Time for a review. Overcome your fear of criticism

 

Fear of criticism

Maybe our fear of criticism goes back to our school days. Spending hours writing essays only to have them marked and returned with lots of red lines and teacher’s comments.

I’ve also been subjected to a wide variety of appraisals and work reviews in the different organisations I have worked for. Most of them provided encouraging, constructive criticism and feedback, especially in my early years in the Civil Service. And yet I still used to dread the annual Performance Appraisal Reviews and the fear of criticism. I imagine we are all the same. We think – hope! – we are doing a good job, but when there’s a review on the horizon we start to worry about getting negative feedback.

I was very lucky to be assigned to experienced managers who understood the difference between constructive and destructive criticism and how it can affect a person’s self-esteem. Their feedback encouraged my personal development and gave me the confidence to take on new challenges throughout my career and in my personal life.

Humiliation

However, there is one incident which stands out in my mind more than any other because of the way it made me feel. Little did I realise that how I felt at that moment was going to influence how I treated people I worked with in the future.

In my first contract as a freelance Test Consultant I was working for a very large corporate company. The job meant I was working away from home, with people I didn’t know and learning a new complex system. Everything was different, I was way out of my comfort zone but wanted to make a good impression because this was the career I loved. 

What I didn’t bank on was being assigned to a manager who let her personal life interfere with her professional life, to the extent that on her bad days, she publicly criticised and humiliated people. Less than a week into my new role, I was verbally attacked in a room full of people – because I had saved a file in the wrong place. She should have quietly point out the correct folder structure, but instead she shouted, finger-pointed and called me an ‘over-paid simpleton’. 

Embarrassment

I sat there open-mouthed and fighting back the tears. People were staring at me. I felt embarrassed and physically sick. I couldn’t even manage an easy escape because the door was the other side of the room. Instead I bit my lip, walked over to her desk, and I asked her quietly and apologetically if she could show me where the file should be. After correcting my mistake I walked down to the Ladies loo on the floor below and cried my eyes out. I had never felt so humiliated in all my life and convinced myself I was going to get sacked. I left work that day ready to pack my bags and even started looking for a new contract!

The next day she acted as if nothing had happened. No apology was ever forthcoming but it occurred so frequently, with different people, that eventually she was reported and moved to another area. Under a new, encouraging, more professional manager I became a team leader and stayed with that company for two years. I learnt new skills and gained knowledge and experience using new testing tools, but the most important thing I learnt was how to give feedback. 

Negative Feedback

If you have single-handedly set up your own business, set up Social Media accounts, manage the financial affairs and created your own website, hats off to you. You deserve a massive pat on the back. It doesn’t matter what line of business you are in (unless you are a web designer!) or how well you are doing. You have successfully done something a lot of people can’t or won’t do for various reasons, and one of those reasons is fear of criticism.

When you’re starting out, you know a business website is an essential marketing tool, but a good web designer costs money – even bad web designers cost money! And although it’s a recognisable investment, if you can’t afford it, your only option is to go it alone.

There are lots of sites, like Wix and WordPress, which can help you create a simple, straight-forward website. Don’t let them fool you into thinking it’s an easy task. You still have to think about what pages you need, getting the right template, writing the content, uploading images, etc. Maybe that doesn’t sound too difficult, but if your website is going to stand out from your competitors then it needs to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. 

So, now we’ve added a couple of plug-ins and widgets to improve the website ‘look and feel’ and it’s ready for publishing. Who are the first people we ask for feedback? Our friends and family of course. Because of our fear of criticism we can rely on them to be positive – and even if they are really honest, we know it will be in a nice, positive way. But does that mean we are already worrying too much about what other people think and, more importantly, what our customers think? 

What is Criticism?

Negative criticism from an unqualified, uninformed source is of so little value that it’s meaningless. It makes zero sense to pay it any of your valuable attention.

Extract credit – Jim Connolly 

As a small business owner we have to learn to deal with these fears, because as soon as your business is online it’s visible and open to criticism. So to survive it’s essential that you stop negative criticism from affecting you.

Jigsaw puzzle showing the words constructive criticism - fear of criticism

To do this try to understand more about the critic than the criticism. If they are an expert in their field then, even if their comment is negative, it might be something worth taking onboard. The key difference between criticism and feedback is our perception of it.

