Over the last 12 months, you have probably heard the phrase “GDPR” being discussed with increasing frequency. However, you may still be left with little idea of what it is and how it affects you. To ensure your website is ready for the GDPR when it comes into force on 25 May this year, here is all you need to know.
What is GDPR?
The General Data Protection Regulation (or “GDPR” for short) is an EU privacy law that takes effect in all EU and EEA members states (including the UK) on 25th May 2018. It is an EU regulation that is designed to replace the current miss-match of different laws and regulations that all EU member states currently have in place.
The importance of GDPR compliance
Though it is coming in via EU law, do not think that GDPR will be gone once Brexit occurs. In fact, it is expected that, if anything, GDPR will get more strict once Britain leaves the EU, and the UK is planning on implementing the GDPR into UK law via a new Data Protection Act. For this reason, it is important that you take it seriously, as it is here to stay. Also, there are strict penalties that apply to any business that fails to comply with these new regulations.
For example, failing to comply with the GDPR could see you receiving a fine of up to 4% of your company’s global turnover Or €20 million, whichever is higher. The body that is responsible for monitoring data compliance, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), is also having its powers extended and increased. This includes the ability to investigate any company they think may not be complying with the law, and impose harsh fines and restrictions on how you operate.
What can you, as a website owner, do to prepare?
Here are the key steps you will need to take in order to ensure that your website, once of the most public parts of your business, complies with this new law.
1. Before storing or using any customer data, make sure you have a legal basis to process personal data, such as consent, legitimate interest, necessity to perform a contract or a legal obligation.
2. If there is a data breach which could have a significant effect on individuals, then you only have 72 hours to informthe ICO of this.
3. You must allow all customers to easily access their data upon request and within 30 days of the date of the request.
3. Customers must have the ability to take their data from you whenever they wish and to transfer this to a different company.
4. You may need to hire a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if you monitor a large number of individuals (this can include cookies used by your website and web beacons used in email marketing).
5. All opt-in forms must be updated to ensure that the proper GDPR-compliant consent is obtained from users where appropriate.
6. You should review all current paper and digital files to ensure you are compliant.
7. You will need to review all third-party service providers and data processors you use and ensure they are fully compliant with the GDPR.
8. You should only ever collect data where it is relevant and necessary.
9. You will need to have a plan in place in case a data breach does occur.
With the May 25th deadline fast approaching it is time to get to work. The government is expecting all business and website owners to be fully compliant by this date and there is no grace period. No business is too small and there is no exclusions to compliance. Failure to comply could lead to high and unwanted penalties being imposed.
It is important to note that LS25 Web Design are not legal experts in this field and we are working through the process of how we can be compliant for the GDPR as we speak. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. We encourage you to work with appropriate legal counsel as you explore your compliance.
Should you ever do so, then this person would view an entirely different place from how you would see it yourself. If they were then to buy your home, and if you returned a few months later for a look, you'd probably hardly recognise it. Both of you would have designed the home to your taste, to meet your needs.
How does this apply to websites?
The same principle can apply - and this can be a danger. If a business simply designs a web (or social media) presence to meet their needs, matched to how they believe their business should be seen, then this might not satisfy, or even interest, potential customers.
An initial problem with purely in-house web creation
The first possible outcome is a collaboration of design and content which simply tells the world what that business thinks it's good at. A step further: it might try to present what those involved are most proud of. This might bear little relevance to the specific needs or immediate wants of those who undertake online searches. The result is that potential custom can be lost, and almost always by accident rather than design.
Other potential missteps through self-creation
Each business uses jargon and has its own private language. Because those involved are so used to this, the danger is that it creeps into web content, and many potential visitors simply don't understand. Equally, the overall level of information, and how it's presented, can be beyond easy comprehension by many of those who might visit.
Also, through constant involvement in business, it's easy to take things for granted, and assume that others will know certain points about how a product, service or business operates. This can be compared to asking a local for directions when visiting a place for the first time. It's quite likely that their answer will be incomplete, because sub-consciously they already know how to get there, and may therefore miss out some key pieces of information!
Offering a practical solution
Partnering with a web design agency helps to identify and overcome such inadvertent revenue-losers. Taking the level of expertise and knowledge within a business, and then using 'outside eyes' to craft it into a presence that will best engage with potential customers, helps that business to maximise its online activities.
If you'd like to talk to our LS25 team about achieving this for your business, please contact us now.
Few websites rely on good user experience (UX) and usability as much as eCommerce sites do. The number of online shops consumers can access in seconds via their web browser today easily numbers into the millions, modern consumers will shop around before they buy. If you want your online store to be the one that customers decide to purchase their goods from, you'd better make sure your UX is up to par. Thousands of site visits a day won't add up to much in the way of profits if your visitors aren't actually making it to the checkout.
