Phase Three Goods https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk Web Design, Imagery & Online Handiwork Fri, 19 Oct 2018 17:19:42 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 Create A Handmade Family Photo Album (With Infographic) https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/family-history-album/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/family-history-album/#respond Sat, 21 Jul 2018 13:30:32 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4190 This article will help you compile old and new material to create a long-lasting family tree and photo album. Put on your best creative hat and let's go!

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Family history makes us understand our place in the world. It is comforting, educating and often moving. While most of us grow up knowing our parents and grandparents, beyond that things gets hazy.

Stories are passed from one relative to another, with each iteration getting foggier. When we take the time to examine them, these tales are fascinating. You might discover you hail from a city, region or country you were never aware of. You might find relatives who achieved incredible things, or unearth branches of the family that had been previously lost.

Threaded through these narratives are the smaller, tantalising details: hushed rumours of scandals gone by, old family folklore and clues to an individual’s wartime heroism. It’s these personal touches that make genealogy especially exciting.

old photo album

In this article, I’m going to help you organise a handmade, cross-generational family photo album. More than a family tree, this is something that’s as entertaining as it is informative. Split into chunks, the project involves:

Honour The Past, Set A Precedent

There’s an old saying that we die twice: once when our body perishes, and again when our name is last spoken aloud. It’s reassuring to think that future generations will know who you were, where you came from and how you lived. With that in mind, it’s only fair we do the same for our ancestors.

Here’s an in-depth look at how to gather, display and preserve your family tree.

Part One: Consolidate Old Material

Old material is harder to find, but all the more exciting. Take the time to ask your relatives and be on the lookout for filing cabinets, discarded boxes and dusty photo albums in the loft.

Photographs

Photographs have been around since the 1840s. Although they were scarce, it was not uncommon for people to have at least one portrait taken at some point in their lives.

Look out for:

  • Professionally shot family portraits
  • School graduation photos
  • Military regiments
  • Work/factory/trade photographs
  • Real-photo postcards
collection of black and white family photos

Handy tip: check the reverse side of photographs for notes that identify the subjects.

Surviving photos are often buried in a drawer, in envelopes or a box. Time, light and movement may have taken its toll on them; if the materials are damaged, you can have them professionally restored through Photoshop. Images can be brightened, sharpened, repaired or even colourised to bring them back to life.

Once you’re satisfied the photos are the best quality, have them scanned and print additional copies for posterity.

Letters & Correspondence

Letter writing dates back longer than we can understand our own language. Until the invention of the telephone, it was the main way of staying in touch. While photos determine a person’s appearance, it’s letters that shed light on who they really were.

letters and correspondence between family members

Look out for:

  • Love letters
  • Postcards
  • Journals and diaries
  • War correspondence
  • Recipes

Remember that letters were sent to others, so even if you draw a blank at your end, friends and relatives may still have correspondence safely stored. Reach out to them and you might unearth stories you’d never anticipated.

Other Historical Material

There’s plenty of other material besides letters and photos. Family history is personal, but its secrets are hidden in everyday sources.

Look out for:

  • Birth, marriage & death certificates
  • Employment records
  • Education records
  • Military service records
  • Photos of the local area
  • Local newspaper clippings
  • Ration cards

If you can find contemporary pictures of the city or town they lived in, this will provide invaluable context to the family story.

Newspaper cuttings (including relevant births, marriages and deaths) can be great secondary sources. Often this information is freely available at local resource centres such as the library, museums or record office. Think creatively about what you can include and it will make for a more well-rounded, historically sound family history.

Part Two: Consolidate Modern Material

Modern life presents us with so many means to document what’s going on. In fact, it’s widely feared that we overindulge and forget to live in the moment. That notwithstanding, smartphones and social media make it easier than ever to build a snapshot of style, fashion and contemporary values.

modern day social media

The online swamp – where to begin?!

With all this information flying around, it’s important to consolidate what you have and turn it into a cohesive, relevant narrative of your family.

Online Material

Let’s face it, most of your social media feed is filler. However, that doesn’t take anything away from memorable announcements and moments of genuine friendship. Scour through your profiles and isolate:

  • Supportive comments on life announcements: births, engagements, new job etc.
  • Mentions on websites and blogs
  • Email exchanges with friends and colleagues
  • Videos from phones and camcorders
  • Photographs – pick the best of the best!

Where possible, make hard copies of these. The tactile, real-life printout of a webpage is oddly satisfying.

Offline Material

Having so much stuff on the internet makes offline material all the more special. Harvest (but don’t hoard!) the following:

  • Ticket stubs, event flyers and setlists
  • Business cards
  • Holiday brochures
  • Academic, sporting and vocational certificates
  • Birthday and Christmas cards
  • Old textbooks (and the graffiti therein!)

