Two bugs to watch out for

All of the websites either automatically upgrade themselves, or I initiate an upgrade on most of the Divi based sites once per week through an automatic process. 

From time to time a plugin developer will do something that creates an incompatibility on your site, or impair the performance. 

GDPR Plugin by MOOVE Agency.

Some of you have a GDPR plugin in use from MOOVE Agency. It started off as a very simple and elegant pop up which advised you of the Privacy Statement included in websites following the GDPR regulation coming into force in May. 

It worked very well for several months, and for some reason they started to change things in the plugin, and introduce some bugs. There is one at the moment that is slowing websites down. It depends on the state of the plugin on your website. 

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Get a bear

I am adding a link behind this image at the bottom of new sites. Admin’s can click on it to go to a special admin page.

This is especially for Divi based websites. I have revised my training for new websites, and am now running the training for Divi based sites within the template environment. My tutorial is based on an ordinary post or page layout. 

If you think it will be helpful, I can add a special private page and post to your website. These can only be seen by an administrator who is logged into the site, the general visitor cannot see them. 

The Admin page has a general description on the relevance of Sections, Rows and Columns; these are elements within the Divi Template. It also talks about the differences between pages and posts.  There is a section with links back to my training videos and other education resources. 

I also include a Template Post which has guidance built into it to help you to remember what to do. It is explained at a very detailed level, and I would anticipate it would help to ensure you cover every step.  I also include a guide built into the website as well. The guide includes screenshots. You can see a copy here. 

Access to this area is through a small bear in the footer of your website. Or for those of you with more adult rather than family content I can use a different icon. The point being you click on it when you are logged in and it takes you to the Admin page with all of the tips on. 

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Bug introduced into GDPR Cookie plugin

Latest news on this: 1/10/18 Moove Agency have reported a new update to this plugin as of 8am this morning. So this problem may resolve itself without any intervention. 

I have added a GDPR cookie plugin to some sites which provides a warning message at the bottom of the website. This has worked fine for five months up until a couple of days ago when the plugin author introduced a bug which affects how it is presented. 

It is not a critical bug, it affects presentation more than anything else, but is annoying. 

If the bottom of your website has a large white area and the text left justified on your screen tightly in the bottom left corner, then you are affected

If your site looks like this or you can see a cog in the bottom corner of your screen then you are unaffected. The cookie warning usually looks like this for first time visitors. 

GDPR Plugin by Moove Agency
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Check your contact forms

Some time ago I mentioned that my preferred form manager of choice had been withdrawn from the WordPress plugin library. This plugin was called FS Contact Form. At the time I had not found a suitable replacement that did everything that the FS Contact Form manager did. I have resolved that now. If you have it in your installation you can check in the plugins page, or check under Settings. If you can see FS Contact Form you have it on your website.  If you can see Contact Manager in your plugins list that is even older. Also should be replaced.

There has been one instance where the FS Contact Manager plugin had stopped working. I am not sure why, it could have been related to another plugin conflicting with it. I want to encourage all of you to test your forms once per month by sending a message to yourself.  That way you can be sure it is working. Continue reading Check your contact formsFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Google Maps behaviour

In June of this year Google changed the map service (and many other services as well) which we use on our websites. For most of you  it does not make too much difference, in some cases however you may see grey screens where a map should be present, or comments over a map. If you see this let me know please.

It depends on whether the plugins in use on your site are using a Google API (Application Programming Interface), these now require keys to be generated. That is not such a problem, but now you cannot create them without the key being assigned to an account with a credit or debit card assigned to it.

The following is from a Google Developers website, note the text in the orange section below:

Click on the image to see a larger version

You can view the page with this and other info on here.

The mapping information used to be free and very useful. It is still free provided the number of calls (aka visitors) to the map does not exceed a credit limit which is being provided by Google. I am understandably not happy about having my credit card associated with your site in this way because I have no control over it. At the moment each call to create a map is 0.7cents (USD) which equates currently to 28,000 views per month.

It looks as though Google is offering a £100 credit, or $200 depending on where you look on the API type on each account. I need to figure out how to manage that so that the number of calls never exceeds £100 in any billing period otherwise I start to get charged.

I guess Google have placed a lot of time and money in the development of the APIs and now they have us all hooked they are choosing to monetise them, which is not so surprising.

In some cases I have embedded maps into your websites, and in others they are generated through plugins such as Modern Tribe Calendar. Check them and if there is a problem let me know.

There is a risk that the credit being offered by Google is just a transition to full billing in the future. Time will tell.

