Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – How to Get on the First Page of Google Part 1

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is arguably the most important way to drive targeted traffic to your website. This is because SEO leads to improved ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Every business wants to be on Page 1 of Google, but with only limited places – they can’t all be there.

Read on to learn some effective SEO strategies that can help earn you a coveted spot on Page 1 of Google and start reaping the rewards! 

SEO delivers targeted traffic to your website that you need to succeed online.

Did you know that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine? That’s a lot of people trying to find something. Perhaps they’re trying to find you. Wouldn’t it be incredible if you got on to Page 1 and were found quickly by your target audience?

We think so and the numbers speak for themselves – The #1 result is 10x more likely to get a click compared to the 10th. SEO will help to achieve this for your business.

Google Ads, along with other PPC marketing channels such as Facebook advertising, stop delivering the web traffic as soon as the ads stop running. Search engine optimisation solves this problem by providing a steady stream of traffic to your website 24 hours a day, 7 days per week – without all the ongoing cost.

This is called ‘organic traffic’ and it’s promotion that never sleeps. This is the reason why so many businesses are desperate to have their websites search engine optimised. That web traffic keeps on flowing and it often improves with time as more content is added to your website.

This article is Part 1 of a 5 part series written to teach you the art of Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO. We’ll cover the basics, right up to the more lucrative and rarer methods that get results.

Read every article and they will help you to improve your relevancy, target the right audience, and improve your search engine rankings. Get ready as we deep dive the latest techniques in 2023!

Starting with:

  1. Define your SEO Strategy

  2. How to perform Competitor Analysis

  3. How to Identify Keywords

  4. Keywords Do’s & Don’ts

  5. How do I Apply Keywords?

 

Define your SEO Strategy


how to define seo strategy
First, let’s explain what an SEO strategy actually is.
We’ll then provide you with some real-world examples so you know exactly how to create your own.

An SEO strategy will help you to achieve your digital marketing goals, this is a fact, so it’s vitally important you have one before you start anything. This is why it’s first on this article.

So, without further ado, what exactly is an SEO strategy?

An SEO strategy is defined as the process of organising a websites content – by topic – to improve the chances of appearing in search results.

Essentially, it’s the process you follow in order to maximise the opportunity to gain organic traffic from search engines, such as Google. This matters because organic traffic is precisely what we are aiming to achieve – your website needs a lot of it to succeed online.

An SEO Strategy will spell out exactly what you need to do – and when.


Being prepared with an ‘oven-ready’ SEO strategy, before you actually start doing or paying for anything, is really important. This is because it helps you stay on track when creating content which means it avoids you wasting time and money.

Instead of just creating what you think people are searching for, your SEO strategy will ensure you only create content that people are actually searching for. 

To save you time, here are some real-world examples of what an SEO strategy actually looks like. They are 100% free to download templates so why not take a look?

They have all been populated with examples of what companies, just like yours, use to define effective SEO strategies. Depending on your industry and goals, naturally SEO strategies can vary, but the core structure and topics often remain the same. 

Setting up a Blog and defining a posting schedule are often part of an SEO Strategy.


So, what topics should you cover in your SEO strategy? In no particular order, let’s start with these proven topics… get ready, there’s a few!

  • Define your Goals (What do you actually want to achieve?)
  • Describe your Customer Persona
  • Perform Competitive Analysis
  • Keyword Research & Implementation Plan
  • Align Content with Search Intent
  • Differentiate Titles to Boost SERP
  • Conversion Tunnel Optimisation with SEO
  • Monitor & Report on your Website Analytics
  • On-Page Technical Analysis
  • Content Strategy (including Video SEO)
  • Off-Page Link Building Strategy
  • Mobile Search Strategy
  • Local SEO Strategy
  • Core Web Vitals

Now you’re armed with real-world examples and topics to start thinking about, you can begin to write your own SEO strategy. Next, we’re going to dive straight in topic three on that list – Competitive Analysis.

How to perform Competitor Analysis


seo competitor analysis

SEO competitor analysis, or competitive analysis, involves researching your online competitors
thoroughly in order to understand their target keywords, content strategy and backlink profile (amongst others).

The reason you do this is to incorporate many of the things that are working for them into your own SEO strategy.

This approach is smart because it completely avoids guessing which keywords to target, content to create, or links to build. Instead, by researching your top 5 competitors, you are able to analyse what’s working well for them – and build upon that success.

An SEO competitor analysis can help you answer the burning questions such as:

  • Who actually are my SEO competitors? (Spoiler, it’s unlikely to be who you think)
  • What keywords should I target?
  • What does the competitive landscape look like?
  • What topics should I cover?
  • Where can I find valuable backlinks?

Behind every successful business, are hours of research.

Researching your competitors and answering similar questions is not a new concept. Long before you founded your own company, we bet you walked in to other competing businesses first or at the very least worked for one or two previously.

Reviewed their product offering, investigated their margins, reached out to some suppliers or perhaps even gained some inspiration from their branding too. No one, from the ‘Ma and Pop’ business down the street to the most successful businesses in the world – haven’t thoroughly researched their competitors first and you should be no different.

This is also true in the digital space and precisely why taking a long hard look at your online competitors is vital to fulfilling your SEO strategy. It is for this reason it features on Part 1 of this 5 Part series.

So, how do you research an online business? You use online software!


Two popular platforms right now are Seodity and SEMRush.

These are powerful SEO tools and even with only a 1-month subscription, they will help you to create an effective search engine optimisation strategy. All you need is a domain name to get you started, they handle the rest.

Consider these two companies carefully; we’d recommend choosing the one which better aligns with your goals so do compare the product offering as they do differ a bit.

Whichever one you choose – before you know it, you’ll have gained a vast amount of knowledge on your online competitors and be fully prepared what to do with it that knowledge.

How to Identify Keywords

keyword research for google rankings


Keywords are vitally important to any SEO strategy – even in 2023.
Choose the wrong keywords and your website will not rank well in search engines, it’s as simple as that. 

This means all the effort, and expense, would have been for nothing. So, what exactly are keywords?

Keywords are defined as the words or phrases you enter into a search engine, the goal being to find something – a product, service or maybe to answer a question.

Perhaps you are in need of a local florist, the keywords you might use to search for one might be ‘a florist near me’ or perhaps ‘wedding florists in kapiti’.

A keyword does not have to be just one word, it can be many. These are called ‘long-tail keywords’ and are used for one reason – to be very specific what you’re searching for.

Identifying long tail keywords and shorter keywords is vital for your website.

But they need to have search volume too, in other words, people other than you need to be actively searching for them as well – a lot. Ideally, you should aim to choose two or three keywords for each page on your website, different for each page and relevant to the content on it.


Why do keywords matter so much, especially with online marketing?


They matter because placing the right keywords on the right pages of your website can improve your ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). And, by doing so, increase your organic traffic.

Once again, this is precisely what you want to achieve with search engine optimisation. Web traffic is the life blood to your website and you need lots of it to gain market share.

Keywords differ in three main areas. These are:

  • Search volume: How many people are searching for a particular keyword.
  • Competitiveness: The Domain Authority (DA) and Page Rank (PR) of the sites currently ranking for a particular keyword.
  • Intent: What the user is looking to find when entering a keyword into a search engine.

By performing keyword research effectively, it helps you determine the best keywords to add to your webpages. They even help shape the content on those pages too so this can help with inspiration should you need it.

Seodity and SEMRush both provide you access to sophisticated keyword research tools. But, so does Google Keyword Planner for free… granted, it does have a steeper learning curve.

Whichever tool you use, they can all reveal the search volumes, competitiveness and the intent of your chosen keywords. So, now you have some keywords in mind, let’s cover the Do’s and Don’ts!

Keywords Do’s & Don’ts

keywords for seo dos and donts


Keywords need to be distributed around your entire web page.
Not all grouped up in one place or added too many times on a webpage.  

Too many keywords on one page is a practice known as ‘Keyword Stuffing’ and if you fall foul of it, your website will tumble down the search rankings. We’re talking cliff edge here.

Most SEO experts recommend that your keywords should appear in no more than 2% of your text. For example, if your post or page has 1,000 words, using your primary keyword less than 20 times should be safe.

