ERM – Employee Relations Management

Employee Relations Management

This is a small site put online in June 2016. They specialise in the employment law and the business of employing people which can seem a bit daunting to your average business man who is more focused on making his widgets than trying to keep up with the latest regulations and law.
You hear about things in the papers and news that can be quite off putting to an employer thinking of hiring more staff or their first.

Technically the site is a standard WordPress with a custom theme, some custom stripping of word markup rubbish in the admin and some rich snippets where possible in the html.
We spent quite a long time going back and forward with the logo until Teresa had something she liked and could use for the website and the new business cards she wanted.

Previously they had a default WordPress install running the 2015 theme that had never really had content added so its taking a little while for the site to be recognised as now being a real site rather than a stub.

Its setup so that in the future they can add more articles about employee relations relevant to their customers businesses and the site can grow to show their expertise.

Kyber Lettings

Kyber Lettings

This is a small site for a new lettings and property agency based in Watton serving the Wayland area. They do plenty of property management, collecting rent making sure properties are safe, gas certificates, keeping properties full of tenants etc.
In the future it will list their properties for let.

Previously they had no website at all. With the opening of their new office in spring 2016 they wanted to have a website so they could be found online. We ended up matching the blue on the site to their building walls!

When the site has some properties to list they look something like this

Kyber Lettings Property

Mostly the aim is for people to be able to find them and contact them.

Technically the site is pretty standard WordPress with a custom post type for the properties and then custom fields for properties of the property like price, floor area, EPC etc.

Tuition Centre Dereham

I recently wrote a small site for a local tuitoring company in Dereham Norfolk. The Tuition Centre Dereham
Its quite simple and does what it says on the tin.

The thing that is different is how local it is. They don’t care about being found outside of Norfolk, UK and even within Norfolk they are only interested in being found in the fairly small area around Dereham and its surrounding towns and villages.

The opposition is all chains which don’t really have a presence. So its a case of real world where you drive into Dereham, opposite Roys, and see the Tuition centres quite obvious signs and building, and the virtual world where they are at the moment quite invisible.

Hopefully over the coming weeks we can improve their position in search so they get found online more easily within their local area.

Bespoke Development

To make the case for bespoke development. There are a lot of benefits, your directly attacking the problem you have, directly and precisely. You are not using a hammer as your only tool sometimes you need a spanner.

Agility – Its lighter and possibly more agile as your development can be adapted to suit your goals as they change and develop.

Speed and efficiency – you can spend a lot of time bending an existing package to your will. To the point at which you almost break it.

Faster – often your not carrying a pile of *features* which you never wanted but got as a side effect of the package you adapted.

Easily adapted – more easily adapted with the kind of features that come up client demands, specific legislation or business focus changes.

Intuitive – usage can be designed to flow in a way that fits with existing systems of thinking and terminology so it becomes a lot more intuitive.

Unique to you – hopefully your organisation does something unique, your competitors can also use off the shelf software so are you removing a possible advantage over them by using the same.

Directed – Start with what you want to do and go from there no compromises.

Licensing – you own it a bespoke development is generally going to avoid on going licensing costs that may be associated with existing packages.

So for your untypical problems and challenges perhaps you need a untypical and bespoke solution.

Website for consultancy practice

Recently made a new site live for WLP who are a management consultancy practice. Did not do the design for this that was done by the agency who created there new look and feel Naked Marketing. Just the development, implementation and codey bits.

Basic aim of the site is to communicate the consultants expertise and wide breadth of knowledge. Bring their site more up to date so more of the site is user editable and more easily viewed on devices other than a desktop PC. They had quite a lot of content already written on the old sites and from other sources so part of the battle was reorganising the content and categories in a way that matches with the kind of work they do now.

We are still in the early stages of the site its only been up a month so I’m sure it will change and we change tweak things in order to fulfill their aims as part of their wider marketing strategy.

The customer specified that the site should be built using Word Press. Did quite a few bits and bobs on what seems initially as if its a fairly simple Word Press site. Custom post types, custom taxonomies and the normal customizations that came up in the process of getting the site together. Also trying out code to suggest related posts from each individual post page. So hopefully we can lead an interested reader through to content relevant to their business.

The most obvious adaption to the visitor is the adaption to the normal search so that it auto completes or suggests matching pages as you type. That seems to work quite well I think I’d add something similar to another site.

Spent quite a long time mapping across the old sites pages and files to the new sites pages so that links into the site lead some where relevant and we could keep any link juice.

Stop Users using Stupid Passwords

Been some discussion recently on the WPUK mailing list after some recent mass attacks on WordPress Sites. Lots of good advice from people.

