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How to Keep Your Website Secure

December 14th, 2021 by

The Internet is now the go-to method of communication, research and shopping, which also means that data and website breaches are on the rise.

Whether you have a small website or an international e-commerce website, security is extremely important – you need to protect yourself and sensitive information.

We’ve put together a list of tips to help keep your website safe and secure, as well as help should your security be compromised.

Why is Website Security Important?

Your website is the hub where customers come to research your brand and products, and possibly to make purchases too. Therefore, it is vital that your site is continuously available to users and is performing well. However, no matter the size of a website, it may be vulnerable to attacks. These attacks can lead to your website being compromised: data loss, stolen data or unwanted website changes being the result.

Examples of unwanted intrusion include:

  • Injected code onto your site that infects all website visitors with malwarePages defaced
  • Content deletion
  • Login and other sensitive information may be stolen or sold online
  • Being blocked by Google if they detect malware on your website
  • Admin account usernames and passwords changed, preventing you from accessing your website’s  backend

How to Keep Your Website Secure

Complete Regular Website Security Checks

First, you should determine how secure your website is so that you can address any vulnerabilities. To do this, you can use an online scanner tool that will scan your website, identify issues and then suggest how to fix them too. Examples of these tools include Securi Sitecheck, All in One WP Security & Firewall, or Wordfence Security*. We would also recommend checking your website regularly for any unusual changes – such as new links, posts or users that you didn’t add, or unnecessary code in theme or plugin files.

Backup Your Site Regularly

You should always backup your website regularly. This will allow you to restore a backup taken before a hack, should a security breach occur. It will also mean that you will not lose months or years of work, should your website be hacked. With our hosting packages, websites are backed up every 24 hours, allowing us to restore a database backup to any point in time within the last 2 weeks.

Keep Software Updated

Out of date software is the most common reason for an infected website. If you have a WordPress website, you should update your WP version, theme and plugins regularly (which you can check via your Dashboard). This is because out of date software can be hacked using automated programs. Ballyhoo offers website support packages, where we will keep your website and plugins updated for you, among other things.

Use Strong Passwords

Passwords should be a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. You can also use tools to generate secure passwords, such as 1Password, KeePass and LastPass. These tools will also often securely save your passwords for you too.

Use an SSL Certificate

An SSL Certificate authenticates a website’s identity and allows an encrypted connection. It keeps connections and payments secure, and prevents hackers from reading or modifying information transferred between systems. You’ll notice a padlock icon on the URL bar if a website has an SSL installed. You should ensure that your SSL certificate is live at all times.

Choose a Secure Host

Hackers often look at website servers to identify exploits. Although there are cheap hosting options available online, we would strongly suggest investing in secure servers. Here at Ballyhoo we offer hosting packages – meaning we will take care of your hosting for you on a secure and fast hosting package.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

This allows you to require another piece of information in order to login to your website – such as a code sent via SMS to your phone, a code sent via email, or a piece of information only you know. In WordPress you can download plugins to give you this functionality.

Password Protect Login Pages

As standard, WordPress login page URLs are set to end with ‘/admin’ or ‘wp-admin’. This makes it easy for hackers to access the admin login for your website. We suggest changing the login address to an alternative URL. You can do this through adding a WordPress plugin – such as WPs Hide login, or by editing your .htaccess file. You can also limit login attempts, to prevent Brute Force attacks. 

Use a Web Application Firewall

This uses strict rules to filter website traffic, and blacklists IPs known to be associated with hacking or attacks. It then prevents them from reaching your server.

What if my website gets attacked?

If the worst case scenario occurs, and your website does get hacked, we can help. We offer a Disaster Recovery service – meaning we can get your website back up and running as a priority for you. This can take some of the stress out of not having your website online and offer peace of mind that the pros (that’s us) will take care of everything for you.

Conclusion

Website security should be taken seriously, and should be your top priority. The consequences of a security attack can damage more than just your website – it can affect your reputation, online SEO and marketing strategies, and result in vast data loss.

Our website hosting package offers you fast, secure & hassle-free hosting, where we manage everything you need to keep your company online and running smoothly. Contact us now for more information, or to learn more about our website support packages.

* We do not directly endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned in this article.

