OpenStreetMap
Website Features

Location Maps for Websites

If the location of your business or organisation is important to you then including a map showing where you are is a great feature. You may be a bricks and mortar shop, in which case you definitely want people to be able to find you. Or, like us, you may be a business which has clients come to your office for meetings. In which case, a map can be really useful.

Google Maps

Up until recently, our go-to mapping service has been Google Maps. It’s the standard isn’t it? If you think of a location map you tend to think Google, right?

But recently Google has changed the rules. They have introduced a system whereby you need to register your credit card details with them to be able to show a Google Map and if your map is used over a certain number of times you will be charged for it.

As a small business you may not find this results in any actual charges, but do you really want to have to give your credit card details to Google on the off-chance?

From our perspective as website designers this has made us rethink our approach to using Google Maps. Up until now we would create the API Key needed for the map in our own Google account. This is much easier for our clients rather than having to create it for themselves. But we’re now thinking that might not be the best way of doing it. We can still offer Google Maps but there will be a bit more to setting them up.

OpenStreetMap

So, we’ve been looking at alternatives and have begun to introduce OpenStreetMap into our web design process. You can see one in action on our contact page.

OpenStreetMap is a project designed to offer a map of the world which is free to use under an open license. This means we can use it without having to generate an API Key, or ask our clients to register their credit card details. And, even better, we have created an account with the project so that we can help develop the map. Which means if we find a client’s business isn’t accurately represented on the map we can update it.

This is all quite new to us, but we’re excited about where this might take us. If you’re interested in having an OpenStreetMap added to your website please contact us.

The Bird Loft
Case Studies, WordPress

New Ecommerce Website: The Bird Loft

A recent addition to our porfolio is The Bird Loft, an ecommerce website selling specialist bird food and accessories.

This WordPress website uses the WooCommerce ecommerce plugin to provide a full ecommerce catalogue and shopping cart system. We’re massive fans of WooCommerce here at Webfooted Designs, it is by far the best shopping cart software that we’ve found for building online shops.

The Bird Loft has an extensive catalogue of products broken down into quite a list of categories and sub-categories, which demonstrates what’s possible using WooCommerce.

Other features of the site are a custom design, responsive layout, a choice of PayPal or WorldPay for payments, and a currency converter widget which allows their overseas customers to view pricing in dollars or euros.

Thunderbird
Email

Why we like Thunderbird

We’re very conscious that when our clients talk about email software for their computers, most of the time they will probably be talking about Outlook. Outlook is Microsoft’s email software which comes as part of the Office suite. It’s very popular and a lot of people wouldn’t consider using anything else – there’s even a version that you can run on your Mac.

However, we don’t use Outlook. We have experimented with it at times but quite frankly don’t get on with it. Our preferred email software is Thunderbird, and has been for the last twelve years. Thunderbird is free email software offered by Mozilla (the same organisation that produces the Firefox web browser). We love it because it does exactly what we need it to do:

It’s Cross Platform
Thunderbird works on Windows, Mac and Linux, so whatever your computer is running you can use it.

Handles Multiple Email Addresses
We can easily manage multiple email addresses within the same software, keeping each separate so there is no confusion as to which email address is being used.

Regular Updates
The software is actively developed by Mozilla, which means there are regular updates to it (which are applied automatically so we don’t have to actively update it ourselves). This means that the software is constantly improving and we can be confident that it is secure.

Easy to Use
We find it much easier to use than Outlook. It’s fully featured but not overly complicated. It does what it does well.

Simple to Back Up
Using the MozBackup tool it’s very simple to run backups of your email. We use the tool to take regular backups and store the backup files on an external hard drive. So if we are upgrading to a new computer or (horror of horrors) our computer goes pop, we can easily reinstate our full back history of emails without losing anything.

Thunderbird is something that we’ve been using for so long that we pretty much take it for granted. But when we hear from a client that their computer has gone up in smoke and they’ve lost all their emails, it reminds us how lucky we are to be able to easily reinstate our email at any time with the minimum of fuss.

