WooCommerce For Seasonal Shopping Sales

Did you know that there are over 1 million stores that use WooCommerce for their online sales? Perhaps you are one of them and are looking for tips and tricks to boost your seasonal sales.

Look no further than here; in this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to optimise your seasonal shopping sales.

Evaluate the Current State of Your Website

With the holiday season starting reasonably soon, you’ll need to be ready to hit the ground running. The best thing you can do for your website right now is to focus on how your store is running. 

It is not too late if you don’t have a store running, but you’ll need to hustle! There are many great eCommerce options through WordPress. However, we do recommend WooCommerce for several reasons.

Some of these benefits include:

  • It is free
  • It is customisable
  • Many payment options
  • More than 400 plugins

However, that is not the only thing you should evaluate. Even if you have an online store, you should still check the state of your website.

Is Your Website Up To Date?

Have you performed an update recently? An out-of-date website, plugin, or extension is one of the leading causes why a website can crash. If your hosting platform is up-to-date and other aspects of your website are not, it may cause some issues while they try to connect with each other.

Think about creating a staging site for the holidays. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a staging site is a version of your live site that allows you to test updates, new plugins, or other changes to your site before making them live. 

You can have a staging site all year round, but having one for the holidays can prevent a lot of trouble. 

Can You Convert the Traffic Into Sales?

Lots of traffic on your site is excellent and essential, but it is just the first step into creating sales. If your website does not have a clear call to action, you will lose many potential customers. 

There are other reasons why your website is not converting sales. For example, website speed, checkout, and an easy user interface are equally important. 

Website Speed

If a mobile website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of consumers abandon the website. Of course, it goes without saying that those who leave your site before it is loaded never become actual customers.

So what can you do to fix that? First, you can perform a speed check of your website. Google will give you a diagnostic and pinpoint the items you need to improve.

Secondly, you can check some of your images. A website that has large images will load slower, including graphic art, videos, and gifs.

Another factor that can contribute to poor website speed is the response time of the server. You can use caching for temporary storage to allow your website to respond to user requests. It will enable your hosting platform to quickly respond to similar requests within a short period of time.

Checkout Flow

An outdated and complicated checkout section can deter your customers from going through with the sale. You can customise your WooCommerce checkout for an optimal user experience! 

A quick tip for testing out your checkout flow is to buy something yourself. Try to eliminate unnecessary clicks and pages. Allow for guest checkout and display a progress indicator so that your customers can see how many steps they need to follow.

User Interface

Many customers will leave a site if they are unable to navigate it properly. Eliminate fluffy content, annoying pop-ups, and complicated steps throughout the shopping experience can do the trick.

However, your overall web design is important. Don’t forget that your competitors are just a click away, so if your interface is not user-friendly, your customers will leave and never come back.

Is Your Online Store Stable?

Your hosting plan allows a certain number of users on your site. You might be ok with your current bandwidth on average days. However, come when the holidays come, can your site handle more users at a time?

You can check with Google Analytics for the history of your site. Pay close attention to your busy periods in the past, and you can estimate the amount of traffic you can expect during the holidays.

If your server cannot respond to a large amount of traffic, you run the risk of your site crashing. Alternatively, your site may slow down to the point where your potential customers leave.

Ready Yourself for Trouble

It is always best to be overprepared for something, especially if your livelihood depends on it. Unfortunately, the internet and technology are sometimes unreliable, leaving us stranded in the worst times. So make sure your backup plans have a backup plan.

The best thing you can do for your business is to have a backup and recovery strategy. There are several backup plugins that can aid you in preparing for disaster. Alternatively, check with your trusted hosting company to see if they perform regular backups.

The Best Timeline to Prepare Your Store for the Holidays

 If you don’t have your online store set, you should get to that immediately. Either hire a team that can set it up, or have your team focus on setting up the store. 

By the end of October, you should evaluate the speed requirement of your website. Remember to check in with Google Analytics to set a reasonable expectation for holiday traffic. Consider a more extensive plan if your server does not have the bandwidth to deal with the expected traffic. 

By the end of November, you should also implement the plan that was discussed with your hosting provider. Remember to discuss the speed of your website, the temporary storage called caching, and a good recovery plan if anything goes amiss. 

Don’t forget to set up a staging site to test all the new updates and changes you are looking to make to prepare for the holidays. 

Lastly, make sure that all the changes align with your brand and that you have a clear call to action. Less is more in the online world, so don’t try to complicate things with unnecessary add-ons. 

What About the Back of House?

A well-run website is essential, but don’t forget that you and your team need to be ready to fulfil the seasonal shopping sales. 

The holidays are a great time to create a loyal customer base. If your customers are happy with your services, from the moment they visit your site to the moment they receive your product, then you can be sure that they will come back. 

A few things to remember for smooth back-of-house operations is to keep your stock filled. Again, check the history of your sales both in peak times and off-peak, and aim to have at least 30% more inventory than your expected sales. That way, you can ensure that you won’t run out, even if there is an unexpected climb.

Organisation is vital when it comes to smooth operations. If organising is not your forte, designate a trusted team member to keep track of your inventory. However, do not forget that inventory is only the first step in fulfilling an order. Remember that you’ll need an efficient packing station, a good shipping service, and a reliable team.

A great way to stay organised is to integrate your inventory with your online store. If you are running a brick and mortar store as well, make sure that both sides update the inventory automatically to avoid selling items that you no longer have in stock. 

Finally, make sure that you are updating your customers with tracking numbers, confirmation notifications, and any other updates. Since COVID, many shipping companies have struggled with delivery time, so make sure you keep on top of it and notify your customers should the be any delays. 

Are You Ready to Spend the Holidays With WooCommerce?

Get ahead of the game and prepare yourself, your online business, and your team for the busyness ahead of you. Seasonal shopping can boost your company in profits, reputation, and brand awareness. So don’t miss out on this yearly opportunity.

WooCommerce and WordPress are excellent platforms to display your online store. However, you may need a little help here and there. Check out our services, or contact our team to find the best hosting plan for you.

8 Major Benefits of WooCommerce for WordPress

Brick and mortar stores are great. To an extent. They’re great for browsing, the shopping experience, and getting up close and personal with a product. Even so, they’re slowly becoming a novelty. Why?

We all shop online.

Every major high street retailer has an online store – and so do small businesses everywhere. The reasoning is simple; selling online puts your storefront in view of millions.

The reach is enormous.

But getting established isn’t always a gravy train. It’s not easy to know what service provider to go with. Hence, we’ve broken down the benefits of WooCommerce.

It’s better than you think.

What is WooCommerce?

There’s no sense beating about the bush. WooCommerce is an eCommerce plugin that makes a molehill out of a mountain. It’s designed for online sellers who want a simple solution to a complex problem.

Like many of the tech giants, WooCommerce grew from a small endeavour with a dedicated team. They designed premium themes for WordPress and made a pretty penny selling them.

By 2011, after listening to the wants and needs of their customers, they realised there was a niche to fill. And they had the know-how to fill it.

What is WooCommerce in a nutshell?

It’s a bundle of convenience. It’s one of the best insider WordPress tips on the market.

Sure, the platform boasts a lot of features and makes a lot of claims – but it has the social proof to back them up.

The Benefits of WooCommerce Explained

Regardless of whether you’re setting up an online store or migrating an existing one, WooCommerce has your back.

Your business is your baby and it demands attention.

You’ve already got your hands full without the added headache of online retail. Let’s break down why WooCommerce is such a great platform, and how it enriches your business.

#1: It’s Free

You’re always competing on price when selling online.

Shoppers and clients have a medley of available outlets to buy from, and you need to cut as many costs as possible to squash those prices.

It’s a good thing, then, that WooCommerce won’t eat into your profit margins. In a word, it’s a free plugin. There are no setup costs involved and no monthly subscription fee.

There are costs involved, though.

However, the cost of going through WooCommerce is far lower than you might expect. It works out at a meagre 2.9% + $0.30 take out of every sale. Ultimately, this is a token amount to cover overheads.

To be frank, it’s about on par with the fees involved in accepting credit card payments. Given the other benefits we’ve outlined below, it’s more than worth it.

#2: It’s Customisable

WordPress is home to a huge array of plugins, and WooCommerce is no different. There are as many extensions as your arm is long. What’s more, many of them are free, with optional paid improvements.

Flexibility and adaptability are where it’s at.

