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From Website Design Concept to Success

This is a collection of chats, ideas, messages that started with an idea and ended up with a multi-national very successful company that we helped build and promote. We were with them from the start until they decided to close the company and move to something else, if you are about to start a new business, we will be with you ever step of the way.

Website Design Project Commencement

Was going to send this over the weekend but wanted to finish off some things for you, anyway we have almost completed our work on your site, the other non-visible pages have been added and all pages have had their semantic mark-up fixed and updated (they all have a main h1 heading now)

The website code is brand new / re-written and w3c compliant, the contact form should be used and tested (we tested it using another email account and have sent one to you just a few minutes ago from the website)

Help on Joomla your new CMS System

The different web pages are known as ‘articles’.  Click on the “Article Manager” button, or use the drop-downs at the top (Content -> Article Manager).

Once there you will see a list of the current pages in the same order as they are on the menu, with the exception of the following entries which are used for other purposes:

These three are not accessed by the main menu, but are there for you to edit as you see fit.

Click on the name of the article you wish to edit.  In this example, edit “Home”.

The editor will load and you can see the text of the page displayed & styled in the large editable area.

From this point it’s pretty much like any forum/message board and similar to a word processor.

From this point you can look around and get a feel for the editor without any specific instruction, but I’ll leave you with a few tips:

There are two buttons for adding images to an article:  One amongst the font tools and one at the bottom of the text editor.  Use the bottom one to upload images.

While editing an article the drop-down navigation at the top of the page is disabled.  To leave the editor you must press the “save” button.

If you wish to create a brand-new article, it won’t be added to the main menu of the site.

it appears that your flash didn’t change but the size of the holding container was accidentally changed when we updated your events page recently, anyway it’s all sorted now, we have changed our system so this cannot happen again

the extra scrolling on the important info page was always there but will try to get that fixed shortly

Thanks for this – sorry to be fussy but if I’m honest it still doesn’t look like it did you know.  The clarity on the lettering isn’t the same – the text is uneven, in terms of font height, the letters themselves still look scruffy, different sizes and some of the tops of the lines are missing.

I know that I’m a bit picky but when we put this together, I remember us virtually going through its word by word making sure because the web site is just a front cover for my event ones so it was really important that it just looked incredibly slick.  Is it back to its original size or is there anything else that you can do?

You are not being fussy and it wasn’t perfect again but should be now, I have a feeling the scrolling thing may be a browser bug as the scrolling text is so long it does this but will try to get this sorted for you also

looking at it now I realise I wasn’t being fussy as not it is crystal clear .  Have a good weekend and thanks for sorting the scroll bar thing – in terms of page ratings I checked that out and my site for my main event has got a 6/10 in 9 months

That site has loads of errors and problems, do you want us to ‘clean it up’ we can make it w3c compliant ensuring it looks and works correctly on every browser (currently the front page alone has 197 errors on it !), there are linking problems and display problems that we can correct also.

We could also put an anti-spam captcha on your contact form to reduce the amount of spam email you get.

We could do this two ways, could give you a list of what we think need to be done and give you a fixed price for them (as well as any other changes you may need) or we can work on an hourly rate, obviously as we have a business relationship already the rates will be favourable.

Additionally, who are you targeting with this website (what country) meaning what countries companies are you trying to attract.

The site is taken from another hosting company as they were dead cheap, my designer uses them and it allows me to edit it myself.

No promises in any way as I’m pretty poor at the moment but I’d be interested in having a figure from you, whilst taking into account the factors above – so would it be like a one-off MOT service?

I also worked with the W3C on the event and there were a few eye brows raised their end ant how poor it was.

ok I will give you a list of things that I would do if it was my site and put a fixed price by them and then give you the option of what to have done, before we do this list is there anything you specifically want adding or changed to put on this

I’m pretty happy with it really, the only thing I would consider doing it trying to make the latest news section at the top of the homepage having moving text… so you could include that, I need to see whether my designer could do it for me.

I was also going to say that the bloke who put that together, is a friend who does all my other design work and therefore gives me really good rates… plus it is great – I can update it instantly and even for someone like me it is easy to use.

I’m off for a week from today so won’t come back to you instantly… don’t suppose you know how to get round the problem of me not being able to put ‘out of office’ on outlook do you?

Ok I understand, so here is a list of jobs that I consider important and will include your request for moving text for the news on your page.

website update / clean-up project

20 pages HTML

20 css pages

3 php scripts

The following tasks are dependent on your website creator package giving you access to the source code of the pages, but this will not be necessary if you agree task 2 which will be an option for you to transfer away from the rubbish hosting company.

tasks

1, each page has its own cascading style sheet which is non-standard / increases load times and confusing for anyone making changes / updates – one css file is sufficient here.