However, this guideline is largely speculative as Google does not release official advice on what the optimal keyword density is so it’s best to play things safe and be conservative.

Once you have written the text and you’d like to check it for keyword stuffing. You can use this keyword density checker for free as a quick means of verifiying.


If in doubt, play it safe. Reduce your keyword density.

Another important thing to note, is to ensure the keywords are added in context.

Using our florist example from earlier, the following paragraph would be considered keyword safe as it includes the keyword ‘local florist’ in context and not too many times given the character length:

‘We are your local florist based in Paraparaumu delivering Birthday and Wedding flowers to your door, 365 days a year, 7 days a week. Bloomin Good Flowers are the trusted local florists on the Kapiti Coast for over 35 years’.  

One last thing to mention is that keywords change.

What is being searched for this month might not be next month, people’s search habits change regularly and nothing stays the same for very long.

So, it’s really important that you remember to keep up-to-date on your keyword research to keep the web traffic flowing.

We recommend, for most businesses, checking at least every 3-6 months. Some less competitive industries and regions may get away with performing it annually, but keeping on top of them either way is important to your success online – so don’t neglect it.

We offer some of our clients ‘real-time’ rank monitoring of their keywords, so reach out to us if you’d like to be aware of any changes on a daily or weekly report. This way, you’ll be first to know if the wheels are falling off!
 

How do I Apply Keywords?

how to add keywords to wordpress
Once you have chosen your keywords, you’ll need to add them to your website.

This is the part that can get a bit technical so feel free to reach out to us at this stage if you don’t have a website developer on speed dial!

There are 7 places you will want to add them to, ideally, but this will depend on the objective of the webpage as some might not be suitable.

They are:

  • Title Tag 
  • Meta Description
  • Meta Keywords
  • Page Content (incl. all the Headers from H1 to H6)
  • Link Text
  • Images ALT & Title Text
  • Embedded File Names (any attached files on the page)

So, how do you apply keywords?

If you are using WordPress, this task is surprisingly easy to achieve and can be accomplished by following this helpful video prepared by a Youtuber.

To start, you will need to download a plugin called Yoast SEO from the WordPress plugin directory and follow the in-app instructions.

Yoast SEO is completely free and provides you with the ability to add your keywords. Are there better options? Sure. But this is plugin is a great place to start and you’ll learn a lot from it with it’s shallow learning curve.

If you’re curious, there is a Premium plugin option for Yoast SEO which we would highly recommend if you can stretch to it. Infact, we used the Premium option in the image above. It will save you time and help you to gain more insight on applying keywords to your webpages – that’s a major win!

For other CMS platforms or Web Frameworks, please get in touch. Laravel, Joomla, PrestaShop, Magento, Drupal etc all require a unique approach to implement SEO effectively so it’s important it be done correctly.


Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we intimately understand the importance of SEO in 2023. As the internet becomes more competitive and millions more web pages are added each month, your place in the search results will change. It’s as predictable as the sun rising each morning. But to keep the right web traffic flowing to your website, you need to define your SEO Strategy, keep a watchful eye on your competitors, choose and apply the right keywords and actively monitor your rank in the search engine results. This powerful approach will not only maintain your place in the search results, but gain places too. Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this 5 part series so your Brand can benefit from the power of SEO and dominate in Google in 2023!



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Google Analytics 4 (GA4) – What GA4 Means For Your Business In 2023

Google Analytics 4, or GA4, is the fourth major release of Google Analytics since it was first released in November 2005. Google Analytics was born from the purchase of Urchin, a web statistics program, and has evolved 3 times since to become the most popular web analytics tool in the world. Check out how it evolved below:

urchin web analytics by google
Today, Google Analytics 3, or GA3, is installed on more than 30 million websites and holds a market share of over 82%.

There is no doubt that it has become a huge success commercially, but a lot has happened over the past 10 years – and it hasn’t all been good news.

Read on to learn more about the latest version – GA4 – why it has been released now and what it means for your business.

Including, how to migrate over from GA3 with a Universal Analytics Property.

Google Analytics 4 is a privacy-focused analytics suite to meet the needs of a changing world.

GA4 will not only become the default form of Google Analytics but it will also become their only analytics offering from July 1st 2023.

As a result of this change everybody – businesses and individuals – currently using GA3 will need to switch over to GA4.

It will not happen automatically.

This means it will be a disruptive change which will lead to business impact. In this case the impact will be a sudden loss of your web analytics tracking new hits.

Therefore, preparing for this change well ahead of time is vital to ensure you remain in control of your website monitoring and smooth sailing continues.

 

Google Analytics 4 (GA4)

In this article, we are going to answer all the most important questions about GA4 so you are fully clued up about what’s coming and why. These include:

  1. Why Change Now?

  2. Universal Analytics (GA3) vs GA4

  3. Is GA4 Cookieless?

  4. How Do I Migrate To GA4?

Why Change Now?

why change to ga4 google analytics
Because really, Google kinda had to.

Google first announced GA4 in 2019, this release has been planned for almost 4 years. Google wanted to build better and improve upon GA3, much like they had with it’s predecessor GA2.

More accurately measuring the performance of marketing strategies and driving business growth by showcasing the audience’s behavior in more helpful ways.

GA4 was released in October 2022 and, in many ways, re-invents web analytics as we know it. A major factor in the timing of GA4’s release, was in the recent implementation of privacy laws.

Such as:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe
  • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States
  • The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) in the United Kingdom.

Google Analytics is heavily used in these regions, more than anywhere else in the world, so this greatly influenced what their implementation resulted in.


It is due to these strict new data protection laws, things had to change. 


Google Analytics 3 did not adhere to any of them in its default setup form and as a result of this, it was ruled against in Europe. The Austrian, French, Italian and Dutch data protection authorities (DPA) ruled that the use of a default setup of Google Analytics violates GDPR.

Although the reasons for this ruling are complex, it all comes down to the where Google Analytics 3 stores the data and how it handles cookies, specifically third-party cookies. They ruled that GA3 does not go far enough to sufficiently protect personal data. 

Germany was particularly concerned with Google Analytics 3, but didn’t go so far as to ban it even though there was speculation that they might. Instead they placed the responsibility on website owners to handle visitors cookies responsibly. So far though, no fines have been issued.

France has also taken it’s own approach to further reinforce it’s stance on Google Analytics by ordering a number of websites to remove it completely in 2022 – which was a bold step.

But it isn’t just about privacy laws, industry giants are weighing in too.

Apple have not publicly commented on Google Analytics and the privacy laws aspect. But they have announced during the roll out of iOS14 that they see the world as a cookieless one, as reported by Forbes.

Apple have also rolled out an update to Safari which disables Google Analytics from tracking users completely.

As a result of all this change in consumer data protection, it was time for Google to release a new version that addressed all the legal concerns whilst reassuring users that they were taking their privacy seriously.

Their solution was Google Analytics 4 or GA4 and they used this opportunity to re-invent how visitors are tracked whilst improving the service offering. We’ll delve deeper into how they did this below.


Universal Analytics (GA3) vs GA4


ga3 vs ga4 what are the differences
There are a vast number of differences between GA3 and GA4.

As you can see on the comparison above, they are completely different beasts. For starters, GA4 uses a measurement model based on events and parameters. Whereas GA3 uses measurements based on sessions and pageviews

This is a major difference in the way GA4 tracks a user and heavily leans on machine learning and statistical modeling to ‘fill in the gaps’ whilst providing additional capabilities at the same time.

In plain language, this means it’s smart. Really smart. Every activity taken by a user will be counted as an ‘event’ in GA4.

What GA4 means for your business, is that you will end up with much more detail on how users are engaging with your website. Especially over a period of time. GA4 is really intelligent and will provide your business far more clarity and certainty than GA3 ever did.

Let’s compare GA3 vs GA4 with the key takeaways

ga4 dashboard
The Dashboard – At first glance, the differences between GA3 and Google Analytics 4 seem enormous as the reporting interfaces are completely different. This is due to many of the reports and metrics you’re familiar with being either replaced or removed. When you first login to GA4, you may also notice considerably fewer reports than with GA3. But not to worry, they will begin to generate once you start tracking events.