Criticism is often taken to mean that we are being judged by another person in a condescending manner. So when people are criticised by others it can be a fairly unpleasant experience for the receiver.

Destructive criticism doesn’t help anyone. In fact it can lower a person’s self-esteem and make them feel like a failure. Constructive criticism, on the other hand can help to develop the abilities of that person, and create a positive change.

What is Feedback?

Feedback is generally understood to be information that can improve the performance or development of a product or a person. For example, a company has released a new product on the market and wants to evaluate the public’s response. There are different ways to go about this. They might hold a small event where samples of the product are given to members of the public and they have to provide feedback. The company can then understand how well the product has been received and act on this feedback. 

For people,  a manager might give feedback in a personal appraisal, or to a group of employees when they complete a new project. A lot of companies hold one-off, end of project ‘Lessons Learned’ sessions.  Key stakeholders are asked to provide feedback for the project as a whole – what went well or not so well and what can be improved. 

Lessons Learned

Lessons learned is all about understanding what you all did right and what you all could have done better. It’s not about finger pointing. It’s about learning. And this is why, when I perform my business website reviews, my feedback report isn’t all about what is wrong with the website. It’s about pointing out what works really well and what can be improved. 

I always ask for feedback and, from what I’ve received, the majority of my clients generally agree with my comments. Issues are fixed, suggestions for re-wording are applied, website layout and functionality is improved. A lot of the changes are quick, easy, inexpensive and effective. 

Very occasionally they don’t want to make any changes, which is fine. I’m not going to force my opinions on anybody. However I will point out that if one of the issues is that your website is not legally compliant, then that is not just my opinion. It’s the law! 

Be Kind

One of the reasons behind this post is a conversation I had recently with a new client. She admits she’s not technically minded but has still managed to build her own website. However, when she saw that someone on Facebook had left a rather derogatory comment, she was understandably upset and demoralised. Personally, having just started my review of the site, she has done a bloody good job and we’ll work together to make it even better! 

If you’ve never received bad feedback maybe you don’t have a fear of criticism, and you’re incredibly lucky. Your parents and teachers must have been a lot nicer than mine. But next time you leave a review or a comment, if you know it’s a small business, try and be a bit more considerate. Your criticisms can be hurtful and demoralising. I appreciate it’s not always easy, especially if you’ve had bad customer service, but imagine how you would feel if you were being publicly humiliated. 

I know how I felt and it’s not something I would even wish on my worst enemy. 

 

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

‘Sharing is Caring’

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

 

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

 

The New Normal

What can we do to get ourselves and our business back on track?

woman on stairs and the words All Ideas Grow Out of Other Ideas is imaged on the steps to the side

Having been in Covid-19 confinement and business lock-down since March there is now a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. In the next few weeks several European countries are relaxing their restrictions and allowing businesses to reopen. In France this will only go ahead if the number of confirmed coronavirus deaths does not rise, and as long as the businesses that are allowed to open apply strict health and hygiene guidelines.

But although we all say we’ll be glad to get back to normal, I think we know it’s not going to be the ‘old normal’. It’s going to be a ‘new normal’. 

And that leads me straight into an article I read yesterday that I want to share with you. The author shares the same views as me and the article itself provides some good, solid advice. So why re-invent the wheel?


One thing that I think this pandemic has taught all of us in business is that we need to be flexible and ready for change, so it might be worth recording everything you’ve learned, and continue to learn during this crisis, so you can have a contingency plan in place to help you through the next few months.

 

The above quote is from the latest post from a blogger that I follow and admire, Cindy Mobey. She’s a freelance writer and marketing consultant, and I must admit to being just a little bit jealous of how easy she makes blogging look. Her style of writing is natural, intelligent and easy to read. It’s also informative and thought-provoking. 

Are you ready for the ‘new normal’?

Cindy has kindly given me permission to share the article on my website, and here it is. Please read the full article – Time for a new normal? and let me know what you think.

How can I help?

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

Business Blogs – When is the best time to blog?

