Displaying items by tag: Joomla Web Designers UK
Imagine this scenario! You've got a new website on a new domain. It looks great, it works well, and you've generated some quality content. So you sit back and wait for it to show up in the search listings......and it doesn't appear.
Weeks go by, you check every day, and still no sign of it appearing so you start getting worried. You ask yourself what's wrong with the site?.....why is Google ignoring it? At this point people usually start panicking and think that all their dreams of success are over before they even started!
Well the good news is there's no need to panic! The bad news is that you're going to have to wait a lot longer! Maybe up to 6 months! Because you're in the Google Sandbox!
What is Google Sandbox?
Quite simply it's a filter imposed on new sites. It’s purpose is to restrict ranking, especially for high-competition keywords, until the site is more established and can display a proven quality and trust factor. Look at it this way.....would you recommend a tradesman to a friend unless you're absolutely convinced of their professionalism, reliability, and integrity? And this is exactly the same thing!
It's interesting to note that Google actually deny there's a Sandbox. But they have a history of being deliberately vague in divulging information about their algorithms and evaluation processes.....so their statement has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Therefore, you just have to accept that with a new site and new domain you will have to wait to reap the full benefit of the work you've done.
What can you do to speed up the process?
Basically it comes down to demonstrating quality and trust. Make sure your site has regular quality content added, have SSL Security in place, and generate more activity across Social Media Channels.
With Social Media you can still be getting in front of people without Google's help.....so put your efforts there. A little and often is the best method. But don't start a Spamfest or you'll find yourself restricted on there as well!
Whatever you do, do not employ one of these self-professed "SEO Experts" who relentlessly bombard you with unwanted mail. That will cost you money and it won't end well. You could find yourself on Google's blacklist very easily and it could take you years to get off it. There is no quick fix in this situation....other than pay for Google Adwords. But that can end up being quite expensive so only go there as a last resort.
My message to those people with new sites and new domains is you have to be patient. Follow best practices in the way the site is built, keep generating quality content, and take advantage of the outreach that Social Media can give you. It will pay off in the end!
When clients come to us for a website they generally have a list of expectations or requirements. Of course, that helps us to identify exactly what needs to be implemented in order to meet their requirements......but one important thing is always missing in their estimation at that point! And that factor is User expectations!
People tend to focus solely on what they want or what they like, with no regard to what potential users actually expect when they visit a website. That's where we come in.....because we make it absolutely clear what aspects need to be prioritised! However, some people don't want to listen and will take no advice whatsoever. All that matters to them is what they want, to the point of total exclusion of their potential users' requirements.
If you take this course of action then your website is unlikely to succeed......irrespective of how attractive it looks. Because if people can't figure out how to use it, or can't find anything on it, they'll leave and never return. Simply because you prioritised what you wanted over what they wanted.....thereby making it difficult, irritating, and time consuming for visitors!
So what is it that users expect?
1. Site Speed! Don't overload pages with giant images or introduce additional elements where data is retrieved from outside sources. Things like Live Chat boxes, Facebook and Twitter streams, Weather forecasts etc are an example of this!
Be aware that if you insist on bogging it down with resource intensive elements, slow page loads are going to be the end result. You'll then get a high bounce rate (which Google tracks) so your site rankings will drop as a result! Keep it as lean as possible, and avoid irrelevant, superfluous, and self indulgent elements that deliver no value to the user whatsoever.
2. Intuitive Navigation! Ensure that you have clearly visible and intuitive menu and sub-menu structures, along with categorisation of the elements contained within. Basically, don't throw everything into one place and then expect users to be able to hunt for what they want. Make life easy for them.......then they're more likely to bookmark the site and return in the future.
3. An Organised Site! No enormous paragraphs of text that go on forever! Short, sharp, straight to the point, introduce benefits, and accompany it with a great quality image to get their intial attention.
4. Aesthetics! When a visitor gets to your site you've got less than 10 seconds to make a positive impression. If your site looks a hideous and cluttered mess while resplendent in a myriad of migraine-inducing dayglo colours then you probably haven't got off to a good start! Your site must attract visitors straight away......first impressions count! But be aware that this is the point where you now need to actually validate yourself professionally, which brings us to the next point.....Value!
5. Value! In this context I'm referring to delivering on what you initially promised when you presented them with an attractive looking site!
On the intial front page intro you should be clearly defining what you deliver! But it's no good just saying it.....you need to actually deliver it in terms of quality written content that informs, educates, and advises.