Right now, I am looking at this problem in detail on new developments. So more to follow later when I have figured it out.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Improving Website Speed

One of the areas I have been looking at in June and July is the apparent slowness of some, but not all websites, this can be intermittent and influenced by other things happening on the same server. The guidance below covers the sorts of things I will check if someone reports this. If you think your website is slow, follow this checklist to rule out some of the factors that may be responsible. There are also tips below on how to improve your performance. If you need help please contact me and I will take a look for you.

What is “normal”?

What performance should you expect is really the first question. It depends on what you are doing. If you are not logged in and a normal user viewing the website, you should expect the site to load in under 5 seconds, in my experience in 3.5 seconds but I am on a very fast internet connection. It may take a little longer to locate the site the first time you access it, but after the site has been located use that as your guide. If it is consistently taking >10 seconds to load, then it is a problem that needs to be checked out.

Normal of course is also determined by your internet download speed. If that is the bottle neck, then your performance may be slower.  Continue reading Improving Website SpeedFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Securing mail from your website to a mailbox

By default a wordpress installation uses a method of sending mail that does not use a mailbox to send the message and does not encrypt the message. Email cannot be confirmed to be end to end secure unless you know the receiving or sending person is using encryption and is set up correctly; you can encrypt mail in the places where you control email so that it is encrypted from the website to the mailbox. If it is your mailbox, and you know that your mail client is set up correctly with encryption, then you have end to end security. If the website is running over SSL and the address starts with https:// (98% of them are now), then a user entering information into a form is also encrypted. So the path from the users browser, through your contact form, from the website to your receiving mailbox is encrypted and cannot be intercepted as plain text.

How do I make the changes

Log into your website and go to Plugins.
Seatch for WP Mail SMTP, locate it and install it. Continue reading Securing mail from your website to a mailboxFacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Do You Send Newsletters?

New recommendations for Newsletters

Some of you are using Mailpoet on your websites to generate newsletters. I have run into a lot of problems sending out my newsletter this month, I have had to send it three times. I checked through my logs and found that a very small number came out last month as well. I have been investigating what has happened.  The top two entries in the image below show there is a problem because rather than a 65%+  opening rate, there is a 4% opening rate.

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New Guidance on Contact Forms

On many sites there are one of two contact forms used, one is called Form Manager (generally very old sites) and the other is called FS Contact Form. Neither of these form handlers are available now through the WordPress repository. Neither of them are supported any more by their authors. It is very much in your interests to replace them.

I am recommending the removal of the existing contact forms on all websites and replacement with Contact Form 7 and another plugin called Contact Form Redirection.

Both of these are supported contact forms and have current versions compatible with WordPress version 4.9.5.

By using these two plugins it will be possible to achieve the following:

  • Contact Form similar in appearance to your current form
  • Ability to upload an attachment
  • Supports Google Recaptcha version 2.00 (to reduce spam).
  • On screen message to sender to confirm message has been sent
  • Redirection to a Thank You page
  • Ability to format the message that is returned to your organisation
  • Send a copy of the submitted message to the author to confirm submission

It can probably do many more things, but these are a superset of what we are currently supporting on the most advanced sites.

The downside is Contact Form 7 is not that intuitive to use if you are a novice user compared to the former versions. However it is one of the most popular plugins for managing user forms.

Contact me if you need some help. Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Google Recaptcha v1 Withdrawn

YOU ONLY NEED TO TAKE ACTION IF YOU CHECK YOUR SITE AND SEE A MESSAGE LIKE THE ONE ABOVE. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE MESSAGE YOU ARE UNAFFECTED.

It seems that Google have withdrawn Google Recaptcha Version 1 function that is used on some contact forms wef 31/03/2018. Please check your contact form now and see if this has happened to you. It was withdrawn yesterday. If you have this problem on your site nobody can send you a message so it is important to resolve it quickly.

Self Help

This is what you need to do:

Login to the site go to Forms in the sidebar menu and select it.

This for most people will show a single form or multiple forms. Select a form and open it in the editor and check to see if the bottom most item says New reCAPTCHA.

If you have that on your form, delete it. Then save the form.

Check ALL of the forms on your site if you have more than one. Save each one.

On completion go into your site as a user would, and locate each form and send a message to confirm it is working. Check the form still makes sense as well.

This has removed the Spam Protection mechanism used in this form. So your spam count may go up as a result of making this change.  However your visitors can still send you a message.

This particular form plugin is no longer supported by the author, so we should probably find an alternative form. Check back on this site later for a solution that uses the new or an alternative Google ReCaptcha function.

If you immediately start getting hit by an increase of Spam let me know please.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail