Category "Web Design"

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

Tips For Building A Better Website

Tips & Advice, Web Design, , , ,

Tips For Building A Better Website


Is your website in need of a refresh? Not bringing in the customers you need? Or just looking on how to improve? Here are some things you can do to improve your website.

Looking for a brand new website? Contact us today.

1. Keep it simple.  The first thing potential customers notice when they visit your website is the design and homepage. Make sure your website isn’t too cluttered or full of clashing colours. Your homepage should be visually pleasing and should answer questions that customers have, such as, who are you, what your business does and what they can find on your website. Consider how you would want a website to look if you were a visitor, what would you want to see and more importantly what would you need to see to make it informative for the customers. Too much text, lots of images and colour can be confusing and take the attention away from the information. Stick to a colour theme, use some images and videos and don’t go crazy on the keyboard, use clever language to make the reader want to learn more.

simple design, website

2. Responsiveness. Websites aren’t just visited on desktops and PCs, avoid designing pages specifically for a large monitor sizes, or including complex features on some pages that make not be compatible with some devices. Keep it simple and clean so your site is optimal for any device a visitor might be using. Unsure on how to make your website mobile-friendly? Consult a web designer for more information as being able to view websites online properly is so important in this digital age.

3. Showcase your products and services.  Your homepage should include what products or services your business offers. This gives the customer an idea of what they can get from you straight away. Including professional stock images and even videos can help make your business look the part. Any images whether they are graphic banners, stock photos or product images, they all need to be high resolution, there’s nothing worse than a blurry image. Text should be concise, explain your product/service simply with keywords to make you stand out and make the best first impression possible. You could have the best website design in the world, but if you have nonsense text paired with blurry images and graphics and images, people with click off your website straight away.

products, services, website

4. Loading time. People are impatient when it comes to tech. So it’s likely that if your website takes more than ten seconds to load, visitors will have clicked off before it’s even had a chance to load up. It can be the difference between a sale or not. Make sure your website hosting is up to date and constantly update your site to improve performance including loading time, site speed, formatting, etc.

5. Accessibility. It’s important to adapt your website for different people with different needs, such as small text for people with poorer vision, colour blindness is something to address too. As well, people in some areas need language options or have poor internet. So go to the lengths of developing your site for different people, and it won’t go unnoticed.

6. User Experience.  When people visit your site, they’re usually looking for specific information. So keeping your site clean and organised and can helo improve user experience when their questions are answered with ease, and in turn, create success for your business.

content, wesbite

7. Content is critical. If your site have poor content, it can drive customers away. Using complex language, repetition or including unrelated topics to increase word count, you’re going about it the wrong way. It’s much more efficient to have less, relevant and quality text than paragraphs of nonsense and words the average person won’t understand. Be sure to keep your content fresh to show you’re up to date and relevant, it’s easy to let the fast-paced digital world go by. Include critical information such as the services you offer, contact info, business hours, a little about you and social feeds as a start.

8. SEO and SEM. SEO and SEM are highly specialized fields and require a substantial time investment to learn. But SEO and/or SEM campaigns can allow your company to grow to the next level and be as successful as possible. It is not something to ignore because it’s complicated and difficult, it is critical to succeeding online. You can easily hire a professional to assist you with this rather than spending time you don’t have trying to learn it yourself.

Following these tips will ensure to improve your website. For more information on creating a website, web maintenance/improvement or anything else tech related then get in touch with The Future Cloud today.

references: https://www.americanexpress.com

DATE: Oct 17, 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

7 Web Design Questions Companies Should Ask Clients

Web Design

If you’re looking for the right developer for your website, ensure you’re asked these questions to ensure the best end product for your business and good communication with your web designer.

1. What does your business do?

To create the best website for your business, a web design company needs to fully understand your business. They can’t produce a website that works for you if they don’t know much about your company. It is important that your web design company takes time to get to know your business. They should ask about the history of your business, the products or services you offer, your employees, competitors, and more. All these questions should help them get a better understanding of your business, how you operate, and your company values.

2. Do you have a website?

It may seem like a silly question, but your web design company should ask you if you already have a website built. This is an important part of the process for two reasons. The first reason is that your web design company needs to know how much work they need to put into your site. If you don’t have a website, they’ll need to put in more effort to build one for you. For businesses with established sites, they know that they have an existing structure they can modify.

3. What is your site’s goal?

Your web design company should ask you what you want to achieve with your website. It is important that you know what you want to achieve with your site, too. You shouldn’t just build a site “just because. “There are numerous goals you can focus on with your website. You can aim to earn more leads and revenue, increase brand awareness, capture emails or social followers.

4. Who is your target audience?

Your target audience plays an important role in how you shape all aspects of your campaign. You want to appeal to them and get them interested in your business. Your website’s design is no different. To design a website that drives results, you need to know who is in your target audience. The right web design company will ask you about your target audience so they can build a site that works better for your audience. Your audience’s behaviour will impact


how you structure your site. When you work with a web design company, you want to make sure that they inquire about your target audience. They should ask you about your ideal customer to get an idea of how to appeal to that type of customer.


5. How is your company unique?


Each company across the country has something unique to offer their customers. There is something that sets them aside from the competition. It may be something small, but there are things that make your business unique compared to your competition. A web design company should ask you how your company is unique. This is an important selling factor that they’ll want to incorporate into or emphasize in the design.

6. Who are your competitors?

Your web design company should always ask you about your competitors. You want to create a website that will help you stand out from the competition. It is important that your web design company knows about your competitors so they can create a website that makes you unique from your competitors. You’ll need to think of a short list of competitors that directly impact your business. You can give this list to your web design company so they can check out their sites.

7. What features do you want on your site?

When a web design company builds your site, they should be asking about the features you want included on your site. It is important that you incorporate features that will help you achieve your campaign goals. You’ll need to think about how you want your site to look. There are numerous features you can add to engage your audience and keep them interested in your site.

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