You may remember the last product we launched, Tendo Jobs (https://www.tendojobs.com), the recruitment search engine that links employers directly with job hunters which is democratising recruitment. Since launching just over 12 months ago the platform has seen phenomenal growth with over 10,000 people having used the website during that time and attracting many well-known brands including the likes of the global taxi-booking platform Uber. This continues to grow month on month which is excellent to see. If you are recruiting and haven’t used the platform yet, we urge you to do so, it’s free and can be used as an additional tool for recruit candidates directly without the use of traditional and expensive recruitment methods.
Well, you’ll be glad to know that we’ve been busy working away in the background and are delighted to announce our latest product, GeezerCloud. This is a product that we’ve designed from the ground up to the cloud down, quite literally. Having been a chef myself for over 7 years in my early career, I can personally attest the laborious process involved with manually filling out printed sheets of paper while checking temperature records for fridges and freezers. Regularly checking temperatures is a critical part of food safety and is a legal requirement as part of HACCP within the catering trade, yet it needn’t be so time consuming and take a skilled member of staff away from preparing great food. That’s one of the reasons why we created GeezerCloud, to allow chefs to focus on what they do best, cooking awesome food and pleasing customers.
GeezerCloud is a hardware device coupled with a cloud based platform that is designed to automate the HACCP food safety legislation requirements for restaurants, those within the catering trade and further afield. GeezerCloud has been designed for commercial businesses that require regular temperature checks. Instead of manually filling out temperature checks on printed sheets of paper, GeezerCloud has been designed to fully automate this process for you, saving you significant amounts of time and money to focus on more productive activities.
To avoid having to repeat ourselves within this blog post, have a good read through the finer detail about GeezerCloud along with our special introductory offer which is valid over the next 4 weeks.
Find Out More
Well, this is a bit of great news for Contrado Digital. We’ve passed Google’s brand new Mobile Sites Certification and we believe we are the first in Lancashire to do so! This certification highlights that the mobile websites we develop are done to an extremely high standard to ensure your customers are happy customers when they visit your website. While what the non-technical users may just see as a “pretty website”, actually there is an awful lot going on behind the scenes, technologies, systems, processes, best practices and more that we know about so you don’t have to. We always say that any monkey can build a mobile website. Very few can build a mobile website that is designed to perform for your business. Whenever you are investing in a mobile website or a responsive website, make sure you are working with the right digital partner who knows what they are doing.
Want to chat about optimising your website for mobile devices? Then fill out your details on our contact form and let’s talk through the various options available to you within your budget.
The Mobile Sites Certification exam is designed to test your knowledge of advanced mobile website concepts, including the following:
- Value proposition of mobile websites
- How to improve mobile website speed
- How to create an effective user experience for mobile websites
- Advanced web technologies
- Module 1: Mobile sites and why they matter
- 1.1. Basics of mobile sites
- 1.2.1 User expectations
- 1.2.2 Impact on conversions and interaction
- 1.2.3 Why UX matters
- Module 2: Improving mobile site speed
- 2.1.1 Tools to get started
- 2.1.2 Understanding low bandwidth and high latency
- 2.1.3 Targets to focus on
- 2.2 Critical rendering path
- 2.2.1 Constructing the document object model
- 2.2.2 The render tree
- 2.2.3 The layout
- 2.2.4 Analysing the entire CRP in dev tools
- 2.2.5 Optimising the critical rendering path
- 2.3 Optimise content efficiency
- 2.3.1 Eliminating unnecessary downloads
- 2.3.2 Optimising encoding and transfer size
- 2.3.3 Image optimisation
- 2.3.4 Webfont optimisation
- 2.3.5 HTTP Caching
- Module 3: Creating an effective mobile UX
- 3.1 UX principles
- 3.1.1 Assess your mobile site
- 3.1.2 Learn what makes a good mobile site
- 3.2 Mobile site design best practices
- 3.2.1 Homepage and site navigation
- 3.2.2 Site search
- 3.2.3 Commerce and conversions
- 3.2.4 Form entry
- 3.2.5 Usability and form factor
- 3.3 Testing and measuring success
- 3.3.1 A/B testing
- 3.3.2 Measuring success with Google Analytics and metrics to focus on
- Module 4: Advanced web technologies
- 4.1 Introduction to Accelerated Mobile Pages
- 4.1.1 What is AMP
- 4.1.2 How AMP works
- 4.2 Introduction to Progressive Web Apps
- 4.2.1 Why build PWAs
- 4.2.2 Introduction to the app shell architecture
- 4.2.3 Introduction to service workers
- 4.3 User engagement and APIs
- 4.3.1 Intro to web push and notifications
- 4.3.2 Payment integration
- Take the Mobile Sites exam
Digital technologies, online marketing and cyber security is at the forefront of the world we live in for businesses looking to connect with their customers, grow their market share and keep customer data secure from cyber criminals. What this means is that many of the services we offer can often be confusing to businesses who aren’t heavily involved in this work on a day to day basis. That’s why we’ve hugely simplified our service offering to help businesses like yourself understand what we actually do and most importantly, how we can help your business grow.
