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A 5 Minute Guide To GDPR

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few years then you will have heard about GDPR. You will of heard of how these changes to the law could potentially affect your business. You may be wondering how your business in particular can stay on the right side of the law. Especially if you make use of mailing lists and collect personal information from your customers and website users.  

To understand the risks associated with GDPR it’s important to know a bit more about what the law is Essentially. It was brought in to protect users from having their data misused. Thus it places a high emphasis on the importance of consent and proper data management. 

The GDPR is designed to be a robust version of the Data Protection Act which grants more protection to consumers. The aim is to ensure that businesses have effective and compliant ways of collecting and storing users’ information. To prevent other companies from getting their hands on individuals’ data without their expressed consent. 

GDPR

The main differences between the original Data Protection Act and GDPR are as follows:

  • The definition of ‘personal data’ has been expanded to include information which was previously unprotected. 
  • Companies must seek specific and explicit consent in order to collect and store personally identifiable information such as email addresses. 
  • Further to the above point, users also have a right to be ‘forgotten’ and have their personally identifiable data removed from databases after a certain amount of time even if express consent is given. 
  • Users must actively opt in to mailing lists and other data processing rather than using ‘soft’ opt ins.
  • Some businesses are required to appoint data protection officers who will be responsible for making sure data collection within the company is compliant.
  • New legislation extends to companies outside the EU which deal with data from EU sources. 
  • Companies are now operating with a duty to report any data breaches to the Information Commissioner within a predetermined time frame.
  • More extensive penalties have been introduced for those found to be non-compliant including fines of €20 million or more. 

These points represent big changes in the way businesses handle their customers’ and site users’ data. To assess your site for GDPR compliance you can use the following list as a starting point:

  • A privacy notice must be listed on your site which details how and why data is collected.
  • When collecting new user information you must make sure your process takes users’ new extended rights into consideration
  • Express consent must be given for any data collected, and if this data comes from children then age verification and express parental consent must be sought. 

GDPR

It’s a good idea to carry out an audit of all the data you currently store to make sure it is compliant. Previous ‘soft’ opt-ins may no longer be permitted under the new guidelines. You should also bear in mind that data which has been on file for a while may be infringing on users’ rights to be ‘forgotten’ after a certain time frame. 

This is especially important if your business utilises email marketing to engage with customers and users. So be sure to ensure all of your databases are compliant and in line with the new law. If you are new to email marketing, then it’s good practise to make sure your venture is compliant before you start collecting information. 

A further note we’d like to add is that cookies are also covered under GDPR changes. If you want to make use of cookies on your site then you must also get consent from your users. You are obliged to let users know that the cookies are there. What they are for and why, and you must seek the user’s consent to use the cookies with their device. 

We’d always recommend getting assistance from a professional who specialises in GDPR and data protection if you’re unsure of anything. 

When it comes to building a newsletter opt in form and making sure your privacy notice is up and running correctly. Then it’s highly recommended that you consult with a specialist. Luckily, this is something we carry out regularly and are more than happy to help with. 

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Why Your Site Needs A Dedicated Server.

If you’re not a techie, you may have heard about hosting and dedicated server in passing and not paid them too much attention. It’s easy to think of them as ‘one of those things’ and dismiss them. Especially when you’re busy with the many other aspects of running a business. 

The thing is, they can be almost as important as having a working website in the first place. To understand why hosting and servers are so important to your website we need to know a little bit about what they are and what they do. 

The word ‘server’ refers to programs and computers which store all the bits of information which make up a website. When a user wants to view a site, they will either  type the site URL into a browser or click a link. This connects their computer with the server that stores the site they want to view. 

Digidude Web Design

The server then retrieves the requested site and ‘serves’ the site information to their computer through the browser. ‘Hosting’ is just a term used to describe the action of storing a site on a server, as in the server ‘hosts’ the website information and therefore carries out a hosting service. Simple enough, right?  

Kinda, but there’s a bit more to it than our quick explainer. There are a whole bunch of factors relating to your hosting service which will affect your site. Such as the amount of website data which is stored on each server, and issues that can stem from sharing an IP address (a unique ‘address’ which identifies each server) with other websites. 

Most basic hosting packages will store multiple sites on each server which can lead to traffic jams as well as potential security issues and even IP address blacklisting. The fact that shared servers are relatively cheap makes them an appealing prospect. But you can avoid the vast majority of issues associated with shared servers by opting for a dedicated server. 

What Is A Dedicated Server?

Dedicated servers provide a hosting service in the same way that shared servers do. The main difference being that a dedicated server only serves one organisation, company or individual. A company or organisation which hosts their website on a dedicated server has exclusive use of that server, and therefore a unique IP address, and it’s like having an in-house server without needing to cover overhead costs for specialist equipment and maintenance. 

What Are The Benefits?

