Don’t be afraid to ask

As a training officer one of the first things I said to my new trainees was ‘The only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked’. That quote came from someone that trained me to be a training officer (whose name I can’t remember now) and I still apply it to this day. Especially when I’m struggling to understand or remember some of the common web design terms.

Even now, though I’ve worked in the I.T industry for over 20 years, I still sometimes feel out of my depth when I’m communicating with a web designer. I have total admiration for programmers, network support engineers, developers and designers. Anyone who can build a fully-operational website in a few hours, when I’ve taken weeks to do mine in WordPress, earns my total respect. I’m still not happy with my site but now it’s out there I will keep researching, learning and updating it until I get it right. And as I’m learning I’m continually adding to my own personal Glossary of Web Design Terms..

I’m sharing some of the common web design terms and abbreviations that I’ve collated over the years. Hopefully they’ll improve your overall understanding of the worldwide web and conversations you might have with your website designer. But remember, techies are human too, so if you don’t understand something, just ask.

TECHIE (noun) – a person who is very knowledgeable or enthusiastic about technology and especially computer technology. (

Common Web Design Terms

404 error

Web visitors see 404 error pages when they try to reach a web page that doesn’t exist. This usually happens when the web page has been deleted or the visitor has mistyped the URL.

Alt Text

‘Alternative text’ is the wording associated with an image. It can be the file name or a customised short description of that image, edited in most content management systems. Occasionally, if an image isn’t able to load in a blog or on a website, you’ll see the alt text displayed instead. Having alt text on your website images is important for search engines to understand them as well, so can help with SEO. Alt text also makes images accessible to the blind because screen reader tools read aloud the alt text. (to see more about this scroll down to Web Accessibility).

Browser Cache

All browsers save the data they need to load and display a website, such images and HTML. So when you revisit a web page, it takes less time to load because a cached version of the page was saved the first time you were there. Because of the cached version your browser doesn’t need to bring back all the data again to see that page. Whenever I’m testing websites, if the developer has delivered a new version of code to fix a bug, I always have to clear the browser cache to ensure that I’m not retesting on an old version of the web page.

Cookies - Common web design terms and abbreviations


You will regularly see a ‘this website uses cookies’ pop-up when you visit a website. It’s more prevalent nowadays because of data protection and you have the option to reject or amend the way they use your data. A cookie is small file that a web server sends automatically to your personal computer when you are browsing. The information it contains can include login details (usernames and passwords), shopping cart information, and your preferences. They are stored as files on your hard drive so servers can access them when you return to websites you’ve visited before. 



For example: have you ever gone back to eBay or Amazon and seen content tailored to your user preferences? That’s because on your first visit, a cookie was installed. When you revisited, the website server read your cookie and recognised you.


A content management system is a platform that allows us less-techy people to build websites from professionally designed templates. Popular examples of are WordPress and Wix.

Hosting Servers

The web servers where website files are housed, served, and maintained.


‘Hyper-text mark-up language’. I always have to check what this stands for. It doesn’t actually slip off the tongue does it? This is the language used to direct the style of your website, landing pages, and emails. HTML lays out the structure of your website, from the title and header, bullet point lists, to the footer. It could be described as the skeleton of your website


GUI stands for ‘graphical user interface’, or more simply as ‘interface’. An interface is the part of the software that the end user sees and interacts with.


Internet service provider’. An organisation that provides internet services, i.e. Orange, Bouygues Telecom, TalkTalk, etc.


A software extension that adds a specific feature to an existing software application. You might have heard of plugins in the context of web browsers which can add new features like virus scanners. Plugins can also be used in web design to add additional features such as the Accessibility icon on this site.

Multiple devices


Responsive Design

The method of designing web pages so that they are optimised on the majority of devices. Responsive design automatically reformats your website for all screen sizes. So your website visitors can easily interact with your site, regardless of the device they’re using. Because of the rapid increase in mobile usage in recent years I would recommend having your website upgraded to a responsive design. 



