Archive for the ‘Online presence’ Category

The changing face of websites

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

What a long way we’ve come in the past few years. From websites that invested heavily in words and told the visitor EVERYTHING to a more sophisticated, image-led approach that tempts the user into finding out more. This is a broad overview of how websites have changed but of course there is so much more and, importantly, much more to come…

Design

You’ll know an older website design as soon as you see it – boxy, contained, no scrolling and lots and lots of pages. The new trend is for image heavy sites that have a wonderfully long home page with lots of access points to key places on your site. It will be fluid and not restricted to a box template and, importantly (but still not adopted everywhere), websites that work on every type of device.

Accessibility

Older sites are clunky and hard to navigate. The user experience can be frustrating but equally so for the website owner – you should be able to get in to your own website and make at least basic changes without incurring costs from your web provider. There will be probably always be a need for support at a higher level but the ability to change opening hours, typos and update crucial information should be at your fingertips.

Images versus words

We were crazy for telling the user everything – now you should hold back, create a breadcrumb trail to tempt your visitor to find out more (and preferably by picking up the phone and talking – the basis of all good professional relationships). Images include real photos (avoid stock if you can) and video if you have the resources. Videos are perfectly acceptable at phone video standard and the rawness of an unprofessional film can be charming and honest.

Google’s role

Increasingly Google has started to shape the way we choose websites. It favours websites with fresh, changing content. It likes https to indicate the security level of your site. And it likes websites to have good content, relevant and informative. This doesn’t mean it should be long and unwieldy – just enough to make sense and satisfy a Google search. Also don’t try and outwit Google, we promise they are cleverer than all of us! Duplicated pages, hidden pages or even association with some SEO providers can result in your site being banned from their index.

Websites are amazing, they achieve so much for the businesses they represent but it’s easy to get left behind. Talk to us – we can help with security, visibility and functionality with our client portal and online signing functions.

 

 

Why https is better than http…

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

What is http, let alone https? Well, http – the prefix to your web address stands for “Hypertext Transfer Protocol” and with the additional s? “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure”. The s actually stands for Secure Socket Layer Secure and that extra s makes all the difference for 3 key reasons.

Reason 1:Https helps with SEO – when it comes to a competing Google search, you’ll always outrank any other business with the additional security layer provided by the s in https. Google favours security conscious companies, it’s that simple.

Reason 2: Https adds an additional layer of security so what’s not to love about that? Anyone who is keen to protect their clients’ sensitive data should consider https as essential.

Reason 3: Improved AMP (sorry another acronym). AMP is Google’s way of loading mobile pages quickly – Accelerated Mobile Pages. It needs https to work.

If these 3 reasons aren’t enough – SEO, security and mobile-responsiveness – talk to us and we’ll explain more.

Why all kinds of organisations should be using docSAFE

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

We traditionally provide docSAFE to the professions who demand top security and client confidentiality (among other things). However we are seeing docSAFE rise in popularity with other sectors, almost by accident but with very good reason.

You may have seen a mailer we sent out recently that illustrated how the NHS had suffered a huge breach of data of its junior doctors in the north-east. We researched this and found that the NHS staff use of WhatsApp is also widespread which is really worrying.

Organisations that hold any personal data, especially publicly accountable organisations, should be using systems to communicate that are extremely secure. docSAFE has been designed to be secure on a number of key levels – secure login (using 2-factor authentication), secure portal in which to exchange messages and documents, online signing, to be GDPR compliant, offer automatic backups to secure EU based servers and much more.

By using a portal instead of email, for example, the message sit in the cloud until the recipient accesses it. By return, the responses sit in the cloud until the sender accesses it. Both are notified and know the information is there – but it’s locked away safely, staying put, not flying through the ether.

We are expecting more uptake of docSAFE by schools, colleges, universities, doctors and hospitals and similar organisations where security simply cannot be the weak link. Talk to us if you think we can help with your secure communications.

Are you still emailing sensitive information?

Monday, June 12th, 2017

For any professional managing information on behalf of clients, email is dead. It is not secure and highly susceptible to human error. How many times have you sent information to or received information from the wrong source? I am regularly wrongly emailed client documents by a highly intelligent, trusted professional simply because I have a very similar name to his client. It is completely understandable but it could have any number of repercussions.

A client portal is a cloud-based safe. The documents go in (added by you or your client), the recipient is notified and they are then retrieved. It is also subject to several layers of top-level security.

For the sake of your practice, your reputation and your clients’ trust, switch from email to a secure client portal before it is too late. We can help, advise and support a quick transition to a much safer and more professional way to communicate.

How strong is your online presence?

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

This is a great time of year to review things – work practices, your website, how strong your social media is as well as many other parts of your business. A break or holiday sometimes lets you step back a little so you can see areas for improvement. At Online Practice, we look at your online presence in detail. This is a mix of your website, social media and any other activities such as blogs or press activity.

How you are portrayed online is vital to the way you are perceived – by clients, suppliers and even other firms within your sector. A dry, unchanging, outdated website with nothing new can sometimes be worse than not having an online presence at all. It smacks of neglect and a lack of dynamism that is actually not too hard to correct.

A fresh new look to your website to bring it bang up to date, the addition of an interesting blog page and filtering this into bite-size chunks for your social media platforms is surprisingly easy and low maintenance. We can even take it one stage further and create a bespoke monthly newsletter so you communicate with your clients in an informative and regular way.

Talk to us and see how we can advise you to do things better. It’s what we do best.

 

Take the next step, call us today
0121 794 0685