Sessions – In GA3, a session is a combination of page views, events and transactions (amongst others) taken by one visitor within a given timeframe. You can think of a session as a container for all the actions a visitor performs while on your website. By comparison, Google Analytics 4 sessions aren’t limited by time at all. Since it doesn’t create new sessions for source changes mid-session, your session count will likely be much lower. But your average session time will likely increase. Also, the average pages per session is no longer measured at all in GA4.

Bounce Rate & Engagement Rate – Google Analytics 4 does not measure bounce rate at all. Instead, you’ll find yourself using a new metric – the engagement rate. Rather than just looking at visitors who don’t move to another page on your website, engagement rate also considers the time spent on the landing page. This difference makes engagement rate and bounce rate incomparable. Google Analytics 4 offers a range of engagement metrics including ‘engaged sessions’, ‘engagement rate’ and ‘engaged sessions per user’ too which helps provide a more well-rounded perspective on user movement on your website.

Mobile App Tracking – Mobile app owners, GA4 is a welcome relief for you. You no longer have to measure your apps separately from your websites! With Google Analytics 4, you can accurately track cross-platform data between your website and mobile app. That’s a massive headache avoided, simplifies your tracking efforts and it’s money in the bank too.

Data Retention – The data GA4 stores will expire, at most, after only 14 months. This will be a problem for some organisations who like to retain data over many years. In GA3, you could choose your data retention timeframe: 14 months, 26 months, 38 months, 50 months and ‘do not automatically expire’ which is code for never. But with Google Analytics 4, you only have two options: 2 months and 14 months. While year on year comparisons will still be possible, accessing your historical data will no longer be possible so it’s really important that you export all your reports from GA3 so you can continue to compare in the years ahead. We recommend you do this sooner rather than later.

Is GA4 Cookieless?


cookieless world with google analytics
Yes and no. There were rumours that GA4 would be entirely cookieless at launch but this has proven to be false. GA4 still uses cookies by default but it can be setup to avoid them entirely. Should you need this setup please do reach out to us as we can do it for you. But just know, you will lose some functionality.

Google Analytics 4 only uses what are called ‘first-party’ cookies and not ‘third-party’ cookies.

Not all cookies are created equal and so the issue about cookies isn’t really about whether websites use them or not per se. Such as, to remember the contents of your shopping cart for example. But rather a concern of when websites track you across multiple websites.

Over time, they can learn a lot about you and piece together your personal data. That is where the privacy concerns lie. When cookies track visitors across multiple domains, they are called ‘third-party’ cookies. Third-party cookies are where most people have concerns, and rightly so.

Third-party cookies are often used for things like re-marketing campaigns and spamming. Remember getting an email almost immediately after visiting a website? This was probably because your email address was revealed from the third-party cookies.

Although GA4 cannot solve this problem on it’s own, they are only one piece of the puzzle afterall, it will help to greatly reduce this happening as an 82% market share has a huge influence.

How Do I Migrate to GA4?


how to migrate from ga3 to ga4
The migration for many of us from GA2 (Classic Analytics) to GA3 (Universal Analytics) was relatively painless 10 years ago.

But the migration from GA3 to GA4 isn’t quite as simple. It all depends on how many things like Goals and Events you currently use as they will need to be recreated.

To make things easier, we would recommend that you migrate using 6 key phases. These are:

Phase 1. Create GA4 property
Phase 2. Audit your GA3
Phase 3. Migrate items to GA4
Phase 4. Test Test and more Testing
Phase 5. Switch from GA3 to GA4
Phase 6. Archive GA3 data

We will write a separate article on how to migrate from GA3 to GA4 using the 6 phases above. It will guide you through step-by-step how to perform the migration. So, in the mean time, start making a note of your Goals and Events etc.  And although we naturally cannot cover every organisations need, it will satisfy most small businesses who use Google Analytics 3. So stay tuned for this!

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we are excited by the release of Google Analytics 4. This is without a doubt, a big step in the right direction. Google are going a long way to address consumer privacy concerns. Whilst adhering to the ever changing world of privacy laws. They also include some exciting new capabilities to provide you with more insight. But there is still a long way to go which is why we offer our own Analytics suite.

AnaTrix Web Analytics Suite offers full privacy protection and much more, whilst being 100% cookieless with the added benefit of you owning all the data 100%. But if you wish to stick with Google Analytics, we will help you get the most from it. So reach our for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through migrating your GA3 account to GA4 with all the bells and whistles added from the start!



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Google Ads – How You Can Boost Your Online Sales in 2023

When it comes to Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, we think of Google Ads. This is primarily because of Google’s size and influence, they hold over 90% of the global market share. All the other search engines, combined, hold less than 9% of the market. A staggering fact isn’t it?

The purpose of this article is to help you understand what Google Ads (previously known as Google AdWords) are all about, their relevance for your business, and the different ways in which they can add value to your marketing efforts. So without further ado, let’s reveal how you can boost your online sales in 2023 with Google Ads!

Google Ads have transformed even the smallest Brands into global empires.

If you want your business to be featured alongside the huge number of searches that take place on Google each day (spoiler, it’s over 8.5 Billion) and rapidly increase your Brand awareness whilst growing your bottom line, in our opinion there is no better ‘bang for your buck’ than using Google Ads. 

why you should choose google ads



Here are our top 5 reasons to consider Google Ads to boost your online sales in 2023:

  1. Powerful Targeting Features

  2. Excellent Budget Controls

  3. Increase Brand Reach 

  4. Rich Reporting Capabilities

  5. Faster Results Than SEO

Powerful Targeting Features


how to drive quality leads
Sales professionals and Marketers alike know the importance of quality leads. At the end of the day, your ad campaign should meet the objectives of your brand.

With Google improving its algorithms every day, you can be assured of reaching your target audience. With billions of searches every day, frankly it would be hard for them not to.

Google Ads allow you to bid for specific keywords – short or long-tail keywords. While the latter allows you to target potential customers with high intent, the former may get you higher traction with fewer leads.

You can generate leads in so many ways and from so many services with Google Ads – the world really is your oyster.

Ever felt that Google knows what you like more than your best friend?

what is the google ads algorithm


This is all down to Google’s smart algorithms.
They can detect user intent and serve them just what they are looking for on a silver platter.

Having the ability to essentially ‘know’ user intent, retain all that data and then provide a platform in which an every day person can advertise using it is a game changer.

No other platform, search engines or social media alike, come close to the power of Google in this regard and it’s all down to the algorithm and volume – the number of people, just like you, that use it every day making it more intelligent.

The power of Google Ads is in the Audience Segments

how to use affinity segments on google ads


Your ad has to be exciting and make a big enough impact to sway users, ideally in under 3 seconds.
With Google Ads, you can target users who are looking for a product that your business has to offer by using highly-targeted audience segments.

These audience segments and affinity segments are separate to keywords but equally as important. They help to focus your marketing efforts by connecting more deeply with the type of person who is most likely to engage with your Brand.

For example, someone searching for the latest super-efficient solar panel are likely to be the type of user who has affinity for green living. In this case, we would choose the affinity audience ‘Green Living Enthusiasts’ to target them (amongst others).

This level of precision provides you with an edge over other advertising channels and allows you to win more leads.

Excellent Budget Controls


how to set a google ads budget
Once upon a time, marketers really struggled to keep their ad campaigns within budget.
The reporting capabilities and the speed of communication was poor to say the least so everything was slower and based on estimates.

Likewise, the marketing options available weren’t particularly effective either – but they were all we had – and you often needed to use multiple companies in order to advertise across multiple channels.

This approach increases operating costs and creates accounting challenges; trying to juggle lots of invoices and payment schedules isn’t easy and worse yet – they carry their own costs too.

Google Ads are a simpler & more effective marketing option


Google Ads use multiple channels, with powerful reporting capabilities that are near real-time combined with fast ad development times all provided by one single company.

This approach solves many of those marketing challenges from yesteryear. With the added benefit of it being digital marketing, which virtually puts your brand in someones pocket and follows them wherever they go.

