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Stock photos – what’s best to use

You cannot just go and use any photo that you find online, long gone are the days when you google images and used them on your website. That can get you into some serious hot water!

As photos are hugely important when it comes to websites – you need to make sure the images you do use are good quality and say exactly what you want them to say.

You have all seen those websites that have poor quality, fuzzy or bad images! you remember them – even if you don’t remember the sites with great imagery. Would you trust and buy from Amazon if the images looked awful?

So in comes stock photography website – many you will have heard about in the news (images by gettyimage.. or video by.. )

Here are some of the sites that I think are worth using

  • My personal choice – 123RF.com
  • Was my previous favourite until the prices went sky high – whist I agree that photographers need to get paid for quality work but buying A0 size imagery when you only need a thumbnail seemed excessive istockphoto.com
  • shutterstock.com
  • dreamstime.com

Most sites offer you two ways of purchasing imagery – pay a monthly fee and get XX downloads or pay as you go. You can pay as little as £1.50 per image or well as high as you like!

You must always always make sure that you read the terms and conditions and the license requirements of what you can and cannot do with the purchased images – generally you are not allowed to resell them or use them in a bigger size than you purchased them.

Are there other sites that you use for stock photography? I’d love to hear about them.

WordPress 4.9.9 / 5.0.1 Security Released Available – Upgrade Immediately

It’s been a very busy week for WordPress and all web developers!

Not only is it the release of WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg – which is a very big release for all WordPress websites – but also today 4.9.9 was rolled out!

Seemingly a security issue within WordPress was located that affected all wordpress websites and therefore the update from 4.9.8 to 4.9.9 was instigated – those that were already on 5.0 were updated to 5.0.1

This security update resolves vulnerabilities found in all previous versions of WordPress starting with 3.7…

WordPress team strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately if you haven’t done so already…

Please make sure your sites are up to date!

How to make your WordPress website HTTPS://

Keeping your website safe

It’s now become recognised that all websites – not just ones that take payments – should have a SSL or security certificate installed. This will help you protect your customers data.

As wordpress is fast becoming the MOST used content managed system out there I thought that I would share how you make your WordPress website switch from http:// to https://

Please note this is a technical how to and should only be completed by someone that understands FTP and some coding

Make sure that you have a working SSL Security certificate set up and working (test your own site by going to https://yoursite.co.uk/ and making sure that the certificate is working and valid – don’t worry about errors for now)

Take a backup of the wordpress MySQL database

Login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Settings > General

Ensure that the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) are https. If not, add S after http to make https and save it.

Click Save Changes – this will cause the site to ask that you log in again

Connect via FTP to your website server and download 2 files and take a backup of them
.htaccess and wp-config.php

Add the line below to your wp-config.php file

define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);

Save file

Edit the .htaccess file and add this at the start – this sets up a permanent 301 redirect

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R,L]
</IfModule>

Don’t forget to change the www.yoursite.com to your own domain name

Save file

Upload the new .htaccess and wp-config.php files to the server

Then you need to make sure that all links within WordPress itself have been updated – the simplest way that I have found to do this is to use Velvet Blues plugin, install the plugin as you would normally and follow the instructions on updating all the links.

Once completed your site should automatically display https:// and all links to match.

If you see the SSL is working but you have restricted content, this is usually because there has been some hard coded links or images files that also need updating. This is most often found in the widgets section and also your stylesheet CSS files. Some slider plugins I have found you nede to remove and reinsert the images too.

The best way I have found is to VIEW SOURCE on your page and then search for HTTP:// this will show all links or images that are showing HTTP:// you only need to change internal links or internal image links.

Don’t forget to check your stylesheet to though!!

Once the green/gold padlock is showing your site is now secure – well done!

If you have Google Analytics, Google Places or Google Adwords or any other analytical statistics in pace these will need to be updated to point to the HTTPS:// version of your website – this I will explain in future blogs.

Good luck!

and if you need help – call me – I can do this service for you

WordPress 5.0 is released – Gutenberg is here!

Do you love it or hate it? or not yet made a decision? Let me know

We knew it’s been coming for a while and there has it’s a real marmite situation – love it or hate it people have strong opinions either way

What is it? – its a replacement for the TEXT / VISUAL editor of WordPress

How is it different? – basically it’s supposed to a simpler way to create good looking websites using “blocks” like building blocks, they allow a “joe public” type user to create good looking websites.

Why? – I believe that it started due to the popularity of page builders like (WP Bakery and Visual Composer) which allows clients to simply and easily include fancy jquery style items, parallax imagery, blog posts that bounce around, sliders that swipe in – all without short codes or plugins

But that’s good right makes things easier? – I am not too sure – I used to be able to say to my clients – if you can use Microsoft Word you can use WordPress – that’s not the case any more sadly…

I need to work with Gutenberg more to whether I can make it work for my customers, but personally I find most page builders harder to work with but most of all they are SLOW! and one thing that can kill an excellent website is slowness

What can you do though? not update?

The thing with WordPress is its popular VERY popular – and when you get something that popular people like to attack it – hackers etc – so its always been a mantry of mine with any WordPress website is – keep it up to date – always…

BUT before you go and update your website you need to know if it’s going to work with your website – many pre purchased themes don’t yet work with Gutenberg though.. so the news isn’t good

There are still a large number of plugins that don’t work with Gutenberg either

All is not lost though there are 2 plugins that you can install that will disable gutenberg – or at least give you the classic editor back

Install one of those 2 plugins, take backup and backups and test your site in a staging system with WordPress 5.0 and then upgrade

No it’s not simple but it does need to be done!

Need a hand- give me a call – but good luck!

Web Squared Office Move 2017

Please note that Web Squared is moving – this means the office will be closed between

Thursday 13th July and Tuesday 18th July (inclusive)

I won’t be available via mobile, landline phone or email throughout this time as the broadband line will also be moved and the mobile service will also be poor to start with.

Any issues with emails or your website not being displayed please contact the hosting company directly, either:
KDA on 0800 542 9764, or
TSOHOST on 01628 200 161.

Anything non urgent please email me to sarah@websquared.co.uk as usual and I will complete when I am back up and running.

Mobile responsive – are you ready?

Google has put down the gauntlet – its telling everyone that if your website doesn’t have a mobile responsive design that it will penalise you but not giving your website good ranking (when being searched by mobile phones)

So love it or hate you – have are going to have to do it.

And really I think that they have a point – everyone uses their mobile phones so much more these days – even me – I have a phone 2 tablets, netbook and a PC – and if I am googling recipes or other things in the evening – its always on my phone!

Google gave us a very handy tool that tells us whether they think you are compliant too – just go here and plugin your web address and see what the results say!

google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If it says no what do you do… contact your web professional (me) and we can get you sorted.

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As a serial entrepreneur it is wonderful to have people in your team that you can rely on to get new ventures off the ground. Sarah’s ability to interpret my (often ill defined) ideas and design websites and other collateral is invaluable. I shall continue to work with her, and appreciate her feedback, for some time to come.

Caroline Billington – carolinebillington.co.uk