Nov
25
2019
0

Appointed Webmaster to the 009 Society

009 SocietyNow that the official announcement has been made in the December issue of 009 News, the official journal of the 009 Society, an international society dedicated to the small scale modelling of narrow gauge railways. I can now reveal that I have been appointed as theIe new Webmaster.

I will be responsible for all the Internet-facing activities for the Society and I am currently designing and producing a new website for them.  I have nearly 20 years experience of professional web design following a 30 year career as a research scientist and I am grateful to the 009 Society for this opportunity and their trust.

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Nov
20
2019
0

A reason for slow WordPress page loading and a sneaky visitor tracking problem if using the JetPack plugin.

As a professional web site designer I use WordPress for a lot of client’s websites. I know a lot of people have their own, club or business websites and I thought I should highlight a couple of potential problems with using the WordPress CMS (Content Management System).

  1. If your site loads slowly then try this to.speed it up.

    Remove any plugin or menu that links to Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter etc. 

    My website was loading very slowly, as was one I am preparing for a client. I did some research and found that the social media connections were responsible, preventing the page loading until they had made connection to each of their servers. This was causing the site to take 10-15 seconds to show the first page on a new connection to the site. Subsequent moves within the site were quicker but were still taking a significant time. I removed al the social media plugins or menus that may be part of the theme and the speed of loading improved immediately.
     
  2. If site security and visitor confidentiality are of importance to you, remove the  JetPack plugin. I discovered JetPack was redirecting all photos on my site via its own proxy servers, changing the URLs to the images to point to their servers. You may think that is good because your image is via their proxy server but it slows your site loading and allowed JetPack to track the IP address of all visitors to your site and the pages they visit without setting a cookie, thus negating any attempts a visitor may make to use the ‘private viewing’ settings on modern browsers. It also meant that if you used the URL of an image on a JetPack ‘infected’ site to post that image on a site such as a forum you have then ‘infected’ that site as well!  Very sneaky in my opinion and not, as far as I am aware, explained in their terms and conditions of use. JetPack can then track the IP address across sites and lets them build up a profile of your visitors that they can sell. As one of my clients GDPR statement says that they don’t sell or transfer any user data to third parties then, in my opinion, the use of JetPack was negating that statement.
  3. If you find that you cannot suddenly enter your admin panel – use FTP to remane and disable the ip-geo-block plugin in the /wp-contents/plugins/ directory. it may be incorrectly identifying your country and banning you!

Unless you or your client’s website absolutely need JetPack, social media links or IP Geo blocking protection then remove them. This is also good advice for every unused plugin or theme on your WordPress site, get rid of them.  The fewer there are, the fewer to be possibly compromised by hacks and the faster your site can load.

So there you are, a few of my tips to speed up, secure and access your WordPress website.

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Feb
11
2019
0

Retiarius now offer Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) in the High Peak Area

Retiarius Internet Design are now offering PAT testing for electrical equipment in business premises. Primarily for your office computer and AV equipment we can also test portable power tools, heaters and extension leads.

PAT testing is not mandatory but it is recommended so that you can prove, a rquirement of the Health & Safety Act, that you are regularly safety testing your office and works electrical equipment. PAT testing provides you with a traceable standard that all your electrical equipment, at the time of testing, was assessed for its safety.

We can do testing within 20 miles of Buxton, Derbyshire, please contact us for a quotation.

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Written by admin in: News from Retiarius Internet | Tags: ,
Feb
19
2015
0

Rapid web page and Twitter implementation for Satimola Ltd.

We were recently asked by Satimola Ltd. to produce a landing page for installation on their server to serve documents to assist them with resolving a problem they were having with the Kazakhstan Potash Company Limited (KPCL).

We were able to design and implement the page at http://www.satimola.com/kpcl/ with a comprehensive visitor logging system within the short time-scale required.

As part of this request we also implemented a Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/satimola  allowing Satimola senior staff to post updates as required.

Retiarius Internet have enjoyed working with Satimola Ltd. for over 9 years, providing technical support and web site development on a retained basis.

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Aug
22
2013
0

Rags for Gypsies, a new SEO optimised business website

Rags for Gypsies

Rags for Gypsies

Rags for Gypsies is a new site developed by Retiarius Internet Design to take advantage of the growth in the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to drive traffic to a business.

Rags for Gypsies utilises the power of the WordPress platform to provide an easy to use and update web site that the site site owners can maintain and expand themselves.

Their website is linked to both Twitter (@ragsforgypsies) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rags4gypsiesdesigns) and also to their marketing account on Etsy.com (http://www.etsy.com/shop/RagsForGypsies) to provide a comprehensive net exposure for the unique designs produced by Poppy Fields.

Retiarius set up the clients Etsy account to automatically announce new designs simultaneously on both their Facebook and Twitter accounts and any new posts on the main site are also automatically ‘Tweeted’

This site shows what can be done to integrate the social media sites into a Search engine Optimised WordPress site.

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Jun
16
2012
1

Sending Blog posts with images captured wirelessly from a camera using an Eye-Fi card and Shuttersnitch on an iPad

This image was captured via wireless using the iPad App Shuttersnitch on the iPad from my Fuji HS10 using an Eye-Fi Pro card.

Shuttersnitch allows you to send various size images of the original by email. This will be very useful if you use the remote publishing by email facility that the WordPress blogging system provides.

