Google Webmaster Tools

The Google Webmaster tools page is, in short, a place for you to log in and submit sitemaps for your websites, thus informing Google of changes and updates to your sites, which in turn means these pages should get indexed quicker.
A Sitemap is an XML file that lists the URLs for a site. It allows webmasters to include additional information about each URL: when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. This allows search engines to crawl the site more intelligently.
Sitemaps supplement and do not replace the existing crawl-based mechanisms that search engines already use to discover URLs. By submitting Sitemaps to a search engine a webmaster is only helping that engine’s crawlers to do a better job of crawling their site(s). Using this protocol does not guarantee that your web pages will be included in search indexes nor does it influence the way that pages are ranked by a search engine.

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Metas Tags are they important?

Although it is entirely possible to appear high in search engines without any Meta tags and many so called SEO professionals will tell you that they are obsolete, this is not entirely true. Search engines are looking for what you have in your page, how do you think Google adds a description to its results? The use of meta tags will allow search engine spiders to easily index what they find, add descriptions to the results, and define what keywords are relevant to content and such. For the simple task of adding them in, it is hard to say that they are truly obsolete. In short Meta tags are not the be all and end all, they do not have a huge effect on your ranking, but they definitely make your page come up a lot neater in search engine result pages.

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What are MX records

What are MX records?

An MX record or Mail exchanger record is a type of resource record in the Domain Name System (DNS) specifying how Internet e-mail should be routed. MX records point to the servers that should receive an e-mail, and their priority relative to each other.

An MX record must contain a host name defined by an A record.
An A record or address record maps a hostname to a 32-bit IPv4 address.

When an e-mail message is sent through the Internet, the sending Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) e.g. Microsoft Exchange Server, makes a DNS query requesting the MX record for the recipient’s domain name (the portion of the e-mail address following the “@”). This query returns a list of host names of mail exchange servers accepting incoming mail for that domain, together with a preference number. The sending agent then attempts to establish a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) connection to one of these servers, starting with the one with the smallest preference number, delivering the message to the first server with which a connection can be made. If no MX records were present, a second request is made for the A record of the domain instead.

The MX mechanism provides the ability to run multiple mail servers for a single domain and the order in which they should be tried, increasing the likelihood that mail may be delivered and providing the ability to distribute the processing of incoming mail across multiple physical servers. This ability to run multiple mail servers easily is proving very valuable for high-availability clusters of inexpensive mail gateways that can then process hundreds of messages per second in aggregate to quarantine or remove spam and/or viruses. However, not all versions of all mail transfer agents pay attention to lower priority MX records — in other words, if the highest-priority MX server fails, the MTA doesn’t address the backup server.

The MX mechanism does not grant the ability to provide mail service on alternative ports, nor does it provide the ability to distribute mail delivery across a set of equal-priority mail servers by assigning a weighting value to each one.

MX records are usually changed from where you register your domain name – somewhere like 123-reg. Here you can buy domains from £2.59/year Buy now!

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Which WordPress drag and drop editor

Users of WordPress websites can design and alter their own sites with confidence using drag and drop page builders.

These ready-made blocks are available to users of all abilities to enable the quick and easy development of websites.

There are several drag and drop page builder plugins available for WordPress, and when deciding which of the many components to choose, it is worth considering what they have to offer in terms of flexibility, design output and user-friendliness.

Beaver Builder This premium drag and drop page builder plugin is ultra-speedy and comes with a selection of premade templates to help get you started. A built in on-boarding tour familiarises users with their interface. Any changes are visible as soon as they are made, and you can click on any element in a page to edit its properties.

With many basic and advanced modules, Beaver Builder has sliders, carousel, backgrounds and content blocks among several other features. The smallest detail can be customised, making this a fantastic choice for users of all levels.


