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.

via GIPHY

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*.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

Or, sign up to receive emails to have the new tips land straight in your inbox.

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:

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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.

via GIPHY

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!

Stop link building for links... right now!

Linkbuilding tactics to stop, drop and roll with

I admit that SEO is mostly about links.

Sure, it’s about writing kick-ass on-site content and a bunch of other stuff too but without other websites talking about yours? It’s pretty difficult to rank well and get organic search traffic visiting your site.

Even Mr. Google says so himself:

But to build organic traffic, you need to build links… without building for links.

via GIPHY

Google hates people who link build for links.

But how do you know if you’re doing it right?

Here I explain tactics you should stop doing right away, explain why what you’re currently doing may be wrong and what you should be doing instead.

Be ready to have your mind blown:

Stop link building for links... right now!

Stop doing these things… they’re really, REALLY bad:

You want sites to be linking to your content that are… well… high quality. That means that you should stay WELL clear of:

  • Link farms (baa) – these are sites where you just submit your links and hey presto, it’s live.
  • Web directories (unless they are related to your industry, but for these purposes I’m talking about ‘web directory 101.com’ etc)
  • Blog comments – this is generally fine if you’re a blogger and are commenting on other people’s blogs, but don’t do it as a link building activity as it won’t increase your authority.

These activities don’t really count as link building anymore and are traditionally thought of as spam. Any website owner with a comments field will know that spammers try to get links from your site for this exact reason… and usually with a tell tale comment…

*Warning in joke*

Anyone actually ever googled ‘[Insert name here] Technique to rank #1 in Google’?

*Ends in joke*

via GIPHY

When the world of link building was just starting out, it was ALL about quantity. It didn’t matter where you were getting links from, as long as you were linking.

Nowadays things are a bit more complicated. If you’re linking from these sorts of sites? They won’t count for much. You may not necessarily be penalised for it (but you could be!), but they won’t be passing you any of that beautiful link juice.

You’re not going to like this one… Things you shouldn’t really be doing (but probably are):

Now. Bad sites in Google’s eyes are sometimes hard to spot. They may ‘look’ like good sites and you may think that you’re doing a good thing, but it may end out harming you.

You’re not going to like this one I’m afraid.

Bad sites are often sites that accept guest posts for links. These are sites that leading link research tool (aptly named Link Research Tool) deem as High Risk.

via GIPHY

They often feature too much heavy anchor text for ‘golden’ keywords like: Buy THIS PRODUCT NAME. AKA, the “really obviously a paid link”.

They’re sites that actively promote the ‘old style’ of link building, where you could contact a site with relevant content to them, and for a fee, they’d add it to their site with a juicy link.

Well? Nowadays, these sites are frowned upon as Google Guidelines clearly state that any paid for links MUST be No Follow.

Sure, it’s completely understandable why some site owners still do it and I genuinely don’t blame them.

I’ve been there. When given the choice of being paid and getting a gig, vs not being paid, those link building are often forcing the hand.

It’s the guys paying for the links and often demanding a follow link that are causing no end of problems.

What you should be doing:

You should be seeking links from high quality websites. These are sites that are:

  • Relevant/related to YOUR industry
  • Those that you’d expect to be talking about your content
  • Don’t have an open guest post for all policy (these are article farm websites)

You should target websites that have a higher authority website than yours. Whether you measure that with Moz’s Domain Authority or use Link Research Tools Power * Trust, there are loads of trustworthy free toolbars you can download to your browser to find out whether a site is good or not.

If you’re asking for a link – never mind paying for one, or giving away free stuff for it, then get ready for it to be NOFOLLOW. No exceptions.

“WHAAA? But Jelly… HOW can you build authority if you’re not passing the link juice through?”

I’m going to drop some heavy advice here and get ready because it’s THE most important lesson on link building you’ll ever read:

In essence, you want to find sites that can drive traffic to yours.

That may sound like a “Well DUH” moment but…

When you enter the world of link building, this end goal is often lost. People get obsessive about ‘THE LINK’.

via GIPHY

But remember this:

It’s not just about the link for a link sake – think about the MUCH bigger picture of driving TRAFFIC and conversions (if you’re trying to sell something).

If you’re link building to increase your authority? You’ll not get very far with the ‘new’ Google.

If you’re link building to get more people to visit your site? Then you’re on the right track.

