Web development

WordPress – Install Contact Form 7 and Minimise Spam Without Missing Messages

WordPress tutorial – how to install Contact Form 7 with message logging, Google CAPTCHA V2 integration and extra anti-spam measures

Step 1 – install the required plug-ins

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to the plug-ins menu and select ‘add new.’ Search for, install and then activate the following:
    1. Contact Form 7
    2. Really Simple Captcha
    3. Insert Headers and Footers
    4. Akismet
    5. Flamingo

Step 2 – integrate the CAPTCHA

Contact Form 7 is a simple plugin that allows you to quickly and easily include contact forms within your WordPress website. 

Contact Form 7 also allows you to insert a CAPTCHA into your contact forms to prevent bots from submitting forms and therefore reduce spam. Contact Form 7 utilises Really Simple CAPTCHA as its officially-sanctioned CAPTCHA module.

Insert Headers and Footers is a plug-in that provides you with a is a simple interface allowing you to insert code (like Google CAPTCHA code or Google Analytics) into to your WordPress site header and footer without having to edit your theme files directly.

  1. Open a new tab in your browser and go to the Google reCAPTCHA site
    1. Follow the instructions to log in, register your domain and generate a site key and secret key
    2. Copy the ‘site key’ and ‘secret key’ from the Google site to the Really Simple Captcha integration page before saving
  2. From within your WORDPRESS dashboard, go to CONTACT > INTEGRATION
    1. add the site key and secret key in the relevant boxes
  3. From within your WORDPRESS dashboard, go to SETTINGS > INSERT HEADERS AND FOOTERS
    1. Paste the script link below into the ‘header’ section then save changes
  4. From within your WORDPRESS dashboard, go to CONTACT > CONTACT FORMS
    1. Create a new contact form
    2. Right before the ‘SEND’ button of your form, paste the code below (don’t forget to add your unique SITE KEY where specified)
    3. Configure the form fully and save changes
  5. Create your contact page
    1. Integrate the contact form as normal within your site

(step 4.1) Paste the following code into the header section

<script src='https://www.google.com/recaptcha/api.js'></script>

(step 5.2) Paste the following code into your new form just before the ‘send’ button (don’t forget to add your unique ‘site key’)

<div class="g-recaptcha" data-sitekey="<<your unique 'site key'>>"></div>

Step 4 – integrate the HoneyPot

Contact Form 7 Honeypot is a WordPress plugin that adds honeypot anti-spam functionality to Contact Form 7 forms. Honeypot is a technique that adds a hidden field to a form that is essentially a trap set for spambots.

  1. go to CONTACT and edit your contact form
  2. within the contact form, before the ‘send’ button tag, use the TAG generator to add a ‘honey pot’ tag
  3. save the form

Step 5 – activate Akismet

Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against their global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content.

  1. Go to SETTINGS > AKISMET ANTI-SPAM and follow the instructions to create an account, generate an API key, and activate your site
  2. Enter the API key, choose your settings, then save changes

Step 6 – test the message log

Flamingo is a message storage plugin for created for Contact Form 7. When any message is sent to you via the contact form, it will also be stored in the Flamingo database allowing you to check for missed or deleted messages.

  1. test your contact form my sending yourself a message
  2. once this is working and the message has been received, go to Flamingo from your WordPress site dashboards and view the sent message


If you have any trouble with any of the above instructions, get in touch with us via our main website

How to configure email on iOS devices

Here is a short tutorial outlining port numbers and encryption types for Seven Creative email services used on iOS devices such as iPhone and Mac

Please contact us for the password

Click here


Protected: Setting up Seven Creative email services on your Apple and iOS devices

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WordPress – change the default ‘from’ information

The default email address and from name in WordPress notification emails can be easily changed by editing your functions.php file

Simply add the following code (remembering to change the email address and name to the ones you want to use instead)

 add_filter('wp_mail_from', 'new_mail_from');
 add_filter('wp_mail_from_name', 'new_mail_from_name');

function new_mail_from($old) {
 return 'yourname@yourdomain.com';
 function new_mail_from_name($old) {
 return 'Your Name';

We’re based in Sheffield, UK. If you’d like help updating your WordPress site or any other WordPress maintenance, give us a call on 0114 383 0711

Celebration freebies for you!

We’ve just turned 10 years old!

