The Importance of SSL (https) on your website

The Importance of SSL (https) on your website and running a security certificate

The Importance of SSL (https) on your website and security certificateThe importance and advantages of SSL Certificates have to do with both security and website optimisation. SSL stands for secure socket layer.

Your customers names and all their personal information from enquiry forms and transactions via your website are targets for bad actors on the web, and an SSL certificate provides the indispensable and often mandatory privacy and security you need for your business online. Ask yourself, do you have forms on your website that sends data if it’s submitted? Most ‘contact us’ pages have a form and therefore SSL is required.

An SSL certificate encrypts sensitive data

An SSL certificate encodes data i.e. encrypts it to render it unreadable by those who don’t have the key. When a customer fills out your website enquiry form for example, the data often relays from one computer to another in its journey to a destination. When the information makes a split-second pause before heading towards you, it becomes vulnerable to unauthorised third-party access. The SSL certificate adds random characters into the customer’s original information. Without the encryption key, the information is useless.

SSL ensures the information goes where it is intended

The SSL certificate acts as a “handshake” between communicating browsers. It shows your customers that your website is current and not a fake. Look for the “S” after the “http” in the web address line of a site. Also, there is a small “lock” image on the same line.

An SSL certificate meets PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards

If you want to securely process credit card payments with proper encryption, an SSL certificate will open the door to instant payments and higher profitability, because it inserts an industry standard 180-bits of encryption. The bottom line here is: no SSL certificate means you will not be able to process credit cards.

An SSL certificate promotes customer confidence and trust

Your customers take a leap of faith when they fill out a form with their personal information/email address or shop on line. Adding an SSL certificate adds another layer of trust and operability to your business online.

An SSL certificate improves SEO

Search engine optimisation is what gets your site to the top of Google’s search results. To stay on Google’s good side and even get a minor search engine ranking boost, add an SSL to your site. In Google’s view, SSL promotes a site to be “trusted and certified” because of the extra authentication and security.

In addition to the increased SEO ranking and the security advantages on the web browser search page, an SSL certificate designates the owner as a trusted third party. Anyone with an SSL certificate is instantly recognised as being who they say they are.

Final thought

I am sure at some point in the future it will come compulsory to have an SSL certificate running on a business website. If you don’t have a certificate and look at your website contact form on a mobile device, it now says (on most devices) that the website is unsecure.

I hope this information was useful and if you need an SSL setting up, get in touch >>

Website Design History of 20 Years (1998 – 2018)

Website Design History of 20 Years (1998 – 2018)


Website Design History of 20 Years 1998 – 2018 Web Design HistoryMy name is Andrew Jordan and I have been a full time self employed website designer and developer for over 20 years. As a pioneer on website design in the UK, I though it would be a nice idea to put a brief history of the website design industry together as an educational post for those who maybe interested in the way were and to show how things have changed.

The early days of website design were very different from today’s one click installs and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) installations and systems. There was nothing simple, very little guidance and just getting your files uploaded via FTP using a dial up modem was challenging enough itself.

In 1998 only 17.5% of the UK had access to the internet, most of the general public had never heard of the World Wide Web. So there was not a lot of companies seeking a website or willing to invest. The concept of buying something online had not arrived.

First Websites

The first website I built was a formula one enthusiast club. The website was built completely in HTML with a bit of JavaScript thrown in to manage payments and memberships. I ended up using a company in the USA to handle the payment gateway and the only bank in the UK that would support and offer a merchant account for online transactions was HSBC.


A lot of the early websites were built in Frames. This seem to offer a simple solution when using software like Microsoft’s FrontPage, which at the time was very popular. The frames page layout concept offered easy page layout with a holding page and the section pages being embedded into it. However this caused issues with search engine optimisation, because the content pages could be indexed without the frame holding index page. So a footer would be loaded without the rest of the site. A simple bit of code did correct this issue, but the index was then the only page that could be indexed and had no content other than the code for the framed pages.

Flash Animation

With the then limited use of HTML, the birth of Flash animated websites soon became popular, where the entire site was in flash. The original idea of using flash was to gain moment and high end graphics and unrestricted layout that you could not gain from using the then clunky HTML. However a flash website may look great with an attractive intro and a nice moment on the menu, the massive disadvantage was that there was no page content for search engine optimisation. There would only be one page (index) and one graphic file inserted. So a beautiful website that would cost a lot of money due the the labour intensive work involved with the flash creation, however no one will ever see it. With the birth of smart phones round the corner, Apple and Adobe dropped flash because of file sizes and security issues.

