistance. Engage with your consumers by holding competitions and PR events, writing blogs and other marketing activities.

Overall, marketing opens up your business opportunities and allows you to improve continually online. It gives smaller business the chance to thrive in a world full of conglomerates and is indispensable as a business tool.


DATE: Oct 11, 2018
AUTHOR: admin

5 Tips for a More Secure WordPress Website

IT, Web Design

It is important that when you create a website through WordPress, that you protect it. This is how:

1. Train Users in Best Practices

What users really need to know are the basics of being secure online. This means:

  • Using complex passwords that are hard to crack.
  • Provide back-end access to only those who need it.
  • Keep core software, plugins and themes up-to-date (if it’s their responsibility to do so).
  • Don’t install plugins without weighing need against risk
  • Better yet, leave plugins decisions to professionals

2. Choose Plugins Carefully and Stay Vigilant

Plugins can become outdated or abandoned as authors no longer have the time or interest in maintaining them. We’ve also seen where plugins have been unwittingly sold to those with malicious intent.

To help combat these possibilities, it’s worthwhile to stay on top of things. That means knowing which plugins you’re using, staying informed on new versions and generally paying attention to WordPress-related news.

Finally, take some time to routinely audit the sites you maintain. One easy way to reduce risk is to simply delete any plugins that aren’t active or no longer needed. This in itself will help cut down on potential problems.

3. Utilize SSL

It used to be that SSL was only for ecommerce sites or those that handled sensitive information. These days, it’s become the standard. Recently, both browsers and search engines have thought it’s important enough to warn users about sites that still run over http. SSL and educate clients as to why it should no longer be considered optional.

 

4. Employ a Helping Hand

Security plugins such as Word fence or iThemes Security are great options, as they look for suspicious code and behaviour.

For example, these types of plugins can limit failed login attempts, prevent malicious code from being executed and alert you when you have outdated software. Premium versions add goodies like country-blocking and two-factor authentication.

The value of these plugins is that they handle common threats by both bots and humans. They won’t make your site 100% bulletproof, but they offer an extra layer of protection. More important is that they can provide you with actionable information that can lead to a safer site.

5. Turn Off Unneeded Functionality

A fresh install of WordPress comes with a lot of built-in functionality. But there’s a good chance that you won’t be utilizing every single feature. Therefore, it makes no sense to leave them turned on.

Comments would have to be the biggest culprit here. Not all sites need to have them enabled and those that do should be using some heavy spam protection. If the site you’re building doesn’t need this feature, use the Discussion settings within WordPress to disable it.


DATE: Sep 18, 2018
AUTHOR: admin

Top 5 WordPress Plug-ins For Non-Profit Organisations

IT, Web Design

Plugins are an easy way of adding functionality  and customization to your website. For a non-profit organizations, here are a few example of ways your website can make money through using plugins. Making it easy for people to donate

1. Give

Give is a popular freemium WordPress plugin. Install Give for free and then purchase optional add-ons to extend your site’s functionality as needed. This plugin allows you to add powerful donation acceptance forms to any page of your site, in any sidebar, or as a stand alone page. Customizations to the style of donations forms can be easily made, enabling them to match the look and feel of your site. And donations are made on-site, so you don’t lose your donors to another site with no guarantee of their return.

Premium add-ons include enabling recurring payments, claiming UK gift aid, and accessing a variety of payment gateways like Stripe, Authorize.net and more. As you can see, Give is a superior WordPress plugin that caters for all non-profit donation needs.

2. Paypal Donations

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to add a donation button to your website, then Paypal Donations is a great solution for you. This free WordPress plugin enables you to add a donation button to any page, post or sidebar on your website using a simple pre-generated shortcode or widget.

To get started, choose from a selection of attractive buttons, or create your own to best match your site’s branding. Then setup your Paypal ID to begin to take donations. There is also the option of modifying a number of settings, including currency, custom payment page style and the return page. Paypal Donations is useful tool, and its ease of use can’t be faulted.

3. Charitable

Another impressive freemium WordPress plugin, Charitable allows you to create unlimited fundraising campaigns. This solution charges no transaction fees on donations received. Instead, it makes its money through the sale of its premium extensions.

Seamlessly integrating with WordPress, the core Charitable plugin is free to install and use. It allows you to add customizable donation forms to your website, take donations via Paypal and offline, and send automated campaign and donation related emails. Premium extensions offer a number of additional payment gateways, including Stripe and PayFast. You can also purchase extensions to enable crowdfunding, peer-to-peer funding, anonymous donations, and much more.

4. Seamless Donations

Easily earning a place in the ‘Top WordPress Donation Plugins’ list is Seamless donations. This free WordPress solution has an extremely fast set up process, so your non-profit website will be ready to start accepting donations within five minutes of installing the plugin.

Integrating with Paypal to take donations, Seamless Donations provides support for over 20 currencies. Your audience can select whether to make a one-off or recurring donation. And custom thank you emails can be sent once a donation has been made. Premium add-ons are also available to extend functionality and help you get the most out of your fundraising efforts.

5. WooCommerce Name Your Price

If your non-profit website includes an online Woocommerce shop then the premium WooCommerce extension Name Your Price is a must. This plugin allows customers to choose how much they want to pay, or ‘donate’, for each product they purchase. You can pick a minimal amount that your charity is willing to accept, suggest an amount, or leave it entirely for your customers to decide.

If you sell subscriptions on your non-profit site, then Name Your Price can integrate with the Woocommerce subscription  extension. These plugins combined can enable your customers to choose when and how much to donate for each subscription. Both these options are great for encouraging your customers to add a little extra each time they make a purchase from your charity.


DATE: Sep 18, 2018
AUTHOR: admin