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How to build trust online

10 Guidelines that you can use to boost your web site’s credibility

yay-13441590-digitalGreat websites bring together form and function. Well-designed websites are seen as more credible, according to a Stanford University study and are actually easier to use (as studied by researcher Don Norman). Here are 10 Guidelines that you can use to boost your web site’s credibility.

These guidelines are based on three years of research that included over 4,500 people.

1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.

You can build web site credibility by providing third-party support (citations, references, source material) for information you present, especially if you link to this evidence. Even if people don’t follow these links, you’ve shown confidence in your material.

2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.

Showing that your web site is for a legitimate organization will boost the site’s credibility. The easiest way to do this is by listing a physical address. Other features can also help, such as posting a photo of your offices or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce.

3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.

Do you have experts on your team? Are your contributors or service providers authorities? Be sure to give their credentials. Are you affiliated with a respected organization? Make that clear. Conversely, don’t link to outside sites that are not credible. Your site becomes less credible by association.

4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.

The first part of this guideline is to show there are real people behind the site and in the organization. Next, find a way to convey their trustworthiness through images or text. For example, some sites post employee bio’s that tell about family or hobbies.

5. Make it easy to contact you.

A simple way to boost your site’s credibility is by making your contact information clear: phone number, physical address, and email address.

6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).

We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.

7. Make your site easy to use and useful.

We’re squeezing two guidelines into one here. Our research shows that sites win credibility points by being both easy to use and useful. Some site operators forget about users when they cater to their own company’s ego or try to show the dazzling things they can do with web technology.

8 .Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).

People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.

9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).

If possible, avoid having ads on your site. If you must have ads, clearly distinguish the sponsored content from your own. Avoid pop-up ads, unless you don’t mind annoying users and losing credibility. As for writing style, try to be clear, direct, and sincere.

10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.

Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility more than most people imagine. It’s also important to keep your site up and running.

Buying a Domain Name : Checklist

Apollo-13I like to break things down in to their most simple actions:

It’s easy to think something simple like buying a domain name will only take 2 minutes. However if you break it down there are actually a number of actions you need to perform.

  1. Decide on the name you want (1hr) - https://instantdomainsearch.com/
    • Start with a Brainstorm – MindMaps can be useful here - http://mind42.com/ - 20 Minutes
      • Write down a central theme, then write down keywords that come to mind
    • Make a list of potential names (Don’t get over excited if the name you find via the Instant Search is available, sometimes it gets it wrong) – 20 minutes
      • Try combining keywords
      • Think of names that rhyme like trainbrain or magicmonkey (it should be easy to remember)
  2. Buy the domain name from Godaddy or your preferred domain provider
    • Search for a Voucher Code you can sometimes save up to 80% on the first year
    • Get your credit card or paypal account details handy
    • Have your contact details ready for the registration process (I use LastPass to securely and quickly enter my details from a click of a button)
    • Login to your existing account if you have one with your domain provider (I use Godaddy just for domains, note I don’t recommend their hosting. If it’s hosting you want check out Bluehost, also if you don’t have hosting then you may be better off buying your hosting and getting a free domain from them)
    • Add the domain to your basket and follow the checkout process.
  3. That’s it.

How to Install Google Analytics Tracking Code on Your Website

Google Analytics. It’s simple to use and provides a mass of information on the visitors coming to your website. In just a few easy steps you can get up and running in less than 10 minutes.

Why Install Google Analytics?

Understanding where your website visitors come from, how they found you, what content they viewed, and how long they stayed on parts of your site can provide you with valuable insights into your target audience. The more you know the better you can serve your customers.

Step 1: Make Sure You Can Edit Your Website

Before you move on make sure you have access to make edits to your website through a content management system (CMS) which will be WordPress in this case if you have been following our tutorial series. If not, you’ll need to work with someone else, probably a web developer or someone in IT, who can install the tracking code for you.

Step 2: Access Your Google Analytics Tracking Code

Log into your Google Analytics account and click ‘Admin’ in the upper right hand side of the page. Select the appropriate Account and Property, then click ‘Tracking Info’ in the middle column labeled ‘Property’.

Google Tracking Code - Step 1

Click ‘Tracking Code’ under ‘Tracking Info’ to access the website tracking code you’ll need to install on your website. On this page, you’ll see a box with the code you need to copy.

