Mainly for the benefit of new users

How to quickly update your website

This item is largely for the benefit of new users to WordPress and the systems I have put together.  This assumes you are using a Divi based system. If you don’t know what that is, you probably are not using a website based on the Divi template. The steps are broadly the same for any system. But on the later Divi sites I have configured them to work in a specific way with a featured image.

Basics

Your site comprises fixed or page based content, this tends to remain static and can be located directly through the menu. This is the main part of your website. It tells the world; who you are and what you do in a generic sense.

There is another form of content called a Post. Posts are handled slightly differently. They tend to be transient in that they are time based, with the most recent being prominent and visible on your site, and the oldest buried in an old blog page in your site. However both are still in your site and can be located.  Continue reading Mainly for the benefit of new users

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Emerging GDPR

Chances are this affects your organisation

GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which will become law in May of this year. It tightens up on existing Data Protectionregulations. It does have implications for everyone on the web, but it also extends to your back office systems (so beyond your website and email systems and our relationship) where you have recorded in any form; personal information.

Right now I have not read it all. I will return with some recommendations or things to think about in late Feb or early March. In terms of your websites, there may be things you need to do. For any CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) or any database or method for recording personal information, you will be affected. So do not ignore it.

Information Commisioner Office

You can start by going to this link and reading the material there: ICO GDPR.

Online learning course

A colleague has also pointed out that there is a self guided course available for free which takes around 3hrs. I have not looked at this yet, but do check it out. Go to Future Learn.   I have not validated either of these yet. Do not pay anyone any money just in case there is a solicitation for money (unless you wish to). Guidance on the regulations should be available from multiple sources for free. I suspect that there will be a lot of FUD as well (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) peddled by some consultants seeking to help you for a fee. So do take care. Continue reading Emerging GDPR

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Nominet Messages

The following is applicable if you have a domain ending in .co.uk, .org.uk or .uk

Nominet are the issuing authority that manage any domain names ending in .uk. In the 7 years I have been working with Charities and not for profit groups, I have needed to contact them twice, once being a difficult case where the registrant of a domain name had passed away. The organisation represented by the domain name needed to regain control. They are very helpful, but have been largely a passive organisation; there when you need them.

I had an instance this week, which was unusual and it raises a lot of questions, none of which have been answered. However I think it is worth raising to your attention because if your domain name is registered against your email address, and they contact you and you fail to respond, or miss the mail, or ignore it, then you risk your website and email being taken offline.  Continue reading Nominet Messages

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Webmail…..

… is not JUST webmail

I thought I would make some comments here following some conversations I have had recently with people. There may be some misunderstandings.

Multiple 10GB mail boxes

If you are using the mail accounts provided with the hosting, the mail boxes are each 10GB in size. While you can access them through this address: https://stackmail.com you can also access them through ANY device with a mail client (aka mail program).

I personally access my mail account on the following devices:

iPhone, iPad (using the native email application), Macbook using Mac mail, iMac using Mac mail, Windows 7 desktop running Outlook & Thunderbird, Windows 10 laptop running Outlook and on any of those devices I can also use a browser to get to webmail. I also run my accounts as IMAP. This means on each device, I get the same view of my mail including any special folders I have set up. This is because I am viewing mail on the server, and not locally. If I was set up as POP3 on my clients, then the server is only used as temporary storage for mail.  Continue reading Webmail…..

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I have a website what now?

This is a reminder to everyone that has recently joined us, and for those of you who joined some time ago and would like more traffic.

Please check out this page. It is directly accessible from the menu, but it includes a summary of what I do when your site is release, and what you need to do. If you have conducted a Google Search for your entity name and it is not coming up on page one, check this page first. Post Launch Things To Do and make sure you have checked it.

If you are still not coming up on page one of Google, let me know and I will investigate.

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Problems with Webmail?

Over the last 4-6 weeks a few people have reported seeing an error reported by webmail. The hosting company has reviewed this some weeks back now and made changes, and now it happens less frequently. If you see any error messages while accessing website (or anywhere else) please take a screenshot (press the print screen button) and paste the screenshot into a word document, or an image file. Send it to me with the following information:

  • The time it occurred. (very important)
  • What you were doing
  • What the IP address of your computer is. You can find this out by googling “what is my IP”

Continue reading Problems with Webmail?

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Checking and Backing up sites

If I am hosting your site, and I built it for you, I revisit your website every three months to make sure everything is OK. If I am actively supporting you on something, it will be more frequently than that.

Each time I visit your site I do the following:

Google Search

Perform a good search for your website by using your organisation name (not your web address).

why?

This will tell me if you are at the top of a google search or not. Most (90%) of the sites I have built, I have got you to page one in a google search, usually in the top three. There are a number of techniques to doing this, one of the most important is backlinks. If you are not near the top of a google search, it is generally because you have not searched for sites listing you that could have backlinks (links back to your site from their site).

If I find you are not listed on page one, I will let you know. There are generally some very simple steps you can take to help yourself.

Login and health check

Continue reading Checking and Backing up sites

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More on Fast Secure Contact Form

Many of the newer sites use Fast Secure Contact form. This plugin was withdrawn last weekend following the discovery that someone who had acquired it had attempted to manipulate it to show adverts for payday loans and other things. In this case it never got to the stage where it showed adverts, and everyone that has come back to me has confirmed their site has been upgraded to remove the advertising (or spamvertising as it seems to be called) code.

This is a great shame because the original plugin by Mike Challis worked really well and had a few side benefits from the earlier form manager I used about 6 years ago.

Continue reading More on Fast Secure Contact Form

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MailPoet 3

I flagged up that MailPoet 2 was being superseded by MailPoet 3 and it was a complete rewrite. There seems to be something going on with MailPoet 2 that is causing problems on some sites generating lots of requests to a housekeeping function called CRON which is a background process running on the server. I have looked at several sites and they were all the same. Mailpoet creates too many requests for attention, which causes the server to no longer respond to requests.

It appears that some time during one of the later releases of MailPoet 2 this problem has been created, perhaps it is something to do with advising people version 3 is available.  The symptoms are that some housekeeping functions will fail to run, notably the backup, but there are no doubt other things as well.

Am I affected?

Continue reading MailPoet 3

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Fast Secure Contact Form

Some of the websites I have built use a plugin called Fast Secure Contact Form. It was a very popular form handler highly regarded by users written by Mike Challis.  The plugin was sold to a third party in June of this year and the new owner attempted to manipulate the code in the plugin to set up adverts.

Please check ASAP whether the version that is currently in use on your website is version 4.0.56. You can do that by logging in, and going to the Plugins page and look down the list. You will see an entry similar to the one below which includes the version number.

If you have version 4.0.56 you are OK! Don’t panic. 

If your site is at an earlier version contact me immediately and I will sort out updating it. 

(update: 6:00am 27/9/17 Nobody has reported a problem so far, all sites have upgraded automatically. That was to be expected. If you cannot find Fast Secure Contact form another method is used for forms on your website. Probably Form Manager. You are not affected by this notice.)

Why is this important?

Continue reading Fast Secure Contact Form

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