Introducing Google Workspace

November 3rd, 2020 by

G Suite has had a makeover

Key points

  • G Suite has rebranded to Google Workspace
  • Google Workspace brings collaboration and communication together under one roof.
  • You’ll still have access to Gmail and other apps like Docs and Google Meet.
  • There’s no additional charge, you will be transitioned to an equivalent tier on the new Google Workspace subscription model.

Some business management news for you today. As you may know, Ballyhoo has been an official reseller of G Suite for a number of years.

G Suite includes professional email accounts and an ever-expanding range of office suite and business applications, such as Calendar, Docs and Google Meet. Depending on your edition, you’ll also benefit from terabytes of cloud storage via Drive and advanced admin tools to keep your business secure and compliant.

Google has announced that G Suite has been rebranded as Google Workspace, a moniker that better reflects their diverse product offering and the ethos of the brand in providing everything your organisation needs to work effectively.

With productivity and collaboration at the forefront of every organisation’s needs right now, and digitisation rapidly accelerating due to the pandemic, Google is firmly marketing Google Workspace as the only subscription you need to keep your team on the right track.

https://youtu.be/bE31y5HbukA

What does this mean for my existing G Suite account?

Not a lot, to be honest. You’ll still have access to Gmail and the other applications you may be taking advantage of (though we know for many of you email is possibly the only application you currently use).

In practical terms, you won’t need to lift a finger as the Ballyhoo team will take care of the transition over the coming months as we move your subscription to the correct new Google Workspace tier. Your pricing will remain the same and we will continue to be your point of contact for any administrative queries.

You will, however, see the name of the service change on your Ballyhoo invoices from G Suite to Google Workspace and you may spot the new name and branding during your customer experience when you use Gmail, Docs or any of the other Workspace applications.

What about the future?

We can’t promise Google won’t pull another rebrand out of the bag, that’s for sure! It seems only yesterday that we moved from Google Apps to G Suite! (we’re showing our age, aren’t we?) 

Long before we became a Google Cloud Partner, we used Google Apps in-house for years and soon came to realise that it was the best solution for our clients too, outstripping Outlook and other email clients in ease-of-use, reliability and product experience.

The gamut of additional features and applications that have been added over time have rapidly improved our own collaboration and communication capabilities and we’re excited to see how the Google Workspace evolution takes things even further.

Polls have recently been introduced in Google Meet.

Some features in the pipeline include the ability to collaborate on Docs real-time from within a chatroom environment and use Google Meet picture-in-picture within Docs, Sheets & Slides (as opposed to forsaking face-to-face video for screen sharing). 

We’ll see what else the future holds! Picture-in-picture is certainly something that the Ballyhoo team will benefit from while many of us continue to work remotely.

If you have any questions about Google Workspace or cloud collaboration tools please reach out to us on 0121 295 5352 or email support@ballyhoo.co.uk to speak with the team.

GDPR, Ballyhoo & You

February 28th, 2018 by

GDPR is starting to become a familiar acronym. You may be aware of upcoming changes to the law concerning privacy, and perhaps you’ve even received a few scary emails saying that the end of data protection as we know it is nigh.

But what is it all about, really? And how will it affect your website? We want to let you know in real terms what you need to know and how Ballyhoo will aim to help you transition to new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements.

Disclaimer: This article provides an overview of GDPR and does not constitute legal advice. Ballyhoo’s focus is on how to become website-compliant, and we have partnered with the specialist security firm, Aristi, should you require more in-depth information on best-practice within your organisation.

Are you ready for GDPR? Are you?!

GDPR will mean a shake-up of how we manage data consent and requires more stringent policies and possible changes to your website and data storage.

Despite the law not being enforceable until May 2018, we’ve already seen a lot of information circulating about how to comply. And quite rightly, it’s much better to prepare.

GDPR will mean a shake-up of how we manage data consent and requires more stringent policies and possible changes to your website and data storage. However, in the grand scheme of things, this is a positive development and, with a little foresight and proper management, it should be reasonably painless – especially if you are already on top of your duties under the Data Protection Act.

If you’re in any doubt about how to comply and what changes you may need to make to your website (and we can almost guarantee there will be some), we’ve created a GDPR audit service especially to help you meet your obligations.

So, what is GDPR?

GDPR is a new European Directive which focuses on the rights of the individual. It is being introduced to give people more control over how and where their data is in use.

