Freelance Web Consultant Bournemouth, Dorset
Web projects come in all shapes and sizes and there is no one solution that fits all criteria. Building a new project is a challenge for any team, but there is a lot more to consider when looking to get a project built by a third party company or companies.
These are some of the major things you will need to consider when scoping the project
– How much money do you have to budget for each phase of the project
– What are the timescales you are looking to complete the project or phases by
– What is necessary to be finished by that first deadline or phase
– User requirements (how do they need to access content)
This is a good start, you have covered what you perceive to be the big questions, but it leaves your project open to a lot of interpretation by the company or companies building it.
Why do you need a Web Consultant?
If you don’t have a web development team or at the very least one web developer on hand to help you in this process then you are at a big disadvantage.
You will hear a lot of buzz words in the pitching process for websites and you shouldn’t be required to know all of this. You will hear things like “This project will be built responsively, mobile first and using an agile methodology” So you are left either researching all these things or just blindly agreeing with them.
You need someone to steer your project in the right direction from the start, and to do that the next big questions should be
– What language will this be written in (licensed or open source)
– Is there a flexible enough platform we can run on to cut costs or do we want a bespoke build
– What servers will it run on and how much will they cost to maintain
– What browsers and devices are necessary to support (based on existing stats if available)
– Are there any one-off or subscription costs for any other part of the project
– How much will be charged for support once the project is completed
– Will this project be easy to handover to another company if needed
– Is the product I am paying for bespoke to me or something that will be licensed to other companies including my competitors
– Will this project be handled in-house or will it be outsourced?
A lot of these are things that you will not need to know or attempt to learn and you may think that is what you are paying these companies to work out for you. The fact is that they will, but they may not have your best interests in mind. A lot of companies out there will be pushing either their own products or something third party they specialise in (often on commission) and will try to make that fit your project. This will be damaging to your project in the long run and in some cases if you want to move to a new development agency then you may end up back at square one. This is not an sensible option for a progressive business whose clients rely on digital resources.
How can you avoid this?
I cannot promise you that your project will be completed on time or to budget, but I can stop you from making fundamental mistakes in the pitching process. This will reduce the risk of the project over-running on timescales and budget. The key things I would make sure of, are that you always retain control over the most important parts of your business and that you have a suitable and scalable product that can be worked on by another team if necessary. I know I keep mentioning transferability but you would be surprised how many projects don’t even get finished or are handed over to a new team to finish the work.
How does consultation work?
You are the one with the concept and the idea of what you want to be achieved, I will simply help you to pick the suitable technologies to get that done. This may involve me helping you to write a technical specification for the project, all the way to going to pitches with you to make sure that you are being sold the right solutions at the right price. I can also keep an eye over the project during the build process and even come in during the testing phases if needed. These are key points in the project to make sure everything is working as it should before signing off that part of the project and paying the final bill.
Common mistakes made by clients
One thing that is a huge mistake of clients I have met is to have a website designed by somebody and then try to pass it on to a developer to build it. More often than not there are many bits that simply cannot be achieved in the way it has been designed and this means the clients expectations must be lowered. This may be due to site speed restrictions, responsivity or it may just be poor interface design and not suitable for the user. The best websites are built by teams who all know the end goal and can work collaboratively on the project from start to finish.
These compromises must be met at an earlier stage so the client is not built up for disappointment and understands why. Its very hard to have to tell a client that the project will not turn out how they envisioned from the designs they paid for.
Building a project on the wrong technologies is a huge problem in modern websites. A lot of companies will try to sell an existing product and try to work the client spec in to it, this approach can work but your websites speed and scalability in the future will almost certainly suffer as a result.
In some cases companies will sell you something where they take full control over the website management and when it comes to wanting to move companies they will tell you that you cannot move it off their servers because it is their own product and must be hosted with them. This means that you are stuck with their hosting fees and that is it unlikely another company could work on the project due to security of that server. In real worst case scenarios some companies will even hold your domain name at ransom if you made the mistake of letting them register it.
A project is usually set to meeting significant milestones on set dates, this is generally linked to payments being made. Without somebody in-house to check up on the project and make sure that milestones are met then you are taking a huge gamble on meeting the agreed deadline. Your project manager doesn’t necessarily have to be very technical, although this can be an advantage. The Project Manager ideally just needs to be someone who understands the concept of the project and how all aspects of it should look and work. This allows them to test and give feedback at these crucial milestones in the project.