Every now and then, why not hire a “proper” photographer for parties and family gatherings? Phones are great, but nothing beats the eye of a skilled professional.

gig tickets, flyers and birthday cards

Memories In Sound

Kathryn Burtinshaw, a professional genealogist at PinPoint Ancestry, goes a step beyond and records her clients’ legacies in sound. This could be anything from creaking doors and cuckoo clocks to family catchphrases, singsong and musical instruments. Sound is particularly evocative and draws readers into the immediate sensation of your family. Kathryn says:

When I work with a family I always look to select the items that evoke the most memories of an individual […] recording the information and adding an audio file provides an excellent way to preserve someone’s memory, voice and intonations of speech at the same time. A recent client was a good pianist so I recorded her playing and singing so her skill would not be forgotten.

It’s these thoughtful details that go beyond traditional scrapbooking and help make a fully immersive family album experience.

Memories In Sight

Valerie Goettsch from Digital Photos 101 makes a point of photographing larger heirlooms: quilts, war medals, prized furniture etc. Not only do these add character to the album, these images are an important failsafe in the event of floods, wildfires or other sorts of damage.

Part Three: Make A Future-Proof Album

Using all the materials you have gathered, build a multimedia, future-proof family album that accounts for all eras! How you do this depends on the size of your family and how much material you have to play with. Everyone’s album should be different, so I won’t restrict you to specific instructions. Instead, here are some broad tips you might find helpful:

Start With A Family Tree

Begin with a ‘contents’ pages that details who was who, where they came from, birth and death dates and other relevant information. Include info such as:

  • First name, maiden name and surname
  • Birth and death dates
  • Primary occupation
  • Their relation to you, i.e. father, great aunt, stepdaughter
  • Known quirks and distinguishing features, i.e. moved to Australia, served in the navy

These details will help contextualise the generations in your family.

Split Into Volumes

For tidiness, it is tempting to compile everything into a huge, heavy, hundred-page tome. I’d advise against this. If you split your album into smaller editions, you allow more wiggle-room for future updates. Plus, it’s a more sociable experience as you can pass these around when people come to visit.

examples of photo albums

Handwrite Wherever Possible

Don’t be ashamed of your spidery scrawl! Although it’s “neater” to type up all your labels, handwriting adds a personal touch to the project. As a compromise, you might try making a font from your own handwriting. It only takes a few hours and the results are quite convincing.

The Flow Of Your Family Album

Depending on the material, you might like to sort the album in different ways. Here are a few examples:

Individual Life Stories: Chronicle someone’s whole life from birth until death. As you flick through the pages, watch them grow up and discover the world.

Events: Split your album into “occasions through the ages” e.g. weddings, holidays and a compendium of Christmas dinners.

Institutions & Eras: Split your album by the milestones that govern our lives. Dedicate the first section to childhood, then school, military, marriage, work, retirement etc.

You’ll know from your collection which is most appropriate. Either way, make sure you incorporate all of the aforementioned images, letters, tickets stubs and other material. Photographs are great, but it’s the personal touches that make these albums so sentimental.

Make It Interactive!

As the relatives get closer to modern day, you could include pull-out USB sticks that store audio, video and other digital media. By changing the delivery system of your album, you’re emphasising how individuals are shaped by the technology they grew up with.

You can even make it open source so that other family members can add to the album. This is a convenient way of getting contributions from people who may not be able to provide first-hand accounts.

Leave Room For Expansion

Everyone has a tale to tell. Make sure your folders are open-ended and can be added to by later generations. That means using expandable photo albums rather than ones that are limited to a certain number of pages.

Take Inspiration

Everyone has a style. Some like personalised, kooky photo books, others prefer orderly layouts with right angles and symmetry. There’s plenty of inspiration to choose from, so have a look around the web and see what you find useful. Some examples to start with:

Part Four: Looking Ahead

With your album complete, you want to ensure it survives the ravages of time, use and moving house. You’ve created something that lasts generations; make sure it is built to survive that long!

Keep Backups

Beautiful as your album might be, it’s essential to keep digital backups of everything you’ve made. If you can, take the time to scan every piece of material as if you’re the curator of a museum. At the very least, take some photos of each page and store copies in the cloud. That way, should the worst happen, you have backups of your hard work to refer to.

Inspire The Younger Generation

It might seem challenging to persuade the younger generation to take part. These whippersnappers are naturally less inclined to look backwards, and more engaged with the here and now.

It’s all about finding the right way to include them.

Start by giving your children the freedom to tell their own story. Make it fun and let them be creative. As we’ve seen, there are no rules to how we record our heritage. The way we do it reveals as much about ourselves and the times we live in as the information that is preserved.

A photo album is an excellent project for an individual, a family unit and for several generations. If you haven’t already, consider making the first move to celebrate this worthwhile legacy.