Think about your visitor's motivations
Good website user experience is all about making your website easy to navigate and use. The first thing you need to think about is your user's motivations. If you're operating an eCommerce website the chances are your visitors are here to browse your store, and perhaps make a purchase. Before they buy, though, they'll want to know what it is they're spending their hard-earned cash on. Quality photographs of products and clear descriptions and names will all go a good way to upping your conversion rates and getting more customers to the checkout.
Make it easy
User experience is all about, well, experience. It doesn't matter how good your products are or how competitive your prices are if users can't navigate your website and make it to the checkout without first throwing their computers out of the window. Conduct UX testing - even friends and family can help - to assess how easy it is to navigate your site, find specific products, add items to the basket and complete the checkout process. Website navigation should be intuitive and products should be clearly and accurately categorised.
Trust me, I'm a salesperson
While we're not doubting your personal integrity, as an online seller among many it's important to prove to your customers that you're trustworthy and reliable. Make sure your delivery and returns information is clear and easy to find, respond to customer inquiries swiftly, and include positive testimonials wherever possible.
For more information about our creative services, which includes website design for eCommerce and other sites, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
When you think of branding, the Nike swoosh and the red of Coca Cola jump to mind and can be intimidating to small businesses. The level of investment that has gone into these brands is huge, but branding can be very simple as long as you avoid these common mistakes.
Underestimating the power of branding
A brand is hugely valuable on every level and should not be underestimated. A brand makes you recognisable and gives you an identity that can be approved by customers. Underestimating branding results in a weak brand being developed.
Failing to establish branding guidelines
No matter how good your brand is, if you don't establish guidelines for use then the branding will go wrong. When designing your branding you need to establish guidelines so that colours, tag lines and the voice of the brand are not meddled with.
One of the most important elements of branding is in keeping it simple. Learn a lesson from Coca Cola and use a simple design that can last for more than 127 years of service. You should build a brand that is clear and easy to understand so that it never needs changing.
Being too vague with your branding
While branding needs to be universal to your products it should not be vague. Remember that branding also needs to represent what you offer. For example, your logo could mimic a product or service to show what you actually do.
Changing branding poorly
When you change your brand to update the look it is essential that you do it correctly. The most common mistake that small businesses make is to rebrand completely, which loses their original customers by doing so. When making a change to your imagery you need to clearly educate your customers on how and why you are doing so to ensure they can still recognise your business.
Going it alone
While you can develop successful branding on your own, it is far more sensible to use the experts to help you to get it right first time. Using professional graphic design will help you develop a successful brand and using search engine optimisation professionals will help you to position your brand in the market properly. Don't make the mistake of going it alone to the detriment of your brand.
Get in touch with LS25 Web Design today! We can help you to get your branding going in the right direction.
If your business doesn't have an effective social media strategy in place, then you're falling behind in today's digital age and giving your competitors an easy ride. According to statistics, over 90% of marketers use social media to promote their business, so if your social media strategy isn't effective, then it's likely that you're losing out on a huge chunk of your target audience. Let today change that, below are some simple ways to improve your social media strategy so you can start making a lasting impression on your customers.
Key Elements to a successful social media strategy
1. Commit to a content calendar for your social media strategy
A good social media strategy will be organised, but not strict. Create a content calendar with all the important dates that are effective for social media that are relevant for your chosen business or industry, for example, 'National Pizza Day', 'Valentine's Day', 'Mother's Day', and the list goes on. This Hashtag Holiday Calendar is a useful tool to find hashtags that are trending on particular days for your industry. Your content calendar can also bring other benefits such as, allowing you to brainstorm, improve team collaboration, save time, gain a deeper understanding of what works and what doesn't work.
2. Alter your social media strategy as needed
Following on from this last point, it's important to be flexible with your social media strategy and evaluate what works and doesn't work. There is no point in sticking to a strategy if it isn't delivering the results you want. Run different ads and campaigns and take the successful ones as a building block to create your successful social media strategy for 2018. Don't be afraid to change your strategy monthly. Pick a date each month to go through all your data and see how you could improve. There is always room for improvements as your business grows and develops.
3. Define your customers
Everyone has a target audience and social media works best when you know who you are targeting, rather than an approach of seeking "everyone" and seeing who responds. You want to target potential customers who will fulfil the call to action you are trying to achieve. The joy of social media is that it allows you to laser-target ideal customers. Spending your time and money on a strategy with potential customers is more effective and efficient than just developing a strategy to suit the whole world.
If you would like help to develop your digital marketing strategy with the use of social media, then why not get in touch today, or check out the blog for more tips on improving your online presence.