  • 20 + page templates
  • WooCommerce integration
  • Live front end editing
  • SED optimised
  • Widgets and shortcodes
  • Developer friendly
  • Responsive design
  • Theme / plugin combo makes this easy to use for everyone

Velocity Page is a simple but powerful page builder plugin, with the capacity to allow you to edit your page with a live preview. The many built in modules are available to use by clicking on the ‘add element’ button. Multi-media rich pages can be created with minimum effort. In terms of ease of use and design output, Velocity Page is as simple to edit as a Word document and allows you to freely create the page you want.


  • Responsive design
  • Landing pages compatible with Aweber and MailChimp
  • Real time drag and drop front end editing
  • No technical skills required

Headway Themes ideal for the novice user, this is a complete theme. Build any layout and design using the easy drop and drag interface. Ready to use blocks can be added to any page, and many more blocks and templates are available to download from the Headway Themes website. Everything operates very smoothly via the highly functional drop and drag, however because it is only a theme, users would need to switch their existing theme.


  • Responsive design
  • Unlimited layouts
  • Mirror blocks
  • Google fonts
  • Live CSS
  • Woocommerce ready


SiteOrigin Page Builder is available to use as a fully functional free plugin and is one of the most popular. Relatively simple to use, it can work with any standard compliant WordPress theme. Page Builder allows you to use WordPress widgets, and features widgets of its own. You are also able to download and install any widget. A history tool enables the user to undo and redo any changes, saving time and giving assurance. This is the best free page builder available.


  • The use of widgets for the drag and drop components
  • The plugin is enhanced by the SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle plugin
  • All modules generated and placed on your site are responsive
  • Free

Themify Builder features several ready to use modules that can be added to  pages or posts. Edit your pages from the admin area or from your live site – where you can see exactly how any changes will appear. Ready to use layouts come as standard and can be applied to pages quickly. Despite its many features, this is not the easiest builder to use. Site Origin Page Builder provides most of the same features – for free!


  • Responsive
  • Cache system
  • SEO friendly
  • Modular based
  • Multi-site support
  • Multilingual

X is a best-selling theme. Crafted using recommendations from experts in areas such as WordPress and SEO, it is endlessly customisable and Retina ready.

The one-page navigation and easy set-up makes this product suitable for beginners as well as experienced users.


  • 4 unique designs
  • Unlimited customisation options
  • Cornerstone front-end drag and drop page builder
  • Layout options
  • Easy set-up
  • Retina ready and responsive

Unyson sports an impressive range of features making it an interesting and viable option for users. With built-in extensions for developers and powerful customisation options for end users, this product provides an easy way to create custom crafted content – for free.


  • Mega Menus
  • Built-in sliders
  • SEO ready
  • Custom widgets
  • Free





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What is a WordPress theme?

WordPress themes are the templates you choose to determine the appearance and basic functionality of your website.

A theme modifies the way a site is displayed without modifying the underlying software.

The page layout, stylistic details, colours and fonts can all be designed to suit, giving you the freedom to choose the best way to represent your business.

Themes make a website simple yet professional, allowing you to manage your site quickly and easily using the powerful features that come as standard.

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How to Get More Likes For Your Instagram Photos

With 400 million active monthly accounts, Instagram is the eighth ranking photo-showing app.

But with so many Users, how can you make your photos stand-out from the crowds and gain more followers? Read on for tips on how to take the perfect photo and attract more followers…

  • Use Hashtags

Hashtags increase the chance of your photos being seen and shared. Categorise your shots using keywords and use a variety of hashtags for each photo. For example, if you are launching a health food snack, take a photo of your product and use #food #healthy #happiness.

Using hashtags increases follower count and therefore exposure. Popular hashtags include: #Love, #Happy, #Food, #Fun, #photooftheday, #Instagood, #tbt (throwback Thursday). Use Websta to find which hashtags are currently trending, and to source users with similar interests to yours.

Like anything, hashtags are best used sparingly; too many may make your posts look cluttered and clumsy; so use 2-3 in your post and add more to comments.