2, transfer away from website builder company giving you full CMS access to add text / images on any page, if you choose this, we will create a blog for you also and give you full admin access.

3, upgrade your email form and put an anti-spam captcha on your contact form to reduce the amount of spam email you get, this should reduce your spam to none.

4, front page news scrolling text.

5, remove the HTML / css errors from the whole site*

6, site SEO review and update (add titles, descriptions, meta keywords and headings to each page) these are ‘essential’ seo factors and really recommend that

7, fix broken links and email links on the site (so far, we have found 10 pages with broken links to 4 different pages / images / emails)

8, Re-create the banner / logo ensuring logo is done better /clearer

9, possible new page for a gallery?

10, 2-3 hours of contingency work for any unforeseen changes / fixes not mentioned above

* a quicker / cheaper option would be to just fix the front page but I would recommend making the whole site w3c compliant.

all the above tasks can be completed for £170, think this is very competitive and reflects the fact you have had a website with us before and we would like to be associated with any success you get, I didn’t price each item individually yet as would like to complete the whole task list in one go as believe each one of them will greatly benefit your business.

Did you have time to think about the proposal below? I was just about to send you the hosting invoice, as the first year is up in July, but depending on your response to the proposal below we could discount your hosting and include this with the quote below (as you will have two domains).

For your information also here is an example of our latest site that we converted from a site builder package their website traffic has increased approximately 30% since the site conversion / update.

Spent 3 hours already sorting out all the pages and storing them locally as there are loads that are not online and didn’t have any idea that there were so many stored pages, it’s important that they are maintained for the site and for you to do with them what you want.

Have initiated the transfer, if you get an email from the rubbish hosting company about a transfer code please forward it to me, I have temporarily changed the domain contact email to my address to make this process quicker and will change it back once its transferred.

Website stats I see you currently have quantcast website stats, I will upgrade you to use google analytics and get a monthly report sent to you

website errors / images

To add the attributes to an image you need to add a description when adding it to the site or click on the image then the edit / insert image icon then fill in the image description

I have done the above and cleared the error but as the image you uploaded has spaces in the title there are warnings, please use images without spaces in the title to avoid this

1  the preview still doesn’t match the actual way the text appears on the website… (thought I had sorted this by increasing the width of the text body)

2 in the Article Manager the three new pages he has tried to publish are numbered: 2, 8 and 10  – can you tell me how he should view those and include them in the menu ?

Something bad has happened to the formatting on the form on the get in contact page… can you please sort it out for me asap?

The annoyance with Joomla and the pages that contain forms is it strips a lot of HTML you add to a page, so if we add the correct code  that keep the form held together nicely, next time you edit that page the code disappears.  Got to find a way to stop it but I assume you wont be editing this page much.

We believe we can upgrade your sites ‘framework’ or its look and feel to look like any the sites you want, we think this is the most appropriate and best look for your sites.

Obviously would ensure its subtlety different to avoid being the same and improve on what they already have.

I believe we can change the look / feel of your main site for £175 then if you wanted the others sites converted and updated in the same way it has been with the same look and feel and updated CMS system and booking forms and SEO then it would be £160 each site.

Hope this sounds good and reasonable. We have the same guy available that done your initial work on your site and think these changes will be cost effective improving your sites usability / SEO / look and feel which in turn should convert more website visitor to sponsors or visitors.

That’s great and I think reasonable – to be honest the core things for me are usability and look – I obviously need it to reflect the product – high quality and professional.

What needs to happen next do you need me to do a framework in terms of what I want positioned and drop-down menus?  I’ve decided to do it so would like to move it forward as quickly as possible.

In terms of the logos / images I would like the bubbles image to remain as I’m using that throughout the sites as part of the brand.

You can leave us to base the look with some subtle differences or you can instruct us specifically what you want (be good to give something as a reference and then say ‘I want it like this but (specific request / colour change etc)’)

Alternatively, you can get it designed / drawn and we can transfer that to the website design (think that maybe overkill here though)

Propose that we get the redesign done first then get that completed and agreed by yourself then do the other sites one at a time.