Search engine optimisation is a strategy that optimises your website, content and media so it can easily be found and promoted in online search engines.

Site Map

Site maps show a hierarchical view of a website’s pages and content. It helps website designers figure out what pages and content are needed before they start designing it. This is why it’s important in your website planning stage to decide how you want the website to look and how the user will navigate between pages. Site maps can also be web pages that present links to all of the pages on a website.


User interface’. A type of interface that allows users to control a software application or hardware device. A good user interface delivers a user-friendly experience which allows the user to interact with your website in an uncomplicated, intuitive way. This includes having a menu bar with familiar terms, toolbars, navigation buttons, etc. 


Uniform resource locator’ aka the website address, is a string of characters displayed on the top of a web browser inside the ‘address’ bar. 



The ‘User experience’ is the overall experience a customer has with a particular business, from brand-awareness through to their interaction, purchase or use of the brand. To deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to think and act like a customer, which isn’t always possible when you have been involved in designing and creating the business website. That’s why it’s always better to have someone perform an impartial review of your business. 

Web Accessibility

This refers to how easy it is for your website to be accessed by people with different physical and mental abilities, age, location, etc. Well designed websites and web design tools can be used by people with various disabilities. There are numerous ways in which your website can be designed in order to make it more accessible, alt text is just one of them. For more information visit the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative website

This is only a small selection of the more common web design terms from an incredibly large glossary I have compiled in various notebooks and files gathered over the years. I’m still adding to my list as I learn new things everyday.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?



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Pages and Posts

alarm clock with roman numerals on the dial. When to create pages and posts

What’s the difference between a website page and a post?

If you’re new to websites you might be wondering what’s the big deal behind Pages and Posts. At first glance they appear to be one and the same. And if you were to create either a new page or a new post you’d be presented with almost identical layouts. In a lot of cases the appearance of pages and posts will look the same to your website reader.

But don’t let this fool you, because there is a fundamental difference between the two. And it’s that difference that makes content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, great platforms for integrating a personal or business blog on a traditional website.


Let’s think about the types of elements that make up a typical website. More often than not you’ll see pages like About Us, Services, Contact Us, etc. Within your website’s theme or template, these are classed as Pages. It doesn’t matter when they were created, published or updated, they just form part of the overall website construction. And the date is was published, the ‘timestamp’, is irrelevant. For example, when you visit the About Us page of your favourite website you don’t expect the content to have changed from what was there a week ago or one year ago.




·         Product Information ·         Blog posts
·         FAQ Pages ·         News Articles
·         Terms of Use ·         Announcements
·         Privacy Content ·         Essays
·         About Us ·         Personal Stories
·         Contact Pages ·         Interviews
·         Gallery ·         Tutorials
·         Testimonials ·         Case Studies



But now, take a minute to think of your favourite news website. A news site is the perfect example of when you’d expect content to be different from the last time you visited the site. After all, news wouldn’t be ‘news’ if it wasn’t current and regularly updated. So, in the case of news sites, Posts are most often used to write regular articles about different topics and they will also be categorised under one or more headings.

When you publish a post within WordPress it knows to treat the post differently to publishing a page. So when you set up a blog, it will list all of your published posts in reverse chronological order on your Blog page. That way your latest update will always display first. Since posts are listed with the newest posts at the top, your posts are meant to be timely. Your older posts are archived based on month and year. So as the posts get older, your visitors will have to trawl your website in order to find them. That’s why it’s a good idea to organise your posts based on categories and tags.


To summarise, your website can contain both pages and posts. If done well using pages and posts in this way can help you build a more engaging user experience for your site visitors. In fact, another reason to maintain a regular posting schedule is because blog posts help to keep your website active.  So that’s great for improving SEO.

Regular posts and updates also help to keep your subscribers happy. After all, your followers signed up to receive regular, relevant and interesting updates from you. So don’t let them down! 



Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013


Need additional assistance? Please contact us:

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970


Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

Improving your Local SEO

google my business map and description

Google Business Profile and map for SAA IT Testing

As small business owners I’m sure you have all heard about Google and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). You may not fully understand SEO, because it’s a fairly complex subject all about algorithms, search terms and keywords. But if you want your business website to rank higher in search results, then employing a SEO expert will help you do that. But although it would be beneficial, hiring a professional to do that for you on an ongoing basis is not something many of us can afford.

Large companies employ teams of SEO experts to monitor trends, research and analysis data, and constantly update and refresh site pages. For small businesses though, your best Local SEO friend is Google Business Profile (GBP), previously called Google My Business. (Not to be confused with Google+ which was shutdown in April 2019, yet I still see lots of businesses displaying the icon on their website). 

What is Google Business Profile?

In a nutshell, GBP is a business listing on Google, similar to or ‘Pages Jaunes’ in France. But the bonus with GBP is the advantageous local SEO that comes with it.

GBP was developed to standardise the information displayed by Google in Google Search and Google Maps, so businesses can be found more easily by potential customers. It helps ensure that your customers have up to date information about your business, for example opening hours, address, and contact details. Additionally, you can add links to your main business website, share posts, offers and other information, in the same as you can on social media. It also allows two-way communication between you and your customers by allowing them to ask questions, create reviews and for you to respond. 

How does Google Business work?

When you claim your business listing on GBP and you are verified as the owner of that address (you receive a letter in the post with a code to confirm in the GMB set up), you will be a named business location on Google Maps. Your listing will be as detailed as you want it to be, and it will all be highly visible in three important Google areas: 

Google Knowledge Graph

Google Knowledge Graph SAA IT Testing

This is the box that displays your business information. When someone searches on your business name, this panel appears on the right-hand side of the Google Search Results. On mobile devices it will appear near the top. It’s a really useful summary of the information that is important to new and existing customers, especially if they want to contact you. 

If you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…your profiles in each one should be consistent. The same goes for Google Business Profile. And if you have a business logo – display it! 

Make sure you have a profile image so you are more recognisable. Complete the profile section, making it relevant to your business, and appealing to your audience. 

Google Local Park

These are the top Google listings that will appear below a map when someone searches for businesses in a particular location

Google Maps

Pinpoints your business on a map, with a summary of the address, opening hours and provides directions to your location.

Added Extras

As if that wasn’t enough, when you set up your GBP listing you get access to Google Insights, which tells you how many people have searched for your business, what they searched for and the number of page and post views. 

You can also build a free, single-page business website. Although the GBP site has limited functionality you can add a description of your business, products, images, events, services and prices. Use it as an extra social media platform. The ratings and reviews in particular will help your business rank higher in search results. Encourage your customers to give you feedback by sharing your GBP  listing, and you can even link it to your business website.

Here’s my Google Business Profile, check it out and see just how much you can do to enhance your online business presence. Get your business noticed. Keep your profile and business details up to date. Improve your Local SEO quickly and easily.

If you need any help or advice setting up your business listing then please get in touch. I’m always happy to help.

Shirley Atkinson SAA It Testing About Us


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If you found this useful then let me know – and let your friends know!


Shirley Atkinson, Freelance Website Usability Testing & Online Business Services for SMEs


Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013



Need some help? Please contact me:

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970


Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

strawberry cupcakes on a pink tray with a gold-coloured fork next to them

What is the strawberry on the cupcake, if the cupcake is not there?

What branding means – a guest blog by Rebecca Fountain, a qualified, experienced strategic marketer, and founder and owner of The Marketing Fountain

Ask most non-marketing people what branding means, and the majority will tell you that it’s a logo. Even the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of branding as ‘the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design’ is a watered-down version of what it actually is. 