It’s all about generating relevant traffic. After all, that’s why you’re building links in the first place isn’t it?

If people who you are paying or asking for a link off of are good enough, then it won’t matter.

So stop thinking about link building for links, and start thinking about the traffic.

Make sure that you sign up to receive our emails to be the first to see our latest articles:



4 Ways To Be Seen on Etsy And Sell More Stuff

4 steps to be seen and sell more stuff on Etsy

So. You have a product that you want to sell. A great product and you NOW want more people to see your gorgeous things.

Right?

But it’s not just about getting traffic – sure, that’s a big part of it. But it’s also about making sure that the people who DO see your stuff fall in love with it and buy it.

With this guide, you’ll learn how to get more people to your site and more importantly, learn how to increase sales. YAY!

4 Ways To Be Seen on Etsy And Sell More Stuff

Step 1: Create your characters

Now, I know that you want to go full steam ahead, but trust me on this.

This is THE most important thing you can do for your business, whether on Etsy, Folksy, Ebay or any other eCommerce platform.

A character is the person that you want to sell to. I want you to think about your products or services and come up with at least one character for who would buy it. You can have as many as you like, but start off with one or two.

Answer the following questions about them:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Interests – do they have children, pets? Where do they live? UK? What type of house do they live in? Do they have a job, stay at home parent?
  • What frustrates them? Poor service? Slow delivery? Bad quality?
  • What devices do they use? Mobile, tablet, PC?
  • What other brands do they like? What newspapers, or websites do they read?

The chances are, if you have more than one range of products, you may have a small number of characters to build. Give them name and if you can – picture them and give them a name.

Just make sure that they’re specific. You can’t have a character that’s Male or Female between 18-80 – it’s just not specific enough.

If you aren’t specific – you won’t sell half as much as you could as you’d end out selling to nobody rather than a somebody.

It’s also important to understand that a character isn’t going to fit ALL your customers. What it will help you to do is to improve how you answer the questions they have. How you sell your products to them.

Step 2: Answer their frustrations on your site

Using the above information about your characters, think about the products or services you’re offering.

How can you answer their frustrations with your products and USPs?

If they are concerned about the quality of products, you could make sure you have customer reviews easily accessible.

If you’re really new to the game, make sure that your product photography is top notch to show that you’ve got a great product.

For all of their concerns, make sure that you can address them with your products or services and make sure this information is easily seen on your product page.

Check out my guide to better writing for how you can format it in the best way possible.

Doing this will decrease the barriers that they have to buying from you.

Step 3: SEO your product name and any landing pages

Now you’re ready to get more people to see your product. To do that, you need to think of a great name.

That doesn’t mean that you need to think of something original or make up random funkulous words.

No. Absotively not.

Instead, you’ll need your keywords (which are not actually single words, but more a phrase that best describes what you do). Think about how people would search for your product. For most online retailers such as Etsy, these will be your ‘tags’ that will be used to drive their internal search function to make sure you’re found.

Take a look at shops that are doing really well and see what they are doing. Obviously don’t copy them, but it’s a great source of inspiration to see SEO in practice.

Check out my guide on keyword research if you need some more help.

Step 4: Get people talking about your stuff!

It’s no great magic trick. Getting more people to talk about your stuff will help more people find your stuff.

Easy right?

In the biz’, this part is called ‘link building’, but to be honest, that’s a bit too clinical sounding for what you want to do.

Thinking back to your characters and the sorts of sites that they’re on and reading, you’ll want to try and make connections with these sites. After all, it’s a great way of finding the people you’re looking for.

Forge collaborations, get people to write about your stuff and share the love.

For the love of bloggers, please don’t ask bloggers to do things for you for free for a link. Don’t go all clinical on them. Bloggers LOVE small brands. But I can assure you, bloggers are asked ALL the time to do things for free. Those trying to earn an income from blogging won’t take too kindly as let’s face it – what’s in it for them?

Sure, everybody understands that businesses have to start somewhere and you may not have a budget. That’s fine. Instead think of what you can offer. Product reviews, discounts, ambassador programmes. Be honest. Be upfront. Just don’t expect something for nothing.

I’m not saying it’s easy (apologies if I’ve unceremoniously popped that bubble) – because it’s not.

If it were, then we’d all be superstars.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t or can’t do it.