Web Design

Google Algorithm Penalises Doorway Pages

By | Advanced SEO Techniques, Online marketing, SEO, Web Design | No Comments

Is the age of doorway or signpost pages finally over?!

Years ago when the Internet was just fields (of HTML websites), Flash was one of the more dynamic ways to have a “cool” website. BUT the big problem back then was some browsers out of the bag didn’t support Flash, in fact many still don’t.

So what could you do to prevent losing your visitors that didn’t have Flash?! You created a Doorway Page of course!!

Webmasters back then had the same goals as they do now, maximise viewers and try not alienate any of your potential visitors / customers.

Should they not be able to view the business website because of not wanting or trusting Flash!? No, you had to put a doorway page up.

Google today announced that doorway pages are now the way of the Dodo (maybe due to the annihilation of Flash?) once deprecated it’s only a matter of time before the world turns against a once revolutionary way to animate your website.

Google today announced the following alterations to their page ranking algorithm.

Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.

So why has Google decided to penalise doorway pages and what could this mean for the Web design industry?

Not all doorway pages are created equal Google! Are they for example accounting for the genuine uses of single page redirects as well as the not so legitimate uses?!

Doorway Page Example

Years ago a doorway page was as simple as this picture of a famously cool Flash website ( This image shows a simple HTML only page that contained the website / business name logo and a couple of options for traffic management. There may also be some tracking software or adverts, but mainly it was to inform people that if you hit “enter” without the Flash Plugin, the site won’t work!

I can understand why Google wants to remove these pages from their search results (Serps) I would too. The technology is deprecated and more often than not in todays internet these pages are fast and a bit of a cheeky way to enhance shared traffic quickly, cheaply and without any benefit to the end user who is just bounced from doorway page to more often than not an irrelevant page.

Google have defined a doorway page as:

Doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.

Here are some examples of doorways:

  • Having multiple domain names or pages targeted at specific regions or cities that funnel users to one page
  • Pages generated to funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site(s)
  • Substantially similar pages that are closer to search results than a clearly defined, browseable hierarchy

Now, personally I don’t recall using the term “doorway page” but it meant the same thing as some of the other buzz words we used for this kind of HTML page. Other terms like Gateway pages, Sign-post pages, Landing Pages or Diversion Pages were used to describe what this type of page did.

So exactly who or what are you penalising here Google and more importantly why?!

Most of us still use and rely on this kind of page. Landing pages and under construction pages, although not great for SEO or traffic management, still some of us have specific marketing plans that use these kind of pages!!

We need them to manage our email lists or social media traffic and I for one am slightly concerned that this alteration to the algorithm might affect other pages that aren’t “doorway pages” but might seem like one.

Simple “doorway pages” used in a complex or large networks of websites or marketing funnels might be affected by this Google Algorithm change, so what can we do to safeguard our genuine pages?

Well I guess, moving the page from the index.html (first page of the domain) might work, normally doorway pages are set to index.html or .php. Because they are used as the entry point to a domain (in other words you’ll see a doorway page when you type or website address or click a result from a search engine) it might be a good idea if you have a genuine single page to move these to a sub domain or another place in the website.

If you are using these pages to ensure the traffic quality or qualification on your site or to deter traffic that might add unnecessary bandwidth overheads, then other methods might be more appealing now there is a genuine risk of negative domain ranking. Lead management may now need to be more cleverly filtered and qualified at the source . With the right strategy in place that’s not too hard given the host of tools Social Media is now offering to do just this very thing!

So if your home page or landing page contains more than a few words, words such as; “Enter or Leave”, maybe also “Flash or HTML” and an image. If your page is the only page hosted on your domain and leads nowhere but other pages that contain the content that was being sought out by the user, think again. Re-strategise as Google is a coming for ya page rankings!!

But also it’s possible that armed with the knowledge about doorway pages and how they are now going to penalise your SEO efforts (with Google) having a rethink of the flow of your web traffic / marketing funnel might be a good idea. We can certainly help you there. There are many alternatives to “doorway pages” and HTML files that direct your traffic better than ever before. More importantly they won’t penalise your SEO efforts at all.

We hope that you don’t get affected by this change. But if you do and you would like to talk about it reach out to me, I’d be glad to help, if I can.


Why Websites Are Not A COST To Your Business!

By | Business, Essex, Web Design | One Comment


‘an amount that has to be paid or spent to buy or obtain something’

Two words that resonate from that definition by Google are:

• Paid
• Spent

Well what do those words mean?

• To give
• To settle
• To suffer in retribution
• To transfer money
• To repay
• To pay in debt

• Used up; Consumed
• Having come to an end
• Depleted of energy
• Tired; Worn Out; Exhausted
• Used Up, Consumed

Do these sound like words you want to use to describe the process of acquiring your businesses most valuable asset?!

Nova Digital Media have coined a phrase we use to describe the commercial release of funds to create a digital presence online for your business:

Corporate Digital Investment

Why use “’Investment’ to describe a website?

Define Investment: (

• Property or another possession acquired for future financial return or benefit
• A commitment, as of time or support
• The act of investing effort
• A thing invested in such as a business

Sound more like the words you want to hear?

One of the largest problems Web Designers face when selling their wares is cost, as soon as you concern yourself with cost you are fighting a losing battle, there will always be someone else out there willing to offer cheaper website than you.

At Nova we sell on value, our websites are valuable assets that increase revenue and give your business a direct online benefit.

For example an ecommerce website that brings a business 40% of their revenue should have at least 40% of the marketing budget allocated to ensure that revenue is sustained right?

Then why oh why do most people buy on price and not return of investment?!

It’s crazy!!

The best analogy I’ve ever used to accurately describe this insane buy on price situation is the “Build me a house” model.

Picture, if you will, someone asking a builder they have never met before, “build me a house!”. The builder then a little surprised by this blunt request agrees reluctantly, then without anymore being said the Home owner follows up with a classic question…”Oh and how much will that be?”

How would the builder then explain what considerations need to go into building a house:

  • What plot of land to use and where?
  • Which Architect to use…?
  • What size is the house?
  • How many rooms?
  • What is the function of the rooms?
  • What materials are required (structurally / aesthetically)?
  • What materials are wanted (wood / metal / glass)?
  • Which professionals do you want working on the job?

