Your website questions answered here

Security

Do I need an SSL certificate?

SSL ensures that traffic between server and browser is encrypted. It uses https instead of http and results in the familiar padlock and green address bar in your browser. You should definitely have one if you collect sensitive information (e.g. card details) on your website. Google say they now give a slight ranking boost to sites that use SSL. So even if you don’t collect sensitive data, it is likely to be a good idea to use SSL across your entire site. Contact us if you’d like to go SSL.

Cost of SSL Certificates

SSL certificates can be free, or can cost many hundreds of pounds per year – mostly depending on the amount of insurance you need, and whether the certificate covers a single domain, sub-domains, or offers wildcard coverage. Clients hosting their sites with us get a free SSL certificate!

An SSL certificate is just one of the many factors that impact the cost of website ownership. We wrote this post on the real cost of website ownership a few years ago.

SSL Certificates protect your website

If you have a website where you or your customers can log into (e.g. WordPress), then having an SSL certificate is essential to protect your site from what are called man in the middle attacks, where hackers can intercept your username and password when you login.

Update 2018 : Many browsers are now showing sites without an SSL certificate as insecure. This will have a negative impact on ranking position for sites without SSL.

Can my host just shut down my website?

We recently had a client whose website was suspended because it contained malware. Some hosts will automatically take a website offline if they detect that it has been hacked. This protects other sites on the server, and might also prevent the server ip address being blacklisted.

So, yes your site can be suspended by your host if they spot malware on it. You can reduce the risk of your site getting malware by regularly updating your site, and by installing a method of regularly checking your site for malware. An uptime monitor would also be useful, as if the worst happens and your site does get taken down, at least you will find out quickly and so your website downtime can be kept to a minimum. We offer a WordPress Care Package (if you have a WordPress website), which will look after all of this for you.

Your host can also suspend your website if you have not paid your hosting bill. So make sure you have set up an automatic renewal of your hosting plan, or at the very least whitelisted the email address of your web hosting company, to make sure their reminder emails don’t drop into your spam folder. As a final belts and braces assurance – why not add a reminder into your calendar or other to-do list app to make sure you don’t miss the renewal date?

Web browsers say my site is insecure

Web browser display when site is not secureIf visitors are seeing a message saying your site is insecure (or are warned that the connection is not private) when they try to browse to your website, then you need to take action!

Most web browsers see sites with an expired or non-existent SSL certificate as insecure, and will block or warn users who try to visit that site. This protects users from insecure sites by warning visitors before they are sent to the site. Visits to insecure sites can be intercepted by a third party, meaning that information you exchange with the website (e.g. through contact forms) can be exposed.

So you need to secure your website with an SSL certificate to ensure that communications are encrypted, and there is no chance of a 3rd-party spoofing the website to pretend it is the original site.

I should already have an SSL certificate

If your site has previously been secured by an SSL certificate, and is now showing as insecure, this suggests your SSL certificate has expired.

In this case, contact your web host immediately in case they have failed to renew the certificate.

If you purchased the certificate yourself, you may need to renew the certificate through your certificate provider and then send the certificate to your hosting company so that they can re-install it. Usually, certificates are renewed annually, and so if you can’t remember who your certificate provider is, you’ll probably need to check your emails from a year earlier!

I don’t already have an SSL certificate

A lot of web hosts offer free SSL certificates these days – for example, our SSL certificates are free if you host your site with us. Other web hosts may charge a fee for purchasing and installing a certificate on your behalf. This may cost from £10 upwards, per year. There is also some work to do to your website in order to fully configure it to take advantage of the SSL certificate. This is generally quite straightforward, but you need to be careful to do the work properly to ensure you don’t lose any website traffic!

You can check whether your SSL certificate is present and valid, and why your site is insecure, by browsing to https://www.whynopadlock.com/ and testing your website url.

If your site is insecure, and you would need some help configuring your SSL certificate to make sure it is done properly, please contact us.

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Got problems setting up or understanding website security? Contact Us

Google Analytics

What does “Not Set” mean in my search keywords list?