Family Photo Album Infographic

Feel free to use this infographic in your own articles (but please provide a link to credit!)

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SearchNorwich #1: A Major Success https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/search-norwich-success/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/search-norwich-success/#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2018 08:06:39 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4218 I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural “Search Norwich” event at St George's Works. Here's how it went...

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Search Norwich invites marketing aficionados to meet up and chat about all things SEO. It’s a free event, with an emphasis on learning and sharing no matter your familiarity with the industry.

Last night was its first meetup, held by the riverside at St. George’s Works. It was a fascinating, inclusive and thoroughly enjoyable evening, with plenty of scope of the future.

Hellos & Handshakes

First was the networking, where I met a number of enthused business owners and marketers. Some were familiar, others new, and it was a pleasure to chat with them all.

I’ve said before that Norwich is a “Goldilocks city”: neither too big that everyone seems a stranger, nor too small that competition feels cramped. The openness of fellow marketers and developers makes for a highly encouraging atmosphere, and a great reminder that there are others out there who indulge in SERP geekery!

Charity Spotlight: The Benjamin Foundation

The talks began with an introduction to The Benjamin Foundation, led by its Marketing Manager Chris Elliott. Chris described the plight of the charity and how, through community outreach and activities, the foundation supports young people experiencing hardship.

We watched an inspiring case study of one of its service users, and we learned about the annual sleep out that educates the public about homelessness.

Sean Clark: Leveraging The Google Brain

Next up was Sean Clark of Clark St James who spoke about machine learning and AdWords ROI.

Sean described the great leaps being made by Google Brain and how AI can infer meaning from your data. Propelled by searcher intent and a website’s content, the future has Google writing ads for you, with interchangeable straplines and photos for a varied, consistent user experience.

I’m more of a grass-fed, organic SEOer; while I’ve dabbled in AdWords, I still see it as uncharted waters. Sean’s talk gave me pause to revisit PPC and enjoy a newer, smarter way to advertise online.

Jon Falgate: Taking Keyword Research Further

Last on the bill was Jon Falgate from Further. Jon’s presentation focused around keyword research, specifically the results gleaned after a post goes live.

This is so important. In an age of fluid, ever-changing SERPs, it seems archaic to call it a day the moment an article is published. Jon demonstrated how careful tracking and analysis can unearth crucial improvements to your content. Pieces should be modified over time as they attract niche keyphrases relevant to the original topic. This makes for a larger, more informed article, and therefore a more useful experience for the reader.

So all in all, the event was a resounding success. I’m delighted to have attended, especially as this was the first of its kind. Massive thanks to Mark Cook of Applin Skinner for organising, and to St George’s Works for hosting. I look forward to many more!

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The (Smallest!) Greatest Show On Earth https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/oak-circus-show/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/oak-circus-show/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 20:52:44 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4139 I've just returned from The Oak Circus Centre in Norwich, whose performers organised a very special evening for Norfolk ProHelp's firms and charities.

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The show was put on to celebrate the work done by member firms, and to highlight the diversity of voluntary organisations that benefit from ProHelp’s support.

Lost In Translation Circus Performance

Some highlights from the Oak’s “Lost In Translation” group. Photos by Nick Farrow.

Throughout the night I chatted to representatives from Home Start Norfolk (supporting families with young children) New Routes (empowering refugees and asylum seekers in the local area) Time Norfolk (support for pregnancy loss) and the Flordon Community Centre, among others. What a pleasant and wide-ranging group, all of whom strive to help their communities.

The performance from the Oak’s troupe was fantastic. A combination of aerial silks, juggling, hoop and tap dancing made for a riveting (often palm sweating!) display. Having moved into the church a couple of years ago, the Oak Circus has become a staple part of the community, empowering young people to follow a colourful, more creative form of exercise.

Many thanks to Debbi Christophers, Julie Grimmer and all at Norfolk ProHelp who helped organise the event. Also to Norse for their sponsorship and of course to the Oak Circus Centre for a thrilling performance.

2018 marks a record intake of projects for ProHelp. Each has supported the region’s voluntary sector with vital skills and services.

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The Small Business Guide To Google: 2018 Edition https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/small-business-google-rankings-guide-2018/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/small-business-google-rankings-guide-2018/#respond Sat, 28 Apr 2018 15:50:27 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4078 "How do I get my website to the top of Google?" - an innocent question with many answers. Brace yourself for the quest to improve your business's search rankings!

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This is a plain-speaking piece aimed at small business owners who wish to boost their Google rankings. I’ll refrain from using jargon wherever possible.

When you launch a website, you want it to sit high on search results. When we begin a project together, almost every client asks “how do I get my site to the top of Google” and for a good reason.

If only this could be answered as simply (and innocently) as it is asked.

Rankings Aren’t Reached With A Click!