Imagine the huge variables involved in the “costs” that are building up.

As you can imagine there are too many assumptions to make for the builder to simply pluck a figure from the air. Of course with experience the builder could say a figure and constrict the buyers dreams by fitting limiting their choices but we’re not building a house and we don’t believe in constraint.

One way to do it would be to say to the buyer, “My hourly rate is £xxx, resources are not included within that fee and I do not know how long the build will take.” Not a very comforting concept, you may as well hand the builder a signed cheque and let him fill out the amount.

Our considerations for Internet Marketing are in many ways the same as the builder but we have “revenues” coming back to consider building into your Internet strategy.

The main question is – How much money do you want to make from your website?

  • How big is the site?
  • What does the site do?
  • How much content have you got / do you need?
  • Do you have photos / Are they good enough?
  • Which coders will we need?
  • Will you need photography or copy writing services?

Consider we are building your online shop front, your 2-way communication with your clients and integrated marketing solutions to grow your business.

Deciding what is best for you and your business and what other external considerations need to be used in tandem with your website should not be something you rush into with the best “price”, and definitely not something taken without serious advice and consideration.

Long term goals, milestones and task need to be considered. Does the company you’re working with match your values and ideas? Are you comfortable with them? Do you trust them? Will they be there to support you in a year or two?

30% of all start-up businesses fail in the first year so it is important to consider if the company you’re working with is established, respected and most of all if you like the work they have done in the past.

Nova have adopted a very simple 4-stage process to guide our clients through the battle field of unlimited choice and infinite possibilities and it all begins with professional and serous consultancy in the form of a fact finding meeting. This meeting can be in person or over Skype or phone, and takes anything from 30 minutes or more.

After all we have no idea what you want to achieve from your website! Our mission is to fact find and discover what it is you would like to have, what you need and what you have to have to do to hit goals.

For example; Do you need to be found on Google for certain search terms? Do you have systems in place to sell you services internally? Do you have a CRM and would you like your web leads to be injected straight in? Do you use Social Media and if not which platforms would be best for you?

This is just the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty of other considerations to take into account as well.

If you want to have a serious Internet presence, if you need results driven solutions just call a company like Nova that acts professionally enough not to just take your money without question.

For clear blue-sky solutions for your business call Nova Digital Media or The Nova Agency Today on 01708553320.

February Round Up 2014

By | Apps, Business, Social Media, Technology, Web Design | No Comments

February Round Up

February although the shortest month has seen the most amount of projects fly through our door, it’s been hard to choose but here’s a few of our favourites:

1) Atelier SM


This website is a firm favourite.

Atelier-SM Architects needed a website that would show off the impressive and beautiful work that they do every day.

We created a website that visually stimulates and emphasizes the scale and quality of Atelier’s projects. The entire has site a clean feel with easy to navigate pages that present information in a captivating manner.

Atelier Home Screen Shot

Atelier wanted something that instantly impressed the visitor and would encourage them to delve further discovering what makes their process different from other Architecture firms.

Atelier Projects Page

2) Good Food Village

Our newest project is our Social Media’s favourite topic: food. Not just any food, delicious mouth watering food. Good Food Village specializes in freshly cooked food created from locally resourced award-winning produce.

Their website is in the very first stages of development and being cared for by our web-design team. However, already completed in order to maintain our quick turn around claim, are their brand new business cards that we designed and then printed ready for pick up.

As always our aim is to create a product that represents the brand in a modern way.


3) Nova AR

All of us here at The Nova Agency are extremely excited by our huge steps in Augmented Reality Technology. Kept mainly hush hush this is the first month where we can talk about the work we are doing, or at least hint at some of the work we have been doing.

As a start up less than a year old Nova AR is moving faster than the technology it is developing.
Augmented Reality is the future. We are not just talking the future of marketing, it is the future for too many industries to mention and Nova AR is working up AR apps that can be applied to the majority of them.

Our most recent venture has brought us into BT’s orbit with our BT prototype set to make an appearance in their BT Inet showroom. Within the next few days they will be downloading the Nova App so they can highlight it’s full functionality, including the triggering of a video from a static image.

Our app will be getting serious exposure to senior executives of global corporations helping to emphasis BTs position at the forefront of leading technological thought. Our app would allow a brand new interface between consumers and BT that has never been seen before.

Here is BT’s James Porter being filmed for his Nova AR appearance:

BT Photo Shoot


 4) BEES


B.E.E.S Media, a company who dedicated to providing innovative Digital Media Solutions utilising energy efficient technology, needed a website and they needed it fast. Having found an opportunity to put them in front of London Mayor Boris Johnson but having a short time span to work with they needed something that would show off the true potential of their services.

Luckily for them one of Nova’s talents is being able to create beautiful easy to navigate websites quickly.

The company came to us on Friday 21st and by Tuesday 25th we managed to get a landing page up for them. This Landing Page is now under development and provides and excellent starting point for the final website.

BEES Media Screen Shot

If any of the above intrigues you or you would just like a free chat give us a call, we’re a friendly bunch promise!

What Is A Responsive Website?

By | Business, Web Design | 2 Comments

One thing that you have to understand before embarking upon this blog post is that I know next to nothing about designing a website.  I can understand the presentation, the aesthetics of certain imagery and the weight of words, of when and when not to use them. . . .

But show me the coding or the back end, talk to me about ‘html’ or the ‘CSS’ and I revert to the brain functionality of a toddler.

My mind shuts off, my ears fill with white noise and my brain starts replaying the finale of Game of Thrones.

A typical conversation in the office can sometimes go like this:

My fellow colleagues, veritable experts in web design, even devised a simple ‘how to’ guide on a manual WordPress install.   The first ten minutes involved a pacing chief development officer and a shouting chief technology officer (both very supportive and offering hints even though they weren’t supposed to help).

Eventually I got there with a new understanding on how website hosting works.  Design, however, is still a bit of an obstacle course.

An area however, that anyone with a smartphone, phablet, or tablet can relate to without even knowing is responsive website design.

Wikipedia describes responsive design as adapting “the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids,[5] flexible images,[6][7][8][9] and CSS3 media queries,”

Otherwise known as changing how the website looks so that it appears and performs in a more efficient and visually pleasing way and without making you want to throw your phone against the wall.