GDPR supersedes the Data Protection Act 1998 (the DPA). We’ve made many technological advances in recent years, so GDPR takes into account how these affect the way we now store and use personal data. If you are already DPA-compliant, you are on the right track and may find that not much has to change.

As a website owner, you are responsible for any data received through your website; at a minimum, you probably have at least one contact form on your site. It’s more complicated for those of you who are selling products or taking bookings online as the amount of personal data required to carry out the purpose of the website increases.

Personal data now includes other information that can be used to identify an individual, other than the information they actively provide to you, like cookies stored on their devices and IP addresses.

Should anything go amiss, you’ll also have a legal obligation to report any data breaches promptly and in their entirety to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

When does GDPR come into force?

Despite the UK leaving the EU, our requirement to adhere to GDPR will not be affected, and compliance with legislation becomes mandatory on 25th May 2018.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t start complying straight away. Many businesses are already rolling out their GDPR-compliant privacy policies and systems, with the intention of ironing out the kinks over coming months.

To whom or what does GDPR apply?

Different rules apply depending on the size and scale of your organisation, but the basics are the same, whether you are an individual or a company. You might be large enough to have a dedicated data controller who can take the lead on GDPR, but many of the companies we work with aren’t, so we’ll do what we can to help you meet your responsibilities.

How enforceable is GDPR?

As a small business owner or SME, you still have a legal duty to comply, even if you’re not sure you’re large enough to be on the ICO’s radar. You shouldn’t face any sleepless nights as long as you protect the interests of your users. In a sense, it primarily comes down to ethics:

  • Are you giving customers enough information about how you will use their data?
  • Are they able to opt-in (as opposed to opt-out) of communications when they hand over their details?
  • Do they have the right to withdraw consent, if given, at a later date?
  • Are you doing your utmost to protect their data while it is in your possession?

We can see similarities here with the “Cookie Law” of 2011. Scaremongering was commonplace when this was introduced, and many websites went a bit OTT, but as long as you employ best practice, you should have nothing to fear.

However, you should be aware that non-compliance carries fines of up to €20 million or 4% of global annual turnover, whichever is greater.

What is Ballyhoo doing to comply?

New Projects

From now on, we will develop every project undertaken by Ballyhoo with GDPR in mind, in advance of the law coming into force. We will discuss the requirements for compliance with clients and ensure everyone knows their responsibilities.

Existing Projects

Ultimately, the onus is on you as a site owner to comply with GDPR, but we’ll do everything we can to help. For existing websites that we have built or manage, first and foremost we recommend that you take advantage of our new GDPR audit service.

Our audit has been designed to take a snapshot of your website or application so we can pinpoint where and how to make improvements. You’ll receive a report detailing our findings, and we can then work with you to implement a plan of action. Alternatively, you can take the audit results away and work through them at your own pace, or even with someone else if you prefer.

Typically we’ll look at:

  • Data encryption and SSL
  • User registration and contact forms
  • Opt-in and explicit permission for communications
  • Privacy policies
  • Existing stored data

Hosting

We will ensure that our hosting service has rigorous security protocols in place to protect data, and we’re currently working on a new hosting infrastructure to improve our service offering using the latest technologies and protocols. More will be announced on this soon.

In-House

As for Ballyhoo’s website and systems, we will soon be introducing a new website privacy policy on ballyhoo.co.uk and carrying out an internal data protection audit so that we know precisely how and where we are collecting, using and storing data.

New information and best practice on GDPR is continually coming to light so we will be monitoring the situation closely in the lead up to May 2018 and will keep you apprised of anything else we think you need to know.

Using Google Drive to Share Files and Folders

January 24th, 2018 by

We get many enquiries asking if there is a way for team members to access the same folder or documents in one place, and the answer is yes. Google Drive gives you the option to create, share and access documents and folders with your team, we have created a demonstration below to help you get to grips and understand how to do this.