  • Post Photos at Appropriate Times

You may have the best shot in the world, but if you post it at 12am on a Sunday morning, the chances are it won’t be seen. Use an app like Iconosquare to help you identify the best time to post for follower engagement. Utilising a service like this (many are free) will provide invaluable insight on how to gain maximum followers and likes and prevent you from wasting the best photos at the worst times.

  • Take Decent Pictures

If possible, stand above your subject and take the shot from at least three feet away (especially important with food). Make sure your picture looks attractive and arrange your surroundings appropriately.

Use natural light wherever you can, or use a flash light to brighten shots.

Blue tones attract more likes, so add them in wherever you can.

When taking selfies, editing tools such as Squaready are excellent for blotting out blemishes, but don’t overdo it – people prefer natural.

Use filters sparingly to make your shot appear as natural as possible – don’t lose sight of what things really look like in the quest for the perfect photo.

Hold your phone upright – this will ensure your picture looks clear.

Use the HDR function in low light.

#NoFilter is a great way to show an honest, accurate photo of your subject. Natural really is best!

Use an app like Diptic to combine multiple shots into one frame.

Avoid clogging up people’s newsfeeds with too many pictures; use a timer to space out your photos.

  • Get Networking and Stay Active

Find other users with similar interests and work with them to cross promote each other. The Internet is one massive social hub, and collaborating with people relevant to your brand will help you all to get extra exposure. Establish friendship groups and get connected; shout-outs from other Instagrammers or websites will help you to gain followers. Acknowledge other user’s photos, and interact with them. Compliment shots and comment. Reciprocate likes to show you’re interest in other people’s content. Think of Instagram as a ‘You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of environment.

  • Link Your Social Media Accounts

Link your Instagram account to your Facebook account for maximum exposure to a wider audience.

  • Know Who You Are

The best way to encourage user engagement is to be yourself and stay consistent. Have a theme, and stick to it by posting regularly; people find comfort in familiarity. Be conscious of your tone and pace. Have a knowledge of current topics and post appropriately to stay interesting and relevant. Know your audience and understand what will appeal to them. Stay natural, honest and original to build up a long term and engaged following.

  • And Finally…

You can buy followers from service such as Instafollow ( Instafollow promises to not only provide you with real followers (not bots) but also to promote your brand to professionals and comes with a refund guarantee.

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How Effective Is Google Plus?

Google + is Google’s social network, although appears to provide a more ‘serious’ business related platform than other social media sites.

It is thought that around 23% of Internet users utilise the Google+ service, which was made available to everyone after a short test period in 2011.

So, how effective IS Google Plus?

With more than 2.5 billion registered users, the answer should be ‘very’. However, every Gmail address corresponds with its own Google+ account, meaning that many of these have never even been looked at, which is a shame, because Google+ boasts some pretty awesome features:

  • Circles is used to organise the people you follow and your followers. When you add a contact to your account, you can assign them to one or more circles of your choice – a great way to categorise. Circles are private, meaning that no-one can see how you have organised them.
  • Messages and links can be shared with everyone or just with those in certain circles – you can choose. A notifications section keeps you informed of responses to our comments / shared content; importantly there is an option to ‘mute’ updates.
  • Organising networks into circles allows users to reach people they deem most likely to be interested in their content, and to avoid jamming up the newsfeeds of those that aren’t.
  • Hangouts are basically a video group chat. Ideal for conferences, you can talk via video with up to ten people. There is an option not to be seen or heard, and you are able to share YouTube videos to share with others in your hangout.
  • Real-time Stream means that the stream flows as and when new updates are posted; these are shown at the top of your stream once you’ve logged in.
  • Sharing is caring. Clicking the ‘Share’ link below the post you want to share enables all those in your chosen circles to view it.
  • Your Google+ profile is easy to edit and is the place to go to determine privacy settings, change profile settings and choose which tabs show to which of your circles.
  • Photos can be uploaded and organised using Google Photos, and easily shared straight to Google+. Any photos set as ‘public’ will be visible to all your Google+ circles.
  • It is possible to view authorship stats in Google Webmaster Tools. This will enable you to check how many impressions your marked up content is receiving. When an author is producing lower-quality content, authorship won’t be displayed.
  • Webmaster Tools can also be utilised to see how many clicks your Google+ profile page has received.