So if a website simply looks like a downscaled version of a computer screen with miniscule content then it is not responsive.

If you are currently on a tablet or iPhone then you will notice that this blog fits perfectly on your screen.  The layout has adapted to which way you are holding your device with the writing fitting the width of the screen and the photos easy to view.

There’s no need to zoom in, no need to squint or chase around the links or forms that seemingly move around the screen.

Now you are all thinking about those websites that are non-responsive, you know which ones I mean now.  They do not fit the screen, they are clunky and static, and they annoy more then help.

They make you work for results that you shouldn’t have to work for.

Results show that consumers are far more likely to leave a site that is not responsive.  I remember having this problem with  They now have a wonderful (if addictive) app but prior to this I avoided looking at the website altogether.  And now more than ever people are using their phones, and tablets to shop, surveys show that this Christmas more people will use their phones to shop than last year, especially if you are an electrical retailer.

How many times have you followed a link from Facebook or Twitter whilst coming home on the train and have been confronted by a web site with words that are too small to see and photos too tiny to appreciate?

Have you like me tried to complete a form on a non-responsive web site and ended up screaming at your phone as it loads in the wrong place, fills out a part you cannot see and have the whole web site move around as you try to click on the segment you are trying to complete chasing it around the screen until you give up completely.

The obstacles I have just listed are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to not having a responsive design for your website.  Google is now starting to punish web sites that aren’t responsive.

Every single website that we design here at Nova Digital Media is mobile responsive to ensure that you do not scare off potential customers.

How to Install WordPress

By | Web Design | 3 Comments

Ever wondered how to install WordPress on your own hosting?

Follow our step-by-step guide to manually installing your own WordPress blog.

1. Download the latest files to install WordPress

To begin your own WordPress installation, one to create your own blog or website on, you will need to download the latest version of the WordPress Installer. Make sure to only download from the official WordPress downloads page to ensure you are getting a clean, stable version.

Download Files to install WordPress

2. Prepare files for your WordPress Installation

When you have successfully downloaded the required files to install WordPress, you will need to extract the file. (Right click the zipped downloaded files to install WordPress and click Extract All to open the extraction wizard.)

Extract WordPress Installation Files

3. Transfer your WordPress files to your hosting

For this step, you will need to know a little about FTP. Don’t worry about getting stuck-in and learning about it inside out. All you really need to know is that FTP in laymen terms is a method to transfer files from your computer to your hosting server.

To gain access to your hosting via an FTP client, you will need to log into your hosting to seek the relevant information. If you are unable to find your hosting FTP client information, contact their customer services department, explaining you are trying to gain access to your hosting via FTP in order to install WordPress. Most reputable hosting companies will be more than willing to help you through the process of gaining access via FTP.  Fill in the following form with the information given to you by your hosting company.

Log on to your hosting service via FTP

Using a FTP Client – I recommend using Filezilla as shown above – Open the extracted folder. You will find another folder called WordPress – Open this folder. You will find yourself in a folder that contains around 17 folders/files – this should start with files named ‘wp-admin’, ‘wp-content’ and ‘wp-includes’. These are the files you will need to install WordPress. Transfer all of these folders/files onto your servers hosting. You can transfer these files directly into root domain on your hosting if you want your whole site to be powered by WordPress. E.g. Domain Name –> HTML –> Transfer files here. Alternatively, if you want only some of your website to be powered by WordPress, you can create a sub-folder within your root domain. E.g. Domain Name –> HTML –> Sub-folder –> Transfer files here. If you are using Filezilla, in the top section, you should see lots of blue, green and black text whizzing through. This shows the progress of files needed to install WordPress transferring to your hosting server. Depending on your connection speed, this may take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 20 minutes.

Transfer files to install WordPress via FTP

4. Begin configuration of your WordPress install

Open up your internet browser of choice and navigate to your domain. E.g. if your whole site is going to be powered by WordPress or if only one part of your site is to be powered by WordPress. Upon your website loading, assuming you have correctly transferred the WordPress Installation files to your hosting, you should be confronted with a message saying that you do not have a wp-config.php file. At this stage, click the ‘Create a configuration file’ button to create one.

Create WordPress Install configuration file

5. Set-up your websites WordPress Database

WordPress is a database driven platform. In simple terms, that means, once your WordPress website has been installed, everything you create, upload or install onto your website, will be stored on your database you have created. Creating this database is the next step. So, without any further ado, let’s continue.

After having clicked the ‘Create a configuration file’ button, you will be presented with the following screen:
Create Your WordPress Database

Click ‘Let’s go!’ in the bottom left corner. The next screen will have some text fields for ‘Database name’, ‘username’ and so on. These should have been provided to you by your hosting company, however, if you are unable to find it, again, contact your hosting company and they should happily assist. Once you’re ready, click Submit.
Set-up your WordPress Database

6. Complete your WordPress Installation

If you’ve made it this far, you’re nearly there! You should be greeted with the following screen
Run the WordPress Install

Click ‘Run the install’ and you will be greeted with the final steps of the Manual WordPress Installation.
Complete your WordPress Installation

Fill out the form with your site/blog name, username and password and your email address. (Keep a note of these. You or your web designer will need this login information to login to your newly created WordPress website). If you are going to be doing any designing on your site, it is a good idea to un-check the ‘Allow search Engines to index this site’ check box. By not un-checking this check box, you are allowing Google and other Search Engines to access your website which may result in it being indexed before it is ready which can impact negatively on any SEO you may wish to do at a later date.

Click Install WordPress and you’re done! Login with the details you have just created and begin creating your site!

Here at Nova we do this day in and day out so if you have any questions at all please ask in the ‘comment’ section!

Top 5 WordPress Photo Gallery Plugins

By | Plugins, Web Design | 2 Comments

1) Justified Image Grid – Premium WordPress Gallery

Justified Image Grid

This plugin is really beautiful and contains lots of cool features that makes any gallery look fantastic. One aspect that stands our particularly is the gallery widget which you can place in the sidebar or footer of your website. This plugin is simply to use and is very reliable, making it my Number one Photo Gallery Plugin.