Whether you’re looking to add SEO optimisation to your store, extra security, an SSL certificate, or email marketing, WooCommerce accommodates everything.

And no store is complete without branding.

Boasting a dizzying array of themes and styles, your online shop can look however you want it to at the click of a button. It’s not just a colour change or two, either – every theme is totally different.

The layouts and looks accommodate any genre and any feel. Professional, upmarket design; down-to-earth street brand; and high-tech niche products: WooCommerce does it all.

#3: Flexible Payments

Ever find a brilliant service, only to find they only accept limited payment methods? It’s bizarre to the point of lunacy.

Just let me give you my money, you think – before bouncing and heading straight for a competitor.

Sure, you might prefer one payment model over another, but every customer is different. You don’t want to lose revenue simply because a warm lead can’t find a way to give you their hard-earned cash.

WooCommerce accepts payments from every major outlet. Apple Pay, PayPal, Amazon Payments, Stripe, Giropay, and more.

With the right extension, you can even accept popular cryptocurrencies.

The cherry on top?

All payments are handled on-site. Nobody is redirected to a third party. That means lower bounce rates at checkout – and more closed sales.

#4: It’s Secure

You want to sleep easy. So do your customers. When it comes to financial transactions, you can’t afford to settle for second rate.

Data security is spelt with a capital in the digital world – and WooCommerce knows the game. They’ve been a part of it for more than a decade.

To combat cyber threats, the development team works with data security professionals to stay ahead of ill doers, pushing updates the second a vulnerability is exposed.

#5: It Offers Analytics

Analytics are crucial to success in online business. You need to identify where the snags in your sales pipeline are to maximize your revenue. The eCommerce platform does this and then some.

With it, you can track orders, peak activity times, and customer activity. Conversion rates and campaign outcomes are displayed at the drop of a hat – and it’s all neatly organised and displayed visually in readily accessible charts and tables.

There’s simply no need to source expensive plugins or extra staff when the data is on-hand already.

#6: It’s Easy To Use

One of the greatest benefits is in usability. Nobody wants to be stuck for hour after hair-pulling hour setting up. That’s time better spent on your business.

WooCommerce takes the hassle out of launching an online shop. It’s designed that way. Your online store can be up, running, and optimised in a matter of days.

Unsure about themes, colours, and general appearance?

You can change your mind on the fly. Contrasted with traditional web development services, there are little to no cost for tweaks and improvements.

On top of that, it boasts a broad and active community. With millions of active users, answers to questions are only a forum away.

#7: It’s Scalable

Scaling a business is never easy. Even if you’re a small fish in a big pond, you need to plan for the future.

The WooCommerce platform turns the scaling problem into a non-issue thanks to its flexibility.

Changes are easy. Adaptations and expansions are a no-frills affair. If you have a dozen new products to launch, WooCommerce can handle it.

And if you decide to upend your entire process on a whim and remodel everything from scratch, there’s nothing to worry about.

#8: It Was Designed for WordPress

WooCommerce was designed – specifically – for WordPress. That means it’s no poorly integrated, third party add-on. Instead, it’s integrated perfectly.

Being open-source, the platform isn’t closed off to outside assistance, either.

Updates and overhauls to the WordPress pipeline won’t put anything out of place. The WooCommerce developers work in proximity with WordPress to ensure its service remains the best in town.

Setting Up Your WooCommerce Store

Now that we’ve highlighted why WooCommerce is great (seriously, it is), let’s run down how to set it up. First off, you’ll need a WordPress business plan.

Without one, you can’t add plugins (and, remember, WooCommerce is a plugin).

With that out of the way, you’ll need to start a new store and customise your theme. Pick a homepage, a menu, and a site structure. Then it’s on to setting up your product pages.

Add as many pages and product variations as you need – but remember to keep it streamlined and accessible. Your customers don’t know your brand as you do. You don’t want to overwhelm them.

Next up, you’ll want to pick and choose from the extension library. Want live chat support, email marketing, or social media integration? This is where you add it.

Above all, ensure your navigation is a breeze and your site is compatible with mobiles and tablets. Give it to somebody in your social circle for feedback and watch over their shoulder as they interact with it.

That’ll tell you if it’s working.

The last step before you go live is to review security, and consider paid add-ons. Sure, they’re pricey, but this is one place you don’t want to scrimp and scrounge. Peace of mind and reputation are at stake.

Want more detail? Some of the best eCommerce tips can be found on the WooCommerce website itself.

Grow Your Business With WooCommerce

WooCommerce suits the needs of any online retailer. It’s as simple as that. And there are other benefits to the platform that we haven’t even covered here.

At the end of the day, the benefits of WooCommerce boil down to simplifying the entire process of building an online business. With a multitude of plugins, a responsive development team and a lively community, it breaks out the big guns and isn’t afraid to innovate.

Contact us for more information on our WordPress, SEO, marketing, and web hosting packages.

E-commerce in a Remarkable New COVID19 World

Home » Business

For over 12 years I’ve been talking about the necessity of the online business model for all businesses.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Business reaction

The remarkable new COVID19 World is here, and it is going to remain until a vaccine is found for the virus. How to adapt a business is going to the be the key to survival for many businesses around the World, let alone any business growth for small businesses which have been badly affected.

Here in the UK we’ve just surpassed our tenth week in lockdown following the onset of the global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID19, with a death toll exceeding 50,000 people.

From the moment the lockdown was brought in by the UK government, the most notable thing to me for most businesses, was the need to adapt, and quickly. Whether that was to adapt their service offerings for more services to be delivered following a purchase online, or to the extreme addition of a debut online service to cater for COVID-19.

There have been plenty of ‘key’ businesses like supermarkets and hardware shops that have remained open during the pandemic after following government guidance with a set of rules in place. Mostly social distancing at all times of 2 meters, and limiting numbers of people in the store were the key rules.

Delivery drivers have been one set of the key workers that have enabled online sales to continue and even increase in certain niche sectors. Some local takeaway’s and pubs have also offered a twist of local delivery or even collection from their car park premises.

Grasping e-commerce for your business, or even the emerging social commerce niche, is absolutely vital to sustain any sales during the COVID19 pandemic. Even today as the emergence of open air markets are starting to open, the amount of customers getting back to ‘normal’ life is non-existent with the simple example of one market stall selling just one pair of socks all morning.

No E-commerce

The worst example I’ve seen of how not to provide an online shopping cart for your customers despite having an existing web presence has been Primark.

In the space of a month, they went from £650m/month to ZERO. What is bizarre, is that Primark have all their products on their website for sale, but no checkout.


The business decision for no checkout, which I can only assume is to ensure customer foot fall at all their stores, has been a very costly decision since the pandemic for them.

At Cosmik Carrot HQ it has been business as normal as we operate from home, and something that we’ve done since day one of business, and for over 12 years now.

Facebook Shop

If the fast pace of changes during the COVID-19 were already sweeping in many sectors, then Facebook just accelerated that with its new Facebook Shops announcement. See – Facebook Shops.

This new change will allow e-commerce stores to now sell directly through Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to advertise through all of its platforms like, Messenger, Marketplace, & WhatsApp, etc. Using social media apps for electronic commerce is now defined by Facebook as “Social Commerce”

For those clients using the likes of WooCommerce, you’ll be able to link up directly into your new Facebook Shop and sell your products or services. This is going to be a great extension of your online store to add to any business growth strategy.

This will be great for ensuring the product and stock level remains consistent and leads back to the main store on your website to control sales orders.

Online retailing of buying and selling any goods and services is going to increase as individuals want to avoid testing positive or adding to the coronavirus deaths.

High street decline

The UK high street has been in decline for many years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be like petrol on a fire to accelerate that decline. I see this occurring due to the amount of social distancing required, and the lengthy timespan for a possible vaccine to be developed.

Businesses can combat this decline with a move to an online format to accept payment for items, followed by either collection or delivery.

Restaurants and Pubs

It is still unclear as to when any restaurants can fully open. There have been certain fast food services offering delivery services during the lockdown. As well as particular independent pubs offering collection from an online menu.

For all food restaurants and pub chains, the concept of disposable menu’s has been muted. Personally I think this is going to be such an environmental waste in the long-term.

As a society we need to embrace behavioural change when required to do so, combined with new technology. This is why I think contactless solutions is going to be a key innovative area for most businesses.

