Category: Webmaster

Vulnerability Updates now available

As an add on to our WordPress Webmaster support we are now offering specific vulnerable updates as an add-on to our Webmaster service.

For just an extra £25/month+vat (or £250/year+vat) we’ll lock down your WordPress plugins, themes and core files from known security exploits which, combined with the resilient hosting, backup, security and monitoring services that makeup WordPress Webmaster Support make Spotlight Studios one of the most robust WordPress platforms available.

What are vulnerability updates?

Updates are usually a mix of security, functionality and efficiency but sometimes there are specific updates released to patch a known vulnerability within the plugin that might put your website at risk. These vulnerabilities should be updated as soon as possible before this weakness is exploited – a known vulnerability is one that has been publicly released and puts any website that uses it at risk.

How do we do it?

As part of our Webmaster support, we perform ‘Safe Updates’ on your website. This means that we’ll take a backup of your website before we start updating anything and if we detect any issues during or with the website process we’ll roll back the website and investigate further.

How soon will your website be updated?

We’ll ensure that vulnerabilities are patched with 72 hours of becoming available. These may include WordPress, Plugin or Theme updates however any other files that are also out of date will be updated on the next regular schedule.

How do I know if this is for me?

This add-on goes particularly well with our Quarterly or Monthly updates as it ensures a balance between the general security and maintenance that regular updates provide with the additional peace of mind that if anything that any recognised threats are immediately patched.

More Information

Please get in touch if you have any questions about this add-on whether you would like to add it to your existing WordPress support or maintenance plan or start a new WordPress Webmaster Support package for your website.

What is the best backup solution for your business?

Backup is essential for modern business but with so many different methods available how can you pick the one that is best for you?

There are a few important variables to consider including how much data you have, how sensitive the data is and to what extent you can still function as a business without it.

How much data do you have?

How much data you need to backup and the combination of total data and daily generated data will have a significant impact on your decision. Although physical disks are getting larger in capacity and cheaper, if you have a lot of data (read, tens of terabytes – not gigabytes!) then an on-site backup server (especially if you are keeping previous versions of files) might not be the most feasible or cost-effective solution. This is where cloud solutions really excel – almost unlimited storage capacities at tiny prices.

Storage is cheap, but time is not. An important and often overlooked factor is fast your internet connection is and how long it takes to backup the data you generate each day and how long it would take to download all of your data from the cloud in a disaster situation. If you have a super-fast leased line this they might not be a problem, but if you are sharing a building’s internet connection or have a slow transfer speed then this could be a major problem.

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How sensitive is your data?

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and all of the other big names spend a lot on security to ensure that your data is safe however it is still stored nu-encrypted in a public data-centre. An on-site backup server gives you full, secure access to your files and data but there are also other options out there; cloud backup and storage services tuned specifically for privacy with 100% data encryption and private, UK servers with 100% network uptime and 1-hour hardware replacement SLA’s.

Monitoring and Testing

All backups should be monitored so that if anything starts to fail, it can be fixed before it puts any data at risk. In a similar way, recovery should be simulated on a regular basis so that you can be confident that the data is being duplicated perfectly. In our experience, this is where most backup solutions fall down. They are set up, untested and when the time comes to recover data files are corrupted or not available.

The best of both is the best for most

Our recommended solution in most cases is for an on-site NAS Server that is set up for regular cloud backups. This provides you with the best of both worlds; an on-site backup for instant recovery of files combined with the resilience of an off-site cloud backup if there were ever any major disaster.

Our Managed Spotlight NAS drives (built with Synology hardware) are completely scalable, secure and integrated with cloud backup solutions such as Amazon Glacier for cheap, reliable off-site backup.

Read More Spotlight NAS

Implementation

The first step of any backup strategy should always be a consultation and risk analysis of your current infrastructure. This will allow us (or any other consultant) to identify current vulnerabilities and put a plan in place.

Talk to us

If you’d like to book a consultation or talk to us about any of our backup solutions then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Making sense of your Google Analytics Traffic Reports

Google Analytics is a fantastic resource, but a minefield to get around – engagement, acquisition, goals – all of this information can be collated and used to boost your business by a trained SEO expert. But how can you use this information if you are not an expert?

Monthly Readable Reports

Our easy to understand monthly SEO reports are written in plain English to tell you exactly what is going on with the traffic to your website without any of the complicated jargon. We’ll show the most interesting data first and include your overall page views, any new referrals, the bounce rate and other website performance data and we’ll compare that to the previous month and let you know if it is an all-time high or low.

React with confidence

You’ll be able to see if there is a spike in tablet visitors to ensure that the website is mobile-ready as well as identify if one advertising source is referring more or fewer visitors than others.

AdWords Ready

If you use Google AdWords then we’ll include your paid search data, including an overall spend analysis

Transparent E-Commerce

If you sell items on your website then our reports can provide a comprehensive insight into your digital business. We’ll link your campaigns together, measure user interaction and aim to quantify your website’s success against previous periods.

Included in our SEO Packages or available separately

All of our SEO Packages include these reports but if you would like a better understanding of how your website is performing on a month-to-month basis then we can set you up for just £15/mo+VAT

Talk to us about SEO reports or click here for more information about Strategic SEO Campaigns

3 Ways to build a Website – Self-Build Vs Friend Vs Web Designer

If you are thinking about building your own site then you will understand how difficult it can be to get it all sorted out. On top of this, you also need to think about how you are going to pay for it and if the site is going to be fully functional after the project has been completed. For this reason, you may want to think about hiring a website designer. They can help you by making sure that your site is the best that it can be and they can also make sure that you are completely satisfied with the service they have provided you with. If you aren’t sure if you can build your own site or not, or if you think you can but you have some reservations then all you need to do is take a look below to see some of the top things you need to think about.

