Tag Archives: CMS

The Importance of NAT on Your Website

website legal graphicNAT or NAP, Your Website May Not Be Legal

Whilst looking for an example to show a possible new customer, I noticed one client’s website was missing the company name and address.

You guessed it: NAT – Name, Address, Telephone number. Or NAP if you drop the “Tele”. AKA Business Information.

On this page you can read about:

  • legal requirements for showing NAT on your website
  • why you probably need it anyway
  • how to stop hackers scraping it
  • how to maintain it with BlueTree CMS
  • what to do next

Rules for Business Information on Websites

Your website is an official business document, like an invoice. According to the Companies Act (2006), whether your business is incorporated or not, with one exception, your website must display your Company Information. The actual information required varies by the type of registration, but all include:

  • the registered name or trading name
  • registered or trading address
  • registration number and place of registration (if registered)
  • sometimes, trade organisations to which your business subscribes

The only time this doesn’t apply is for unregistered sole traders, trading under their own name. However, it’s still worth including because:

  • in these internet rip-off times, it helps to prove your business is real
  • search engines use it, among other things, to decide your site’s “authority”, so it affects your position in search results
  • business directories, a useful SEO tool, use it to qualify their listings and some won’t list you without it

business info block from BlueTree CMSMoreover, it’s very easy to do with BlueTree CMS – and to protect that important data from web crawlers that generate spam.

BlueTree CMS has a spider-proof, “Business Information Block” feature that handles your name, address, and phone number.

NAT Tips

Get this right at the start and you won’t find that, later on, you have a big review exercise that you’ll never start because it’s too big and too boring.

  1. always use your full trading name, including the “Ltd” bit
  2. make sure your information is consistent everywhere on the internet

You may not be too worried now, but at some time you’ll see competitors above you in search results. If you don’t get all this right, search engines may penalise your website, or maybe not display it at all.

  • Domain Registration: search engines check the Business Information on your website against that of the “Registrant” in your “whois” data
  • Business Directories: search engines check against other sources, too, including directories like Yell, Thompson Local, and 181
  • Correct Business Information: a search engine may prefer to display your business information, perhaps wrongly, from its favourite directory if the version on your website is different

Web Crawlers and Spam

Whilst it’s largely irritating, not dangerous, spam is  a big time-waster. Worst case, someone may use it to steal your business identity.

Don’t just type your Business Information into your web pages. Make sure your CMS protects it from “spiders”, the computer programs hackers write to crawl the web and collect such information.

How to Spider-Proof Your Business Information

website settings dialog in BlueTree CMSFirst enter your NAT, just once, in the Sitewide Settings panel.

The CMS will use the data to display your pretty Business Information Block, like the one at the top of this post. It contains:

  • the trading name
  • your address
  • your phone number: click to dial on a smartphone
  • your email address: click to open a new mail with your address in the “To” field
  • optionally, a thumbnail Google map, centred on your postcode, which opens full size in new window, when clicked

You need only display your full Business Information in one place, but you may want to put NAT, in whole or in part, on several pages, to make it easy for customers to get in touch with you. You can include this block, as many times as you want, anywhere on your website, by typing,
—-Contact—-
on a separate line, just like that, with no other characters.

And, anywhere on your website, even within a paragraph, if you type that same telephone number with no spaces, BlueTree CMS will convert it to a clickable link, hidden from web crawlers. It will do the same with your email address.

Your Business Information Is Safe

Whilst humans will be able to read your Business Information, web crawling software will not. There’s more than one benefit:

  • less spam and fewer time-wasting phone calls
  • the information is consistent across your whole website
  • if it ever changes, update it only once and all your pages change immediately

What to Do Next

Disclaimer: We are not lawyers. We offer the information on this page in good faith but please don’t rely on it. Take legal advice.

1. Establish Requirements for Your Type of Business

Registered businesses must display more than this basic information. The requirement for partnerships is different from that for limited companies, for example. Search for a phrase containing your registration type, e.g.

website business information required for [registration type] site:gov.uk

The “site:gov.uk” parameter will ensure you see results from the UK Government (apart from the ads), just to be on the safe side. If you omit it you’ll see results from solicitor websites, too, which is fine but maybe not definitive.

2. Check Your Domain Business Information

Often forgotten, your domain registrar holds a copy of your Business Information. Check yours by typing your web address into this page at whois.com. The registrant (hopefully you) is able to change this if it’s wrong.

3. Check Your Business Information Elsewhere

This is the subject of our second post in this series. If you’d like a notification when it’s published, please sign up using the “Find this useful?” button, bottom right.

References

  1. Companies Act (2006)
  2. Online domain registration check
  3. What to do if your domain registrant isn’t you

BlueTree CMS Objectives

Why BlueTree Created a New CMS

Motivation Behind BlueTree CMS

With a steadily growing user base, it seems like a good time to talk about why BlueTree developed its own Content Management System, or CMS.

The primary reason: we can no longer use our favourite CMS, Adobe® Contribute®. Adobe now has a new business model, with high monthly fees, aimed at big corporates. You can still buy Contribute, but it’s no longer being developed. We have to find a solution for existing clients, and we can’t recommend obsolete software new ones.

There are plenty of good CMS’s around,” says Mark, “many of them free. We’ve used quite a few, including one of the most popular, for years, on behalf of our clients. However, it’s become clear that there is a gap in the market. Many small business owners want to write and maintain their own website content, but lose patience due to the technical demands of their CMS.

“They end up paying people like us to update their websites. They all have better uses for that money!”