An example where you can adopt a new contactless solution for your food service business is a QR Code to Food Menu. By having a new permanent QR code on restaurant tables, users can scan the code with their smart phone. Once the QR code is recognised, the customer can then go through the interactive menu in their phone and place an order including payment.

For more information, check out our Conversational Marketing with further details.

Stay safe and well!

COVID-19 Business Update

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Following the developing global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the World, we just wanted to provide an update on our business operations and some tips for all our clients through this health and economic crisis.

Following the developing global pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 around the World, we just wanted to provide an update on our business operations and some tips for all our clients through this health and economic crisis.

COVID-19 Pandemic

First of all, we want to say that our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this crisis situation in all its forms. We also hope you, your family and friends remain safe and well during this unprecedented time.

If there is any way we can help your business or organisation out through this pandemic with a range of web services to communicate to your customers, then please contact us.

Business Update

Secondly, we want to say that our business operations will continue as normal for us.

We have been operating as a remote company from a position of working from home with remote working for over 12 years now. So as long as we continue to have an internet connection, our business will continue for the foreseeable future.

We’ve always seen this as a huge business strength in being able to adapt when required to, depending on what challenges can be thrown up in business and home life.

In light of this update, we’re providing a check list of items that you may want to implement for your business depending on how you are being impacted.

Communication Checklist

  • Add temporary hours to Google My Business
  • Add a short post to Google My Business that gives a statement of your availability and activity
  • Take this same information and use it to create a blog post
  • Bonus points are provided for a heart-felt video embedded into the post
  • Update your website contact page with your temporary hours (add these and don’t take away the existing hours)

Items to Proactively Communicate to Customers

  • Are your offices open
  • Staff availability
  • Hours of operation
  • Safety of in-person activity
  • What can still be done online
  • Interruptions to services or product shipments
  • Status quo services and product shipments (aka what isn’t being altered)
  • Instructions for how customers can alter existing appointments with you
  • Is it still safe to <insert your activity with clients>
  • Event changes or delays
  • Cancellation policies if applicable
  • A reminder that this situation is constantly changing and more updates will be coming from you

Following the sudden surge in businesses working from home this week with remote teams and remote workers. Following many years of experience in remote working, we’ve compiled a short list of our top recommended service providers to ease you through this new way of working.

Video meetings – Zoom

For all your online meetings with customers and colleagues, Zoom will provide you with a fantastic range of tools and plans to support you at this current time during self-isolation from your team. 

Team communication – Slack

When operating in a team with plenty of messages going back and forth, the last thing you want to use is email. Check out Slack for a revolution in communication.

Kanban boards – Trello

Missing the white board at the office already? 

No problem, Trello will be your new white board to process your items that need to be completed.

Project management – Teamwork

Teamwork is an excellent work and project management tool that helps teams improve collaboration, visibility, accountability and ultimately results.

If you require any help or training with the pros and cons of getting your business or organisation setup with new web tools to help you with remote working, then please contact us.

Finally, stay at home, stay safe and well, and we will all come through this pandemic.



Chatbots For Business For Successful Opportunities

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

As part of your digital marketing strategy, the time is now to get your business upgraded with a chatbot that is going to increase your results massively.

A Chatbot For Your Business Will Make You More Successful

We keep hearing all the time about how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to replace us (humans), and how it’s going to change the future.

There are many ways that is happening across the World currently, but we are just focusing on the AI of ‘Chatbots’ in this post, and how you can use a chatbot for successful opportunities in your business.

Why Are Chatbots Essential For Business?

There are many reasons why chatbots are essential for business.

Businesses of all different shapes and sizes have growing demands on their owners and team online, as well as offline. What better way to invest in a new piece of tech that can grow with your business.

Here are some examples;

  1. Let the chatbot take the heavy lifting off some of the most basic, repetitive questions for customer service.
  2. Give your customers the upfront information that they crave.
  3. Allow customers to make bookings.
  4. Engage with your customers with information, offers, invites etc.
  5. Lead magnets across the web and social media to bring engagement with customers.

What Businesses Use Chatbots?

Here are some real business basic examples;

Type Of BusinessesChatbot Solution Ideas
Realtor/Real EstateSales leads for Premium Listings
RestaurantMenu Details/Orders
Beauty SalonAppointment booking
DentistBooking/Common Questions
Garage/Auto RepairAppointment booking
GymConnect with Members/Reminders
E-Commerce StoreGuide Users to Products
Personal Trainer/CoachConnect with Members/Reminders
PodcastGrow Subscribers
SurveyCustomer Feedback

Best Chatbots For Small Businesses

The best chatbots for small businesses ultimately depend on what you’re trying to achieve. There are few limitations.

This may be a lead magnet to offer a free download guide.

Alternatively, it could be answering some popular questions that new customers ask at a high level.

There isn’t a one size fits all approach.

It’s about what solutions we are trying to apply to your business, your customers, and the process overall for both parties.

What Is The Purpose Of Chatbots?

The purpose is always going to be about providing the best solution to the problem that you are trying to overcome that can grow and expand with your business.

Even if the most simplest purpose of a chatbot is to give you more ‘time’ back, by answering common customer questions.

Why Chatbots For Business?

Chatbots are not just the new piece of tech to add to your website, like the old ‘Live Chat’ addition to a website where you needed a human administrator to answer queries through the live chat.

No, this is all about ‘Conversational Marketing’ with the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and automation. 

Every business owner wants to give that personal one-to-one experience for every customer and potential customers. Chatbots are now the very answer in giving business owner’s the ability to embrace conversational marketing, and at scale.

Good business always comes down to speaking to your target audience, and the tone and dialogue flow is exactly what can be encapsulated into your custom bot for your business.

Why Do Businesses Need Chatbots?

The need for a chatbot will present itself if you already have growth within your business, or are looking to grow and scale up the operation and customer base that you serve.

We can build that custom chatbot for your business to answer common customer questions as part of your customer support, and guide them to exactly where you want the customer to end up. This could be to source information, make a financial transaction, or provide further data that you are requesting from them.

‘Automation’ is one of the biggest draws into embracing a chatbot for your conversational marketing experience for your business.

As most businesses have their representation across several web and social platforms (website, email, facebook, twitter, instagram, etc), it is hard for business owners to keep track of how everything is working together in harmony. Your very own chatbot can bring all those customers into the exact dialogue flow that you want them to join.

It’s time marketers should start taking advantage of chatbots for website chat, SMS and Facebook messenger. Utilizing chatbots for your business streamlines customer communications, helps drive engagement and ultimately, it increases work productivity.
Modern chatbots built for automation and lead generation can also help businesses acquire customers.
MobileMonkey is a great example of an innovative chatbot builder that allows you to create your sms, webchat and messenger chatbots in under 10 minutes.

– Larry Kim, CEO of MobileMonkey

Facebook Messenger Chatbot For Business

At Carrot Carrot we build you a custom chatbot that provides the use of the Facebook Messenger app for customers that are already logged into Facebook.

For customers that are logged into Facebook, this allows us to give that instant personalisation to them. Stronger personalisation will always give you the upper hand in forging new customer relationships over your business competitors.

We also recognise that not every potential customer or client is on Facebook. This is why we provide you with an Omnibot that allows you to talk to all customers, as well as those on Facebook.

We will be adding the inclusion of the chatbot for Whatsapp business at a later date and other messaging apps in the future, so your business omnibot can reach even more customers. This is great for the future not limiting your business to just Facebook Messenger.

How Artificial Intelligence Is Making Chatbots Better For Businesses

Overtime the more customers that interact with your business chatbot, the more data you can gather from the questions or text they provide. Using that data enables us to strengthen your bot to answer that type of query from another customer if they were to ask a similar question in the future.

The AI in chatbots for your business can become really powerful, and with that new strength allows the business owner to focus on building other areas of their business. 

How Chatbots Can Transform Your Business

Whether your business is a large company organisation, or a small local business, a chatbot is a great investment into your business. The benefits of chatbots for business are overwhelmingly positive on every level.

Implementing chatbots for businesses is what we do best after a conversational marketing consultation with us.

We work directly with your business to work out the voices and original ideas that you want to get across with your customers.

The words matter in the dialogue of each chatbot, and by getting the tone of voice for the business right we will together deliver the best stories to your customers.