Step 1 – Access Google Drive

Log into Google Mail and click on the Google Apps button in the top right corner:  Google Apps Drive select screenshot
Select Drive from the menu: Google Apps Drive select screenshot

Step 2 – Create a new folder

Click on the “New” button in the top left and select “New Folder”: Google Drive new folder screenshot
Give the new folder a name and click create: Google Drive rename folder screenshot

Step 3 – Add Content to Your Google Drive Folder

Double click to enter the folder. Once you’re in, content can then be dropped into the browser and added to the folder: Google Drive upload content screenshot
Alternatively, content can be added by clicking the new button in the top left and selecting “File Upload” or “Folder Upload”: Google Drive add new folder or file screenshot

Step 4 – Share the folder

Once your folder has been created and documents have been added, you can now share it with your team by clicking on the folder name located at the top of the screen and selecting Share: Google Drive navigation screenshot
Enter the names or email addresses of the people that you want to share the folder with: Google Drive sharing screenshot

Any files or folders that are now added within this folder, by anyone, will automatically appear for everyone that the folder is shared with.


If you are still unsure or have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to contact Ballyhoo today on 0121 222 5870, email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk or fill out the contact form on our contact page.

Web Browser SSL Certificate Warnings

June 6th, 2017 by

SSL certificates are a key security measure in many websites as they show users your website is one to trust. This is done by encrypting users’ personal data so that it is unreadable by anyone besides the intended party.

Browsers have recently begun warning users that a website does not contain an SSL certificate, even on websites with a simple login form, in a bid to help prevent private details being stolen. Evidence that an SSL certificate is in place can be found in the browser address bar, typically displayed in the form of a padlock.

Why is SSL So Important?

Many website owners are unaware as to why an SSL certificate is so important and do not see the point in spending money on one. However, search engines such as Google have started penalising unsecure websites, whilst web browsers are also making it hard for users to gain access to them by producing warning signs stating that a website is untrustworthy.

This has without a doubt caused users to move to alternative websites that hold a certificate as they do not want to risk placing their personal information such as addresses and card details into a website that may be deemed as a risk.

Warning Signs

Browsers have now created warning signs that tell users a website is untrustworthy.

The warning signs shown all vary in wording and functionality, although some are as basic as placing an open padlock with an red ‘x’ overlapping in the address bar. Others have a clear warning explaining why a website should not be trusted, whilst a handful do not give users the option to continue and, as an alternative, they have to go through advanced settings to finally get into the website.

This will only cause negative effects on your user experience as people will find it too much of a hassle having to complete steps in order to gain access and some may feel a sense of doubt if search engines are questioning if they should be using your website. Therefore, visits will start to deteriorate and income may be lost.

Search Engine Punishment

Search engines crawl websites multiple times a day to determine which are of highest quality out of the bunch. From this, they push those well structured, informative websites to the top of the rankings, meaning they can be easily found on Google, for example.

Search engines have recently emphasised their focus on SSL certificates, especially on websites that hold a login functionality for users to decide where they should position each website.

If your website does not hold an SSL certificate, search engines could potentially push secure websites above yours, meaning users have to scroll through multiple pages in order to finally find your website. No one is, therefore, seeing what you have to offer and will not land on your website or purchase any of your services or products.

What Can You Do to Avoid This?

In order to ensure this doesn’t happen to you, it is vital that you install an SSL certificate. Ballyhoo offer SSL certificate services to ensure your website has the highest level of security. To find out more, get in touch by calling 0121 295 5352, email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk or via the contact form on our contact page.

Ballyhoo Are Accepting Online Payments

May 30th, 2017 by

You can now choose to pay your invoices online as soon as we send an email requesting a payment and can even automate future payments to ensure one is never missed.

How does it work?

In order to help you get to grips with paying online, we have created a guide to show how easy it can be to set up a recurring payment.

Step 1

  • We’ll send you an invoice, click “Pay Online” to start.

Step 2

  • Next you will be sent to a form which allows you to see the total price and enter your billing address and card information.

Step 3

  • After you’ve filled in your details, tick the box to save card details and automate payments – when complete, press ‘Pay Now’.

Step 4

  • Once all your details have been verified you will receive a confirmation email that your payment has been sent.

If you need any help setting up a recurring payment, or for a one-off payment, please feel free to get in touch. Any member of the Ballyhoo team will be happy to help and can be contacted by telephone on 0121 295 5352, email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk or via the contact form on our contact page.

How To Organise Your Website Content

April 30th, 2015 by

Once you’ve commissioned a web design project the time inevitably comes to organise the content you want to display on your new website. This can be a daunting task but with a methodical, organised approach you can make this job a bit easier on yourself (or whomever you’ve tasked with writing your copy!) and, in turn, your web designer.

Planning

The first thing you need to do is identify which pages you need on your website to get key information across to your website visitors.

