Changes to your email

If you’re using your domain name to host your emails with us (rather than using Gmail, or similar, for example), as of September 2019, any mail client sending via SMTP through the mail server associated with your domain name, should use port 587 instead of ports 25 or 465.

Details on how to change this will vary on your mail client, but we’ve detailed some of these further down this article.

It is also advisable to use STARTTLS for your encryption method.


  1. Select File
  2. Select Account Settings
  3. Select Account Settings from the dropdown
  4. Select your email account from the lists in the Email tab and select Change
  5. Select More Settings
  6. Select Advanced
  7. Change the Outgoing server (SMTP) option to 587
  8. Change the encryption types on both IMAP and SMTP to STARTTLS
  9. Select Ok
  10. Select Next
  11. Once tests have completed select Close and then Finish

Windows Mail

  1. Start Windows Mail, click the Tools menu at the top of the window and then click Accounts.
  2. Select your account under Mail, and then click on the Properties button.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab, under Outgoing server (SMTP), change port 25 to 587.
  4. Click the OK button to save the changes.

Outlook Express

  1. Start Outlook Express, and then select Accounts from the Tools menu at the top of the window.
  2. Double click on your email account.
  3. Under the Advanced tab, change the Outgoing server (SMTP) port 25 to 587.


  1. Select Tools
  2. Select Outgoing Server (SMTP)
  3. Select the server for this account then Edit
  4. Change the port to 587
  5. Change the Connection Security option to STARTTLS
  6. Change the Authentication Method option to Normal Password
  7. Enter your full email address as the User Name
  8. Select OK
  9. Select OK

Mac Mail

  1. Select Preferences
  2. Select Accounts
  3. Select the Outgoing Mail Server (SMTP) drop down menu, then Edit SMTP Server List
  4. Select the SMTP server for this account
  5. Change the Port to 587
  6. Select OK


  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Passwords & Accounts
  3. Select your email account
  4. Select the Account
  6. Select the server
  7. Update the Server Port to use 587
  8. Select Done
  9. Select < Account then Done

Android Mail

  1. Open the Email App
  2. Select Settings
  3. Select Account Settings
  4. Select the account you wish to change
  5. Scroll down to More Settings
  6. Select Outgoing Settings
  7. Change the port to 587 and the Security Settings to STARTTLS
  8. Select Done

Designing for Accessibility


Some really great information, developed by a friend, and now with Home Office recommendations.

These posters cover the following access needs:

  • Autism
  • Deafness and hard of hearing
  • Dyslexia
  • Physical or motor disabilities
  • Visually impaired – low vision users
  • Visually impaired – screenreader users
  • Anxiety

You can access the full suite of documents in a number of languages, through the following link: Review

I’ve been hearing a number of people talking about the easy build system called over the last few years.


With around 62 million users at present, they’re clearly making great progression in offering websites that are comparatively easy to build for the novice

What surprised me however, in some recent technical support for a client, was the cost of the various ‘optional add-ons’ available through their system, and also their comparative ineffectiveness.

What Wix currently offers:

  • For around $45, you get to display the ‘built by wix’ advertising on every one of your webpages (at the top right, and the base)
    • You can upgrade to their next package at around twice the price, to remove that advertising (but it still seems to appear on mobile phone and tablet browsers)
  • You can have your own domain name for around $15 a year, but to have email addresses hosted by Gmail at your domain (ie,, etc.), are $5 per email address per month!  (this kind of email forwarding from your domain to Google should not incur such high prices, particularly when the set-up is a simple one-off automated digital process, and there’s no actual hosting of email bandwidth by
  • They offer a ‘Shout Out’ option to send newsletters to your subscribers.  This is limited to 5,000 emails per month (which is reasonable).  However, as part of the email tracking, the email appears in the recipients inbox as a remotely hosting image of your email text (effectively a screen grab of an html email).  Thus your email is not accessible to people with various visual impairments (the actual text cannot be easily extracted by character screen readers), the text itself is not scalable for different browsers (for your small mobile phone screen, your tablet, or your desktop, etc.).
  • You can of course ‘design your own website’ (although if you’re not a skilled designer, experienced with usability and accessibility, etc. this is fraught with likely errors).
  • Worst of all, is the way your website is displayed within your browser source code.  They claim Search Engine Optimisation using an AJAX method.  However, if you click on ‘view source’ of any page of a website, you’ll see a mass of code loading remote areas of content, but effectively no real text content within your browser.  This does make it more difficult for search engines to naturally ‘crawl’ your website pages.  In fact, the only ‘real’ content of your website kept in plain text (hidden deep in all the superfluous code) links purely to the hosting of
    • In essence, if you have regular text on your website, for easier accessibility by all, you want to display this in as little superfluous code as possible.  The more code you hide your content behind, the longer the page will take to load (bad for limited bandwidth on mobile phones), the harder it will be for search engines to index (thus lower search rankings), and the harder it will be for people with some disabilities to use your website (which can be a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act amongst others).