Sectors We Help
We work with businesses of many varying shapes and sizes. We understand the following industries through and through which means that if you are working in one of these industries, then we can help your company with digital services;
What We Actually Do
In essence, we do three core activities, we build things, we make them perform with digital marketing and we keep your customers data secure online.
As can be seen as you browse around the website, high quality work with a results driven focus is at the forefront of what we do as we work in partnership with companies like yourselves who are ready to take your business to the next level. We don’t built cheap websites and we don’t offer cheap discount services because quite simply, you get what you pay for when working with cutting edge technology for your business. We pick up a lot of projects when others have failed to deliver.
Ready to take your business to the next level? Then drop me an email directly, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to meet for a no obligation consultation and talk through where you are looking to take your business over the next 12 months and how we can help you along that journey.
We speak with many businesses who simply do not have the budgets to pay for quality websites which is a shame as this ultimately ends up with their websites being built extremely badly, costing a lot of money in the long run and the businesses suffer as a result. Generally speaking, businesses come to us after they have gone through this pain and need the right solutions putting in place, when they have a realistic budget to work with. Digital doesn’t come cheap, until now.
Introducing CreoPressto, the only website builder that gives you full control of your website without you ever needing to get into the technical aspects at all. Whether you are looking for a basic brochure website or a fully-fledged ecommerce website, CreoPressto is capable of growing with you. It’s so easy to use, literally anyone in the office could build a website with CreoPressto.
We challenge you to take a look at how CreoPressto can revolutionise the way you work with your website by empowering your organisation and taking control of your own destiny. The self-build technology allows you to make your website look and feel however you want with no restrictions or limitations in place. If you can imagine it, the CreoPressto platform can work for you.
Never have to worry about the technical aspects in the background, we’ve brought together various industry leading website technologies to create an awesome platform that is capable of powering your entire website with ease and growing with you over time so you don’t need to keep buying a brand new website every few years.
With hundreds of features and functionality to keep you busy, the pain free quick and easy drag and drop visual website builder allows anyone to build a website with ease, with no prior knowledge required. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can build a website with CreoPressto that is safe, secure, flexible and capable of growing with you as an organisation. Here’s just a small handful of the features available with CreoPressto.
Bar Counter Modules
Countdown Timer Modules
Google Maps Modules
Social Media Modules
User Account Management Modules
And many many many more options to choose from!
CreoPressto is entirely self-service, allowing you to create whatever you can imagine. Due to this, pricing starts as little as £49.99 + VAT / month which gives you enterprise level functionality on your website without the traditional costs associated with this. Pretty awesome, right? To give you an idea of what is included with this;
- Web Hosting
- SSL Certificate
- WordPress Installation
- Website Blog
- Awesome Page Builder
- Over 30,000 Free Plugins
- Forum Support
- Google Analytics
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Automatic Security Updates
- Automatic Backups
- Automatic Server Updates
- cPanel Server Access
- FTP Access
- 10 GB Storage
- 5 GB Monthly Bandwidth
- Forum Support
With packages designed to grow with you over time as your needs expand. The beauty of CreoPressto is that if you need additional support with building your website, this is on hand from the team at Contrado Digital or anyone else you wish to work with.
