Software Design Pontyclun China business

Doing business in China – websites and ICP

Can I get a .CN domain name?

Yes, it’s not as straight forward as getting a .co.uk domain but if you have a driver’s license or a passport then you should be able to secure a .CN domain for a provider that offers it
Now you have a .CN domain, you can do pretty much what you want with it. Treat it as a .COM. but, this does not increase your profile on the Chinese network.

You will need to get hosting within China. This is where all the red tape starts to pile up. In order to operate a website legally in China you will need to have at the very least an ICP number or an ICP License. No hosting company will allow you to host without one.

We have servers in China and we had to go through this complicated and convoluted process of applying for an ICP to get them. I’ll discuss this in a different blog or if your needs are more urgent why don’t you contact us.

So why host in China?

Simple answer, you want to get high in the search results in  Google. In China there is no Google. So you need to get high up in Baidu. The most used search engine in China. Again getting on Baidu is not straight forward. You will need a Chinese mobile phone. And ICP number and a website hosted in China to get the most out of it.

Is it worth doing all of this? I think you have to look at it project by project and what is your budget for your investment. My recent visits to China have identified several service sectors that are crying out for western delivery of products and services, education being an attractive one.

I will write more on our work in china and our links with companies out there. If you would like to speak to us regarding our Chinese links and networks call us today.

Facebook website displaying incorrectly

Just a quick one as I forget that people are not aware of this tool.
After any major update or build of your website you usually want to show it off in Facebook. Only to find that the website Facebook shows in the post is your old one.

This happens because of something that Facebook calls scraping. When a website is URL is entered into a post or a messenger post then Facebook ‘scrapes’ that website and stores a copy of it. This is to reduce time and data for the future. But as anything in a cache this can go stale. So what can you do? Just wait? NO!

You can force Facebook to re-scrape your site. And in at the same time check for other problems.

Access this tool here



Who Really Owns Your Domain?

Your domain name is your property, that sounds right doesn’t it? Well in some cases you could not be further from the truth and your domain name who is being ‘looked after’ by a trusted person. We have had experience (and in the middle of a dispute right now, hence the Blog) where relationships go bad or a web designer has actually died. This can cause you a massive headache to get your domain back. Continue reading →

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Why do you have a website? You want to promote yourself, sell a thing-a-ma-gig or get a message out there in the big world of the internet. So how do you know if it is doing the job you had planned for it to do?

If you had a shop this can be easily done, you count how many people come in, you can ask them how they found you and you can note what they are looking at in your shop. So why not do this on your website? You can and it’s not that hard to setup and work with… and if you do it yourself it’s FREE!

Google offer a set of tools on your Google account for all the websites you own. the tools that you need to set up immediately Google Analytics, Google Search console, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Business. If you have not got these tools then set them up immediately.

After you have created your Google account and validated all of your websites with analytics, search console and webmasters tools you will gradually build up profile data of your visitors, where they come from and how they found you. Now that is useful, you can see if your website plan and goals are being hit. If not then you can adjust it and then measure your websites change.

So what info can you get?

Search Queries

The Search Queries section shows the keywords that led users to your site.

This list shows which keywords users searched for when they came to your site. This tool is essential as you will see if your search engine optimisation (SEO) is working the way you want it.

In the Search Queries section, you can also see the number of impressions and the number of clicks, which gives you an idea about the Click-through Rate CTR for this keyword. All equal, a higher CTR means the keyword is relevant, so you might want to invest some more efforts into this keyword.


Google Analytics Sample
Google Analytics Sample


An equally useful section of Google Webmaster Tools is the Links to your site section. You need to get inbound links for your website as soon as possible, this is especially important at your websites launch.

Here you can see where your backlinks (internal and external) come from, as well as the pages they are linking to one of the advanced uses of the Links section is to disavow links to your site you deem harmful. Links from bad sites can hurt your rankings, so if you will need to remove them.


Similarly to the Search Queries section that also deals with keywords (but it is the ones users type to get to your site), the Keywords section also shows keywords. However, the difference is that here you see what keywords (and their significance) Google has found on your site. The two lists (of keywords users’ type and the keywords Google finds on your site) could be very different, which means you are not optimizing for what users are searching for.

The Keywords section also allows to see the subject and proposition of your site, which post Panda has become even more important.

There are other more advanced tools that we will not discuss here as this post is an introduction into getting data from your site. These include crawl errors, Sitemaps, Robot files and other stuff!

In conclusion you have to ask yourself or the person/company who is managing your website do we have Google tools set up for it. IF NOT…WHY NOT?

All of our packages come with Google Tools set up free as standard. Find the right package for you in our pricing page.

Facebook Banner for MTB DIGS

Custom Photography or Stock Photography?

Firstly you may not be aware of the term stock photography but you are exposed to it every day. Stock photography suppliers take millions of photos of landmarks, models, industry specific images and world images ahead of the demand. So in a nutshell it’s fast food restaurant but for photographs. You go onto the site, see what takes your fancy and then immediately buy the license to use that image in you website or design project.
Sounds great? Or is it?

Custom Photo by FunGrenade

Stock Photography

You have to think that the photographer that took the image from his own brief. He may have submitted that image months or probably years ago (you can tell from the site credits when the image was taken). The main thing is it was not taken specifically for you or your project.
And it can lead to very embarrassing situations.

Same dress at a wedding

Here are a few examples of disastrous use of stock photography. This being my ‘cringiest’ favourite. A Malaysian newspaper had this back to back advert of two different companies using the same stock photography.

from: https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/3dxke2/stock_photo_nightmare_two_ads_facing_each_other/

Ok you may say how are they to know that was going to happen and it’s the fault of the paper for not spotting.
It doesn’t have to be the same image either, it can be from the same sequence.

But it’s not all bad.

Don’t rush into stock photography. The first nice image you see does not have to be the one you use. Set it aside, and move on. Build a portfolio of potential images, discuss with your co-workers and friends what images they like and why.

Custom Photography.

In my opinion this is the best form of photography for building an identity, recognition and reputation. For example, we are working on Tae Kwon Do club website and sales platform. This situation must use 100% custom photography. If you use stock photography of other martial artists then your credibility for being a teacher is harmed when the people on the site are not taking part in training.

Here is a good example of building an identity within the catchment of your business.


This is a mixture of stock photography and custom photography. So for using and driving the websites, i.e links and thumbnails, we use stock photography that suits that particular job. For the overall identity and developing a local brand and an association with the local area we took photography pf Pontyclun. So it’s the best of both worlds.

So in conclusion

I think each project you have to ask this question about photography. It’s easy and cheap to use stock photography, BUT, is it the right thing to do. Your website, handouts and merchandise is an extension of you and your business. Would you really want someone else’s face on it?