It occurred to me this morning that I hadn’t posted a business blog in a while. With so much going on with coronavirus, self-isolation and people disobeying the distancing rules, why would anyone be interested in a blog about websites? Or website testing? 

So then I started thinking about the reasons why I should do a blog and it got me thinking about optimisation. It sounds like a random train of thought doesn’t it? But I’m talking about ‘optimisation’ in a business blog kind of way. And at 6 am on a beautiful Sunday morning I’m sat at my desk researching ‘Business Blog Scheduling’. 

I know the reasons why I should be submitting regular business posts. It’s so that it keeps my website fresh, helps with SEO and search traffic, helps build a good relationship with clients, etc, etc. But doesn’t how often we need to publish a blog and the optimal blogging frequency vary, depending on the type of business you have?  

 

top part of a round white clock face showing numbers and the words Prime time

Image Credit

General Blogging Guidelines

So as a result of my early morning research I did actually come up with a few general guidelines.

  1. Publish a new business blog at least once a week
  2. Always publish on the same day
  3. Focus on creating high-quality content

Great. Now I have my guidelines all I have to do is find a way to make user testing sound interesting. That’s the hard bit. But then, reading different articles this morning, I noticed that Guideline #1 isn’t strictly correct. It doesn’t always have to be new content. If you have posted something previously about a topic that is still relevant, or has come back in fashion, re-use it. There’s nothing to stop you giving it a bit of a tweak – re-cycling! – and republishing it. It counts as a new business blog, just don’t keep re-using the same one every week.

Identify your audience

Guideline number 2 is about being consistent and routinely publishing your blog on the same day. This is where I think we need to experiment to find out what works best for our own business and for our customers. But the first step has to be identifying your business blog audience.

My services are not going to be required by everybody. To be honest I probably have a very limited audience – owners of small and medium sized business enterprises – SMEs. And it doesn’t really matter what line of business my ‘audience’ is in. If they have a business website then they are a potential customer, even web design businesses.

I regularly work with a couple of web designers, reviewing their work during and after publishing, because catching bugs earlier means it easier and less expensive to fix. When you’re busy it’s easy to miss little things, such as broken links or poor navigation. Lots of little things can lead to one big, bad customer experience. So sometimes, it just helps to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the content and usability. 

There you see, I have drifted off into my own little testing world when I should be focusing on the task in hand and telling you about the ultimate goal.

The goal, of course, once you have identified your target audience is to successfully maintain a business blog that will increase website visitors. Making new connections and continuing to engage with existing customers or clients, will hopefully start generating new sales. 

Experiment

Different audiences will have different needs. If your business blog is a tool for providing up-to-the-minute information about products that you sell then you probably need to publish short, promotional blogs on a daily basis, or even several times a day. Whereas if you provide technical services, like testing for example, then that requires a longer, more detailed blog. So I think for me personally, once a week should suffice.

If you’re not sure what your blog readers need then you might have to experiment and see what formats and frequencies get the best reactions. See which format is a consistent favourite and continue with that. 

Now comes the hard part – creating high-quality content.

Avoid Burnout

This came up in several of the articles I read this morning and probably made the most sense. We all start off with so much enthusiasm, especially when people like or share our posts. But trying to consistently write something that’s interesting, in whatever line of business you are in, can be exhausting. There are a couple of ways to overcome this and avoid burnout.

First of all, why not share the load? Try inviting a guest blogger to write for you occasionally to add a bit of variety and a different personality. (This could work for me, and I have already got a couple of people in mind). Alternatively, if you really don’t like writing content and this is what puts you off blogging then you could hire someone to do it for you full-time.

Second, try writing and stockpiling articles for when you haven’t got time to keep to your business blog schedule. I have started adding articles or other blog sites to a ‘Favourites’ folder for future inspiration. I also check out Google search trends and try to use them as topics or keywords.

Timing

A lot of research has gone into analysing blog post timing data. Which Social Media platform is best for your business depends a lot on your target audience. I doubt many of my potential clients would be on TikTok for example. Pinterest is another one I don’t bother with, and I only have an Instagram personal account, not a business one, and even that is rarely use. You don’t need to have a business presence on all of them if it isn’t going to do anything for you. It just makes it harder to manage.

Mobile phone and tiles spelling Social Media

My business networking focus is on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. To get the best from these platforms for my business I need to look at the research.