So what can be done instead?

  • With very limited experience, you can build a free website in WordPress instead, using a free OpenSource ‘theme’ design which can also be modified easily to your preferred colours and layout.  Or you can buy more customised themes ‘off the shelf’ from various developers, or even have your own unique design commissioned.
  • You can have your own domain hosted with a reputable reseller, with as many email accounts as you want, for a fraction of the prices (often free with many standard hosting packages)
  • You can send newsletters via MailChimp more effectively (which is also free for up to 12,000 emails with up to 2,000 subscribers)
  • And your website content will be more accessible, across multiple device options, with cleaner code, which should also appear higher on Google natural search results, with faster load times, and fewer errors.

Please do get in contact if you have any queries.

Domain Registration Scam

The scammers are back out again, now by email.

This time, trying to get us to pay 5 times the regular price, for a domain name we already own, under the misdirection that if we don’t, we’ll loose it’s search engine submission.

Once again, this is a load of *%#!

Firstly, the email address it’s sent to, is the default email for all our hosted domains, at no point was it used to subscribe to any list (as detailed below).  They are not a ‘Search Engine Optimisation Company’, they are scammers.

If you receive any email similar to this, do not click on any links.


Domain SEO Service Registration Corp.
Order#: 616860
Date: 12/10/2014

DOMAIN: ———–
Notification Offer

Bill To:  ———–
Domain Name: ———–

Registration SEO Period:



———–      01/01/2015 to 01/01/2016        1 Year


Domain Name: ———–

Attn: ———–

This important expiration notification notifies you about the expiration notice of your domain registration for  search engine submission. The information in this expiration notification may contain confidential and/or legally privileged information from the notification processing department of the Domain SEO Service Registration. This information is intended only for the use of the individual(s) named above.
If you fail to complete your domain name registration  search engine service by the expiration date, may result in the cancellation of this domain name notification offer notice.

Failure to complete your domain name registration  search engine service process may make it difficult for customers to find you on the web.

This domain registration for ———– search engine service notification will expire 12/18/2014.

Instructions and Unsubscribe Instructions:

You have received this message because you elected to receive special notification offers. If you no longer wish to receive our notifications, please unsubscribe here or mail us a written request to Domain SEO Service Registration Corp., 5379 Lyons Rd. 452, Coconut Creek, FL 33073. If you have multiple accounts with us, you must opt out for each one individually in order to stop receiving notifications notices. We are a search engine optimization company. We do not directly register or renew domain names. We are selling traffic generator software tools. This message is CAN-SPAM compliant. THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A NOTIFICATION OFFER. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS NOTIFICATION OFFER. Please do not reply to this email, as we are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

Hiding content with OpenCrypt

If you’re using a WordPress website (such as and provide secure member content using the build system called ‘OpenCrypt‘, then whenever WordPress is updated, the modifications to the source code gets overwritted, and the hidden text is no longer hidden (although items stored in the secure members area is still secure).

The file you need to update is:


Around line 302, you should see something along the lines of:

    if ( $preview ) // Preview fix for JavaScript bug with foreign languages.
        $output =    preg_replace_callback( ‘/\%u([0-9A-F]{4})/’, ‘_convert_urlencoded_to_entities’, $output );

    return $output;

This needs to be changed as follows (with the additions in red)

    if ( $preview ) // Preview fix for JavaScript bug with foreign languages.
        $output =    preg_replace_callback( ‘/\%u([0-9A-F]{4})/’, ‘_convert_urlencoded_to_entities’, $output );

   # OpenCrypt Modification
    require “opencrypt_plugin.php”;
    # OpenCrypt Modification

return $output;



Updating the tag cloud text size in WordPress

If you use a WordPress blog system for your website, something which of course is very useful, is the list of ‘tags’ (keywords) you can assign to each of your blog posts.