Your business can be seen every day across Google Search, GMail and YouTube amongst others  – the reach is extraordinary and the marketing of dreams only 20 years ago.

It is almost impossible to overspend with Google Ads as they hand complete control of how your money is spent over to you. You can target specific keywords, assign the number of bids, and set daily budget limits. Most importantly though, you are only charged when an ad is actually clicked putting you firmly in the driving seat.

 

Increase Brand Reach 


increase brand reach with google ads
Google Ads are so much more than just a means to drive clicks. They are a powerful tool to spread brand awareness and increase your exposure. This is particularly important for new businesses.

Reinforcing your Brand name, personality, reputation, etc are all vital to build trust with your visitors. The more you repeat these things consistently, the stronger your Brand becomes and the more trust you earn with potential customers too. And it is trust, that will ultimately earn you sales and loyal customers, make no mistake – trust is everything.

By leveraging the Google Ads network, even if potential customers aren’t clicking any of your ads, they see your Brand. Your name, your contact details and what you offer, in addition to whatever else you choose to showcase on your ad.

There are even options to focus on increasing your Brand’s reach above all else, less clicks and more impressions for example. With this level of customisation and flexibility, you can hone down and refine your marketing goals – and achieve them. It really is a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ situation.

 

Rich Reporting Capabilities


google ads reporting capabilities
When it comes to marketing, reporting is vital.
If you are unable to analyse precisely how your ad campaigns are performing then, at best, you are gambling with your advertising budget and at worst you are marketing blind.

Without powerful reporting capabilities, it throws into doubt just how effective your marketing campaign really is – your ROI and Conversion rates being the most important – and worse yet, you would have no idea what to improve to turn things around. 

Google Ads not only provides a plethora of analytical information itself, such as the example seen above, but it also integrates seamlessly with Analytics suites to greatly expand these capabilities and provide the clarity of what this traffic leads to on your website.

Our Analytics suite AnaTrix, is 100% compatible with Google Ads and allows you to track all this ad traffic using Events, it’s a feature which helps track conversions. All the while, monitoring in real-time what all the website visitors are actually looking at on your website without compromising their privacy.

AnaTrix is a cookieless, privacy-centric analytics suite and well ahead of its competitors in simplicity and size – less than 1kb! Take a look…

anatrix web analytics suite by viewfule
Google Analytics also provides highly detailed monitoring capabilities which you can then report on. No matter which analytics suite you choose, it all serves to empower so you are fully in-control, at all times, and can see when campaigns are beginning to go ‘off piste’ and require intervention before the wheels really fall off.

 

Faster Results Than SEO

seo vs google ads which is better
Google Ads are a faster way to grow your business. However, full disclosure, Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is still the backbone of the most highly visited websites. The posts and pages you see on the first page of the Google search results aren’t just well-written with carefully researched keywords; they belong to websites that have amassed a huge number of backlinks which they have steadily gained over time.

Backlinks are, and probably will be for some time yet, the joint number one ranking factor for websites along with Core Web Vitals (which we wrote an article on recently).

However, SEO does not happen over night. It can take years before one of your webpages is ranked on the first page of Google for a broad keyword search term. Many businesses, sadly, never see the day because they never saw the value of engaging with an SEO specialist to get them there. But with Google Ads, you can work around this problem.


accountants in kapiti google ads

When you get started with Google Ads, your chances greatly improve as you leap-frog all the organic results on the search engine results page (SERPs).

As you can see in the example above for an Accountant, when searching for ‘accountant in kapiti’ your business could be right there at the top. Because of this premium ad placement, your web traffic grows exponentially and it grows easier with time too.

There’s no endless search for valuable backlinks that will bump your page up the search results place by place like with SEO. Plus there’s no trawling over keyword density on your post-click landing page. When those Ads start – you are right there, at the top.

Precisely where everyone looks first and that means you stand to capture most of the web traffic. 75% of all clicks on the first page happen at the top. 

 

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we help to provide businesses, just like yours, with getting the best ‘bang for your buck’ every day. Putting up signs all over town, creating radio ads, writing a newspaper ad or even performing a leaflet drop have largely become inefficient marketing methods by today’s standards. The ROI is poor by comparison, very hard to track and report on, and the costs have increased considerably to $1000’s per month in some cases. You can avoid this entirely with Google Ads. So reach our for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through if Search Engine Marketing is right for your business.



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Core Web Vitals – How To Rank Higher In Google In 2023

In 2021, Google made a big change to how it ranks websites in the search results. What they did was take a closer look at something called Core Web Vitals. They then refined and improved them further in 2022.

Although Core Web Vitals sounds like something from a Shortland Street episode, it’s a major change in how Google ranks your website. So, read on to learn exactly what they are so your website can rank higher in the Google search results in 2023!

Core Web Vitals make poorly coded, slow websites pay a heavy price in search results.

To help you get started, we have put together a guide that helps answer the burning questions:

  1. What actually are Core Web Vitals?

  2. What does this mean for my online marketing strategy?

  3. What can I do to improve the Core Web Vitals on my website?



core web vitals lcp fid cls


What actually are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are made up of three metrics that analyse a visitors experience on your website. Loading time, page interactivity, and visual stability.

In other words, it looks at how fast your website loads, whether text and images dance all over the place and how quickly you can start using the website when it first appears on your screen.

Before we continue, we would recommend adding the Lighthouse Chrome Extension and generate a report by loading the extension in your Google Chrome web browser.

This report will give you a quick overview of how your website’s Core Web Vitals are looking, see below for an example of our website on a Desktop setting. You can switch it to score the Mobile experience too and it’s important that scores for both are as close to 100 and in the green as much as possible.

lighthouse score core web vitals
Alternatively, if your website is using Google Search Console you can see the results without the chrome extension.
Look in the Enhancements section on the left-hand menu and you’ll find Core Web Vitals.

You can see the details it provides using the traffic light colours. Red of course means bad! The details section is really helpful and guides you straight to the issues, no guessing game here just identifying and fixing – if it’s all green, you are good to go.

 

core web vitals desktop google search console

 

What does this mean for my online marketing strategy?

Google have identified that these three metrics are a vital part of a website experience. Simply put, Google does not want to send people to poorly coded, slow websites any more.

Their intention is clearly to improve the internet experience for everyone and they firmly believe that Core Web Vitals is the way to go. To be honest with you, we agree with them on this one.

Core Web Vitals became a key ranking factor in June of 2021. Since then, websites all around the world have taken a hit on their rankings.

Unless you want your website to fall way down on the search engine result pages (SERPs) – and stay there – you need to improve your Core Web Vitals. If you do, riches are to be made.

Netzwelt improved their Core Web Vitals and saw advertising revenues increase by 18% and page views by 27%. Likewise, when a website meets the Core Web Vitals thresholds, research showed that visitors were 24% less likely to abandon the page load. Results like these are game changers for most businesses.

Content generation is not King maker anymore

Given just how much Google are rewarding websites that achieve the Core Web Vital thresholds, our recommendation would be to focus less on heavy content-driven marketing strategies now.

Lots of unoriginal content that lack quality or context is bad for ranking anyway. But with the rise of Core Web Vitals, that approach is even more dated and likely to cost you in the long term.

Instead, focus on delivering a fast, smooth and responsive browsing experience with the content you already have.

A Core Web Vitals centric approach is much more likely to rank you ahead of your competitors who are still stuck in 2015.

This is not to say stop creating content, far from it, but if the content is being pumped out in huge volumes with the sole intention to influence ranking – it will all be for nothing without good scores on your Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals – the key metrics

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

lcp largest contentful paint

The LCP metric looks at the overall loading time across your whole website. This means, the amount of time passed in seconds from the moment you land on the website until the largest image or section has loaded.

Naturally, this takes longer than your FID but you’ll want to get the overall loading time of your website down to 2.5 seconds or below.

After researching many websites over the years, we have come across some that take up to an extraordinary 30 seconds to fully load. In the age of ultra-fast fibre internet, that’s a lifetime and Google knows this too. Which is why they will start to make websites like that pay a heavy price by lowering their rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).


First Input Delay (FID)

fid first input delay
Do you remember a recent experience when you landed on a website and no matter how many times you press a button nothing happened? It was frustrating, right? This is why Google has made this a key part of the Core Web Vitals.