Google+ is interest motivated. Finding others with similar interests efficiently allows you to connect quickly, and build relationships effectively. Formatting posts to your chosen audiences allows you to target appropriate followers with updates relevant to them. Every Google+ post  is indexed by Google and available to appear in Search. This means that as people start to add you into circles, your network will evolve, making your content available to a wider field.

Despite the controversy, Google+ is an excellent form of social SEO. With dedicated communities and engaged audiences, it promises to be a successful social media platform for any business.

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How to Get Followers on Facebook

Facebook is used by over 1 billion people worldwide, making it the ideal platform for your business.

But with so many users, how can you make your brand stand out from the crowds?

Read on for tips on how to boost your fan base and build your business…

  • Cover Photo

Your cover photo is basically the billboard of your brand, therefore it should be representative of your business. Choose something professional, eye-catching and creative. Users should be able to tell instantly who you are, and what you have to offer.

  • Profile Picture

Again, this should be professional and appropriate to your brand. Consider linking your profile picture to your cover photo for an effective marketing strategy. For example, if you make bespoke cushions, why not have a sofa as your cover picture and a cushion as your profile, designed to look as if it has been placed onto the sofa?

  • Make your Statuses Worth Reading

Stay interesting and relevant. Overloading people’s newsfeeds is likely to get you unfollowed. A little bit of relevant information is far mouseful than truckloads of daily info-dumping.

  • Share Interesting Articles and Facts

Keep your eye on the news, and share items that are unusual, attention grabbing or just plain fun. Think about articles that you would be interested in; don’t just share something for the sake of updating your page.

  • Engage and Respond

Social media is an excellent way to communicate with people. When people comment on your page, respond. It’s only polite and helps to establish a rapport with your online customer base. It’s worth remembering that having 200 warm followers with an interest in your brand is far more worthwhile than having 2000 followers with little or no interest in your page. Quality definitely over-rides quantity when it comes to Facebook. Always follow your followers.

  • Post Great Content

It sounds kind of obvious, but it really is an integral part of any social media campaign. Know your audience and deliver high-quality, relevant content to them on a regular basis. Make your content shareworthy for maximum exposure. When people share your links and posts, you are potentially reaching thousands of new customers.

  • Staying Professional

Keep your pages clear, concise and accurate with up-to-date information about your product / service and contact details.  Social media is not the place to vent an opinion, rant or rave when you’re seeking recognition as a reputable business.

  • Blog!

If you have the time to write a decent blog, with great content you can pretty much guarantee to generate traffic to your Facebook page by placing a widget on your blog. Using a point of action such as a graphic or enhanced text will show people what you want them to do.

  • Don’t Oversell

Social media is a fantastic way to communicate and engage with people. However, it’s not the place to give a hard sell. Use your page to advertise a few choice items or highlight glowing reviews from satisfied customers, but don’t turn people off by making your entire page a sales pitch.

  • Run A Contest

Increase your brand attention by running a contest. People love prizes! Programs like Promotion Builder are available to help you. Check Facebook’s rules first.

  • Manage Your Wall-Posting Preferences

It may be worth setting your page’s Posting Ability Tab to allow only page admin to post:

  1. Choose Edit Page from your Admin Panel
  2. Choose Edit Settings
  3. Edit the Posting Ability Tab to decide who can post on your page.

Effective admin will help you to maintain a professional page, and prevent  keyboard warriors from posting obscene or offensive content onto your page.

  • Add a Facebook Like Box To Your Website

If a user is already scouring your webpages, the chances are that they are  interested in your brand. Give them the opportunity to read your Facebook page with a gentle push in the right direction.

