Tag Archive for: Web Designer

What your small business in Ontario needs to know about local cookies and 3rd party cookies - what are website cookies

It may feel like talk about GDPR and Cookies came out of nowhere, however, these have been ongoing major issues for a long time. Regulation is finally catching up with the ever-expanding online world. Learn what they are, what they do, and if you can block them. Here are the basics every small business owner in Ontario should know about Local Cookies and 3rd Party Cookies.

Know the Basics: What are Cookies and What Do They Do?

When we’re talking about website cookies, we’re not talking about the delicious chocolate chip variety. Cookies are used to track and remember website visitors. Technically speaking, cookies are tiny bits of code that are placed in the browser of your computer so that a specific website may remember your specific computer.

Local Cookies vs. 3rd Party Cookies

Cookies are split into local cookies and 3rd party cookies. I will explain the differences between both further on.

Local Cookies are cookies used on and by a specific website to enhance user experience.

They can have a variety of uses such as:

  • Remembering items in a Shopping cart (e-commerce)
  • Recording that you’ve already exited a pop-up and not to show it again
  • Tracking sitewide search results to show you similar products (e-commerce)
  • Analytics Data (most websites use an analytics tracking tool, we’ll talk more about this below)

3rd Parties use cookies to track visitors’ use of their apps or extensions. If you’ve ever watched a video on a website, YouTube or Vimeo has likely been tracking your cookies.  3rd Party Cookies include:

  • Video streaming services (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
  • Sound streaming services (Soundcloud, etc.)
  • Google Adsense (Google Ads)

Here is an example of Google Adsense’s Cookies description:

“AdSense uses cookies to improve advertising. Some common applications are to target advertising based on what’s relevant to a user, to improve reporting on campaign performance, and to avoid showing ads the user has already seen. Cookies themselves contain no personally identifiable information. Depending on the publisher’s and the user’s settings, information associated with cookies used in advertising may be added to the user’s Google Account.” – Source Google AdSense

Please keep in mind that to check your preferences, especially with search engines like Google & Bing and carefully choose which information to share.  The same goes for Social Media streams like Facebook and LinkedIn.

Can You Block Cookies?

While it is possible to block local cookies, less than 5% of users choose to.  Why? Because it makes using the Internet very difficult.  You will not be able to use any website that requires you to log in (Hotmail, Gmail, stores you may have an account with, etc.) as these websites all track your personal preferences to cater the experience to you specifically.

Blocking 3rd Party Cookies however is very simple and typically has no adverse effects. To block 3rd Party Cookies you will need to look up instructions specific to your Internet Browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.).

Do You Know What Information Your Small Business Website is Collecting?

As a small business owner, you really should know the answer to this question, however the answer is likely, no.  We may think about what information we provide to websites we visit, however we rarely think about what our own site may be collecting.

To see what information your websites collect, my clients can email me for a detailed report. Otherwise, you can use this free tool at your discretion. Keep in mind, it is likely tracking your information too! Here is a free Cookie Checker.

I hope this article helped shed some light on Cookies; what they are, how to block them and how to check if your small business website is using them.

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!


Accounts, Passwords and Ownership - Web Design Services Newmarket Rosewood VA

Accounts, Passwords and Ownership - Web Design Services Newmarket Rosewood VA

Most businesses have a website.  With that website comes a TON of associated accounts, usernames and passwords.  Do you have a process for recording and organizing this information?  If not, you could be lining yourself up for major headaches when you actually need access.  I’m going to share some tips and best practices for recording and organizing passwords, accounts and who should hold ownership of these items.

Website Access

Unless you moonlight as a web designer, chances are you had someone build your website for you. When they finished the project, did they supply you with login access?  What level of access did they give you: administrator or simply user?

What happens if that company goes out of business?  Now you have no way into your website, and no one is answering your phone calls or emails.  This may force you to build a new website. But the next problem presents itself, did that bankrupt company provide you with your domain and hosting credentials?

Domain & Hosting Access

There are two services that websites require to operate: a domain and a hosting plan. The domain is the actual URL or Web Address of your website i.e. www.example.com. The hosting plan is the space on a server that your website needs in order to be on the World Wide Web. In some cases, both services are under the same provider, with one username/password.  However usually they are between two, three, sometimes even four providers depending on how many domains you own.

I have one client who has 5 domains and has been in business for many years. During this time, she has used 3 different web service providers who all preferred to use different domain registrars. This has led to a hunt to track down all the credentials for each domain.

Avoid These Headaches – Ask for Your Passwords Up Front

Be up front in asking for your passwords. If the vendor doesn’t want to provide you with this information, what’s their reason for not sharing this with you? More often than not, it’s because they want to tie you to their services. Trying to take charge of something you’re unfamiliar with is a hassle; they know this and can try to capitalize on it.

Choose to Work with a Transparent Company

Ask questions before you sign a contract. I always prefer to register my clients’ hosting accounts in their own name billed directly to their own credit card. I will fully manage it for them, but this way there is never a struggle for ownership. That way they have full freedom and can never be “held ransom” by an organization.

Keep Your Own Master Credentials List

I always recommend either you keep a copy of your credentials, or your VA does and shares an updated version with you frequently. There are many ways to record your credentials, and the right one for you depends on your level of confidence and security with storing information online.

I personally believe in keeping records in multiple ways. I keep a version on a Secure physical backup drive, then on a secure cloud. And I actually keep some very critical information only written and in a secure location. It’s ultimately up to you, find what works best and stick to it! Out of date passwords are just as bad as no password at all!

If you have questions about your current configurations, access or ownership, please reach out. I love helping my clients find peace of mind.

Don’t forget to join the conversation online on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for even more tips.

Until next time,