Happy Birthday to Seven Creative

Happy Birthday to Seven Creative

10 years ago Seven Creative was established, and since then, we’ve helped over 300 local, national, and international business grow

To celebrate our birthday, we’d like to tell you a little about some of the services you can use to grow your business, show you a little market insight, and give you a little something for free

Email Marketing

Email Marketing from Seven Creative

Email Marketing from Seven Creative

Email marketing continues to be, for most businesses, by far one of the most cost-effective ways of generating leads… and it’s oh, so simple!

Not only can we provide you with a super-simple email marketing system, we can also support you with the email content, the email template, the images, and even supply you with a marketing list of targeted prospects. We can even do the whole thing for you if you’d prefer!

Get in touch on 0114 383 0711 and let us give you a quick run through the system for free

Mobile friendly web

Wordpress updating and maintenance by Seven Creative

WordPress updating and maintenance by Seven Creative

Mobile search continues to become increasingly important following Google’s ongoing algorithm updates. Many business now reporting over 60% of their site visits come via mobile devices!

Why not find out how mobile-friendly your site is and if it’s being penalised within the rankings by Google for poor mobile-support.

We’ll happily do a quick site evaluation for you for free to let you know what steps need to be taken to increase mobile compatibility and what are your priorities. Give us a call today on 0114 383 0711 for more information. 

Social Media for Business

Social Media Management by Seven Creative

Social Media Management by Seven Creative

It’s here and it’s not going away, but can you afford to ignore social media? Did you know that around 64% of adults aged 50 to 64 use Facebook with 70% of them logging in daily – and they’re a lot less cynical than younger demographics.

Also, 44% of online women use Pinterest, 28% of adults use Instagram, and 20% of the entire population use Twitter.

How much is your CPA? I’d put money on that potentially being a whole lot cheaper with a good, solid, consistent and efficient social media strategy in place – and that’s where we can help

Pick your channels well, create a solid strategy, and post good quality content and you can’t go wrong.

We can coach you through the setup, show you how to use the channels effectively, and help you put together a solid social media strategy to raise your profile and generate leads

Get in touch today on 0114 383 0711 and we’ll give you a free social media 101 to get you started

WordPress maintenance and updating

Wordpress updating and maintenance by Seven Creative

WordPress updating and maintenance by Seven Creative

WordPress is huge – accounting for over an estimated 58% of all content-managed websites online at the moment… and into 2016 this figure continues to grow!

What many web developers don’t tell you, however, is that WordPress requires a lot of ongoing maintenance. As the biggest CMS it naturally becomes a target for hackers, but do you know if your site is safe and up-to-date?

We’ll be able to tell you very quickly if your site is likely secure and show you steps you may need to take to secure it further.

We’re also very experienced in developing and maintaining WordPress sites so we can also provide updates and maintenance if required. Get your free audit today

New content and articles

Content creation services from Seven Creative

Content creation services from Seven Creative

We now have to cater for a generation of internet consumers who have an increasingly short attention span due to having been bombarded with mediocre content – they expect quick fixes and instant gratification. According to a recent study by AOP, the attention span of many of your site visitors is often as short as 8 seconds it’s getting shorter!

It’s therefore vital that you create and present fresh, concise, well written, and engaging content for your audience through all your communication channels including email marketing, your website, and social media to increase your ROI and avoid simply becoming part of the ‘noise.’

…but you’re busy running your business and simply don’t have the time to do it. Therefore, why not let us do it for you? Get in touch for a free content strategy review including a proposal for the ongoing creation of new, fresh content.

Anything else?

Internet Marketing by Seven Creative

Internet Marketing by Seven Creative

Of course, the services listed above are just a few of things we can offer – after all we’re a full-service agency – so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there is anything we may be able to help you with.

From Chris and the team, thanks for being part of our first 10 years and here’s to the next 10

5 reasons why having good website hosting might be more important than you think

5 reasons why having good website hosting might be more important than you think

5 reasons why having good website hosting might be more important than you think

Website hosting is one of those things many people take for granted – the website is live, the emails are working, so all is good. The truth is though, you may not realise the difference getting good quality website hosting can have on your business or the potential problems you may have exposed your business to. Here is a list of my top 5 main reasons why you may need to rethink your website hosting