2) uSquare – Universal responsive grid for WordPress


This photo gallery is great for displaying an image with a small bit of information, such as a Team page or Projects page. It is 100% Fully Responsive so you don’t have to worry about viewing it on any mobile device…

3) Media Grid – WordPress Responsive Portfolio

Media Grid

This Plugin is great and is one of my favourite media plugins so far. It contains some of the best features I’ve ever seen, for example: compatible Images, Video and Audio. This is the one stop shop theme for displaying all of your media in a grid like system, and so has claimed the number 3 spot.

4) PhotoMosaic for WordPress


The Photo Mosaic Plugin is great for photographers and designers alike as it requires stunning high-quality graphics to make this plugin look good. After all what this plugin does is transform a normal gallery into a grid. Very basic and simplistic plugin with a great responsive design.

5) Fancy Gallery – WordPress plugin

Fancy Gallery

This plugin is very adaptable. It has an abundance of features and looks great on any website, however I find some of its galleries a little under developed and do fail to look as nice. But if you know a small amount of CSS you can make them look a lot better with a few minor tweaks.

Top 5 PHP Scripts

By | Web Design | One Comment

In this blog you will find all the information you need when dealing with PHP based Scripts, we will be covering features, function and I will be giving you my opinion on the script.

1) WordPress



WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.  WordPress is a completely free platform and yet utterly priceless at the same time. WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it.  WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on hundreds of thousands of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

WordPress is what you use when you want to work with your blogging software, not fight it.


  • Full standards compliance
  • Changes you make to your templates or entries are reflected immediately on your site
  • Pages allow you to manage non-blog content easily, so for example you could have a static “About” page that you manage through WordPress.
  • Links allows you to create, maintain, and update any number of blogrolls through your administration interface. This is much faster than calling an external blogroll manager.
  • WordPress comes with a full theme system
  • Cross-blog communication tools : Trackback and Pingback
  • Comments
  • Spam protection
  • Full user registration
  • Password Protected Posts
  • Easy installation and upgrades
  • Easy Importing for Movable Type, Textpattern, Greymatter, Blogger, and b2
  • XML-RPC interface
  • Workflow : You can have types of users that can only post drafts, not publish to the front page.
  • Intelligent text formatting
  • Multiple authors
  • Bookmarklets
  • Ping away :WordPress supports pinging Ping-O-Matic, which means maximum exposure for your blog to search engines.

Our Rating

WordPress is by far the best CMS out there with so many core functions, you can create practically anything. And with the amount of developers using WordPress and modifying it by creating plugins and theme, it’s hard to find something that has never been done on WordPress…

At Nova we pride ourselves in saying that we are WordPress experts and have created countless website using this easy CMS system which allows us and our customers to have complete access to content and images.   Thus giving them the freedom to create their own pages and posts in the future with ease.


2) OpenCart



OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online shopping cart system. It is a robust e-commerce solution for Internet merchants with the ability to create their own online business and participate in e-commerce at a minimal cost. OpenCart is designed; feature rich, easy to use, search engine-friendly and with a visually appealing interface.


  • Unlimited Categories
  • Open Souce
  • Unlimited Products
  • Free Documentation
  • Unlimited Manufacturers
  • Templatable
  • Multi Currency
  • Automatic Image Resize
  • Multi Language
  • 20+ Payment Gateways
  • Product Reviews
  • 8+ Shipping Methods
  • Product Ratings

Our Rating

A very simple and easy to use E-commerce shop with so many functions it is no surprise that this is the Best E-commerce PHP Script.  If you begin with a very good standard theme, it’s effortless to create your shop within hours.


3) PrestaShop



PrestaShop e-Commerce Solution was built to take advantage of essential Web 2.0 innovations such as dynamic AJAX-powered features and next-generation ergonomy. PrestaShop guides users through your product catalog intelligently and effortlessly, turning intrigued visitors into paying customers.



  • Featured products on homepage
  • Top sellers on homepage
  • New items on homepage
  • ‘Free shipping’ offers
  • Cross-selling (Accessories)
  • Product image zoom
  • Order out-of-stock items
  • Customer subscription & user accounts
  • Payment by bank wire
  • Google Checkout module
  • Cash-On-Delivery (COD)
  • Preconfigured for Paypal


  • Unlimited categories & subcategories, product attribute combinations, product specs, images, currencies, tax settings, carriers & destinations
  • Real-time currency exchange rates
  • Inventory management
  • Unlimited languages & dialects
  • 100% modifiable graphic themes
  • Newsletter contact export
  • Alias search
  • SSL encryption
  • Visitors online
  • Customer groups

Our Rating

One of the best features about this E-commerce Script is the well designed and easy to use admin panel, which is a great improvement compared to other E-commerce scripts. The front end however is a bit disappointing as the design has not been finished with the same quality as this script’s functionality.


4) Drupal



Drupal is an open-source platform and content management system for building dynamic web sites, offering a broad range of features and services including; user administration, publishing workflow, discussion capabilities, news aggregation, metadata functionalities.  It also uses controlled vocabularies and XML publishing for content sharing purposes. Equipped with a powerful blend of features and configurability, Drupal can support a diverse range of web projects ranging from personal weblogs to large community-driven sites.


  • Collaborative Book
  • Friendly URLs
  • Modules
  • Online help
  • Open source
  • Personalization
  • Role based permission system
  • Searching
  • User management
  • Polls
  • Templating
  • Threaded comments
  • Version control
  • Blogger API support
  • Content syndication
  • News aggregator
  • Permalinks
  • Analysis, Tracking and Statistics
  • Logging and Reporting
  • Web based administration
  • Discussion forums
  • Caching

Our Rating

Drupal is the next best thing from WordPress.  As a CMS with many developers working on Plugins and themes it’s easy to create your website the way you want it without knowing different coding languages.


5) phpBB



phpBB is used by millions of people on a daily basis, making it the most widely used open source bulletin board system in the world. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built in.  Newer users will appreciate phpBB’s extensive administration panel, which allows the customisation of even the most intricate features without having to edit code directly, while advanced users will value the ease with which phpBB can be integrated into existing systems.


