As of May 25th GDPR has arrived and that means that we all need to be complying with these new data protection laws. There are a number of considerations around the way in which you collect, use and store people’s information and these are guaranteed to mean you need to change the way you work.
The following are a few of the things that you will need to consider with regards to how you manage data:
Have you obtained explicit permission from everyone on your company newsletter to store their information and send marketing emails to them? From May 25th 2018 you either must have this or in accordance with GDPR you will no longer be able to send marketing emails to them.
Written in readable, clear format
To the point and transparent
Free / Easily accessible
‘By using this site, you accept cookies’ is no longer going to cut it either. Users must now have an easy way to opt out.For more reading visit this link
Still have some questions. Visit this GDPR checklist for more information.
Is Your Website Compliant?
Ezone Interactive are offering website audit services to help you identify what changes you might need to make to ensure that your website is in line with new regulations. We can review your website and provide a report detailing suggested changes if required. Interested? Contact us for more information,
Here at Ezone Interactive we have been building and supporting websites for over fifteen years, and our customers have found our support service invaluable. So in this article I thought I would cover some of the reasons why you need WordPress support for your website:
Websites Don’t Run Themselves
A common misconception is that after a website has been built it is finished and can be forgotten about. In actual fact nothing could be further from the truth, your website going online is just the start of an ongoing process.
To maintain a good ranking in search results you need to be regularly updating content on your site, you need to keep WordPress updated and secure to avoid any security breaches, you need to fix any bugs that develop over time, ensure your site works correctly on new devices… The list goes on and all these things can take up a huge amount of your time.
Content is King
Useful and regularly updated content is key to keeping visitors coming back to your website and in building authority in your sector. Content can take many forms, from running a blog, updating your services as they change or publishing details of your new offers. Not only does this require that you create the written content, but in most cases you will also need imagery which will need to be resized to the correct dimensions and optimised.
WordPress Needs To Be Kept Updated
Your WordPress website will be built using a theme and plugins and they will all need to be kept updated to ensure that they work with each other properly and with browser updates etc. It is also essential from a security standpoint to keep your website up to date and many updates patch flaws that hackers can exploit.
It is also important to keep your WordPress version up to date as it is continually being improved to give better functionality and security.
What if Something Does Go Wrong?
If something does go wrong on your website what do you do? You need to make sure you have backups that you can revert to should something go irreversibly wrong on your website.
You also need to have a system in place to alert you if your website does go down, and this is where an uptime monitor can be really important.
Who Has The Time?
Do you have the time and technical knowledge to do all of the above as well as running your business? If so then you probably don’t need a support service, but it may be worth considering what you could achieve if even some of those tasks were taken off of your desk.
Ezone offer a number of support packages designed to cover all of your WordPress support needs including all of the areas covered in this article from backups to updates and content work to uptime monitoring we can take care of it for you.
Are you an Agency?
Providing support can feel like a hassle when you are trying to focus on larger development projects. Whatever size of agency, if you work with WordPress, then Ezone can help. We offer bespoke white label support solutions to take support tasks off your desk. Interested? Get in touch.
For a long time now Google has been increasing the importance of HTTPS and having your website on a secure server. In January they started marking http pages that collected passwords or payment details as non-secure in the Chrome browser as shown below:
Following the release of Google Chrome version 62 later in October Google will be expanding on the warnings introduced in January so that any page with a form that is running on a http connection will be marked as insecure. It is important to realise that this does not simply apply to contact or payment forms, but to any sort of form. This means that, for example, if your page has a search field on it then it will trigger the warning if the site is not on an https connection.
What Should You Do?
Ezone recommends that if you are considering getting a website built you ensure that whoever is building it for you is going to set it up with an SSL certificate.
If your site is already online then don’t delay as Google are only going to increase the importance of HTTPS in their search results and browser so it will need to be done sooner or later.
There are a number of different providers of SSL certificates including RapidSSL and Symantec and many hosting providers also offer SSL Certificates on their platforms. Lets Encrypt is a popular free option that you can setup on your site if you are comfortable implementing such things on your site.