Some topics will be more important than others. For example, as a web design agency, visitors to the Ballyhoo website are mainly looking for information about our services, company, projects and contact details. These are therefore all important enough to have dedicated pages on our website and be accessible via the main menu. Other areas, such as job opportunities and side projects like Longbridge Device Lab, are not as important so they can be featured less prominently.

Try making a list of which topics you need to cover and then prioritise them. You may find that some topics can be naturally grouped together under one page or that there may be a lot to say about certains items which will mean a dedicated page is better suited.

Structure

Your website structure can be a tricky one to get your head around, particularly if there’s a lot you need to convey through your content. Pages must have a defined hierarchy whereby the route you have taken to particular content can be clearly retraced. In other words, every page must have a parent.

For us, the simplest way to think about things is by picturing your website using a tree structure. Your home page is the trunk from which all branches stem. Branches can have many smaller branches (sub-pages) but if you trace the tip of a small branch all the way back through its parent branches you’ll get to the trunk.

Following the diagram below, using a web design company like Ballyhoo as an example, to reach the page “Custom Booking Systems” you must follow the path Home > Services > Web Design > Custom Booking Systems. You’ll often see this path displayed on websites you visit in what we call “breadcrumbs” (as in, they help you find your way back home – for an example, take a look at the top of this page).

Grab a pen and some paper and try mapping out your website using a tree structure. Don’t worry if it takes several drafts to come up with something you are happy with. Once you have finalised this, keep it handy for easy reference and create a digital version like the above if possible. This will be very handy for your web designer to refer to when adding your content. Note: if your website structure is particularly complex a bulleted list with indents for each level may be better suited.

Copywriting

Firstly, if you’re not a natural writer and you struggle to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be, please consider hiring a copywriter. Ballyhoo, for example, provide excellent copywriting alongside our web development services as we understand how important good copy is. Although this may not be something you’ve budgeted for it may save you money in the long run as your time can be better spent on what you’re good at rather than wasted staring at a blank computer screen.

If you feel confident or have someone to entrust this task to then please read on. These are our top tips for writing and providing good content for your website:

  • In terms of how much to write, the general rule is to aim for approximately 500 words per page.
  • Write the content for each page in separate documents (e.g. in Word). This will make it easier for you to reference pages in the future and will also cut down your developer’s time getting organised.
  • Try writing the main points you want to cover in short bullet points to start with, you can then expand on these as you write the page proper. Having this list to reference also ensures you don’t forget any important points.
  • Don’t keyword-stuff your copy, ensure it flows naturally. If you are writing relevant copy then the keywords you naturally need to target should appear at regular intervals anyway.
  • Always remember to spell check! It’s surprising how many forget to do this. Also ensure your spellchecker is set to British English so that words are spelled using local rules.
  • Have a trusted colleague or friend proofread everything you’ve written. By the time you’ve written, read and re-read your copy it can all become a blur and mistakes can become less obvious.

Have a go at writing one page of the content that you have identified, timing how long it takes (it should take you around an hour to write 500 words).

Media

In addition to your copy you may also want to include relevant media to support your text. Anything from photos and videos to downloadable PDFs come under this umbrella.

The main thing you need to remember before you send media your web designer’s way is to properly name every file and ensure that every reference to said files are clear and correct within the documents you’ve created for each page.

Ensure that you have permission to use any media files you send to your web designer. If not you may risk legal proceedings and be forced to pay royalties or at the very least take down the files.


If you would like any assistance planning or creating your website content feel free to get in touch with the Ballyhoo team on 0121 295 5352 or by email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk.

Do I Need an SSL Certificate?

September 23rd, 2014 by

We’ve been looking at the importance and potential impact of SSL certificates, following reports that they can improve your website’s search engine performance.

What is an SSL certificate?

If you’re not already familiar with website security, the first question you’re bound to be asking is, “What’s an SSL certificate?”.

In the most basic terms, an SSL certificate encrypts communication data between you and the website you are using.

When using a website, information is passed between your device (be it PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone) and the server on which the website is hosted. For example, when you type a domain name into your browser you are sending a request to the site’s server which will return the home page. Every time you click on a new page or link, the same digital conversation takes place.

Security becomes an issue when you send private information like contact or purchase details through online forms. Understandably, you won’t want your private details to be seen by the wrong eyes. This is why SSL certificates are needed.