 

Thunderbird does exactly what we need and doesn’t have the frustrations of other email software that we’ve tried using, and it’s free! At this point we wouldn’t even consider using anything else.

Thumbs Up
Domain Names

Why we offer a domain name management service

These days it’s very easy to register a domain name, there are many websites out there which allow you to search for and register domain names. In some ways it’s too easy. You can choose to register your domain for a number of years and then pretty much forget about it. But then when it comes up for renewal, you may find that:

  1. You haven’t remembered that it’s due for renewal
  2. You’ve changed your email address so the renewal reminders don’t reach you or if they do they get lost in your inbox (we all get loads of emails don’t we, some of which are about domain names and may or may not be legitimate…)
  3. You can’t remember which website you used to register it
  4. You can’t remember your login details

All this adds up to a big “what’s happened to my website?” and “my emails aren’t working?” when the renewal isn’t processed and the domain lapses. Let’s face it, you’ve got enough on your plate running a business without having to keep track of the pesky little details like domain names.

The pesky little details are what we’re good at. So, let us take care of it for you. For a small fee we will manage your domain name for you. We will make sure the registration is kept up-to-date so that you don’t have to worry about it lapsing and your website/emails going down.

Now, I won’t fib. Letting us look after your domain names for you will cost you more than registering them directly. But in the long run it will save you time and save you from the stress of having to track down lapsed details and long-forgotten logins.

Sound good? Contact us to find out how we can help you.

Tom Henderson Smith
Case Studies, WordPress

Building a WordPress Website for Tom Henderson Smith

Tom Henderson Smith

Tom Henderson Smith is a Cornwall-based artist who specializes in landscape and seascape paintings. He is a long-standing client of ours, being one of our first clients when we first moved to Cornwall in 2006.

The Problem

The site that we built for Tom in 2006 was a static HTML website which used PayPal buy now buttons for selling paintings and prints. The site had evolved over the years with some layout changes, but with the technologies behind it pretty much staying the same.

Tom is very active on his site and being able to keep the content updated himself is very important to him. With that in mind he had been using the Contribute software (originally Macromedia and then taken over by Adobe), which provided a user-friendly editing interface. However, over time Tom had been finding the software was beginning to have issues making it much less user-friendly, and with it being discontinued by Adobe there wasn’t the option to upgrade.

Tom was also keen to see the website brought up-to-date with current expectations, for example making it work better for tablets and smart phones.

The Solution

So, when Tom came to us asking for our advice, we recommended that we move the website on to it’s next phase. Our recommendation was to use WooCommerce as the basis of the site and with the combination of the WooCommerce shopping cart plugin and WooCommerce’s Storefront theme we could bring the site bang up-to-date, opening up the possibilities for its development moving into the future.

The Result

The resulting site has a very clean and modern design allowing Tom’s fantastic paintings to really stand out:

 

The site is fully mobile-responsive so it works well on whatever device you are using, and offers sales with PayPal for secure online payments. The new website has a built-in gallery search to help you find paintings, and improved navigation with categories and tags.

Tom has effortlessly taken on editing his site using the new system and is excited to see how it will continue to develop using the new features available to him.

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

Testimonial from Tom

“If like me you are interested in growing and evolving your website as a way of communicating, promoting products and developing sales online then I would really recommend Webfooted Designs as the people to help you. Ever since they initially set up my ‘Art of Tom Henderson Smith’ website eleven years ago they have supported and encouraged my efforts to effectively content-manage it. Over the past year this has involved a considerable upgrade with the move to WordPress. They had set up a WordPress blog for me from the start and now the website I have on this platform enables online viewers to have a much more sophisticated engagement with my art than was previously the case. The content development possibilities appear to be endless!”

WordPress

What WordPress is and why we use it

You’ll find that we often mention WordPress when talking about the services that we offer. WordPress is a content management system, which means that it is software used to create and maintain websites.

When building a website for you, we first install WordPress on your web hosting account. This then provides us with a password-protected admin area for your website where we can add in your content and any features that you need for your website. And once your website is launched we will give you your own login to the site so that you can update the content yourself if you wish to do so.