Macromedia / Adobe Dreamweaver

In 2005 using adobe Dreamweaver seemed to be the benchmark of website design and development. It was full of useful tools like code cleaners, a link checker and offered easy management of content like library items and files. You could also run the software on 2 screens to make access to tool menus and previewing changes easier. I still using Dreamweaver today for various bits of coding when needed and run our own Magpie Image intranet with it.

WordPress & Database Driven Sites

With WordPress becoming the number one system in 2010 it was easy to see why with its built in Mobile Responsive CSS, general coding and HTML became a thing of the past. A lot of hosting packages offer WordPress, Joomla & Magenta to name a few, as a one click install, which includes the SQL server database part as well. In the modern WordPress system there is very little to do with a lot of the themes including great layouts and home page functions. The latest plugins also bring massive features to the site visitors and are no more than a single click install with a few tick box selection and options.

Final Thoughts

It will be interested to see where the industry goes next. I think most changes will now depend on advancements in technologies, media and trends.

I hope you found that was interesting / Andrew Jordan

Most used WordPress Plugins

Top Plugins for WordPress

Most used WordPress Plugins, Top Plugin for WordPressBelow is a list of the current most popular WordPress plugins (to date). If you are building your own WordPress website then these are all worth installing and seeing if the benefits suit your site and your needs…

Advanced Custom Fields

Customise WordPress with powerful, professional and intuitive fields
By: elliotcondon.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

TinyMCE Advanced

Enables the advanced features of TinyMCE, the WordPress WYSIWYG editor.
By: Andrew Ozz.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Google XML Sitemaps

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines to better index your blog.
By: Arne Brachhold.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Duplicate Post

Clone posts and pages.
By: Lopo.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WordPress Importer

Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress export file.
1+ million active installs
Read More >


WooCommerce is a powerful, extendable eCommerce plugin that helps you sell anything. Beautifully.
By: Automattic, Mike Jolley, jameskoster, Claudio Sanches, royho, and WooThemes.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

NextGEN Gallery

The most popular WordPress gallery plugin and one of the most popular plugins of all time with over 14 million downloads.
By: photocrati and imagely.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Contact Form 7

Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.
By: Takayuki Miyoshi.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Jetpack by

Increase your traffic, view your stats, speed up your site, and protect yourself from hackers with Jetpack.
By: Automattic, Adam Heckler, Andrew Duthie, Alex Kirk, allendav, alternatekev, and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Really Simple CAPTCHA

Really Simple CAPTCHA is a CAPTCHA module intended to be called from other plugins. It is originally created for my Contact Form 7 plugin.
By: Takayuki Miyoshi.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Wordfence Security

The Wordfence WordPress security plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware.
By: Wordfence.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Yoast SEO

Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast SEO plugin.
By: Joost de Valk.
1 week ago 1+ million active installs
Read More >

All in One SEO Pack

he most downloaded plugin for WordPress (almost 30 million downloads). Use All in One SEO Pack to automatically optimize your site for Search Engines
By: Michael Torbert, Steve Mortiboy, Dougal Campbell, Peter Baylies, and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Regenerate Thumbnails

Allows you to regenerate your thumbnails after changing the thumbnail sizes.
By: Alex Mills (Viper007Bond).
1+ million active installs
Read More >

W3 Total Cache

Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.
By: Frederick Townes.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

WP Super Cache

A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.
By: Donncha O Caoimh, Automattic, and Brandon Kraft.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Google Analytics by Yoast

Track your WordPress site easily with the latest tracking codes and lots added data for search result pages and error pages.
By: Joost de Valk.
1+ million active installs
Read More >


Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.
By: Lester Chan and scribu.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Hello Dolly

This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong.
By: Matt Mullenweg.
1+ million active installs
Read More >


Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not.
By: Matt Mullenweg, Ryan Boren, Andy Skelton, Michael Adams (mdawaffe), and others.
1+ million active installs
Read More >

Page Builder by SiteOrigin

Build responsive page layouts using the widgets you know and love using this simple drag and drop page builder.
By: Greg Priday and braam-genis.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Disable Comments

Allows administrators to globally disable comments on their site. Comments can be disabled according to post type. Multisite friendly.
By: Samir Shah.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

WP Multibyte Patch

Multibyte functionality enhancement for the WordPress Japanese package.
By: Seisuke Kuraishi (tenpura).
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

The visual editor widget for WordPress.
By: Marco Chiesi and Francesco Canovi.
800,000+ active installs
Read More >

