Trekking through Tenerife

Tenerife

Hola! Julian (senior developer at Lumous) here, and as a refreshing change to most of my geeky/techie posts that typically fill our blog, I’ve just returned from a fantastic 2 week holiday in Tenerife and thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to it with a few holiday snaps.

If you follow our Instagram account, you will already know about our trip to the stunning Loro Parque, our medieval banquet, classic car dining, various visitors from the animal kingdom, our extensive Pokemon hunting and our tour of pokestops around the Adeje area of Tenerife.

Now that I’m back and suitably refreshed, I’ve got a bulging inbox to attend to, so I better not spend any more time writing this blog post! Until next time… adios amigos!

Lumous on Instagram

Summer wanderings

Summer Wanderings

After working on Plantlife’s Great British Wildflower Hunt, various projects for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, and getting ready for an exciting upcoming project for Butterfly Conservation, we’ve been inspired to get out a-staggering-and-wandering in the British Countryside ourselves.

So… with camera in hand and the warmth of the day still smouldering well into the evening, Steve decided to get his extremely frayed walking sandals on and go off stomping around Roundway Hill and Oliver’s Castle Hillfort near Devizes. In the space of an hour or so he’d found an amazing hazel and beech wood, a scarlet tiger moth and a field full of poppies (for anyone reading this with an interest in history or, indeed, just a liking for blokes dressed in curly wigs, floppy hats, frilly shirts and funny shaped helmets, the poppy field looks towards the trees at Oliver’s Castle, and it’s across this field that the Royalist Cavalry rode to defeat the Parliamentarian Army who’d been holding siege to Devizes during the English Civil War. Yep, it’s true!). We’ve also slipped in a pic of some lovely dandelion ‘clocks’ taken a few weeks earlier simply because, like rabbits, we really like dandelions. Well, why not, we thought : )

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Plantlife’s Great British Wildflower Hunt

Plantlife's Great British Wildflower Hunt

Last week, we launched one of our favourite projects to date, The Great British Wildflower Hunt from Plantlife – an interactive guide aimed at families and young people to help them learn more about the fantastic wildflowers you can find around your own town and the nearby countryside.

In just eight weeks from start to finish, we spared sleep, fuelled ourselves with gallons of tea, and lovingly designed and built the website using the ever increasingly powerful and popular WordPress CMS. Features include:

  • Automatic HTML5 location detection and integration with Google Maps
  • Colour filters on species charts to narrow down identification of spotted wildflowers
  • Calculation of score based on rarity of species found and ability to share the score achieved with friends on Facebook and Twitter
  • Plot and display of submitted results on Google Maps including details of score achieved and species found at that location

The new website launched on the 8th June 2017 and received plenty of interest from national press, including Springwatch, BBC Breakfast news, BBC Radio 4, the Daily Mail newspaper and Countryfile!

The Great British Wildflower Hunt on the BBC

 

If you haven’t already, why not get outside and give it a go? Take the whole family and enjoy the sunshine! Visit The Great British Wildflower Hunt to find out more or take a look at the beautiful wildflowers that have already been shared on Instagram, since we launched the site.

Getting started with Instagram – A beginner’s guide

Beginner's guide to Instagram

Although it’s possibly not the most ideal social media channel for all businesses, if you produce or sell something that photographs well, create interesting imagery or you frequently attend events that would be of interest to your followers, then it could turn out to be a good fit for your business…

As a major part of what we do here at Lumous is graphic/visual/web design, we decided to setup our own Instagram profile last week. Unlike most other social media channels, you can’t share links or articles with your followers on Instagram, so it requires a slightly different approach and encourages you to be more creative with your status updates.

Here’s our top tips for those that are completely new to Instagram and looking to get started:

Use the mobile app

Install the app on your phone/tablet and use your Facebook account to login – this allows you to automatically follow all of your Facebook friends and those from your phone’s contacts that are already using Instagram.

Already have a Facebook page?

If your business already has a Facebook page, there’s also an option to link your Instagram account to the page – this will import essential information about your business that you’ve already given to Facebook; a nice little time saver! As a minimum, make sure you include a short bio so people know what your business is about and also add your phone number, e-mail and website address so they are able to get in touch.

Link to your Twitter account

You can also link your Instagram profile to your Twitter account too so that whenever you post a new image, you have the option to automatically post the same content to your Twitter and/or Facebook account – another useful time saver.

Use hashtags

Try to include relevant hashtags whenever you post an update. Think of them as keywords that people might use when searching for images or topics that your post relates to. For example, if we were to post a screenshot of a new clothing website we’ve just launched we might include the hashtag #webdesign to help promote our company, but also we could include the hashtag #fashion to help promote our client’s business.

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New Improved Web Hosting Platform for Lumous Clients

New Improved Web Hosting for Lumous Clients

Over the last three months, we have steadily rolled out new improved web hosting for all our clients at no additional cost to ensure that all of our websites benefit from the improved performance and reliability of 20i’s new, state-of-the-art cloud hosting platform.