Such a common rhetoric from virtually every business who is looking to recruit digital talent within their organisation, “We can’t find people with the right skills”. Firstly, to those organisation, make sure your jobs are posted on Tendo Jobs, it’s free to do so and we have lots of active job hunters regularly searching for skills in every sector ranging from retail to highly technical digital roles to C-level roles. Secondly, instead of complaining about not being able to find the right staff, let’s look at the practical steps to growing your own talent.
Quite frankly, the lack of skills talk hasn’t changed in the digital world over the last several years and it’s getting a bit boring to keep listening to if I’m honest. So we thought we could do something about that. Introducing Contrado Academy, the practical hands on courses designed to allow your staff to learn how to ‘do digital’ the right way. With a variety of courses running in locations throughout the UK, we’re able to deliver high quality training courses that teach the practical skills and real-world experience that your employees need to know. Whether you are looking to know the basics or progress through the variety of courses and become a fully-fledged digital expert, we have courses available from beginners to advanced in a variety of areas.
Contrado Academy is not a traditional academic setup, the courses have been created by professionals working in digital day-in-day-out which covers the practical skills and information that is in demand from employers. Traditional education establishments are great, seriously, go to Colleges and Universities when you are looking for the long term investment. The unfortunately reality for people working in digital though is that employers need skills now, they cannot afford to wait for 1-3 years for a new course to be signed off by the various committees involved then a further 3-4 years for students to graduate. The world has moved on by then. Digital apprenticeships are certainly doing something to address these issues, yet not everyone wants to do an apprenticeship, they just want to complete a short course that gives them the skills and information required to do they job they are doing, do it better or develop their skills for the future.
Take a look at the variety of courses on offer and stay tuned for dates when courses are announced very shortly.
Current courses available include;
- Web Development for Beginners
- WordPress for Beginners
- Intermediate WordPress
- Advanced WordPress
- HTML for Beginners
- CSS for Beginners
- Linux Web Server Management for Beginners
- PHP for Beginners
- Java for Beginners
- Java Web Applications for Beginners
- Social Media for Beginners
- Introduction to Digital Marketing
- Google Analytics for Beginners
- Google AdWords for Beginners
- Email Marketing for Beginners
- Ecommerce for Beginners
- Apple iOS Development for Beginners
- Android Development for Beginners
- Search Engine Optimisation SEO for Beginners
- Cyber Security for Beginners
Whether you are looking to train your current staff in the vast array of digital technologies or you are reading this as someone who is looking to enter the world of digital, there are a variety of courses available to suit your needs.
Over the last few months there have been some really exciting changes happening in the website security world related to encryption. Something which now allows businesses of all shapes and sizes to take encryption seriously without the larger investment previously needed. Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s take a look at what exactly SSL and HTTPS actually is and why it is important.
Google is to Flag Non-Secure Websites
Already SSL certificates are a factor in Google’s search algorithm, meaning that businesses using HTTPS are more prominent in Google’s search results when customers are searching. If this wasn’t enough for you to implement an SSL certificate, then eventually Google will be treating all websites like this that are not using HTTPS;
As a customer, what would you think if this warning came up when you were browsing your favourite websites? You would soon leave the website and begin to distrust the brand, right? Then the same is going through your customer’s minds too. Starting January 2016 Google will begin to flag insecure websites as not secure as can be seen below;
Now is the time to implement SSL on your websites to avoid the mad rush when Google turns this feature on. Read all about the finer details over on Google’s security blog.
Importance of SSL and HTTPS
Getting a little bit technical, SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer which turns the standard HTTP protocol used to access all websites on the internet into a secure connection. What this means in practice is that the connection between yourself typing www.contradodigital.com into the web browser and the web server is encrypted, meaning that no-one can listen in to what data is being sent/retrieved as you go about your day.