First impressions count, and this is no different in the digital space. When you land on a website, you want to be able to take action almost immediately.

FID measures the time in milliseconds that it takes from clicking on a link on the website (Button, Menu etc) to being able to take action on the webpage. The lower the number, the better the experience it will be for your site visitors and Google will reward you for this.


Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

cls cumulative layout shift
Don’t you just hate it when you’re reading an article on a web page and all of sudden, the text moves around? Or worse yet, when you’re banging your mouse furiously to close a pop up and you accidentally click it because it moved suddenly? Not a fun experience was it.

The CLS metric gives you an idea of how often, and how badly, this scenario is impacting the user experience. If text and/or images are suddenly dancing all around the page whilst someone is browsing it, then your Core Web Vitals score will be negatively impacted. The content which is doing this is considered an ‘unstable element’.

How much they move around the screen can be noted in percentages. i.e a popup moved down on my mobile phone screen by 25%. The CLS score however is calculated in fractions, granted this may seem complicated at first but it’s much easier to work out when you start in percentages and then just convert them into fractions. We’ll show you!

So how is the CLS Score calculated?

The CLS score is calculated from the impact and distance fractions of how much an unstable element has shifted on your screen (or viewport).

So, using an example, an unstable element moves 75% of the total viewport, so its impact fraction is 0.75. As the unstable element has moved by 25% of the viewport height, this results in a distance fraction of 0.25. So the layout shift score would be 0.75 * 0.25 = 0.1875.

From this example, the score would mean the webpage falls within the ‘needs improvement’ grade.

 

What can I do to improve the Core Web Vitals on my website?

What can I do to improve the Core Web Vitals on my website

 

Now that you have a better understanding of what Core Web Vitals actually are, why they should matter to you and hopefully had a look at your website’s overall score. You’ll want to know what you can do to improve them.

You are now at the stage when you’ll want to start discussing these things with your website developer. The solutions to many of these issues are quite technical, sure some are a quick fix but others might take time depending on the platform you use.

However, to make sure you’re prepared with the right information, we have covered a few things below which you can share with them to get started. If you don’t have a website developer on speed dial, remember that we would be happy to help so reach out to us for your FREE consultation.


How to stop things dancing around your webpages

How to stop things dancing around your webpages

There is nothing more frustrating than text dancing around a webpage whilst you’re trying to read it. To help you address this here are a few things your web developer should consider:

Add the exact height and width for all the images used on the website to the code. This will ensure the web browser knows exactly how much space is available to load the image and will prevent it from continuously determining it each time the page loads.

Use containers, these are basically designated boxes for Ads on your webpages to load in. We have seen so many times, particularly on news websites, where an article gets pushed down after we started reading it to make room for the display ads. It’s a common mistake to overlook these, containers really help to improve the structure of a webpage so nothing loads where it shouldn’t and then gets moved around afterwards.

Why is website loading time important?

Why is website loading time important

 

The number one reason visitors will leave your website is if it loads too slowly. Think about it, would you be willing to wait upwards of 30 seconds for a website to load these days?

We wouldn’t and from our experience, most people wouldn’t either.

The worst part though is the impact this will cause to your Brand’s reputation in the long-term if the status quo remains.

Nearly 60% of visitors will abandon a website if they experience more than 3 seconds of load time, and the majority will not return either. With a knock-on effect they may share this negative experience with others and deter them from engaging with your brand too.

This is why slow loading times, especially the initial loading phase when your site visitors are most likely just staring at a blank white page – is particularly damaging for a business. In other words, getting that initial loading time down is intimately tied to succeeding online.

Famously Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, spent millions of dollars to get Amazon’s initial loading time to below 1 second because he knew it would cost Amazon billions of dollars more in lost revenue if he didn’t.

People just don’t have the time these days to wait so the chances they will jump ship to your competitors is higher than ever. Is it worth risking over something as simple as a few seconds? We don’t believe so and recommend doing everything you can to get that time down, just like Jeff did.


Make your website load faster

make your website load faster

Reduce the time it takes for a visitor landing on your website to load all the images and text
. So, here are a few things that either you or your web developer can achieve:

Images are more often than not the largest contributor to slow website loading times. You can resolve this in two ways.

First, by reducing their physical dimensions.

Images chosen for websites are rarely sized exactly to what is shown or needed, they are usually far too large and this is often caused by them being uploaded straight from a digital camera. As the megapixels have increased and cameras improved over the years, they now generate images with far more detail and clarity than you actually need.

No one needs a ‘6000 x 4000’ sized image on a website. At best, you’ll need a ‘1920 x 1080’ but often even smaller than that is perfectly fine. You can achieve all of this for free by using Image Resizer. Upload them, choose a smaller size, then download them – it’s as simple as that.


Resizing & Compressing images will make your website faster


The second, is by compressing the images.

You can do this for free by using TinyPNG. Whether the image is a JPG or PNG they will compress it using a sophisticated algorithm that removes unnecessary code but retains the quality, in other words you can’t see any change to the image but the file size is now greatly reduced.

By resizing and compressing your images you can shrink images by up to 90% – that’s a big reduction which will reward you in a faster website loading time.

Next you need to consider implementing a Content Delivery Network or ‘CDN’. We have written an article about CDN’s already which we definitely recommend you read at this point. But just know, they work really well and will make your website load faster without even touching the code.

Time to get techie

Lastly, on to the more technical things. Ask your web developer to optimise your JavaScript execution, ideally either defer or delay any non-critical JavaScripts from loading first. It will greatly reduce the initial loading times.

Next we would recommend asking them to minify the CSS and HTML on the website. This removes any spaces from the files and shrinks the sizes down – it’s surprisingly effective.

Fortunately, it’s much easier to achieve all of these technical improvements if you’re on WordPress as a plugin named WPRocket can do it all for you whilst implementing sophisticated caching technology too which speeds things up even more. It’s a plugin that is definitely worth considering. But if you’re not using WordPress or just don’t want the hassle, we can help you either way so reach out to us.


Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we not only care about achieving top Google rankings for our clients but maintaining them too. Getting on Page 1 is tough, especially if you are in a highly competitive industry. So the last thing you want is to tumble down the rankings just because Google updated their algorithm one day.

Core Web Vitals are here to stay, they are undeniably in the interest of the customer experience as no one enjoys browsing on poorly coded, slow websites. So keep ahead of the game by winning at Core Web Vitals today, so you keep winning tomorrow. Remember to reach out for your FREE consultation and we can talk through implementing all of these improvements, and more, on your website.



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Laravel Framework – Why It’s The Best Choice For Web Development

If you are confused by all the different web development frameworks and unsure which one to choose for your next project, you are not alone. There are literally dozens of options out there. Some of the biggest names though are Angular, CodeIgniter and CakePHP.

Each one has their fair share of advantages and disadvantages in web development. But we are going to put those three to one side for a moment and get straight to the ‘juicy bits’ by revealing another option which rules them all. So without further ado, meet the Laravel Framework – this is the ‘knight in shining armour’ your project has been waiting for. Read on to learn why!


The Laravel framework is open-source, easy to get started and super efficient.

So what exactly is Laravel? Laravel, is a web app development framework. It is not a CMS or eCommerce platform – they are built to serve a specific purpose. Laravel is more of an all-rounder.

Sure, you can use it to develop a CMS or eCommerce platform – and OctoberCMS is one – but it can do so much more than that.

From creating an elaborate website for the media giant Warner Bros. Entertainment, to developing sophisticated web-based invoicing systems at InvoiceNinja to building the global eLearning platform Alison – all 3 of these behemoths, are Laravel powered.
laravel framework logo

Welcome to the wonderful world of Laravel.


So where did it all start and why? The Laravel framework was created by Taylor Otwell in 2011, an American programmer, with the sole intention of helping website developers make complex coding simpler and faster.

Up until that point it was messy to say the least. Laravel is based upon Symfony components, but it alleviates some of the commonly executed tasks like routing, authentication, sessions and caching (amongst others) so that developers can focus on building the actual features of the app.