Examples of poor value would be spurious unsubstantiated claims, ludicrous cliches, and sales pitches....all accompanied by a couple of generic paragraphs and a blurry image that you copied from Wikipedia! If you go down this route then site visitors (and Google) won't take you seriously.
6. Mobile Compatibility! Over half of the searches on Google now come from mobile devices.....so if you don't have a mobile site by now then you're not even in the game! Every site we've built since 2012 has been mobile compatible as standard and at no additional cost. Mobile must be at the core of everything you do!
7. Safety and Security! Visitors want to know that their identity, information, and even their computer is not at risk from malware, browser hijacks, viruses, trojans, hacking, or phishing attempts. Google is very interested in this factor as well........and everytime they visit they're running checks on your site to ensure that it's safe for visitors.
They're very clear on this.......all sites should now have SSL encryption in place to protect visitors. If you don't, then realistically it'll only be a matter of time until you drop off the radar on the search results. After all, do you think Google are going to send it's users to websites that they consider to be unsafe? And without SSL in place to provide an encrypted connection for visitors then your site status with Google is unsafe!
As you've seen, all those points were categorised as User expectations! Are User expectations important to you?
Maybe not.....but what if I changed the title to Google expectations? Would that now get your attention?
Because the fact is that what Users expect and what Google expects in terms of front end viewing is exactly the same thing!
So stop thinking about what You want.......and think about what Users want! Because your Users, and Google, will take you a lot more seriously if you do!
2017 is approaching, so what does the future hold for your business online? Nobody can accurately predict everything, but a clear pattern is forming!
1. Mobile Websites: It's no secret that mobile computing has now taken over! If you haven't got a mobile compatible site by now you may as well pack up and go home. Simply because there's a world of business opportunities out there......and you won't be seeing any of it! You are outside looking in!
Walk down the street, go into any bar.....and what do you see? People on smartphones! And they won't be looking at sites that are not mobile compatible. In fact, they may not even be given a choice if they want to see a desktop based site, as Google will be basing rankings on the mobile version as per their recent Mobile First announcement. No mobile version? No ranking!
2. Desktop Websites: These will now have less importance, so do not design a site based purely on what you see on a traditional computer. In fact, some analysts are speculating that we could be entering an era where the clock is now ticking on this technology. Personally, I don't ever forsee a time where traditional sites will become redundant.....but there's no doubt that their importance and relevance are going to keep diminishing as each year passes.
3. Voice Search: Semantic search and user intent based on natural language patterns rather than basic keywords is going to become the norm. Voice-based queries are generally much longer, and phrased in a more natural way, so ensure that your site delivers information in a conversational (but professional) manner. Communicate by giving answers, not sales pitches!
4. Site Loading Times: As more and more usage switches to mobile, don't overload your pages with a large number of resource-heavy material like videos, high resolution images etc. Obviously don't dumb the pages down and make them appear bland to your users, but maintain a balance between form and function.
5. Fast delivery of relevant information: People want info.......and they want it immediately! So ensure that what people initially read on mobile is going to grab their attention. Don't waffle on about things that are irrelevant to their needs or interests.....just get the message across!
So that's the way things seem to be heading! Good practices like quality content, user experience, intuitive navigation, Social Media marketing, and SSL security are still the foundation on which your site is built. But Mobile Rules!
What do I think? Personally, I think the whole world has gone mad! We have now reached a scenario where the majority of people are living their lives vicariously through mobile phones!
I'll take real life any day! The storyline at my age may be a bit monotonous but the visual experiences more than make up for it!
See you in 2017!
As we get older, we tend to look back and think that life was better in the past! It was certainly simpler then that's for sure.
But time moves on for all of us and the only option that we have is to go with the flow! There's no pause button to lock our life into one moment in time!
And never is this more true than with technology.....it just keeps advancing. I know that some people tend to resent change in these areas.....but ask yourself, would you like to go back to the pre-mobile era of basic flip-up phones? Ten years ago we could never have dreamed that we'd be walking around with the internet, and in many cases our business, right in the palm of our hands. These sort of advancements require change, as older technologies and applications are gradually replaced by more efficient versions. You're getting the benefits of these developments every day....in everything you do.
The same principle applies to the software applications that power websites and servers. They all get better, quicker, more efficient, and more secure. And I want to touch on just one aspect of that.....PHP. PHP is a widely used scripting language for web applications that powers most of the sites that you visit every day. Including your own!
Those of you on older sites are aware of the upgrade to PHP 5.6 this month which could render some of these obsolete sites as unuseable. We are able to relocate these sites to alternative hosts that are still running older PHP versions, so the sites will still be able to run. But all you're doing is hitting the pause button and trying to lock yourself into a moment in time that's now gone. And it's not just the time that's gone......it's the security and efficiency as well. Security always has to be the predominant factor in the equation.