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Displays Google Analytics reports in your WordPress Dashboard. Inserts the latest Google Analytics tracking code in your pages.
By: Alin Marcu.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

iThemes Security (formerly Better WP Security)

Protect your WordPress site by hiding vital areas of your site, protecting access to important files, preventing brute-force login attempts, detecting
By: iThemes, Chris Jean, Aaron D. Campbell, gerroald, and Matt Danner.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

Clef Two-Factor Authentication

Modern two-factor that people love to use: strong authentication without passwords or tokens; single sign on/off; magical user experience.
By: Dave Ross, Jesse Pollak, Andrew Russell, and Laurence.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration

Backup and restoration made easy. Complete backups; manual or scheduled (backup to S3, Dropbox, Google Drive, Rackspace, FTP, SFTP, email + others).
By: Backup with UpdraftPlus, David Anderson, and DNutbourne.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >


Duplicate, clone, backup, move and transfer an entire site from one location to another.
By: corylamleorg and Bob Riley.
700,000+ active installs
Read More >

Meta Slider

Easy to use WordPress slider plugin. Create SEO optimised responsive slideshows with Nivo Slider, Flex Slider, Coin Slider and Responsive Slides.
By: Matcha Labs.
600,000+ active installs
Read More >

Marketing for the Small Screen – Being Mobile Responsive

Marketing for the Small Screen – Being Mobile Responsive

Mobile Responsive Website Design GloucesterWho waits these days to be sitting at home in front of a screen to spend money on anything when you can buy it, book it, watch it or research it all whilst walking around or sitting on the bus/train simply by using your smartphone?

Every business with any sort of online presence now needs to make sure that its website not only functions but still looks great on a phone sized screen.

In ecommerce news last year, online buying figures announced in Europe indicated that 12% of all online purchases came about via mobiles and that was expected to soar.

Customer Care

Whether customers are trying to find your opening hours, directions to your premises or looking for an online shop you need to ensure a fast response and quick loading time – people on the move won’t wait for slow or unresponsive sites. Not only will slow loading cause customers to look elsewhere, research has shown that they are unlikely to return so it needs to be right first time!

Tablets Too!

Of course these days it is not only phones that are mobile – tablet sales have overtaken laptops so your site needs to sit well, look great and function perfectly on a number of screen sizes from 3.1” to over 10” with varying resolutions.

Just a Few Clicks

Don’t just create a smaller version of your main website either. Think about what people on the move might be looking for – bear in mind that they will be willing to spend less time to find things so a simplified version of your main site with content that can be saved or downloaded and perhaps a callback feature may be more desirable. Beautiful high resolution images, Flash content and slow to load videos need to be scaled back or removed completely. Keep the options down to just a few clicks.


Magpie image Ltd offers a complete Mobile Responsive service click HERE for more information, or contact us to discuss your specific needs.

A Formula to a Good Online Presence for your Business

A Formula to a Good Online Presence for your Business

If you are setting up a new company or thinking of re-branding your current business, then here is a few things to consider with regards to putting it online.

Logo & Corporate Identity

It goes without saying that a sharp noticeable logo is the most important part of your identity. Keep it simple and think about where it is going to be displayed in regards to your online and offline marketing. The same goes for your corporate colours.

Website & Online Requirements

a-good-online-businessWhen putting together the website with a design agency you will need to make sure you have the following if you really want to get enquiries and sell products.

  • The website will need to be completely mobile responsive so it works on all devices.
  • The website must have a postal address and landline number if you want to be taken seriously.
  • As well as pages explaining about your services and products you should also have a blog in the same domain, as this is a great way to promote your services and explain in more detail and ideas for what they are and how to use them.
  • Social media is also part of the modern online marketing plan. You will need a Facebook, Twitter and Google + account for certain. There are of course many other platforms to set up later. The social media accounts must be integrated into your website.
  • SEO is everything, if you do not have a good search engine ranking you will not have visitors unless you are spending a lot of revenue on offline advertising.

Up & Running

Once everything is in place you will need to create posts regularly, making sure these are shared and tweeted on your social media accounts.

From a brand new website going live it will take a few months to really start to see results, so be patience is good.

I hope this helps with you online projects and if you need any help with getting started, please contact us at Magpie Image Ltd

Top Content Plugins for WordPress

Top Content Plugins for WordPress

For simple and effective design and content layout try using the following Plugins on your WordPress websites.

We often use a combination of plugins so we can get any item wherever we need it.