  • Advertising on Facebook

Facebook offers a variety of ads. Marketplace ads are generally the most affordable and therefore popular type of advertising. These include ads to external pages, sponsored stories and Facebook objects.

Running several combinations of ads can help you to decide which type will work best for you. You are able to use a number of ad formats in your campaign.

Know your competitors, and use this information to develop your unique selling points and make your brand stand out. What can your product offer that your competitor’s can’t? Exploit this and use it to your advantage to help  develop your ads.

  • Remember, Quality not Quantity

Stick to one Facebook page. It not only looks more professional and reputable, but saves you a whole lot of stress! The same goes for buying fans – just don’t. You need genuinely interested, engaged fans, not a load of fake followers with no intention of ever commenting on your posts or sharing your content.

  • And Finally…

Write like a human, for humans! If you know your target audience (as you should) finding decent content, relevant to them should come naturally. Test yourself – check recent posts; do you really find them engaging? Have you posted anything shareworthy? Aim to enhance your page and entrance your audience with educational, entertaining or interesting content.

Organic growth is the key to success – so persevere and concentrate on attracting quality fans.

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Why use WordPress?

WordPress is a highly configurable Content Management System that combines simplicity for users and publishers with hidden complexities for developers.

Originally designed to meet the needs of Bloggers, WordPress has evolved and is now able to accommodate plugins and design widgets, making it not only functional but aesthetically pleasing.

Everything from basic websites to applications are built using the adaptability and flexibility of WordPress.

Benefits of WordPress

  • User Friendly – Learning to edit content, add photos and post new pages is simple, even for those with little or no experience of programming or design.
  • Money Saving – You will be able to make your own edits, manage your own text, photos and videos for your website.
  • Easily Accessible – Add content or make changes from anywhere in the world.
  • Great Communication– By being able to make your own changes, you are able to communicate the most current information to your website users immediately-without waiting for a designer to update content.
  • Increased Functionality – Plugins are pre-written programmes that can increase the functionality of your software. There are thousands of WordPress plugins available.
  • Free Upgrades – Upgrades to WordPress blog software are free.
  • Mobile Readiness – WordPress automatically recognises how a site is being viewed and automatically configures the content to be viewed through a mobile device or web browser.
  • Design Consistency– WordPress offers a themed approach to website design and layout – and ensures that this theme is saved and used throughout your site. However WordPress also provides…
  • Design Flexibility – Enabling you to have a different design theme for every page of your website, should you wish to.
  • Improved Security – Your designer or developer uses a process called ‘hardening’ to secure your WordPress website and protect it against hackers.
  • Easy to Print – Many websites are too wide to print. Using a simple plugin, all of your WordPress site content can be printed in an easy to read format, without sacrificing the screen view design.
  • Staying Fresh – Themes can be easily swapped, allowing you to change the appearance of your website to reflect holidays, seasons or celebrations.
  • Automatic Saving – Even of your work hasn’t yet been published, it is automatically saved as you type, reducing loss to work and saving time.

As technology continues to develop, so does WordPress. By providing increased functionality and flexibility to suit your needs WordPress gives you the freedom to have control over your own website.

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MySQL IF statement example

While writing a select statement in MySQL it is possible to use an IF statement, an example would be apply a tax cost to a product price or converting a 1 to Yes and 0 to No.

The syntax for the statement is

IF(expression ,true, false);

So if we wanted to convert a boolean (either on or off) from a number to Yes or No we would use

IF(fieldactive = 1,"Yes", "No");

It is possible to use the if statement in conjunction with calculations another good example would be to apply a tax charge (VAT @ 20%) if the product value needs VAT applied to it.

IF(fieldvat =1,fieldvalue * 1.2, fieldvalue) as fieldincvat

When the “fieldvat” equals 1 we then take the value of fieldvalue and multiply it by 1.2 (which is the same as adding 20% to the orginal value), else we just show the fieldvalue

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