As we've touched on PHP, let's examine how it's improved over the years by looking at the graph below. This only relates to speed, but you'll get an idea of the groundbreaking improvements that have been made.
We originally started on the PHP 4 series, and then started moving incrementally through the PHP 5 versions.
By 2008 we were on PHP 5.2.....and due to the advancements it made, the time had dropped to 4.2 seconds.
In 2012 we upgraded onto PHP 5.3, and the time went down to 2.9 seconds.
In 2014 we moved to PHP 5.4....which dropped the time down to 2.18 seconds.
Last year it was time for PHP 5.5 which resulted in yet another drop to 2.03 seconds.
June 2016 and it's time for PHP 5.6, as PHP 5.5 is end of line. And we're now below the two second mark at 1.92 seconds.
Compare the times from 2006 (over 12 seconds) to 2016 (under 2 seconds)......that's an incredible difference in speed. And also in efficiency, because it uses less server CPU and memory doing it, while being totally up to date on security.
The next PHP upgrade after this will be PHP 7.......and that will be at the start of 2019. Current tests seem to suggest that it will cut the PHP 5.6 time by 50%, and come in at under a second to run that task. Now that is amazing, and it just shows how far we've come!
So why would anybody want to run on old, outdated, and insecure versions of PHP? Every version of PHP below 5.6 is now a serious security risk, and every website running on obsolete software is also a serious security risk. Put the two together and you've got the perfect storm!
If you have a current and viable business, with your website being an integral part of it.......can you seriously afford to take the risk of Living in The Past?
Security is the most important aspect of any internet based application. Bar none! Just because you haven't experienced bad things.....bad things do happen, and it's getting worse. Every day we battle with various attempted security breaches at both server and site level. If they're particularly serious then we let clients know.
It doesn't help that despite numerous security advisories, some clients knowingly continue to run obsolete and insecure software. Unfortunately there's only so much we can do in these situations because vulnerabilities actually exist......so it's only a matter of time before somebody exploits them. That's an absolute fact.
If you're on current software (which 99% of our clients are) then the risk is greatly reduced. It doesn't mean you're impervious to intrusion by any means, but the odds in your favour are a lot better. But what do you do if somebody wants you taken out of commission for either business or personal reasons?
Now this is where it gets interesting......because recently, two sites have gone through a period of sustained and premeditated hacking attempts. And one of them was ours! Yes.....I'm talking about this site!
In our case, somebody (for whatever reason) bombarded the site with intrusion attempts. And despite everything being locked down tight, they got in. We were onto it virtually instantly and dealt with it, but the results could have been catastrophic.
So it was at that point we had to rethink our options. We immediately put in a commercial website firewall application along with a number of other security related initiatives......which for obvious reasons we can't elaborate on. Since then all has been well, but we're expecting a repeat at any time, and no doubt this will be at an even higher level of expertise.
The second incident occurred very recently......and it was directed at one of our lady clients. Somebody who's been with us for many years and has a very successful business. Her attacks were perpetrated over a longer period and at a much higher volume than ours. It sent her bandwidth usage through the roof resulting in her site going offline for a short period.
We then set up the same security system as we'd done on ours, but we even had to take the unprecedented step of blocking transmissions from a number of countries. Yes.....it was that bad. I'm pleased to report that since then everything is back to normal.....however, as in the case of our site, we're monitoring any traffic to her site very carefully.
So why were we, and our client, attacked in this manner?
The common denominator is we've both been in our respective business sectors for nearly 20 years and are very well established. It could well be the case that we're the dominant entities in our markets......and if either of us were taken out of commission then others could potentially stand to gain from it. Neither of us have any problems with any person (client or otherwise) past or present, and neither of us have any bad business relationships with competitors or associates. So there's absolutely nothing conclusive to go on.
The fact remains that two of us with current and secure software were taken out of commission in a clinical, systematic, and sustained manner. This was no script kiddy or opportunist behind it.....this was a pro who no doubt was being paid to get the desired result. Disruption was minimal in both cases as we were on it fast......but it just goes to show that even when even when all your web applications are up to date, a pro can still get to you. If you're running obsolete software then the result will not be a short disruption, it'll be a trainwreck......but that's your choice.
The cold, hard truth is that even if all applications are up to date and all normal security processes are in place, you're still vulnerable. Not vulnerable in relation to the amateur hackers (like obsolete sites are), but you are most definitely vulnerable to the pros. And it doesn't cost much for somebody to hire a pro to do this sort of job! Both my client and I are fairly sure this is what happened in our cases......and we may not be in the clear yet, as only time will tell.