  • The best WordPress pluginsPage Builder by SiteOrigin
  • SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle
  • TinyMCE Advanced
  • Black Studio TinyMCE Widget
  • Shortcodes Ultimate
  • Lightbox Plus Colorbox
  • Widget Context
  • WP Google Maps
  • Menu Icons By Dzikri Aziz
  • Recent Posts Widget Extended By Satrya
  • Meta Slider by Matcha Labs
  • Photo Gallery By WebDorado
  • Ultimate Responsive Image Slider By Weblizar

I hope this was useful to youop Content Plugins for WordPress

Why do you need an Intranet for your Business?

Why do you need an Intranet for your Business?

Intranet, Intranet Design, Intranet Development, Company IntranetThere are a number of reasons why your business could benefit from an Intranet. Intranet systems are becoming more and more popular in companies because they can offer many advantages over other communication platforms.

  • Connections can be made across a company and its staff onsite, working from home and travelling.
  • No need to hire programmers to create bespoke software, or buying expensive, off-the-shelf applications as an Intranet can be a simple HTML system.
  • Essential changes and amendments can be made with easy and very quickly.
  • Different data can be shared with different staff members on different levels by using a login system

A few questions:

  • Do your staff get frustrated by the barriers of software and/or hardware?
  • Do your departments struggle to communicate and its a fight to get anything you need?
  • Do your staff spend hours every week exchanging documents and files?

Here are a few uses for an Intranet system:

  • Documents for staff to access
  • Documents not for everyone
  • Company Latest News
  • FAQ’s
  • Useful Contacts etc
  • Holidays & Calendars
  • Useful links to websites
  • Vacancies
  • Forum / Blogs
  • Staff Offers
  • Image Library
  • Employee Training
  • Various Forms to be filled in
  • And just about anything you need

If you would like more information regarding building a bespoke Intranet system and the options for you company, please contact us

Website Designers – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Website Designers – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

website designersThe website design industry has acquired a bad reparation over the past ten years because every tom, dick and harry has started designing and developing websites. Some of the stories I hear and some of the websites I see are very disappointing. Individuals and companies spending large amounts of money and ending up with next to nothing to show for it or a website that will never generate any enquiries or revenue.

Here is a general summery and breakdown of what to look out for…

The Good

There are a small minority of companies that are genuine and provide a first class service. They have your interests at heart and understand your individual needs has a business or organisation. They have a clear portfolio and do not build websites for £50.00 all in.

These companies also have search engine optimisation skills “SEO” so when the website is complete and goes live you will actually have visitors and will earn a revenue from the online concept that has been created for you. The online business model will be mobile responsive and will look the same on all web browsers and platforms. They will also be able to write code and can offer bespoke functionally to your website if required. They work as a registered business with clear testimonials and have an office address that they work from.

The Bad

These are a group of individuals who have jumped on the band wagon to cash in on what they think is easy money. This does not apply to all but print designers, graphic designers and print companies are a classic example for this. The printing industry has been slowly disappearing for a long time due to so much being done online. With many print companies going out of business and others looking to extend their services in other areas like website design, it causes a problem. The problem is they are not getting trained fully and where a lot of people can produce pretty graphics they lack a technical mind. Most individuals seem to be one or the other. So from here you end up with a website that looks like a cheesy leaflet with no functionality and broken links and no SEO at all.

Has I travel around the internet or get called in to rescue a business who is not happy with their website design (and I use that word loosely) I can tell straight away when it has not been produced by a professional website design.

The Ugly

Bedroom designers are by far the worst of the website design industry. These are normally individuals working from their bedroom or converted garage, designing rubbish, developing nothing and with no SEO skills what’s so ever. This group also includes people who are stuck in unhappy full time employment and are looking for what they think is an easy way out. These individuals do not come from a business background and will not understand what your online business model is, even when you spell it out.

One of the main problems is after a couple of years they gain a few customers find they are not millionaires and then go back to full time employment leaving unpaid hosting bills on client websites which of course then get suspended, the client then loses their money, their website and all their data.

If you have lost a website, I offer a website recovery service

Tips when seeking a website designer

Make sure:

  • they develop towards current website standards i.e it needs to be mobile responsive and works on all web platforms
  • they have a plan of action in the event of economic problems
  • the domain name is owned by you, especially if they are registering it on your behalf
  • you have a backup copy of the website yourself including the database and final graphics, after all you are paying for it!
  • They have an understanding of SEO and offer some guarantees with Google listing

Magpie Image cover all the bullet points  – I hope this helps when you are looking for a website designer for your business

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