As a marketer of some years standing, I frequently have clients who ask me for a rebrand and what they actually want is a new logo. Well, I am here to tell you that branding is so much more than just the logo. And when I explain branding to my clients, I like to use the analogy of a cake….bear with me, please.

Consider the cake in the image – what good would the strawberry be if there was no cupcake and no icing to put it on? It would not be an entirely indulgent cupcake experience. 

If the strawberry is your logo, what is the icing on the cake?

Effectively, in this analogy, the strawberry is your logo. It is the bit that you can only put on after the initial idea has been formed. After the ingredients have been bought and the cake has been baked, cooled and iced. Only then can you put your strawberry on the top. I love this analogy – not least because I love cake – but also because it helps explain branding. 

Branding is everything that you do to represent your company and your product service offering. So to get it right, branding needs to start at a strategic level.

lady wearing glasses leaning against a brown wooden door. She has her hand to her chin as if she is thinking what branding means

Do you have a strategy?

Many small business owners have great business ideas yet often find taking them to market difficult. Others launch into their market with some level of success despite not having done the groundwork for the business strategy – beginners luck

However, once the business is up and running and looking to grow, the lack of an articulated strategy will inevitably begin to slow the business down. 

Your strategy needs to be built from the ground up: identifying what your vision is for your business; who your target audience is; your strategic business objectives – revenue, share of market, what the products and services are that you offer to this market. 

Think carefully about your competitors

Do they offer similar products/services? Are there organisations that you are competing with for a share of the purse?

For instance, your target audience may be choosing between spending money on a gym membership or a new bike – your ideal client has limited surplus revenue and therefore needs to choose one over the other. What makes your offer better than buying from your competitors?

Once you know who your audience is, you can start to think about how you will engage with them: what tone of voice will you use in your communications – formal or informal; where will you engage with them – in physical places, virtually etc.? And which social media platforms do they prefer?

As you document all of your answers to these questions, you will start to create the flavour for your brand. And I’m not talking about cakes this time.

Create a portrait of your ideal client

One reliable method that I always recommend is to have my clients create pen portraits or “personas”. These are detailed descriptions of who their potential, ideal clients might be. Try to include as much detail as possible in your pen portraits – this will help you create your brand and the targeting of your communications. You can be very creative and have lots of fun with these. 

Here’s an example of a pen portrait that I created for a healthy meal kit delivery company: 

“Jon is 32 and lives alone. He works in the city with a full-on job and earns €100k+ per year. Jon prides himself on having a gym membership with an exclusive club and working out every morning. At the weekends, he likes to go hiking and off-road mountain biking with his friends. On an average day, Jon starts work at 8.30 am and is rarely finished by 8 pm. By which time he always feels too tired to cook and ends up grabbing a takeaway. He then feels guilty for most of the evening for having undone the good work of his morning routine and for his part in creating unnecessary packaging waste. His parents are both living, and he has a steady girlfriend whom he is planning to marry within the next two years.”

What does your brand say about you? 

Can you see how creating the pen portraits might help you? Each time you make a business decision, create a new product or improve your services, you can test them on your pen portrait people. So, how about you have a go for your own business?

If you haven’t done so already, write three individual pen portraits for who you think is your ideal customer. This works equally well for business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) transactions. So let’s give it a go. 

Respond to these three questions by imagining that you are the actual person behind each of your pen portraits.

  1. What is the promise that you are making that your pen portrait wants from you?
  2. What are your core values? – do these resonate with the pen portrait values?
  3. What tone of voice would your pen portraits respond to – fun and playful, scientific and concise, or something else?  

Each company has a voice that forms part of its brand personality. Therefore, consistency is paramount if you are to positively engage with your target audience.

Once you have all this in the bag, fill your boots with getting to the sexy, creative part of logo design! And for small business owners, there are some great free online tools available – making it easier than ever for everyone to create their own. 

Adding the strawberry 

But how does this impact professional designers? As more and more free online tools become available, graphic designers (and website designers too!) have to work harder than ever to earn a crust and compete with people doing their own graphic work. 

