While we have been away!

I was looking at our Fungrenade site today and thought ‘ooo, we are breaking our own rules of web management’ not keeping your site up to date.
So I put on my extremely large to do list ‘write up an update of what we as group of companies have been up to’.

We can’t start without mentioning COVID-19 and the impact it has had on businesses in the area. We have been working with Steve Tottle Tae kwon do to set up Virtual Teaching Environments for their students so they can keep training during the lock down, using social media as the initial arena to share recordings and developing Learning Management System to access pre-recorded patterns and skills content. An added bonus this also gives them the ability to broadcast sessions live for subscribers and students unavailable to attend the group session.

“Working from home”, I think that way of working has changed astronomically in the past 2 months. Before it meant, I have a boiler man coming around and you can call me on my mobile IF you need me. Not any more, working from home NEEDS to be at the very least as productive as sitting in your office. The technology is there! Telephone systems over SIP that can redirect, file systems stored securely on the cloud, face to face meetings over the web. The important thing is to get these processes in place before they are needed. Or to use the old adage ‘make hay when the sun shines’

People have experienced the COVID impact over the past 2 months in the UK, however we have been working with companies/schools in China since January. So from a technical perspective we have had a two month head start to get our processes right.

And what a great time to design and build a new website! A local community council thinks so to so we are building their new site to go live during the lock down. proof that nothing can stop a committed organisation from developing and growing.

Like I said a quick update. So I will sign off by saying stay safe and stay home!

Search Point UK SCAM

I came across this today with a new client of ours. They rang us up asking about renewing their ‘Google places subscription?’ My response was quite short (sorry client) ‘renew google places, what are you on about?’

After that exclamation we stated again and they explained that they bought a subscription from google places. That is obviously inaccurate as google places is free! So we dived a bit more into it and we found out that the company they were using was SearchPoint UK.

Ok we have a starting point, after a bit of searching on the web I found them. I found them at the top (that’s a good start) so going through their website. Which is a bit thin on content, but on the footer you find this statement…



So NO affiliation with Google. I am starting get bad feeling about this.

Then number three on the list of results from Google for SearchPoint gives this WHICH? Article

So alarm bells are falling off the wall now! I’ll give you the highlights of the page below. [sic]

  1. ‘I run a photography business and about two years ago I got a call from Search Point UK – I believed they were calling from Google. I agreed to have them manage our Google My Business listing for a year and paid about £300.’
  2. Search Point UK Ltd was dissolved 6th November 2018.
    It uses a virtual address that it shares with over 300 other ‘companies’:
    West House, King Cross Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, HX1 1EB
    It was previously called Map Registrations Ltd for a period of 3 days in March 2017.
  3. Just been phoned by these pests saying my Google Business registration had not been set up correctly. I seemed to recognise the name and Googled it whilst caller still on the phone. I suggested to him that it was a scam and said I was not interested. I have never been called “sir” so many times in one conversation.
    He finally rang off when I asked why Google was showing the company as a scam.

For a dissolved company they are still very much active. So at the very best this company is taking advantage of vulnerable businesses and at the very worst it’s a SCAM.

We don’t like that here it has made us quite angry. So if you are in the Pontyclun, Llantrisant, Cowbridge, Cardiff well anywhere in South Wales we will get your Google listing back for you and put it in an account in YOUR name for free!

Contact us using our contact form now!

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.

St David’s Day Photo Shoot

The thing I love about my work is the diversity. Like being contracted to take photographs of Welsh produce on St David’s Day! The amount of welsh produce does not stop at cheese a single species of leek or baby sheep. The scale of diversity of produce is astounding! From Welsh Jerk Sauce… to Welsh Ground Arabica coffee (coffee not grown in Wales I asked, but it’s flavored and ground here!).
Here is a great spot for Welsh produce, it has a Deli, Butchery lots of canned and bottle goods. I am most definitely making this a regular Saturday trip.

Cwmcerrig Farm Shop


This family run farm shop has lots of products, lots of space… it’s bigger than most city stores! Despite that it feels like a family farm shop. Even if there were a 100 people shopping in there I suspect there would be more people working there than customers.

Like I said earlier, I did not know we made so much food in Wales, and speak to to the producers they will say AMAZING Welsh food. Sorry!!!

I am going to be coming here once a month at least… twice on my birthday!



Located in the lovely town of Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. If you are asking where… then click here for more info. This next place confused me a little. I am on a Welsh Food Photo Shoot and the place is called Gin Haus. Gin being the alcoholic drink not normally associated with Wales. Haus which the last time I was in Germany was a house. So I walked in with some trepidation, which was quickly dispelled.

This place takes Welsh produce REALLY seriously… and also gin. I found Welsh beef jerky, Welsh spicy BBQ sauce and Welsh ground coffee (I KNOW).

A great deli as well with lots of local meats, pies and well everything.

And to take the experience to the limit… all of this in the coolest shop in Carmarthenshire!

I could keep writing about this topic for another 10 pages but I have to stop. But the conclusion of my St David’s Day food odyssey is 3 fold.

  • Make sure you publicise your products. The people who will want to buy it probably don’t know about what you are doing.
  • Try and buy local food as much as possible which leads onto the third point
  • Reduce buying food in plastic!

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 →

Pontyclun Community Shop Front

Working for the Pontyclun local community

Last week we had a clearout, that produced several bags that needed to go to the charity shop. I had a look on google to see what time the  Pontyclun community shop closed as it was bad weather and I didnt fancy walking there and back with heavy bags.

It said on google that the shop closed at 1.30pm. I was sure they were open when I was over there at 3pm. So I picked up the phone, luckily the number was right and called them to see what time they closed. Bonus 5pm!!!

