Colour inspiration

Palettron.com website
Click on the image to visit the website

I am currently working with a group that have independently created a logo. The logo contains a set of colours that to my eye are not naturally harmonious. The relationships between some of the colours don’t work for me, the problem is I cannot say why.

I have to add here, like most people from an IT/ Engineering background, I should be the last person to question someone’s colour choice. My wife frequently comments on mine, as does my daughter. Continue reading Colour inspiration

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Be seen (by Google)…

I have just finished working my way around 100+ websites and backing them all up. I also check them to make sure the infrastructure is up to day. There are a couple of interesting observations that are worth noting, particularly if you are new to editing, or struggling with updating your website, or don’t like updating it for some other reason.

All of the points raised and guidance are included in a downloadable document at the end of this article.

1). Google Searches.

Before I start checking a site I perform a google search on the entity name (not the domain name) to make sure it comes very close to the top, if not at the top of the first page on Google. I have never had any problems getting people to the top of searches without paying a penny. But there are things you need to do to stay there, and stay fresh.

Download some tips

2). A picture paints a thousand words

Well in web terms it doesn’t unfortunately. I have seen lots of examples of people placing images, such as posters on their home pages. Posters are generally a graphic stored as a PDF, JPG or PNG file. It is an image file. Humans can read and interpret images. Google and computers generally cannot.

Download some tips Continue reading Be seen (by Google)…

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Home-Start Site Upgrade Offer

This offer is specifically for those websites that I have built based on the “Home-Start Lite” template I developed, of which there are now five versions. These sites are limited to 14 pages “off the shelf” and customised/ localised for satellite offices.

I have built  version 5 of the Home-Start lite website in August and have released my first site for Home-Start Lisburn. You can see the site here: https://homestartlisburn.org.uk or click on the screen shot below.

Version 5 of Home-Start Lite site

Continue reading Home-Start Site Upgrade Offer

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New Home-Start Lite Design

Click on the image to open up a full screen version in a new browser window.

A new design for Home-Start sites is available in the “Lite” off the shelf versions that I make available to new clients. This offers a website in a box. I take the content and localise it for any Home-Start organisation.

The new design is based on Divi. I have built quite a few Divi sites now and am getting quicker, and learning short cuts which can radically reduce development time. Continue reading New Home-Start Lite Design

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New site uses a graphical layout tool

I thought this might be worth flagging up to everyone. I am in the final stages of developing this website for a local Community Centre.  http://risboroughcc.co.uk

The site uses a free template called Spacious which is freely available. I have used this in other recent cases because it is a header with an optional sidebar and a footer. The content area can be full screen leaving you with a largely open white space.

As I have mentioned before practically all new designs tend to favour mobile oriented websites because there are more people accessing websites from mobile devices. This is also upheld when I look at the stats on most sites (these tell you how many mobile vs fixed users visit a site), it is typically around 55% mobile and 45% fixed, but it varies site to site.  Continue reading New site uses a graphical layout tool

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Online Chat Support on your Website

Online chat

This may be a step too far for some people, but equally I have been asked for this functionality in a site last year. So if you want to connect with your clients this may be for you, and to some extent it is free as well!

What does it do?

WP Live Chat places a small speech bubble in the bottom right corner of your website. If a visitor places their cursor on it, it tells you what it does. It enables the visitor to chat with an “agent” in other words, you or someone in your office.

Let’s say you are providing support to people. This allows someone interested in receiving the service, maybe volunteering, or even providing funding to you to connect to you immediately.  We live in a world where we want everything now, so this makes it very easy for the user to connect to the organisation. Continue reading Online Chat Support on your Website

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Disaster Recovery Process

I have spent quite a long time writing and documenting a process that you can follow which would help you to recover a failed or worse still a hacked site. Contingency planning is something non IT professionals don’t worry a lot about, a particularly in charities. There isn’t time, or it is not a priority. Or in many cases people just do not think about it.

From time to time I get questions about what if I am not available, or I am run over by a bus. All of you can and should have access to the essential information to allow you to move your site should the need arise. You are not tied in any way to me, and I don’t prevent you from leaving. I am not running the Hotel California of web hosting. I have come across a few that make it difficult though.

Disaster Recovery

It would be wise to take a quick look at the following while you do not have a disaster on your hands. Then at least you know the information is there.

You will need the following information if you don’t have it then now is a good time to ask.

  • Control Panel User Name and Password.
  • Your own backup of your website loaded on one of your systems so you can readily access it.

The full article is password protected and accessible from the main menu but can be located here: Disaster Recovery

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PHP Mailer

Around 1 week ago a vulnerability was reported in a block of code called PHPMailer which is a component in all WordPress websites. A fix has been published and most sites will have picked it up by now.

I have noted an increased volume in the number of spam messages coming through websites probably because hackers are testing the mail send function to see if they can use it.

Am I affected?

I am currently working through all of the websites, but I may have missed doing this on the first 20 or so because it was not a problem at the time I visited.  Continue reading PHP Mailer

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IP Geo Block

I have found a WordPress plugin which looks quite interesting. I am currently evaluating how it works, and whether it makes any difference. What it does is blocks access to your site from countries that are not listed as acceptable.

Why would you want to do that?

Hackers control things called Bot Nets. They are computers based all around the world. In many if not most cases the owners of those computers are unaware that they have been infiltrated. What a hacker may do with a compromised server is use it to launch attacks on other sites and servers.

With the security used on your sites there is a mechanism which will detect failed logins. If more than three failed logins occur over a set period (generally 30 minutes) the device that is attempting to login will be blocked for a period of time.

At the point the login is blocked another computer comes on line and attempts to login too, and so the process repeats itself. It is called a Brute Force Attack, they occur all of the time, and sometimes for extended periods of time. Continue reading IP Geo Block

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