Testing is a very important part of the project because it happens so near to the end. You need to be very efficient with it and make sure everything is raised before the project gets the final sign off. This means running full user journeys through the site in every kind of possible way. The company will of course be testing this but I have never seen a project go out 100% bug free even with rigorous testing. But it is worth getting everything you can resolved there and then, otherwise it is likely to roll in to a ‘phase 2’ and be charged.
Want to talk about a project?
I know this is a lot to take in, but it is all important when you are investing your companies money in to new web technologies. You need to be smart in the way you go about it and make sure you are protecting your investment and future proofing it as much as possible.
Please feel free to get in contact using the form below if you have a new or existing project you would like to talk to me about, no matter how big or small.
Get in contact
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If your Paypal payments show as pending when received in Woocommerce it is likely that you are using the standard Paypal payment gateway in your checkout. The standard Paypal gateway takes the customer out from your website to the Paypal website, rather than letting them enter their details into the website’s checkout. There is nothing wrong with having it set up this way but you do need to follow some steps to make Woocommerce and Paypal talk to each other when successful payments are made.
Essentially what is happening is that the money is being taken by Paypal and the order is being completed, so it updates the stock and shows in your order reports. But the payment status cannot be updated because you are not sending the information back to Woocommerce. The following steps will allow you to send that data back to your online store and update the payment status. Then you will be getting notified about your Paypal orders again and not have to manually check and update the payment statuses.
You can confirm if this is working in the order section of WooCommerce under the order notes. You can see below that the order is being changed from the pending to processing status, adjusting the stock levels, and then the IPN payment is completed.
I hope this helps and happy selling.
If you are still having issues and need support on your WooCommerce store then you can contact me on the form below for further assistance.
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Evernote notes not saving in Android or iOS app after an update or on a new device? This is a really frustrating issue and I have encountered it twice now. It took me two steps to resolve it on my device the first time and then the next time I had to do the extra steps noted below.
Step 1 – Check your device allowances
This may sound silly but I was caught out here and there was no warning that I had gone over the 3 devices that my Plus account allows. This was an oversight on my part because I was switching to a new phone and left the old one still active.
Step 2 – Check for Evernote app updates
Head over to Google Play or the iOS App Store and make sure that your version of Evernote is right up to date. Sometimes this simple step can resolve the issue.
Step 3 – Update your default notebook
The main issue can be that Evernote does not carry over the default notebook correctly. So you essentially have nowhere to save your notes by default. This means you can update notes and sync them but you will not be able to create new ones which is very frustrating. You will know if this is the issue because the name of the notebook you are saving too should be between the save tick and the title of the note you are creating. If it is not there then you need to do the following.
Log in to the web version of Evernote, you cannot do this on a mobile device, it will have to be a Mac or PC desktop or laptop. Click on notebooks in the left menu and then select your default notebook and rename it.
If this does not work, you can try creating a new notebook in the Android app and assigning that to be the default notebook in the notebook settings menus.
Now head back over to Evernote and you should see it there now in your Notebooks. This will now allow you to save notes!
Step 4 – Logging out and logging back into Evernote
This sounds silly but I have found on occasions this has forced Evernote to perform a comprehensive sync of the notes and notebooks. It can sometimes get things moving again, remember to be patient with your notes syncing
Step 5 – Emailing notes to Evernote
If all else fails, you can actually email yourself notes to your unique Evernote email address found in the Account Summary in the desktop version of Evernote.
I used to love Evernote but over the last few years, some of the updates have been buggy and ultimately just made to push higher subscriptions.
The new interface with the home screen has just been put there to push upgrades, it’s a total mess by default, unintuitive, and a hindrance. You can customise it on a higher plan to be less terrible but as someone who has been paying for Evernote for the last 5 years, I find that insulting.
I hope this helps and you come out the other end of this with more hair than I did. If you have any suggestions for better note-taking apps, I would love to hear them.
Can’t connect Rode Wireless Go 2 to Rode Central Android app? ‘Please connect a Rode device’.
Today Rode released an amazing update for the Rode Wireless Go II but it came with some frustration. Today they have released a brand new Android and iOS app for tweaking settings on the mics, meaning you no longer need a laptop to make small changes to the settings which is amazing news! You can also now use the Rode Wireless 2 mics with Rode Connect but this was another issue for me unfortunately which I haven’t resolved.
