Migration Launch

Webtiger working along with HampleDesigns, The Bridge Coaching and the lovely migration team at MCA Migration Consultants Australia have launched a new migration website. Currently it’s in soft launch mode & over the next few weeks we’ll keep an eye out for any bugs, reports of bugs. The site was tested thoroughly & I don’t expect we’ll be contacted about bugs, however bugs are bugs, an unknown and usually an unwanted surprise.

Bugs + Warrenties

The Webtiger warranty covers fixing bugs for 30 days after site launch at no extra charge.

Graphic Design

Working with the talented Amanda from HampleDesigns  was and is always a pleasure. The site has changed a little since we were provided the initial design by Amanda. The process to create and build your custom designed website is agile, allowing changes and reassessment to happen throughout the project life cycle. Of course, some clients stick to the mock up design from the get go to the final product too.  We touch base along the way to make sure the client is happy with the design.

Project Management

This Migration project was managed by the very talented Emmy from The Bridge Coaching. She is organised, focused and keeps the project and team members in the know and working towards the goal post. Webtiger loved working with her and hope to do so on many more projects.

The Migration Site Launch

The site that launched this week can be found here: MCA Migration.

It’s fresh, it’s new, it’s informative. The website is responsive of course too.

This website is a stunner, it has powerful complex online forms and easy to read migration information.

In fact the contact form was used by a new client just hours after the site launch.

Delay in the project

The migration website has come at the right time, right when Australia changed the immigration laws, this announcement from the Australian government did delay our project a touch. Projects get delayed for all sorts of reasons, this was just one of them.

WT Soft Launch Stage.

Launch. It’s a good day!

Soft launch mode.

Webtiger is currently in ‘Soft Launch’ mode. I’ve deleted the old site, redirected all old site links, mostly finished the new Webtiger website and launched it, however, I’ve launched it without telling anyone.

In a few weeks, after I’ve tested everything and gained some feedback from various site visitors, I’ll do the fancy larger launch party.

Safer.

It’s ‘safer’ this way. If there are any typos or bugs, they’ll be found by a smaller audience and can be fixed before the larger community see the site, which could be embarrassing.

I have found it really difficult to find time to work on my own projects such as my own website. I’m usually busy creating for my lovely clients. Recently launched websites include the powerful www.greysafe.com.au .  This website was launched last week and a few getting much closer to their launch date over the next few weeks.

Message.

The message of this post is that launching your website is a big deal. So having a soft launch can be very beneficial. This ensures that when you do go live to a large audience there are no bugs, no typos and no embarrassing situations. Webtiger will strongly encourage you to soft launch your site.  Please allow time for this in your timeline.

How long?

How long is a soft launch? Well, it can depend on the size of your website. If your site is huge and sells products, perhaps allow for a longer amount of time than a site that is only a few pages and doesn’t sell anything. I’m going to give my site a few weeks before I do the big ‘Go Live’ party. But some sites have waited a day or two with family and friends giving the site a good go over those few days.

Stock Photography

Webtiger Stock Photography

It’s been decided that Webtiger should be producing and selling stock photography. Therefore, that’s what’s been happening over the past few months. For starters I’ll focus on the more ‘feminine’ style of stock photography.

Feminine Styled Stock Photography

The photos will be flowery and feminine. With the target to be for feminine blogs and websites. I’ll slowly transition this website over to all Webtiger images, but for now there is a mixture of feminine stock images from various sources.

I’ve opened an etsy store too. So please, go check it out. The images can be found on this site and etsy.

Custom Images

As I’m working on projects I’ll make the decision about creating custom images. I’ve worked with builders & cabinet makers photographing the dream homes they create. for their new sites. Such as a few for this one Tibco Designs.  It’s no trouble to take the camera around for clients who have been stuck for images that are suitable.

 

Website Security

This post will focus on WordPress. Another time I’ll write about WooCommerce, Magento and Joomla. I just wanted to quickly give some tips on how to do some basic security house keeping.

I remember sitting in the lecture for computer security at the University of Tasmania, the lecturer often told stories of hacked websites, databases and one particular story named ‘The Cuckoo’s Egg’. This books is fabulous. I read it in a night, I couldn’t put it down. Our lecturer was discussing the story and mentioned one of the most basic website security concepts of all. I’m going to share it with you now too. Get ready, it’s ground breaking. haha.