No magic wand will jumpstart your website to the top spot. If that were the case, everyone would do it, and no-one would benefit.

Ranking on Google is a marathon, one that many businesses abandon after the first couple of miles. The winners are those that have stuck at it. They’ve pored through evidence, research and analysis in their quest to reach the finish line. So the “best” (i.e. highest) search engine listings come from those that have trained.

SEO Marathon Comparison

How Is Google Search Determined?

People use Google to find stuff. Therefore, Google wants to serve their customers the best, most truthful answer to their question.

That’s the nuts and bolts of it. SEO hinges around convincing Google that you offer the most helpful solution to a query: you’re an expert, you communicate well, the community likes you etc. By visiting your website, the customer will get the information they’re searching for.

Boosting Search Results: The Broad Steps

Knowing that it’s not done overnight, how do you boost your website higher on Google results? The answer lies in practical, well-researched and meticulous steps. Broken into chunks, these are:

  • 1. Set Real, Long-Term Expectations (this article)
  • 2. Proper Website Architecture
  • 3. Correct, Clutter-Free Code
  • 4. Optimised For All Devices
  • 5. Fluent, Persuasive Content
  • 6. Fast Loading Speed
  • 7. Regular Analysis & Strategy
  • 8. Earn Legitimate, Useful Links
  • 9. Rinse, Reexamine & Repeat

This article covers step 1: getting into the mindset and setting expectations. Though this step doesn’t lead to tangible results, I’d argue it’s the most important.

As informed as marketers might be, the buck stops with you: the business owner. It’s crucial that you understand the broad strokes of SEO before hiring someone to help you.

Expectation #1: Improving SEO Is For The Completists

There are hundreds of tedious, detailed tasks required to improve SEO listings. Some you might be aware of, others not so much.

These tasks range from ways in which the website is coded to the quality of your hosting, links to your website and the range of keywords on a page. Google is ever-changing, so what’s relevant one year could be redundant the next. You don’t necessarily need to know all these tasks, but you should be aware that they exist!

Ranking high therefore requires a completist, perfectionist mindset that doesn’t give up at the first hurdle. You must remain interested in your website long after the day it is launched.

That means that as the business owner you must either:

a) be tireless in your quest to learn about SEO or
b) be willing to pay someone to do it

A combination of the two – where you test and collaborate with an expert – often gets the best results.

SEO Flowchart For Small Businesses

Expectation #2: SEO Takes Time

It is physically impossible for a new website to shoot up the day it launches. If someone claims it is, they’re up to no good. Take that as gospel and you’ll save a lot of time and money bartering with dodgy SEO consultants.

Be patient. Getting your website to the top of search results is a drawn-out process. Know that it takes months, not days, and you’ll be better equipped to strategise correctly.

This can work in your favour. SEO is a steep learning curve, so it’s good to have breathing space and learn it in bite-sized chunks. Over the weeks and months following your launch, you can tackle tasks at your own pace. You can begin with the more natural keywords, and over time you’ll improve your Google ranking for the primary, meatier terms for your industry. As weeks turn into months, you’ll become a perfectionist that gets excited at shaving milliseconds off your page load speed.

Expectation #3: Curiosity Is Encouraged

The great thing about SEO is that those who do it, write about it. With ever-changing rules to Google’s algorithm, people are continually analysing and blogging about the latest trends.

There are articles, podcasts, videos, infographics, e-books, webinars and more. They cater for all sorts of websites and all manner of audiences. If you claim to be ignorant about SEO, help is on your doorstep. If you’re an expert, there’s always something to learn.

Be curious and consume whatever format fits your schedule. For those on a tight timeframe, I’d recommend Whiteboard Friday (YouTube, 8-12 minutes) and Marketing School (podcast, 5-10 minutes). These are run by industry experts and can be enjoyed over a quick coffee break.

 

Expectation #4: Dishonesty Is Discouraged!

In the endless mist of tactics, algorithm changes and strategies, you’ll inevitably run into dodgy-sounding proposals. These range from paying for links (no!) keyword stuffing, buying social media followers and all sorts of black-hat offers.

Here’s the thing: small business owners don’t “trick” an all-powerful, multibillion-dollar search engine. If you get an email promising to boost your website to page 1 of Google within a week, bin it.

Search engines are transparent about their guidelines, and there’s plenty of chatter online about recommended versus dodgy tactics. If a method is unheard of – or the top blogs don’t say anything good about it – you should be cautious.

Conclusion

Today we learnt:

  • Boosting search rankings requires multiple skills and disciplines.
  • SEO takes time; you must be patient and match your expectations accordingly.
  • You can get help from an expert, but as the business owner, you must take an active interest.

Further Reading

If you feel deflated that this article didn’t instantly launch you to page 1, good! We don’t control Google’s inner workings, so it’s essential that we set realistic expectations and approach this with patience and an open mind. The next article – website architecture – will cover real, practical things you can do. I promise!