Having a stethoscope and a scalpel doesn’t make you a surgeon

What you need to remember is that graphic designers are trained professionals who understand the science of design. Whether it is the psychology of colour, understanding the latest trends, photo-editing skills and so on. A good experienced graphic designer will often do a quicker and better job than someone who isn’t trained. So always try to use an expert to create the strawberry for the top of your cake (are you still with me?).

I hope you have found the article informative. If you want to learn more about how I can help you with your business, check out my LinkedIn profile and my website

PS. As I’m not a graphic designer, so my plea to use one is genuine.

Author: Rebecca Fountain is a qualified and experienced strategic marketer. She is the founder and owner of The Marketing Fountain, a business designed to provide marketing and virtual assistant support services to start-ups and SMEs.

Many thanks to Rebecca for providing this article and sharing her thoughts on what branding means, along with some deliciously tempting images of strawberry cupcakes. If you’d like to contribute to my website, please contact me by email.



Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013


Need some advice?

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970


Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed

5 ways to ensure your website meets customer expectations

Before you start designing a website you need to know who your target audience is, and how you can help them. So, how can you ensure your site is user-friendly and meets, or exceeds your customer expectations? 

The most important factor when designing a website is to know your target audience, and what it is they want. Your site needs to tick all the boxes, so that a potential customer can make an informed decision about buying your products or services. One of the first steps in this process is to make sure your website is user-focussed, and does not frustrate them so much that they go to elsewhere!

A bit like me today, trying to find the answer to a graph-design question that’s stopping me finish a client project. Grrrr..!

Satisfy customer expectations


Know your customer

Before you do anything website or social media related you need to understand who your target audience is. Otherwise you could be wasting a lot of time, effort and money marketing in areas where you will see little or no return for your investment.

You need to know who is your typical customer, how old they are, where do they spend most of their online time? And what makes them tick? What problems might they have that would make them visit your website? Once you understand what they want, it will be much easier to plan your site’s content and design. 


Keep it tidy

Whether you’re designing a new website, or looking to update an existing one, spend time fine-tuning your content. What pages should you include, and what can you say that will help to sell your products or services? Keep your content concise and your website uncluttered.

Don’t put in too many distractions that will confuse, or make people forget the reasons they came to your website. If your goal is to sell a product think about why they might want to buy it? How will it help to improve their home, business or family lives? Cut out or rewrite any content that might navigate your potential customer away from your site. I have reviewed so many business websites that include links to others. There’s nothing wrong with linking if it’s going to provide relevant information, that helps your customer solve a problem. But just bear in mind that once they navigate away from your website, you risk losing them completely. And you could miss out on that all important sale. 


Make it accessible

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1 billion people live with a disability. That can include people who have problems with vision, hearing or physical disabilities. One of the top issues that could impact your site visitors is visual impairment. Colour-blindness is a particularly common problem, so try and avoid certain colours like red and green, if possible. Make sure the font size is legible, and that hyperlinks and Call to Action buttons (CTAs) are not too close together.

Further help can be provided to assist the visually-impaired by making sure you add descriptive ‘alt-text’ to your images. This text is used by screen-reader tools and can help people who are blind to understand more of the information on a page.

There are a number of easy tests you can perform yourself to check if your website is accessible or not. But, if like me you are a single entrepreneur, and your family time is a precious commodity, then I’m more than happy to execute the tests for you, and provide a complete website accessibility report. Just drop me an email or give me a call to arrange a chat.


Be mobile-friendly

With more and more people using handheld devices to browse and buy online, your website must be mobile-friendly. Responsive website design means that whatever size of screen people are using to view your site, the images and text are automatically resized. This makes it much easier to load, read and navigate. If your site isn’t a responsive design, then your visitors will quickly lose interest and bounce merrily away to your competitor’s website. 