Some CMSs have include a built-in Google Analytics plugin. These plugins only require you to enter in your Google Analytics Tracking ID to complete analytics setup. In this case, you only need to copy the Tracking ID part beginning with ‘UA-’ located at the top of the page. Each Google Analytics property created in your account will be assigned a unique Tracking ID. Make sure to use the correct Tracking ID for each domain.

Google_Tracking_Code_-_Step_2

Add Tracking Code in the Right Place

With your tracking code in hand, you’re ready to install it!

Log into your CMS and access your site’s HTML code. The script must be placed at the top of your website page, immediately before the tag that appears on each page you want to track. Some CMSs  have a separate section where you can easily add either your tracking code or tracking ID. Make sure you look into your CMSs setup to ensure proper installation. If you are using WordPress check the theme instructions or just go ahead and use this Google Analytics’s Plugin

Basic tracking will now be installed on your website. Note that the reports under ‘Standard Reporting’ in Google Analytics will be delayed in populating data (sometimes up to 24 hours), but you can check the ‘Real Time’ tracking section in your Google Analytics account to start seeing data instantly.

To check your installation revisit the Tracking Code section — located at Admin >> Tracking Info >> Tracking Code — after you install the code. You will see a section labelled ‘Tracking Status Information’. The status should show ‘Tracking Installed,’ which tells us the code is working correctly. If the status shows ‘Waiting for Data,’ Google Analytics has found the tracking code on your homepage and is still working to gather the data into reports. In short, just give it more time.

With Google Analytics, you can begin to understand how people are navigating your website.

How to Plan Your Website Without a Web Designer

Building a website without a plan is like constructing a house without blueprints. Planning your website will give it clear direction as well as prevent missed deadlines and backtracking which will cost you more.

Set your vision and have a clear purpose

What is the purpose of your website? It’s important to identify your website’s purpose, as well as who your target audience is. Define your goals.

How many people do you want to sign up for your newsletter? How much in sales do you expect to make? How many visitors? Set measurable, specific goals for your website that are in line with your marketing goals. Google Analytics will help you monitor your website’s performance over time.

Create a budget

Whether you’re an established, mid-sized organization or a fledgling start-up, you should always set a budget for your website expenses. This will probably include funds for web design, programming, and web hosting (though other expenses may apply). Research the market by shopping around and consulting with professionals. Don’t sell yourself short by comparing prices alone. What you save in money you may later pay for with a lackluster site and lots of headaches. It’s better to choose team members based on experience, insightfulness, references, and examples of work.

Assign roles

Assemble the team of people who will be working on the website. Your team may consist of:

  • Company stakeholders (owner, marketing manager, or whoever else represents a primary function of the business)
  • Web developer
  • Content writer and/or editor
  • HTML/CSS professional
  • Web and graphic designer

Make sure everyone on your team knows their role and what is expected of them, and that they stay abreast of deadlines and new developments.

Create a content strategy

What kind of content will you be displaying on your website? Content is basically anything that gives your visitors information. It can include, but is not limited to:

  • Blog posts
  • Documents
  • Video
  • Pictures (such as in a gallery)
  • Slideshows
  • Embedded social media feeds (such as your Twitter stream or Facebook page updates)

Your content strategy is the way that you plan to present your content over time. For instance, you may want to publish two blog posts a month, and put out a free quarterly report for your subscribers to download four times a year. Since content is such a vital aspect of a website, bring in help if you need it. Hire a writer who is experienced with writing for the web, and invest in some professional looking pictures of your storefront and employees.

Structure your website

Decide what pages you’ll be using and what features will be on each one. Most websites have an About and Contact page, but the pages you use should meet your business’ needs.

Create a mock-up

A page mock-up, also know as a wireframe, is essentially the outline of your website (with the initial design being the first draft). Usually created in Photoshop or Fireworks, you don’t have to put too much detail into your mock-up. Use placeholder text to fill pages, and don’t worry about details. This is just to give everyone an idea of what the website will look like.
Start designing. The importance of good web design can’t be stressed enough. Good website design includes both usability and aesthetics. An ugly website will drive away visitors, as will a website that’s difficult to navigate. Keep in mind some basic concepts of usability as you go:

Make your navigation easy to understand and easy to find

Research shows that most users expect website navigation to be vertical and centered at the top of the page.
Use an easy-to-read font for blocks of text. Choose a background color and text color that contrast well (Hint: No red text on a hot pink background).