Do You Have A Budget?

If you don’t have much of a budget then you may want to think about doing the site yourself. WordPress is a great option in this instance and as your skills develop past the basics and you move to a self-hosted version of the site you can really start to open up all the possibilities. This is great if you are very confident when it comes to the administration interface and it is also great if you want to customise your site a little bit more. Of course, it is important to understand that you need to have experience in this before you go ahead and try and do it yourself but at the end of the day, it is a great way for you to save money.

If you’re interested in building your own website and would like some help or advice then get in touch – we have training sessions available for all abilities whether you need on-site or remote one-to-one training or you would like to attend a workshop.

Maybe You Have A Friend Who Can Do It For You?

If you have a friend who says that they can handle your website design for you and they seem like they are up for the job then you may be tempted to go with this as an option. This has it’s advantages as they probably won’t charge very much (sometimes only as little as £100) and you know them so you feel like you can trust them. Of course, this trust (and your friendship) can also put a significant strain on both of you if problems occur, both personally and professionally. They may not have the experience you need to get the job done to the level you need (especially if web design is not their profession) and whereas they might consider that they are doing you a favour regardless – you might end up in a worse position than you started. After all, this website will be your company front – the first thing a lot of people will see and that representation has to reflect accurately. On top of this, the main reason you are building a site is probably to get found and to make money so if you want it to be a real success then your only realistic option would be to invest.

We’re not here to tell you what to do but if you don’t have the budget for a website right now, our advice would be to postpone it – seriously, you’ll be glad you did.

But What If You Have A Budget?

If you have a budget then great! You’ll probably want to go with one of our turnkey solutions or similar as the basic building block for your site – this keeps costs down and gets up and running quickly plus you can be confident the website will work seamlessly across multiple devices. For the initial price, you will be able to change things like the menu, where the images are and even the colours. If you want more than this then you may need to pay for the additional development time, but at the end of the day, you really are getting the site of your dreams at a significant discount compared to a custom build.

Although a static site is cheaper, if you want a dynamic site with significant SEO benefits built-in then you will want to go with WordPress. This is the best way to go if you want to build a great site with news articles, blogs and fantastic features. If you want to go with a static site that you don’t really need to update, then HMTL is simply effective and we can often have you online within a couple of weeks.

Although there are several options available you might be surprised at how much an experienced website designer can help you to get the initial design down as well as other elements of the site both in terms of layout, content and the flow of the website that you might not have thought about. Ultimately the website is for your clients – it is a tool for them to use to easily get in touch and place new orders for your goods and services. Even if you are somewhat experienced, it is a risk designing your site yourself and you need to do everything you can to make sure that all of the codes and links are in working order as well as understanding the psychology of how people navigate a website – even the way people read online articles is completely different than if they are reading a newspaper or magazine. If you miss on any of these then you can’t expect your customers to stay on your site for very long and this is just one of the many things that your web designer can help you with.

A decent web design company should be able to find a package for you even if you are on a budget and if you choose to talk to us then we will always be upfront if we think that there is a better value option available. Why don’t you give it a go for yourself today to see how you could benefit? It has never been easier for you to get started and you could have a great site in no time.

If you’d like to talk to us about the development of your new website then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst! Backup and Security

You have probably heard a lot of people talk about how important it is to have good backup and security for your hard drive and computer in case something goes wrong, but at the end of the day, the same concept applies to your site as well and there are plenty of things that you need to look out for.

Bad things can happen

Unfortunately, bad things can happen. Websites are attacked every single day and although measures can be taken to help prevent these whether it’s that your site is attacked by a malicious script, spammed or even directly attacked for its data or to commit fraud.

It is not just hackers and spammers you need to worry about. Hosting companies can experience outages, floods, electrical problems and more. If your only backup is located within the same data centre, any major incident that occurs there could mean that your website and the backup of your website are lost. This effectively drops the value of your website to zero.

And let us not forget about human error 😉

Hackers

Hackers are all over the web. They usually use their skills to try and steal credit card information but a lot of people choose to hack sites because it proves how good they are, and it may even cause a bit of trouble as well. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how much security you have, things can happen at any time and by having a website backup in place, you can be sure to make a difference.

Minimising Damages – Backup and Security

If you log into your site one day and you are greeted with an error, time again then you will probably get a sinking feeling in your stomach. The feeling that tells you that something is wrong, and before you know it, you come to terms with what has just happened. If you don’t have a website backup in place then this could mean serious problems for you later down the line and for this reason, it is always important to make sure that this is the case.

One way to keep your website more secure would be to keep up to date with all the latest WordPress updates, but at the end of the day, this can only do so much for your security and if something catastrophic should happen then you might not be able to protect yourself against it. All of our Webmaster packages come with daily snapshot backups but If you don’t have a website backup in place then it might be a good idea to contact your agency to get one sorted.

For more information about backup and security or to see how we can help keep your website fast, backed up, secure and up-to-date please don’t hesitate to get in touch today

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Manchester
M4 6JG

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