Most self-build website tools have responsive design already included, with options for you to view your site on desktop, mobile or notepad before you publish. If you have that option on your content management system, WordPress, Wix, etc., then I recommend that you use it. Check your content and media display correctly, heading don’t fall off the screen and CTAs are in the right place. If you’re not sure if your business site is mobile-friendly there are a number of free tools you can use to check it. Alternatively, I offer a free website review which includes testing that your site renders correctly on mobile devices. 


Give instant feedback

This might seem like an unusual item to add, but to me it’s as important as all the others I have mentioned.

If you have ever completed an online form, and not received on page confirmation that the action has been successful, you have two options. Fill everything in again and hope it confirms the second time round. Or don’t bother. There’s also a third option which is just picking up the phone, but it’s less likely to happen, unless someone desperately wants to buy something you offer.

It’s important that your site visitors see an instant response when they fill in a form or click on a link, to know it works. So test your site frequently. Because there is nothing more frustrating than a website that doesn’t work properly. 

smiling fish underwater

A happy customer is a returning customer.

You must meet user expectations, and if possible, go above and beyond what people are expecting. Test all of the elements of your site thoroughly to make sure everything works as it should do. Don’t brush little niggly problems under the carpet, thinking people won’t care, because they will. Poor grammar, spelling errors and things that don’t work as they should do, can make your website look unprofessional. And it might give them the same impression about you. 

For your free, no-obligation, website review, just phone, or send me an email. Find out how I can help boost your online business !

Get in touch

 SAA I.T. Testing & Business Website Services


Why having a business website is so important

Owning and creating your own business website may sound daunting and expensive. But the beauty of it is that you have control of your own destiny. You own it – lock, stock and barrel. If anything goes wrong then it’s generally user error fault, but it is recoverable. The recent Facebook server outage will have given all small business owners a wake-up call. The crash was global and impacted Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram. The main advertising and sales outlets for many businesses. Fortunately it was fairly short-lived, but what if it had been longer term, a few days or even a week? How would your business have coped?

Read more : Facebook Outage 4th October 2021. Why did it take so long to fix?

We are bombarded everyday by notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc that I wonder how small businesses ever survived before the internet. But they did, and that’s because they made the most of their physical location, sold goods that their customers wanted and thrived on providing good customer service. They were also local and most shops were within easy walking distance for busy Mums and Dads. Nowadays the local shop owner has to compete with global mega-corporates who have automated manufacturing processes that churn out throwaway goods. And they have multimillion dollar advertising budgets. How can we compete?

Social Media business accounts are quick to set up; they’re fairly easy to manage, and free to run (at the minute). But what happens when they change their policies or accidentally delete your account? It does happen, and when it does you could lose your whole business profile, contacts, showroom, pricing, customers. All gone without even saying goodbye.

Personally, I think we can still give our customers what they want without relying solely on social media. But to do that we need to create a great customer experience, have control over our virtual shopfront and be open 24/7 (not literally). I’m talking about having our own website. Ultimately, social media should only be used for the free advertising, building good customer relationships, and driving people to the website.

Choosing a website designer

Once you have made the decision to have your own business website, for it to be a success I recommend using a professional web designer. It doesn’t have to be a big company and it doesn’t necessarily have to be someone local either. However, it can be more beneficial to have someone based in the same country. Because a) if you have any problems they’re in the same time zone and b) they should be familiar with the website legalities for your country.

What else do you need to know? Knowing how much they charge would be a good start, but there a few other questions you should be asking too.

What’s included in the price?

Does it include registering a domain? Will the domain ( be registered to you? Does is include hosting? 24/7 support? Does it include Search Engine Optimisation? Does it include making changes if you don’t like the first draft? If any of these service aren’t included ask how much extra they cost, and get everything in writing.

Website board with different tags

How long have they been in business?

