Stop Spam On Your WordPress Blog

Spam is always a nuisance so what can you do to reduce it?

If you are a business and your blog is used for sharing news but you don’t have interaction with your readers you can condition your blog so that comments, trackbacks and pingbacks are switched off. This isn’t ideal though as it defeats one of the main benefits of your blog. Networking with your clients and potential clients.

You could alter the settings below by un-checking allow trackbacks and pingbacks. Closing comments after a select number of days will also help.

image of discussions and trackback page

There are many plugins that help reduce spam. Here are two of our favourites.

Spam free WordPress

This is a premium plugin (you have to pay) with some great protection. It protects Gravity Forms and Woocommerce forms as well as WordPress comments. You also get the added Hackbot protection for the login form.

Read more about Spam Free WordPress here.

Aksimet

The best solution for dealing with spam is a useful plugin that comes already bundled with WordPress – Akismet. This is the plugin that all other plugins compare themselves to. It is free to non-commercial bloggers and carries a small monthly fee of $5.00 for businesses.

There are lots of other plugins and solutions available from WordPress.

Backing Up Navitas Web Hosting

It’s important that you back up your files and database if you have a WordPress or other CMS (Content Management System).

Here are some simple instructions on how to back up from your Navitas control panel.

Backing up your DATABASE using our automated back up:

Log into your Navitas Control Panel and click on Web Tools. Click to configure MySQL Databases and click ‘Now’ under backup database. Save this file to your local machine.

Backing up your FILES using our automated back up:

You should always ensure that you have a backup of your website on your own PC. To do this you can download a zipped copy of your website direct from the Navitas Design Control Panel.

Simply log into your navitasControl Control Panel and select ‘Backup/Restore’ from the menu under the ‘Files’ section. From there you should select ‘Create Full Backup’. All you now need to do is to click the link and your website will be zipped up and you can save it to you hard disk.

However, if your website is very large and over a gigabyte in size, we highly recommend backing up your site manually via FTP.

Are you looking for a great new quoting tool?

Are you tired of not been able to keep track of your quotes or not being able to amend a quote template to suit your business?

We were until we tried using Quote Roller. This great tool has helped us write professional looking quotes that we can amend to suit any of our clients whether they are looking for a simple hosting package or a Bespoke website. With the help of the forum page we have made our quotes simple to read and understand with all the basic information easy to find.

One of the biggest tools for me has been the ability to integrate Quote Roller with our CRM and accounting packages meaning that all the people in the organisation can see who has been quoted what and by whom.

A very ingenious tool that is an integral part of the system is the way Quote Roller shows you what quotes you have sent out, which ones have been viewed, which have been accepted and which are in discussion.

Quote Roller is simple and easy to use whilst giving you enterprise class tools and functionality.

What is a WordPress Theme?

A WordPress theme is a less expensive way of providing yourself and your customers with a website to go to. Here at Navitas we do give you the options of having a theme or template for us to start with or having a completely unique and customised look. We often sway more towards the bespoke option as it will let you stand out above your competitors, but a theme is always taken into account.

Themes are in their basic term a template, meaning we can manipulate the design and colours of a theme but still keep it’s basic functionality and keep all your information intact. We always make it compulsory to take the time to research what you’d best like and come down to a design that fits your needs, all the while keeping good communication.

Themes are always created to suit a certain type of  business, if it’s something simple and practical but visual and vibrant at the same time. You’ll want a theme that allows you to use a good mix of text and images to correspond with the information. Like our Peter Mason Plumbing and Heating website:

peter mason plumbing and heating

But if you’re a company specialising in a more image driven business like fashion, mechanics, florists etc and are looking for a more regal and professional look then you may find that our Baby Bump Bliss website tickles your fancy:

 

babybumpbliss

Why do I need stock images or photography on my website?

Images can be an incredible asset to any website, making it more visual and relative to the consumer than just plain text on a page. They engage your audience and can set you aside from competition. They set the tone for many websites, too many images and your audience will be lost, too little and your audience will be bored. Make the images too confusing and your customer won’t know how to interact with your website. It’s all about finding just the right amount of visual content to keep both ends happy and engaged. 

WordPress has a great gallery that allows you to look through images you’ve uploaded without having to scrawl through desktop files and wait ages for uploading. Once uploaded that image will stay there permanently until you decide to delete it. Having online back up of your website images is a wise way of making sure that if anything happens to your computer or it’s files you will always have a second plan of action for recovery.

