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After all the excitement of the PJWD studio relaunch last month it’s back to business.

Normally when writing this newsletter, Karen and I peruse the tech news for articles to share in the Elsewhere on the Internet section and more often than not these days stories fall into 2 categories:

  1. Tech giant is in court for gross misuse of people’s personal data.
  2. The same company releases shiny a new product designed to harvest even more personal data.

It’s a distressing pattern. This month the Wall Street Journal published The Facebook Files, a scathing collection of the company’s many abuses of people’s data across the globe. Not to be perturbed, Zuck and co. have just started selling augmented reality glasses so people can wear little surveillance cameras on their heads (clearly their Portal cameras didn’t have enough peripheral vision to get a proper look round your Nan’s house).

It’s also been reported this month that Facebook have been developing a version of Instagram for children despite their own research finding that 33% of teenage users found the platform to have a negative impact on their body image.

Between the likes of Facebook, Google and Amaz*n, the web is in a bad, bad way, so this month’s newsletter is full of tips to help you to protect the your personal data and that of your website visitors. If you can make even one change it will add up to a positive difference!

We’ve also got tips for writing an authentic About page for your website thanks to PJWD collaborator Becky Thorn from Comma Chameleon.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about this month’s newsletter drop me a message. I’d also love to hear if you’ve made any positive changes to your online habits!

The great de-Googling

Out of focus Google logo.

Whilst we’re on the subject of big tech surveillance, this month I’ve shared some of the steps I’ve taken in recent years to de-Google my life. It’s hard to know exactly how far Google’s tentacles go into the depths of our online activities, so it is useful to take some steps to protect what they can access.

Here are my practical tips to help you de-Google-ise.

Fathom Analytics as an alternative to Google

Fathom Analytics v3 dashboard.

Digital privacy goes beyond protecting your own data. You should also make sure your website respects the privacy of your visitors too.

Anyone who has spent time looking at the granular data Google Analytics collects on individual users will know that it is a pretty intrusive technology. Last year I set out to investigate alternatives, and I’ve not looked back since switching to Fathom Analytics.

Read more about this privacy-focused alternative to Google.

Search Engine Listing Insights

Screenshot of Google's 'About this result' popup.

Whilst we can all aim to reduce our use of Google products, we can’t get away from the fact that nearly 93% of internet users turn to Google Search when they’re after information (though I personally recommend using DuckDuckGo!).

What this means for online business owners is that we still need to pay attention to how our stuff performs on Google. I’ve discovered recently that if you click on the three little dots next to the title of a search listing, you’ll open a hidden ‘About this result’ popup.

This gives you plenty of tips about why that result shows up for the active search phrase, such as the keywords used on the page, the location of the business and the age of the website. This is handy to help you tailor your strategy and make plans to outrank your competition!

If you are ready to get to work on improving how your site performs in search, make sure you’ve registered your interest for my self-paced SEO training course, which will launch soon!

Elsewhere on the Internet

Tips for writing a great About page

Comma Chameleon logo.

Comma Chameleon’s Becky is joining the cultured club of PJWD contributors to share tips here in the newsletter.

Becky Thorn is a Manchester-based copywriter and proofreader at Comma Chameleon. She works with small businesses across the UK to deliver value-driven content that connects with their customers. Here are her tops tips for writing the all-important About Us page.

  1. Make it the starting point. People come to your About Us page because they want to know if you’re a business they’d feel good about buying from. Don’t just tell them about yourself and leave them hanging – send them somewhere else on your site.
  2. Keep it snappy. Everyone wants to see how passionate you are about your business, but massive tracts of text will scare them off. Keep your paragraphs short, and use bullet points and subheadings.
  3. Make it about you. Your readers want to know more about the person behind the business, so tell them. What do you love to do? What inspires you? What brings you joy away from your business?
  4. Don’t hide your personality. People buy from people, and your About Us page is where you get to shine as a human being. If you’re funny, be funny. If you’re a bit woo, be a bit woo. Be you, and you won’t go far wrong.
  5. Be genuine. Trust is high on the agenda for consumers these days. Letting your values – both as a person and as a business – shine through will work to your advantage, every time.

Read more from Becky about why copywriting is important for your business.