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How-To’s

Google security changes mean you may need an SSL certificate

Changes to how Google Chrome treats standard HTTP websites mean that sites which collect any form of data – even simple contact forms or site search – will need a security certificate or risk being labelled as “not secure”.

Currently, where a site runs without an SSL security certificate, Google flags pages that collect client information using a “i” before the URL in the browser URL field.

SSL certificates have traditionally been used for sites that collect sensitive personal and financial data, to ensure that any data is encrypted and secure. Many websites that collect non-sensitive information have operated without SSL certificates, and simply had the pages that include forms etc subtly marked by Google Chrome.

However, all that is about to change as Google ramps up its security requirements. From July, sites that currently have any pages marked as not secure will have a stronger warning posted in the URL field across the whole site (see image below)

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.29.58

Google is likely to take this further in future. Alongside this change, any site that has an SSL certificate from cybersecurity software company Symantec will not only be labelled as insecure but any links in Google will take the user straight to a warning page, rather than the site itself.

It is suspected that Google will eventually treat all “non secure” sites in this way.

Certification applies not only to websites but also applications such as webmail and online CMS systems.

We are recommending that all clients who have any form of data capture on their site should now purchase an SSL certificate.

You can check if you have a certificate in a couple of ways:

Call your site up in Google Chrome and check whether there is a “i” in place before your URL. If there is, you will need to get an SSL certificate.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 11.43.04

 

 

If you already have a certificate you should see a padlock symbol instead.

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Get in touch with us on 0117 3250091 or email us  if you think you  may need to get an SSL certificate installed on your site.

Blogging tips – your Starter for 10

We’ve been delivering digital engagement for the Creative England’s Starter for 10 competition, which awarded £10,000 to 10 creative digital businesses in the South West. As part of our ongoing work, we’ve been asked to advise the winners on how to make best use of their ongoing blogs on the competition website. We’re sharing these brief tips here for anyone thinking of starting a blog, or looking to improve their engagement with their blog’s audience.

1: Why are you writing a blog

At the very outset you need to work out what you want to use your blog for. Is it to position you company? Grow your own personal me-brand? Develop awareness in a particular market? Having a strong purpose for you blog from the start will help drive your narrative and make the whole process a lot easier, and more effective.

2: Define your audience

More than anything else, understanding your audience will affect what content you produce and how you use it to talk to them.

Always write with the purpose and the audience in mind – and think about the platforms these audiences use so you can be pro-active in getting your blog – and your name – into their networks.

3: Tell a story

Every one likes a good story, right? Stories are a good way to hook people and keep them engaged. Fit the story to the audience and the purpose and people will join you on your journey.

4: A picture paints a thousands words

Want to blog about the cool changes you’ve just made to your interface? Great – but if I can’t see it, I’m not going to get too excited. Think visual – screenshots, reportage-style pictures of your team at work etc will greatly increase the power of your blog.

5: Video

Video can be a hugely effective way of getting your message across. A screencapture video of your app in action, “live” footage of your product being used in the field – think of this blog, and the platforms it is reaching, as a channel for getting your promotional videos out to a key audience.

6: Length of blog

Keep it brief – 250-300 words is ideal. Any more than that and people could switch off. If you get to the higher end of that total, maybe break up the text with a sub-heading or two to keep it readable.

7: Cross market your blog

Social is all about networks. The SF10 blog is shared across a number of Creative England and other networks, but you will have networks of your own – your personal networks, business organisations, universities etc. Get your blog onto all these networks, on all your platforms and just watch how the traffic increases!

8: Encourage interactions

If people talk about you then they are helping to connect you with others in their network – so extending your reach. Talking can include RT, shares and comments. If your content is good, relevant and engaging that will help people to interact with you. Don’t just push your blog out and leave it hanging – invite interaction from people and networks you think might be interested in it, use people and networks you already have relationships with online to start conversations around it.

9: Measure

If you are spending the time to do all this, you need to make sure it is bringing benefits to your business. Think about the goals you have – why are you doing this blog – and how you can measure this. Is it just the number of interactions with your blog? Or do you want to drill it down to interactions among particular networks are audiences? Do you want the blog to drive people to your site? If you have clear goals and measures in place, it will not only help you see how effective your social media is, but also help shape strategy in order to meet those goals.

10: Perseverance – make the time

Forget marketing – social media is about building and owning relationships and this can lead to customers! This takes time and effort. Your blog should be seen as an opportunity to start conversations and relationships on important networks. These relationships take work, but done well they will be worth it.

