Joomla 3.5 is released with new features

Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Written by Alan Foster

The latest version of Joomla 3.5 was released on 21st March 2016. This blog post will outline some of the key features the developers have built into the latest version of the content management system. You can also find out more information by  watching the 3.5 features video.

Support For PHP 7

One of the big selling points Joomla 3.5 has to offer is that it allows you to take advantage of the latest version of PHP 7.  Don't worry you can still run your website on the current version of PHP 5.6 after you upgrade to version 3.5.  However if the hosting company supports PHP 7 and you choose to enable it you will see some big improvements in the overall speed of your site.

One of the big benefits of running a website using PHP 7 is the performance improvements it has to offer. PHP 7 takes advantage of the new PHPNG engine which is basically a refactored version of the Zend Engine called Zend Engine II that’s uses the extensible object model and allows you to execute code much faster using less resources on the server.

PHP 7 also offers lots of other advantages, you can find out more by visiting https://github.com/tpunt/PHP7-Reference and https://www.zend.com/en/resources/php7_infographic

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How to run Joomla 3.5 on PHP 7

Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Written by Alan Foster

The latest version of Joomla 3.5 makes use of PHP 7 which can give your website a major speed boost. A large number of web hosting companies now support PHP 7 and it’s pretty easy to enable this version of PHP via Cpanel. This tutorial will show how to make your website go super fast by taking advantage of the new performance enhancements incorporated into the latest version of PHP 7

Step 1: Upgrade to the latest version of Joomla 3.5

Before you enable php 7 via cpanel you first need to upgrade the website to latest version of Joomla 3.5.

To upgrade the website complete the following

  1. Read the article we have created how to update to the latest version of joomla
  2. Watch our step by step Joomla 3.5 upgrade video tutorial we have created.

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10 ways to improve your website in 2016

Sunday, 31 January 2016
Written by Alan Foster

A good web site in 2016 is all about providing the best and most relevant content to users across multiple devices including desktop, tablet and smartphones. 

Web designers looking to succeed this year should follow the guide lines outlined below to preform a website health check to improve the websites they create in 2016.

Improve the visual content

With the massive growth in tablet and smartphone devices allowing more people to access the web, and more often, you need to provide content that automatically adapts to the users device plus is visually striking on the users device. Your content must grab people’s attention straight away with great images and you will give yourself the platform to retain guests.

Responsive Design

Given the range of devices that people use to access the internet, it is essential that you have a responsive website. This will boost your search engine rankings, it will improve the user experience and it will save time and effort in updating your site, so make sure that your website is responsive. We have designed a number of responsive Joomla templates which are great for building mobile friendly websites.

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10 must have tools for freelance web designers

Thursday, 28 January 2016
Written by Alan Foster

Freelance web designers need to work effectively and they want value for money in everything they do. We have put together a list of 10 must have tools for web designers which you may find useful to help get more out of your day. We hope you find this article useful and if we have missed any anything let us know and we will be happy to add it to the blog post.

Affinity

affinity photo shop alternative

If you like the idea of Photoshop but can’t afford the price, this is the app for you. Affinity has a similar layout and feel to Photoshop but it offers plenty of features, tools and non-destructive layers that can be easily adjusted. At the price, it’s a bargain and a great addition.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/

Cloud Comp

cloud comp for designers

If you are continually being asked by clients to share website and app mockups, you know how time-consuming a task it can be. Using the Cloud Comp app is a really easy way to share this work with your clients, pleasing them and allowing you to focus on more important matters.

http://cloudcmp.co/

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Joomla critical security vulnerability update

Monday, 21 December 2015
Written by Alan Foster

We don't normally write blog posts about security updates for Joomla but on this occasion we feel it's important to make people aware of a critical security vulnerability in all versions of Joomla 1.5, 2.5 and 3.4.
An update was released by the Joomla project team on 21/12/2015 which fixes the security vulnerability in all versions of Joomla 1.5, 2.5 and 3.4.

The update resolves the following issues

  1. High Priority - Core - Remote Code Execution (affecting Joomla 1.5 through 3.4.5) More information
  2. Low Priority - Core - CRSF Hardening (affecting Joomla 3.2.0 through 3.4.5) More information.
  3. Low Priority - Core - Directory Traversal (affecting Joomla 3.2.0 through 3.4.5) More information.
  4. Low Priority - Core - Directory Traversal (affecting Joomla 3.4.0 through 3.4.5) More information

You can read the official announcements by visiting

  1. https://www.joomla.org/announcements/release-news/5641-joomla-3-4-6-released.html
  2. https://www.joomla.org/announcements/release-news/5643-joomla-3-4-7.html

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Choosing a free Joomla web hosting service

Monday, 19 October 2015
Written by Alan Foster

If you don't have much money to host your Joomla website then a free hosting service could be the best option for you. Although free hosting services have limitations they can still provide you with everything you need to build a website. The number of companies offering free web hosting has increased and quality of the hosting has also improved. You also get less restrictions forced upon you including having to display advertisements on your website. However as with everything that’s free you will still have some limitations including the amount of disk space you get, bandwidth you can use and resources on the server you can use.

