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In recent years, giant corporations such as eBay, British Airways and Linkedin have fallen victim to hackers accessing their data. That such huge companies can be on the receiving end of data breaches, despite their astronomical IT budgets, shows that without the right protection, no company is safe.

So, what does this mean for smaller businesses?

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It’s a jungle out there in the big, bad world of ecommerce. You’re having a hard enough time bringing potential customers to your website in the first place, what with your competitors striving to undercut your prices and outrank you in Google searches. That means when people do visit your site, you want to do everything you can to encourage them to stay there – and ultimately, to convert.

Fortunately, there are a few techniques – some tried and trusted, others a little more advanced – that you can adopt to boost your conversion rate. Read on for our top five tips to transform your website into a deadly selling tool; Continue…

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Ecommerce enjoyed a big year in 2015, with figures indicating that online retail sales in the UK topped £60 billion over the 12 months.

As consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing a wide range of products and services online, and with smartphone-based shopping expected to surge, the coming years are looking even brighter for e-tailers.

But, what does 2016 have in store for B2C ecommerce?

Following on from last year’s very popular 5 e-Commerce trend predictions for 2015 we’ve asked Ian Gordon of iWeb to take a look at the trends that will define the year ahead, and the opportunities that online retailers simply can’t afford to miss.

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Since its introduction in the UK just af ew years ago, contactless payments have quickly become a popular way to make low value purchases on debit and credit cards.

In October 2015, more than 10 per cent of all card transactions were made by contactless cards ; a year before, the figure was less than 4 per cent.

Supermarkets have been among the most voracious early adopters of ‘tap and pay’ technology, but that doesn’t mean the solution is only for large retailers or chains. The situation is fast approaching where consumers expect to pay with a tap of their card, and smaller retailers will begin to look behind the times if they can’t provide this option for their customers.

With contactless payments set to increasingly become the norm as consumers look for convenient ways to pay, we asked James Frost, UK CMO, Worldpay, to explain why small businesses should integrate contactless into their retail operations and to give some advice on how best to do it. Continue…

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A lot of thought goes into choosing the right company cars, or vehicles for your business. In finding the right vehicle for your needs, you need to take into account a whole host of factors, including, cost, availability, reliability, your brand image, and emissions.

In recent years electric cars have become more and more commonplace for environmentally aware drivers. Boasting zero emissions, a silent cockpit and advanced technology, they certainly possess some attractive qualities – but are they right for the day-to-day needs of you and your business?

If you’ve found yourself asking this question, these are some of the key issues for you to weigh up if you are considering buying an electric company vehicle: Continue…

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Small business owners look to technology to help them achieve their goals and grow their business. They expect it to help them speed up the way they work, make operations more efficient, reduce costs and generally enable them to do more things better. Technology should and really does help achieve these things. However, on the flipside it can also be confusing, expensive, restrictive and require ongoing maintenance.

It’s a vexing problem for the small business owner or entrepreneur. They may not be an IT expert and may not want to be. This year’s DNA of an Entrepreneur survey revealed that Britain’s entrepreneurs are planning to spend much more on innovation over the coming year but, from the constantly evolving technology smorgasbord, how do they decide what to pick and what to leave? Continue…

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Back in October 2014, Apple Pay – the contactless NFC payment method on iPhones – launched in the US, and we looked at its potential for small businesses here in the UK.

The question of whether or not SMEs should integrate Apple Pay with their existing payment systems was left unanswered, as it all depended on the adoption and success of Apple Pay across the pond.

Merchants in the UK will have less time to consider their decision now, as Apple Pay’s UK launch is imminent. Continue…

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According to new research commissioned by the Government’s Cyber Streetwise Campaign, SMEs are putting a third of their revenue at risk because they are downplaying the threat of cyber-attacks, leaving them exposed and vulnerable.

With this in mind, here’s what small businesses need to watch out for, and 10 clear steps that can be taken to protect against future attacks. Continue…

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2014 was a huge year for privacy and security on the Internet.

There were several high profile security issues which were serious enough to make the leap from technical news sites to the mainstream press, and ongoing revelations about how easily everyone’s connections can be spied on have made the major players in the web industry take action.

If you have an e-commerce website, given all the coverage around SSL and website security, now is a good time to check the security of your site, or to consider getting a site certificate if you don’t already have one. This guide explains all.
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The term mobile commerce is another digital marketing phrase which often gets thrown around. For many small businesses, it can certainly be difficult to understand the technologies and the benefits which m-commerce can bring to your company.

In this guide, we look at the basics of going mobile, how it can be profitable for your start-up or small business, and include some tips on what you need to look out for when taking your business into the world of mobile commerce.
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Year on year, the e-commerce industry continues to boom with more and more companies moving to the web.

The rapid pace of business is amplified online, with the proliferation of apps, new technologies and seemingly daily digital changes affecting how you operate.