You want someone that’s been around a while, experienced and isn’t going to disappear in a couple of weeks. Ask for recommendations and also ask to see their portfolio. Do they have designs that appeal to you? Do the websites look professional? Can you view the websites fully on different devices – laptop, mobiles, tablets? Ask them about Responsive Website Design. If they don’t know what you are talking about, then don’t even think about using them.

What do they need from you?

Obviously if you are paying for a service you want to have some input. You’re the business owner, you know your business and should have an idea of the kind of image you want to present. You need to get this across to your website designer and make sure they understand it fully. Show them some websites that you like the look of and ask them whether they will be writing the content or whether you need to provide it. Have you got a logo? What about your colour scheme?

Most of the web designers that I have spoken to about Cookie and Privacy policies have informed me that it is the client that should tell them if and how they want the cookie banner to be displayed. The onus is on the website owner to make sure the website is legally compliant, not the web designer. So please, bear this in mind and check out the legalities for French business sites

How long is it going to take?

Before you part with any money find out how long it will take them? There’s no point placing an order for a website if it isn’t going to be ready when you need to start advertising your products and services. They need to fit your timetable, not the other way around.

How I can help

I have worked closely with several web designers over the years and I now focus on website usability testing. This is reviewing business websites from the customer or user perspective. If you need any web designer recommendations from me then just ask. I’m always happy to help and can give you some hints and tips on what to look for in a designer’s portfolio. I also offer a free business website review. So if you already have a website but want to know if there are any issues, drop me a line. That’s what I’m here for – supporting small business owners like you and me.

If you have enjoyed reading this article please like and share.

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Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013



Need some help? Please contact us:

FR: +33 (0)7 83 16 61 11

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970


Mon: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tue: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wed: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Thu: 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Fri: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sat: Closed
Sun: Closed


Playing the Generation Game 

Let’s start with a simple question. Do you know which generation group you are in?

There are so many different terms that it has become quite confusing, especially as I now see business articles referring to target audiences as Gen X, Gen Y and Baby Boomers. These are terms frequently used in the news and in marketing, but what do they all mean?

A recent article I received, about finding the best social media platform for my target audience, had me scouring the internet to find a concise definition. Then I thought, if I don’t fully understand what generation groups are, other people may be just as confused.

It’s not just a personal thing. From a business perspective, we need to be seen on the right social media platforms. We have to know which groups our customers fall into, because different generations have their own social media favourites. 

Our Ancestors

When people talk about Generation X it can be a bit baffling. It seems to me that it’s because when we think about generations we think about the family – parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents, etc.


This is one way of looking at it, and it’s called ‘Familial Generation‘. You and your siblings are one generation, your parents, aunts and uncles, are another, grand-parents are another. And so on. 

When you hear talk about Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials there is a different term for these and this is when it gets a bit mind-boggling. These are called ‘Sociological Generations‘. It’s even more of a tongue-twister than ‘Familial’ isn’t it? I think it’s more important to know the actual group names, than understand their definitions, but I’ll try and summarise it.

Life Events

Putting people into sociological categories – Baby Boomer, Generation X, Y, etc is more complex because it’s seen from two different angles.

One is based on birth rates as documented by the census, which considers population expansion and contraction. So if there is an age difference of 5 or 6 years between siblings, according to the census they could be in different sociological generations. If your parents were very young when they had you, you could potentially belong to the same category, as defined by the census. That part of it is probably the most difficult to understand. 

The other way of defining sociological generations is through life events that link groups of people. Sociologists look at common life events and shared experiences to define the groups.  

For instance, ‘Generation X’ grew up with parents who divorced and mothers who worked. Personal computers were just coming on the scene. And there was that cross-over from analog to digital tv. Along comes MTV, Atari, computer games, Apple, YouTube, Facebook. It’s these elements which are used to define the X, Y and Zs.

Therefore, in marketing terms, it’s the sociological generations that are being referring to, and that we should try to understand.

