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What you need to know about GDPR for bloggers and entrepreneurs

GDPR for bloggers and entrepreneurs

A clear guide to complying with GDPR consent

With GDPR laws coming into effect in May, we’re seeing the biggest change to privacy laws since the 1990’s.

A lot has changes since then, including the digital revolution – so here’s how the change in data protection law affects bloggers and entrepreneurs and what you need to do to make sure you’re treating data the right way.

If you take nothing else away, GDPR is about being open, honest and safe with personal data. Read on to find out more.

Sounds like serious stuff, but why should I care?

GDPR relates to the protection of the privacy of people’s data. That’s email addresses, names, telephone numbers – even photos and social media updates! It’s anything that can be regarded as personal data that could be used to identify a person against their will.

If you collect, store, or use any form of personal data, you’ll need to make sure that your data is up to scratch and that you add new processes to make sure you’re compliant.

How long do I have?

You have until 25th May 2018 to get your data and processes in order, to make sure you’re complying with GDPR.

But we’re going through Brexit, are you sure I have to comply?

The quick answer here is yes. You do need to comply. The government has confirmed that Brexit will not affect the GDPR start date in the UK. If you want to get into semantics, then the UK will be creating its own law which will mirror GDPR… here’s hoping they call it something catchy.

What is GDPR?

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s an EU law but will be applicable in the UK both during and post Brexit.

Here’s a quick bulleted summary of what the GDPR changes to consent are, with what they mean for you below:

  1. People must clearly consent to be contacted by you by any means
  2. Consent must be freely given – not with the ruse of any offers or gated content
  3. People must be able to clearly withdraw consent at any time
  4. You need to be able to clearly state when and where the person consented and what they consented to
  5. People’s data has a time limit – you cannot store their behavioural data for more than 2 years.

What do these changes in GDPR mean for my blog/website?

1. People must clearly consent to be contacted by you by any means

This means bye-bye to auto opt ins. No more automatically ticked boxes on sign up forms, or sneaky sign ups of people who comment on your blog. No.

When people are signing up to receive updates from you, you need to make sure there is a clear box for them to tick to say something along the lines of “Yes, I want to receive emails from you about X, Y, Z”. If you do not CLEARLY, EXPLICITLY and in PLAIN LANGUAGE state what you’re going to do with that data?

You’re not compliant.

Once they’ve clicked that button, you’ll then need to send them an opt-in email where they need to make a positive action to confirm their subscription or preferences. This makes sure that people can’t accidentally (or maliciously) add anybody to email distribution lists, or contact lists against their will.

This also means that any data you are currently contacting (or wish to contact), needs to undergo the same treatment. If they haven’t explicitly signed up to receive your marketing emails? You won’t be able to contact them after May. Call it a data detox if you will.

By May, you’ll need to make sure that anybody who will receive an email from you has explicitly  opted in to keep on receiving emails from you.

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2. Consent must be freely given – not with the ruse of any offers or gated content

Quite a lot of bloggers and entrepreneurs currently lure in new email sign ups with gated content – that is, something that you’re providing that they can only access if they give you their data.

Sign up to receive this download…

Get an exclusive 10% off when you sign up…

Sound familiar?

With the new law? You can’t do this, it’ll be seen as not giving free consent. You’re holding something behind a wall that they can’t otherwise give you without providing their data.

To provide their data to you, there must be no win/lose scenario. Just think… if you can liken what you’re doing to the child-catcher with his lollypops in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… you’re doing it wrong *shudder*.

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3. People must be able to clearly withdraw consent at any time

As well as making sure that you have unsubscribe buttons clearly visible in all of your emails, this also means that people should be able to withdraw consent of you contacting them by any means at any time.

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4. You need to be able to clearly state when and where the person consented and what they consented to

This one is a toughy. You’ll need to make sure that you can account for EVERYBODY that you contact from May onwards to say that this is how they consented (and what they consented to).

That means you’ll need to store opt in information on the location of sign up (website etc) as well as the date that they signed up. There needs to be a chain to show that they explicitly signed up to receive updates from you.