Advantages of using free hosting for Joomla

  • It’s free with some restrictions.
  • The technical requirements are in place to run Joomla on a free web hosting service.
  • Good for testing out Joomla on a live server environment before committing to investing in a paid service.
  • Great for getting to know how Joomla works by building your first website on a free hosting service.
  • You only plan to run a small website which will use limited disk space, bandwidth and resources on the server.
  • It’s normally very easy to setup Joomla as the hosting company will provide the option to install the CMS via Cpanel.

Disadvantages of using a free web hosting service

  • The bottom line is paying customers will always come first. If you have a technical issue you may have to wait alot longer to get the problem resolved.
  • Limitations will be in place based on the server resources you can use including the amount of bandwidth, disk space, MySQL databases, sub domains, email accounts you can setup and use.
  • The website may not behave in the same way as it would by hosting the website on a paid plan.
  • Popup advertisements used by the company to subsidise the service may appear on your website.
  • You may have to use the company’s domain name in your website address.
  • The website may experience more downtime compared to a paid service.
  • The Joomla installers which are available to install via the hosting control panel can be outdated.

The list of advantages and disadvantages to support the case for free hosting could go on and on. Free web hosting is great for learning about and testing out Joomla to see what is has to offer. It’s also good for small websites and for people who don’t mind living with the limitations the service has to offer. However if you need support and want a stable environment to run your website then a free service may not be the right solution for you.

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Joomla Tips And Tricks

Sunday, 09 August 2015
Written by Alan Foster

We have put together a list of Joomla tips and tricks which we though you may find useful.

The tips and tricks included in this blog post are not intended for experts but for people just getting started with Joomla. Please also note the blog post does not cover everything, we have just picked out what we believe could be useful to you.

How do I Put my website in offline mode

Joomla gives you the option to put the website in offline mode. This feature is useful if your still developing the website and don't want to provide visitors with access to the website. You can still use all the functionality via the administrator area like creating menu items, categories, articles, installing extensions and so on. You can also see  the changes you have made by logging into the front end of the website.

  1. Select the System menu and Global configuration menu item.
  2. Select the Site tab and you will the site offline option.
  3. To take the site offline choose the Yes option.
  4. You may also want to change the text which appears when people visit your website.
  5. You can also upload your business or website logo.

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How Does Joomla Cache Work

Wednesday, 05 August 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Have you ever wondered how Joomla cache works and how you can speed up your website using the built-in caching features incorporated into Joomla? If yes then you may find the information included in this blog post useful.

How does caching work?

Every time someone visits your website Joomla has to generate a number of MYSQL database queries, read and process PHP code plus much more in order to render the website correctly for each website visitor.

All this takes time and impacts the speed of the website but you can reduce this overhead by up to 50% by enabling caching at the website.

Caching basically takes a snap shot of the website and stores all the information in a number of files which get stored and retrieved from the hard disks web hosting space.

This can make the website pages load up to 10x faster as there is no longer a requirement to generate as many MYSQL database queries or process as much PHP code in order to render the website. Some database quires will still get generated and some PHP code will still need to be processed but a lot less when you have cache enabled.

Useful information about the Joomla cache options

  1. By default caching is not enabled. You need to enable the built-in caching features included in Joomla.
  2. Cached content is only displayed to visitors who are not logged into the website. Logged in visitors will not be provided with the cached content.
  3. It does not apply to the Administrator area of the website.
  4. All cached content is stored and retrieved from the /cache/ directory.
  5. Caching is split into the following key areas page caching, View and Module caching.
  6. The system cache plugin takes precedence over global configuration and module cache settings.

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Things To Do Before Updating Joomla

Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Before updating your website to the latest version of Joomla we recommend you consider the following tips and advice we have outlined in this blog post which you may find useful.

Scenario

You Log into the administrator area of the website and see the "red alert message" advising you to update the website to the latest version of Joomla

You panic and click on update Now button.

After the update is complete you visit your website to ensure the update was successful and to your horror you get the "white screen of death" or the template, extension or module is no longer working as it's supposed to.

You contact the hosting company hoping they have a full backup of the website which you can recover from but they don’t have one.