Make sure your site fits the screen

Use responsive design (or an equally effective approach) to make your website one that adapts to all screen sizes.
Keep your website light so that it loads quickly.
Make the company logo and tag line prominent on the page.
Keep styles and colors consistent across the website.
Make copy clear and concise, and put important information and features (e.g., your newsletter sign-up form) above the fold.
Make notes about what to include in the style sheet as you design, as you want to keep style and function separate. This is important, not only to comply with web standards, but to make it easier to change something in the future if you need to. You should also design with the future in mind. For instance, your website may only have a few blog posts now, but what about when you have two hundred?

Test it out

Testing is important for getting out bugs out and catching details that you might have missed initially. Make sure your website shows up the way you want it to in all browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and mobile web browsers like Safari and Opera Mini. Test it on your cell phone, your tablet, and your colleague’s cell phones and tablets too. You want your site to have a consistent appearance no matter what screen it shows up on. Make sure all of the links work, that the images are properly sized, and that you’ve replaced all of the placeholders with actual content. See to it that all of the forms and other input fields are working.

Maintain your site

Once your site is launched, the work isn’t over. A website is an ongoing entity that continuously represents your company, so maintenance is very important. Monitor your analytics software to see how your website is performing with the public.

Keep an eye on metrics like your number of unique visitors, bounce rate, and which pages are most popular on your website. You might find that certain metrics are more useful to you than others, but that is information you’ll find out over time.
You should also have a plan for maintaining the website, such as who is responsible for posting new content or monitoring site security. And of course, get feedback from your users. Feedback is a valuable tool for improvement.

Planning a website ahead of time is just as important as planning anything else in business, yet this step often gets overlooked by those anxious to claim their piece of internet real estate. Taking the time to plan your website is a great investment, and it will better you chances of having a finished product that serves you well for as long as you need it.

Next Checkout: How to Build your Website without a Web Designer or If you want to hire a Web Designer Contact Us

Self Publishing Series: Getting on with WordPress

Method 1: The Very Quick and Easy Way to Install WordPress

CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP FOR BLUEHOST.COM

Check out this nice video made by John Jobs to show you how to install WordPress on Bluehost. If you already have hosting check out the rest of this article which will explain how to manually do it with any other host.

Method 2: The Slightly Longer and Harder Way to Install WordPress

As part of your strategy to self publish your book, WordPress is one of the of  the weapons which you need in your arsenal. It is the Swiss Army knife of self publishing. You can use it to help promote your book,  practice your daily habit of writing, and syndicate content to social media channels.

Once you know how, Installing WordPress takes can take less than five minutes. However installing all of the plug-ins and themes and setting the up your WordPress  site will require you to invest some and time and money. Not a lot but a little.

The WordPress installation

There are a number of methods to install WordPress, and some web hosting companies even have a one click install process which will  automatically set up the database for you.

You have a couple options when installing WordPress.

You could find a professional to help you install and set up for you or you can do it yourself.

If you choose the first option some web hosting providers will do it for you or support you to do it yourself. In any case whether you choose to do it yourself or have someone else do it, you will need web hosting that supports PHP and MySQL.

If you just want to have a play around with the WordPress software without purchasing any web hosting you can install it locally on your PC using Instant WP. Obviously if you use Instant WP you will you will only be testing it on your local computer,  therefore it will not be visible publicly.

The other option you have if you want to test out WordPress is to go to WordPress.com and register for a free blog, however this is not the same as  having your own installation of WordPress and it will  have some restrictions  which include not allowing you to install plug-ins and your own themes.

The rest of this tutorial will be based on the assumption that you have registered for a domain name and  purchased your web hosting. if you’ve not done that you can stop now or go ahead and use Instant WP to follow along with the rest of  the tutorial.

Step One – Download WordPress from WordPress.org

Download_Wordpress

Step Two – Setup a MySql Database

As with anything in life there is usually more than one way of doing something. If you want to make life easy for yourself just simply ask your web hosting provider to set the database up for you  and provide you with the connection details.

If like me you want to get your hands dirty follow along and show you how to setup your own database. The reason we need a database is because this is where all of the pages and posts, and settings of WordPress are stored.

1. Log into PHPmyadmin from your web hosting control panel ( if you’re not sure about this again check with your provider)

2. From the databases tab enter the name of your new database

Phpmyadmin

At the end of this process you will should have your connection details:

Database Host
Database Name
Database Username
Database Password

Step Three –  Upload WordPress to your Web Server

Obtain your FTP connection details from your web hosting provider and login to your web server.   You will need an FTP client to connect to the server,  I recommend Filezilla since it is compatible with all systems.