Here at Navitas we do offer a service for finding images that you think will best describe and sell your business. We use high quality stock images from varying websites because stock images are a cost effective way to add great photography.

There is nothing more appealing to a web page than a well photographed image of your product. Investing in a photographer to take staged images add great value to your website. It’s more than just lighting though, a good photographer will bring ideas in the same way a great designer will.

We have access to niche photographers and a photographic studio to ensure your website becomes a great portfolio for your business.

What is a 301 re-direct?

Are you unhappy with your website name? Are you trying to look in a new direction for your business? Did you know that changing the URL (name of your website) will result in losing all the hard work that you have out into Google and your search engine ranking.

Unsure of what a URL is? URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator, in other words just a fancy name for your website or a domain name as it is more popularly known.

You might think that switching the domain name of your website is as easy as shifting a box into another room. But it’s not, that domain name has a history with the search engine and in most cases you want to stay connected to the history. This is when you would use the 301 re-direct.

301 Re-direct is the most permanent and assured way of changing your URL – it simply tells the search engine to look at the new url when it sees it coming from the old address – the old pages point to the new ones. A popular way we handle redirecting URL’s through 301 Direct is by changing the initial name of the website and then moving each page over. Unfortunately redirecting can take quite a while to process if you have lots of pages you need to keep. Keeping your old website URL and your new website URL connected ensures that all of your historical search engine data and links will remain intact.

First things first you need to make sure every detail of your new URL is seen to. Even something as simple as the difference between “http://www.navitasdesign.co.uk” and “http://navitasdesign.co.uk” could spell the end of your new move. If you’re a little confused as to why you need to keep hold of your old URL for this to take place it might be helpful to know that no matter how high you’ve ranked with Google search, SEO or even with customer intake; it will all disappear once you’ve changed your address without linking it back to your old one.

 

I need to get a website, but what is Web Hosting?

This question is most likely frequently asked by people easing into the website creation processes, as we at Navitas Design actually broadcast this service we know a lot about how web hosting works.

Web hosting is in definition the process of a company large or small that keeps the precious files of your website tucked away on their machines, most companies allow for these machines to be online 24/7 so there’s never a chance of the site going down.  All web hosting companies require a fee for your commitment of their services, at Navitas we charge a fee as we do host all of our customers websites using a specially tailored service.

This service allows for your website to be connected to the internet at all times usually through data bases or through online file depositories. If you were to try and host your own website by yourself you would need a lot more equipment and a deeper wallet, the typical web hosting equipment includes:

  • A physical web server ( a large machine consisting of more than one ‘boxes’ holding sufficient space for lots of data)
  • A permanent connection to the internet (whether this be through the server or through a computer that is running 24/7, bare in mind your electricity bill on this one)
  • You will need to make sure that your ISP  (Internet Service Provider) e.g. BT, TalkTalk, or Sky, allows for you to run web hosting.
  • You’d need to have all the skills of running maintenance on both your physical machines and the files you keep on your server, this including anti-virus protection, firewalls, and configuring your server.

As you might have just found there is an awful lot of knowledge and basics that you will need. This is why 90% of businesses turn to third party web hosting companies for help and ease of access. At Navitas we can provide the following essential make-up for hosting your website:

  • 24/7 Support
  • 24/7 FTP accessibility (allows you to go into your websites files and make any changes)
  • Multiple E-mail accounts
  • A control panel accessible online
  • Updates of how much attention your website receives
  • A secure and sealed data base system (so your website doesn’t get hacked)
  • Special server applications such as PHP ( a type of language used for writing up websites) and SQL (Structured Query Language, which is used to manipulate or change around your data base). Which most hosting services do not provide other than us.

 

I have no idea what a blog is…

A blog in its simplest terms is a mash up of the words Web and Log, meaning a log or journal you keep on the world wide web. It’s used for discussing topics and sharing information, giving the opportunity for them to come in the style of informal and formal. They are time based categorised articles that go onto your website, meaning that you can create a blog post and set it to publish in advance rather than (like a page) have it go out immediately.

They give you a great opportunity to communicate with your clients and customers through the use of comments that can be made on each post and through the information that you relay out to your awaiting associates.