Of course, with number 3 in mind, you also need to have a way that they can withdraw their consent at any time too.

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5. People’s data has a time limit – you cannot store their behavioural data for more than 2 years

If you’re storing data on people from over 2 years ago? It may need to go. Email providers have already started to make these amendments by deleting behavioural information from contacts over this time. That means that if you are storing any of that data externally? You need to make sure it’s gone.

Don’t be that weirdo that they haven’t heard from in ages. If in doubt, don’t use it.

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Other changes to be aware of…

As well as the changes to consent, there are also changes to processing of data, that I’d suggest knowing more about.

  • Secure all personal data that you keep – encryption etc
  • Work out a way that data can have a ‘right be forgotten’ – removing it entirely
  • This doesn’t affect the ability to send process-based emails – such as order confirmations. But it does mean that they cannot contain any marketing messages.

If you’ve found this useful, please make sure you share it and pop a comment below (don’t worry, I won’t store your email address).

The GDPR deadline is 25 May 2018

More info: Official EUGDPR website.

Binning dead content from your site

When is it appropriate to delete content?

Knowing whether or not it’s appropriate to delete content on a website can be tough.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy way to tell what you can get rid of, without the risk of a decline in SEO?

In this article, I’ll walk you through how to find out what content you can shred to help make sure your site is in a happy, healthy place.

Binning dead content from your site

To start you’ll need:

  • To have access to the last years worth of data on unique pageviews.
  • To have access to your sitemap – detailing all of the pages on your website.
  • A spreadsheet – if you don’t have Microsoft Office, then Google Sheets or similar software will help you out massively.
  • A strong cup of tea or coffee and perhaps a biscuit or slice of cake (needed an excuse?)

Step 1: Creating your reference sheet

The first step is to create a list of all of the pages on your site.

I’m not asking you to go through your entire site and jot down the URLs – no, that would require substantially more cake.

Instead, I’ll show you how to find a handy list of all the pages you care about:

All of your pages are listed in your website’s sitemap. If you don’t know where yours is, add /sitemap.xml to the end of your website address.

Clever huh?

Now, paste the entire list of website addresses into a spreadsheet so that each URL is in a new row. Don’t be fooled by sitemaps that sub-categorise by types of page. Just keep on pasting until you’ve covered every section.

Name this sheet ‘sitemap’ (right click on the tab at the bottom to rename it).

Step 2: Finding out what pages have been seen.

Now that you have a frame of reference, the next thing you need is to find out which pages have been seen. For this, you’ll need to dig into Pageviews – which shows which pages have been seen.

  1. In Google Analytics, go to Behaviour > Site content > All Pages.
  2. Change the date setting to the past year to show all pageviews over the past year.
  3. At the bottom right hand side of the table, change the ‘show rows’ to make sure that you can see all of your website data.
  4. Back to the top once all your pageview data loads and click on ‘export’. Export your list in any format that you’re comfortable working with.
  5. In a new tab for the spreadsheet you’ve been working in, paste your shiny new data.
  6. Add in a new column B (with your Google Analytics URL without the domain in column A).
  7. In cell B2, add this formula (replacing DOMAIN with your site domain to match your sitemap, eg http://SITENAME.COM (without the forward slash at the end)). =”DOMAIN”&A2 – so this site would be =”https://jellyyo.co.uk”&A2
  8. Copy the formula down to the end of your list.
  9. Name the sheet ‘All pageviews’.
  10. Check that column A shows the end URL (without the domain), column B should show the new full URL, C should show Pageviews and D should show Unique Pageviews.

Step 3: Compare your lists.

Now that you have your reference list and a tab with pages that have been viewed, you’ll want to match them up to find out what pages are getting views and what haven’t been seen at all.

Urgh. Really?

Yes. But don’t worry – it’s not manual.

  1. In your sitemap tab, go to the next empty column and in row 1,name the column ‘Unique views’.
  2. With your URL in column A, in your new Unique Views column, use this formula:

=vlookup(A2, ‘All pageviews’!$B$2:$D$5000,3,FALSE)

  1. Drag this formula down so that all of your pages have a formula against them. If you have more than 5000 rows, increase this number accordingly.