I’ll let you do base it the only other thing that I’d add, apart from what I wrote earlier about usability, high quality, professional – and I know that I’m using generic terms here – is that it needs to be a bit ‘cool’ the mobile industry, which my events focus, is full of techies so please bear that in mind in terms of how it looks (one of them described my scrolling news bar as ‘kitsch’.  Also, the one thing I think that the global messaging congress is lacking is pictures (of speakers), images (say the graphs from the 2009 attendee survey?), numbers/statistics (from the 2009 attendee survey).  I want it to appeal to everyone so words, images, faces, graphs, numbers, testimonials all need to feature

Obviously, I’ll want different links, menu bar options and drop downs.  See below in terms of pages to drop down from the different sections of the top menu bar and the left-hand quick links.  I’d also like to have more contact forms to make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch:

Are you cool enough for this 🙂 I think the main point of coolness for the site will be the main banner image but looks like you are stuck with the bubbles one, perhaps I and you can find some cool icons for him, I think he is expecting a lot for a little bit of money but it’s an important client with a super successful website so better to have him on board.

What do you think about the quick links point 6? seems a bit much to me?

1) Forms for these pages need to be created or tidied up – Info for the Press, Start-Ups

  1. a) If we use the basic get in contact form and Info for the Press that’s great.
  2. b) The Start Up-Form needs the same plus two extra fields added: Number of Employees, Years in Existence

2) On the homepage just below the news bar this needs to be changed to otherwise I get in trouble.

3) On the start-ups page the Quick Links column is missing…

4) Two areas of training I need:

  1. a) How to move articles around – is this different now that the menu is set up differently? For example, I want to move ‘Why attend’ and ‘Who will you meet’ from ‘About MWA’ to ‘MWA2010’… reckon this is easy but didn’t want to start trying things out.
  2. b) adding images to the sponsors column – also please note that a lot of these have different titles ‘Silver Sponsor’ ‘WIFI Sponsor’ ‘Supporting Organisation’ – am I going to be able to create the column headings or is it better that we do one column heading ‘Partners’ and I list the specific title?

He also mentioned the news bar needs to be widened (to same length as new banner)

Told him we would try our best to get these done today, hope that’s feasible with you

I think this is sorted now apart from that the brochure form needs the fixed and mobile telephone fields added, and I need some education in terms of editing the right-hand column – as I have new logo’s to be added.

Thanks for your, and your designers, efforts.

So in terms of the e-commerce, as I’m fairly deeply involved with PayPal already I think it makes sense to carry on using them and just replicate the ecommerce solution that I sent through from Camera, although I would prefer it if attendees would fill in their personal details, then get asked if they want to pay by invoice or credit card, then if they select credit card we go to taking their payment.  Let me know your thoughts and if this can be achieved.

Thanks for updating MWA and MWWA websites.  I have been updating MWA today and therefore have a few questions:

On the homepage (and underneath the news line) it still says – how can I change this?  In fact, if I wanted how could I change all of them?  I know how to do it on the right-hand side ones but not on

How can I redirect people to the home page once they have filled in the download brochure form?  Currently it redirects them to the page where they can actually download the brochure, which is last year’s one so I just want them to fill in their details and come back to the homepage

How can I edit the quick links insofar as?

Add and remove them

Actually, change the content that is displayed once you click on them

This came about as I need to edit the register page and I can’t seem to locate it, also some of the pages I have unpublished as I want to put the site into ‘hibernation’ so when you click on the links it says unpublished

(linked to number 4 above) The Live Agenda on the quick links – I have rerouted where the Live Agenda is located so I need to adjust the route that is listed on the quick links

Also I am having problems loading images – attached are a few pie charts I wanted to put on the homepage and on the previous feedback, but can’t seem to load them up it comes up with some sort of error, I tried to load up a photo as well (in case it was the files themselves) but can’t seem to manage it.  Could you have a look?

q1 How can I redirect people to the home page once they have filled in the download brochure form?  Currently it redirects them to the page where they can actually download the brochure, which is last year’s one so I just want them to fill in their details and come back to the homepage

a1 the download-brochure form is written using “form mail”, which required direct HTML code being written for it.  This means that to change the forwarding of successfully completed forms to the front page or to the brochure will require directly changing one line of this code to point to where the brochure is.  This system can be changed to using the CKForms system that is installed.  It should be easier to change its behaviour, but could take a bit of time. We have updated the download brochure form to direct to if it filled in ok

q2 How can I edit the quick links insofar as:

Add and remove them

Actually, change the content that is displayed once you click on them

This came about as I need to edit the register page and I can’t seem to locate it, also some of the pages I have unpublished as I want to put the site into ‘hibernation’ so when you click on the links it says unpublished

a2 This is HTML code that has had to be written specifically for this feature, as it was impossible to get the requested functionality any other way.  For changes to be made here it would require using specific software to download the page, edit it, then reupload it.  Also, to add quick links would mean custom images for each new link.

q3 on the homepage (and underneath the news line) it – how can I change this?  In fact, if I wanted how could I change all of them?  I know how to do it on the right-hand side ones but not on the others

a3Those are generally controlled by article titles.  These are edited the same way you edit or create a new article for the website.  Just change the titles and it should change what is displayed in that place.