It’s not that small business owners aren’t capable of doing it; many do so with great success. It’s more that there’s so much to learn – most simply do not have the time. Starting a new business or growing a small enterprise is demanding enough on its own.

We’ve Made CMS’s Before

As luck would have it, we’ve developed several Content Management Systems, for other companies. They were very specialised, aimed mainly at maintaining professional knowledge bases. One of them helps managers with the special requirements required to help staff with “hidden abilities”. The design may look odd to you but, in fact, it’s highly specialised, being designed for people with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and other  conditions, who look at the world in different, often very productive, ways. You can see it here, at Key 4 Learning,

In building these systems, we’ve had to write hundreds of “components”, small parcels of Internet code, from which we built each one. Think of them as Lego bricks, each with its own particular function. We clip them together to make the CMS. They have one big advantage over Lego, however: we can copy them; we don’t have to break up one model to make the next.

So, why not fill that gap in the market, and use our components to build our own, simple CMS, one that a time-strapped small business owner can actually use?

Users Requirements From Their CMS

So, what would we need to provide for our target customers? Remember, they’re entrepreneurs. They know all about their field, they’re very skilled, dedicated, and highly motivated. Often they know less about the Internet, and how to use it for sales and marketing. And they’re very short of time.

There’s no way a piece of software can do all this, so we need more. BlueTree CMS is a complete package, which includes all the service and software you need to start and continue your Digital Marketing journey.

Our CMS must be:

  • Easy to use: anyone who can use a word processor must be able to use it;
  • Quick to learn: just the features you need, not those you don’t;
  • Secure: only authorised employees should be allowed to make updates;
  • Always available: updates should be possible always, from anywhere in the world;
  • Never interrupted due to out-of-sync plug-ins or underlying software components;
  • Fully supported: a skilled web-master on call should you ever get stuck.

There are other features that people new to Digital Marketing perhaps don’t know they need. A first website is often simply an on-line brochure. However, you quickly realize your website is a business asset that can save costs and deliver revenue, generate sales and engage with customers.

We’ll explain these issues, as much as you need to know about them, when you come to see us. BlueTree CMS handles many of them automatically. Those it can’t, it leads you through. Some examples:

  • A mobile-friendly design, since most local searches are done “on the go” these days;
  • Fast-loading web pages, to rank well in search results;
  • Automatic image optimisation, for fast web page download;
  • No limits on pages, images or documents (i.e. forget “up to 5 pages, £250”);
  • Automated techie tasks, so you neither need to understand, nor perform them;
  • Automatic XML sitemap, used by search engines to find the pages on your site;
  • User-managed web page names, important for good search results;
  • Control of meta-tags and Microdata, also used and rewarded by search engines;
  • Web page rename function, with automatic redirects so you don’t duplicate content.

What other website features, design and commercial, would our customers require?

  • An efficient, collaborative design process, that harnesses your imagination and our Internet experience;
  • The added business credibility of a top-level-domain email address;
  • Social media auto-posters, with a review capability prior to publication;
  • Optional packages, so clients don’t need to pay for things they don’t use;
    • Digital Marketing, Blog, On-line Shop,  Customer Engagement…
  • No surprises: fixed price quotations, up front;
  • Staged payments: only pay for each stage when you’re happy.

BlueTree’s Requirements From Its CMS

Naturally, we can’t afford to do this out of the goodness of our hearts: it must be commercially viable. In essence, it must allow us to give great service to our customers – they pay our wages. It must never get too complex, but it must continue to improve in other ways, particularly, ease of use, and cost to support.

So, to provide us with a sustainable, growing business, our CMS must have:

  • Low support cost: single set of source code, so all clients receive every improvement;
  • Scalable architecture: so we can always add new clients without affecting existing ones;
  • Popular programming language: so it’s easy to find new staff to develop it;
  • Up-to-date technology: so we can capitalise on the latest Internet trends;
  • No risky add-ons: all functionality integrated, so we avoid any website downtime due to version clashes;
  • Hacker-resistance: separate maintenance and deployment servers;
  • No cross-contamination: no connection between different clients’ websites;
  • Acceptable revenue stream: so we can pay ourselves and continue to invest in improvements;
  • Continuous improvement plan: harness clients’ ideas – they’ll know best;
  • Responsible use of Open Source components, so we have no third-party software licence issues;
  • Extensible design: so we can add special features if clients require them;
  • Simplicity: easy to use, so we must provide a way forward for those who outgrow it.

In Conclusion

We’re now well on the way and we have our first batch of clients, with more in progress.

If you’d like to join them, or just find out a bit more, please go to our contact page or click that “Get in Touch” button, to the lower right of your screen.

Welcome to the BlueTree Blog

BlueTree's website design logo

Welcome to BlueTree’s Website Design Blog.

If you’re a BlueTree website design client, you update your own site using a content management system, or CMS, that’s very easy to use.  The benefits are,

  • you save on-going costs because you don’t have to pay for updates;
  • you can make changes promptly, with no need to wait for someone else;
  • there are fewer errors, because people who know the subject do the updates.

But here’s the rub: many of  you are new to this. Creating a web site is a bit more complex than writing printed marketing documents. You can make mistakes early on that cost a lot of time and effort to fix later.

So, that’s why we started this Website Design Blog. Over time, we aim to build some guidelines to help you through this start-up process.

NB: we can’t tell you how to build the perfect website. Your perfect website will be unique to you. With luck, though, we can help you to get started and avoid some obvious pitfalls.

Good luck!