Flexibility

One of the main benefits to choosing a dedicated server is that you get much more flexibility. The server itself can be customised to meet your exact needs, giving you the choice to include the applications, platforms and software that will give your specific site the best environment. 

Cost effectiveness

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but dedicated servers are more cost effective than you might think. Especially when you have a robust hosting package which includes network maintenance and maintaining server hardware. Essentially this means you can rent a dedicated server without having to pay out for the associated hardware. You definitely get more bang for your buck when opting for dedicated servers and hosting!

Better performance

Once your dedicated server is set up, it only has one mission. To direct resources and handle requests for your site alone. The fact that resources are not being shared among other sites on a shared server means that your site load speeds can be dramatically improved compared to speeds you can get from shared and cloud servers, as well as allowing your site to handle greater volumes of traffic and take traffic spikes in its stride. Aside from the obvious benefit of improving user experience, site speed is also very important for search engine optimisation.

Better security

The fact that shared servers can be accessed by anyone who also has use of the server makes them more vulnerable to infiltration and data loss. Making use of a dedicated server reduces your chances of being victim to DDoS attacks and other breaches and furthermore you will know for sure that you’re not sharing a server (and therefore an IP address) with a malicious or spam site. 

Next Level Hosting With Digidude

We specialise in building innovative custom sites which pair perfectly with dedicated hosting. So if you’re looking for the complete package then don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Custom built websites
  • Hosting on a dedicated server, with weekly backups
  • High performance and reliability
  • 24/7 on-going technical support
  • Regularly updated software and plugins
  • Security-first approach
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How Often Should You be Updating Content?

How often you updating content on your website does ultimately depend on the kind of business you have. Some benefit from regular updates and others can go longer before seeing negative effects. But the vast majority will need to be refreshed occasionally as a minimum.

There are basically two things that are likely to need updating to keep everything running smoothly and performing as it should: site content and the site infrastructure. Content refers to written words and images, whereas the site infrastructure refers to all the parts that make up the site and affect the way it looks and functions. 

Updating Content

Search engines take cues from websites which affect how well they will rank. Therefore how close they get to being the number 1 result when a person makes a search query. Some of the cues that are used to assess the site relate to the quality and freshness of the content. 

The kind of content you will want to ensure is kept as relevant and fresh as possible extends to blogs, category and product pages, and any informational pages such FAQs and resource sections. Unfortunately, refreshing your content isn’t enough to guarantee results on its own. But paired with other search engine optimisation techniques it will give your site the best chance to rank and perform well. 

Like with most things, there are a couple of caveats to help you decide whether your website is the kind that will benefit from regular content updates. Firstly, if your site is scientific, research based, or offers in-depth information about a specific topic or industry then the written content isn’t likely to change all that often. With this kind of site, it is considered good practice to have detailed, authoritative content on specific topics which are unlikely to need updating over time. This is known as ‘evergreen content’ and should only need occasional updates to keep it relevant. 

Sites which tend to need more frequent updates are sites which cover current and trending topics. These often benefit from a daily update as the sectors are known for moving quickly. It’s not really possible to update these kinds of websites too frequently. In fact, the more often they can be updated the better. 

Updating Infrastructure

While the content side of things is pretty straightforward, it can be a little trickier to know when the website itself could do with an update and indeed which parts to update and which to leave as they are. For many companies a website is their main source of conversions and revenue. Therfore it’s vital to make sure everything is in good order by updating content. 

To give you a better idea of whether your site structure needs updating you should consider carrying out a performance review as your first step. This will give you valuable insights into your website such as page load speeds, how easily the site can be navigated, and the internal page structure. Your company should use this as a good starting point. It will help draw your attention to any areas of the site which need a little TLC. 

It’s always a good idea to research your market thoroughly before you plan any changes. You can see what your competitors are doing and how closely your website aligns with others in the industry. You should also be using analytical data from your site. Now you can see how your users behave and to get an idea of your growth trajectory. 

Contact Digidude Web Design 

Of course, site updates don’t have to be as extensive as having a new site built every few years; it’s more likely that your site will need smaller changes on a slightly more regular basis. For example, if you use shared servers to host your site you may notice a point at which the number of visitors has grown and site performance seems to be slowing down. This could be remedied by opting for a dedicated server to improve capacity and better handle a higher volume of users. 

Most sites will need some form of updating content every year or so. Whether that is updating security features, switching your hosting plan, or more general maintenance work to keep things ticking over. Some of this can be done by those with a little technical know-how but it can be risky. Website updates can negatively affect your site’s performance and conversion rates. Therfore we always recommend leaving the planning and implementation of updates to the professionals. 

Contact Digidude Web Design 

If your site could do with a refresher then don’t hesitate to contact our team at Digidude Web Design. We specialise in:

  • Web design
  • Updating Content
  • SEO
  • Web development
  • E-commerce
  • Hosting and support
  • Web maintenance
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