If you don’t want to have to spend the time working out how to set up an SSL Certificate yourself then check out our SSL Certificate setup service.
Last weekend saw the third WordCamp to be held in Edinburgh.
Hosted at Codebase in the heart of the city just next to Edinburgh Castle the weekend promised much: beautiful Scottish summers weather, Haggis and Wapuu’s scampering around the foot of the castle and of course a great event.
Sadly only the last of those things actually came to pass as it rained all weekend and the local wildlife must have been sheltering. However, this didn’t stop the event being fantastic with great people, great talks and a great atmosphere.
It was a jam-packed event with:
Talks covered topics of social change, productivity, security, service provision, Jetpack, agile development, site optimisation, WooCommerce, lightning talks, social media, web design, the Rest API, customer service, development strategy, accessibility and more.
A week later the dust has had time to settle so I thought I would put pen to paper and post some of the top things that I took away from the weekend. It was tough because there was so much to choose from, but here goes:
5 Takeaways from WordCamp Edinburgh 2017
1. Volunteering is awesome.
WordCamp Edinburgh was my fifth WordCamp, having also travelled to London, Manchester, Edinburgh in 2015 and WordCamp Europe in Vienna last year. But hands down this was the WordCamp I enjoyed the most and that is largely because I volunteered at this one.
Volunteers help the organising team with the running of the event, be it registration, handing out t-shirts, operating cameras, helping with lunch or simply answering attendees queries.
I didn’t really know what to expect turning up for the weekend, but was immediately introduced to the organising team and the other volunteers. Everyone was super enthusiastic and keen to run a great event.There was a great sense of camaraderie and I made way more connections at this WordCamp than previous ones as I’d met twenty odd people before registration even opened. I would strongly encourage anyone to consider volunteering, especially if you are new to WordCamps as it’s a great way to get to know people while at the same time helping to give back to the community.
2. Facebook Advertising is Very Powerful
One of the most interesting talks for me was Gavin Bell speaking about Facebook Advertising and vlogging. As an area I knew very little about it was a real eye opener for me. It was fascinating to hear Gavin’s story and gain a better understanding of the versatility and power of Facebook advertising, which really does have incredible reach.
Gavin is a Facebook advertising consultant and vlogger and he spoke about how he got into vlogging, highlighting the importance of video in social marketing and gave us an overview of how he uses Facebook advertising to drill down and target his intended market.
Kimb Jones spoke in the lightning talks about the Gutenberg Editor. This new block editor is eventually going to be integrated into WordPress core but is currently available as a plugin. The editor is based around blocks and empowers users to more easily add rich content to posts and pages without the need for messy shortcodes and custom fields. There were a lot of questions raised around backwards compatibility and if sites will be broken by the introduction of this new editor due to incompatibilities with themes and/or plugins. It’s well worth taking a look at the plugin to familiarise yourself with Gutenberg as in the future it will be standard in WordPress.
4. The WordPress Community is Awesome
One of the really cool things about WordCamps is the diversity. The events bring together designers, developers, project managers, agencies, hosting providers, accessibility specialists, bloggers, social media experts and many more. They attract people from different countries (according to a tweet this week the speakers alone came from or originated from more than ten different countries) and cultures and with different beliefs and professions and they are all there to make connections and to learn from each other. That is special and part of what makes WordPress so great.
5. WordPress Can Transcend Simple Code and Speak to us on a Human Level
Some of the most inspiring talks focused on how WordPress can be used to create personal and social change. Bridget Hamilton spoke about blogging to handle tough issues and create social change and Andres Cifuentes spoke about building multilingual communities. Finally Rachel Martin delivered a talk that I know moved a number of attendees. She spoke about her personal experience of the earthquakes in Canterbury, New Zealand, and how she used blogging as therapy.
Remember if you weren’t able to be at WordCamp Edinburgh, or missed a talk that you were interested in they will be available on WordPress.tv. But it does normally take a few weeks for the videos to be edited and uploaded.