7 proven updates to increase website ranking in 2019

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

7 proven updates to increase website ranking in 2019

As Autumn starts to fade away into Winter, with the holiday seasons imminently upon us, it can only mean one thing. 2019 is only a few weeks away!
Are you already thinking about whether your website is ready for 2019?
Does your website need updating to reflect external factors in your market sector?
Do you want to increase website ranking in 2019 on Google and Bing?
In terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) in 2018 with Google’s search engine, it’s been a very busy year indeed. From the many changes that have occurred, I’m going to provide you with 7 updates that you should make sure are applied to your website in order to increase website ranking in 2019.

Ever changing Google experience

You may have noticed the most notable change when searching on Google this year is the new rich snippet experiences. These only appear if you are searching for something that fits in one or more of the following list;

  • Flights
Google Flights
  • Shopping
Google Shopping
  • Recipes, courses, articles
Google Recipes
  • Videos
  • Products
  • Reviews
  • Books
  • Corporate contact
  • Local business
  • Top places list
  • Events
  • Media actions
  • News stories
  • Subscriptions and paywalled content
  • Fact check
  • Speakable
  • Dataset
  • Job posting
  • Occupation
  • Employer aggregate rating

Google is truly analysing your content that you are searching for, with your keyword query. It clearly understands now the most appropriate way to display the data that you are searching for with ease.
One big problem with these Google changes. There is less retail space to rank organically on page one. Along with Google Ads, rich results, and big 3rd party presences (Yelp/Yell), page one Google ranking is now harder than ever.

Knowledge graph

1. Have your website show up in the Google Knowledge Graph.

Access your Knowledge Graph through your Google My Business account. Ensure that each info section for your business is optimised in the best possible way. The more info you complete for Google, the more it will reward you in its search engine rankings. In particular make sure all of your service areas are completed. This may be locally with a radius, nationally, or internationally. As long as the area you want to service is covered, then you will have the chance to appear in the Google rankings of that area.

Best to add all the categories that appeal to your business niche in your market. The more categories that match your business, the more Google will understand a users search intent and match it with your business.

The other remaining sections to complete are all obvious and relevant to any business, like business opening times, dates closed, phone number, website link, and any other new section that Google keeps adding to. You also have the option to add photos that best represent your company.

Google Knowledge Graph

Google My Business

Google Reviews is a key section to Google My Business, and you should be actively promoting all your customers to leave a review for your business after a service or transaction has been carried out. It’s also important to respond to every review that is left for your business. This will show potential new customers that management is engaged with its customers, and the way it treats its customers.

Google Posts are a great way to add images or videos that will appear as an ad within your knowledge graph with a link to where you want to get a potential customer to. You can re-use your blog posts as a Google Post. A post lasts for just 7 days, and Google will ensure it reminds you to update your post, if you haven’t already done so. I recommend that you download the Google My Business App so you can keep a view on your account, and update posts regularly with ease.

Google Assistant is also a brand new feature that is being rolled out on Google My Business, where you have the option to enable or disable incoming calls directly from the knowledge graph. I think this is going to be a great feature for site owners with a noticeable brand name company or organisation.

Schema for everything

2. Schema needs to be added to your website content.

Google is using schema more and more with the huge growth in mobile and AI (Artificial Intelligent) devices with users using voice search more than ever before. As people are using their AI devices more, their search phrases are becoming long tail keywords. We’ve almost come full circle now since the web boom in the late 90’s, where users thought they could type a long phrase into Google to search with, to realise in those early days that the search was usually unsuccessful. Search phrases evidently became a lot shorter, and now that Google can really understand your long tail keywords, the results are far greater.

Having Schema across your great content, means Google can pull that content and inform a user if there is a specific keyword search. You are more likely to appear high in Google search engine rankings, and rich results with a featured snippet in position zero, which is now the new holy grail of search.

The implementation of Schema is a time consuming process, and the properties of structured data continues to expand. We offer a Schema service as part of our SEO Services. Having Schema in place use to be an option, but from 2019 onwards its imperative to be in place, in order to compete on future page rankings. There are already particular searches like around ‘recipes’, e.g. “apple crumble recipe”, and if you don’t have schema in place, then you will not feature on page 1 any longer.

Brands more important

3. The brand of your company or organisation is bigger than ever before.

Getting your brand of your business or organisation out there for potential customers to search for, is more important than ever before. By driving home your brand to customers who have purchased from you, this makes them more likely to search for your brand again, and again for repeat business. Word of mouth marketing is easier when you have a good company brand to recommend.

Off-site marketing is an area to increase your brands importance. Also in order to increase website ranking in 2019. There can be a number of ways to get your brand noticed in your local community. Also, off-site SEO across social media will bring a stronger presence to your website’s ranking. It is far easier when you’re an established global company like ‘Ford’ motor cars, ‘Apple’ computers, or ‘Nike’ sports wear. However, once you get users starting to search more for your brand, Google will see your website with more authority and provide more ranking factors to you.

Site speed

4. The brand of your company or organisation is bigger than ever before.

Getting your brand of your business or organisation out there for potential customers to search for, is more important than ever before. By driving home your brand to customers who have purchased from you, this makes them more likely to search for your brand again, and again for repeat business. Word of mouth marketing is easier when you have a good company brand to 4. Google is driving site speed as one of the biggest ranking factors.

Website mobile speeds now need to be under 3 seconds for Google to consider your website as a fast site. This drive is all for the developing World where the internet speeds are far below what is seen in developed parts of the World. Also for user convenience all round. Into 2019, the new bench mark by Google is to get site speeds under 0.5 seconds. In order to achieve this, there is going to have to be a considerable amount of effort and rethinking for the majority of websites out there. This means trends with bloated code will be have to be replaced with far slicker and leaner code for those broadband speeds.

The huge reward for achieving faster website speeds will be a considerable amount of ranking factors given to your website by Google. Having a faster site compared to your competitors will always mean you will out rank them on the page rankings and increase your web traffic.

Following the Mobile-first-index change that Google made this year, which ensures your website is now being ranked by the quality of your mobile version of your website first. The mobile speed of that site is now even more imperative that it downloads fast and appears well to the user.

In order to check how your website speed is viewed with Google, you can visit their page speed test here to see where Google suggests possible areas for improvement.

Mobile is the default

5. You must have a responsive website that is optimised for mobile devices.

As previously mentioned, mobile-first-indexing is now in place by Google. If your website has not been updated to be mobile responsive for mobiles and tablets, then that has to be your priority if you want any chance of increasing your rankings in 2019. Mobile search usage overtook desktop search in 2016, and there is no sign that will change in the future. Society is so dependant on the use of mobiles and tablets. The growth in sales and the increase in new technology with iOS and Android devices has moved parts of society to a new way of life. None more so, than users searching on the move all the time.

An example of mobile search in action, would be If you was outside your home, and you wanted a quote for some work to be carried out. The most popular choice by far now, is to do a search for a builder in your area on your mobile. The best mobile responsive websites will be on page 1 of the search rankings, and those are the one’s that a user will likely contact first.

Voice search is here

6. Users are now searching by voice in large numbers, and the trend will only continue.

If ‘Siri’ and ‘Alexa’ don’t mean anything to you right now, then they certainly will very soon. They are both the names for iOS and Androids private assistants on their devices. The real growth has been in the last two years with new home automation devices to the market. The front runner has been the Amazon Echo with ‘Alexa’. By having these devices around the home, has suddenly seen the surge in people searching by voice to them.

Apparently, 2 in 5 adults use voice search once daily already, and this statistic is set to increase in the coming years.

Source – Voice Search Results 2018

US Voice-Enabled Digital Assistant Users

According to the former head of Baidu, Andrew Ng, back in 2016 he predicted that by 2020 50% of search will be done by voice.


The use of voice search has meant that those search phrases are now in a long-tail keyword format, instead of a few words. With Google now understanding the search tense of a full question or sentence, and now combined with asking a home automation device by voice, the future of search has changed forever.

Along with change, comes opportunity. Your website can now answer questions more clearly that your potential user audience may be asking by voice, and wanting to hear or view the answers. Having schema in place to provide those answers is now key to implement in your website.

Search is on the move

7. No click search is now the new reality

As Google increases its drive for rich results, ad space, and knowledge graph displays as its search results on page one. This is decreasing the opportunity for organic results to appear at the top of the results. In the last two and a half years, desktop no-click searches have grown 9.5% and mobile no-click searches have grown 11%.