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Solved: W3 Total Cache 500 Error When Updating Posts/Pages/Options https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/solved-w3-total-cache-500-error/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/solved-w3-total-cache-500-error/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 21:03:53 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4043 Bad day? Getting an "Uncaught Exception Unknown Engine" crash when you update WordPress? You're not the only one. Here's a (potential) way to fix it.

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In A Nutshell

Problem: WordPress website experiences a 500 internal server error when you try and update a post, flush the cache or edit options.

Cause: A specific (new) setting in W3 Total Cache, meant for Premium users, is automatically checked and cannot be undone.

Solution: Change the setting manually by editing the plugin files, or roll back to a previous version.

Finding The Bug

A client emailed me today saying she was getting 500 internal server errors every time she tried to update her posts. On further inspection, the bug also occurred when:

  • New posts or pages were published
  • WordPress options were updated
  • The cache was flushed

My instinct was that this was a Yoast issue: I’ve seen this bug occur in the past and with hiccups surrounding the 7.0 release, maybe that error had returned. In this instance, the problem was with another plugin.

So what’s the cause of the error? If these same symptoms occur on your website, check the debug log. You might see something along these lines:

#0 /var/sites/public_html/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/Cdnfsd_CacheFlush.php(222): W3TC\Cdnfsd_Core->get_engine()
#1 [internal function]: W3TC\Cdnfsd_CacheFlush::w3tc_flush_execute_delayed_operations(Array)
#2 /var/sites/public_html/wp-includes/class-wp-hook.php(286): call_user_func_array(Array, Array)
#3 /var/sites/public_html/wp-includes/plugin.php(203): WP_Hook->apply_filters(Array, Array)
#4 /var/sites/public_html/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/CacheFlush_Locally.php(253): apply_filters('w3tc_flush_exec...', Array)
#5 /var/sites/public_html/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/CacheFlush.php(188): W3TC\CacheFlush_Locally->execute_delayed_operations()
#6 /var/sites/public_html/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/CacheFlush.php(1 in /var/site/public_html/wp-content/plugins/w3-total-cache/Cdnfsd_Core.php on line 48

Or, you might see an error message like this in WordPress:

"Uncaught exception 'Exception' with message 'unknown engine" ... etc etc

The giveaway is CDN FSD. This means “Full Site Delivery” and it’s a new feature released in W3 Total Cache 0.9.6. Apparently, it allows the whole site to load “instantly” and is only available for Premium users. Whether or not that claim is true, the FSD option is activated by default, even to free accounts. What’s more, it cannot be deactivated through the dashboard. Suspicious.

Undoing The Damage

Logic dictates that if this dubious, Premium option is highlighted in the error log, we should probably undo it and see what happens.

  1. Through File Manager/cPanel/FTP, navigate to wp-content/w3tc-config/master.php.
  2. Search for our friend cdnfsd. You should see it along with these lines:
    “cdnfsd.enabled”: “1”,
    “cdnfsd.engine”: “”,
    “cdnfsd.debug”: false,
  3. Change the “1” to “0”, thus disabling the CDN FSD option. So it should be:
    “cdnfsd.enabled”: “0”,
    “cdnfsd.engine”: “”,
    “cdnfsd.debug”: false,
  4. Save the file and exit.

Now go back into WordPress and try updating a post. If the 500 error disappears, it looks like the problem has been solved.

Alternative Method: Roll Back

By all accounts W3TC is a fantastic plugin; blips like this are frustrating, but rare. If this issue is getting in the way, simply switch back to the previous version until the plugin authors fix it. You can do so by using a Rollback plugin, or by deleting W3 Total Cache altogether and reinstalling version 0.9.5.4 from scratch. Just be careful that you follow the proper procedure as it can be a little fiddly to wipe off the server.

Needless to say, there are a number of factors that cause these kind of errors; this tutorial covers one specific issue. For a broader look at 500 Server Errors with W3TC, I’d point you to this excellent article from WP Beginner. Good luck!

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The WordPress Dashboard: A Beginner’s Guide For Clients https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/wordpress-admin-beginners-guide/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/wordpress-admin-beginners-guide/#respond Mon, 05 Mar 2018 13:57:30 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=3983 This beginner's tutorial covers the basic options that let you edit pages, publish posts and manage images in your Wordpress website.

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Although every WordPress site is different, the dashboard shares the same basic options. This is a broad overview of the features a client might need on their website: logging in, identifying pages and posts, editing menus and managing their media library.

Logging In To Your Website

Once your site has launched, you’ll be given login details so that you can access your content. Typically, you’d login via yoursite.com/wp-admin. Your developer will let you know the specific URL when they hand you your username and password.