Previously, our web hosting was provided by Heart Internet, but last year, their original co-founders, Jonathan and Tim Brealey, moved on to form a new web hosting company, 20i.com

The new offering from 20i.com boasts a number of improvements over the standard hosting available through Heart Internet, including:

  • Top of the range servers with solid-state drives (SSD) for blazing fast speeds and exceptional reliability.
  • Autoscaling cloud hosting platform that dynamically scales resources on demand to ensure websites stay online and fast, even during the busiest times.
  • Load balanced, fully redundant and secure UK data centre with 24x7x365 onsite technicians, biometric security, CCTV & firewalls, with redundant power supplies, UPS & generators.
  • Exceptionally responsive support staff and a live chat system so we can get instant support and resolve issues for our clients even faster than before.
  • Integrated support for free SSL certificates (provided by Let’s Encrypt) so we don’t need to charge our clients an additional annual fee for secure HTTPS hosting.
  • IPv6 enabled web hosting with HTTP/2 support to be enabled later this year.

We hope our clients enjoy the benefits of this new improved web hosting platform. We’ve already noticed a marked improvement in performance and we’re extremely impressed with the support we’ve received so far. Please get in touch if you have any questions about these changes – we’d love to hear from you!

The girl rescuing donkeys from a lifetime of suffering

The girl rescuing donkeys from a life of suffering

With the news currently so grim with day on day reports of global suffering, injustice and hatred, you’d be quite justified in turning off completely and taking the decision to live in blissful ignorance…

However, if you dig a little deeper, there’s always a story somewhere about lovely and amazing people doing lovely and amazing things, and if that involves helping other people or animals, then so much the better. We think you’ll like this one very much indeed.

If you have stories about kindness, inspirational acts or anything else that shows us humans doing amazing things to benefit others, let us know and we’ll post it up : )

Are you keeping in touch with your existing customers? If not, Lumous can help…

Email Marketing with Template Builder

One of the most cost-effective ways to market your business and services is to send e-mail campaigns to your existing customers (often referred to as email marketing). If you’d like to send professional and beautifully crafted e-mails, but don’t know where to start, we can help!

Different types of email campaigns

Stuck for ideas? Here’s a few examples of email content you could send out to your customers:

  • Newsletters (just to keep in touch and make sure you’re at the forefront of your customer’s mind)
  • Welcome packs (to give customers a handy reference with useful links and contact details)
  • New product/service launch (why not sell to existing customers or ask them to spread the word?)
  • Competitions or incentives to get them to refer your business to others or review your business online

For more ideas why not have a browse through this template gallery from Campaign Monitor

E-mail Marketing Templates

 

Introducing Campaign Monitor

Our email marketing system of choice is Campaign Monitor as we feel they offer the best template builder that empowers our clients to create their own e-mails. Of course, not all our clients have the time to do this themselves so, as Lumous is one of Campaign Monitor’s Agency Partners, we can help by managing email campaigns on your behalf.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a one-off setup, we can create bespoke templates designed just for you so you can edit the text and images yourself and easily send out regular emails to your customers, with no ongoing fee from ourselves.

Here’s a screenshot of their fantastic template builder to give you an idea of how easy it is…

E-mail Template Builder

 

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Important Changes to Website Security Warnings – It’s Time to Upgrade your Website

HTTPS Upgrade with Free SSL Certificates

Earlier this year, Google Chrome and other browsers started to make subtle changes to security warnings on websites that don’t use the secure HTTPS protocol. They are pushing everyone to adopt a more secure web, and they haven’t finished yet…

Current warnings in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome and other browsers such as Mozilla Firefox have started to display subtle warnings on all websites using the standard HTTP protocol…

HTTP Warnings in Firefox and Chrome

If your website has a login form that requests passwords or a checkout procedure that asks for credit card details, the warnings are worse (a padlock with a red strikethrough or the words “Not Secure” right next to the website’s address)…

HTTP Warnings in Firefox and Chrome

Upcoming warnings in Google Chrome

Eventually (widely expected to be at some point later this year) the warnings will become even more severe in Google Chrome, as per Google’s blog post at the end of last year…

Upcoming 2017 HTTP Warning in Google Chrome

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Inspirational Disabled Teenager’s 16th Birthday Video

Lewis Hine Birthday Video

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already seen this, but just in case you haven’t we thought it was well worth sharing…

Lewis Hine was diagnosed with a brain tumour at 17 months and has just celebrated his 16th birthday by making the following video which has spread virally across the Internet. It explains how he copes with the various challenges encountered by his disability and talks about his Friend Finder project that helps children, who miss a lot of school, to make friends.

Everybody needs some Headspace

Calm Your Mind

It’s my turn (Steve the designer) to take the blog chariot for bit of a spin this week, as Julian is doing proper paid work, so I’m not going to disturb him.

I bet that most people reading this will say, ‘oh no, not meditation… haven’t got time for that…’. Well, that’s exactly what I used to think until, finally, it got to a point where I couldn’t ignore the fact that I wasn’t sleeping, and I was starting to get ill! Why? Because I wasn’t allowing myself to take time out to just slow down and look after my own wellbeing; ‘we’ve got too much work on’, ‘that deadline is far too important for me to take a break’, etc etc. This year that has all changed, and I’ve genuinely discovered the importance of ‘taking time out’ and the many benefits of meditation with the help of a fantastic app called Headspace.

I’ve also taken up yoga, and just like meditation, I would recommend it to anyone finding that ‘it’s all getting a bit too much’. No matter where you live, there’s bound to be a yoga or meditation class close by – here’s a great resource to do just that. Don’t drive yourself into the ground, ‘cos it’s not worth it. After all, there’s only one of you, and if you break, then nothing gets done. As Bobby McFerrin says, ‘don’t worry, be happy!’ : )