An SSL certificate is essentially an encryption key that can be installed on the hosting server to allow it to secure and encrypt the connection between a website and its users. When installed correctly, all information passing to and from the website will be encoded so if anyone “eavesdrops” on the conversation they won’t be able to make any sense of the information.

Why are SSL certificates important?

If you collect credit card details online then it is a legal requirement that you have an SSL certificate installed to ensure the payment information is encrypted when sent to your hosting server.

If you collect personal details from visitors to your website then it is not essential but recommended to have an SSL in place.

Should I install an SSL certificate?

In recent months Google have admitted that they are now prioritising websites that have SSL certificates in their search results. It is thought that, in their mission to connect users with the websites they can trust, Google only wants to send traffic to sites that have shown their dedication to online security by encrypting their data.

Bear in mind that there are hundreds of other factors that will dictate how well you rank in search engines, and Google themselves have stated they are considering this a “very lightweight signal”, so don’t expect that simply installing an SSL certificate will make a significant impact on your search engine rankings.

However, over time Google are planning to increase the importance of SSL certificates in their algorithms which may mean they will become a necessity in the future.

What types of certificate are there?

There are a few options when it comes to SSL certificates. The most basic offering known as Domain Validation will simply encrypt the connection to your website and show your users a padlock symbol to indicate that the connection is secure. For most websites this is sufficient and a certificate of this kind can often be obtained on the same day you request it. Costs vary between suppliers, with some granting bigger warranties if anything goes wrong with a certificate they issue – but it is very rare that this comes into play.

There is also a more advanced option which will not only secure the connection but additionally verify you as a business. This is know as an Extended Validation certificate and is considerably more expensive than the standard variety. In most modern browsers, the address bar will go green and your company name will be prominently shown. This proves to your users that they are communicating with the business they want to interact with. This is particularly useful for e-commerce websites selling goods online as the extra re-assurance this gives potential customers can mean the difference between a sale and a lost visitor.

What we offer

At Ballyhoo we offer a mix of certificates for the range of businesses we work with starting from just £5.95 per month. We manage the application process (not a simple process for Extended Validation certificates), provide you with a dedicated IP address and install and renew the certificate on your behalf – all for a low monthly fee.

Our advice is that an SSL certificate, even at the most basic level, is certainly worth considering, especially as part of a more rounded marketing strategy for your website. If this is something you are interested in, please let us know as we offer competitive Online Marketing packages to drive traffic to your website.

To discuss SSL certificates with us in more detail or to place an order please get in touch.

Embedding a YouTube Video on Your Website

August 8th, 2013 by

Videos are handy for a number of reasons. Whether they are there to provide instructions, introduce a new product or simply just to show fluffy animals doing stupid things; they can be a valuable addition to your website. Embedding videos on your website, rather than linking to one that is hosted elsewhere, means that your readers can view them without leaving your website as well as giving you the opportunity to create extra content on your site, which we all know search engines like to see.

So you’ve already got your video uploaded to YouTube, or you are planning on using someone else’s video (with their permission of course), but how do you embed that video into your website for your visitors to see?

How to Embed a YouTube Video on Your Website

Step One

First of all, you need to upload or find the video that you want to use on YouTube. Once you have found it look below the video to see the sharing options. By default you are shown the social sharing options allowing you to post the video directly to your favourite social network but in this instance we want to embed the video on your website so click on Embed and you should see something like this:

Step Two

Once you click on the Embed link you are presented with a snippet of code. This is the code that you will use on your website to embed the video but, before we proceed, there are some options that we can choose from.

  • Video Size: This simply allows you to choose the size that your video will appear on your website, you can chose from one of the preset sizes or select a custom size (if you choose this option bear in mind that you will need to get the ratio right or your video may appear out of proportion).
  • Show Suggested video when the video finishes: This one is fairly self-explanatory, it simply allows you to select whether you want YouTube to suggest similar videos whne your video has finished playing.
  • Enable privacy-enhanced mode: Enabling this option means that YouTube won’t store information about visitors on your web page unless they play the video.
  • Use old embed code: Some sites only support the old embed code, so if a site rejects the new embed code, check the Use old embed code option under the embed code, which will generate a code that begins with ‘<object…’.