Identify the Generation Group

generation group and year of birth


I’ve made it into the Baby Boomers group (1963) so this article, about finding the Best Social Media Platforms is actually pretty accurate when I think of how I interact with the world wide web.

Knowing the generation group will help to focus on theright social media outlets. So saving time posting to the right social media sites might give us more time to focus and improve other business areas, such as our websites, orimproving our content

It won’t be a ‘one-size fits all’ for every business scenario, and there might be some trial and error. But, when we’re running a business, this ‘Generation Game’ might give us more time to spend with our loved ones. That has to be a ‘Brucie’ bonus.

‘Sharing is Caring’

If you like this article let me know – and let your friends know!


English-only websites – are you breaking the Toubon Law?

As an entrepreneur in France I have my own business website which is currently only available in English, and my service offerings include a comprehensive website review. So I can only apologise because I have only recently found out about Toubon Law, and how it impacts business website owners. 

Even though I didn’t find anything when I searched on ‘Do I need a French version of my website?’, a native French web designer has pointed out my error. So I am now frantically trying to squeeze in translating my complete website, in between my client work. Because I live and work in France I need my business to be totally legal and compliant, so I’m not worrying about the internet police.

It might take me some time to translate the blogs, so unless one specifically advertises my services, I will do them as and when. A bit like this particular article, which has now been added to my ever-growing ‘To Do’ List.

Sign saying Wait paint instead of wet paint Translation Toubon Law
Make sure someone checks your translation

What is Toubon Law?

Although the law does not explicitly mention websites as an example, it does state that French must be used for publicly displayed advertising. The reason for the law was partly to protect the French language from the increasing use of Anglicised terms in marketing publications, for example ‘le web’ or ‘le marketing’. It’s also to ensure that French customers fully understand all the commercial advertising jargon that they see. So I can understand why this would be important, especially if there is no French definition for a particular word or phrase.

… a law of the French government mandating the use of the French language in official government publications, in all advertisements, in all workplaces, in commercial contracts, in some other commercial communication contexts, ….

Toubon Law – Wikipedia

Toubon Law or ‘Loi Toubon’ was named after the Minister of Culture at the time the law was passed in August 1994. But it also has the nickname ‘Loi Allgood’ (All good – tout bon) which shows the French do have a sense of humour.

Does this impact all websites in France?

If your business is registered in France then yes, the law applies to your business website. It doesn’t apply to personal sites, such as blogs though. So if you are not selling or promoting something on your personal website, then you can keep it non-French. 

“l’emploi du français est requis dans le cas où une entreprise présente, sur quelque support que ce soit, des biens ou des services dans le but de les commercialiser sur le territoire français”

Translating your website

If you already have a website in English, the page layout, content, images, meta descriptions, etc. are already there. And it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to have a French version of your existing web pages. Your website manager should be able to recommend and install a good translation plug-in. The actual plug-in or app shouldn’t cost a fortune either. Most of them are free, but if manual translation is required then it’s worth employing a native French speaker. I would definitely not recommend using Google Translate unless you really have to, because it translates literally and using old-fashioned terminology. It’s fine if you need to get directions to your favourite restaurant – ah, those were the days! – but not so good if you want to professionally promote your products and services to French consumers. 

If you can’t afford an official translator then why not ask a French friend or neighbour if they can help you out? Or translate it using DeepL or any tool other than Google Translate, and then ask them to review it for you. You’ll be surprised how many anomalies they will find. Personally, I get my French teacher to check my business translations as part of my language course. It’s a win/win situation – she is paid to review my site and teach me French. At the same time, I’m learning the correct business lingo to promote my services.

Boost your business

Toubon Law is not all bad news and you should look on the positive side. If your website is in French and English you are potentially increasing your customer base and boosting your sales. Now isn’t that a good enough reason to get your website translation completed tout de suite ?

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about this, or any other article please get in touch.

Shirley Atkinson.

Website Usability Testing & Content Writing Services



Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013


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