Rand Fishkin conducted some research in September, and found the following results;

For every 100 searches on Google mobile in September 2018, there were:

  • 38.5 clicks on an organic result
  • 3.4 clicks on a paid result
  • 61.5 no-click searches

For every 100 searches on Google desktop in September 2018, there were:

  • 65.6 clicks on an organic result
  • 3.7 clicks on a paid result
  • 34.3 no-click searches

Google CTR in 2018: Paid, Organic, & No-Click Searches

The organic ‘real estate’ space has dramatically shrunk, and driving traffic from page one is now reducing. It is now appearing to be evident that a combination of Pay-Per-Click marketing is required in addition to quality organic SEO. By Google increasing the ‘real estate’ space that they control, the increase of Pay-Per-Click marketing also ties in with Google’s aim to increase their own revenues for shareholders.

In summary, there are plenty of enhancements to make in order to increase website rankings in 2019 to stay ahead of your competition. If you require any assistance with your website, then view our SEO Services.

Facebook Messenger Chatbot Marketing

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Facebook Messenger Chatbot Marketing

Facebook messenger chatbot marketing is now the future for qualified leads, customer support, and marketing for the next level in your business.

There used to be a time when a potential customer would look through a business directory, look for the category of services that they were looking to hire, select a business, and then dial a phone number to make contact.

Those days are long gone as the main way of how potential clients make contact with a business. Even the use of email is on the decline, and with the growth of mobile usage, client’s are consistently looking for a more speedier and instantaneous response from a business.

Live Chat

Live chat apps have been around for sometime, but the user experience on a business website has always been one of a mixed experience. Some businesses managed to grasp it, and take advantage of it. However, for those that didn’t, the potential client that was trying to connect with the business usually ended up in frustration, and a lost lead to the business.

We’ve all been there, where you’ve tried to make an instant connection for a particular service, and in the end you’ve been left so frustrated, that you will probably never go back to them again.

Now time for the future of live chat…

female messenger chatbot marketing
Facebook Messenger App


A Chatbot is an automated live chat app that works 24/7 without the need of any human interaction.

To put that in context, you can capture all future customer enquiries every time, each and everyone lands on your website.

That is unheard of in terms of capturing a high return of generated leads.

Next, a Chatbot can basically be you.

Custom Chatbot

You know your business better than anyone else, and you know your top set of questions that you always get asked. So, using the power of the Chatbot, all of those questions can be pre-loaded, along with the pre-populated potential answers too.

This saves the client time, as you’ve already pre-determined what they were going to say. It give the client the speed in response that they were looking for. Also, it tells the client you know your business and what you can offer to them, along with keeping their attention span on concluding a successfully generated lead for your business.

What is chatbot marketing?

We use the Facebook messenger API and built in tools, this provides you with a potential audience of over 2 billion users to interact with your bot. This provides several entry points for users to interact with your bot. We provide different models and pricing structures to suit your business. See Omnichannel Marketing.

At the end of the day, businesses want to engage and connect with people to become a customer. Sending a one-way message has been the norm for far too long.

The messenger chatbot is the answer in that two-way dialogue to connect with people. This engagement and connection can vastly increase that conversion of that person becoming a new customer.

Email marketing open rates

If you’re using a traditional email campaign to interact with your mailing list audience, then ask yourself ‘What is your Open Rate?’

It’s likely that your open rate is less than 5%. If so, this is terrible for the amount of time and effort that you put into creating content for your customers.

According to Mailchimp in March 2018, “The average open rate for all industries we analysed is 20.81%”. Personally, I think that’s way too low, and not good enough for communicating with clients.

Click-through rate

Mailchimp also looked at the important statistics of the Click Through Rate. Click-through rate (CTR) is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.

“The average click rate for all industries we looked at is 2.43%”.

Personally, again we think this is abysmal. That is why we are now moving up to the next level in digital marketing with our Omnichannel Marketing.

Facebook Messenger Ads

With over 2 billion potential customers waiting to do business with you, it’s understandable why Facebook is so popular for businesses. However, following a change in the news feed algorithm in 2018, business pages now have less priority. It is now harder to gain more new clients through the standard business page, as it’s harder to get a free message in other people’s news feeds.

This now means Facebook can generate more revenue through ads from businesses, by businesses looking to get their message into a potential customers news feed via an ad.

The problem with pay per click adverts is that the return on investment has been relatively poor in recent years. Having to pay for a potential customer to visit your website, to then have them leave soon after, is not the desired result. Yet, this is the most likely outcome from pay per click adverts.

Now for our Facebook Chatbot

Taking advantage of the new Facebook Ad settings means that we can now send interactive and engaging messages to a new user from the moment that a potential customer engages with our chatbot. This is unheard of. This suddenly makes Google Ads seem very outdated, when you try and figure out who your clients are from their Analytics.

Once a user engages with our chatbot, you can then send them several messages in the first 24 hours, and then only 1 more the next day. These are Facebooks rules. We also have our technique to deploy to users without appearing as spam.

Lead qualification

Through the use of the Chatbot, we can get customers to become a new contact. Once they are a contact, you can then message them as many times as you like. The beauty of messenger is that the email address is already inputted for the user from their Facebook account. Therefore, we only need them to confirm their email address is correct, rather than getting them to input that information again. This saves more time for the user, and keeps their engagement higher.

It’s like having a salesperson under each of your adverts and getting a customers contact details every single time. The contact details that were not captured, were not qualified leads in the first place. This saves time for both parties, and alleviates any bottlenecks in wasting time on poor leads for a business.

Messenger on Android

Future of Email Marketing

Following the poor open rates, and click-through rates for email marketing, the future of email marketing is only going to deteriorate. So, is there a digital marketing tool that can replace your email marketing list?

Yes. Using our Facebook Messenger chatbot, we can now collect a users contact details once they engage with your bot. Then using those consented details, we can send out a message blast. This is very similar to an email blast to your marketing list, but a shortened and more focussed message that is sent via messenger.

Facebook Messenger Open Rates

What are the open rates? I hear you ask.

Well, they are in the region of 60-80%, and in the first hour of sending the message. These stats are rarely heard of. This is all because we are taking advantage of the new technology that Facebook have provided, and its large user base. Most importantly, this is how users are now using their smartphone devices, and are interacting with potential businesses. There is going to be huge growth in this sector for businesses.

Coupons, Discounts, Promotions

Whether its through an initial Facebook Ad to get a user to engage with your business, or through direct message blasts to a customer, both are achievable through the messenger platform.

Messenger chatbot customer support

Chatbot Customer Service

Through our Omnichannel Marketing service to you, your chatbot on your website, and facebook business page, also acts as a new customer service operator for your business.

This works by you knowing your business, and the types questions that you regularly get asked about. As humans, we can certainly predict and have the foresight to have answers ready for certain questions.

Chatbot questions

If a user was to ask, “what time are your hours?”. We can pre-load an answer for your business that not only indicates the details of your operating hours, but also a specific page link that could take them directly to your map page. This answer is instantly provided to the user, so they haven’t had to wait for a reply. The answer is also well-informative, and can provided 24/7 automatically, while you can focus on your business more.

We can build up your landing pages to represent each service of your business. Each one can be connected and promoted as and when with your chatbot.

Connect with people

What if a user asks a more detailed question? Well, we can consistently build-up on your chatbot with more questions and answers each month.

If you have a user is messaging something that does need your human response from, then all you have to do is to jump into messenger and step into the conversation. After you step out of messenger, the bot will resume working as normal.

Get your own Chatbot

If you would like to have your own chatbot for your business or organisation, then Contact Us here.

Internet Summit 2018 London Review

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 19 minutes

Internet Summit 2018 London

When Cosmik Carrot was invited to attend the first Internet Summit in London on the 14th June, there was only one thing we had to say to be there, “Yes please!”.

It was an amazing day out of the office, with a broad set of topics about the internet, and it even featured a real life ‘James Bond’. More about that later.

The first time event held in London by the hosts Cloudflare was held at the Tobacco Dock. Previous Internet Summit’s have been held in San Francisco at its headquarters.

The venue of the Tobacco Dock was a fantastic venue for the day’s events. As the historical merchant boat was docked outside the front, it was a perfect setting for the modern Day merchant sailors not on the seas, but of the global Internet web based world we live in.

After a well organised registration and meet and greet, the day kicked off with Mathew Prince Co-Founder & CEO, Cloudflare to give us a welcome. The summit was already a huge hit, as the turnout was far greater than they had anticipated.

