Graphic of a man and a women touching different parts of the website on a screen. There is another man off the sign holding an EU flag and a megaphone to their mouth

As a website owner, it’s critical that you ensure you are in compliance with worldwide laws regarding website cookies. If your business website has traffic from European countries, take the time to consider whether you are meeting the EU minimum website cookies compliance standards. If not then it’s time to make the necessary updates to your site.

Who Needs to Comply with the European Cookie Law?

The EU cookie law applies to any website which attracts visitors from the EU. Even if your business is located in the US, Canada, or elsewhere in the world, you need to make sure you are meeting the minimum standards when you have EU visitors. In order to remain in compliance, your website should not load or save any cookies until the site visitors confirm their decision via your cookie consent form. This form needs to offer the option to decline cookies entirely, or you will be breaking this law.

When designing your cookie consent form, another part of the regulations in the EU is the colours and sizing of the buttons. You must not force or influence the actions of the visitors, so the accepting and declining buttons must be the same colour and size. Another regulation to keep in mind is that in Austria, the use of Google Analytics to track website usage became illegal in January 2022. At the moment, this only impacts Austria, but there’s a chance we may see other countries follow this trend in the future.

Different Types of Cookies

To remain in compliance with EU law, it’s critical that you are aware of what cookies are in terms of your website. Cookies are text files that contain smaller pieces of data to identify your computer within a network. The data that’s stored within the cookies will be created by your server when you connect, and it’s labelled with a unique ID for your computer. The server can then read your ID and know how to serve you best.

HTTP cookies are created by a web server when someone browses your website. They will then be placed on the device or computer by the user’s web browser, allowing web servers to store information on your device. They can be used to track a user’s activity or save information that they’ve previously entered online.

Another type of cookie that you may use on your website is an authentication cookie. These are used by web servers to check that a user is logged in and the account that they are using. This stops users from having to authenticate themselves on every single page that has sensitive information, offering a better user experience while keeping your site secure. Finally, tracking cookies are used to create long-term records of a user’s browsing history. These are non-essential cookies, and so you will need to ensure you are receiving informed consent from your website visitors for storing these on their devices.

As you can see, it’s critical for website owners to keep in compliance with EU laws when they are attracting visitors from European countries. To help you keep up to date with GDPR cookie compliance, we highly recommend using this WordPress plugin on your site.

Contact us today if you would like us to look into whether your website is complying with the EU laws.

Graphic of "How to make your website faster"

Website speed is the number one determining factor for if a visitor will actually see your website. You already did the hard work of directing them to it. Don’t lose out on potential business by having a website that takes over 2 seconds to load.

Here are our recommendations for testing your website’s speed and then improving it.

Checking your website speed 

Web Page Test is a great free tool that you can use right now to check the speed of your site. 

Google Page Speed Insights is also an industry favourite. Just enter your website’s URL and it will calculate the speed for you. 

Are images slowing your website’s speed? 

Oversize images can drastically slow down the speed of your site. A good rule of thumb is that graphic files should be PNGs while image files should be JPEGs. If your images and graphic files aren’t right, then you can always upload them into Canva, and re-download them as the correct file. 

Another great way to change the type of file is by using a file converter, you can find a bunch of these on Google. Rosewood uses Converter & Bulk Resizer

Clearing your Website’s Cache

A cache is a storage location that collects temporary data to help websites, apps and browsers load faster. So when someone is returning to your website, it will load faster, since the cache automatically stored a bunch of useful information about your site on their first visit. Clearing your cache will help to increase your website speed. A great tool to use is SEO Site Checkup, it is free and will check your site’s cache for you.

Outdated Software, Plugins & Apps

Outdated software such as the core wordpress environment, or supporting plugins could also be another reason why your website has slowed down. If you don’t have the time to make these updates yourself, let Rosewood do it for you! Contact us to find out about our Maintenance plans. 

Website speed is a critical determining factor for who actually sees your website content. People won’t wait around for ever. Make sure your website loads quickly, fully and securely for potential visitors.  Your potential clients, and Google, will appreciate it! 

web design wordpress vs. wix-weebly rosewoodva deanna simone newmarket york region

If there is one question I get asked more than any other, it’s ‘Why WordPress?’

The simple answer; because it’s the best.

But, for those who like to know the Hows and Whys of things, here is the long version. Below is my breakdown for why I choose WordPress vs. Wix and Weebly, with as little boring technical jargon as possible.