Some of phpBB3’s major features include:

  • Modular design for the Admin Control Panel, Moderator Control Panel, and User Control Panel
  • Support for multiple database management systems, including MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Firebird, OpenLink Virtuoso, and other ODBC-accessible DBMS
  • Support for unlimited levels of subforums
  • Ability to create custom-defined BBCode
  • Ability to create custom profile fields
  • Permissions system
  • UTF-8 Support
  • User Preferences
  • Moderation
  • Administration
  • Search Engine spider Handling
  • Unread message tracking
  • Private Message System
  • Statistics

Our Rating

This is my first choice for creating a Forum as it is extremely simple to create and with a 1 Click Installer like Softaculous, its makes your job a lot easier.  With hundreds of FREE themes to choice from and many more premium choices it is extremely easy to find your ideal forum design.

“Please note information has been taken from softaculous”

Top 5 Photography WordPress Themes

By | Themes, Web Design | 2 Comments

There are possible hundreds of Photography word press themes out there that look fabulous but which one should you buy?… This list of 5 New Photography WordPress Themes will help you decide on the best theme for you…


1) HQ Photography Responsive WP Theme




HQ is a great theme with full screen image and video capabilities, a homepage with an excellent slider and a pop out sidebar with an accordion style vertical navigation. This theme is a very high detailed, well documented and comes with the GT3 page builder which makes it easier for users who cannot create WordPress pages as quickly as others. I particularly like the Homepage with Grid Gallery, Its a very good layout for users with lots and lots of images as it is a 6 column layout.

Theme Features

  • WordPress 3.5 Ready
  • Drag & drop GT3 Page Builder
  • Fully Responsive
  • HTML5 & CSS Code
  • Easy Installation (demo content import)
  • Translator
  • Color Option
  • Google Font Support 500+
  • Theme Settings Panel
  • Custom Landing Page
  • Display Menu Permanently
  • Password Protected Galleries
  • Gallery Settings (fit image options)
  • Home Page with Fullscreen Slider
  • Home Page with Grid Gallery
  • Home Page with Static Image Background
  • Home Page with Video Background
  • Fullscreen Photo/Video Grid Gallery
  • Custom Modules
  • Custom Shortcodes
  • Custom Widgets
  • Post Formats Support (youtube and vimeo support)
  • Portfolio Pages
  • Unlimited Sidebars
  • Working Ajax Contact Form
  • Layer Slider Plugin (included)
  • PSD Files Included
  • Documentation

2) Flashlight – fullscreen background portfolio theme




FlashLight is a simple theme with many different layouts for galleries, portfolio and pages. but the key feature about this website is has woo-commerce integration which is a great idea for users who want to sell there images online. There is 2 different CSS skins for this theme light and dark, that both look fantastic.


  • 6 different Galleries (Fullscreen, Masonry Grid, Inline Slideshow, Inline Attached, Classic 3 Column, WordPress Default)
  • Shop support with woocommerce: the theme now lets you sell your pics with ease
  • Any Number of Galleries possible, Galleries can be attached to each post, page or portfolio entry
  • Exif data display
  • Password protected posts and galleries
  • Performant javascript fullscreen slider on very large resolutions. Supports pattern overlay of images, autosliding, tooltips, thumbnails and more
  • Optional image overlays for background slider, so visitors cant just right click and save your images
  • Supports Inline Video Content with the help of WordPress Embed function
  • No plugins needed whatsoever, everything is included within the theme
  • Translation Ready
  • Visual Shortcode editor with preview function
  • Custom Widgets like: Recent News, Recent Portfolio entries, Twitter, Twitter + RSS follower count
  • Color picker options for any number of gorgeous color settings.
  • Unqiue Sidebars for each page/category possible
  • Ajax Contact Form
  • Extensive User Manual, short videos and professional theme support by me and my team to fix any kind of problems
  • Growing community in our support forum: 4500 registered users, 5300 Topics, 25000 Posts. We do care that your site works!
  • Portfolios & Portfolio Custom Post types
  • jQuery 100% unobtrusive wich degrades gracefully if javascript is turned off
  • Code built with SEO best practice in mind
  • PSDs included

3) This Way WP Full Video/Image Background with Audio

This Way



One of the best things about the This Way Theme is its pure beauty that shines through its CSS and HTML coding, such as the menu on the right hand side that follows your cursor around the page, and when you hover over the menu icon it changes to the navigation. When you select a page on the navigation it overlays the page onto of the homepage which is a slider format with images and videos, with very unique pages and shortcodes this website is a very good choice for anyone looking to create a photography based website.


  • Audio support
  • Ajax Content Loading
  • 4 columns design options
  • Optimized features for IPhone, Ipad and Android devices but it is not responsive
  • Portfolio filter
  • Contact form validation
  • Deeplink Support
  • Twitter feeds
  • Valid HTML
  • Pretty photo lightbox
  • 617+ Google fonts
  • Google map
  • Button and special elements support
  • PSD & Fireworks layered PNG Files
  • Video help documents
  • WordPress version 3.5 and Earlier Versions Compatible

4) Kaleido Responsive Fullscreen Studio for WordPress




Kaleido is a user friendly simplistic theme that contains audio, video and images on its homepage slider which makes this theme look fantastic. With features such as the filterable portfolio, slideshows, audio, Google maps, picture frames and many more this theme is everything you need to create you photography website fast and cheaply.


  • Fullscreen Portfolio
  • Responsive
  • Light + Dark
  • MultiColour Options
  • Postformats
  • Unlimited Portfolio
  • Contact Template
  • 400+ Google Fonts
  • Shortcodes
  • Advanced Options
  • Lightbox Activated Slideshow Thumbnails
  • Password Protected Portfolio Thumbnails
  • Iris Colour, Background and Font Selectors
  • and Many More

5) Slash WP




The SLASH theme contains lots of features such as self-hosted videos on the slideshows to unique looking masonry portfolio layouts, this theme has a very unique look that you may find is not your style but this theme looks the part and its jQuery, CSS and HTML shine through on this theme.

Some of SLASH WP features:

This theme provides you with several full-screen homepage templates: video homepage, awesome slideshow (with the option to preserve original image proportions), and static-image page.

Portfolio pages allows you to show both photo and video works. Dynamic AJAX filtering + awesome jQuery Isotope animation make your portfolio extremely usable and easy to navigate.