Tobacco dock London 1
Tobacco dock London 2
Sir David Omand - The Internet Summit

Sir David Omand – ‘The Ethics of Secret Intelligence’

The first guest of the day was Sir David Omand GCB, Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King’s College London. His chat with Mathew Prince was about ‘The Ethics of Secret Intelligence’. Some of the highlights were about bringing in new laws that technology has to commit to universally across the globe, so the rule of law is above tech.

He also mentioned about ‘Code of conduct for coders in AI’, and also how there should be a ‘backdoor’ into technologies. His ‘backdoor’ suggestion was a very controversial comment to a tech community that thrives on security being in the highest regard. This was a recurring theme throughout the day.

This was also a hot topic for the day, as Apple had just announced that they are changing their security settings to stop any potential ‘backdoor’ entries into their iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, & Apple Watch).

Apple to block popular police method for breaking into iPhones.

Samm Sacks - The Internet Summit
Sam Sacks - The Internet Summit 2

Samm Sacks – ‘China & the Internet: Looking In & Looking Out’

The next chat was about ‘China & the Internet: Looking In & Looking Out’ with Samm Sacks, Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Program, CSIS with Chris Merritt, Chief Revenue Officer, Cloudflare asking the questions.

Samm explained to us the reality of how the Chinese Internet works with its huge firewall around the country.

She says it’s best to see the Chinese Internet as two channels.

One channel is for the huge government surveillance that takes place. Along with the surveillance, the government also has control of what content from the West can be viewed on their internet.

The other channel comprises of an amazing futuristic fin-tech economy. Samm says that within the major cities of China they are now living in a cashless society. Apparently, if you attempt to pay with a Yen note, you will get a very odd look, instead of paying with a mobile. The fin-tech apps in China are far more complex with the equivalent of five quality apps here in the West, all rolled into one app over in China.

She gave an example of how a friend was able to go on her phone and get a service for someone to wait inline at their favourite ice cream shop that was 45 mins away, get their ice cream, and then have it delivered to them at their location. It sound very much like Deliveroo 3.0.

Samm Sacks also touched on how GDPR was taken quite seriously in China, and how the Chinese President Xi Jinping has expressed for a National cyber law in a similar vein of the European Union’s GDPR.

She thinks we’re starting to see the E.U., China, and the USA all starting to bring together a national cyber law in its infancy with similar rules and governance from all three entities.

Samm has just had an article published on The Atlantic that resonates with her talk – Beijing Wants to Rewrite the Rules of the Internet

Jeremy Johnson & Nnenna Nwakanma - The Internet Summit 1
Jeremy Johnson & Nnenna Nwakanma - The Internet Summit 2

Jeremy Johnson & Nnenna Nwakanma – ‘Open Data, Open Government, & Open Source in Africa’

The next chat was with the moderator Alissa Starzak, Head of Policy, Cloudflare who was joined by Nnenna Nwakanma, Senior Policy Manager, World Wide Web Foundation, and Jeremy Johnson, Co-Founder & CEO, Andela. They were there to discuss ‘Open Data, Open Government, & Open Source in Africa’.

This was a fascinating discussion to understand the internet poverty that currently exists in Africa.

  • There is currently still only one internet provider for the whole of Ethiopia.
  • For 1GB of data it can cost up to 10% of someone’s monthly income.
  • Yet, the biggest bank is now a mobile only bank.

With nations across Africa with illiteracy as a high as 50% in the populations, and 45% unemployment, and a population explosion under the age of 20, there is a huge opportunity for new growth across the continent.

Jeremy Johnson has already seen this opportunity, and is helping young people to code through his company ‘Andela’ in three countries. They are giving young people the same opportunity’s as others in the rest of the world.

The simplest fact  that the internet remains a place that is not determined by its location, is still the greatest benefit of the internet. It still provides anyone with an Internet connection the same opportunity’s regardless of whether their country is in a first or third world economy.

Nnenna highlighted to the Internet summit crowd that Africa’s digital economy will be within the next 20 years. This was a great pitch to potential investors out there, and to get in there now.

She also highlighted that every country and city in Africa has its own challenges. A lot of the cities are still run on generators, which highlights the third world living standards. Yet, in a market out in the bush, you can make a payment for some cloth at a market with your phone. In remote areas, one individual has a digital account who then distributes payments to those on the market who have made sales.

Raffi Krikorian & Alex Macgillivray - ‘How Tech Can Be a Driving Force for Democracy’ 1
Raffi Krikorian & Alex Macgillivray - ‘How Tech Can Be a Driving Force for Democracy’ 2

Raffi Krikorian & Alex Macgillivray – ‘How Tech Can Be a Driving Force for Democracy’

Next was an insightful chat about ‘How History Informs Today: Babbage, Turing, Lovelace, & the Discovery of Computation’ with Historian of Computing Doron Swade, and Cartoonist & Visual Effects Artist Sydney Padua. Sydney is the illustrator and writer of several steampunk comic books about Babbage including; ‘The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer’.
As questions were asked by John Graham-Cumming, Sydney was doing a live drawing that we could see coming together on screen of Babbage and Lovelace.
It’s well regarded that Charles Babbage started the era of computation in history, even though it wasn’t used for a functional method until Alan Turing and the code breakers during the Second World War. vote.

We were also informed that there is currently a surge of political apps in the market that are pitching to electoral parties to increase their chances of winning elections. I think this clearly demonstrates how tech is hoping to affect politics for the better.

Sydney Padua & Doron Swade - The Internet Summit 1
Sydney Padua & Doron Swade - The Internet Summit 2

Sydney Padua & Doron Swade – ‘How History Informs Today: Babbage, Turing, Lovelace, & the Discovery of Computation’

Next was an insightful chat about ‘How History Informs Today: Babbage, Turing, Lovelace, & the Discovery of Computation’ with Historian of Computing Doron Swade, and Cartoonist & Visual Effects Artist Sydney Padua. Sydney is the illustrator and writer of several steampunk comic books about Babbage including; ‘The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer’.

As questions were asked by John Graham-Cumming, Sydney was doing a live drawing that we could see coming together on screen of Babbage and Lovelace.

It’s well regarded that Charles Babbage started the era of computation in history, even though it wasn’t used for a functional method until Alan Turing and the code breakers during the Second World War.

Karen Renaud & John Moor - The Internet Summit 1
Karen Renaud & John Moor - The Internet Summit 2

Karen Renaud & John Moor – ‘Why Does Everything Get Hacked?’

The next session was about ‘Why Does Everything Get Hacked?’ with Karen Renaud, Chair of Cybersecurity, Abertay University, and John Moor, Managing Director, IoT Security Foundation.

As Chris Merritt started by asking what does IoT stand for? John Moor explained to us that IoT stands for ‘Internet of things’ or treats for the future. Things being cars, home appliances, other objects not normally connected to the internet.

It is due to this new connectivity with the internet that could potentially mean a major issue, if the particular device was hacked.

Karen Renaud mentioned the NHS computer hack that hit the news headlines earlier in the year. This was the ‘Wannacry’ malware that was invented by the NSA National Security Agency, and was only used as a malware tool due to a backdoor entry.

This was quite poignant, as it was reiterated that a backdoor entry is a really bad idea, despite Sir David Omand suggesting otherwise first thing in the morning.

Apparently, the reason a lot of MRI appointments were cancelled was due to the latest software not being compatible with the upgraded software and couldn’t patch. However the MRI machine ports were still open and connected to the internet, and this is why they were exposed to the NHS hack.

Some of the reasons discussed for hacking were;

  • Money motivation
  • Political motivation
  • No deterrent with prosecution
  • Ease of hacking

It was reminded to the Internet Summit attendees that the easiest way to avoid being hacked, was to have a decent password manager to store strong passwords.

A great password manager that we recommend is LastPass.
John Moor mentioned that with the increase of Hyper connectivity with more and more devices, it will only mean an increase in hacking attempts in the future.
More of a reason to ensure everyone is strong passwords on all devices with a password manager like LastPass.

Kelsey Hightower - The Internet Summit 1
Kelsey Hightower - The Internet Summit 2

Kelsey Hightower – ‘Kubernetes & the Serverless Future’

Kelsey Hightower was up next as a Staff Developer Advocate for the Google Cloud Platform, to talk about ‘Kubernetes & the Serverless Future’.

John Graham-Cumming kicked off the chat by asking Kelsey for an explanation of his role with Google. Kelsey joked in not understanding the title of ‘Staff Developer Advocate’. Basically, his role is to promote the Google cloud platform with other service providers and build on those applications.