Simply put, this mean less time spent on the boring parts and more time spent on the fun parts people will actually see and interact with! Who wouldn’t love that.

So, now you know the history and a brief overview of what Laravel can achieve. Let’s delve into the exciting details with the Top 5 reasons why you should choose Laravel for your next web development project.

  1. Easy To Get Started

  2. Open Source

  3. Supports MVC Architecture

  4. Better Security

  5. Growing Community

 

Easy To Get Started

laravel framework coding


The first reason why developers enjoy using Laravel is because it’s extremely easy to learn the basics.
Even if you’ve only dabbled in website development and familiar with the basics of PHP, you can easily develop a 5 page website in only a few hours with Laravel.

All you need is a text editor & PHP installation to get you started. It really couldn’t be easier, which is why 1000’s of developers are learning it every day.

Imagine how quickly a skilled Laravel Developer could create a complex web app or even a CMS to rival WordPress – think days rather than weeks.

But that’s not even the best part, it’s the fact it is highly secure and very fast right from the beginning. When compared to WordPress, expect the exact same website on the same web server to perform up to 40% faster – it really is that much more efficient. 

Open Source

laravel open source


Laravel is 100% free, with no financial commitment at all.
It follows WordPress in this regard and it’s proven to be a winning choice.

As of 2022 there are over 800,000 live Laravel websites, a number that has doubled since 2021 and forecasted to double yet again next year.

You can develop large and complex web applications with the only cost being the developer themselves – that’s a win for any organisation!

Supports MVC Architecture
MVC Architecture laravel


It is a native MVC based PHP framework.
So what does this mean exactly? It basically guarantees a tight separation between presentation layers and business logic.

MVC stands for Model, View, and Controller. It’s a design pattern that separates the model (logic, data handling), view (UI), and controller processes (interface).

By being based on MVC, the Laravel framework provides many features like high performance, increased security, and scalability in one go. This is a big deal and the main reason why Laravel is so fast and secure, all the other web frameworks that do not embrace MVC fall short in this regard.

 

Better Security
laravel security advantages


The Laravel framework offers a plethora of high-level security technologies built-in
. Although there is no single framework that is 100% protected from online threats, Laravel goes a long way to satisfy even the most risk averse web developer or client.

The framework’s unique tools, such as CSRF tokens, look after the security of the project by checking each and every request.

Similarly, a hacker would be hard pushed to perform any SQL injection, cross-site request forgery, or cross-site scripting on a Laravel powered website. It has gained a reputation the world over for being the ‘gold standard’ for web security.

Growing Community
laravel community portal


Laravel has a large community of highly skilled developers.
They continuously provide support to make it more flexible and scalable.

If you are looking to develop a web app with complex functionalities, a lot of documentation is at your disposal free of charge and a person is never far away for help should you need one on laravel.io.

 

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we strive to pair our clients with the right platform for their specific use case. Laravel has a lot to offer just about any organisation based in any industry. But the real takeaway is the speed you can achieve it. What this means for business is a faster turnaround on projects which are beautifully coded and work really efficiently – that is money saved, pure and simple. So if this matters to you, reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll discuss implementing the Laravel Framework with your business.



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Merry Christmas 2022

It’s almost a wrap for 2022! It’s been another strong year for us, growing on our successes from 2021 and offering new services and products to cater for our clients expanding needs. 2023 is going to be a BIG year for us so stay tuned…

We are so thankful to be able to celebrate Christmas with our family this year. The combination of getting older and the lost time from the pandemic means that we are cherishing holidays spent with loved ones even more than before.

One of the greatest aspects of our line of work is being able to connect with people online from all walks of life and from all sides of the globe. We feel humbled that you continue to engage with our services and read our articles, here and on social media. To learn something new or perhaps gain insight on a topic you knew little about before, whatever your reason might be – thank you for being here and taking the time to return.

On behalf of the team, we hope you enjoy a wonderful holiday season and we’ll see you in the new year. Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia!

Ngā Mihi,
Oli Corby and family.

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Litespeed Web Server – Why Apache and NGINX Are Now Obsolete

First of all, what is a web server? In plain language, a web server is a computer that stores, processes, and delivers website files to web browsers. Web servers consist of hardware and software that use Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to respond to web users’ requests made through the internet. Through this process, web servers load and deliver the requested page such as Google Search to your web browser. This browser could be Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge for example.

There are many different types of software that make a web server work. But the most common software is Apache. It runs 39% of the top one million websites in the world. Followed closely by NGINX (pronounced Engine X) at 32%, Cloudflare Server comes in third at 14%, Microsoft IIS in fourth at 8% then we have close behind at 6.5% – Litespeed. It’s that last one, but by no means least, we’ll be focusing on in this article. Why we believe it won’t be long until it takes the top spot and why this matters to you.

Litespeed Web Server is highly efficient, this means websites load faster.

Litespeed Web Server, abbreviated as LSWS, is almost a newcomer to the web server ‘scene’ having been founded in 2003. Over the last 19 years, LSWS has gained a vast, perhaps even cult-like, following among web hosting companies due to its efficiency. With its streamlined ‘event-driven’ architecture, companies running LSWS could, in theory, double the maximum capacity of the websites on their servers if they switched from Apache.

Imagine if you are a web hosting company with 40 servers running Apache and each server could host 400 websites. The maximum number of websites you could host theoretically is 16,000. But then you hear about this technology called Litespeed Web Server that could double your hosting capacity to 32,000 websites… just by installing it. Wouldn’t you be tempted? The web hosts certainly were and that’s why LSWS is now the fastest growing web server technology on the planet.

litespeed lsws

Now that you know what a web server is, a few of the alternatives and what Litespeed can achieve for the hosting business. Let’s focus on how it can benefit you. Those web hosting companies didn’t just choose Litespeed technology purely for the capacity benefits. They chose it for the performance advantages the technology offers too and let’s be honest, everyone loves a fast website so it’s an easy sell. We’re going to provide some examples of how much faster Litespeed web server is when used with the most common website platforms.

These website platforms are:

  1. WordPress

  2. Joomla

  3. Drupal

  4. Magento

 

To keep things as fair as possible, all platforms will use recommended caching technology where possible and the performance comparisons will be based on Requests per Second, or RPS. Using the RPS for this comparison is sensible because it’s a key performance indicator that accurately measures the throughput of a system. This is why it is commonly chosen to measure the performance of a web server – throughput is vitally important.

How much faster is Litespeed with WordPress?

WordPress website
In order to use Litespeed with WordPress, a plugin is required.
This is called LSCache and it’s available free of charge from the WordPress plugin directory. It takes some time to configure and isn’t as easy or as fast to get up and running as say, WPRocket. But once it’s ready to go – it can’t be beaten. Here is a direct comparison of the same WordPress website running on all three web servers.

No contest was it? Even though NGINX shares the same architecture (both event-driven) and therefore has much more in-common with Litespeed than Apache. Litespeed still blew it away by up to 12x. Apache was left in the dust, it just can’t compete and was beaten by up to 84x. If you are running a WordPress website on an Apache web server in 2022, it’s a no brainer, you need to switch to Litespeed. This doesn’t even factor in the performance gains from upgrading to HTTP/3 QUIC – Litespeed web server was the first to embrace this new technology and the following comparison was only for HTTP/2.

wordpress-performance-server

How much faster is Litespeed with Joomla?

joomla website


In order to use Litespeed with Joomla, a plugin is required.
It’s available free of charge for Joomla 3 and Joomla 4 directly from the Litespeed website. The implementation is much the same as for WordPress – it takes time. But once its ready to go, nothing else compares.

Once again we see huge gains in requests per second. Litespeed simply dominates by being able to handle up to 428x more requests per second than NGINX. Apache once again, is left behind. What’s clear is if you are running Joomla, migrating to Litespeed is well worth your time. Brands such as Roger Federer. Pro Beauty Medical Group and How Am I Going? all use Joomla powered websites.

litespeed-joomla-benchmark

How much faster is Litespeed with Drupal?

drupal website


In order to use Litespeed with Drupal, a plugin is required.
It’s available free of charge for Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 directly from Github. Installation is much the same as for WordPress and Joomla, it does take time to configure and optimise. But once it’s complete – nothing beats it.