Step Three

Once you have set your preferences it’s time to copy the snippet of code to the clipboard by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl + C on your keyboard. Once you have done this you can head over to the page of your website that you want to add your video to. For the purpose of this exercise I will assume that you already know how to edit the content of your page using Ballyhoo Refresh, Ballyhoo Commerce or which ever content management system you are using.

Step Four

In this step we want to edit the HTML of the page that we want to add the video to. In Ballyhoo systems there is a small button at the bottom right hand side of the editing window:

Step Five

Once you have clicked the button to edit the HTML source a window called the HTML Source Editor will pop up allowing you to edit the source code. Locate the point in the page that you want your video to appear and insert the text that you previously copied to your clipboard. Let’s say, for example, I want my video to appear at the bottom of my post – to do this I will scroll down to the end of my last paragraph and insert the text just below it:

Congratulations

There you have it, your video should now be embedded on your website (you may need to refresh the page before the video will appear – to do this quickly just press F5 on you keyboard). Getting your video to appear exactly in the right position may be a little tricky so have a play around with where you put your code. Any extra styling – centring your video, adding a border, getting your video to start at a certain point or having your video automatically play when someone lands on the page – may require input from an experienced developer so feel free to get in touch if you get stuck and we’ll see if we can help.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for… the finished embedded video. I know you’ve being dying to see a confused fluffy kitten – just press play!

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

March 22nd, 2013 by

We’ve recently changed our approach to improving the success of our customers’ websites, moving to a broader online marketing service that targets more quality traffic and conversions rather than just trying to improve search engine rankings.

SEO is still plays a big part for many of the sites we manage but it’s important to remember that other online marketing methods might be more fruitful, bringing in a bigger return on your investment – whether that’s your own time or the money you’re paying a company like us. Search engines are also notoriously secretive about their methods which means the ‘rules’ of SEO are constantly changing, and often these are only discovered through a system of trial and error and conjecture anyway.

Despite search engine optimisation having been on the scene for many years now we are still often asked exactly what it is. There’s no hard and fast answer but hopefully the following will help make things a bit clearer.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO as it is widely referred to, is a broad term for a number of activities that will help strengthen your website’s popularity and therefore improve its position in search engine rankings.

Search engine traffic accounts for billions of sales in the UK alone and the industry of optimising websites for search engines has fast become one of the most talked about and competitive in the web design world. As a business owner or manager responsible for a website you need to make considerable efforts to stay ahead of your competition in this sector.

Your website, no matter which industry you operate in, will generally be found by prospective customers using a range of keywords. Keywords are specific words or phrases that apply to your products or services, for example in the web design industry typical keywords would be ‘website design’, ‘web development’ and ‘web designer’. The number of keywords your site falls under is not restricted and the keywords you focus on can be further broken up into subsets including plurals and regional terms. Search engine optimisation looks at how well you rank in search engines for your chosen keywords and then considers ways to improve your visibility under these terms.

Improving the search engine rankings for your keyword list is achieved using a number of methods. These focus on specific areas of your website, taking into account internal and external factors such as the quality of links to your website and the content of your pages.

Many different types of media are used to increase awareness of your website and much care should be taken to ensure that any sites linking to you are of a high quality. Typical activities thought to aid search engine optimisation in the past have included interaction on social media sites, making worthwhile comments about relevant topics in blogs and forums, posting demonstration or educational videos to sites like YouTube and adding your website to online directories so that customers can easily find your products and services (though please be aware that not all of these will have a beneficial effect today).

Internal factors that affect how well your website is received include the quality of your website content and the way your products and services are presented to the public. Elements such as high quality images, fast load times and well-written content all affect how well your website performs.

It must be been noted that the factors search engines like Google take into account when evaluating your position in their rankings change frequently. Search engine algorithms are not released to the public so in many ways SEO is a system of trial and error, and what may work well one month may not necessarily achieve results the next.

Search engine experts are always trying to stay one step ahead of the game and, based on their experience, will find the best way to promote your website through the search engine rankings on all of the top search engines. It can take considerable effort to create the number of advantageous link sources and quality content required to allow a site to achieve the best possible search engine results so it is always recommended that you hand the responsibility of increasing your search engine traffic to an experienced company with a proven record of results.

Like all aspects of business, hard-work and determination can go a long way when it comes to SEO and your willingness to invest in such a service could make the difference between an online presence and online success.