Well, I have looked and basically the answer seems to be ‘it’s complex’ because it depends on your industry and your audience. Fortunately, I know my audience and thankfully. the research does confirm that these are the best platforms for my industry sector. That’s a bonus. 

However, I don’t intend to make this post any longer than it needs to be, so I’ve added a link to an easy to follow Info-graphic. Under normal circumstances it provides all the optimal posting timings for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It also includes data for business sectors such as B2B, B2C, Higher Education, etc. 

Best Time Scheduler

Unfortunately, at this moment in time, there is nothing remotely normal about what is going on around us. Schools and the majority of businesses are either closed or employees are temporarily working from home. Our travel, work and home schedules are different, which means that our access to the internet and social media is different. 

In a few months there will be more data analysis on the best times to post a business blog, based on the lock-down period.  So I’m going to put creating an all-singing, all-dancing ‘Best Time Scheduler’ on hold for the time being and write some new content for my once-a-week business blog. 

I’m sure my audience will let me know if they want more from me, but for now, I think it’s time for another cup of vanilla chai before I go out in the garden and pull a few weeds. Happy weekend everyone!

Stay Safe and Stay Well

Shirley Atkinson, SAA IT Testing 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

Take care of your business, your customers and YOU

People are referring to the covid-19 pandemic as a war and that we are fighting an invisible enemy. Maybe there are some similarities, but however we view this period of confinement there is no doubt that it is changing lives now and in the future. And because people are forced to spend more time at home it is also changing our relationship with the outside world and our online search behaviour.

According to data recently published by Google, search and consumer behaviour is changing on a daily basis. So what can we do in these difficult times to take care of our business, our customers and, most importantly, ourselves? 

Can we use this new search behaviour to create content that will help others find the information they need? Yes we can, because we are also consumers and we are changing too. 

Trust written in blue pen on a clear board

 

 

 

 

Credible Information

Just the Facts wording displayed on a computer monitor with blue background

Because consumer search behaviour is changing, the way businesses write and present their content needs to evolve with it. To do this we need to understand the 5 relevant shifts in consumer search behaviour identified by Google.

1. Assembling critical information

We’re all searching for new critical content to help us get by and adapt to changes in lifestyle. Home-schooling, home deliveries and home-working are just a few of the key areas where searches are now focused. So businesses and organisations need to provide clear, credible information about their services and where, how and when people can get the things they need.

Fact not Fake

Reinforce that you are here to help. Keep in regular communication across your website, blogs, social media and Google My Business page. Most importantly, make sure that what you communicate is factual – there is so much fake news being distributed and most of it causes more concern and heightens emotions and anxiety. Your customers need to be able to trust what you are telling them.

Try to be flexible by helping customers with cancellations and refunds. Providing a good customer service is something they will remember you for. Poor customer service is what they will tell their friends about.

2. Making New Connections

With social distancing people are nurturing their existing relationships, whether it’s with family, friends or businesses. But they’re also making new virtual connections and search interest is spiking on YouTube for topics such as ‘Cook with Me’, ‘Study with me’ and ‘Disinfect with me’. But also for multiplayer games and virtual happy hour!

Are there any ways your business can virtually connect with consumers locally and globally? What experiences or services can you create and share with them?

3. Changes In Routines

Our online habits are changing as we adjust to new routines and schedules brought about by self-isolation. As well as spikes in search interest for D.I.Y and dumb-bells, there is also more interest in watching other people adapt to new routines, with some late-night show hosts broadcasting from their own homes.  

Google’s recommendations for helping consumers adjust to their new confinement routines is to let people know that your business is available whenever and wherever. Update and publish content that is interesting, entertaining, informative and promotes wellness. And publish it often. 

4. Praising Everyday Heroes

I’m sure we have all seen or heard of Captain Tom Moore, the 99 year old World War 2  veteran raising money for the NHS. At the time of writing, over 600,00 people had contributed to his Just Giving fund. What an amazing gentleman. A true inspiration for us all. Before the end of this isolation I’m pretty certain there will be more everyday heroes that we will want to support.