So, I’m looking to launch a new site soon for a new event I’m putting together.  I really need to step it up in terms of website design as competitors are coming in… can you create something similar to these 2?  I’d be looking at trying to bring the two designs together.

Please read comments below from an existing client, his comment about stepping up our website design is one that strikes a chord with me as I thing technically we can nail it and have done multiple time but the creativeness seems to be lacking sometimes.

This is the client and one I think is very high value for us so we should go out our way to accommodate him. Your thoughts are welcome. I will go back and ask him more about the site and if it needs to be CMS.

My creativeness is reduced by client required elements, guide sites that they almost want me to copy exactly. Last time I made a site from my own design was so my design skills upgrade about as frequently as I get those type of opportunities.

Currently I can see how my skill is improving at the natural rate that it normally would. This site may be OK but has a narrow column that leaves half the page width blank space. If you scroll down you can see an enormity of wasted space on the left, about 300 x 2000px.

This one actually is mostly decent, which is probably why the client said it’s lame.

Oh look! It has those “end corner” bits that are becoming a trend because of a template made by someone that I found but forgot where. Trends don’t work: Clean, Fit for Purpose and User-Friendly works. He is right to be concerned about because out of the three sites here it covers most of them well.

OK so what I will make from this, is a complete hybrid that takes only the best from the 3 sites and makes one 100% decent site, this is my style, not only do I take the best of what they got, but make it better, interactive and validate.

Been talking to one of our developers and his response of what is needed is that the site required is a complete hybrid that takes only the best from the 3 sites and makes one 100% decent site.

He adds, this is my style, not only do I take the best of what they got, but make it better, interactive and validate.

In terms of the front page it would just be a matter of adding logo’s (and hyperlinks) as event partners come on board.  I’m not sure if I’m getting this right but the impression is that if you go for a CMS solution that overall quality of the site suffers… but like I said I would only really need to edit a few pages – so could we make it that only part of it has CMS or have I got the wrong idea?

In terms of £30/hour – is 1 hour a minimum amount per edit?  Because a lot the time it might just be “add this speaker to the list and adjust the agenda” maybe 20 minutes work, over the course of an event there can be quite a lot of adjustments…

Ultimately, I know that I need my websites to really step up a notch, as I’m getting squeezed a bit and need to make sure they’re the best of the best so please give me your opinion on how best to do that.

The only thing holding back our creativity is client demands.  I think it could be a good idea to offer the chance to see some prototype sites mocked up in Photoshop / fireworks before agreeing what we do.  This would usually be a specialised position (if you know anyone looking for that kind of work), but if I’m given a few things to work with (logo, site features, image or text focus, etc.) I could get some done before I do the coding.

Good response and I agree with you to a certain extent but we usually have quite a big margin to apply some creative work and to apply new stuff to the sites, we have tried the Photoshop drafts before and it didn’t really work (Steve built a site that was better and quicker in html) But there is a place for the design stage draft site mock-ups.

Please continue to work like you have been doing and when you have time can we get an update?

If you wanted to experiment you can always add a blog to another site.

Like the idea of bring up other people to ‘speed’ in website design if they show an interest. There are loads of tutorials out there that you can use for him.  Now is the best time to train someone as in the future I can’t see us getting less busy and want to really move forward and become a ‘big player’ in the future

As I would like to move them over to a new designer that I’m currently working with… I believe (but as you know don’t understand) that once that has been completed that a transfer of the domains can start.  Hope that isn’t too much of an issue – I’d really like to get cracking on it as soon as possible.

Apart from that I just wanted to say thanks ever so much for your work on the sites and your patience and expertise when assisting me – really has been great and I appreciate the efforts that were put in, I still get fantastic feedback on the homepage – really is a work of art.

As per our conversation, I don’t think its required or in your interest to transfer out all your domains as that requires work / effort and incurs cost and may have an adverse SEO effect.

A better solution is to leave the hosting with this company (with an award winning / fast / reliable hosting company) and to give full control panel access for each domain as its required to your new designer. This is the less costly / most efficient / less disruptive option. I would also like to continue to work with you to help you ensure your sites SEO remains good and as I pointed out yesterday there are always things that should / could be addressed on sites to make them work / operate and show in the search engines correctly.