Roll on WordCamp Edinburgh 2018!
There’s a ton more stuff that I could have spoken about in this article such as the swag:
The organising team did an incredible job this year, delivering a great event for all. With Ahmed Khalifa taking the reigns next year I’m sure it will be another amazing event (and who knows, next time we might even see a real live haggis!) – I can’t wait!
This weekend we are super excited to be attending, and sponsoring, WordCamp Edinburgh 2017!
What is a WordCamp?
WordCamps are community driven events usually running for 2-3 days. In the spirit of WordPress they are organised by community members (our very own Iain Taylor is on the organising team for this one) and feature a schedule of speakers delivering talks covering a vast range of topics that are usually split between two ‘tracks’ so there is a choice of talks to attend depending on what takes your interest.
At some WordCamps there are also ‘contributor days’ which are an opportunity to get involved with WordPress, be it helping with online support, getting involved with developing WordPress core or helping out with marketing. These are a great way for people who work with WordPress to get involved with giving something back to the community.
In addition to this there are always a range of sponsors with stands at WordPress events offering a great opportunity to speak to hosting companies, plugin developers and more.
But of course probably the most valuable part of attending a WordCamp is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. With hundreds of attendees at most WordCamps there are a great many people all working with WordPress in one way or another so whether you are looking to build business contacts or simply looking to make some friends with similar interests WordCamps are a great opportunity to do so.
Who are WordCamps For?
WordCamps are great for anyone that uses WordPress – on any level. Whether you are an end user, a designer, a developer you are almost guaranteed to take a lot away from a WordCamp. Because of the variety of speakers there is bound to be some talks that are of interest to you and you will make new contacts at the same time.
Here at Ezone we have been attending WordCamps for over five years now and we always come away with useful information that we can apply to our business.
As WordPress specialists it’s extremely important that we keep up to date with latest developments and best practice and we also place a high value on the WordPress community and the importance of contributing to it. We’re also love meeting talented individuals that share our passion for WordPress and where better to do so than at a WordCamp? It’s a great opportunity for us to make new contacts and to catch up with old friends too. It’s also a good opportunity to meet some of the teams behind WordPress services that we use such as JetPack and WP Engine.
Are You Interested in WordCamp Edinburgh?
If you are interested in attending WordCamp Edinburgh check out the website at: https://2017.edinburgh.wordcamp.org. At the time of writing there are still 26 standard tickets left, they cost £20 each and that includes all the talks on both days and lunch and other refreshments. Whatever you do with WordPress we’d recommend you checkout at least one WordCamp as they really are fantastic events.
Since it originated as a blogging platform WordPress has good support for comments and discussion on your posts. In this article we’ll discuss how you can manage comments in WordPress, including choosing where to allow them and moderation.
How to Enable Comments:
To enable comments on your WordPress posts go to Settings > Discussion and check the ‘Allow people to post comments on new articles’ box.
This will display a comments box at the bottom of any new posts that you create.
You will notice that it mentions that these settings can be overridden for individual articles. This can be useful if you want to disallow comments on specific posts and can be done within the post editor by scrolling down to ‘Discussion’ and unchecking the ‘allow comments’ box.
Enabling comments on old posts
It’s important to note that enabling comments in the discussion settings page only affects new posts, not existing ones. You can enable comments individually on each post as mentioned above, but if you have a lot of posts this will take a long time, so a quicker way to do it is to go to ‘Posts’ and select the posts that you want to enable comments on and then select ‘Edit’ from the bulk actions dropdown. You can then select ‘Allow’ from the ‘Comments’ dropdown as shown below:
An important part of managing comments in WordPress is moderation. Unfortunately with comments forms enabled you will inevitably get spam comments. There are a number of options within WordPress to control comments, for example you can set it so that only logged in users can post comments – a useful function for member based sites.
The most simple way to manage comments is to simply check the ‘Comment must be manually approved’ box in Settings > Discussion as shown below. An alternative is to have it set so that not all comments have to be moderated before they appear but you can set up a blacklist of words that will force a comment to be held for moderation before it appears on your site. Similarly you can set posts to be trashed if they contain specific words.