You’re probably using an old version of the Google Analytics tracking code. Visit your website, click ‘View Source’ to have a look at your html, and the see if you can find the string ‘urchin.js’ in the html. If you do you’ll need to replace this analytics code with a fresh set that you can get from the ‘Tracking Info’ panel in your Google Analytics account. Google purchased Urchin in 2005 and then evolved their analytics product into Google Analytics. They retired Urchin in 2012.

What does “Not Provided” mean in my search keywords list?

When search users are logged in to a Google Product (e.g. Google+, Adwords, Gmail etc.) when they use Google their web search is executed over SSL. This prevents referral information (including search terms) from being passed to Google Analytics, resulting in the search term being recorded as “Not Provided”. You can use other means to find the search terms that bring traffic to your site, such as Google Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) though.

Got problems setting up or understanding Google Analytics? Contact Us

Google Adwords

How can I pause my google adwords campaign?

Just go to your campaign list and click the pause button alongside the campaign you want to pause. Then just click again when you want to resume the campaign.

Be careful with your daily budget though, as Google works out your monthly spend by multiplying your daily budget by the number of days in the month. So if you stop your campaign for a few days you might find that Google increases your daily spend when the campaign is activated again in order to satisfy your monthly budget.

If i increase my daily spend do I increase my cpc?

No, the two are unrelated. You set your budget, which is the total amount you will spend in a day. You can also set your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) which determines the amount of money you could pay each time someone clicks your ad. So if you increase your CPC you may get fewer clicks as you will pay more for each click and so use up your daily budget faster.

Adwords – what is max cpc?

This is the maximum amount you will pay every time someone clicks on your ad. You may pay less than your maximum cpc because Google will only charge you 1 penny more than than the next highest ranking ad.

Can you track which adword got the enquiry?

Yes. You need to go into your adwords campaign manager and set up Conversion Tracking. A code snippet will be created that you need to insert into your conversion page. Then, your conversions will start showing against the keywords that generated the conversion in your campaign manager. Find out more about setting up conversion tracking in Google Adwords here.

Did you know that we run a series on Google Adwords Hints and Tips?

What should my Google Adwords daily budget be?

That depends on how much money you want to spend! This is the maximum amount of money that Google will spend each day delivering your clicks. You should always monitor your daily spend to ensure that your campaign is generating revenue than it is costing (unless your objectives are not primarily financially driven).

If your campaign is delivering a positive financial result, then you should really consider increasing your spend to maximise your return.

If your campaign isn’t returning a positive financial result, then try to restrict your target geographical areas and keywords to improve the ROI.

Did you know that we run a ‘How To’ series for Google Adwords users?

Not answered your Google Adwords question? Read our Adwords Hints & Tips blog or Contact Us

Wordpress Plugins

How do I use wp-polls?

WP-Polls allows you to embed polls directly into your WordPress website. We use them in a number of our sites. They are straightforward to use and can be customised according to your requirements.

To find out more about wp-polls take a look at Lester Chan’s website. To see how we have integrated them into our websites take a look at our WordPress Polls examples and our Holiday Rentals Poll.

What is the best way to run polls and surveys on wordpress?

We use the wp-polls plugin to embed cool polls on our websites and WP Simple Survey for our surveys.

Can wp-polls display more than one poll?

Yes. With the wp-polls plugin you can maintain as many open polls as you like and then display them on the same page, or different pages, within your site. You do this by just adding as many Polls shortcodes as you need.

Take a look at our WP-Polls multi-poll example here.

How do I pass arguments to pages in WordPress?

There appears to be no official plugin that allows you to pass parameter variables to your wordpress scripts, but if you are happy to hand-craft a little php code yourself, change a template file and upload some code to your plugins folder then you can check out this solution to pass variable parameters to your WordPress scripts.

Can Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 run in the same site?

Yes. Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 can co-exist in the same website. They each have their own dashboard sections, and each have their own shortcodes and database tables, which should enable them to co-exist in the same site.

Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 are WordPress plugins that offer contact form functionality. They each have a huge user base, totalling millions of WordPress sites. Mostly, website owners would choose one or the other to fulfil all of their contact form needs, but occasionally need to use both if their requirements cannot be totally met by one of the plugins.

Our preference is towards Gravity Forms, as it seems to offer the widest range of capabilities, and has a large number of addons that extend it’s use even more. However, Gravity Forms licences need to be purchased – at the time of writing a 1-site licence costs $59. Although Contact Form 7 is free, we’re happy to pay for premium WordPress plugins as this usually means better support, and plenty of updates to improve functionality and fix issues.

Not answered your WordPress Plugin question? Read our WordPress blog or Contact Us

WordPress General

I’m getting a trackback notification from my WordPress site. What is it?

Trackbacks are notifications from your WordPress site that another website has linked to you. The trackback notification you get will ask you to ‘Approve It’, ‘Trash It’, or ‘Spam It’. The message typically looks like this…

“A new trackback on the post [your post url] is waiting for your approval”

If you approve it, WordPress will add a comment to your post linking back to the other site. This may or may not be a good idea – if the website is reputable, then it might be a good idea to link back to it letting your visitors know that the site links to you. If it is clearly a spam attempt, then click the ‘Spam It’ link in your email. Otherwise, just ‘Trash It’.

I can’t see the WordPress Update button for my post or page

Whilst your post is in draft status you won’t see the update button. You will need to click the ‘Save Draft’ button to update your post. Once you post is published the ‘Publish’ button will be replaced with an ‘Update’ button.

Here’s what you see before your post is published :

Here’s what you see after your post is published :

Options for editing your WordPress post status

Can Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 run in the same site?

Yes. Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 can co-exist in the same website. They each have their own dashboard sections, and each have their own shortcodes and database tables, which should enable them to co-exist in the same site.

Gravity Forms and Contact Form 7 are WordPress plugins that offer contact form functionality. They each have a huge user base, totalling millions of WordPress sites. Mostly, website owners would choose one or the other to fulfil all of their contact form needs, but occasionally need to use both if their requirements cannot be totally met by one of the plugins.

Our preference is towards Gravity Forms, as it seems to offer the widest range of capabilities, and has a large number of addons that extend it’s use even more. However, Gravity Forms licences need to be purchased – at the time of writing a 1-site licence costs $59. Although Contact Form 7 is free, we’re happy to pay for premium WordPress plugins as this usually means better support, and plenty of updates to improve functionality and fix issues.

WordPress lost password says ‘Could not save password reset key to database’

If you are trying to recover a lost password from WordPress, and you get the error message ‘Could not save password reset key to database’ when you enter your username or email address, you may have run out of space in your WordPress installation.

You’ll need to delete some files or talk to your web host about upgrading your hosting package to get more storage space.

Not answered your WordPress question? Read our WordPress blog or Contact Us

Miscellaneous

Where can I find the Pims holidays website?

The PIMS system is the name given to the Holiday Rental Management system, an integrated web tool that allows holiday property rental owners to manage all of their enquiries and bookings in a structured way. Booking forms, availability charts and pricing tables can be maintained in PIMS and then inserted directly into your website.

We have used the PIMS system on several holiday rental websites. You can find the main PIMS website here.

Do you need permission to store cookies on a users computer?

Cookies are used to both enrich a visitor’s experience and, in many circumstances, by website owners to track how visitors use websites. This is by no means always a malicious or suspect activity. For example, if you are using an ecommerce website, the site will generally need to store your cart details so that it can display them when you go to checkout (or if you come back to the site at a later date).

The EU Cookie Directive tries to make this clear, asking all website owners to notify their visitors that they use tracking cookies and, in many circumstances, to stop using cookies unless visitors specifically accept them.

Not all cookies need to be notified. For example, cookies that are used to store product details when you add them to an ecommerce shopping cart would be exempt, as they are essential to delivering the functionality.

Read our views on the EU Cookie Directive.

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