The costs involved to move away one domain would be (£45 domain transfer + £45 database export + £50 for ftp access). Therefore, I propose this, we change over your 3 domains to give you full ftp / control panel access (giving you database / php access for your wordpress install) as you require them and will make no charge for this. I would also like to help your new designer make the sites in a SEO friendly way as I have a few reservations about the way he has created the entertainment one and think our SEO knowledge will be useful / valuable to your business going forward.

We now have a history of working together and have given you a lot of ‘service’ for the very least cost and hope this counts for something. I hope this sounds good / reasonable and look forward to your response

Hope all is good in your world.  Would like to give the new website a bit of SEO to enhance its ranking potential to ensure the maximum amount of visitor numbers. Can I suggest that we do this in our own time and don’t charge you for this but add a link at the bottom of the site simply saying ‘Website SEO and Hosting’ Also noticed that your hosting is now due for MWEA and MWWA so will shortly do an invoice for those 2.

Can you give me the wordpress username / password please nothing visually will be changed?

it seem your original Google Analytics code has been removed and replaced with another one, this is obviously the wrong thing to do as we have all your data stored on the old one and cannot copy it over, with your permission I will replace the code with your original Google Code, the upshot of this is that on the 1st you will get a report showing that this month you have stopped getting visitors at the start of the month.

My marketing man says “We did have to update for Google Analytics due to the new ‘/WP’ issue. However, we used the original Google Analytics code rather than creating a new one.

I’d rather not remove/replace again as the tracking is now working and we’d lose all data from the last week or so.”

Not my area of expertise but I think it’s linked to the website and that we had to adjust it as our stats were skewered.

Please feel free to take this up with Andrew, really his domain (pun intended

At this point in time, which is pretty critical for us, we’re much more interested in the weekly stats as opposed to monthly or annual as we building up to an event so we’ll keep it as it is for the time being and if we need to switch it over will do so in December after the event has taken place.  The analytics give us information to make tactical decisions at this point as opposed to strategic decisions.

Really think its short sighted to not want to lose one week’s data but to lose the complete analytics history of the site since its inception. When a site undergoes a redesign it’s vitally important to compare before and after stats as a reassurance measure to ensure the redesign hasn’t done anything ‘unfriendly’ to the site. It’s also important to see the website visitor trends increase year on year and without reinstating the old code it’s not going to be possible to do that.

Please see the attached Google Analytics stats for the website from August 2009 until today. For some reason, Analytics stopped working as of July 2, 2010. It only started again when the tracking code was re-added a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure why we lost tracking in July of 2010, but if you have access to the data from July 2010 until earlier this month then it would definitely be great to incorporate it into the Analytics profile.

Just to clarify:

We could indeed gain back the complete Analytics history?

Analytics would continue to function as normal going forward (from tomorrow) for the ‘new’ website?

Analytics for the profile could sit within our existing Google Analytics account as it does now

ok but changing over back to the original code would be instant, I say that as there was a comment by andrew stating ‘ I’d rather not remove/replace again as the tracking is now working’ but wanted to make it clear that if I changed it back now it would work and continue to collect stats instantly.

I really think it’s wrong to change analytics codes especially after a site redesign. These stats are super-valuable for me to ensure the SEO of the site is still optimised and this has really made it tougher. Happy for you to do what you want and I hope my views will be welcomed going forward.

The site we created in July 2010 after he asked for a status report for in July 2010, we added the stats code, this now seems as if our developer didn’t notice your existing code and when he asked for a report we simply used a new code not knowing there was a code there previously.

It’s a real shame that Google don’t provide the functionality to merge the analytics data but regardless of that if the code is put back and you are given full admin access you will have a complete history but in two parts. So, the answer to your three points is yes.

Ok here’s my action points so far:

1, removed spam comments on blog

2, stopped pages / comments being spammed

3, deleted inactive plugins

4, backed up database

5, updated wordpress to the latest version

6, updated 6 plugins to latest version

7, removed HTML error from footer code

8, deleted inactive themes

9, Done a health check on blog settings (permalinks etc)

Assume you had a busy conference

Was looking at your website loading times as part of our SEO work and then then noticed that your website had huge amounts of bandwidth used (over November 2011) and found some the main reason for that was the size of the downloads (one was more than 40mb ) this is not good for customer download experience and to give you some idea of the bandwidth used in November site used 34gb which was 35% of our total bandwidth (over 250 websites) and pushed us over our limits for the first time ever causing us to pay for more bandwidth.

I have optimised the biggest document and think as a rule these documents need to be optimised / reduced before uploading (the 40mb Document is now about 3mb) 🙂

have optimised / reduced the biggest 8 documents some reduced massively some only reduced 20%

Am willing to reinstate the codes for you and to grant you full admin access to your analytics reports. Irrespective of where the pages are located (root or /WP) the same code should be used

have updated the wordpress blog and plugins today once you have finished the new site give me the admin details and will do some SEO for the site like the other one

“As a veteran of conferences is firmly in my diary. Since it started in 2009 the events calendar has become more saturated but it’s still the best event. To have secured the Guest Speaker this year is a real coup.”