Never keep the user name as ‘Admin’, or ‘Administrator’ or ‘User’. What ever username your device comes with by default, change it.

And, change the password.

Hackers love it when you leave the user name as ‘admin’ and password as ‘password’! Don’t do it!

Another tool Webtiger will ensure is switched on, comes with WordPress by default, this is ‘Limit Logins’. There are a few other third party plugins you can install for free and buy.

One of the best ways to see if a plugin is any good is to look at how many downloads/uses it has. Wordfence has over a million installations. iThemes is also highly rated.

Backup

Make sure your website is backed up frequently. If you do get hacked, we can roll back to a version without the hack and implement security measures to avoid it happening again.

Soft Launch

Yep, it’s exciting to launch your website. Many times it’s take a month or two to get to the launch stage. Webtiger strongly suggests that you soft launch your website before your massive media campaign kicks off. This will allow you to use that time during your soft launch to asses your market fit and gather leads. Be open to making updates based on the feedback you receive during the soft launch process.

You will also be able to use this time to discover hidden bugs, refine your blog, update any missed typos, and get feedback from the smaller audience. Ask family and friends to give you feedback.

Another benefit is being able to tell new and targeted customers that they are getting an exclusive preview of your site before general launch, this will deepen your relationship with clients and hopefully give you more leads. You can test out your branding and products on them and you can practice talking your talk.

Spend some quality time researching and implementing any other tools you are going to need as your business grows. Such as project management tools, to-do-lists and social media.

Just use this time to take a breather and focus on refining your content and approach. Get accustomed with your analytic tool and any other software you are going to be using as your business grows. You may not have time later.

Once you have your head around who is using your site and how (because it may not be who and how  you expected), and once you have skills in using the software for your business, GO FOR IT.

Free Feminine Stock Images

If you have a feminine blog, website, print media business & you are getting a little bit sick of having the same stock as everyone else. OR just sick of seeing the ‘same old’ images on the ‘same old’ stock images sites, this post is for you.

There are quite a few stunning sites to get free and paid for feminine stock. Here is my little review of each.

Shay Chochrane

Shay Chochrane photography

Image: Shay Cochrane

The queen of fem stock is Shay Chochrane. Get your credit card out and prepare to spend big, her images are expensive. There is a reason for this, they are incredible. You can sign up to her newsletter and receive a free image a month too. I love her work. If only my desk really looked like that. I don’t have much of a use for pencils, but if I did, those are the ones I’d get.

Shay sells 10 of each image, after that, no one else can buy the image. So you end up with an image that isn’t all over the net.

Twigyposts

stock image - twigyposts

I love Twigyposts. These images are stunning. They also much more affordable than Shay Chochrane. I’m pretty sure that Twigyposts sells an unlimited amount of each image. So you won’t feel as unique using her images. But you won’t mind, because they are gorgeous.

Twigyposts offers free images to subscribers.

Haute Chocolate

Haute Chocolate stock images. Free pack

Subscribers receive some free stock from Haute Chocolate. And again, they are stunning. This site has a paid subscription service. You pay for 6 months – 1 year and can download as many images as you like. I haven’t joined…… yet……

Death to Stock

Maresa Smith created these stunning images

I’ve been a member of Death to Stock for years and years. Not all their images are feminine, but they do offer loads of free very good photos each month. They also have a premium services where even more images are available.

 

There are more feminine stock shops, but the ones mentioned here are my favorite. There is another blog post somewhere in this blog with a list of many  more.

Enjoy them. And I’m sorry for the many hours you are about to spend scanning through really pretty images.

 

Do I need HTTPS?

Yes, yes you do need https.

Google will be implementing the next stage of it’s https treatment sometime in October 2017 when it releases version 62 of it’s Chrome browser. Already if you are using Chrome and open a website that isn’t using HTTPS, you will get a warning that the site isn’t secure. In October there will be more warnings.

Mozilla (Firefox) doesn’t seem to have made an announcement about their intentions yet.

Well, what is it?

HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. This means more security for your website. HTTP is less secure.

In 2014 Google announced that using HTTPS will give your site a small ranking boost.