Business

A business blog always has to be professional and clean, if you have a forum make a social corner in there. You don’t want your business to look bad to potential clients or customers by showing them the social, less formal side of your company. Business blogs are a great way to promote:

  • What your company does
  • What your company has done in the past
  • What you plan on doing with your company for the future
  • Your  range of services
  • New or current products
  • Any upcoming events or offers

It keeps your customers up to date and happy with the running of your business, a business that lets its clients stay in the know is streamline and approachable as well as reliable.

At Navitas we have many different blog posts, in the example below I have included our Portfolio of recent websites Navitas Design has completed. We like to share our work with our customers so they know what they’re buying into and a brief description of how the website came to be and what our client offers.

Example of a blog

Example of a blog

Promotional

The promotional use of blogs essentially shows off more of your product and reels customers in. As well as this having a promotional blog gives businesses the opportunity to associate with other businesses and promote them as well, all round making money for the both of them by mentioning the other company in their post.

Thankfully there are many websites and services that allow you to host blogs by yourself with little or no experience. At Navitas we do set up blogs for our customers via WordPress.

The importance of verifying your Back Up

In a previous life, well just last year actually, I worked in the corporate world of data storage, back up and recovery. We sold hardware and some software to companies to ensure that all their data was always backed up in case of emergency. This would enable them to ensure that they could operate 24 x 7 and could recover after any unforeseen events in as short as time as possible.

So like you and I and all of the large companies out there, we all take a back up every now and then and assume all our most valuable data is protected and that we can get whatever it is that we want back at the click of a button. WRONG!

Just last weekend I was prompted to do a software upgrade on my i-Pad. I had already upgrade to the new all singing and dancing IOS v7.0 and seemed quite happy with it. However, when I turned the unit on it asked me to upgrade to IOS v7.0.2 as there were some upgrades to do with security issues. Ah, this is from Apple I thought, everything will be fine. WRONG again. I performed the upgrade as directed and after a few minutes I got the symbol on my i-Pad to connect to i-Tunes. When I did this it told me there had been an error and the only way to get my i-Pad back back to life was to do a complete factory re-build.

I investigated this and put a support call into Apple, they were very friendly and called me back hourly to ensure the re-build was going to plan, but the one thing the system and they kept telling me was that all data would be lost. I was upset at this as my photo’s were going to be gone forever.

The people at Apple said not to worry you have backed up to i-Cloud. PHEW, what a relief they could see my camera stream and a back up had been performed about a week ago. So on we go with the update/upgrade/re-build whatever you want to call it.

After what seemed like an age the i-pad came back to life and performed all its checks. Then it prompted me to do a restore from i-Cloud, which I did. The moment of truth and my pictures from the day of the back up were there! Unfortunately they were the only pictures that were there, the day of the back up all 3 of them! All the other images that have been stored on my i-Pad for the last 18 months have gone forever it would seem. i-Cloud has no record of them and I do not have them stored anywhere else.

Now before you shed a tear for me, fortunately I do not use my i-Pad as a camera that much so yes, some nice pictures have been lost but not everything. The rest of the data that was stored on i-Tunes or in the ‘cloud’ is there and I seem to be OK.

But the moral of the story is that if you back up your website, your laptop and other electronic devices please verify that what you think you have backed up is actually there as loss of your data could end up with a lot higher consequences for your business than just a few missing photo’s.

If you are unsure please contact Navitas Design to discuss how we can host, back up and verify all your websites data.

Joff Cheney

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation is an essential part of any live website for any company’s status on the internet. You want to make yourself known, but how do you go about it?

Search engines have a ranking system of all the websites known to them on the web, putting them in lists of the most authoritative to the underdogs. The way that it does this is by using an algorithm which reads many factors including clear-cut phrases and words describing your company, this gives Google the information it needs to know what your page is really about.

By doing this it will place your website into a sort of category list, putting the highest ranking pages first. The more visits you get on your website the better, it helps Google notice your popularity and pushes you up the list.

SEO

Many elements within your website can be adjusted to help the search engine and also visitors be sure that they are in the right place.

If you need help understanding what needs to be done to increase your websites page rank we have an SEO specialist who can work with you to achieve the required goals. SEO isn’t a single job in many cases and requires on going work and tracking to ensure the best result.