When I got there I met the Manager, Vanessa. I mentioned that google had all their opening times wrong. She said that they have tried to find out who set it up so they can change it but had no luck.

We love to help the local community, so here was an opportunity for us to help. I introduced Fungrenade and our services. I explained how we could sort out their google places for them and yes NO CHARGE!!!

Fungreanade was born from the need to provide services to our local community for reasonable costs. Here was a business that was putting its profits back into the community so why wouldn’t we help. It would be our pleasure.

As of today Pontyclun Community Shop is now up today with google so people of the community can find out when they are open. We will continue to look after their google places for them and anytime they need anything they just have to ask.

We are proud to have helped out. Fungrenade strikes again!!

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?

Where you host your website is crucial to your success

In this day and age I struggle to understand why people in Wales and the UK host their websites in the US, Amsterdam (there is a huge cloud presence in the Netherlands, Azure, Amazon Web hosting etc) the only thing I can assume is the lack of knowledge that they are hosting abroad and they think hey are hosting within the UK

Having said all of that, is getting your website hosted overseas the only option that you want to go for? Don’t you want to consider if there are any benefits in getting your site hosted locally or within the similar time zone as yours? It so happens that not all classes of webmasters benefit from getting their websites hosted overseas. There are few key points that need to be considered before opting for a web host located in a remote country.
The biggest advantage that you get out of hosting your website overseas comes in form of low cost; having said that, low price doesn’t necessarily mean good service. If you are in UK, you should not doubt the low-cost hosting service you are getting from a place like India or the US. They offer low prices because of their overall low cost of operations, so there is no reason to doubt their competency.
However, what can be a difference maker is the kind of customer support you get from such budget web hosting providers. Looking at the growing competition in hosting industry, it’d be safe to say without any doubt that the professionals working for these hosts are well trained, but you still need to make sure that you get 24/7 customer support because of the time zone differences.

A person searching for your domain sitting in China will see your website’s rank higher in search engines if your website is hosted in China. A person sitting in US and UK won’t see the same search engine results as the one sitting in China. In simpler words, you already know that SERP ranking affects the amount of traffic you get to your website, so before finalizing the country where you would want to host your website, think about the audience you want to target. It is always suggested to host your website in a country from where you expect the maximum amount of traffic. google does look at your domain and weights the results based on the country of the admin details, but I have not measured any difference.
A user living far away from the server of your website will always see your website loading very slowly compared to the person who is closer to the server. A slow website always irritates the visitor and they normally tend to switch to another similar website. And, you don’t want that to happen to your website, do you?

So, once again you need to choose your location of hosting such that your maximum potential visitors come from places closest to the place of hosting.
All the points discussed above clearly go to show you that there are enough number of pros and cons of hosting your website overseas. And, all that you need to do is to think about your website’s future and what you expect from it; this would certainly help you in finalizing the location of the hosting company you want to work with.

If your user base is with in wales, or the UK then you need to ensure your hosting package is in the UK. Use our where is your website hosted service to see which country your website is hosted in and call us to help you bring your website home!

Does my website need an SSL?

The short answer to this question is no, most websites don’t require an SSL certificate. However in this day and age there is a stronger reason to have one than not.

SSL connection, displayed on your browser as HTTPS:// is a connection between the website you are looking at and your computer that is secure (encrypted). Why is that important? Well if you are in a shop you wouldn’t shout your credit card details at the cashier would you? It’s the same on the internet. There is no guarantee that the networks you cross to visit the website that no one is eves dropping on you and what you are doing. And in the modern age, personal data is just as important as financial data. So in my opinion every website should be encrypted to protect the person visiting it and potentially leaving data on it.

SSL certificates make your website more trustworthy. For websites that take payments, this trust is absolutely essential, but even non-ecommerce websites can benefit from having a little extra trust.
Web browsers display a symbol to show when a website has an SSL certificate. For example, Firefox displays a green bar and Google Chrome shows a green tick. Although many customers may not know that the symbol means you have an SSL certificate, they are likely to recognise it from other trustworthy websites.

Google have put more weight on websites that run secure. This was not a major algorithm update contained within say the Panda update but it runs an a per URL basis. Which means that its beneficial for all websites to have SSL

An SSL certificate is essential for any company that takes sensitive information such as its customers’ credit card details. Whether non-ecommerce websites decide to add an SSL certificate to increase trust is one thing, for ecommerce websites it’s not just a matter of trust but security.
This may not apply to all websites that sell goods online. Some eCommerce websites use an external payment processor such as PayPal to manage payments and so no sensitive credit card information is sent between the user and their website. If this is how your business works you may not need an SSL certificate. However, as mentioned before, there are other benefits to having an SSL certificate – an increase in trust and a potential increase in conversions, with the fact that the internet is not secure for example.

These days, more and more cyber-criminals try to spoof company emails. Banks are the most common type of company that’s targeted. Cyber-criminals create fake websites that are identical to the bank’s real website and send out emails (with email addresses that are very similar to the bank’s) asking customers to login for security purposes.
What’s the main difference between the genuine bank website and the fake one? You guessed it! An SSL certificate. The fake bank website won’t have the green bar or tick that shows it’s legitimate.
If your customers use your website and know to expect a green bar or tick icon then if you do get hacked they’ll know that the other website isn’t legitimate.

This should be reason enough for most websites to install an SSL. But to really seal the deal so to speak is that in most cases of hosting SSL can be obtained freely! By a not for profit organisation call Lets Encrypt.

We give SSL certificates to all of or Linux hosting packages, which includes WordPress hosting. So there is nothing really stopping you getting up the search engines and protecting your customers