FileZilla for WordPress

If you uploaded WordPress to the public root directory then navigate to your domain name which will be your homepage,  this will then load the WordPress installation.  Simply follow the steps on screen entering your connection details until you have installed WordPress.

CLICK HERE TO SIGNUP FOR BLUEHOST.COM

yay-9374486-digital

How To Self Publish Your Book on Amazon Kindle and Find Freedom

This series is all about how to get freedom. Get free from the old ways of doing things and give you freedom as a writer to make a living and do what you were born to do.

I am a Digital Media Consultant. I help people achieve what they want to do using Digital Tools and technology to get things done and be more productive.

Self PublishingWho is this for?

This is for part-time writers that want to publish their first or second book, or you may be a seasoned writer tired of the publishers and want to break free. Either way you will learn what tools you need self publish including the following:

Setting up your blog

Working out the title of your book

Ways of getting your book cover designed

How to Publish on Amazon Kindle

Ways to promote your book once it has been published

Going from Digital to Print

 

Everything you need to self publish your book is here. You just need to make it happen.

If you feel you could do with some professional support contact us about our Self Publish Consultancy Service.

Our commitment to your privacy

HyperStream Limited is committed to protecting your privacy. That is why we have adopted this Privacy Policy. It is intended to describe how we use and process your personal information. Please note that by visiting and using HyperStream Limited, you are accepting the practices described in this Privacy Policy.

What information is HyperStream Limited gathering about its visitors and how is it being used?

Every computer connected to the Internet is provided with a domain name (e.g. earthlink.net) and an IP address (e.g. 192.168.1.100). When a visitor requests a page from within the HyperStream Limited website, our web servers automatically identify and log the HTTP request that is made to them, as follows:

  • The IP address of the site that may have referred you.
  • Your IP address.
  • The web page from which you linked to us.
  • The product identifier for version and make of browser (e.g. Internet Explorer 7.0).
  • The operating system that you are running (e.g. Mac OS, Windows, Linux).
  • Search words or terms that are passed from a search engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, or Lycos).

There is nothing unusual, in our view, about the information just described, and the practice of collecting this data has been generally standardized by many web servers today.

The purpose of this information is actually two-fold. One, HyperStream Limited has found it advantageous to examine visitor traffic in its aggregate so that we can ensure maximum compatibility for the various browsers and operating systems that visit our site. By analyzing these and other visitation patterns, referring URLs and search engine terms, we can strategically enhance our exposure on the Internet.

What about cookies?

Cookies are small text files that are transferred to your computer’s hard drive through your web browser from our web server. HyperStream Limited uses cookies in some situations as a means of providing personalization features to our visitors. For example, we use cookies to remember personal settings (such as a login or password) that you may have chosen at our website.

You can choose whether or not to accept cookies by changing the settings of your browser. Typically, by accessing the browsers help feature you can obtain information on how to prevent your browser from accepting all cookies or to notify you when a cookie is being set. If you choose no to accept these cookies, your experience at our website and other websites may be diminished and some features may not work as intended.

What other information does HyperStream Limited request?

We may also request your email address or mailing address for the purposes of conducting a survey, adding you to our mailing list, or by your request to have someone contact you for additional information. Whenever we request the identity of a visitor, we will clearly indicate the purpose of the inquiry before the information is requested. We will not sell, rent, or otherwise give your email address to a third party without your consent.

Will HyperStream Limited disclose the information collected to third parties?

HyperStream Limited will disclose your personal information or any of its log file information when required by law or in the good-faith belief that such actions are necessary to:

  • Confirm the edicts of the law or comply with a legal process served on HyperStream Limited.
  • Protect and defend the rights or property of HyperStream Limited, or visitors of HyperStream Limited.
  • Identify persons who may be violating the law, the legal notice, or the rights of third parties. Cooperate with the investigations of purported unlawful activities.

HyperStream Limited uses reasonable precautions to keep the information disclosed to us secure. HyperStream Limited reserves the right to transfer information in connection with the sale of all or part of HyperStream Limited capital stock or assets to any third party. Furthermore, we are not responsible for any breach of security or for any actions of any third parties that receive the information.

HyperStream Limited also provides “links” to a wide variety of other websites on the Internet. We are not responsible for their privacy policies or how those websites manage information about their users. We strongly urge you to check with them to determine their privacy policy.

Any changes to this Privacy Policy will be posted on this page.