We're Moving
Webfooted Designs

We’re Moving!

Well, we’re having an exciting time of it at the moment. As of 1 April we are the proud tenants of some new office space in St Just and are in the process of relocating.

We’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last year. Working from home on and off has reminded us how much we enjoy being part of the St Just community. And the idea of being able to walk to work is hugely enticing.

I casually mentioned this to a friend last year, who mentioned it to someone she knew who was setting up an office, who then mentioned it to our new landlords, who got in touch to say they might have something coming up. And here we are! If that’s not the St Just community in action, I don’t know what is.

We’ve had a lovely 10 (almost 11) years at Trereife Park Offices but now very much feels like the time for a change.

So … if you are an existing client you can expect to hear from us shortly to give you our new contact details. We’re in the process of getting our new phone line set up, so please bear with us while we get the new number sorted. Meanwhile, you can continue to contact us on info@webfooteddesigns.co.uk.

I can’t wait to get all our kit set up and begin working from Webfooted’s new HQ!

Hearts
WordPress

I love WordPress and I don’t care who knows

Have I mentioned recently how much I love WordPress? Well I do. Since I first started taking baby steps into web design back in 2000 I’ve used various tools for building websites, but none have made quite such an impression on me as WordPress. At the moment I wouldn’t contemplate using anything else – I’d certainly take a lot of convincing.

For Us

Let me tell you a little bit about why I find it such a good solution, from a web designer’s perspective:

  1. It’s quick and easy to install
    Yep, just a few straightforward steps and we can have WordPress installed on a web hosting account.
  2. Lots and lots of choice
    There are so many WordPress themes (which control how the site looks) and plugins (which control what the site does) out there, both free and premium, that we can find a solution for almost anything.
  3. It’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong
    This is an important one for me. I get the fear at the thought of one of our client’s websites breaking. Updating plugins and themes is really simple (most of them require just a click of a button) and 99.9999999999999% of the time goes without a hitch. However, on the rare occasion that it doesn’t work it can have unexpected consequences. But, with a backup handy (because we always back up before updating) we can switch back to the previous version without causing an apocalypse. Phewee!

For You

And for you as the website owner, I can’t stress enough that it gives you flexibility.

  • Flexibility to start simple and develop your website with your business, without having to go back to scratch each time
  • Flexibility to create a website that does what you want it to do
  • Flexibility to work with a vast range of web designers and developers – a lot of us use WordPress so you can have freedom to find someone that you enjoy working with
  • Flexibility to move your website elsewhere. I don’t want to be that web designer who says “you can’t move your site away from us” – I am flabbergasted every time I come across a web designer who does that. The thought of it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Why would I want to trap a client into staying with us, that’s not going to result in a good working relationship is it?

These are just a few of the reasons why I love WordPress. I know there are other options out there and not everyone feels the same. But WordPress is very much the one for me.

Yes, We're Open
Webfooted Designs

Working through lockdown

There’s no doubt about it, we’re living through some very strange times at the moment. I feel for anyone who is struggling for whatever reason, whether it’s for financial or mental health reasons, or anything at all. It is affecting everyone differently and we’re all doing what we can to get through it.

So, what about Webfooted Designs? Well we’re still going! I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have been able to continue working through the lockdown. We moved our business home for a couple of months but are now back working in our office. It has really made me appreciate our office even more – getting out of the house to go to work is an absolute joy.

It’s been an interesting learning curve for me running meetings through Zoom. I think I’ve always shied away from providing a service through video chat because I’m a bit camera shy. But I’m really seeing the benefit of it now, particularly with being able to see the person I’m talking to and screen sharing to discuss different parts of their website. It’s so much better than a phone conversation, I think I might be a real convert!

I’ve also been taking part in some webinars with Truro and Penwith College, to help me get some inspiration for how to continue developing our business in this brave new world. That’s also been really interesting to see how webinars can be used for training, and I’m picking up some really good ideas.

I haven’t quite brought myself to take part in online networking … yet. But I think it’s only time before I dip my toe in. If you’re thinking of trying out some online networking have a listen to Trevor Lee’s podcast on the subject.

But, enough about me! How are you all doing? If you need any help with your website we’re here to help you. Hey, why not arrange a Zoom meeting with me so we can discuss your site? Or leave a comment below to let us know how you’ve adapted your business during the lockdown.