There are a large number of options within WordPress to make managing comments and discussion simple and suitable for your specific website. We’d encourage you to explore the different settings to identify the best setup for your individual website.
This week we are doing an overview of WordPress 4.8 (named Evans in honor of the Jazz musician William John Evans) which was just released at the end of last week. Some updates primarily fix or add features that you only really notice as a developer, but WordPress 4.8 brings a load of great updates that will be appreciated by both developers and users.
So what’s new?
New and Improved Widgets:
WordPress 4.8 adds a number of widgets as well as massively improving the text widget. Let’s start by looking at the new widgets:
WordPress 4.8 introduces an image widget that allows you to easily add images to your widget areas by selecting the image from the media library. Image widgets were not native to WordPress before (although the Jetpack plugin did add one, it wasn’t as intuitive, since it didn’t use the media library), so this is a welcome addition.
The new audio widget lets you select a audio file from the media library and it will be embedded in a player in your page. This is a great feature for podcasters and musicians alike.
Similar to the audio widget this widget lets you select your video file from the media library and embed it in your widget area making it super easy to add video to your website.
The Text Widget:
This update is one that I have wanted for a long time as from a usability perspective the text widget was very difficult to use without knowing html. WordPress 4.8 adds a rich text editor to the text widget, making it easy to add links, make text bold, format lists and more making it a great improvement for end users.
Another interesting feature of WordPress 4.8 is an improvement to links in the rich text editor. Your link is now highlighted in blue and you can adjust the text that your link covers, making it much easier to edit text in and around links without linking the wrong part of the text.
As you can see from the above screenshot the linked text is surrounded by a blue background. As you edit the text that is linked the background expands around it, making it really easy to tell where your link starts and ends.
Events and News in Dashboard:
WordPress 4.8 also introduces a new panel in the WordPress cms dashboard (the page you land on when you login) that tells you about upcoming events near you and also news relating to WordPress. This feature is probably most useful to those working with WordPress and that want to get involved in the WordPress community. It also tells you about meetups in your area – these are a great way to get involved with the community regardless of what you do with WordPress, be it design, development or as an end user working with it every day.
Improvements for Developers:
Do I have WordPress 4.8?
If you are one of our clients you needn’t do anything, we have already upgraded you to WordPress version 4.8 so you can log in and start enjoying the benefits straight away.
If you are not sure what version of WordPress your site is using you can easily check by going to the WordPress dashboard in the content management system and looking in the ‘At a Glance’ panel:
While translating your website can be tricky, translating it into a language that is read from right to left can seem even more daunting. The good news is that the WordPress cms has excellent built in support for different languages as well there being a number of excellent plugins to help.
In this post we are going to look at how to create right to left websites in WordPress, covering both the use of existing themes and those that are created from scratch.
To make your website read coherently from right to left you will usually find that simply switching the direction of the text is not sufficient, you will want to switch the entire layout of the website so that those viewing the site from right to left have the equivalent experience of those viewing from left to right. .
Using a Theme in Right to Left Layout
If your website is built on a pre-built theme then it may have built in support for right to left, or rtl, layouts. There are a couple of ways that you can check this:
Go to Settings > General and select an rtl language from the Site Language dropdown and click Save Changes.
You will see that the WordPress dashboard will now display right to left:
If you now go to your live site it will display with a reversed layout if it supports rtl languages and even if it doesn’t it will change your text to read from right to left.
2. If you are a little more technical you can quickly check if your theme supports rtl by looking to see if there is a rtl.css stylesheet. This will be contained in the root of the theme (usually located in /wp-content/themes/theme-name/ ).
3. There is also a plugin called RTL Tester which you can use to test your site in rtl layout without having your visitors see it on the live site. It is available in the WordPress Plugin Repository.