In the example below Varnish has been used as the server caching technology of choice for NGINX and Apache. But even then, they don’t come close. Litespeed can handle up to 6x more requests than NGINX. Interestingly, Apache isn’t quite so far behind with Drupal than it is with Joomla. This is most likely due to efficiencies with the architectures integrating well together. Brands such as Tesla, UNICEF and Nokia all use Drupal powered websites.

drupal-performance-server

How much faster is Litespeed with Magento?

Magento website


In order to use Litespeed with Magento, a plugin is required.
It’s called LiteMage and it is available for Magento 1 and Magento 2 directly from Litespeed. Unfortunately it is not free and costs $2500USD per year – not exactly a bargain. But this does include support, updates and some installation advice.

Migrating your Magento website to Litespeed is definitely worthwhile though, costs aside. Up to 3x more requests per second can be handled and if you’re running a multi-million dollar online store such as the Brands Liverpool FC, Landrover or Nespresso (which are all Magento powered) – what is $2500USD to them really? Peanuts.

magento-performance-server

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we encourage all our clients to choose web servers that are powered by Litespeed Technology. It’s clear from the test results above, your website will load faster if you do. All of the major website platforms experience an increase in performance with the increase varying anywhere between 3x and 428x in requests per second. One webhost we highly recommend is HostArmada. They offer Litespeed web hosting packages at affordable prices with servers located all around the globe – so they are well worth checking out! But that aside, there are other website platforms that can benefit from Litespeed technology too. Laravel, PrestaShop and OpenCart can all work with, and benefit from, Litespeed Web Server. If you would like to implement Litespeed on your website, reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk you through it.



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Colour blindness – Why Designing For The Colour Blind Matters

There are over 300 million people around the world, right now, who are colour blind. 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women suffer with colour blindness. The most common cause is genetics, whereby the condition is inherited from a parent. However there are other causes too, you can become colour blind in later life, or as a result of an injury to your eyes or brain.
 
In this article we are going to spread more awareness of this condition, whilst also driving change in the industry. By considering their experience on your website, you as a business and Brand have a lot to gain.

 

Approximately 200,000 people in New Zealand, right now, are color blind.


What most people who are trichromatic don’t realise, these are people with ‘normal vision’
, is that there are many different types of colour blindness. As a result, the needs of each person impacted by it are different.
 
Most colour blind people are able to see things as clearly as others, but they are unable to fully ‘see’ red, green or blue light.
 
Complete colour blindness is very rare, this is when an individual cannot see any colour at all and is known as Achromatopsia. Take a look at all the known types below:
 
types of colour blindness
 
The most common form of colour blindness is known as Red/Green colour blindness. This is when someone is unable to differentiate Reds and Greens. With a sensitivity to one colour more than the other.
 
Less Red but more Green is called Protan colour blindness. More Red and Less Green is called Deutan colour blindness. Blue-Yellow colour blindness is less common and known as Tritan colour blindness. It makes it hard to tell the difference between blue and green and between yellow and red.
 
Something that’s really important to note here is that just because they struggle to see those specific colours, doesn’t mean they see other colours correctly. These colours feature in many others, red for example is a primary colour, so it can cause considerable impact on a persons daily life.
 
A real-world example of this impact is shown below with the aid of some tulips and a pug, put yourself in their shoes for a moment:

 

colour blind dog flowers

 

It looks like a whole different world doesn’t it? Remember, 200,000 people in New Zealand right now have this condition – it’s a lot of people. These are people who can become your customers too, loyal and love what you offer, but only if they can see your Brand and connect with it.

 
One thing is for certain, if you make the effort and consider their experience – at the very least, they’ll appreciate you for trying.
 
This is when web design that understands their needs really matters and can make all the difference between an unhappy experience where they can’t see any buttons, navigate around or read any text. To a happy experience, whereby they navigate around your website with ease reading everything clearly as you intended.
 
Imagine the conversion potential, and the referrals, a happy experience could bring you.
 
Our website was designed for the colour blind and features contrasting colours throughout to be more easily seen, this includes the buttons and the menu too.
 
See our home page below with the same types of colour blindness used above as a direct comparison:
 

Normal Vision

Normal vision home page
 

Deuteranomaly Vision

Deuteranomaly vision home page

 

Protanopia Vision

Protanopia vision home page

 

Tritanopia Vision

Tritanopia vision home page
 
Everything is clearly legible and encouraging you to interact isn’t it? Even in low light conditions.
 
Consider how this design technique could apply to your website and extend the reach of your Brand around the world. It could make you the next success story.
 

Your next steps.

 
At VIEWFULE, we design websites with colour blindness in mind with all our web design packages. We do not charge extra for this service because we feel it’s the moral and ethical thing to do. But the good news is, if your website was designed elsewhere, we can review it and update it for a charge so you too can increase your Brands reach. So why not contact us for your FREE consultation and we’ll discuss through making your website and by extension, your Brand, colour blind friendly.
 
One last thing, if you would like to make a child’s Christmas extra special this year who is struggling with vision impairment, consider donating to Low Vision NZ. It’s a superb charity and they’ll really appreciate it. Thank you!
 
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HTTP Security Headers – 5 Must Have Headers To Boost Your Website Security

HTTP security headers are a fundamental part of website security and should be of top priority to everyone who publishes anything on the internet. Once the headers have been implemented, they protect your website from the most common types of attack.

These are XSS, code injection and click-jacking attacks (amongst others).

The sad truth is, security headers are often overlooked in website audits and it’s a big oversight. This involves the security of your site visitors and your customers… how would you feel if the situation were reversed?

The fallout could be really damaging to your Brand if things go south. But the good news is, security headers are relatively simple to configure and will provide another layer of protection to help keep your website, and its visitors, safe.

Read on to learn how to check your website, what security headers are and how to apply them.

HTTP Security Headers make your website safer for everyone.


We encourage you to check your website free of charge right now by visiting Security Headers. They will grade your website from A+ to F. Prepare yourself, you might be in for a shock.

This is a fast way of gauging how skilled your website developer is and how secure your web server and website platform is all at the same time.

Why not type in your web developer or marketing agencies domain name and see how well protected they are too? For reference, here is ours:

 

Check your Website Security Headers


Here are the headers from our website. Granted just an extract, but enough to see what they look like in action

Any modern web browser can reveal these by simply inspecting the page code and viewing the network information.

 

http security headers extra viewfule.com

 

So, now you’ve seen your website’ grade and where the headers live. It’s time to discover what they are, why they matter and how to add them.

Here are five HTTP security headers that you should consider implementing on your website ASAP. There are many more security headers, but these cover the basics.

Please note, each one needs to be tailoured especially to your website and should not be copy and pasted from our examples. So we encourage you to reach out to your website developer for them to be safely implemented – or just ask us.

 

  1. HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

  2. Content Security Policy (CSP)

  3. X-Content-Type-Options

  4. X-Frame-Options

  5. Permissions-Policy

 

 

HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)

The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) header tells the web browser that the entire website should only be accessed by a secure HTTPS protocol. Most websites only implement a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS which simply isn’t secure enough.

It’s very easy to intercept it with what’s called a ‘man in the middle’ attack. HSTS totally prevents this and forces HTTPS every time and for every session. This ensures the connection cannot be established through an insecure HTTP connection which could be susceptible to attacks.

All modern web browsers support HTTP strict transport security except for Internet Explorer and some lesser browsers so this is highly effective and widely compatible.

Here is an example of what the header looks like. You can include the max age, subdomains, and preload:

  • Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload

Content Security Policy (CSP)

A content security policy (CSP) helps prevent attacks such as Cross Site Scripting (XSS) and other code injection attacks. It achieves this by defining content sources that are ‘approved’ and by doing so, allowing the browser to load them.

All modern browsers currently offer full or partial support for content security policy and it won’t impact the delivery of the content if it’s loaded on an older web browser, it will simply not execute it.

