The 10 questions you need to ask your web designer

If you’re in the market for a new website one of the initial steps will be to shop around for quotes. There is no standard template for web design agencies to respond to quotes so it can be difficult for you to understand what the quote entails. The quote itself will show you the estimated price, but that doesn’t tell you what you’re getting for that price.

With this in mind we have created a list of questions that you should ask as part of your quote request. This should help you identify how much bang you’re getting for your buck.

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WordPress – the importance of staying current

WordPress is the most popular website content management system in the world and powers a reported 34% of all the worlds websites – that’s over 75 million sites! So it should come as no surprise that here at ClearSoft, we have a number of WordPress sites in that 75 million.

WordPress is robust, extendable, usable and has a vibrant community constantly working on enhancements and new features. Many of the top websites in the world such as TED, CNN, People Magazine, UPS amongst others use it as their chosen platform.

With great popularity comes great threats. Given the scale of its user base, it can be very attractive for hackers to probe for back doors into this system – and they succeed regularly. And when they succeed once, it’s very easy for them to propagate an attack to hit millions of WordPress installations around the world. The WordPress development community is in a constant ongoing battle to stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

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WordPress 5.7 “Esperanza” is here

WordPress 5.7 was released on March 9th. The release name is “Esperanza”, named after Esperanza Spalding – a musical prodigy who has had an inspiring journey.

What’s New?

As with all recent releases, much of the development is around the Gutenberg editor. It’s now more powerful and easier to use. The editor now allows novice users achieve professional results without having to hire a professional. This is especially useful for those clients who make regular changes to their pages and layouts.

Some improvements have been made to Gutenberg blocks. There is now drag-and-drop functionality incorporated within Gutenberg that allows you easily drag blocks of functionality right into your pages and posts. This has been around in different commercial page builders over the years – but certain implementations have been clumsy in this regard – creating some bad HTML which impacts on site speed scoring. WordPress claim that their native drag and drop functionality is farm more efficient and generates cleaner front end HTML code.

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WordPress 5.6 has arrived. Meet Simone.

On Tuesday (December 8th), WordPress 5.6 was released. This release is called Simone after legendary performer Nina Simone. Similar to 5.4 and 5.5, enhancements to the block editor seem to be the major improvements of this release with the end user having much more flexibility around page layouts with having to write code. There are also lots of goodies for us tech nerds around API integration, PHP 8 & jQuery.

This release was brought us to by an-all woman squad – which is also a first for WordPress.

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Second Lockdown On The Way : Threat Or Opportunity?

Last night the Irish government announced that the country would be moving to level 5 of the ‘Plan For Living with COVID-19’ framework. This is effectively another nationwide lockdown and will come as devastating news to some people and businesses.

This is a very serious time for many Irish businesses and we understand that some will not recover and live to see a brighter day. For other businesses however, there is an opportunity to turn a perceived negative into a positive. This article will explore this.

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LEO Grant – Some Advice

Earlier this year, the Local Enterprise Office announced changes to the Online Trading Voucher Scheme that many businesses have availed of. The closing date for these applications was the end of September – it may well open again in the future so with that in mind – below is some advice to those that may look to avail of it should it be re-opened.

Understand the rules

Lets start off with the ground rules of this scheme. The Trading Online Voucher Scheme is aimed at small business with up to 10 employees to trade more online. Grants of up to €2,500 are available with 10% co-funding from the business. So essentially for €250 input from your business, you can get work completed to a value of €2750.

The grant can be used to develop a new or upgrade an existing e-commerce website, add online payments or booking systems or develop an app. You must be trading for at least 6 months prior to application to avail of this scheme and you must attend an online trading seminar with your Local Enterprise Office. Your yearly turnover must be less that €2 million.

Note: you may only draw down the grant after the work has been completed and the provider has been paid in full. This is very important to understand before applying.

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LEO Online Trading Voucher Changes – Finally some good news for small business

I hope this post finds everybody safe and well.

The last number of weeks have been a very challenging time for many businesses and there has been little in the way of good news. This week the Local Enterprise Office have announced some significant changes to one of their business support schemes that is very good news and we feel worth sharing at this time.

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WordPress 5.4 has arrived. Please form an “Adderley” queue

On Tuesday (March 31st), WordPress 5.4 was released. This release is called Adderley after American Jazz musician Nat Adderley. Enhanced page options, improved presentation and speed seem to be the major enhancements in this release.

A number of new Gutenberg blocks are now available – social icons and buttons. Colour enhancements have also been added around gradients in buttons and toolbars. There are also claims of UI improvements and enhanced speed while editing. Version 5.4 also helps with a number of privacy issues also.

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