Converting Your Website to Right to Left Layout
If your website uses a custom theme that doesn’t have rtl functionality you will need to add it to the site. This is not a difficult process, although it can be time consuming:
If your theme doesn’t have an rtl.css stylesheet the first thing you will need to do is to create one. To do this you should copy your themes main stylesheet (usually called style.css).
Under the body attribute add direction:rtl; and unicode-bidi:embed;
Save the file as rtl.css
You will then need to go through your stylesheet and make the following changes:
Remove any unnecessary attributes – anything that is not related to the positioning of elements.
Reverse the values of floats, text alignments and clears so that, for example, float:left; becomes float:right;
Mirror the values of any paddings, margins and positionings so that, for example, padding-right:20px; becomes padding-left:20px; but also remember that you will need to zero the original value so you would also need to include padding-right:0px;
You may also need to add reversed versions of your images if they are direction specific.
Save your stylesheet and upload it to the root directory of your theme.
Follow the above procedure in WordPress to change the language to an rtl language.
If your website is in several different languages then you probably use a plugin such as WPML (which is the standard plugin that we use for multilingual websites). In this case you obviously don’t want to change the site language in your WordPress settings as the site will not always be using just one language. So long as you have an rtl.css stylesheet you shouldn’t need to make any other changes, selecting the country from your language selector will add the rtl declaration to your page header prompting the site to use your rtl css.
Did you know that you can schedule posts in WordPress? This means that rather than having to publish your post right away you can write it when you have the time and then schedule it to automatically publish on a specific date and time. Continue reading “Schedule Posts in WordPress”
In this post we’ll be explaining how to setup Google Analytics on your WordPress website. It is a very easy process that you can do in five minutes once you are familiar with your chosen plugin and the setup process.
Why Should I Use Google Analytics?
We could write an entire article on the importance of using Google Analytics on your website. It is a fundamental part of your website and growing your online presence, not using it is like hiking in heavy fog with no compass: you are just guessing what direction to go in.
Google Analytics tells you information such as where your visitors are coming from, what search terms they are using to find your website, how they found your site and what browsers they are using all of which is invaluable information when trying to grow your online presence. You can also create goals and funnels to measure the performance of your site in important areas.
OK, I’m Sold, How Do I Install Google Analytics on my WordPress Website?
The process of setting up Analytics in WordPress is a simple process. There are a number of plugins that take care of the code implementation for you and here at Ezone we favour Monster Insights as it is always kept up to date, and is super easy to setup. There are also various levels of premium subscription available that offer a host more functionality, however, for simply connecting your site with Google Analytics the free version does the job fantastically well.
Step 2: Add your property to your Analytics account:
Sign in to Google Analytics..
Under the ‘account column’, use the menu to select the account to which you want to add the property.
Under the ‘property’ column, select ‘Create new property’ from the dropdown menu.
Enter the Website name.
Enter the Web Site URL.
Select an Industry Category.
Select the Reporting Time Zone.
Click ‘Get Tracking ID’.
Copy your tracking ID (Control and C).
Step 3: Install the Monster Insights plugin on your website:
In your website dashboard go to Plugins > Add New and search for ‘Monster’ and install and activate the plugin.
Step 4; Configure settings in Monster Insights
Go to ‘Insights’ > ‘Settings’ and click ‘Authenticate with your Google account’.
Click the ‘Click to Get Google Code’ button.
You will be asked to allow permission for the plugin to access your Analytics account, click ‘Allow’ .
Copy the code that is created and go back to the Authentication screen and paste in your code and click ‘Next’.
From the ‘Analytics Profile’ dropdown select the property you want to track (if this is your first website you will only have one) and click ‘Next’.
While the above may seem like quite a long process it is actually quite straightforward, especially in comparison to manually inserting the tracking code in the header of your website and once you have done it a couple of times it starts to feel like a very slick process and one that we would strongly recommend is worth taking the time to set up.
Once you have completed the above process we recommend taking some time to familiarise yourself with the Google Analytics dashboard so that you know how to review your data and setup goals and funnels. Google’s ‘Analytics Academy’ is a great place to start: https://analytics.google.com/analytics/academy/