Get up and running on Flickr in 5 minutes

I was started writing a guide for a client, to get them up and running using Flickr to upload photos and create galleries to feed onto their website, and I thought I’d make it available a quick primer for anyone starting to use Flickr.

Note: All of the images in this post are available at a larger size, simply click on the image to view.

Getting Started: Uploading

Once you have set your account up (which I’m not going to go into here) you will undoubtedly want to add some photographs.

The first step is to upload some images. When logged in you can access the upload page by following the menus in the header:

You > Upload Photos and Video

You will then be met with the “Upload to Flickr” page. Click on “Choose photos and videos” to have the file selection window opened.

Once you have navigated to the files on your computer you can select multiple files to upload in one go, by selecting all with “Ctrl+A” or clicking on the first, then hold down “Shift” while you click on the last in your folder. You can also select files individually by holding “Ctrl” while you click.

When you are done click “Open”, to see your files added into Flickr’s nifty Flash uploader:

Finally, click “Upload Photos and Videos” button to get the upload going. Presuming you wish for the wider world to view your images you can leave the “Set privacy” on “Public”.

Once all of the files are uploaded you will be greeted with “Finished!”:

Next you will want to add titles, descriptions and tags to the photos, so follow the link to “add a description”.

Tags are a useful way of keywording your photographs, as Flickr says “Tags are like keywords or labels that you add to a photo to make it easier to find later”. People searching Flickr for certain types of photos will be met with your images if your tags are relevant to their search results. You can leave a space between tags, and add as many as you like.

You may also wish to add them to a set as a way of grouping them (more on this below).

Sets, groups, galleries and collections explained

Flickr has various ways of organising photos, using sets, collections, galleries and groups. This nomenclature can be confusing, until you understand what the intended use of each is.

Sets

Sets are just that, a set of photos. These might be a set on a certain topic, or you might simply want to pull together some photographs into one place, such as “The Seaside”, or “New Years Eve”, to link people to or to feed into a slideshow.

Sets are often used when you wish to make a slideshow, as they are an efficient way of pulling together a number of photographs to be displayed together.

Collections

A collection is like a set, but as well as a way of grouping individual photos, you can also group sets. It is a useful way of creating a looser collection of images, such as “December 2010″ which may contain your sets “Family 2010″, “Christmas 2010″ and “New Years Eve”, as well as some individual stragglers that don’t current belong in a set.

Galleries

Galleries are a way of grouping or sharing other peoples photos, as opposed to your own. You act as the curator, bringing together photos into a themed gallery, from your friends’ or fellow photographers’ images.

Galleries support up to 18 public photos or videos.

For an example of a gallery have a look at “Broken wings and flying things” curated by helveticaneue.

Groups

Groups are way of collecting together with other photographers, and creating collections of photographs. You can set a group up and invite people to it, or join an existing group.

Groups are a useful way of sharing photographs, ideas and techniques with other people. Images can be added to a group’s pool, moderated, and discussed. They are a useful social tool, and used widely by those most active on Flickr.

Sets: Adding and removing photos

Once you have created some sets, and uploaded some photographs, you can add and remove photos from sets at any time by visiting:

Organize & Create > Your Sets or by clicking the “Sets” tab when you are in the Organize view.

You will then be met with your available sets (at the top) and your available photographs (along the bottom).

You are able to add photographs to a set by dragging them from the bottom (your available photographs) and dropping them in the set you want the photo to appear in.

You are also able to open individual sets and view the photos in them by double clicking on the set. You will then be able to edit that set’s title, description and photos. In the same way you can drag photos from the bottom to add them into the set, as well as see the existing photographs in that set.

If you want to remove a photo from a set simply drag it from that set and drop it into the bar at the bottom of the page. This bar will now say “Drop a photo or video here to remove it from the set”. This action will not delete the photograph, just stop it from appearing in that set.

Once you have made the appropriate changes to the set’s title, description and photographs make sure you save the changes by pressing “Save” on the left-hand bar.

What others see

One slightly confusing aspect of Flickr is understanding what other people will see when they look at your profile or your photographs or sets.

This is confusing when you are logged in as you will see a range of additional links, buttons and tools to edit your content, which other people won’t see.

If you want to check what others will see try logging out and having a look again at your profile. The link you will need is the one which you are taken to when viewing “Your Photostream”, or clicking on your profile photograph, the link will be of the form http://www.flickr.com/photos/12345678@N01/. This is also the link you can give to people to view your profile. Or, if you’ve created your own Flickr address your URL maybe http://www.flickr.com/photos/custom_username.

When logged in you are able to visit this link to pretty much see what others will see; uploaded photographs on the left, with most recent on the top, and sets and collections on the right.