Kubernetes is an open-source container-orchestration system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerised applications. It was originally designed by Google and is now maintained by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Check out – Kubernetes

Kelsey explained that Kubernetes is fundamentally event driven for a serverless future. Kubernetes is also the best thing an administrator could do, which is why IBM have linked up with Kubernetes to provide the growth for their scaled up applications.

Andrew Gould & Ollie Whitehouse - The Internet Summit 1
Andrew Gould & Ollie Whitehouse - The Internet Summit 2

Andrew Gould & Ollie Whitehouse – ‘Getting Governments & the Public to Take Cybercrime Seriously’

The darker side of the internet and the real world that we live in, was then discussed in ‘Getting Governments & the Public to Take Cybercrime Seriously’, which included Detective Superintendent Andrew Gould, National Cybercrime Programme Lead, National Police Chiefs’ Council, as well as Ollie Whitehouse, CTO, NCC Group.

The moderator Alissa Starzak asked where cybercrime currently is, as Andrew Gould was representing the public sector, and Ollie Whitehouse from the private sector. They both clearly said there was a considerable increase in cybercrime. They were finding it was more small gangs that were targeting banks and companies for ransom money while they held their data hostage. The days of a single teenager hacking in a bedroom is fairly remote.

Andrew Gould commented that basic policing still works with hi-tech gangs as they are human and leave evidence behind for them to be prosecuted.

Ollie Whitehouse commented on the hot topic of the day and agreed that engineering backdoors is a bad idea.

Andrew Gould said he could see it from both sides, however he felt that we can’t let people hide behind tech when they have committed crimes, and that we have to find a way of allowing the law to still apply. As a society we need to make a decision to be able to prosecute.

James Allworth & Michelle Kennedy - The Internet Summit 1
James Allworth & Michelle Kennedy - The Internet Summit 2

James Allworth & Michelle Kennedy – ‘Social Media Isn’t All Bad’

‘Social Media Isn’t All Bad’ was the next chat with Michelle Kennedy, Co-Founder & CEO, Peanut, and James Allworth, CMO, Zenrez. Jen Taylor who was moderating started by asking, “Is social media all bad?”

Michelle Kennedy gave a good positive side for social media, by highlighting all the connections that she’s managed to gain through various social media platforms. One being her own Peanut app for mothers that she created.

James Allworth gave a very frank and negative view on social media, and highlighted all the negative things that have happened over the years, and questioned ‘has Facebook made a positive mark on the world?’. His opinion was that he felt social media has brought the worst out in humans in an amplified manner. He did also recognise the positive connections that he has made through Twitter, and his own podcast show.

James noted that people still want to put themselves into groups, and read content that only appeals to them to confirm their beliefs. However, Michelle noted that social media is no different than in real life, as people still choose who they want to be friends with, and what newspapers they read, or what they choose to watch. So is it really a surprise that the real world has transferred on to the Social Media space, in exactly the same manner.

Growth in certain new fin-tech sectors are directly from social peel offs from previous sites. For example that AirBnB is a direct spin off from the growth that was Craig’s List.

With the recent announcement from Apple that they will be bringing a screen time usage app for all its iOS devices, Michelle commented that we should start to see people get more control of how much social media they partake in. James said, this should start to slow down this ‘FOMO’ (Fear Of Missing Out) culture which drives social media usage.

Tanja Lange & Karthik Bhargavan - The Internet Summit 1
Tanja Lange & Karthik Bhargavan - The Internet Summit 2

Tanja Lange & Karthik Bhargavan – ‘How to Prove that a Computer System is Secure’

The moderator John Graham-Cumming returned with the next session about ‘How to Prove that a Computer System is Secure’. This was with the two world renowned cryptographers Karthik Bhargavan, Researcher, Inria, and Tanja Lange, Professor of Cryptology, Eindhoven University of Technology.

A cryptographer is a modern high tech mathematician that analyse and decipher encrypted data to assist law enforcement or government agencies in solving crime, threats or security concerns. They also develop computational models that help solve problems in business, engineering, science, or other industries.

Tanja was quick to get to the hot topic of the day, and confirmed that backdoor engineering should not be used. She said “it is either secure, or its not”.

The big talk was the future about the quantum computer and how Quantum keys will change. Tanja, highlighted that all cloud backups that would not be secure with a quantum key, and would therefore be unsecured on a huge scale globally.

Karthik commented that Firefox is currently running a crypto library, but to be cautious with which keys you are using.

Sir John Scarlett – ‘View of Cyber Threats at a National Level’

The last chat of the day was with none other than a real life James Bond for most of his career. This was Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE, Former Chief, MI6. His conversation with moderator Matthew Prince was about his ‘View of Cyber Threats at a National Level’.

Sir John Scarlett was first asked about his connections with Bletchley Park. He commented about how it existed for about 30 years during the second world war without anyone knowing about it, until the seventies. He is now Chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, and recommended everyone to visit. Its significance during the War is incredible, as without the computation of deciphering intelligence, then history may have been a different story.

Mathew got a stereotypical joke in and asked if a knife was going to pop out of his shoe, and asked what Sir John’s thoughts were about his favourite James Bond. Sir John commented that he was deeply proud of his service, and the people that work for the service, but the reality is as much as he enjoyed the Bond franchise films, they are just not an accurate representation of the reality of MI6.

Sir John’s service with MI6 was predominately in Moscow, where his second time in Moscow coincided with the end of the USSR and the Soviet Union. He said at the time it came as a complete shock to everyone, and that the humility with the Russian people has lingered on for a long time to this day. This is key to understanding the history with the Russian federation and any actions they have today and for the future.

Sir John Scarlett - The Internet Summit 2
Sir John Scarlett - The Internet Summit 3

The main job of understanding intelligence, is by understanding people. This was most evident during the Cold War when Sir John recounted the moment he heard about a possible Nuclear strike launch from the USSR. No computer back then would have picked up that information, and not even today. Having channels remained open with relationships between other nations is the key to better intelligence for a peaceful world.

Sir John commented that the fact that President Putin was previously a KGB agent, is not a big deal, and is over amplified as a big red herring, as there were thousands of KGB agents back under the USSR.

Sir John Scarlett was careful in not to say whether Russia had influenced or interfered previous foreign elections. He said it was ‘very difficult to relate cause and effect of Russia’. He did state that still the number one job of government first of all, is security of its people. Scarlett has advised previous Governments about how good defence is key, instead of complaining of being attacked. This is why investment has to remain into defence for the future.

Cosmik Carrot - The Internet Summit
Ben Bradley at The Internet Summit

The fascinating talk with Sir John Scarlett could have carried on for hours, but this actually brought the Internet Summit to a close. In what was a fantastic broad set of topics around the Internet, the return of the Internet Summit in 2019 cannot come sooner. Bring on Internet Summit 2019!

Perspective of first seven interesting days of GDPR

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes


At 12:01 on the 25th May 2018, something historic happened over night.

If you were thinking it was the start of the last Friday in May, you would be right, but that wasn’t the historical reason.

It was to do with the increase of emails in your inbox about privacy policies…

Have you got it now?

Yes, that’s right, GDPR!

The new General Data Protection Regulations came into force last Friday, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, or your email address was on nobody’s mailing list, then I’m sure you may be aware of it.

If you’re not aware, then on the 25 May 2018 the 1998 Data Protection Act was replaced in UK Law by the new European Union General Data Protection Regulations. Regardless of the UK outcome after Brexit, the law will remain in place until it is superseded or amended by future governments.

Who enforces GDPR?

For governance in the UK, the ICO Information Commissioner’s Office is the place for all regulation on GDPR. Visit the ICO for further information.

GDPR where to start?

First of all, I’m not a legal expert. So all comments in this post are just opinions. If you want a legal expert on GDPR then I recommend Suzanne Dibble who has a great pack for small businesses to get inline with GDPR. She has grown her Facebook group GDPR for Online Entrepreneurs to over 33,000 members in 3 months, and is a great resource for further GDPR related questions. I fully recommend checking out her Facebook group.

For a lot of people in the UK, across the EU, and outside the EU as it’s so over reaching, so that many people have been unaware of the law coming into force. The new law was actually created two years ago. Why has there been such a poor delayed rollout is a mystery to many, specifically as this affects not just all businesses, but every consumer and their personal data.