However, in the current versions of WordPress, whenever you do a WordPress update, it returns the tag cloud to the default settings (ie the size varies considerably, depending on the number of times the tag is used throughout your website):


Then around line 613, you should see something like the following:

$defaults = array(
  'smallest' => 8, 'largest' => 22, 'unit' => 'pt', 'number' => 45,
  'format' => 'flat', 'separator' => "n", 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC',
  'exclude' => '', 'include' => '', 'link' => 'view', 'taxonomy' => 'post_tag', 'echo' => true

Simply change the font size of ‘smallest’ and ‘largest’ to your preferred point sizes (the default is normally around 12pt)

I personally prefer to change the smallest to ‘1’, the largest to ‘1’, the unit to ’em’, and then change the ‘separator’ from “\n” to “,\n” (thus adding a comma immediate after each tag, and prior to a space before the next tag).

$defaults = array(
 'smallest' => 1, 'largest' => 1, 'unit' => 'em', 'number' => 45,
 'format' => 'flat', 'separator' => ",\n", 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC',
 'exclude' => '', 'include' => '', 'link' => 'view', 'taxonomy' => 'post_tag', 'post_type' => '', 'echo' => true

How can I improve my natural listing position on Google?

There are of course huge numbers of people claiming to be experts in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), the largest Search Engine of all of course being Google.

However, the only real Google Experts, are those that actually work for Google right now.  They’re constantly trying to improve their search results, making them more intuitive to humans, and more like human rankings.

People will often find little loopholes on how to artificially improve your ranking position, with ‘black art’ techniques (things that will typically get your website blacklisted from Google, and therefore hidden entirely from view for at least 3 months).  So as I’ve mentioned before, do the things primarily for the human user.. and Google will follow.

So assuming that your website is already accessible to people with visual challenges (and therefore search engines can read it more easily too).. you’ve already made sure all your images have ‘alt’ text.. and of course you have lots of good readable text on each page (especially the homepage), etc.

Google likes a few key things in particular:

  • Old websites (so you must therefore be an ‘established’ business)
  • Websites with lots of good real content, related to the search terms (so you have something worth looking at, when the visitor gets there), especially content that’s updated, and added to regularly.
  • Lots of links to your website from other websites (meaning lots of people like it enough, to want to share it with other people)
So what is your speciality area?  If your business is about hair extensions, talk about it through your integrated blog.  Also, if you’re a geographically based business (ie in Reading), then talk about things going on locally too.

Typically, the more often you update your website, the more often Google (and others) will think it’s worth looking at, which means the higher up the natural search rankings you’ll appear.

So, for example, write about things related to hair extensions, or even anything to do with  hair!  i.e. your thoughts on the Royal wedding, any celebrities you see or know about with hair extensions in the press.. or even “if you’d like to have hair like ‘xxxx’ we have just the hair extensions for you”…  It doesn’t really matter what you blog about, just blog more!
If you can get your website talked about on related web forums (ie the types of forums your clients might read.. ie young mothers’ forums, rock, grunge, tattoo, etc..), with links back to your website, that will help too (try to keep it natural though, when mentioning your website).
You could also reply back on other people’s related blogs, with genuine comments (and links back to your website in the signature).  Any links through newspaper article websites, or the BBC would of course be very good for your natural search ranking.
Having a Facebook Group for your business, that people can ‘like’ is of course also a very popular choice these days, with links back to your website (and photos on your Facebook page too of course).
You could also try shooting a video of you doing what you do best.  Put this on YouTube.. and this can then also help a lot with rankings too (as Google owns YouTube, and seems to really like links from popular videos back to related websites).
All of the above should essentially be free!

Why you can’t believe what you read in spam!

Had another one passed through today, from a company claiming to offer financial reports of the top 600 companies in that particular business sector, which included the client company they were emailing.

However, although this particular client has a limited company in the trading name, all of their trading actually went through a different company entirely, so the company details listed in the email, who was apparently performing in the top 600 of that industry (totalling tens of thousands across the UK), actually has the equivalent of a dormant company!

Would you think it’d be appropriate to provide money to a company starting off with this false information?

This is why it’s so important to not share your primary email addresses with mailing lists (or anyone who subsequently makes a mailing list out of your details).  Once you’re on the spammer’s list, there’s no escape from junk like the one above (apart from shutting the email address down entirely).

Web Designing – spam email

Although I run Parlour Design, I’m also involved with a number of other businesses too.  One of these businesses has a generic info@ email address (which will get spam, regardless of how well the email address is encrypted on your website).  I’ve advised the client to remove all traces of it, but historically it is still used by some genuine clients.