Security
WordPress

Have you updated WordPress recently?

Be honest, when was the last time you updated the version of WordPress running your website? Last week, last month, last year? And have you been keeping your plugins up-to-date as well?

I know, boring!

But it’s really important to keep your website updated. Gone are the days when you could have a website built and not touch it again… Oh ok, I admit it those days never actually existed – it’s always been super important to keep your website content updated. But now that the majority of websites are running on a content management system like WordPress, you also have the job of keeping the software updated.

It’s important because it will:

  1. help keep your website secure from hackers
  2. help keep the site running smoothly as web technology changes
  3. keep Google happy

If you don’t take the time to update your software the worst case scenario would be that your site gets hacked, which believe me isn’t much fun! And if you leave it too long you may be looking at a rebuild – that is a pretty extreme case, but can happen.

If you’re worried about whether your website hasn’t been updated recently and aren’t sure how to tackle it yourself, give us a shout and I’m sure we’ll be able.

Workshop
Training

Small Business Support: Facebook and Blogging

I treated myself to a bit of professional development last week and went up to Tavistock for a Small Business Support Day run by the marvellous Clair from Plain Sailing.

I first met Clair at the Inspiring Women conference that she ran last year (also in Tavistock) and since then I’ve been constantly inspired by her energy and depth of knowledge.

Last week’s workshop covered using Facebook for promoting your business, how to promote your website outside of social media, and blogging. I found myself switching between “oh yeah, I’d forgotten I knew that” and “ooh, I didn’t know that”. It was a great reminder of why it’s worth spending some time to refresh your skills every now and then, even if you think it’s something that you already knew about.

I had sparks of inspiration throughout the workshop and now need to go back through my notes and work out how to implement what I’ve learnt.

One thing that I found incredibly reassuring as someone who specialises in websites, is that it is still important to have a website for your business. It’s not enough to have an active Facebook page, you do also need at least a one page website away from that. It does sometimes feel that social media rules the roost these days, but what you need to think about is what if your social media platform of choice goes pop (like Google+ did a few months ago). You do also need an actively maintained website that you have full control over, so that you are not reliant on a third party site such as Facebook.

If I only take one thing from the day (and there was definitely more than one thing that I could pick up!) it is the importance of blogging. Clair gave the best explanation I’ve ever heard of why a blog is important for your website. It basically boils down to “because Google loves it”. Despite good intentions I am guilty of neglecting our Webfooted Designs blog, but I’m now feeling inspired to spend more time on it. But, following Clair’s very sensible advice, I’m not going to promise how frequently I will post – best not to promise a schedule than commit to something and then not stick to it! I’ll just quietly schedule it in for myself and see how I go…

St Just Miners' Chapel
Case Studies, WordPress

Supporting the St Just Miners’ Chapel

Last week we were thrilled to launch a website for the St Just Miner’s Chapel. As residents of St Just, this is a project which is close to our hearts. It’s such an amazing building and sadly it was due to close at the end of August 2017. However, thanks to some amazing people the doors have stayed open and there is a campaign to secure its future.

Our small contribution to the cause has been to create a website for the campaign. We’ve used WordPress as the basis of the site which will mean a great deal of flexibility for its development and maintenance. The home page includes an image slider showcasing some fantastic photos of the chapel, details of how to donate, and a feed from the Chapel’s Facebook page.

We are honoured to have been named the Chapel’s very first two ‘Pards’ and are looking forward to helping the website continue to develop over the coming months.

WordPress Updates
WordPress

What do you do if you can’t automatically update WordPress?

We’ve been finding recently that some WordPress auto-updates are failing for us. By auto-update we mean when you log in to your WordPress admin and click the ‘Update Now’ button. WordPress has made this so easy over the last few years that we’ve come to rely on it.

But if that happens, all is not lost. Do you remember such a thing as a manual update? We’ve reminded ourselves of this and applied it to a number of sites over the past few weeks with great success.

Here’s a run down of the steps you need to take.

1. Back Up

As with all updates it’s absolutely essential to back up your website first. By this we mean download the files that make up your website and also the database. Please don’t go any further until you’ve done this.

2. Get the Latest WordPress

Go to http://wordpress.org/download/ and download the latest WordPress onto your computer. It will download as a zip file, so will need unpacking.

