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“We value your privacy” is a phrase that has become increasingly irritating these past few years.

Whenever I see it flung in my face in another cookie popup I think “I bet you value my privacy, my personal data must be worth top dollar to your advertising partners!”.

Keeping your data your own seems to have become an assault course. To help you navigate this, I’ve updated my guide to Protecting Your Digital Privacy, including recommendations for privacy-focussed web browsers, email clients, search engines and more!

As business owners, we also have a responsibility to (truly) respect the privacy of our website visitors. Whilst people are beginning to gain a greater understanding of digital privacy, many unpleasant and outdated practices such as Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel and Captchas remain “industry standard”. This means many business owners unwittingly turn their websites into data vacuums for big tech companies.

I’ve flagged up some of the most common ways you might be abusing your customers’ data without realising it!

Thankfully, it’s positive to see that there are many ethical alternatives gaining traction in the digital marketing world. Companies such as Fathom Analytics show it’s possible to monitor how visitors use your website without harvesting their personal data. Meanwhile, communities such as Below Radar help businesses learn new ways to promote themselves away from big tech.

Web design is increasingly an ethical minefield, but I am proud to be part of a growing group of developers showing there is a better way of doing business online.

As always, I hope you find this newsletter helpful. If you have any questions about your own digital privacy feel free to hit reply!

Full SEO course launches July 1st!

I’m delighted to announce that the full SEO for Small Business course is now live!

The final lesson is all about using Google Search Console to submit your site updates as well as measure your site’s performance in search.

The early bird price of £200 will remain available to newsletter subscribers until the end of June when the price will change to £300 for the full launch on July 1st.

Learn SEO with PJWD

Bo’s top tools for reviewing your website

Don’t let my dashing good looks and laidback charm fool you. I’m a fierce watchdog, highly perceptive and attuned to any sort of deviation from the norm. Data is my friend, and as Stockport’s finest web design hound, I have just the tools for the job of reviewing websites. Take a look inside my toolbox.

  1. Fathom Analytics so I have reliable numbers to show me how people use my site (without knowing exactly who did what when … the only ones who need that level of detail are probably up to no good with the data!).
  2. Google Search console to understand which terms my sites rank for in search, and how well. Great for spotting SEO opportunities.
  3. The Website Carbon Calculator by Wholegrain Digital gives you an idea of the carbon footprint it generates over the course of the year, and puts it into context by saying how many trees it takes to absorb that carbon.
  4. Blacklight is a website privacy inspection tool that you can use to see which trackers and cookies feature on your website (as well as other more intrusive technologies such as session recording and key logging).
  5. Moz’s Domain Authority tracker is sometimes seen as a producer of vanity metrics, but it can also give you useful info such as the top domains that link to you and your top snippets (when Google pulls out a part of your page in the search results).

Elsewhere on the Internet

Below Radar relaunch for privacy-focussed businesses

Below Radar has relaunched its website with a whole host of resources and advice for businesses who want to reduce their reliance on big tech and surveillance capitalism for marketing. Excellent work by Dave Smyth!

Apple uses data privacy as a selling point

Apple have made lots of positive changes to their approach to data privacy the past few years (though whether you actually trust them remains a matter of opinion!). It’s interesting to see them using data privacy as the central theme for a new advertising campaign.

Firefox total cookie protection

Firefox has joined the growing number of web browsers (including as Brave and Safari) in blocking third party cookies and cross-site tracking by default. This means that websites won’t be able to target you based on your previous browsing history. It’s refreshing to see browser developers taking a privacy-focussed approach at a time when Google Chrome is trying to come up with new ways to track uses within the browser as an alternative to cookies.

Working with PJWD

PJWD turned 8 years old this month and there are big changes afoot with lots of secret stuff going on behind the scenes. Stay tuned!

The studio has availability for 1 more web project this summer. Consultancy sessions are available upon request as normal.