  • Do you need to to allow access from all IP’s
  • Do you need to be able to login all the time or can you say they never login a 2am in the morning so we can stop login at that time.
  • Keep up to date obviously
  • Changing default locations of login pages, wp-admin etc
  • using two factor authentication (yubikey mentioned)
  • captchas on login screen
  • blacklisting of visitors by IP address
  • renaming the default ‘admin’ user

All suggestions worth considering depending on your circumstances.
Someone mentioned about a user with a password of ‘password’, I wondered if there was a way of preventing users injuring themselves by using such a password. By default my current WordPress 3.5 allows a user to do pretty stupid stuff like create a user with a username of ‘e’ and a password of ‘password’.

Not added in list popular passwords that would pass as secure should do that. Could probably extend to exclude dictionary words not sure if its worth doing that.

Dave of interconnect.it mentioned a plugin called ‘better-wp-security’ which does quite a few other things as well, seems worth looking at, Dave had had it recommended to him. There are also a few similar plugins with more restricted scope that just stick to the password ‘force-strong-passwords’ and
‘enforce-strong-passwords’.
I’ve not tried these so I can’t recommend them, I bashed out my own because I was interested. Its probably not quite so client friendly as its called ‘Stop users using stupid passwords’, might have to rename that.

Seems something worth checking on especially as you create a new site. If the password isn’t towards the top of the list of ones a bot attacker might try, it will at least take them longer. Will also stop a human guessing it quite so easily as well.

Ripped Off Britain

Built this site a while ago for someone who was annoyed by being ripped off on car parts in the UK compared to international prices. Its not really being used much at the moment, what is surprising is how well it does in search for a site that has very little content. Other sites with very similar titles/subjects but with a lot more content come up beneath it in google searches.

Ripped Off Britain

Technically its a quite plain vanilla wordpress site with a custom theme to differentiate it. We made up a dog logo illustration as well, to give the site some more character, doing pictures made a nice change from my normal ‘code view’.

Simple Blog for TLC Live

Note: 2014/06/30 This blog was replaced as part of a larger site rebuild in mid 2013.

TLC are online tutors based in the UK. We recently added a simple blog to their site to allow anyone in the company to add content to the site. They can use it to trumpet company announcements and extol the virtues of their learning platform.

TLC Live blog

We added a few plugins in that the client requested from an earlier system they had used. Other than that its pretty plain vanilla WordPress with some adaptions.

We wrote a custom excerpts function so we could finish the excerpt at the end of the first paragraph. The client also wanted the excerpts to keep their formatting and links which are often removed by default.

Also wrote a couple of widgets to emulate the behaviour of some links on their main site.

They also have a more useful than standard 404 page which lists recent articles if you mistype an address.

You can see the site at www.tlclive.com/blog.

Mock-up and Print Solutions

Put this small site together for Martin’s new company. He just wanted a small site to get started and provide a place for people to find out a little more about him.

He makes mockups for graphic designers and agencies also plates for Flexo and Letterpress printing.

We spent a good while going backwards and forwards so Martin could get it all how he wanted it to be. He seems very happy with what he has ended up with so I’m happy.

Mock-up and Print Solutions

The nature of what he does means that he doesn’t have a huge amount of printed material he can use without compromising someones copyright or confidentiality. So we made up some ‘type of’ illustrations to show the types of work he does and provide some visual interest.

From a technical point of view its quite simple just flexible stylesheets for different screen sizes besides the normal HTML5, CSS and Javascript.

Pelmets4u

Finally managed to get pelmets4u online this week. Its a different kind of shop selling customised pelmets. You can order pelmets to your own width, depth and height. In addition you can specify square ends or rounded ends in two different radiuses and different styles for the cutaway at the bottom. They offer several finishes and even the ability to get your pelmet covered in your own fabric.


screen shot of pelmets 4 u

As the site and the manufacturing is just starting off we have a 20% off your next order offer if you send us photos of the pelmets you order in your home, and we can use them on the site.

Its been a difficult site to build, not so much the technical side as the how to make it usable whilst maintaining the complexity of the rules. The ability to customise within the available. We’ve been through bunches of changes to try and make it simpler to use but in some ways it has got more complicated. Not sure if we’ve managed it or not. One of the major ones was setting up chooser boxes so you can select your dimensions in imperial units and get them converted to mm.

I guess time and the proportion of visitors that become orders will tell. I expect we will end up tweaking it a bit as we see where customers/visitors orders drop off in the process.

Nobody else seems to do anything similar so it will be interesting to see what the demand is. We are expecting it to be used by slightly older people but it might be we get a profile of clients we never imagined. It seems quite a lot of haberdashery and curtains is fashion so who knows what will be ‘the in thing’ next.

Its one of the things I like about my job is that I get to learn lots of odd bits of knowledge about my customers industries. I definitely have learned a lot about Pelmets, Curtains and Haberdashery in general.

You can see the site and order some pelmets at www.pelmets4u.co.uk/.