Look for people who are helping and find ways to support or celebrate them. Are there any everyday heroes in your business – employees or customers – or in your local community?  Support and share their achievements.

5. Taking Care of Themselves and Others

people holding hands, taking care of business and ourselves

I think we are all looking for ways to take care of the physical and emotional needs of ourselves and others. We are looking for activities that will help to ease the boredom, anxiety and restlessness. They can be virtual or real-life activities. And because of this growing need for stimulation, there has been a surge in virtual tours of galleries, museums, chateaux and even online music festivals!

If your business has an interest in any of these areas, that’s fantastic. Get involved and facilitate some virtual collaboration. If you’re not, there’s nothing to stop you sharing some of your favourite virtual tours or creating some of your own. Focus on ways to enrich peoples lives. Join conversations about home-based health and well-being, share links to home-based yoga sessions. 

Don’t just take care of your business

Some businesses will survive, others will adapt, re-invent themselves and come up with bigger and better business ideas. But if you are going to take care of your business, then your number one priority has to be taking care of yourself

These are bleak times but we will all get through this, one way or another.  Just remember to stay connected. Keep in touch with your family, friends, the local community and other businesses. Please, stay safe and stay in touch.

If you can dream it you can do it – Walt Disney

Click here to read the full Google Search Trends and coronavirus article

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

Social Media & SEO

Do you promote your business on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Did you know that boosting your postings on social media could help your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)? 

 

“…it’s a fact that social media properties do dominate the front of the search engine result pages for brand names. Which means, social media profiles indeed have the power to rank in the top 10 results. Social media profiles are a great way to connect to your prospects and customers”

Kyren Smith, Lyfe Marketing

 

So, does social media impact SEO? Well, yes, there is a tenuous link between although it may not be immediately clear or easy to explain. Boosting your postings could improve your search engine rankings and bring traffic and visitors to your website. More traffic means higher visibility in search rankings and ultimately more customers. 

How does it work?

If you write a blog and post the link to this on your Facebook page then it will get liked and shared. If not, then maybe you need to brush up on your blog-writing skills, but that’s another story. Social media is built for sharing, so the more people like and share your blog, the more people see it and your business gets more visibility. Make sure your post settings are public, so if friends of friends see your post they will click on the blog link (the URL), like and share it.. The blog URL is linked to your website so by clicking on the blog link takes traffic to your website. So you are linking the blog to the site and that link is an important factor in  SEO ranking .

According to Google, social media is NOT a factor that directly affects your SEO ranking, but there is evidence that things like ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are somehow related to your ranking. However, social ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ are definitely a direct ranking factor for Bing.. 

Optimise your Social Media sites

If you have several social media sites…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest…are they consistent?

  • 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. 
  • Wherever possible make sure your profiles include a link to your website and if you have any offers or promotions then try and add a link to those as well. 
  • Be consistent with your posts and blogs and provide regular updates. But bear in the mind the post guidelines for each site because you don’t want it to look like your spamming. For example on Twitter you should post several times a day, but you don’t need to do this with Facebook or LinkedIn. 
  • Posts do better with images. Use eye-catching photos to attract attention. Catchy headline. Great content. And ask people for a share – it’s good, proven optimisation.
  • Use Hashtags because they are Keywords. They help categorise your content and help people find it. Just don’t over do it and use them correctly on the different platforms. Register a brand-specific hashtag and use it on all your posts
  • Review your website and make sure your content is optimised for social media sharing. Add social media sharing buttons. Videos show up in search results so add some into your content. 
  • Interact with people. If someone comments on your post, respond. Join groups and take part in conversations.
  • Keep posting – stay professional, unbiased, credible, approachable, and most of visible.

 

To read more, go to: How does Social Media Impact SEO? And if you need expert help with Social Media marketing, in my opinion there is no-one better than Micala Wilkins at Alacim Social Media Marketing. She has been in the marketing business for several years and has helped me enormously. Remember Social Media does impact SEO but only if you get it right! 

First published 22nd Feb 2020. Updated 9th April 2020

SAA I.T Test Consultant

 

‘Sharing is Caring’

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

 

 

 

Macarons are so much nicer than cookies

colourful cascade or macarons

 

Chocolate-chip anyone?