Gallery pages have both classical (photos only) and 2-layer (Albums -> Photos) layout types.

Homepage Slideshow, Portfolio and Gallery modules are powered by WordPress custom content types. So there will be no mess between different types of your content.

Theme Options page and Background Builder function will help you to create pro-looking and sexy skin for your website and customize it beyond recognition just in a few clicks!

Top 5 One Page WordPress Themes

By | Themes, Web Design | 9 Comments

There are possible hundreds of One Page WordPress themes out there that look fabulous but which one should you buy?… This list of 5 New One Page WordPress Themes will help you decide on the best theme for you…


1) The One Pager




This theme costs $70 and comes with 2 bonus themes from the WooThemes Catalogue this works out at $23.33  , for this you get a fully customizable homepage with editable headers and woo plugins such as WooSlider, Features, Testimonials and Woo Commerce. Of course you get the WooThemes framework which as many user know is a very good documented framework, This  means you can set up your site very quickly and efficiently.


2) Emerald




This theme costs $40 off of Theme Forest, for this you get a fully responsive Website that contains:

  • Metro Flipboard Slider
  • Drag  & Drop, Demo Content
  • Advance Them Options
  • Revolution Slider (worth $15)
  • 300+ Retina Ready Icons
  • Shortcodes
  • Elegant Blog Design.

One of the best things I found with this theme is that you Create each section of your page in a “page sections” area in the back end of WordPress that provides you with the ability to create as many sections as you choose, in the menu section of WordPress there is a section called “Visible sections” where you can add, remove and move the order of the page, this gives you the ability to make your page look the way you want it to without lots of manual moving around content.


3) Kallyas




This theme costs $55 and has lots of features and a powerful admin panel with lots of customizable options, here is a few examples:

  • amazing customizable page builder
  • reponsive layout
  • smart loader
  • SEO Ready
  • WPML Ready
  • Translation ready
  • Unlimited Headers
  • Unlimited Colours
  • WooCommerce Integration
  • Dummy Data Included
  • Unlited Homepage Variations
  • Dark/light versions
  • Huge  cool modern sliders variations
  • Multiple Portfolio Layouts
  • Lots of custom pages
  • & Many Many More

What I liked about this theme is that it is very modern and can be made to be a one page website very easily but still have has the option to be more than one. After using theme for a Semi-One page website with an e-commerce section I found that it was very quick to set up and the core framework of the website was made very quickly…


4) Scroller




This theme doesn’t have many purchases which is a good thing because it means that this theme isn’t plastered over the web like some WordPress themes, this theme contains lots of features such as:

  • Advanced theme admin panel,
  • Modular homepage – Layout sections + Layout Shortcodes,
  • Scroll menu with dropdowns,
  • Responsive layout,
  • Unlimited color schemes – using colorpickers,
  • Font selector/custom typography – 57 fonts available (web-safe fonts and Google webfonts),
  • Full-Screen jQuery sliders (Content and Caption slider),
  • Custom posts: Layout, Slider, Services, Portfolio, Clients, Staff and Pricing tables,
  • 3 homepage portfolio sections – slider, carousel and classic layout,
  • 7 Posts formats: standard, video, audio, gallery, image, link, quote,
  • Custom archive post,
  • Video ready – custom metaboxes,
  • Logo and favicon upload,
  • Social networks section,
  • Dropdown menu (custom menus are possible),
  • Author template,
  • Translation ready,
  • WordPress 3.5 + ready,
  • Smooth tabless design.

with is modern smooth high resolution design that includes 2 demo templates for you to choose from your website will look the envy of your profession. The of CSS Design work and parallax features really makes it stand out from the rest and its one of my personal favourites.

5) Mercurial




Mercurial is the theme that you would need if your company was very graphical as the design is based on full width parallax images, this theme has many features such as:

  • One page with parallax effect
  • Liquid smooth scrolling
  • Fully responsive
  • Retina display ready
  • Custom color/background on every front page section and on all the pages.
  • Shortcode based (create front page sections / pages easy using shortcodes)
  • 17 awesome shortcodes (columns, buttons, alerts, toggles, tabs, text types – for typographic effects, smart padding – for smart spacing, sliders, info columns, team, pricing tables, skill bars, portfolios, clients logos, social icons, twitter feed and contact form)
  • Full Localisation Support (contains .po/.mo files)
  • Post Format Support (Gallery, Standard, Video)
  • Extensive Documentation
  • Many more …

One of the highlight features of this theme if the portfolio it is the most important part for this graphical WordPress theme, there needs to be lots more features in this theme and more CSS design work, such as more animation on the portfolio items when highlighted.

New Facebook Design Hits Your Browsers July 2013

By | Business, Social Media, Technology, Web Design | 8 Comments

That time that the Nintendo Generation relishes is back again and at this very moment a very small percentage of your friends and maybe those lucky few that have stumbled to this post and unwittingly have it already.

There are 1 billion of us that use it and we are all subject to it being forced upon us and without the need to fluff it up further I give you…The latest incarnation of the Facebook interface!

As we did our afternoon login to check our Facebook accounts at the Premier Essex Digital Agency that is Nova Digital Media, primarily a Web Design Agency from the UK, one of our Developers jumped from his chair and yelped almost like someone had stuck a thumb tack on his chair and yelled “I have the new Facebook!”.

Well I recall the last incarnation and the hype that it caused with the new timeline or wall or whatever you want to call it. However, this time round there seems to be a more all round version update that has taken the Graphical User Interface of the world’s most social website and I for one am glad it’s here.

Nova Digital Media

I am ashamed to say that it wasn’t me that got the update and of the 5 of us, only 1 received the new glorious graphics of Facebook Design so should you wish to be considered for the new interface early you need to get over here: and register your interest.

What is New for Facebook in July 2013

new facebook home

The largest alterations have been made to the way we use Facebook for search and navigation which would suggest that Facebook have been one of the first to act on the data freely available on the Internet which is the Tidal Wave of browsers now using Mobile Devices to connect to their favourite websites.

Mobile Devices have long been considered a possible future permanent solution for browsing the internet and I believe that this confirms that the Web Designers of the future Facebook are considering this too, If we consider the Apps Facebook has released and the large number of people that are using the Giant Social Platform now for Local and National Searches doesn’t this seem to be a natural move for all web sites?