We like to run a virus scan of anything we download from the internet, even when it’s a trusted source like the WordPress site. So, before unpacking the zip we would right click on it and run a scan on just that folder – it only takes a few seconds.

Now you can unpack it using your preferred zip extractor tool.

3. Prepare the Website

The next thing to do is deactivate all the plugins running on your website. You do this by going to Plugins in your WordPress admin. You can either click ‘Deactivate’ for each plugin one at a time, or you can select the checkbox for each and choose Bulk Actions > Deactivate.

4. Replace the Files

Now comes the slightly scary bit as you are going to be deleting files from your server.

  1. Connect to your website using FTP.
  2. Delete the wp-includes and wp-admin directories.
  3. Upload the new wp-includes and wp-admin directories from the new copy of WordPress that you have just unpacked.
  4. Don’t delete wp-content. Instead open up the folder and overwrite any files using the wp-content in the new WordPress.
  5. Upload all the loose files from the root directory, overwriting what is already there.
  6. Compare the new wp-config-sample.php with your own wp-config.php files by opening them in your preferred text editor and see if there are any new settings introduced by the update. If there are move them across individually and upload the edited wp-config.

5. Finish the Update

Go to your WordPress admin. You may be asked to log in again, but don’t worry if you’re not – this varies depending on the update. You may also be asked to upgrade the databsae, in which case follow the instructions.

6. Reactivate Your Plugins

Now you can go back the Plugins page and reactivate all your plugins – again you can do this one-by-one or as a bulk action.

7. Test Thoroughly

Test both the front and back ends of your website and make sure everything is still working as it should.

8. Back Up

We also recommend that you take a back up of the updated site once you’re finished.

 

Are you having trouble updating your WordPress site? Carrying out the steps above does require some technical know-how. If you need a hand please contact us and we can get you sorted in no time.

Pixie Payroll Services
Case Studies, WordPress

Transforming the Pixie Payroll Website

Meeting Pixie Payroll Services

Pixie Payroll Services is a local Payroll Bureau based near Helston, Cornwall, run by Kellie Burslem. I met Kellie a few weeks ago at a networking event and arranged to get together with her to talk about her website.

Kellie had an existing website but had been receiving feedback which suggested that it needed improving in a couple of areas:

  1. Design – the existing design was too informal and wasn’t giving the professional impression that she needed.
  2. Structure – the existing site was one page, which was limiting the scope for providing information about her services and optimizing the site for search engines.

I agreed with Kellie that we would tidy up the layout of the site to give a more professional feel, whilst keeping Kellie’s personality, and that I would split the content into separate pages.

The Transformation

We started by selecting a new WordPress Theme for the website. The Forefront theme by WooCommerce was the ideal starting point as it has a very professional feel and arranges the home page content in a way that is perfect for a business offering services.

We installed Forefront and created a child theme for it. When working with WordPress themes a child theme allows you to make customizations to the layout and styling without touching the original theme. By working in this way we could a colour scheme to complement Pixie Payroll’s branding and bring in design elements to give the site personality.

As far as the structure goes, rather than one page with all the content, we’ve broken it down into Home, About Me, Services (further broken down by service) and Contact Me, and also introduced a Blog so that Kellie can add useful articles and her news to the site.

The Result

Pixie Payroll ServicesWe are thrilled with the resulting site. The website has a very pleasing look and is much easier to navigate and find out about the services that Pixie Payroll offers. And Kellie has been getting some great feedback on the site. It’s also worth mentioning that the site has a responsive mobile-friendly layout so works well whether you’re on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Have a look for yourself: www.pixiepayroll.co.uk

What Now?

It’s been lovely working with Kellie and we will be continuing to help her develop the Pixie Payroll website further in the coming months. As part of the work on her site we have moved her to our web hosting and domain name management service so that we can offer full support for her site, and we will be keeping the website backed up and WordPress fully updated so that it will continue to run smoothly over time.

What Kellie says about working with us

“I had a website before I met Emily at a networking event but it wasn’t really working for me. I made an appointment to see Emily and I am so glad I did, she is so friendly, professional and nothing is ever too much trouble. Emily has transformed my website – it now looks fresh and easy to use. I would highly recommend Webfooted Designs, the team now look after my website and all the maintenance.”