You visit the Joomla forum,  template, extension or module developer’s website looking for answers tying desperately to get the website back online.

We have all been there after doing a website update when it all goes badly wrong.

However you can avoid all this stress by following the simple tips outlined in this blog post before you click on the update now button.

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Have You Updated The Joomla Robots.txt File

Monday, 06 July 2015
Written by Alan Foster

The default version of the robots.txt file has been updated as from Joomla 3.3 to make it more search engine friendly allowing Google to access and crawl the /media/ and /templates/ directories.

The old version of the file was basically stopping Google from crawling the /media/ and /templates/ directories and preventing Google from accessing the CSS, Java and image files.

The updates to the robotos.txt file is not applied automatically after you upgrade to the latest version of Joomla 3.

You will be required to manually make the changes to the file to allow google to crawl and index your website correctly.

Old version of the Robots.txt

As you can see from the screen shot below the old version of the robots.txt file is blocking Google from crawling the /media/ and /templates/ directories.

New version of the Robots.txt file

As you can see in the new updated version of the robots.txt file screen shot Google is allowed to access and crawl the /media/ and /Templates/ Directories.

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20 Free Icon Sets For Your Website

Thursday, 25 June 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Whether you’re creating a new website or planning to update an existing website to give a fresh new look some good quality icons can make a big difference to the visual appearance of a website.

Applying a uniformed set of icons to your website is a great way of getting your message across to website visitors about the services or products you offer.

We have put together a list of 20 great looking free icon sets created by web designers cross the internet which can be used for any purpose. Whether your planning to create a business, travel, art of e-commerce website or any type of website you have in mind we are sure you will see an icon set included in this blog post which you can use to spice up your website.

All the icons included in this blog post are free to download and use for personal or commercial projects. They also come in vector, Photoshop or illustrator format so you can easily edit them if required.v

You can also find lots of great free icons created by some very talanted designers by visiting https://dribbble.com

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Image Optimization Tools And Tips

Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Optimizing the images you include at your website is a great way to improve the overall speed of your website. Images weather they are in JPEG, PNG or GIF format which have not been compressed for the web can really slow your website down and have a serious impact on the web visitors user experience at speed of the website.

With more and more people visiting websites using smart phone and tablet devices on mobile connections it has become even more imporant to compress the size of the images you publish to your website.

We have put together a colection of online image optimization tools which are free and easy to use which can compress the file size of JPEG, GIF and PNG images by up to 50% without degrading the quality of the original image.

We understand you can achieve some great compression rates using Photoshop or RIOT and other 3rd party software.  
This blog post will only focus on online tools which do not require the installation of any software. As long as you have access to the internet and web browser you can use one of the free tools included in this blog.

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How To Make Your Joomla Website Mobile Friendly

Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Is your Joomla website mobile friendly? If not then you need to make it a priority to ensure it is mobile ready.

The way people access and view websites has changed alot. In the past people visited websites using one device which was normally a laptop or desktop computer but all this has now changed.

People now visit and view websites using multiple devices including computers, tablets and smart phones which is why it is so important to provide your website visitors with the best possible user experience across all devices.

Why should you make your website mobile ready for website visitors

  1. You want to give website visitors the best possible user experience across all device screen sizes including computers, tablets and smart phones.
  2. According to Nielsen 80 percent of U.S. teens 14 to 17 own smartphones and more than 90 percent of them use them to watch videos and search the web online.
  3. According to Google 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV.
  4. Data from Adobe state Tablet users spend 50% more than PC users.
  5. In April 2015 Google announced that they are rolling out a algorithm update to reward mobile friendly websites in the search engine listings. They have also introduced mobile friendly labels which appear next to websites when you search for something in using a smart phone device.
  6. The latest version of Joomla 3 is by default mobile ready.
  7. Web site visitors expect to see a website automatically adapt to the device screen size they are using.

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Eight Reasons Why You Should Choose Joomla To Create A Website

Thursday, 11 June 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Joomla is one of the most popular open source content management systems on the internet used by people around the world to create amazing websites. Whether you want to create a corporate site for your business or blog or maybe a community or directory website you can achieve this by using Joomla.

This blog post will outline some of the reasons why you should choose Joomla to create a new website.

Free to use

One of the great things about joomla is it's free to use and is released under the GNU General Public License. Once you have downloaded and installed the software via your website you can use it forever and you don’t have to worry about paying any license fees to use the software.

Install In 3 simple steps

The much improved installation process for the latest version of Joomla 3 makes installing the CMS at your website simple.

The installation process is split into three easy to understand steps.