My feeling on this whole business is that now I would never run a site of mine without having the commercial firewall (and other initiatives) in place. Our property was violated....the site felt "dirty" afterwards so we replaced it entirely. If you've ever had a car stolen and returned then it's the same feeling, and I don't want to be in that position again. Should any clients want to have the same level of protection put in place to secure their site, and the way things are these days I would certainly consider it, just contact us at
So who's the Best Web Designer in Spain? If you search on Google they seem to think it's us! But Google are wrong......we're not!
And I'll tell you who else it isn't.....the man in the pub! I'm sure you know the type: Been everywhere, done everything, knows everything, and in a former life was allegedly a mover and a shaker in big business. Use people like this at your own risk......we've seen the aftermath of these trainwrecks and it's not a pretty sight.
The reality is that if you think using professionals is expensive, just wait till you go down the amateur route. I would advise you to do your research carefully, and look for a longterm, proven, and verifiable track record in the industry. And it goes without saying that you need to take up references. These are some of ours: WebSpain Clients......and all the other pros will be able to show you something similar.
So who is the best? First we need to establish how the industry works. Generally the pros will specialise in a particular application or framework. Essentially, we're all doing the same thing but with different systems and on different platforms. We've worked solely with Joomla (and it's predecessor Mambo) since 2001, while others may be working with WordPress or Drupal, or perhaps they do bespoke sites with their own systems. And there are some who only work in specific business areas.....like Real Estate for example.
As you can see, there is a major specialisation and segmentation occurring here, and that makes comparisons very difficult. This specialisation doesn't occur with the man in the pub of course! He'll throw anything together with anything that comes to hand that happens to be free.....and you'll pay for the dubious privilege of being his guinea pig. Your choice!
What about Review Sites? You'll see these all over the internet, particularly for web hosts. These are not real review sites, they're paid ads.....and you can pay for any of the positions. Obviously if you want number one then that's the most expensive option, and the price then drops incrementally for the lower slots. We were approached a couple of years ago for a "Spain Web Designer Review" fiasco. Our position is we've never paid a penny for advertising in 18 years, so we're not going to start now! Particularly in a deceptive way like that.
To anybody who's considering working with a web designer, I'd suggest that you search on Google and speak to a few of them. Get a feel for who they are and how they do things. You need to find one that's a good "fit" for YOU! Remember that it's not about them.....it's about YOU.
So who is the best web designer in Spain?
We may be the best web designer for some people, but given the specialisation and fragmentation I listed above, it's not possible to be all things to all men! Unless you're the man in the pub of course! That guy is multi talentless on all levels.
The simple answer to this question is there isn't one! There's only the web designer that's best for YOU! It may be us.....or it may be somebody else. But one thing I can guarantee is that the "somebody else" is never going to be the man in the pub!
After many years of being involved in the IT industry, plus working in other business sectors prior to 1988......I notice that one thing never changes! And that is the endless quest for "cheap".
Obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with looking for the best deal when you're buying something. But don't confuse "cheap" with "value for money", because these are two different things. Particularly in regard to web design.
There are some things in life that you don't want to cut corners on, because they're just too important to take chances with. And what you're talking about in this context is the future of you and your family. Effectively, it's not a question of how much money you can save at the time.....it's more a question of how much money you can lose in the future.
Now let's relate this to business web design services by examining some options when you're planning a website!
1. For example, you can get basic website building software for a few pounds and have a go yourself! Why not...it can't do any harm surely?
2. And there's always a self-professed expert down the pub who knows all about this stuff. Don't be put off by the fact that he doesn't actually do this for a living successfully.....because what could go wrong?
3. And if those options don't work, you could always use a FaceBook Business page of course. That way you don't even have to pay for a domain or web hosting! Result.
4. Now here's a radical one! Contact a number of professional web designers, look for a verifiable track record, check testimonials, and get a feel for who you think is right for you.
So you make your choice out of those options above, and let's say you go for options 1, 2 or 3. You add some content to your page telling people how professional you are, and then wait for business to come in. Unfortunately, you find that nothing happens, nobody seems to take you seriously, and then you start getting frustrated.
But look at the way you went about it.....look at the end result.....does that say "professional" to you? And here's the thing, it's not going to say "professional" to anybody else either.
So besides presenting yourself unprofessionally, you've now made claims that none of your previous business decisions actually substantiate. Add loss of credibility to the unprofessionalism, and before you've even got off the ground you've stacked the odds against you. The bottom line is that if you can't demonstrate a reasonable degree of professionalism to prospective clients, then why would they expect you to be professional in what you do for them?