“premier mobile conference in my opinion.

Excellent speakers, well organized and good discussions during the roundtable and panel sessions.”

“My first experience of an event was very, very positive – great turnout, great interaction and great format.

I’ve been to a few conferences and simply put this was the best.”

“The conference was great, the best we’ve experienced”

Hope you’re good, getting lots of interest in my event and have only just realised that I haven’t updated the dates on the banner, can you please change over the banner at the top to the attached one or alternatively change the dates on the existing one to 25th & 26th April 2012?  I don’t mind too much if it doesn’t look great just need to get something up there with the right dates.

I was wondering how the SEO health check went I did a Google search for the event earlier and it took a lot of pages to get to the actual event website – are there ways that we can step it up a bit?  This is Andrew’s (copied on) bag really, and I know he is doing an Ad-Words campaign, but I thought I’d stimulate the convo.

went thru the backend (FTP) and found these folders that seems to have been create today at the time u said things happened here are the screengrabs of the root folder for each one of the URLs

Here’s the next ones… basically I’m pretty clueless on this but am assuming that:

1)            Someone ‘broke in’.

2)            They went in the backend, put the 3 folders in and then the hack kick in.

I’m not too sure what happens from here?  Please let me what went on and what the process is from here.

Ok this looks like something targeted to your sites. All 3 hacked and we have over 300 sites on 4 servers and no one else hacked even the ones on the same server:

The best thing to do here is:

1, restore backups (you can do this from your control panel files > r1soft restore backup, once sites back up and working ……..

If you are 100% sure it was hacked today use yesterday’s backup

2, change cpanel / ftp access details

3, change WP access details

I’m not in my office but can be available to help if needed, much appreciated I had chatted with Andrew about the SEO as I noticed it wasn’t coming up on Google.

Thanks as well for all your hard work on getting them up and running again so quickly.  What is the next stage in the process?  Do you contact the police and that?  I have some details of the hack if you want them.

It looks like reporting this type of crime has to be done over the telephone, looked online to see if there is a form available to fill in. I would like to report this crime but think that it’s almost pointless as it’s so widespread. See this link to see that hundreds of websites are hacked every hour.

Attempted to report two crimes in the last 2 months (possible house burglary and charity collection fraud) neither resulted in a Police person turning up despite a promise of it so I’m pretty sure this ‘e-crime’ will not even raise an eyebrow at our local police station. Saying that I would love you to phone the police and see what they say as I would like to know what they do.

What details of the hack have you got?

That hackers full list is below, when I asked the hosting company how they were doing it they replied

“They are using vulnerabilities in WordPress and Joomla theme templates”

There were another two sites hacked that we host and one of them has neither WordPress or Joomla so I am unsure

In a strange way I’m in awe of them, the fact they can get access to the site / blog with all the protection / precautions in place. I have just cleared a blocked IP port that stopped a client getting access to their emails due to them attempting to guess their password too many times so if real clients can’t even get access to their own sites on their own PCs due to genuine mistakes it makes you wonder what they do to get access to our servers.

Over the weekend the home office website was hacked and if they can get on that then for now it’s something we have to simply accept, I have now installed daily database backups on my most important blogs (using a blog backup / Dropbox plugin) It looks like you has blog vault installed on yours so at least we know we can restore quickly in future. Now we just need an automatic way to know if the site has been compromised.

There were a few hacking attempts / successes but all quiet now after a few ‘measures’ put in place but these people are pretty smart and I have asked the hosting company what we can do about it but they admit total / guaranteed website security is not really possible but we have backups done every day to minimise disruption if they hack any site again.

Thought that there would be a simple toggle in the stationary theme options but couldn’t find it so created a dummy / empty file custom.css and uploaded it manually to the server. Now the site load checker now doesn’t show a delay in site loading or report this as an error

websites were down, then they came back and now they’re down again, as you’re hosting, we think the problem is at your end – can you urgently let me know the situation?

Yes, it’s a hosting problem and the hosting company are resolving it now, I have told them that its urgent and they are putting us on a new disk then we will be getting a dedicated server so hopefully after this it will be better / faster / more reliable

All I can do currently is say sorry and I hope they fix this quickly

Today one of our sites was accessed by a commercial WebCrawler that used multiple IP addresses to attempt to crawl 400,000 pages of the site. This caused problems and disruptions but that commercial WebCrawler has now been blocked and now all websites should be back to normal. Thanks for the messages / calls.