Connecting the Rode Wireless Go 2 to the Rode Central Android or iOS app
Step 1 – Install the correct app
The first thing you need to do is to download the Rode Central mobile app which is now available for iOS and Android. Make sure you are using this app and not one of the other apps like Rode Reporter, which is worth downloading but off-topic.
Step 2 – Use the correct USB cable
You will need the appropriate cable to do this first off, so that is the Rode S16 cable for Android users (USB C to USB C) or the S15 for iOS, this is the Rode S16 USB C to Lightning cable. Using 3rd party cables will likely not work but I cannot say I have tried this extensively.
Step 3 – Update the Rode Wireless Go 2 firmware (1.8.1 – at the time of writing)
You need to update your Rode Wireless Transmitters and Receivers to the latest firmware using the Rode Central desktop application. This was where I had my issue. My desktop app said my Rode Wireless Go 2 units were up to date using firmware 1.2.4 which I believed to be true. But when connecting to the Android app it just didn’t register that the mic was connected even though I could see it as an audio input in the Rode Reporter app.
I couldn’t find the latest firmware version online so I decided to uninstall the Rode Central application entirely and then try to connect the units again. Sure enough, there was a firmware update that took them all the way up to version 1.81! It was like the older version of the app was unable to search for new firmware updates, this may have been bug fixed in the new version (i hope). Make sure to update the firmware on all 3 units.
Step 4 – Connect to your phone or tablet
Now you have the latest firmware on your Rode Wireless Go 2 units and you have the correct app and cable you can simply open the app, plug in the units and they will show in the app. Now you can make changes to the settings on your transmitters and receivers.
Device still not showing in the app?
Make the sure cable is fully pushed in on both sides, this has caught me out a few times using the desktop app. Also make sure the unit is switched on and not just charging. If you still can’t see it you can download the Rode Reporter app and see if the receiver works using that. If it doesn’t then your cable is not working correctly.
Rode Connect application not working on Mac
Error – Missing fonts, please re-install Rode Connect is the message I receive after installing it but I cannot seem to get it to work correctly. If anyone has an insight into that, please let me know in the comments and I would greatly appreciate it.
Please note: At the time of writing this, the app does not allow the firmware to be updated through the app or the ability to download audio files.
If you believe any part of this article to be wrong, please let me know in the comments. This is a day one fix and I am still learning what the app can do.
I hope this helps and happy recording!
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Shutter button not working on Insta360 ONE X2
To get the camera working you need to activate it, otherwise, the shutter button doesn’t work. It will pop up a message saying ‘please install the Insta360 app’. So to get the camera working you will need to install that app and connect to it over Bluetooth or WiFi, it is recommended to have both switched on.
Issues activating Insta 360 ONE X2
I wasn’t logged in to an account when I first connected and then the option to activating would flash up but not be usable and the camera would connect automatically but not activate. To overcome it I had to go to settings and under ‘connect camera’ and then select the connected camera and it will give the option to disconnect. Do this and then when you reconnect it the camera will activate (be sure to be logged in to an Insta360 account).
Insta 360 ONE X2 not switching on
The battery catch is very fiddly, the side can look like it is flush but one of the catches may not be fully in. Make sure your battery is charged and both catches are fully clipped into the side of the unit. Then long press again to try and switch it on.
External mic not working on Insta360 ONE X2
If you are like me and thought the Rode Wireless Go 2 using the RC16 USB cable or USB C equivalent mic would plug straight into the Insta360 ONE X2 you can’t unfortunately. You need to buy the audio adapter, which is sold separately.
When you have the adapter be sure to remove the rubber USB C port protector entirely so it can sit flush against the camera. It will just pop out with a bit of force. The mic adapter is quite a nice accessory, it sits just out of view of the camera with a bit of clever mic placement. It also indicates on the camera whether it is connected or not. If you have it connected with no mic attached it will fall back to the internal mics which is a nice touch. The only drawback for me is the fact that it only accepts a mono signal as opposed to stereo.
External mic too loud or quiet on Insta360 One X2
There are only a few recommended mics for the Insta360 ONE X2 adapter but I have tried a few that are not on the list and they work fine. One thing to bear in mind though is that the Insta360 has no audio interface in terms of levels. So if your mic has no gain options you may need to practice with mic placement to get the right sound levels.
The reason I like using the Rode wireless Go 2 with the Insta360 ONE X2 is the fact that it is small and can be hidden out of view and it also has multiple simple gain controls that are useful when the camera has none.
Rode Wireless Go has no sound on Insta360 ONE X2
I still actually was having issues with the audio adapter but it was really down to user error and a very specific problem. I had my Rode Wireless Go 2 mics set to split channels and I was plugging in the right channel mic. This didn’t pick up any sound due to it not recording on both channels but once I set it back to the merged mode in Rode central it was working fine as a mono input. This would not be a problem with the original Rode Wireless Go as you do not have that option.
But if you planned on recording two mics on separate audio channels, that is not possible at the time of writing this. I do hope that is something they address, certainly in the next iteration, it is a shame to not be able to pick up multidirectional sound externally. It is slightly disappointing paying the extra for a mono adapter but I appreciate it is going beyond the way the camera is intended to be used and it is nice you have the option to use an external mic.
External mic audio too quiet or distorted on the Insta360 ONE X2
Distorted audio that sounds quiet is likely to be down to using the wrong type of microphone cable. A simple way to check is by counting the black bands on the microphone jack. If you have three, then you are using a TTRS cable and need to be using a TRS cable that has 2 rings. You can read more about this issue here.
Video recording keeps stopping on Insta360 ONE X2
Be sure that you are using a high-quality Micro SD card as the Insta360 ONE X2 requires a lot of space and speed to capture all the information it needs to save the video files. If you plan on using the larger video settings then it is recommended to get a large card (accepts up to 1TB) that is at least class 10 (c10).
Upgrade firmware on the Insta360 ONE X2
The first thing to do when you have any issues with the Insta360 ONE X2 is to check if there is a firmware update. To install it, you can plug your micro SD card into your computer and download the latest version from here https://www.insta360.com/download/insta360-onex2. Then all you need to do is drag the file into the root of the card (outside the DCIM folder) and then when you plug it back into the camera and switch it on, it will do the update for you. This will quite often resolve any little bugs or issues you are having. Don’t try to turn the camera on or off while it is updating, just leave it until it is finished.
Update the Insta360 app
Be sure to keep the Insta360 app up to date as this will provide the latest bug fixes and new features to control the camera. These types of apps always have bugs, especially on Android due to the sheer amount of configurations people are using.
Insta360 ONE X2 Footage not working in premiere
To make the .inv files work in Adobe Premiere Pro you need to install the Insta360 Premiere plugin along with Insta360 Studio. It is also worth installing the GoPro Reframe plugin, which allows you to pan and tilt through the 360 footage in a traditional 2d video format, which is ideal for reframing shots.
I hope this helped and you enjoy the camera as much as I do!
If you have experienced any issues that are not listed here then feel free to drop them in the comments.
Please note: This post contains some affiliated links, you will never pay extra for the products but I receive a small commission when a purchase is made, this allows me to keep writing content like this.
The perception of stock footage
Stock images and stock footage get a bad reputation, with the perception of it mostly being business handshakes and cheesy scenes. Artgrid really breaks that perception with the footage not only being excellent quality but cinematic at the same time. The key to stock imagery or stock footage is using it tastefully, it shouldn’t stand out, it should complement the work you have already done and look seamless.
Using Stock Footage In Promotional Videos
Artgrid really earns its way into my work toolkit for promotional videos. A lot of clients come to me with just some images and no video and no time or budget to shoot any. Artgrid allows me to make the videos much more engaging by taking the more generic topics in the video and using stock footage. Very often these are topics that would be very hard, if not impossible for me to shoot, especially on a budget. Video will always be more engaging than an animated photo, even for generic topics.
Why use stock footage?
I find Artgrid footage perfect for any generic b-roll that I don’t have time to shoot. A good example of this is timelapse, clients love it but I rarely have time to shoot a location-specific timelapse, so I will take something from stock that fits in nicely.
Artgrid was a godsend during Covid, I was unable to shoot new footage for clients but I was able to still create fresh content using a mix of archive footage and stock video. This created some challenges but allowed me to get creative with how I used stock footage.
Using it as a tool to gain clients
I use both Artgrid and Artlist and I will always mention that when quoting for work. Depending on the scale of the project and the way the payment is calculated I will work it into the quote. I will provide the client links and mention that any music or video sourced from the stock libraries will be included in the overall quote.
Stock footage and audio can be expensive, so it is a big benefit to the client, not having to pay for that separately and navigate the minefield of licensing assets. Many clients are shocked at how much licensing stock footage costs, especially if you need a lot of it.
How much is Artgrid?