You can see in the BBC Newsnight’s clip below on the eve of the new law coming into force, the details of some of the new laws for GDPR.

Why GDPR is good for business?

Personally, the new laws are a long time overdue, and overall are a positive step forward for businesses and more importantly the consumer. As we are all consumers, we now have more rights on who holds our data. The use of people’s data is so powerful, and it is only right that the consumer should provide the required consent to a particular business to allow them to have their data. Our Privacy Policy at Cosmik Carrot was updated several weeks ago with the details of how we look after our client’s data.

The lead up to the 25th May for GDPR day gave everyone with their mailing lists the opportunity to ask the ‘person’ if they wanted to continue to receive their future emails after that date. This is why the majority of inboxes were overloaded with desperate pleas of emails begging people to stay on their mailing list and ‘opt-in’.

Reactions to GDPR

During several conversations on the run up to implementation of GDPR both here in the UK and across parts of Europe, and the USA, I heard a lot of anti-GDPR comments. However, GDPR is not going away, and would be a step backwards for data protection if it did. The only thing everyone can do, is to ‘Embrace GDPR’.

Repeating the message of ‘Embracing GDPR’ to some fellow developers in the USA, was returned with a very simple negative position. We will block all EU traffic to our website so we don’t have to comply with it.

I couldn’t believe this was a possible position from some respected developers in the WordPress community. However, this appears to have been turned into a reality, and on quite a large scale.

Until further notice since the 25th May 2018, the following newspapers in the USA, are no longer viewable from an IP address that is now governed under the new General Data Protection Regulations.

We may be looking back in history and realise that the day GDPR came into force, was the day the world wide web became ‘less world wide’. The U.S. newspapers may remove their block in time once they feel they are compliant with GDPR to increase their global readership again. However, it is rather surprising that such large media organisations were not ready for GDPR in time. This could be viewed as quite concerning that weren’t ready in time, and also more worryingly what they currently do with their data for their users.

The right to complain

As part of new laws, individuals now have the right to complain about companies if they feel that they haven’t provided consent for them to do so.

Within the first few hours of GDPR coming into force, Facebook, Google, Instagram, and WhatsApp all had complaints filled against them on the grounds of ‘targeted advertising without consent‘. The complaints case was filed by the Privacy group ‘noyb.eu” with a potential penalty of up to €7 billion in total.

It will be interesting to see how the case unfolds across the several countries that those companies have their jurisdiction in.

From GDPR non compliance to the overzealous

Several high profile companies on the run up to GDPR did their best to comply with the new rules, however some of them were unnecessary reactions to the laws, which were either correct on the rules, over the top, or just plain silly. Here are the best one’s on the GDPR Hall of Shame for a laugh.

President Trump and E.U. differences

As GDPR is such an over-reaching law outside of the EU, it was inevitable that this was going to become political at some point with national differences. How this didn’t become a high level news topic before the new laws came into force is bizarre, and maybe an understanding how little politicians globally knew about this new EU law.

As of the 30th May, the Washington Post has reported that President Trump will likely bring up the data protection regulations inline with EU tariffs and trade issues in the near future. This is following a lot of US Companies complaining about the new regulations and not understanding them.

There has been talk of California introducing a similar GDPR law for all citizens in that state of USA. If that is to proceed, and the already adoption and embracement by some of the biggest US companies (Google, Facebook, Apple) across America, then it is likely that the USA will fall in line and embrace GDPR fully. This has to be the positive step forward for all consumers and the continual global world wide web. 

Looking for website compliance with the new laws

If you’re looking to get your website GDPR compliant, as it’s never too late to do so, then contact us here with your details and then we’ll take it from there with you.

What is the future of the popular Facebook Business page?

Home » Business

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

How many pages exist on Facebook Business?

Well, as of a conference call back in February 2017, Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook actually announced that they’d got about 65 million Facebook Business pages currently at that point in time. Whether that number has increased or decreased significantly since then, a year since that date, we’re not quite sure. But, there’s certainly a significant number of business pages to take into account.

About four million of those actually advertise on Facebook, from what Sheryl Sandberg was quoted as saying, and they know about half a million of those are actually on Instagram. Obviously the huge benefits of a Facebook business page is that it’s actually free to set up, and anyone can get started very quickly with their business. You also instantly linked with a potential audience of several billion people that co-exist on the Facebook platform.

Facebook Announcement – 11 January 2018

So, we roll on to another Facebook announcement, in January 2018, and this is actually from Mark Zuckerberg himself, on the 11th of January, and in his Facebook post, he has actually announced quite a few things, and here are just some of the main highlights in regards to the actual future of the Facebook business page. He says in his blog post;

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content posts from businesses, brands, and media, is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

He continues to say further in his post;

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping find relevant content, to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

He also states;

The first changes you’ll see will be in the newsfeed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

And finally, he states;

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content, like posts from businesses, brands, and media, and the public content you see more will be held to the same standard. It should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

Don’t need a website because you have a Facebook Business page?

So, a lot of people have said other the years that they don’t need a website, because you have a Facebook business page. Well, think again, as the fact is, Facebook owns your business page with your name on it. This is something a lot of people forget about, and it’s certainly something to be reminded of.

There is also no security with your business page, and Facebook could withdraw your page at any point in time. If that is the only sort of web presence you have for your business, that’s quite scary to be thinking about. You’re also limited to how you can present on your business on the Facebook business page, as obviously they limit you to a template format.

And the integration with other platforms is also very limiting and difficult, because they want to keep you contained within the platform. There’s no also no search engine optimisation control on the business page, to influence where your page ranks in Google. You can obviously just complete the relevant details and see where you end up.

What is the future of a Facebook business page?

Well, following Mark Zuckerberg’s comments, your Facebook business page will have less impact for your business. This is quite worrying for a lot of business owners I think out there, and if this is you, you’re actually going to start to see negative impacts on leads through the business page, due to your business not appearing in other people’s news feeds anymore, as they’re actually going to be concentrating and changing those Facebook algorithms to focus more on friends, family and groups, instead of business pages.

I think Facebook is also going to actually encourage more Facebook business users to pay for advertising to get more notice. This makes more sense at the end of the day, Facebook have got shareholders that they want to earn a profit, so I think the new business model is to limit the impact of business pages in people’s news feeds, and if people actually want to get their business out into other people’s news feeds, they’re actually going to have to pay.

There’s going to be more weight and incentive to use a Facebook business as an addition to your website, instead of actually having it as your website. Also, use your Facebook reviews in your website to improve your SEO. This is a great thing, once you’ve got those reviews from Facebook getting pulled through into your website, especially with them schema and it all being mocked up correctly.

How to promote a local business?

  1. Well, first of all, have a website that is in your control, not a Facebook Business page representing your business. Make sure that the website is hosted on a reliable, secure, quality hosting. At Cosmik Carrot we offer excellent private non-shared web hosting.
    • Once you’ve got a website, if you already haven’t, make sure it’s in your control, you can basically do it as you like, how it looks, and how you want to get it integrated with other platforms.
    • The website must be designed well with your users in mind to achieve your website goals. This includes ensuring that the website is responsive for all mobile and tablet devices.
    • The website for your business must also be developed by a competent web developer, that will have detected all your requirements and ensured that your website has been coded in a way that you can expand and grow in the future.
  2. I recommend you ensure your website has been optimised for the search engines.
    • The process of optimisation is a long and complicated one, but very rewarding when the results are achieved from all of the hard work. The research of all your keywords, backlinks, discovery of competitors, and correcting all the issues with your website is all undertaken with our SEO Services, if you want a professional to do this for your business.
  3. Use schema to ensure your business is recognised locally in Google.
  • Using schema will separate your business from your competitors. Implementing schema correctly is very important, otherwise you will be penalised by Google and other search engines. If you require this service for your business website, please contact us for further info.
  • Use a Facebook business page in addition to your website.
    • This will mean that you still have a presence on the Facebook platform, but your website will always be the number one point of call for all your customers. Your website will always be the full representation of your business, that is open 24/7, 365 days a year, globally.
    • Once Facebook is linked to your website, this will be a factor to add weight to your website to potentially increase its ranking.
  • Have a digital strategy on social media.
    • Having a digital strategy across social media is key to continue the voice of your business. By having your blog posts shared across your Facebook business page will drive traffic back to your website in the long run.

If you want to proceed with your new business website to replace your Facebook Business page, then you can contact us with all your details.