Unlike the very poor Photos app on the iPad Shuttersnitch allows you to create folders on the iPad and delete them with contents and move images between folders etc. This is essential for professional photographers wanting to use the iPad as a backup store and image preview system.

So far so good with the Eye-Fi card, I just now have to see if I can get it to work in my Olympus E1 using a CF/SD card adapter that should come in about a week.

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Written by admin in: Web site design techniques |
Jun
13
2012
0

LeaCFD like their site revamp and search engine optimisation

LeaCFD.com, the website of the UK’s leading independent computational fluid dynamic specialist Dr. Chris Lea, was recently updated and brought up to current W3C and SEO standards by Retiarius.

Dr. Lea has reported that within days his site is now page 1 listed on Google for the terms “expert witness CFD” and “CFD expert witness”, the terms that he requested we optimise his site for.

Retiarius took his existing site, written in 2004 in HTML 4.0 and revamped it to use fully compliant  XHTML and utilised our several years of SEO experience to  tailor the site to reflect best SEO practise.

To gain page 1 Google ranking for the target search terms in a few days demonstrates that taking care to ensure code compliance and correct use of meta statements and <h1>-<h6> tags etc. can make a significant difference to your Google ranking.

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Apr
17
2012
0

Browser usage trends and the implications for web designers

Internet browser usage trends

Browser usage trends – click to enlarge

It has long been the accepted guidance that any web site must comply with the ‘standards’ that Microsoft use in their Internet Explorer range of browsers because they are the market leader due to it being issued with every copy of Windows.

It may surprise some of our readers that this has not been true for several years!  Data collected by the w3schools site clearly shows a continuing downward trend for Microsoft from 86% of market share in 2002 to 19% in 2012!

Mozilla’s Firefox was the main cause of this loss of market share for Microsoft but the introduction of Chrome by Google, and its adoption as the browser on many Android phones and devices has now stemmed the rise of Firefox.

There have been rumours that Google, who are currently financially supporting Mozilla through advertising revenue on the Mozilla site, may pull the plug on funding Mozilla (see this BBC report)  and this would leave Chrome being the largest browser being used.

I hope that Google continue to support Mozilla but, with Google’s predatory and monopolistic underskirts already showing with regard to its continued infringement, and support for infringement of copyrighted material to sell advertising space on their search engines, I think that may be a forlorn hope.

I hope that Mozilla can find alternative funding because I think that if we thought Microsoft were wrong to have a monopoly, Google may well prove to be the bigger evil.

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Jun
25
2011
0

Flash! and their site was gone!

Further to my earlier post on not using frames, a company of my acquaintance had a nicely search engine  optimised site.

It then seems that someone offered to update their site with a new, experimental, ‘jazzy and upbeat’ look. As this was for free they accepted and the new ‘designer’ immediately dumped the existing site and replaced it with their new front-end which basically was a ‘new site coming soon’ and a contact page. They then did not complete the new site but left it unfinished for 4 months.

To compound this mistake the new ‘designer’ used Flash/Shockwave to build the entire new site and provided no words that a search engine could find.

Result, it is now almost impossible to find this company on Google even if you know the company’s name! Total wipe-out!

I don’t know how many times companies are taken in by graphics artists proclaiming to be web designers and the said artist has not a clue as to how the web search engines work.

Established well-known companies can use Flash and Shockwave because they are household names and can afford the best programmers and designers who know how to optimise even a Flash site for SEO. These companies can be found by their trading name, Rolls Royce, Amazon, Ford etc. and not by searching for some product such as ‘luxury car’.

Unfortunately smaller companies need effective search engine optimised sites so they can be found ahead of their competitors for their keywords.

Using Flash and Shockwave for site design provides a desert for search engine bots and I really recommend you do not use them for site design unless you are a household name.

And as  postscript, Apple iPhones and iPads do not support Flash driven sitres – so why alienate a significant section of the  market!

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Written by Retiarius in: Web site design techniques | Tags: , , , ,
Feb
11
2011
0

Frames and SEO – NO, NO, NO!

Recently I was looking for an email address for a company for which I had the full company name. Easy-peasy you say, use Google!

So off I went and Googled their company name ( I won’t say whose, I am not in the habit of ‘outing’ poor web designs by other designers).

The company website was not in the first 1000 hits on Google.co.uk.!

There were plenty of hits to sites such as Applegate which had brief details of the company, but nothing for the company’s own, and probably expensively produced, web site.

And why was this?  Quite simply FRAMES!

The company’s  site, and as I subsequently discovered, all the sites in the group of companies, had been constructed in an identical manner using framesets. There was only the frame wrapper page title and almost non-existent keyword lists for Google to find and index. There wasn’t even a valid site description on the index framepage, no <NO FRAMES> statement, or any attempt to use descriptive title and alt statements on the few navigation elements.

A major problem with using frames is that if the navigation elements are in one frame, and the site content is displayed in another, then the site content, even if it does get indexed by search engines following a page-specific link from another site,  is indexed as a separate page element totally divorced from the site’s navigation elements. This means that the search engine bots cannot crawl the rest of the site.

I don’t know when the sites in question where designed but, as the problem of framed sites and SEO has been known for at least 10 years, there is absolutely no excuse for using frames on business sites which should be fully indexed to capture new clients.

In my opinion any site still using frames for its formatting is one that is not maximising its SEO potential, and for a business site that is throwing good money down the drain and any so-called ‘web site designer’ still advocating frame-driven sites to his/her clients does not deserve the title.

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Written by admin in: News from Retiarius Internet |