I don’t mean to blow my own horn here, but I’ve been saying this for years. This is simply the first time I have put my opinion in the public domain. Mobile and Touch Navigation Web Design has been at the forefront of Nova Digital Media’s repertoire since it’s reincarnation as a Small Web Design Studio in Essex to a Full Creative and Digital Agency in 2013.

Think about it. What’s happening all around you on the morning or afternoon commute today?

Look around when your next on the train, People browsing their phones, tablets or laptops right? If not, then chances are they are playing Candy Crush, Farm Ville or some other “Facebook Game”.

This latest interface alteration seems to bring a sense of alignment between the Mobile Version people are becoming accustomed to and distancing the old Desktop Browser Version, which as you can imagine seems to lead us to consider that Facebook are one of the first to consider that Mobile Design is “more important” than Desktop Design.

A New Header for a New Facebook

From the top of the page we noticed immediately that the icons that assist site wide navigation have been given a shuffle, possibly to optimise site design more in line with standard design practice of having navigation on the top right and the logo in the top left.

I would hasten to add that the biggest brand change is that the word FACEBOOK no longer sits upon the page like a Logo ‘king on the throne’. Instead Facebook have opted for the more Social Media Icon style Logo that has been plastered over websites on the internet like a Social Rash and in our humble opinion is a more noticeable and recognisable brand image than the written and custom font that is the old Facebook logo.

The font in the search bar seems slightly larger and the search bar has a softer and rounded border. The icons informing us of new friends, messages and notifications have been cast aside over to the right where we think they belong.

the ‘privacy settings’ icon is separated by a small pipe and then a small downward pointing arrow which signifies more options in the furthest right hand side which opens up the menu that was hidden behind a cog icon before.

The New Face of the New Facebook a Contrasted Icon?new_facebook_logo

A small quirky change, but for a me something that is noticeable as a highly improved GUI alteration is the Facebook Icon / Logo next to the search bar. This alone is enough to make me excited without all the other alterations. But to the less Interface Design inclined I thought I’d point out a a great use of contrast design to highlight the companies brand and a clear and easy way to highlight the brand.

But in line with their internet dominating goals why not use the community adopted icon to show their brand dominance, this is the visual equivalent of someone “googling” something. There are more versions of this Facebook brand than any over online (maybe with exception of the thumbs up coming in at the rear) as it’s a subtle icon that Web Masters aren’t too worried about using to distract there visitors.

Cleverly making this the focus of the branding isn’t this reversing that thought process and causing all of those icons to be the “actual brand logo” of the magnum opus brain child of Mr Zuckerberg.
Facebook Naviagtion

Side Bar Navigation

A much neater and hidden away side bar navigation allows users to get the full screen effect of their Tablet or Phone while still having access to the all important – News Feed, Messages, Events, Pages, Apps and finally Groups.

I’m imagining in a few years when all monitors are ‘Touch or Gesture Enabled’ and a simple, flick of the finger will, show or hide the Navigation allowing the content in the main part of the page to remain the dominant focus for the viewer.

Chat Sidebar

To some the best feature of all, hide the chat is still possible but with a slightly optimised look and integrated feel to this area of Facebook, previously this was achieved with a single icon in the lower left corner of the chat area, now this is part of a menu system that includes additional Filterable chat features like; Chat with Lists allowing you to select only a group of people that you would like to chat to.

How fun, No longer do you need to set up advanced privacy settings or completely go offline to avoid someone you may still owe money too from that hazy weekend bender!

Post Search Feature

This is a complex piece of code and styling here to complete again another simple method of keeping a large menu at bay.

In Interface design we call this an accordion, as like its namesake the instrument that delights some on the busy streets of Camden, London every now and again it is a small object that can on demand become a much larger object. Clicking a menu item will expand that item to reveal sub sections or child navigation sections if you like hidden like a Russian Doll gleefully popping open a tiny menu within.

Each item also gives you a great indicator of its usefulness by showing you new information that has been posted or updated within the interface in again a clever and subtle drop shadow style.

The same great List features are available for you to use, there just seems to be a better design around presenting the lists / likes and page feeds to you in this shiny new version.

Post / Wall Filters

Once you’ve settled on a wall item, your also given a wonderful punch in the eyes with a new way of displaying the content to you in a Metro Style organisation of the images and posts using a style we are accustomed with from the previous Interface Update that we now all enjoy.

There is however a new banner that is customised with a personalised image to your interests adorning the top of the new filtered wall, indicating as clear as glass that you are on the filter that you selected.

Post Search

Click the boxes below to see screenshots of how the filters work…

Photo Filterphotos

Music Filter


Games Filter


The New Timeline Wall for New Facebook

The New Timeline Wall for New Facebook

Profile Icons

The first noticeable thing for me was the adjustment made to the Profile Icons, the rounded off corners and more complete images seemed to leap out of the screen at me and without trying draw my attention to the relevant wall post.

What’s more is the use of the icons to signify the post type, events are presented with a snazzy almost iOS style date icon and other Facebook platform features seem to have a newer more polished look about the icons, but the personalised and commercial posts look better too, this design really brings the wall sections into the iPhone age and give the posts a look that is akin to a customised button for an iPhone App.

Profile Icons


Emoticons gleam from the page like a Super Nova Star in the cosmos on a dark night, like a beacon of emotion they signify to us that someone dear and personal has requested something now I’m not saying this is a new feature at all.

But again with a polished look the new icons seem to be brighter and much more appealing, I only glanced at the little hear emoticon but I would be ‘very’ surprised to find that Facebook have only updated one icon.

I’ve noticed 2 already and I’m looking forward to discovering a whole new icon set that Facebook have recreated giving one Essex Based Graphics guy a little ‘pixel pick’ up!

Friend Likes on Posts

This is a great new feature for those egotistical wall addicts or conceited post people among us (in a nice way, of course), with this instant visual cue you’ll get to see not only how many but who liked your wall post allowing to you to continue your rant or informative post to the masses most interested in your ramblings.

Also you’ll see who your real fans are by getting a quick glimpse of their face on the wall rather than several clicks and a lot of guess work!