Hi I have a client trying to become PCI compliant it seems that there is a port open 3306? that fails the compliance test – is there a way to close this from the internet and keeping the website / server / database running normally?

Because I need to become PCI compliant, I had to run a scan to check it was compliant, safe and secure.

Attached is the report (I think page 9 is the relevant one – it gives details of the “low” severity failure)

Please help me with this – there is an appeal process, but maybe the port that is stipulate does need to be closed?

Over to you – as you know I’m not the most technical of people when it comes to these matters.

It can be closed. However, we will no longer be able to access databases remotely and one of my guys accesses databases remotely and as a coincidence is doing it this week. We can’t do it just for your site but it has to be for all our sites 🙁

Therefore, I can possibly close it after this week or you can appeal this and say its standard procedure to have remote database access (with username / password / database name)

This is an update for the issue that you have encountered, please be informed as an update given, there is no option for the limit implemented for the number of folders can be increased. In this case, we suggest to use any existing unused folders and renamed it and move the folder to where it should belong.

I’m ok with this but these 2 things concern me:

“Another thing to bear in mind, I believe you will not have access to your ‘old’ emails after this migration unless you have them backed up on an email client using POP3. You could create IMAP accounts with the new setup details and then copy over the emails using an email client like Outlook if your old emails are important”

Myself and my colleague Andrew use Outlook – does this mean we are protected from losing our archive?

Depends how you have setup your email, I am going to suggest ourselves (or yourselves) can copy over the email to your new server via the email client (outlook) so once we or yourself have downloaded your email on your email client you can copy the old emails to the new email account. The point I am making is that your server is being moved so you won’t have access via the ‘server’ to the old emails once the migration happens.

What we need to do I believe is download all your emails onto an email client via POP then copy them over onto a new IMAP email account when the server transfer happens. I guess the question is do you want to do that or shall we do it for you?

Can you tell us what email accounts you will want setting up?

didn’t think all of them were being used but can certainly set these up for you. Indeed, they are all now setup and have used the same passwords on all of them

Yes, you will need to update your email clients with the new settings as supplied or I am happy to do this for you, don’t know how you have your email setup and if you use POP / IMAP but I can migrate the old emails

Ok you have a ‘massive’ email account can I suggest (assuming you are using outlook) that you make a backup (csv or past file) then we will do the same and we will attempt an import of this via an IMAP email once the domain / email migrates.

Info is also quite a big account and we can back this up for you also.

The other three accounts either have a different password or have no or next to no emails in them so will create them on the new server but won’t migrate email

If you are happy for this please give us the go ahead to migrate to a new server as we need to do this quickly (the new server is faster and will be upgraded again with days to a massively better / faster server but this time you won’t have anything to do for the upgrade)

Thanks for the reply, do you have an alternative email address that we can use as a backup for you?

Once the Transfer happens you will need to update your email settings or access email via webmail, quite happy to do this for you via TeamViewer, we will make a backup via outlook of your accounts (.pst file) and import this into your new account once transferred, the old email will not be immediately removed and you will have an alternative method to access them if needed.

We don’t have your password anymore to your account but can back it up and restore it after transfer but I suggest you won’t lose emails if you are using an email client like outlook, you will have to update your email settings / create another account when the transfer happens that will mean your incoming / outgoing mail server will need updating.

Do you know your current password and I will carry it over to the new account also do you have an additional email account that we can contact you on during the migration?

This upgraded system gives yourself and myself an email warning and we can enlarge your limits easily; you do now have the biggest email account we managed (out of over 400 websites / 5000 email accounts) so I would suggest deleting old / bigger emails regularly if possible

I’m now receiving emails properly (I think) in Outlook but I’m not able to send email any more. I get the message “Authentication failed because Outlook doesn’t support any of the available authentication methods.” My outgoing port is set at 587 (not sure why – this has always been the case) and I was sending email fine yesterday/Wednesday. Setting the outgoing port back to 25 doesn’t help; I then get the error message “An operation on the server timed out. The server may be down, overloaded, or there may be too much net traffic.”

As a side note, webmail is not syncing with my actual mailbox at this point.

Has the migration been completed? A status update would be useful.  Ta.

Also, can you please reply with the exact instructions/log in details for all the accounts that you have transferred?  I’m going to need the instructions (for a MacBook and iPhone 6) to be as if you are dealing with a child.

will re-review what we have sent but in general you need to edit your email settings as per the attachment and info sent, basically you need to update the incoming and outgoing email server names and the password with the ones supplied for each account, alternatively add new accounts to you email clients using the details provided, the new email accounts are the same as what you already have setup

Yes, all looks super healthy and normal and there are no reports of problems, the server gives this error (below) which specifies is the remote mail server, the same as the error given from the email client.