Take WordPress as a prime example, whenever you login to your WordPress website, if you are still using HTTP and not HTTPS then anyone listening in on the network can read your username and password in plain text, then use this data to hack into your website and do damage. So if you’re in a café or any other public place to access your website over HTTP, then it is relatively straight forward for people who know what they are doing to see your details. The same is true when you enter a username or password onto any other website on the internet, if they are using HTTP instead of HTTPS, then your password becomes visible to the world if someone is listening in on that network. SSL resolves these issues.
Anyone who is using any kind of login system on their website, whether this is simply for logging in administrators into your content management system, or running an ecommerce website, you should be using SSL. Previously an SSL certificate would have cost anywhere between £150 and £550 just for the certificate itself, plus the added cost of migrating your website from HTTP to HTTPS which can be a considerable cost in itself.
From a user perspective, implementing SSL simply means taking your website from HTTP;
End to end encryption to secure your website.
Free SSL Certificates
Over recent months we’ve been experimenting with Let’s Encrypt, the new free certificate authority, the guys who generate the SSL certificates. Let’s Encrypt is backed by the likes of Facebook, Google, Cisco, Mozilla, Akamai, Automattic, Shopify, Sucuri, Hewlett Packard and many more. When Let’s Encrypt was first launched in April 2016, it was still very much in its early stages and quite buggy on a lot of platforms. Thankfully since then, it has become a lot easier to work with and hence is now something we’re recommending all businesses should take a look at for their own websites.
While Let’s Encrypt does bring free SSL certificates to everyone, it’s not quite as straight forward as just clicking a button and you’re good to go. As with all website and web server technologies, there are many moving parts with endless different setups and configurations. While the SSL certificates their self are free, implementing the initial Let’s Encrypt setup on your web server can be time consuming, or even in some cases, not even possible at the moment. Likewise, once you have claimed your free SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt, you will likely need to implement various bits of website work to ensure SSL works correctly throughout the website.
Thankfully, we’ve got this town to a tee. Anyone hosting their website with us and running WordPress, we can implement this in no time at all, so get in touch so we can implement your free SSL certificate with minimal investments associated with the implementation of this. For anyone else, drop us an email anyway and we can review your current setup to see if it is capable of implementing the free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt.
For anyone brave enough to have a go their self, here are a few handy resources on some of the technical aspects in the background;
But the likelihood is that you’re not going to be able to implement this yourself, nor should you try if you aren’t competent as you can do some serious damage if you do things wrong. If your current web hosting partner or website team isn’t capable of implementing this or the technology isn’t up to scratch, then it’s probably time to review your current web hosting options;
Update – May 2017
As mentioned when initially publishing this blog post, companies need to act now to avoid losing potential customers.
Google Will Warn Potential Customers Not To Contact You in October….Act Now…
Google has been encouraging website owners to move towards a secure and encrypted internet for over 12 months now and they believe they have given website owners enough time to implement encryption technologies on their website to use SSL, i.e. when people view your website they view https://www.contradodigital.com rather than http://www.contradodigital.com. This means that the connection is encrypted and your customers data is secure when they are submitting things like credit card information or personal information on contact forms.
Unfortunately many websites are still not taking cyber security seriously which is why Google is taking the next step in October. In essence what this change will mean is that if you have not implemented an SSL certificate on your website by this time, anyone wanting to contact you through the contact form on your website using Google Chrome (the most popular web browser in use…) will be told that your website is ‘Not Secure’ which will put potential customers off from entering their details and contacting you. You need to act now to prevent your website being listed as Not Secure to your customers.
Here’s how your Contact Us page will look when people are about to fill out their details. Ask yourself, would you fill in a contact form on a website if you saw this warning message?
Here is an animation of what your contact form would do when people start entering in information;
What you need to do…
If you haven’t implemented an SSL certificate on your website to date, then you need to do so as soon as possible. This can be a relatively straight forward thing to do, or something a little more complex which depends on the technology you’re using in the background. Don’t worry about that though as we have implemented a lot of these for businesses over the last few years across a range of technologies.
Even better, SSL certificates are now FREE which is great as they would previously have set you back several hundred pounds for the certificate alone. So simply drop me an email directly and we can schedule some time in to implement this for you, email@example.com