You should have an Editor account that lets you tweak pages without the clutter of theme options. An Administrator account would also be given for developer access, or for you to manage critical settings such as security or plugins.

The Dashboard

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be in the main dashboard. The headings referred to below can be found on the left hand side. You can return to your dashboard anytime by visiting yoursite.com/wp-admin or by hovering over the black bar at the top while browsing.

Pages

Pages are permanent, cornerstone parts of your website: About Us, Contact Us, Delivery etc. Unlike the blog area, Pages don’t change much and aren’t updated automatically when news is published.

Posts

Most of the time, ‘posts’ means ‘blog’ or ‘news’. In other words, posts are published in date order, sorted by categories, and archived in one area of your website: the Blog page or the News page. So whereas pages are long-lasting (or ‘evergreen’), posts are topical and pile up in a big list.

Custom Posts

You might have custom posts like Team, Portfolio or Recipes. If you have a group of services that need special treatment, it’s probably tidier to have them under a Custom Post Type. See my Custom Posts Guide for more information about this feature.

Wordpress Dashboard Custom Post Types

Comments

If you run a blog or write a lot of opinion pieces, you might have comments enabled. Here you’ll be able to manage comments and trash all that pesky spam. Comments can also be managed through the individual post entries.

Editing Posts & Pages

You can edit posts and pages in one of two ways:

  • Go to the Dashboard and click Posts/Pages on the left hand side. Then, click Edit on the post/page in question.
  • Browse the site while logged in and visit the post/page you want to edit. At the top of the screen, you should see an Edit button in the black bar. Click that, and you’ll be taken to the editor.

For more information about editing individual posts/pages, please visit this detailed guide.

Media Library

The Media section is a library of all your website’s photos and videos. By visiting the Media Library you can upload, view, crop and delete your images, as well as input their captions and metadata. If you want to add images to a specific page, do so via that page’s editor.

Wordpress Dashboard Media

Appearance

The Appearance area is for sitewide changes. If you’ve bought a theme, it might let you edit certain options such as colour palettes, fonts or logo options. It also lets you edit Widgets and Menus, which recur throughout your website.

Widgets

Your site might feature Widgets. These are small areas on certain pages that can hold custom content. For example, your site footer might have a widget that displays your social networks. Or, you might have a widget in your blog’s sidebar that features your main categories.

In the Widgets section, drag and drop the features on the left hand side into the widget areas on the right hand side.

Navigation Menus

Your site’s menus can also be found in the Appearance section. In this area, you’ll see how the list of page titles corresponds with your website’s navigation. Simply drag and drop these headings to reorder them, or add new pages from the box on the left hand side.

Wordpress Dashboard Menus

Conclusion

So there you have it – a quick tutorial of the WordPress Dashboard. Using these options you can login, find the area you want to edit, manage your images and update your website’s menus.

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Positive Reasons To Update Your Website Content https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/positive-reasons-to-update-your-website/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/positive-reasons-to-update-your-website/#respond Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:21:32 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=3952 Launching a website is the beginning of a journey, not the end of a project. In this blog we're going to shake off that post-launch lethargy and encourage you to keep pruning and fine-tuning your website's pages.

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Are you struggling to update your website? Here are some positive reasons why you can (and should) stay on top of it. If the motivation to blog has been lost, do the good thing and reclaim it!

In some cases, content editing is handed to your copywriter or SEO consultant. In an ideal world, you arrange this together and work as a team to ensure the website continues to thrive in the months after launch.

Otherwise, it’s the responsibility of the business owner to make changes themselves. If this is the case, it’s important that you are a) motivated and b) reassured enough to know that editing your website is normal, harmless and downright fun!

3 Positive Reasons You Should Get Stuck In!

1. Making Updates Shouldn’t Break Your Website

Many people are hesitant to login and makes changes because with all the tools and plugins floating around, they might break something.

This should not be the case. A website that’s been sensibly built should be clutter free to the user. Areas that developers need access to should be cordoned off to the client so that there’s no chance they can accidentally take the website offline. The worst you should be able to do is format text in a funny way, or accidentally bin a page. These sorts of changes are reversible and shouldn’t put you off making routine edits.

If your site dashboard is full of unnecessarily bells and whistles, contact you developer. In most CMSs it’s possible to create an “Editor” account that’s limited to publishing and editing. That way you can login knowing that everywhere you go is safe and functional.

2. Fresh Content Is Good For Google

As you might have guessed, Google’s crawlers are incredibly sophisticated. They can detect the quality of writing, the topics discussed and the frequency of when a website is updated.

If a website is left cold and stagnant, it doesn’t get crawled an awful lot. If it’s regularly updated, Google will send its crawlers there more regularly. That doesn’t mean you’ll rank higher, but it does mean that new content will be recognised as fresh and relevant. Do you like the sound of fresh and relevant? Then get posting!