Don’t worry about the formulas that come back as #N/A. These are actually the pages you’re interested in.

  1. Next you’ll need to filter your data. To do this, most spreadsheets will follow the same logic of finding the ‘data’ tab and clicking on ‘filter’. This will add a filter ability to the column headings.
  2. Filter your unique pageviews column to show those with #N/A. This can be done by clearing the selection of filtered and only clicking on the #N/A option.

This is now your master list of all pages that have received 0 pageviews in the past year. Nada. Zilch.

Was that what you expected?

What’s next?

It’s now over to you to look through the list and using that knowledge – that nobody has viewed it (so it’s of no value to your site), whether you delete it, or give it another shot.

I would suggest adding a new column with ‘Status’ and either enter:

  • Delete
  • Recycle
  • Legacy

Come back next week after you’ve created your list of pages to delete, recycle or keep as legacy content to find out what to do next.

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Juicy Backlinks - How they really work

The secret behind how link building passes juice to your site

Today, I’m talking about link building and how it really works.

You may already know that in its basic form, the art of link building requires a hyperlink adding that creates a link from one site to another.

Juicy Backlinks - How they really work

But how does that really work? Are all links the same?

People often ask “Why is my Domain Authority not drastically improving when I’m building links?”, here’s your answer:

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Not all links are equal.

They’re made up of the anchor text (the words that are used), the destination that the link goes to and the environment that the link sits in.

I’ll explain each individually.

1. Anchor text

The words that are used to link from one site to another matter.

In ye olden days (okay, a couple of years ago), you would ask for BIG money keywords that you want driving your traffic to be linking to your site.

For example, if you were a cake decorator in London, you’d want to be known for ‘cake decorators in London’.

So people would linkbuild on sites and ask for the exact keyword of ‘cake decorators in London’ to link to their site.

The idea was that by people talking about you using those specific keywords – and linking to the page that you want to rank for that keyword, you’re increasing your authority for that keyword and potentially increasing your rankings.

BUT… I would urge you to NOT to do this.

It looks spammy and Google know that people have been paying for these sorts of links. If you want to learn more about why you should stop doing this, see my recent post on link building strategies.

Trust me, you’ll love it.

Of course… it’s totally acceptable for you to link to your own content with the appropriate anchor text on your own site.

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2. The destination

The link destination matters.

Of course, you want more of your links to go to the homepage and to be brand matched. But, you also want relevant juicy deep links.

Deep links are those that point to deeper pages on your site that may be more relevant for that keyword. For example, if you had some statistics on cake eating in London and people were talking about it… you’d want people to point to THAT page.

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3. The environment

This bit is the interesting part.

The environment where your link sits on somebody’s site matters and impacts the amount of link juice that’s passed to your site.

Instead of link juice, I’m going to talk to you about sweets…

Imagine the webpage that is going to link to you has 50 sweets.

When they link to you, they aren’t generous enough to give you all 50 sweets.

No.

Instead, those 50 sweets that the page owns are shared between all of the web pages that are linked – both internal and external to that website.

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One sweet to the homepage.

One sweet to each navigation link.

One sweet to each link that the article links out to.

This means that out of about 50 sweets on a page, your site will only be given one sweet.

The more links per page, the more the sweets have to be shared out. The less links, the more you get.

You get the point right?

This means that collaborative posts that link to everybody under the sun who contributed a post… won’t generate a lot of link juice. Or at least won’t generate the amount you think they might.

Although collaborative posts are part of the fabric of being a blogger, you’re not going to get a lot of link juice passed to you.

Those sweets? They’ll be halved or even quartered before you see a chunk.

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That is why even though a high authority site links to you, you won’t necessarily see your authority rise to the same amount.

If you’re looking to get the most link juice passed to you as possible, you want to give people a reason for people to be talking about you and linking to your content alone.

I hope you found this post useful – as ever if you have any questions, follow Jelly Yo on social media and make sure you sign up to our emails to be the first to receive a new post!