Step one is the configuration tab where you enter details about your website including site name, site description, email address and the website super administrator user name and password.

Step two is the website database tab where you need to enter the MySQL database name, user name and password for the website based on the information you have setup via your web hosting space control panel.

Step three is the final stage where you get the option to populate the website database with sample data. Step 3 of the installation process also gives you the opportunity to review the website settings before you click on the installation button.

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Simple Guide To Backup Your Joomla Website

Friday, 01 May 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Have you backed up your Joomla website? If not then it’s time to make it your number one priority. If anything should go wrong with the website and you need to recover it from a backup and you don't have one you may lose all your hard work and have to start all over again.

In this blog post we will guide you through how to take a complete backup of your website which includes all the Joomla files and the MYSQL database.

We have created a step by step video tutorial about this subject which you may find useful. Watch the video tutorial

Why do i need to backup my website

  1. The hosting company goes out of business and you need to move the website to another hosting company.
  2. The server has a hardware failure and the hosting company can only restore the website from backups they have taken 1 or 2 weeks ago.
  3. The hosting company may not have backups of the website or the backups could be corrupted.
  4. You install a Joomla template or extension and the website displays a white screen or PHP error.
  5. You upgrade one of the extensions, templates or modules at your website and get a white screen or PHP error.
  6. You click on the red button from the administrator area of your website which informs you to upgrade to the latest version of Joomla. After the upgrade some of the websites functionality is not working or you get an error message.
  7. Your website gets hacked.

The items listed above are just some of the reasons why you should get into the habit of doing a backup of your website.

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How To Enable Joomla Search Engine Friendly Urls

Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Written by Alan Foster

As Joomla has matured over the years it has become more and more search engine friendly which is very important to anyone considering using a content management system to build a website site. One of the great built-in seo tools it has to offer is the option to use search engine friendly URLs. This blog post will guide you through how to enable SEF URLs for the latest version of Joomla.

Why enable search engine friendly URLs

Before we get started we want to outline some of the benefits of enabling SEF URLs.

  • Website visitors are more likely to remember the SEF version of the URL.
  • People are more likely to visit the SEF version of the URL which appears in the search engine results or on social media websites rather than visiting the non search engine friendly version of the URL.
  • If other websites or social networking sites want to reference an article you have published at your website it is easier to link directly to the SEF version rather than linking to the non SEF version.
  • It helps the website visitor to understand what the article is about based on the information included in the URL.
  • It adds an additional layer of security to your website. Their are bots which crawl the internet every minute of the day looking for ways to exploit websites and one of the approaches they use is to look at the format of the websites URLs. A website can be easily identified as running Joomla based on formatting of the URLs which include PHP, ?, component name.

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Joomla Hosting Advice And Tips

Monday, 02 March 2015
Written by Alan Foster

You have built a great Joomla website and now your ready to share it with the world. However, if you have not thought about which hosting company or service to go for, chances are you won’t get the results you might have been hoping for even if your site is perfect in every way.

Choosing the right web hosting service plays an important part in building a website. The last thing you need when launching a new website or running an established website is server downtime or a slow loading site which will have a serious impact on your business. You only get one chance to make an impression on the internet, if your site is slow or down or maybe has a technical issue then you could loose an important sale and the visitor will move onto the next website.

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Whats New In Joomla 3.4

Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

The Joomla project announced the release of Joomla 3.4 which is available for download at the official community website. You can also complete a one click upgrade via the administrator area of your website to upgrade to the latest version of 3.4. The latest version of the CMS comes with a number of new features including enhanced front end module editing, removal of the web links component, security improvements with the introduction of UploadShield code which can detect most malicious uploads and it also supports the more user friendly version of Google reCaptcha.

Goodbye weblinks component

The development team took the decision to remove the web links component and all its associated modules from the core of Joomla 3.4. This only applies to new installations of 3.4, if you upgrade directly from version 3.3 to 3.4 the web links component and its associated modules will still be available.

This was a good decision by the development team as it reduces the overall size of the core code base to make the CMS lighter plus not so many people use the web links component and there are a lot of alternatives available for download via the extensions directory which offer more features and functionality.

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Stop Spam On Joomla Using Recaptcha

Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

No one likes getting spam especially when it comes via the contact or registration forms at your Joomla website. The default contact and registration forms are subject to abuse from automated spam bots which crawl the internet every minute of the day looking for ways to automatically spam websites. One of the best solutions available to reduce spam is to use Google's free reCAPTCHA service which can be setup at your website by following the simple steps outlined in this blog post.

What Is reCAPTCHA

reCAPTCHA is one of the most popular free spam protection services on the internet which is designed to protect websites from spam and abuse. It uses an advanced risk analysis engine and adaptive CAPTCHA's to stop automated bots.