I’m not being totally disrespectful to cookies. There are some nice ones, but living in France I have now acquired a taste for macarons. The colours, the different flavours… Hmm, I’m going a bit off track here, because I should really be talking about browser cookies, and even they’re not all bad. 

Following my article about Website Legalities and business websites having to display a cookie notice, I had a couple of questions from worried website owners. Personal Blog owners too should take heed because you also have to comply with the privacy laws. 

What are browser cookies?

They’re not particularly dangerous and they can’t be used to steal your personal data. In fact browser cookies are generally harmless.

They store login details and other little bits of information on your computer from the different websites you have visited.

The information can only be read by the website that made the cookie, and it can only store details that you have given it. It can’t be used to get any other personal data from your computer.

 

How does Amazon know what I’m looking for?

Well, let’s use Amazon as an example. When you log into your Amazon account it stores the details you entered and shows you everything related to your account. The Amazon website also stores a cookie on your device that tells them what items you viewed last time you were there. So it’s only reading and sharing with you the information you gave it before.

In theory, a website could store your credit card as a cookie, because you gave it that information. But only the website where it’s stored can read it. Therefore the only real ‘danger’ is if someone physically has access to your computer because they can read the info. To be on safe side though, you should only provide personal and financial data to websites that you trust 100%.

Is a cookie a virus?

No, cookies are NOT viruses and no, you cannot catch coronavirus online either. (Believe me, I have seen that asked in one of the browser forums). Cookies are just simple text files. They can’t make copies of themselves and spread to other networks so they cannot be defined as a virus. They could be used as a form of spyware though because they store information about browsing history. That’s why a lot of anti-spyware products regularly flag cookies up for deletion. 

Responsible web developers

Now we’re getting down to the privacy issues side of things. Responsible web developers will provide clear descriptions of how cookies are used on their site. There are different types of browser cookies, some are necessary and useful and can’t be refused, others such as third-party cookies usually get created if you frequent websites that display adverts from another website. Again these are not really bad cookies, because they help advertisers keep track of how many people are seeing their ads and whether a particular ad campaign is effective. Cookies can also limit the number of times as advert is shown and display ads in a particular order.

Privacy Laws

The legislation about using cookies for storing information came into force in May 2011.

All new and existing business websites SAA I.T. Tst Consultant Privacy Policy have to be compliant. And it’s not all the responsibility of your web hosting service. They can provide cookie data about their website but not yours, especially if you add links to other websites.

There are sites such as CookieBot which can analyse and report back on the cookies it finds on your website and tell you how intrusive they are. Then you have to decide how you use that information and the best way to obtain a user’s consent.

 

As a responsible business website owner you must:

  • inform users of the purpose of cookies,
  • obtain their consent,
  • provide users with a way to refuse them.

And if users do give their consent it is only legally for a period of 13 months maximum.

Details of the types of cookies used on your website should be included in your Privacy Policy or a separate cookie policy prominently displayed on your website, and a link in your Cookie Notice. 

There are a number of WordPress plugins for cookie notices and plenty of websites out there offering to scan your site, continue to monitor it and provide bespoke cookie policies. Check out CookieBot and Termly.io

All this talk about cookies has got me thinking about macarons again. I’m gutted that the lock-down stopped me from attending a macaron baking workshop with Keith at Jambon de Printemps last month. But I’ll be the first to sign up for the class when everything gets back to normal.

Stay Safe. 

 

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

Responsive Website Design - SAA IT Test Consultant

A poor customer experience will impact sales

When you first published your business website who did you ask to check it out for you? In the majority of cases, if you are a small business owner it would probably have been close friends or family. And I don’t blame you, because I did the same. But unless they have website user testing experience then their feedback is likely to have been clouded by loyalty and emotion. 

They’re your friends and if you were just starting out, they’re not going to say anything negative to dampen your enthusiasm.

Same with me – to a certain extent. As an experienced user tester I always provide honest, constructive feedback. But whether it’s as a friend or a paid test analyst, I try to do it without sounding too critical. And I don’t just give negative feedback. I always report back on the positive aspects too.