Analysts and experts are always attempting to predict the latest trends and developments which could make the most difference to online retailers, so we’ve pulled together some of the most talked about, and hotly anticipated predictions for the e-commerce marketplace in 2015.

We’ve focused on the developments we think could affect your business the most in the next 12 months. Whilst some of these online retailing trends have been developing year on year, others may just be set to explode in 2015 Continue…

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There’s nothing worse than being told by a customer that your website is not working. Or logging on yourself to check something, and finding the page you want to see is not displaying.

Website downtime can have a direct impact on your business and on your profits – particularly if you have an e-commerce website – so it’s important to know what you need to do if your website goes down.

Even the most robust websites suffer technical glitches happen, so the chances are you will experience it at some point. Often, it might only be down for a few minutes, as part of wider technical problems or updates to a global server.

But sometimes, there might be a specific problem with your website individually. If you do experience website downtime, here are the five things you should do;
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The phrase ‘cloud computing’ has already been around for a number of years. However, plenty of small business owners are only just discovering what the ‘cloud’ actually is and more importantly, how cloud computing can be used to their advantage. Continue…

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This week marks the launch of Apple’s latest attempt at changing the way we interact with technology, as Apple Pay, the company’s version of mobile contactless technology, debuts in the US.

Whilst this launch is currently limited to the US, the chances are if all goes to plan it will launch in the UK within the next 6 months.

But what exactly is Apple Pay? And is it going to affect your small business?

There’s a slim chance it could be another fad which flops, but it could also be the system which pushes widespread adoption of mobile payments. So the question is, as a small business, should you look into preparing for Apple Pay?
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With research showing that most business owners are forced to overhaul their websites within a year of going live, here are some tips to help get the design right at the first attempt.
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Pay Per Click, or PPC, is a common service offered by major search engines, and search engine optimisation (SEO) agencies to help you gain traffic to your website. For many small businesses, PPC represents an immediate way to gain new online customers.
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If Google’s Panda update weeded out the websites with content of poor quality overall, then Penguin – first announced in April 2012 – went a step further, focusing on sites with individual examples of poor-quality content.
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If you had any kind of online presence back in February 2011, you will probably have heard of the Google Panda update – or the ‘Farmer update’, as it was first known.
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Mobile devices: laptops, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones, to name a few, have become not only ubiquitous but essential tools in our personal and professional lives. Companies of all sizes are now faced with the reality that employees would like their business and personal lives to blend, often preferring to use their personal mobile devices to conduct business.
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With more and more small companies reaping the benefits of going online it is essential to appreciate the importance of having a well designed website, otherwise any efforts you make to drive potential clients to your web address will be in vain.
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Is social media important for my business?

April 2, 2012

Social media is often misunderstood as something new, something complicated and something only the techies really know about. In reality it’s one of the oldest communication methods in use – it’s just that today we’re using new technology to help us do it.

When is the right time to upgrade your creaking IT system?

March 27, 2012

Knowing when to update your IT systems can be a difficult business decision. For many SME bosses, changing an IT system is as attractive as root canal work.

How to get other businesses to link back to your website

March 12, 2012

Any small business site owner who has done as little as ‘dabble’ with web marketing will have come across ‘link building’ at some stage. But how does building links benefit your business, and how should you go about getting links in the first place?

Choosing a web hosting service for your small business

January 29, 2012

If you are thinking of setting up a website for your business, you will need to find the right company to provide web hosting. Based on our own experiences at Bytestart, here are some tips to ensure you choose the right provider from day one.

Small business domain names – What types are there?

November 6, 2011

If you are thinking of setting up a website for your business, one of your first tasks will be to choose a suitable domain name to suit your venture. With dozens of domain name types available these days, which ones should you make sure you secure for your business?

Guide to scary computer terms for technophobes

October 11, 2011

The first few years of starting up are a series of fast and comprehensive lessons. Get them right and you won’t just have built your own income, but you’ll have learnt things that will help in other aspects of your life.

What is a Local Area Network (LAN)?

October 11, 2011

Small businesses have come a long way since the floppy disks, which were at one time the only way to share files within a company. As we become more reliant on computers, e-mail, and the Internet to do our jobs, local area networks (LAN’s) have become an essential resource for growing businesses – whether they’re […]

The security risks of your business website

October 11, 2011

A website is an essential tool for virtually every business starting up in the UK today. Whereas just a few years ago it was a handy way of marketing your business if you had lots of time or money, websites have quickly grown to become a dominant force in attracting new business and retaining existing […]

Computer (PC) Security – 7 things you must have

October 11, 2011

Keeping the computers and data in your business safe is a vital job that you need to be on top of at all times.

Benefits of setting up a small business website

October 11, 2011

If you still haven’t set up a website or blog for your small business, here are some ideas from the Bytestart team which may show why having an online presence is now essential rather than optional for most enterprises.