It doesn't have to be that way, but unfortunately that way is the legacy of cheap. Now I'm sure that you don't need the grief, and you most certainly don't need the loss of credibility, so play it safe and go for option 4. It's a no-brainer!
This option doesn't have to be expensive, shop around, do your research, and get testimonials from prospective companies.
With us, you are guaranteed to get a professional website that is fully mobile compatible, you'll receive unsurpassed support, and prospective clients (plus competitors) will know that you're deadly serious about what you're doing.
Admittedly that option isn't "cheap".....but in terms of "value for money" we think it's unbeatable. Only you can make your business a success, but now you've got a professional platform on which to plan your future. If you're serious about your future, only option 4 gives you a realistic chance of success. While options 1,2, and 3, whichever way you dress them up, are no more than occupational suicide. So choose wisely!
It's a fact of life that whether we like it or not, time moves on for all of us! Particularly within the IT industry, with so many new innovations occurring on a regular basis!
As a consequence of this ever changing environment, a question that I sometimes get asked is "How long should a website last?"
Unfortunately there's no simple answer to this one, because there are many contributing factors that can influence longevity.....most of which are beyond our control. I'm referring to factors such as discontinued software applications for sites, and vulnerable server software being withdrawn. Then there's new technologies that emerge......a typical example of that being mobile responsive websites.
However, I'm going to give you the main reasons for upgrading your website software, and hopefully give you an approximate timescale for when I'd consider it necessary.
The main reason for upgrading, and by a very wide margin, is security!
Cyber crime is rampant! But it's not just cyber criminals that an online business needs to worry about.....it's vandals! In fact, these are your biggest threat. Just the same as if they broke your shop window or daubed graffiti on your walls, they'd love nothing better than to trash your website. It's a game to them!
Did you know that there are sites out there that actually organise competitions for members whereby they score points by defacing sites? And they always leave a calling card on your site (sometimes not very pleasant) in order to identify themselves so they can rack up points in the game.
Eventually, vulnerabilities that initially could only be accessed by the elite few will be accessible to even the novices. Very often via user-friendly interfaces, and even guided by online tutorials! It's one of the reasons why software keeps moving on in terms of older, vulnerable applications being withdrawn and newer versions being introduced to replace them. While no application can be guaranteed free of security flaws forever, newer systems are all coded with the knowledge of past vulnerabilities in mind, and patched accordingly.
We've always taken security on the servers very seriously, and the trigger for it to activate is very slight. But if a vulnerability exists in an application that allows a third party to infiltrate your site by simply walking in without raising the alarm, then none of these measures are going to take effect. Given a long enough timeframe, intrusion is guaranteed. So security must always be paramount in your planning.
Of course there are other reasons for upgrading your website. These would include embracing new technology. A typical example would be mobile responsive websites, which has been the most significant technical advancement in the past 10 years. This is the one that's changed the game totally.
Or maybe your competitors have recently taken a major initiative in revamping their web presence, and you're now looking like the poor relation? If that's the case, then it could be the time to consider upgrading.
Has your business switched direction? Or have you changed your marketing strategy? If so, then it may be time to change your website to match the new focus!
Perception! As the years pass, your site will look more and more outdated. And so will potential clients' perception of you. Essentially, you will not be giving them the confidence to use your services.
All of these are valid reasons to consider upgrading......but the security aspect is by far the most important!
As for the life of a site.....in principle it could run forever if you can find a webhost that will run obsolete server software indefinitely! Plus you'd need to be totally invisible to potential hackers of course.
In reality, neither of those scenarios are going to be very likely, so I'd say around 3 to 4 years before you'd need to think about replacing your existing site. If not for functionality and appearance, then most definitely for security reasons because you may well be vulnerable by that time.
But whatever your reason for considering an upgrade, you'll still get the benefits of all of the aspects! Plus you'll have the peace of mind of knowing that your site is looking modern and attractive to potential clients, while being as safe and secure as possible.
Starting a new business? Is your current website outdated? Are you losing business because competitors' sites are more professional? Do you need secure and reliable web hosting?
These scenarios are not unique....virtually all our clients come to WebSpain for the same reasons, and usually via personal recommendation from existing clients.
The first step is to contact us at
We'll reply very quickly, immediately identify your requirements and all the possible options available to you.
We can then design a demonstration site based on your preferences, with no deposit needed, and no obligation to proceed whatsoever. So you have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain! And if you like what you see, we can then complete your new website within 7 to 10 days!