Get an unbiased view

Having a fresh and impartial pair of eyes assessing your website will find issues that could affect your customer’s experience. A poor customer experience will generate bad reviews and it will impact your sales. Outsourcing the validation of your website to an independent user testing expert will give you an unbiased, unambiguous view of your business website, its strengths and its weaknesses.

 

“According to research by McKinsey, an incredible 35 per cent of Amazon’s sales come from recommendations.

More and more e-commerce businesses, small and large, are outsourcing their user experience (UX) testing to third-party testing service providers and business website user testing is one of the services that I provide. 

Initially I will look at your website and comment on my first impressions and then I will consider the most important factors for a well-designed business website. 

  • Can I tell in a few seconds what it is your business provides?
  • Are there any customer reviews?
  • Can I find what I’m looking for quickly and easily?

I’ll check whether the site is secure, if there is a data protection policy and, if it’s a commercial site, that all your general terms and conditions of sale are prominently displayed – payment options, refunds and exchanges, cost of delivery, after-sales service, etc.

What do you want your customers to do? 

User testing helps you understand how a customer might interact with your site. It covers the main steps a customer might go through such as selecting one or more items, choosing sizes, adding them to the shopping cart and going to the payment process.

The user journeys can be different every time. If there are different paths through the process, then there will be multiple user tests. And if there is an issue at any point this will be brought to your attention in the feedback report.

A bad customer experience will result in lost sales, bad reviews and more revenue for your competitors. Is that what you want? Or would you prefer to have an increase in sales, good reviews and recommendations, and a loyal customer base that trusts you to provide a secure, reliable service? 

Find out how my user testing experience can help you improve your customer’s experience.

FIND OUT MORE

 

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need some help? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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

 

Website Legalities Updated 

Do you remember my last article on Website Legalities? It covered the privacy laws relating to Cookies and Privacy Policies and the mandatory details you have to display on your business website. If that was a lot to take in, well sadly for the individual entrepreneur there is a lot more you need to know.

Mandatory Details

As an individual entrepreneur, as well as the Cookies and Privacy policy, you have to display personal details that identify you, and the type of activity you carry out. 

Identification

For all activity types – Commercial, Craft and Regulated – your business website must display the following mandatory identity details: 

  • Name and Surname
  • Home Address
  • Telephone Number and Email Address
  • Name of the Director, and name of any co-director or editor if there is one
  • Name, company address and phone number of your business  website host. 

Activity

Additionally, for the type of activity you are registered to carry out, you must display the following mandatory Activity information:

Commercial

  • Registration number in trade and companies register
  • Individual tax identification number
  • General Terms and Conditions of Sale, including price in euros, Tax, delivery costs, date of delivery, payment terms, after-sales service, right of withdrawal, duration of any offers, the cost for phone calls (standard call charges, etc).

Artisan

  • Registration number in the trades directory
  • Or registration number in the register of companies of the chambers of trades in the departments of Moselle, Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin.

Regulated

  • Reference to applicable professional rules
  • Indication of professional title
  • Name of the EU state in which the professional title was granted
  • Name of the order or organisation with which a registration was made

 

This article covers the information required for individual entrepreneurs. There are other mandatory requirements for companies registered in France. All the information for individuals and companies can be found on the Service-Public.Fr site.

 

Tick for compliance - individual entrepreneur

 

 

 

Non-Compliance

Best case, if you don’t comply you will get fined €1500. But do you really want to be worrying about getting caught?

Worse case, if you’re found to be processing data without authorisation you could get 5 years’ imprisonment and a €300,000 fine. 


Non-professional Websites

I’m including this category for completeness. Personal blogs are slightly different. You are not obliged to reveal your identity, but you can still be fined.

If you decide to remain anonymous, then you only have to display the identity details of your website host. Your hosting company has to have your identification details in case of legal proceedings.

If you don’t want to remain anonymous then you have to provide your identification details. Name, Surname, Home Address, Phone Number and Email Address. 

Non-compliance for personal blogs may result in a year in prison and a €75,000 fine.

Location

Shirley Atkinson

SAA IT Test Consultant

79120, Sainte Soline, France

SIRET – 835 373 515 00013

©2020 SAA-IT-Test.com

Contact

Need additional assistance? Please contact us:

saa.it.testing@gmail.com

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

UK: +44 (0)7940 435970

Hours

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