This article is based on a letter we recently mailed to our active clients, outlining important changes to their websites which MUST be done – sooner rather than later. We are publishing it here because we believe it will be of value to any visitor to our website whether we built their company website or not. So without further ado, here is the letter:
Dear Studio902 Customer,
We hope that you are having a successful business year in your business.
We wanted to make you aware of a few things that you may or may not be aware of which you need to know and understand as a business owner with a website.
- We have changed the platform in which we had previously used to build websites. We were using Serif WebPlus but have changed to WordPress for the following reasons:
- Serif is no longer supporting their platform so we no longer receive updates to the software nor support.
- WordPress allows us to build a website that not only looks good on a desktop but it is also responsive which works well on any screen size, such as tablets and is mobile friendly. Google will downgrade a website if it is not mobile friendly and keeping mobile friendly is important in today’s world since 57% of the online searches in the U.S. are done via a mobile device.
- When WordPress came out in 2003 it had many issues, not the least of which was an incompatibility between the various plugins which enhanced WordPress functionality. This made it unstable each time there was an update of the WordPress software. For this reason, we resisted developing websites in WordPress. Now, 15 years later, WordPress and programmers who make plugins for WordPress are much more in synch, creating an environment where conflicts and issues are now rare.
- The next item we need you to be aware of is that Google now looks for websites that have an SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer) “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP” that comes up in the search bar such as https://www.studio902.com. This assures the user that the website they are looking at is secure. Google will definitely downgrade your website page rank if you do not have an SSL Certificate installed.
- The next order of business is one that we are working diligently working on for our own website is GDPR compliance. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation which was implemented by the European Union back in the spring of 2018. Here are a few questions you may be asking yourself. We will try to answer them as simply as possible:
So what does something that was implemented in the EU have to do with my business here in the United States?
Since the internet is Global your website can be searched and viewed anywhere in the world. We would like to think that there is an invisible boundary around the U.S. when it comes to our business and especially businesses that are not reaching beyond the borders of the U.S. for marketing of products and services. That is just not the case.
Scenario: Quid in Great Britain might be surfing the internet and comes across your website in the search engine, he is curious. Quid clicks your link and visits your website. At that point, the server that your website is hosted on collects the IP Address (Internet Protocol) from which he surfed. At that point, your website has just collected and stored personally identifiable information (PII). In addition, if the user fills out a contact form, on your website, you are collecting information such as Name, Email Address, and maybe an Address and Phone Number. This is also PII and makes you liable under the Internationally Enforceable GDPR.
- What is this regulation and how does it affect my business website?
The regulation is designed to give EU citizens more control over the kind of personally identifiable information (PII) that is collected on them and empower them with “the right to be forgotten”. The impact on businesses worldwide is an administrative tsunami of requisite technical and administrative changes in the way they do business online. Specifically, companies and individuals are required to:
- Know every bit of PII that is being collected from visitors to their websites
- Receive from the website visitor explicit permission to collect such data
- Offer the website visitor a way to review the PII which was collected on them and provide a method to delete it or have it deleted on their behalf.
- Respond within 72 hours to any reports of a breach or compromise resulting in the theft of website visitors’ PII.
- Although it’s extremely unlikely for this to occur to websites with SSL encryption and other security measures in place, business owners will be required to inform data subjects of their remediation process and the length of time it will take to fix.
- What are the consequences of not complying with GDPR Compliance?
There are hefty penalties for non-compliance. If you are found non-compliant you are looking at a fine of €20 million or 4% of the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, whichever is higher. It is important to know that, before it escalates to a fine, a business will receive 1 or more warnings to bring their website into compliance.
Disclaimer: We are not attorneys nor pretend to know every bit of the GDPR Compliance law. Rather we are just giving you this information so you can make an informed decision together with your attorney. We do recommend consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in GDPR laws if you have further questions specifically dealing with the intricacies of the law and how in impacts you.
Studio902 Web Solutions would be happy to help you in the re-design of your website and provide you will an SSL Certificate and any other security measures that you would like to implement and as well as the installation of these added security products to your website.
Please contact us as soon as possible either through our website contact form or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions we’d be happy to answer them to the best of our ability.
Tim & Cindy Mrva