Shine your shoes, check your website

I’m off to a networking meeting at lunchtime. I shall shine my shoes, wear a nice jacket and smile, because first impressions count.

If potential customers search online for your business, the first thing they will see is your website. How does it rate for first impressions (you might want to get a friend to give an honest opinion here)?

If it’s looking a bit tired and sad (like the jaded salesman who’s suit doesn’t really fit any more) talk to us about a tidy up. We will be upfront about the cost and work to your budget.

Like some new shoe polish, it will be money well spent!

Chris Jerrey

Joomla 1.5 websites

Joomla is a popular Content Management System (CMS) that allows website owners to take charge of the content on their website. It has been through a number of versions lately and if your website is on an early version, you may find this article useful.

Joomla is currently at version 3.2. This version will be supported for at least two years and the only action required is to apply the regular incremental patches. These serial numbered patches are bug-fixes and security updates to fix recently identified issues. At writing, the current patch level is v3.2.2.

If your website is on the Joomla v2.5 range, you are also in a good place. The patch level here is v2.5.18 and Joomla v2.5 will be supported for around another year.

By the way, if you are wondering how to find out what version you are on, log in to your administrator area and you will see the version number displayed either top right or at the bottom of the page.

If you find that your version number is in the range v1.5 you do need to consider taking some action.

Joomla v1.5 is now obsolete and unsupported. Because it has been around so long, hackers are familiar with how to compromise it. Website maintainers and hosting companies are seeing a lot of hacking of Joomla v1.5 websites. Some hosting companies are now starting to introduce a policy of refusing to host v1.5 websites because of the nuisance that they cause.

If your website hosting company contacts you to say that they will no longer host your Joomla v1.5 website, you need to act quickly. If they offer an automated upgrade to a new version, DO NOT accept it. The reason for this is that there is no 100% succesful automated path to upgrade v1.5. A process exists to migrate your data to a higher version, but this will inevitably break the design of your website and probably most of your extension functionality. If the hosting company runs the automated upgrade process, they will get rid of their problem (a vulnerable website) but will leave you with a big problem, a broken website.


If you have a Joomla v1.5 website, I strongly recommend that you contact a website designer or developer to plan for an upgrade to a newer version. The process will involve an evaluation of your web hosting arrangements, the creation of a new template, migration of your data and the deployment of extension functionality.

Vapour Trail have managed a number of Joomla v1.5 upgrades and will be happy work with you on yours. There will be a cost involved and we will be happy to provide a quote for the work involved.

If you have a Joomla v1.5 website, don’t panic but do plan. Your website is an important part of your business and deserves care and attention.

If you have any questions about your Joomla website, please get in touch. Phone 0333 123 0004 or email


All About the WordPress Theme

Websites are designed to present to the viewer in a controlled way. Headers, sidebars and footers all appear in defined places. Consistent fonts and colours will be used throughout. When the website based on WordPress, the “rules” for the appearance of the website are contained in the theme

The WordPress theme is a package of instructions that tell the browser how to display the website.

The WordPress theme is independedent of the website data, so by changing the theme, the look of the website can be completely changed.

Themes can down-loaded for free from the web, bought “off the shelf” or be created specifically for the website.

Free Themes

The biggest source for free Themes is WordPress’s own Theme Repository. At the time of writing, there are over 2000 freely available Themes for download. Any of these Themes can be used as part of our Small Business Website package. You will need to do the research and tell us which one.

There are other sources of free Themes on the web. Search for “free WordPress Themes” and follow the results.

In the course of your investigations, you may find a Premium Theme that you rather like. If you want to use that for your website, that’s fine, we wil pass on the cost of the Premium Theme.

If you want a completely original design, to reflect branding perhaps, we can provide that as a bespoke design. Once you have provided your requirements, we will be happy to quote you on creating a bespoke design.