Enhanced Post Images

Looking at the new image, it’s possible that Facebook have spent some time optimising the image used on their ‘launch page’ but after closer inspection it does seem that most of the images that are on the site being viewed on the latest incarnation are a bit, higher definition?

Gallery Post

Is this down to the image engine that powered the billions of images on the site and is this also taking into account overall global increases in broadband speed? I think so, further more with faster speeds the Light-box (pop-up image viewer) that displays the images upon mouse click, which seems to also be slightly more generous giving us, larger monitor folk, more image by drawing the box closer to the edges of the screen. This is not fully tested as we rushed straight to word processing once we saw the New Facebook so please excuse us if this turns out to not be the case.

However I’m sure you’ll agree that the way gallery posts are displayed is very much an improvement with an almost Windows 8 feel in the new tiled layout. Also allowing you to skip the first image and also get a bit of information about the gallery within the post tile before you need to click it.

This almost seems like Facebook no longer want you to stray from your wall giving you the filters and tiled information posts excerpts with as much information as possible making the New Wall a more informative place to be in Facebook.

 Video and Multimedia Posts

Video Posts have also seen an overhaul of the design of the post tile showing off the video with the new customer integrated video player instead of the YouTube feed of old and also giving us the same captioned tile that we have seen with the Image gallery posts.

I’m wondering if there is a audio or sound only version similar to sound cloud in the making allowing music to be streamed from the wall of a filtered user giving us an almost playlist for our favourite music.

You hearing me Facebook?

Facebook Image Search

Filtering the wall for images seems to be a great way to also get rid of the stuff you don’t want and is possibly a game changer for family members that simply want to nose through other family members images to catch-up without making that social interaction that used to be called a ‘phone call’.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a Facebook enthusiast but as more features like this come into play is makes me wonder if this sort of filterable option will push families further apart by telling stories of thousands of words without the need for a conversation of, “How was the wedding? or “Did you enjoy your holiday?”

Gallery updates, improved imagery and filterable searches through the inbox of wall posts that we are presented with allow us to focus our attention on what matters to us at the time and leave the tangents and misgivings of the old timelines a firm shove to the knackers yard as we strive for optimum use of our time and a more focussed experience on Facebook between breaks at work or on the 30 minute commute home.

Messenger for Windows

The best for last? Finally the new Messenger for Windows, Is this the doing of the Windows 8 or MSN squad over at Microsoft? With the Skype envelopment with Windows 8 it seems possible that the strong connection between My Zuckerburg and Mr Gates as the 2 giants of software have teamed up in another area with Bing Search being just the tip of the Iceberg.

What’s next Skype Calls on Facebook? Why Not?

Well hey maybe that’s how the Facebook Video Calling works with Skype Mechanics?

Well whether this is the latest attempt to revive the old dying Windows Messenger (MSN) via Facebook it is entirely possible, after all who are we to speculate on the possible alliances and software collaborations that have taken place at camp FaceSoft (you see what I did there!…”FACE- book, micro-SOFT”!).

Notice however that MicroSoft only platforms are not the only place Facebook wants to play on this new Software. Messenger is available also for Mobile and Firefox, look closely that seems to be an android phone! Hey who are Google to stand in the way of progress right!?

messenger for windows

To Sum it all up

To coin a phrase, “innovation is 99 perspiration and 1 inspiration” and it seems in the back rooms of the Facebook Factories like The Wonka Chocolate Factory, the wonderful minions and powers that be behind Facebook have worked very hard and furiously hammered out this wonderful new toy and I love it! So from us at Nova Digital Media, THANK YOU!

But what will this Facebook Revolution mean for the likes of You and Me as users?

Ease of use, Multi Platform Compatibility, Responsive Design for Multiple Screen Sizes and much more…

Of course, Design and Interface Improvements are all that left for the Facebook Crowd, making it pretty and easy to use is a long overdue version update that we were all needing to refresh our palettes for this tapering off growth session that Facebook has been enjoying for the last few years.

The road map now for Facebook with a fully Touch and Gesture friendly interface is good, the possibilities are now open to all sorts of great new tools, ideas and updates; Office 365, Outlook Accounts, Adobe Facebook Apps maybe?

Hey that’s great for us, we work in Facebook every day so having our Office in here with our preferred crowd would be a great idea.

For now though all I can do is sit and be jealous that my Web Developer is sitting perusing the new features and I’m still on the waiting list.


January 2014 UPDATE

Facebook has begun to roll out it’s new User Interface to select Business Pages. Our CEO John Palmer explains more:

February 2014 UPDATE 2

Our Social Media Manager has noticed a new Facebook addition. Even though she is still on the old user interface she has noticed the addition of a ‘Trending News’ feature on the right hand side of her Home page. Helena explains more in her newest blog post.

March 2014 UPDATE 3

This time it’s our tech officer who has noticed yet another development to the new Facebook user interface. Facebook seems to have reverted back to a few of the features that they had left with the old UI whilst making a one new aesthetic change.

1. No Last Name

First the small change. Facebook have removed your last name from the top navigation bar leaving you with just your first name or any middle names that you have. Functionally it offers nothing but Facebook has decided that we’re all cool enough to parade around with a last name so enjoy.

2. Goodbye Streamlined Side Navigation

When Facebook gave our tech officer the new UI this was his favourite new feature. Facebook had removed the clunky long list that the majority of us still have and replaced it with a more streamlined, visually pleasing navigation bar. Facebook has decidedly reverted back to the previously mentioned ‘clunky’ list and has removed the rather different navigation bar favoured by our Tech Officer Conor. This could all be a matter of tastes and some people may welcome a change back, but here at Nova we quite liked the de-cluttered version.

3. Welcome Back Mini News-Feed

Another change back to the previous UI Facebook had originally removed the mini news-feed located above your chat bar, allowing just one long chat bar that went from the top to the bottom of your page. There are positives to both lay-outs, having a mini-news feed gives you real-time updates of your friend’s activities whilst having just a column dedicated to who is online means you do not have to scroll through endlessly to see who is online. Either way Facebook has made the decision for you and has reverted back to having a split column the top half showing updated activities and the bottom half showing who is available to chat.

These were the changes that we have noticed so far, have you noticed any others? What do you think of the newest updates?