Monthly Archives: August 2011

Case Study: Portfolio Site Review

This review was prompted by a request by David Crowley for feedback on his website. (Note this website was built with Dreamweaver and not WordPress).

Firstly, your architectural woodwork looks truly excellent, but it's on your website you want constructive feedback, so here we go....

THE BASICS: A good website, should have a professional appearance, your business name and and contact details, all good there.  Most importantly it should have clear calls to action, primary and secondary.  This one is a little trickier.  When I viewed the site I wasn't sure if I was meant to view or download a brochure, or call you.  The brochure wasn't downloadable but all the work was viewable. Contact you it is then!

Since I was looking to download the brochure why not let me?  Wrap it up in a simple pdf, and make it a complimentary gift.  That way people can have something to take away with them as well as a positive impression of you as generous while at the same time you can put in all your sales message with the images of your beautiful work.  If they stepped into a bespoke furniture store, they'd expect to be able to take a brochure away with them, so why not do the same?


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Two Different Working Styles – Which Group Are You In?

A fascinating article crossed my path the other day, regarding a key observation in the different working styles of Managers and of Makers, (creative types, programmers, engineers, really anyone who makes stuff).  Makers' Schedule, Managers' Schedule by Paul Graham was mostly related to organising meetings and the problems that arise.  Meetings, those things so many of us dislike intensely and believe the majority to be a total waste of time, it seems are exponentially more destructive to those creative souls amongst us.

Graham's point was a succinct one.  Managers divide up their days into neat little blocks of hours or even half hours, so that scheduling a meeting is dead easy; just find an open slot for however long you think you need and put it in the diary, no problem. Makers however have a very different experience. (more…)

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Fixing TimThumb Security in WordPress

TimThumb.php is a great open-source script that web developers can use to help speed up sites by doing some clever image caching and resizing.

Unfortunately it's been discovered that there is a security hole in older versions of the script. If you are using this script on your site - it may be part of a premium theme - then you need to upgrade it to the latest version.

To know if you've been affected, you need to do a search for a file called "timthumb.php" - if you downloaded your theme files to your desktop before uploading, then you can do instant search by typing the filename into Voidtools Search Everything - watch the video for a full walkthrough.

Fortunately, the fix is easy. (more…)

Posted in Maintenance, News, Security | Leave a comment

Avoiding Risky Domain Extensions

A word of warning when choosing your domain name - be careful about what kind of domain extension you choose, and ensure you register it with a reputable domain name registrar.

I normally recommend folks starting out on the web stick to purchasing domains on .COM, .NET and .ORG if available, and perhaps the relevant 2-letter country level domain(s) - for example .IE for Ireland, .ES for Spain, .FR for France - or the equivalent in UK being .CO.UK and Australia being .COM.AU. These domains are called TLDs for Top Level Domains, and are divided into gTLDs and ccTLDs for Global- and Country-Code- Top Level Domains respectively. These are "official", or "real" TLDs and you can find a list here (note that two-part domains like Australia and UK just have the last part listed).

Quick rule of thumb for a new business: my general guideline to stick to the established TLDs. You should go for .COM if it's available, plus maybe the ccTLD for the country(s) that your target customers live in. Of course there are always exceptions (more…)

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