Artgrid has a variety of plans, I use the 4K creator plan which at the time of writing costs $40 (£28) a month. They have an HD plan at $25 (£18) a month or a Pro RAW/LOG plan at $50 (£36) a month and that includes footage up to 8K log using the ProRes codec. I personally like the 4K tier because although I supply mostly HD content, it means I have 4K clips when I need them and for HD projects I can crop into the footage to make it work with titles and graphics. There are times when I would like a little more flexibility in the colour grade for stock footage but this more of an edge case for the projects I am working on. If things were to change I think I would move up to the next tier because having that control over the footage is useful. All plans are paid annually but you can trial ArtGrid completely free and you can get 2 months FREE on an annual plan using this link with a 14 day money back guarantee.
Another nice thing is that they often have member perks like free LUT, overlays, and SFX packs. My favourite part is that all plans come with unlimited downloads and a really simple license that includes lifetime use of the footage across all platforms. You can read more about the ArtGrid license here.
So is Artgrid worth it?
For me, yes, it more than pays for itself each month and I feel it really improves the quality of my videos. It allows me to add clips that I otherwise could not obtain and for the more generic sections and allows me to get more creative in the client-specific areas of the video.
It’s not perfect, there have been times when I have had to go elsewhere to find the odd clip, but that tends to be rare and the simple licensing of Artgrid more than makes up for it. There are many other services for stock footage available, so be sure to shop around, taking licensing and pricing into consideration and choose what’s right for your workflow.
Please note: This post contains some affiliated links, you will never pay extra for the products but I receive a small commission when a purchase is made, this allows me to keep writing content like this.
The post Is Artgrid worth it for stock video? | Using stock video for commercial work appeared first on Steven Litton | Digital Media Specialist.]]>
There is nothing more frustrating than spending a long day editing and waiting for the video to render to then find the final output is corrupt. I have had this issue in the past, with inconsistent results, flickering video, purple and green frames, and all kinds of artifacts in the footage. I am going to tell you how to fix corrupt renders in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Fixing Black and White corrupt renders or Pink/Purple and Green renders in Adobe Premiere Pro
In short, this is due to your GPU not being able to handle the exporting of video in your current project settings. You may find that some parts of the video will render correctly but other parts will come out purple, green, and have static type artifacts in them. If this is the case, don’t worry, it’s a quick fix and you will be back editing.
This is most likely to happen if you have just installed Adobe Premiere on your machine and have not refined the project settings to suit your machine. Usually, a clear sign is that the footage plays back and looks good in the edit but renders out with purple and green lines throughout the video. This issue can also come in the form of black and white corrupt video if you use Lumetri color on your clips. You can overcome this by going to
file -> project settings -> general
and changing the renderer from the recommended one to ‘Mercury playback engine software only’
This should now resolve your issue, try exporting the video again with a new filename (not overwriting an old export). Remember you may need to do this for other projects with incorrect settings, but now you know how to quickly resolve it.
On another note, if your machine is not really equipped for video editing then it is worth looking into creating proxies. Proxies are essentially low-resolution copies of your raw footage. You will need a little extra storage space to keep them but this will speed up your workflow dramatically. It will allow you to scrub through your footage and watch it much more smoothly without having to render it all. This is a godsend if you are working on a laptop, using large raw files, or an older machine that is struggling to keep up.
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Why aren’t my orders showing in my sales reports in Shopify?
What is Shopify Payments Test Mode?
Shopify Payments Test Mode allows you to test the way your checkout will look for customers before going live. All you need to do is go to your preview store and add items to the cart and checkout as you would normally, when you reach the payment section, the test gateway will be ready to use.
How do I run test payments in Shopify?
You can run a successful test transaction using payment details in this link https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/payments/shopify-payments/testing-shopify-payments You simply copy a card number from there and paste it in to the ‘Card Number’ field. The name must be any two names with a space in the middle, the expiry date needs to be any date in the future and the ‘expiry code’ can be any 3 numbers. When you press ‘Pay Now’ you will see the success page and you be able to see the order in the admin section of Shopify, it will be marked as a test order
You can also run a failed transaction by using the ‘Card Declined’ numbers from that same link above.
Why does the Shopify test payment gateway need to be disabled?
you cannot use real credit cards through the test mode so you should not enable it on a production store. If you are receiving orders then you will need to contact the customer to explain there has been an issue and create a new manual order.
Always be sure to check that payments have been taken before fulfilling them.