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Five Useful Extensions For Joomla

Monday, 16 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

If you visit the Joomla extensions site you can be over whelmed by the number of extensions you can download and install. Whether you need a forum, photo gallery, chat, document management or backup extension you will find it at the website.

Before you get over excited and download and install every extension under the sun we have put together a list of really useful, tried and tested extensions which we believe will add real value to your website in terms of improving it's functionality and the day to day management of the website.

Akeeba Backup

Akeeba Backup is one of those must have extensions which is essential for everyone running a Joomla site. The developers of Akeeba Backup have been around since 2006 and the extension has been downloaded thousands of times over the past few years plus it has some amazing reviews from people who use it.

The extension comes in two flavors, the free version and the paid version where you signup for a one year support subscription which costs only 40 Euros.

What Akeeba Backup basically does is allow you to easily create a backup of your whole website from the administrator area. The backup will take a snapshot of all the core Joomla files, extensions, modules, templates, MYSQL database and store them in a single file. Taking a backup is simple and you can also schedule backups to run every day, week or month. Akeeba Backup also allows you to easily restore the website in a couple of minutes. If your site gets hacked or the hosting company closes down or maybe something goes wrong when you upgrade your site or a 3rd party extension you can always easily recover the whole site using this really useful extension.

Find Out More About Akeebabackup

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Reset Your Joomla Admin Password In Five Easy Steps

Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Have you forgot the Joomla super administrator password to log into the administrator area of your website? If yes then the step by step instructions outlined in this document will help you quickly and easily reset your admin password.

Before you get started you will need access to your web hosting control panel (cpanel) and also access to phpMyAdmin where you will be required to update one of the Joomla user mysql tables included in the MYSQL database to reset the admin password.

Cpanel is one of the most popular control panels used by a lot of hosting companies. If you do not have access to Cpanel or phpMyAdmin then contact your web hosting company for information about how you can access the above.

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Useful Tips To Speed Up Your Joomla Website

Saturday, 07 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Is your Joomla website loading slowly? If yes then you can make changes to the site to make it load faster which will in turn increase conversions and also keep visitors and Google happy. The internet is an unforgiving place, you only get one chance to make an impression and if you get it wrong it's very difficult to recover from it.

A fast loading website plays an important role in the overall user experience the visitor expects to see when they visit a website.

Many other factors influence user experience and conversions at a website but speed has now become an important factor especially since more people now use mobile devices to visit websites. Google also uses website speed as a ranking signal in its algorithm which can influence a sites position in the search engine listings.

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Ten Websites To Find Great Free Stock Photos

Thursday, 05 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

There is a growing trend of websites offering high quality free stock photos released under the creative commons licence which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free in personal and commercial projects. This gives both designers and website owners a lot more freedom and flexibility to include images in the designs they create or in articles people publish at their website.

Some of the high resolution images available for download at the websites do come with some restrictions but a majority of them are free to use for personal or commercial use. The other great thing about the websites included in this article is that they get updated all the time so you can always find something new each time you visit one of the websites.

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Joomla 2.5 End Of Life And Template Support

Wednesday, 04 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

The Joomla project announced the end of life for Joomla 2.5 versions of the content management system in accordance with it's release and support cycle. The final version of 2.5.8 was released on the 10th December 2014. 

End of life or EOF means as from 31st December 2014 no further bug fixes, features or security updates will be available for anyone running a website using version 2.5 You are strongly advised to update to the latest and stable release of Joomla 3 so you can take advantage of the great new features and functionality included in version 3 plus to ensure you receive bug fixes, new features and security updates.

Please note you will also find many of the extension and template developers will stop supporting and releasing updates for 2.5 so we would recommend you upgrade your website to latest version of 3.x

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We Have Changed Our Name To Energize Themes

Monday, 02 February 2015
Written by Alan Foster

Ten years ago on September 2005 we opened the Joomla designs website. On the 15th January 2015 we made the decision to change the websites name and domain to Energizethemes.com which was one of the biggest and most difficult decisions we have made in the history of running the website.

Moving an established website to a new domain is never an easy decision. You need to consider so many variables when moving to a new domain including branding, social media, communication about the new domain name to existing customers and partner websites, search engine optimization to ensure the rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo get transferred from the old domain to the new domain plus you also need to think about the technical requirements about moving domain which we won't go into in this blog post.  

All we can say to anyone thinking about changing domain name is that it requires a lot of planning, testing and research. It can be very stressful but it is also a great leaning experience and at the same time very exciting and challenging experience.

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