3. Updating Your Website Gets Easier

I dare say it even becomes quite fun! Like any habit, the first couple of occasions feel weird. However, the more you get used to logging in, finding the right pages and pressing publish, the easier it becomes.

Not only this, but you’ll find that you improve as a writer. You’ll notice that what you first submitted to the designer differs greatly from later edits. That makes another reason to update your website: if you leave it alone at launch, you’ll never see the opportunities for improvement that you’d get from regular pruning.

Common Gripes About Updating Websites

“I don’t know what to write about”

I get this. When you first think about it, it’s difficult to map out the various pages and topics you might write about in future expansions. The thing is, whatever your profession, there’s LOADS to write about. So much, in fact, that the topic deserves its own blog entry. Meta!

“I’ve Written An About Us Page Already”

Yes, you probably wrote 400 glorious words to go in your “our company” page. You might have gone the extra mile and optimised it to suit certain key phrases and search terms. However, did you create landing pages for each individual service? Does your FAQ page need chopping up into subsections? Are customers coming to you with the same questions that aren’t covered on your website?

It’s highly unlikely that everything you need to say has been written already. There’s always wiggle room for additional articles, landing pages and useful content for your readers. With a sensible site structure, these pages can be added in a way that isn’t stuffy or overwhelming.

“I don’t have the time”

This I get. It’s hard, especially if you run your own business, to set aside time for blogging and website updates.

My advice is this – shape it around your schedule. You don’t have to go straight into your website to write content or make amendments. Take screenshots, copy and paste into notepad apps or just jot phrases on notepaper when you’re travelling. The draft of this very blog post was typed on a train journey from London Paddington to Bedwyn. I hammered out the broad strokes on my phone, then edited it properly when I got some time on the computer.

But maybe you really don’t have time, at which point I’d recommend outsourcing this kind of work to a skilled copywriter…

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Let’s Encrypt: Set Up Your Free SSL Certificate With TSO Host https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/lets-encrypt-ssl-installation/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/lets-encrypt-ssl-installation/#respond Wed, 31 Jan 2018 19:38:12 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=3897 A guide to installing the free “Let’s Encrypt” SSL certificate on your website. This ensures your website transfers information safely and complies with modern expectations. It also curries favour with Google and your customers!

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As internet security rises on people’s radars, hosting companies are ramping up efforts to protect customers. As you might have noticed, there’s been a surge in businesses – particularly online retailers – getting “SSL” certificates for their websites. That’s the green, padlocked “secure” notice you see in the browser bar (look above).

Who Needs SSL?

Online retailers are not the only ones that should be handling customer data over a secure connection. Even if you don’t sell through a store, you should consider having an SSL certificate. However you handle enquiries – be that construction, dog grooming or therapy – there are bound to be moments when your website will ferry sensitive information.

Obtaining an SSL certificate – i.e. encrypting the information that passes between site and visitor – adds an extra layer of security and peace of mind to both parties.

Introducing Let’s Encrypt: The Free SSL Certificate

Let’s Encrypt is a new initiative run by the Internet Security Research Group. It’s a free service – ostensibly born out of a wish to see a secure web – and it’s been deliberately built to be easy to install. It’s not for everyone, and it’s important that big retailers continue to use traditional SSL certificates. For the smaller businesses that don’t rely on e-commerce, Let’s Encrypt is perfectly fine.

Installation With TSO Host

Different hosts have different ways of doing things. In this example, I will demonstrate how to install Let’s Encrypt with TSO. They’re one of many UK hosting companies, but the basic approach is the same. Let’s dive in…

1. Go to your cpanel and select “Let’s Encrypt”

Let's Encrypt TSO Cpanel

2. Check that your domain is eligible

Let’s Encrypt will only work if your domain’s DNS point to the host server. For that reason, you must check first if your settings are correct. Click “check my domains” and TSO will scan to see if your setup allows for the SSL certificate to be installed.

Check domain DNS for SSL certificate

If they are correct:

Your domain will light up with nice green lights and you can continue to step 3. Success!

If they are not correct:

Visit your domain name provider and make sure your DNS settings point to your server. This could be the A record, or the nameservers. Each case will be different so make sure you consult your host/developer to make sure.

3. Click “Request SSL”

With the green lights on, Let’s Encrypt will kick into gear and you’ll soon have your free SSL certificate. Wait a few minutes then get ready for some checks.

Let's Encrypt Certificate Registration

4. Visit https://yoursite.com

By this, I mean visit your site normally but replace http with https. All being well, you’ll see your site in its full splendour. If for any reason you don’t see a green padlock, visit https://www.whynopadlock.com/ to diagnose the problem. It’s usually because your site is loading an “insecure” http file (for example some javascript or an image hosted elsewhere).

5. Replace your site links with https ones

If you run a static website, search and replace your files and change mentions of http://yoursite.com to https://yoursite.com.