The Benefits of WordPress

SEO:

WordPress allows for every page, post and image to be optimized for SEO. And it has tools that check your Readability and SEO scores on every page and blog post you create. Quality of code (below) also impacts your SEO.

Quality of Code:

The quality of code (the symbolic arrangement of data that makes computer programs run) matters, period.  For the most part, if you know what you’re doing, the theme you choose will have quality code. For more on this, see the negatives of WordPress.

Ease of Use by Clients:

Rosewood has researched a wide range of WordPress themes and narrowed it down to only those that have full customization options as well as an easy user interface.  We want all of our clients to at least have the opportunity to take over their own simple updates on a regular basis if they so choose.  We include basic training in our packages. However, our goal is that our websites make our clients so busy that they need to outsource back to us. It’s a win-win!

Open-Source:

WordPress is open-source (resources that have been designed to be publicly accessible and editable) and has been since is creation on May 27th, 2003.  Since then, developers from around the world have created plugins for basically every functionality you can dream of.  Some are free, and some are premium.  The only real issue that arises is that you really need to do your homework before committing to a plugin.

APIs (Application Programming Interface)

Here’s where we get a little technical.  An API is “a software-to-software interface that enables two applications to exchange data among each other.” (source). Because WordPress is open-source and the platform is world-wide, WordPress has tons of APIs; meaning almost everything integrates with it. From MailChimp to PayPal, to Stripe and Salesforce. Whatever you need, someone has most likely already created the API for it.

The Benefits of Wix & Weebly

Ease of Use:

Wix and Weebly knew they couldn’t compete with WordPress on most levels, so they really went after the simplicity component.  Wix and Weebly are so simple, anyone can use them.  But what I always say is, just because you have a website, doesn’t mean anyone can find it.

Quick & Simple

You can have a Wix/Weebly site up within a few days by yourself.  These sites are best suited for people who just need a website as a passive portfolio.  These sites will rarely actively find leads for you.

The Negatives of WordPress

Quality of Code:

Not all websites are built the same, and not even all WordPress sites are built the same.  Some themes (which is the core layout design of your website) have terrible code quality and rank poorly in Google.  This in turn reflects poorly on your SEO.

That is why it is critical to really know what you’re doing and do your research. Rosewood VA stays up to date with theme developments and updates to see which ones are the best for visual performance as well as code quality.  Currently we have narrowed it down ONE SINGLE THEME!  But hey, if something better comes along, you bet we’ll know about it first!

Complexity:

New clients are often hesitant when I recommend WordPress because they’ve heard it’s hard to use and requires custom coding knowledge.  This USED to be true.  WordPress five years ago was no where near as sophisticated as it is now.  Like I say, if you know what you’re doing or have someone to get you started in the right direction, WordPress can be wonderful.

Cost:

Having a website developed by a professional is not cheap.  In the same way that having professional photography is not cheap. However, what really matters at the end of the day is your ROI (Return on Investment).  You need to determine what that ROI is for your business. If you invested X amount in your website, how many leads/sales through that site are required for you to break even and then start turning a profit?  I know that with WordPress you will get there faster than with Wix or Weebly, even with those options being free.

The Negatives of Wix & Weebly

SEO:

With Wix & Weebly you have almost ZERO SEO.  From experience, new clients have come to me with Wix and Weebly sites that they have built themselves. They look okay, but they don’t rank well at all in Google.  And that’s even with them contributing to a regular blog.  These platforms just don’t have what it takes regarding Keywords and Performance needed for Google/Bing SEO scores. And no one wants to end up twelve pages down in a Google search.

Limited Integrations:

Wix and Weebly, and even the free Blogger version of WordPress, do not have the capacity for integrations with specialized applications. Developers haven’t invested the time and resources to create these integrations. You may get basic functionality, but it can be difficult if you want to set up sales funnels, opt-in-offers, etc.

It is clear from the above list why I recommend WordPress over Wix & Weebly. However, regardless of which platform you choose, it’s more important to do your research when deciding which company to work with.  Web design involves trusting a company to not only build a beautiful, engaging website but also to achieve your business goals for that website. Good website design should be beautiful and functional!

Watch for my upcoming blog featuring questions you should be asking your current or potential web developer before entering an agreement. The web design process should be fun! And my goal is to educate and take the stress out of the project, so you can enjoy the journey!

If you’d like to discuss your website needs with us, or for more tips like these you can follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter as well for more education and inspiration!

Deanna