In 2016 Google shared some more information and announced that January 2017, chrome will mark HTTP connections as not secure.

In 2017, yes, it’s a really good idea to move your site to use HTTPS for all site pages. If you are using the Chrome browser any website  you visit that isn’t using HTTPS + has login or collects user info, will present a warning to the user.

SSL Certificates are affordable now. Lots of hosts will install them for you too. Such as VentraIP. If you need help with this, Webtiger can assist too.

Here is a guide from google on how to update to https. I’m not sure it’s really that easy to follow if you’ve never done it before. I could be wrong.

A little video from google 2014.

 

Fonts

I love fonts. But reeeealy love fonts. I can get stuck for hours looking at fonts. Where do I look?

Google Fonts & Typekit of course.

I encourage my clients + the designers I work with (for web) to use Google fonts, mostly because they are free and don’t require a license to be used.

Typekit is not free.

Oooh, and I’m back. I just spent about an hour looking through my Typekit account. *sigh*, it’s a time killer.

So what are web vs print fonts anyway?

Well, in a very small nut shell, not every font can be used interchangeably. Some fonts that look amazing on printed items can look terrible on the web.

When you are looking for a font for your website, the best place to start is Google Fonts.

Fonts for your print media project? Well I’ll leave that one for you to talk about with the lovely graphic designers we work with.

Meaningful feedback

How to provide meaningful feedback

Every project is unique. Some are more complex than others, some people are more tech familiar than others & some people just have more time to spend gathering what’s needed to move forward with a design project. It’s quite tricky to have a one size fits all process for project design. However, there are some tricks of the trade and tips that will help, really help, to provide us designers with meaningful feedback to assist in keeping the project moving forward.

Name of documents

Version control and the name of documents is so important. Please title all your documents with meaningful names such as ‘home-page-v01.pdf’, or ‘home-page-12-Aug-2017.pdf’. Keep all information in that document on topic. If you have a new topic such as ‘contact-us-v01.pdf’, write a new document for that and stay on topic.

Email, don’t do it!

Everyone is familiar with email which makes it really easy to use. However it has come to my attention that we all use it differently, not only do we all have different email providers, we set up our inboxes & user methods in different ways. I have come to the conclusion that email is a terrible way to provide feedback to a designer. Information gets very lost in email threads and meaningless subject headers.

So what can be done about it, because wow, email is so easy to use, all we have to do is type our brain dump and hit send over & over again?

Dropbox + Paper. Do this one!

Dropbox is so easy to use, and it’s fun too. Some of my clients get annoyed with all the notifications that are sent out when something is edited or commented on in Dropbox, but I assure  you, there are setting for that.

Webtiger will create a folder for you at the start of the project. Everything goes in here. Think of it as an external hard drive attached to your computer. It’s just a folder where we can share files, it’s that simple.  The folder will be created and shared with you and your team. The brief will go in there, logos, images, mockups etc. It will be organised too, files will have meaningful names and be placed inside relevant folders. Documents can be archived to de-clutter our folders, if they start getting full. Once the project starts moving forward you can place all the site content in dropbox too.

We can comment in there, select areas of mockups, screen shots, documents, text etc and write specific comments on sections. We can tag the correct team member or members to make sure tasks are assigned to the correct people, oh and so much more. It’s really quite lovely.

asana

From time to time we will set up Asana. This is a program that helps track our project tasks. It’s also pretty cool, easy to use and fun. There is documentation on how to use this program too.

In conclusion

One of the most important things to do is label all documents & images with meaningful titles. Keep documents and emails on topic. If you have something else you want to say that’s off that topic, start a new email, title it with something meaningful and keep all future comments on that topic, in that thread. Never, ever change the title of an existing email thread, that is just going to make us cry, as it’s a sure fire way to make your information get lost in a rabbit hole of email threads.

Get familiar with dropbox. Here you can start right now.

Don’t panic. Be kind. Ask questions. If you get stuck, please, please ask questions. One thing you will never, ever, never hear from Webtiger is ‘We’ve already told you’, or ‘as previously mentioned’. We are happy to repeat information & happy to try and explain things in different ways, to find a way that helps you understand. We are here to help. We are part of the same team. Let’s work together!