If you have a WordPress website, go to General Settings and change the website URL from http to https in both the Site URL and WordPress URL. If you have the means to do a full search and replace of your database, do the same. As always, consult your developer if you’re unsure about this.

6. Set up a redirect to ensure all traffic goes to your https version

Now that you’re satisfied the site is sporting its SSL certificate, you’ll want to show it off. Put this code in your htaccess file to ensure that visitors to the old (http) setup will be redirected to your shiny new one.

And that’s it!

# REPLACE MYSITE.COM WITH YOUR OWN :)
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://mysite.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Why choose a paid SSL over Let’s Encrypt?

As TSO state, Let’s Encrypt is owned by a third party and renews itself every 3 months. That doesn’t make it unreliable, but sometimes you might want a more tailored and permanent solution.

Paid SSL certificates – with higher warranties, green address bars, wildcards, domain validations and subdomain support – can be obtained from your host the usual way. For smaller websites – particularly those that don’t directly handle payments – this free option is fine.

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Phase Three Goods Voted in Top 3 Web Designers In Norwich For 2018! https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/three-best-rated-norwich-2018/ https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/three-best-rated-norwich-2018/#respond Fri, 12 Jan 2018 15:08:51 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=4039 I'm very proud to have been listed among Norwich's top 3 web designers for 2018 by Three Best Rated. The shortlist was based on a number of factors including customer satisfaction, quality of work and trust.

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Three Best Rated are an independent website whose employees hand pick the best businesses per city, per industry. They do so based on an independent “50 point inspection” that scrutinises multiple aspects of a business’s output – from nearness and history to online reviews and overall customer satisfaction.

Norwich is teeming with marketers, tech start-ups and web designers. To have been shortlisted in the top 3 is a great honour and motivation. My pitch has always been to the smaller businesses, and I’m grateful this has been recognised amidst all the other agencies.

My congratulations to Grit Digital and DesignTec Ltd, whose good work was also recognised and recommended by Three Best Rated. No matter the size and scope of a company, there’ll be someone in Norwich that can provide a quality service.

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The Norfolk ProHelp Annual Breakfast 2017 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/blog/norfolk-prohelp-annual-breakfast-2017/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 15:21:07 +0000 https://www.phasethreegoods.co.uk/?p=3759 Celebrating National Pro Bono week at the Norfolk ProHelp annual breakfast. Today's event reenforced the reasons why local businesses lend their support to Norfolk's dedicated charities.

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The Norfolk ProHelp annual breakfast took place today at the Park Farm Hotel in Hethersett. As was the case last year, the venue was excellent and the food delicious. Many thanks to the hosts for their hard work catering to 50+ hungry attendants.

What Is The Norfolk ProHelp Breakfast?

The purpose of the annual breakfast is to showcase the year’s projects, to celebrate the charities that benefit, and to bring together members and clients under one roof. While we member firms are proud contributors to ProHelp, our varying trades mean we don’t often cross paths. The breakfast is an opportunity to touch base with fellow members and reenforce the incentives we joined in the first place.

Right Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop Of Norwich

Opening the talks was the Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich. Reverend James spoke about the isolated rural pockets in Norfolk, the institutions that bind them together, and the importance of the service industry in helping connect the dots. It was a well-considered and inspiring talk, fittingly delivered by one of the county’s key spokespeople.

Case Studies: Your Own Place, The Matthew Project, The Restoration Trust

The annual breakfast includes case studies that allow firms and charities to showcase what they’ve been up to. They help provide a snapshot of the type of projects ProHelp have brokered over the year.

Naked Marketing created a stunning website for the homeless charity Your Own Place. Launching in December, the site will give positive reenforcement to young people, with an emphasis on achieving the everyday goals we all strove towards growing up. Following that, LSI Architects helped establish premises for the support group The Matthew Project, who assist in drug and alcohol recovery in the local area. Finally, NPS Group assisted with the business and legal documentation for The Restoration Trust. They too support vulnerable groups, in this case by providing culture therapy to people suffering from mental health conditions.

The recurring theme with all 3 case studies was how easily the member firms were convinced to get on board. Such good work is being done by the charities that the pro-bono basis invites itself. There’s no doubt that this kind of arrangement is mutually beneficial; as Ben Handford of Naked Marketing pointed out, a key part of a healthy business is the happiness of its staff. Participating in these kind of projects ensures these needs are met, and that the community benefits as a whole.

Today’s breakfast highlighted the efforts of Norfolk ProHelp, and reenforced the reasons I originally joined: local firms helping worthy causes. It’s a delightful way to end the week, and a fitting start to the festive season. My thanks and congratulations to Julie Grimmer, newly appointed chair of the committee, all members firms, the charities, the hosts and sponsors Norse Group.

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