They’ve ensured that everywhere the email address was published, is now changed, including the main client website.  However, I do also know that this info@ email address appears on a number of spam mailing lists people can buy into.  It was therefore humorous to receive the following email today:

Hope you are well.
My Name is Joy, and I am a web consultant with a website design/development firm with offices in the US/UK, and development center in India.
I was browsing websites from your domain and came across ““. From what I could notice, your current website does not have an appealing design that visually caters to your client demographic.
One of the great things about the Internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. You have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well- designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company. The inverse is also true. I’ve seen many big company websites that were so badly designed and hard to navigate that they completely lacked professionalism and credibility. Good for you, too bad for them.
Do let me know if you are willing to discuss a possible redesigning of your website, to make it more appealing and comply with the International web standards. In fact, it would be best if you could send in your phone number, location (city) and a convenient time for you to speak.
Before I end, I thought it may help for you to know that our pricing packages start at USD 199 with no monthly fee and that, we have delivered more than 5000 websites over the past 6 years.
I look forward to your mail and to speak with you.
Kind Regards
PS A call now could get you our inaugural discounts.
Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. The above mail  and we ensure you will not receive any such mails

So, apparently, Joy has had a look at the website, and now wishes to help us make it more appealing to web design standards (even though the site has been completely redesigned, optimised, made accessible, etc. in the last two months).

However, even though she’s apparently ‘seen’ the website, she didn’t use any of the contact details from the website (as the email address she contacted the client on, isn’t listed anywhere on the website), similarly, all the other questions are also answered clearly on the contact page!

I thought I’d do a quick check on how many times this email has been sent out.. (by taking a copy of a big bulk of text, and putting it in quote marks into Google)… however, rather than finding websites showing this email, I actually found 14 web design companies from around the world, using the same exact words on their own website!  I doubt all these web design companies are the offices mentioned in the email.

So these guys apparently redesign websites around 1,000 times a year, but they don’t look at them first but want you to contact them with your own details so they can sell you things.  It’s true that the gist of their email is correct.  But for them to claim to be part of the CAN-SPAM movement, send spam themselves, and not actually read anything of the people they contact (just send a generic email to people on a spammers list).. doesn’t give me the impression of an honourable business, just yet more people out to make money on the internet from people who don’t know any better!

Making digital content accessible by everyone

Thankfully, the Government, industry workers, and members of the voluntary sector have come together in an eAccessibility forum, to develop an action plan to help make digital content accessible by more users.

Parlour Design works hard to ensure all their websites are accessible in a wide variety of formats, using:

  • Logical page structures for all the content (even with style sheets switched off), 
  • Not using ‘flash’ animation for layout or content purposes (just for pleasing design aesthetic features)
  • Always using ‘alternative text’ for images (and only then when text is not appropriate in the first place).
    • (rather than the common technique by many designers of using images for text, because they’re being lazy designers and can’t work out how to make the text appear how they want to, in it’s pure form!).
  • Placing the bulk of navigational links at the base of the page (even if on display, it seems to be before the main text)
  • Helping the page render differently, depending on the type of browser being used.
  • Using flexible font sizes (rather than fixed pixel dimensions), so users can easily increase the size of any text with a simple mouse action.
Thankfully, this particular group mentioned at the outset are also working on expanding the roll out of these simple methods, along with many other ideas as featured in this initial report:
(The report is also due to be updated every 3 months, with new developments).
One key area I was interested in, is point 3, Website Services:

3. Websites services work stream

Websites are the gateway to almost every business, voluntary organisation, or provider of information about public services. Whether or not they are direct sales and marketing tools, they are key contributors to the financial efficiency of each body. A well designed website draws in more users, and reduces the need for other means of customer support such as call centres. Although there are internationally recognised standards and guidelines of website accessibility, these are poorly adhered to by the public sector or by the private sector. This work stream will explore the reasons for this and assist both government and private sector to develop websites and online services that conform appropriately to web standards, guidelines and best practices, such as WCAG 2.0 AA and relevant W3C specifications. It will also take forward plans for a One Stop Shop for information on eAccessibility, and look at how the website designers of tomorrow can be trained to design accessibility into their products and services.

I’m very often so disappointed with the incredibly poor ‘housekeeping’ of so many website developers, and just how much extra code has been thrown in to most of the source code, particularly when using ‘design software’ to try and make things look like they think (rather than understanding the language behind it, to just use the ‘pure ingredients’).

I look forward to the further adoption of these developments, and seeing how the working party get on.