I can escalate this if required but have tried sending to that address from another account with the same error so proves your email account is configured normally

I think you got probably got the original cause correct (that you can’t ‘send’ from an email account on a domain that you aren’t sending from)

My guys suspect this could be due to the SPF record on the domain, this is normal and an industry standard and we can update it to include your server IP address but for now this has been disabled so please try again now and tell us if emails from other the 2 sites contact forms are received in your email account

Alternatively, you can send the contact form to an email address related to your domain and then get them ‘forwarded’ from that email, this will give you an extra level of contingency also as you will have two copies of these important emails.

There is an email folder that includes emails sent that haven’t been delivered but don’t see any ‘real’ / contact form ones in it. There is also a list on the server that gives me undelivered / delayed emails and there are none in there, clutching at straws but you could look at your server company log files?

Great, looks nice, do you want to give us the code so we can upload it so for contingency reasons we can just change the A record back and it will load from another server?

Also, one of my team was reviewing all our websites and noticed MWA is loading slowly, upon investigation we found it was mainly due to a massive image that needs resizing / reducing, this is the image

1)            I was away last week but seem to remember getting an email from you about renewal of domains but I can’t find it.  Could you resend if you did?

2)            I’m not sure my addresses are working properly… could you have a check?  I’ve got a new iPhone and it seems to be coming up with errors.  I have the “build” password but was wondering if you could send over the other details so I can check that they transferred over ok?

You are still unblocked and your account works perfectly so it’s something regarding your setup, I tested the setup of marketing@ using outlook 2016 (it simply needs you to put in email / password and select IMAP and setup is automatic) – took 1 minute.

If you want me to try to get your email accounts to work on your mac, I can have a go, you need to give me a TeamViewer id and password (need to download / run teamviewer.com sharing software)

Hope all is well.  I’m in the process of a job/industry change and wanted to transfer my domains over to someone else.

Only problem is I have no idea whatsoever how to do it… can you help me?

Good luck to you with your new job / venture.

Do you want to transfer your main website as well?

There is an admin charge to move the domains (we need to supply your new domain / hosting / website designers with the EPP code which they need to take the domains) Once I get your decision about

The other domains I am hoping to transfer over to a lady in Nigeria as a favour as she is working with students and young entrepreneurs… I’m not sure she’ll be willing to pay but once you give me a final quote I’ll ask, otherwise I’ll just let them drift into the abyss.

Sorry for the long delay, so you want to continue the email accounts and transfer the domains? Then

I propose we can do either of these:

1 Transfer the 3 Domains (mobile web)

Continue to host with the 2 email accounts and point to their server (2 years domain / email / DNS Management) £300

2 Transfer all 4 Domains (mobile web – domain / email / hosting) £200

I’ve decided to wind down the websites / companies and during that process will move the domain / emails over to another company, who are based really near to where I live and also take care of my wife’s IT needs.

No fault of your own, you have been fantastic to myself and my company, obviously, just a move to make things easier. Can I leave it to you 2 to finalise the details of the switch?

A Sad day as you have been with us for so long (over 15 years) but wish you well in the future, you have left this a bit late as normally need 30 days but if you settle the closing invoice I can get it all done rapidly for you and get everything moved to your new domain registrar / host / website designer.

I don’t believe transferring the website and the 2 email addresses is a huge task, what’s the cost of that and the actual tasks that need to be done?

ok will just release the other domains

The renewal needs to be cancelled before 30 days of the renewal date, as you know we actually created the renewal invoice and its due to renew in a couple of days but happy to bend the rules for you and have updated the invoice accordingly, the charges are our standard changes for closing account / transferring domains and have been that way since we began.

We rarely have people move away and as you can see from the emails shared about you moving away / closing down have given you some options and now this 3rd option is your cheapest / most appropriate one for you, will start the process today once the invoice is settled, I recommend its done today as will be out of office tomorrow and possibly Thursday, Friday as have client meetings and nobody else can deal with the account closures.

Requesting we backup your cpanel / compress it and send it to him this wasn’t requested previously but we can do it, it will take us a bit of time and effort and will invoke another fee I am afraid, this is not normally requested but will do it for an additional £50, sorry but he only just asked (never been asked for this before in 12 years of trading)

Thanks for this, the export has been processed successfully.

Missing emails. Is it possible for you to please send me the server name which is the mx record so I can log in to take the mail from the old server (Additional ones that have come in before the change)?