WordPress is an amazing tool which is hugely popular with web designers and website owners alike.

Why we love WordPress

  1. It comes with a great set of features out of the box – pages, posts (for blogging), custom menus, widgets etc
  2. It can be extended to create whatever type of website you need – for example, with the WooCommerce plugin you can have a fully-featured ecommerce shopping cart
  3. The theming, which controls the look of the site, is extremely adaptable so that we can create a site which looks exactly how you want it to
  4. Out of the various content management systems we’ve tried in our time, our clients have found WordPress to be the easiest to use
  5. WordPress is actively developed, so it just keeps getting better and better

Will my website look like a generic WordPress site?

One of the questions we’re often asked when talking about using WordPress to build a website for a client is, “will my website look like every other WordPress site?”. The answer to this is a resounding no. We can use an off-the-peg WordPress theme as the basis of the look of your website or we can create your very own bespoke theme. If you opt for our bespoke design service we will create a design for your website specifically for you and build a bespoke WordPress theme using this, so your website will have a look and feel designed specifically for your business.

Contact us if you would like help setting up a WordPress website or need help with an existing WordPress site >

Security
Web Hosting

SSL Certificates and You

SSL certificates provide additional security for your website and are becoming essential to have.

We explain SSL certificates and how they affect you and your website below.

SSL Certificates

Due to changes in how current web technology treats websites it is becoming increasingly important for websites to have additional security applied.

The additional security is called an SSL Certificate and encrypts any data transmitted. You can identify sites with SSL Certificates as follows:

  1. Green padlock icon in your browser’s address bar
  2. The site address begins with https:// (rather than http://)

SSL certificate as shown in FirefoxThe image to the right shows how this appears in the web browser Firefox for the main BBC website.

In particular, Google is pushing for all websites to use SSL Certificates, and we understand that not having one can have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. Google are also reinforcing this with their web browser Chrome. As of October 2017 Chrome will flag up any forms on a non-SSL website as insecure.

Previously we have only recommended SSL Certificates where sensitive data such as credit card details are collected directly on your website (which is the case for a lot of e-commerce websites). Although we feel that Google is forcing a significant change on website owners, we can’t deny the importance of Google and want to highlight the issue to enable you to make an informed decision.

Please contact us at info@webfooteddesigns.co.uk if you would like to review the impact of these changes on your website and to get pricing for setting up your website to work with SSL.

Email: POP3 or IMAP
Email

Choosing between POP3 and IMAP when setting up your email addresses

When you set up on your email addresses on your chosen software you have the option of choosing between POP3 and IMAP. They both allow you to access your email address but behave differently so you need to choose the best option for you.

POP3

If you use POP3 your emails are downloaded from the mail server onto your computer. Once downloaded the email is deleted from the server (unless you set your email software to leave all the emails on the server). If you use more than one computer or device (tablet or smart phone) to access your emails you could well find that emails you have already viewed only appear on the one computer – in other words if you download it to your desktop it then won’t be available to view on your phone.

Pros Cons
  • Because the emails are deleted from the server this helps prevent your mailbox getting too full and having emails bounce back.
  • If you use multiple computers/devices it can be difficult to keep track of where you have downloaded your emails to.
  • It is more difficult to access your emails on multiple devices.

IMAP

IMAP, on the other hand, stores emails on the mail server. What it does is sync your emails between the mail server and any computers/devices you use. It also syncs any emails you have sent with the server – so you can access your sent emails on your phone if when you’ve sent them from your computer. This makes it the better option if it’s important to you to be able to have access to all your emails on all your devices. However, because all your emails are stored on the server you have to be aware of how much storage space you have and monitor it to make sure you don’t fill up your mailbox. A full mailbox means that you won’t be able to receive any new emails, they will instead bounce back to the sender.