There are many directives that you can use with Content-Security-Policy. The example below allows scripts from both the current domain which is defined by ‘self’ as well as AnaTrix the VIEWFULE Analytics Suite:

  • Content-Security-Policy: script-src ‘self’ https://www.analytics.viewfule.com

 

X-Content-Type-Options

The X-Content-Type-Options header prevent the web browser from ‘sniffing’ a response away from the declared Content-Type. This helps reduce the danger of drive-by downloads and helps serve the content the way you intended.

Sniffing allows the browser to figure out what the element is (an image, text, etc) and then render that element. Hackers however will try to trick the web browser into thinking that a harmful JavaScript file is actually an image (for example), allowing the browser to download the file and then subsequently execute that file.

This is bad news for a site visitor, as it can lead to a ‘drive by download attack’. This is when there is an unintentional download of malicious code to your computer or mobile device that leaves you open to a cyber-attack.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff

X-Frame-Options

The X-Frame-Options security header helps stop click-jacking attacks. Click jacking is when a site visitor is tricked into clicking on a link or button (amongst others) which doesn’t do what they believed it would.

This hack can be used, for example, to steal login credentials or to get the user’s permission, completely without their knowledge, to install a piece of malware. Thankfully this problem is very easy to address with this security header and is compatible with all web browsers since Internet Explorer 8.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Permissions-Policy

Permissions Policy is a new header, formerly known as the Features Policy. It allows a website to control which features and APIs can be used in the browser. This is achieved by communicating whether or not features such as the Webcam, Speakers or USB access will be required as a part of the website experience (amongst others).

By clearly defining these on the header, you are able to broadcast your intentions and be far more transparent with your site visitors.

Here is an example of what the header looks like with a simple directive:

  • Permissions-Policy: camera=(); speaker=(); usb=();

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we take our clients website security seriously. HTTP Security headers are one tool we use to achieve this and when combined with a Premium SSL Certificate – it shows confidence and skill that you know how to keep your website secure for visitors and customers alike.

Implementing HTTP security headers is specific to each website and impacts whether they use an online shop or make use of external sources. The web server that’s used also matters and varies depending on whether you’re using Apache, NGINX or Litespeed. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through implementing these security headers, specific to your use case, on your website.



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WordPress – Top 5 Reasons Why This CMS Dominates The World

WordPress is a Content Management System or CMS. It was never intended to become a website building tool or eCommerce platform, it was purely created for blogging.

However, since it was released in 2003 its popularity has soared. From it’s humble beginnings as a fork of Cafelog, it now powers over 43% of all known websites on the planet. It’s a force to be reckoned with but that being said, it isn’t for everyone. Read on to learn more about WordPress and why this CMS dominates the world!

 

WordPress offers control, developmental speed and value that few CMS can rival.

 

Here are our Top 5 reasons why you should consider powering your website with WordPress:

 

  1. 100% Free

  2. SEO Friendly

  3. Customisable & Flexible

  4. Highly Scalable

  5. Community Support

 

100% Free
wordpress is open source software


WordPress is open source software (OSS), this means the original source code is made freely available. This is a game changer, there are very few platforms that can be installed and used 100% for free without ever requiring a financial commitment.

WordPress is one of them and has been for almost 20 years now. Thankfully there are no plans to change this anytime soon either.

For clarity sake, it is worth mentioning that web hosting providers that offer ‘Managed WordPress’ solutions, or the like, do charge. However that is because they are a host and have their operating costs to consider, these costs are not associated with WordPress itself.

As a result of making the source code freely available, there are millions of developers who have seen opportunities to create Themes and Plugins for it. Some are Free, others offer them for a fee.

As of 2022, there are over 60,000 free plugins and over 9,000 free themes in the official WordPress Plugin Directory so you won’t be short of options or design inspiration that’s for sure!

By including these service ‘add-ons’, you are able to create a fully functional website, online store, booking engine or even a membership site – all on WordPress. For a start-up or small business, this could save thousands in upfront and ongoing costs.

Leaving the only costs to consider being any chargeable Themes or Plugins required plus the costs of the Domain name(s), Web-hosting package and the skills of a Web Designer and Web Developer to help realise your vision.

 

SEO Friendly
wordpress is seo friendly search engine optimisation


A WordPress powered website can be on the front page of Google, it is 100% search engine friendly.
You don’t need expensive website builders to get you on page 1 of Google or Bing. No matter what their fancy pants marketing says. WordPress can do it too and for a fraction of the time and cost.

We’ll cover SEO in more detail over the course of a series of separate articles (such as this one) but just know – WordPress has you covered.

With only free plugins, you can assign each page and post on your website a unique meta tag, meta title, meta keyword, and meta description. In addition to generating a sitemap that self-manages.

Granted, these capabilities can be expanded upon and become more powerful with some chargeable plugins. But, the free ones do a good enough job in most cases. This all matters because it allows for more precise optimisation and better ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

One plugin that can help achieve this with a lot less hassle is Yoast SEO – we would highly recommend it, the paid premium upgrade is often worth it too.

Customisable & Flexible

wordpress is customisable
When it comes to customisability and flexibility, WordPress is legendary.
Your imagination really is the only limitation with WordPress. From beautiful animation driven websites to lush image-heavy responsive designs, WordPress delivers.

One of the major reasons why WordPress is loved the world over, by businesses and developers alike, is because it can be tailoured to meet just about any design requirement. And quite amazingly, it can achieve it fast too.

This is all thanks to using what are called ‘page builders’. The two most popular page builders on WordPress are Elementor and WPBakery. They will help to create a unique website that will resonate well with your target audience in a matter of days. If you need any help or inspiration with them – YouTube is your friend thanks to their excellent support base. 

Some of the most successful organisations in the world, from The New York Times, to MTV News and The Walt Disney Company – all use WordPress powered websites.

The framework is so flexible, modern and responsive that websites can be created very quickly and be easy to maintain too. Instead of days – think hours. This results in a website that is both cheaper to operate and faster to rectify if, and when, things go south.

Customisability really is King when it comes to websites. Platforms such as Wix and Squarespace have a long way to go in this regard with their highly restrictive and, sometimes, frustrating user interfaces (UI).

This translates into a longer development time, higher costs and limited capabilities. With the ongoing monthly costs to consider too, they suddenly become very expensive options when compared to WordPress.

This is probably the reason why Wix and Squarespace only power, at most, 6% of all known websites apiece. A far cry from the 43%+ that WordPress powers.

Highly Scalable

wordpress is highly scalable
With the right infrastructure, services and resources, WordPress is highly scalable.
It can serve tens of thousands of logged-in users simultaneously and serve millions of page views each and every month without skipping a beat.

WordPress has the ability to process page requests immediately and can deliver lightning fast results to search queries too. As a result, WordPress is a highly scalable platform that can support almost any growing business – even multi-million dollar corporations like the ones listed above.

Two of the most powerful features of WordPress are its enterprise integration and multi-site capabilities. It has the ability, with little to no coding, to integrate with a wide variety of disparate enterprise level platforms. Including CRM systems such as Salesforce, custom data synchronization, eCommerce stores and single sign-on systems.

Multi-site is a type of WordPress installation that allows you to create, and manage, multiple websites from one single WordPress dashboard.

This makes website management a breeze, making changes and updates all from just one place results in less complication and easier maintenance when you’re running lots of websites.

Community Support

wordpress vast community
When more than 455 million websites use the same platform, help is never too far away.
There are literally tens of millions of articles and do-it-yourself guides on Google and YouTube showing you how to do things with WordPress. It’s an incredible support base and nothing else comes close.

Sourcing a Developer isn’t a chore either, there are millions of them that are ready to help resolve your issue – from design to integration and everything in between. An expert is quick to find with only a Google Search these days and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Remember, no platform is perfect and WordPress is no exception. Problems happen and they often derive from updates. It’s just a matter of when, not if, things go wrong with any website platform. So it’s really important you have support on-hand when you need it and you’ll never be far away from a WordPress specialist.

Your next steps.

At VIEWFULE, we often start our customers on WordPress. Given all our observations above, hopefully you now understand why. But in some cases platforms such as Joomla or the Laravel framework are required, amongst others. These are custom solutions to meet the needs of custom problems. So reach out for your FREE consultation and we’ll talk through your challenges to get you on the right platform that meets your use case and budget.



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