Pros Cons
  • You can access all your emails (including sent email) on multiple devices.
  • All your emails are stored on the server so you could find you quickly use up your storage space and cause a blockage with sending/receiving emails.
  • It takes extra management to monitor your storage space.
  • It really does sync between all devices – if you delete an email from your phone it will also be deleted from your desktop computer, if you’re not aware of that you could easily lose an email you meant to keep.

Beware

Just a word of warning. Many of the current email programs, for example Outlook, try to automatically choose your email settings for you and quite often default to IMAP. When setting up your emails please be aware of the settings and make sure you choose the options which best suit you and your mailbox storage allowance.

 

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.

Domain Names
Domain Names

It’s all in the name

If you’re new to web design some of the terminology can be a bit confusing. One of the terms that it’s essential to learn is “domain name”. Here is our guide to domain names. Here is our guide to domain names.

1. What is a domain name?

A domain name forms part of a website’s web address and related email addresses. For example our domain name is “webfooteddesigns.co.uk”. This gives us the following:

Web address: www.webfooteddesigns.co.uk
Email address: info@webfooteddesigns.co.uk

Your domain name needs to be unique to your website and registered with a registrar.

2. How do I register a domain name?

There are many websites available through which you can register your domain name. A business offering domain name registration is called a ‘registrar’. They allow you to search to see if the domain you would like is available. If you are based in the UK we recommend that you use a UK registrar. A couple of good options are:

www.123-reg.co.uk
www.heartinternet.uk

If you are unsure about the domain name registration process and would prefer to have someone take care of this for you, you might consider our Domain Name Management service whereby we register and maintain your domains on your behalf for a small annual fee.

3. How do I choose my domain name?

Make choosing your domain name one of your first jobs when planning a website. Nothing is more frustrating and disappointing than to get a serious way towards completing your website only to find that the domain name you had in mind is already taken.

Heart Internet and other registrars usually have a facility on their website to check the availability of a domain name. If you come to us with your web project we check the availability for you and can advise you on options if it is already gone.

The golden rule when choosing a domain name is to keep it as simple as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of someone trying to remember your website or email address.

4. Should I choose a .co.uk, .com or .org.uk domain name?

The different variations of domain names can be confusing. These are our recommendations:

.co.uk

If you are a business trading solely in the UK then a .co.uk is the best option. It places you firmly in the UK for those thinking of doing business with you.

.com

If you do business internationally, choose a .com as this can help you with your perception as an international business.

.org.uk

Choose .org.uk if you are a non-profit organisation. Please don’t make the mistake or registering a .org.uk domain for your business.

Registering multiple domains

When choosing your domain check whether the .co.uk and .com versions are both available – if so snap them both up as this can help protect your brand. You can easily have them both linked in with your website.

What about all the other options?

It’s true, there are many other types of domain available – .biz, .info etc. Our recommendation if you run a business is to stick to either .co.uk or .com (or both if you can). Those two are the mostly widely used, and if someone is going to make a guess at your web address the chances are they’ll try a variation of your business name with either .co.uk or .com. If you’re very keen to protect your brand, then registering other variations could help that, but it’s not something that we would consider essential.

5. What does it mean to let a domain name lapse?

When you register a domain name it is for a set period (commonly 2 years). This means that the domain is not necessarily yours forever unless you renew your registration when it is due to lapse.

If you fail to renew the registration of your domain when it is due to run out, your website will become unavailable and any related email addresses will stop functioning. Not good for your business!

There is always a grace period before the domain becomes publicly available again, so if you do accidentally let it lapse you can usually pay for the renewal and reactivate it pretty quickly. However, if you leave it for too long there is always the chance that someone else will register the domain instead, making it unavailable to you.

The best ways to avoid your domain lapsing are:

  • make sure the email address associated with your domain name account is current so that you receive notifications from your registrar
  • when you receive a notification that your domain is due for renewal, log in to your domain account and renew straight away

If you’re worried that you might not be able to keep on top of your domain name registration yourself, talk to us about our Domain Name Management service – we’ll take care of all the nitty gritty for you, so you can be confident that your domain name(s) are always kept up-to-date.