  1. If something goes wrong, you might be left high-and-dry. Hard drives die, websites get hacked, and software conflicts arise, etc. but does your host provide immediate telephone technical support? Chances are not. Cheap hosting is cheap because corners are cut, and one of the first places to cut costs is on the support side of things. How many enquiries will you miss if your website is down for a few days? How will your business’ reputation fare? There are few things more frustrating than finding the only way to get through to technical support is on a ticket system and not getting a reply for 2 or more working days. Making sure you have good quality technical support is a must.
  2. Google uses information about your web host within its algorithm to determine where you should appear in the search results. Yep, Google is very clever these days. Gone are the days of being able to manipulate the search results to get your site to the top of the first page. The only way to do it these days is using best practice in all areas of your site. Chances are, your site will be hosted outside of the UK which is not good news from a ranking point of view. Making sure your site is hosted in an appropriate geographical location will improve search engine ranking
  3. How quickly your website displays is very important to both Google and your site visitors. Cheap hosting will generally be on an overloaded and under-spec server in a foreign country. All of these things are bad individually but when you get them together, it can massively affect how your site displays causing ranking problems and annoying your site visitors. Good quality web hosting will improve usability and therefore website conversation rates
  4. You have a legal obligation under the data protection act to take appropriate steps to keep certain data stored securely and this includes on your website. You’re probably currently just hoping your web host is taking care of this but what happens if they’re not doing it properly? In fact, where is the data geographically? I’d recommend auditing what sensitive information you have stored online and make sure you can demonstrate you’ve taken the steps to keep it secure.
  5. When you’re on a shared server, you’re site is sitting alongside probably hundreds if other sites – and you have no idea what those sites are or what content they contain. Your IP address will be shared too meaning there is a whole host of potential problems here. We’ve seen peoples sites added to blacklists via IP through no fault of their own and we’ve seen whole servers compromised due to the actions of another site owner on the same shared host. One day you could be doing well, right up there on page one. The next day, you’re gone from the rankings altogether and suddenly the phone stops ringing. Avoid cheap hosting to avoid the shared server potential pitfalls

Not happy with your current website hosting? Did you know we do a free website migration service? This means we’ll move your site, database and email services to a good quality and appropriate server all for free

Our fully managed web hosting also includes all email services (IMAP, POP3, SMTP, webmail, etc.), spam protection, virus protection, technical support, and rolling 6 hour / 7 day backups.

Call us now on 0114 383 0711 for more information

10 signs there might be a problem with your website

10 signs there might be a problem with your website

10 signs there might be a problem with your website

You’ve got a successful business, you’ve got a website, but is your site bringing in as much business as it could? Here are 10 signs to look out for that mean there may be a problem!

Please note; I’m using Google here when referring to a search engine as it’s the largest and therefore the one we generally focus on when optimising for the web.

1 – You’re not getting many visitors to your site

It’s often difficult to gauge how many visitors you should be getting to your website for many reasons – maybe your products or services are very niche, or maybe the majority

The first thing you need to do is identify your keywords and phrases – the things your target customers will be typing into Google when they’re looking for your products and services. This isn’t always as black & white as you’d imagine, however, with a bit of time you can usually get a good comprehensive list of these phrases. Don’t forget to also get an idea of the average search volumes.

Now you need to see where you appear in Google when you search for these phrases. If you appear as the first result on page one of Google, you should be getting around 30% of the clicks, for example, if 10000 people per month search for the key phrase you’re at position 1 for, you should be getting in the region of 10 visits a day for that phrase (i.e. ((10000/30)*0.3)).

Get your site’s SEO analysed ASAP

2 – You’ve got a high bounce rate

Many websites get the traffic but that traffic is not properly qualified through Google so they immediately leave the site without clicking internally – otherwise known as a bounce.

It’s very important to monitor your keyword density to make sure Google is getting an accurate picture of your products and services. Many people neglect the search engine in favour of the site visitor and often end up with a site that has high usability but poor search engine optimisation. The trick is to take account of both!

If your bounce rate is higher that 40 to 50%, it’s time to look at your search engine optimisation, conversion rate optimisation and usability checked ASAP

3 – Your phone isn’t ringing

The job of a website is varied and depends on the business. For many it’s to help establish credibility as a supportive sales tool, however, if your site should be generating leads for you and it’s not, we need to find out why!

Usability testing sounds expensive but can actually be very simple to do. For many business owners, they spend so much time within their industry that they forget that the jargon and acronyms they use in their day-to-day lives might not be understood by everyone else! Get someone who knows nothing about your industry to go through your website. Give them a task and get them to tell you when they hit a dead-end, get frustrated, get confused or even give up in exasperation – you may be very surprised at the results! Are your contact forms working? Are your contact details easy to find? Does your site work on all browsers? These are just a few of the things that make the difference between an enquiry and an exit.

Visitors arriving at your site combined with a low bounce rate but no phone calls means there could be a problem with your calls to action, conversion rate optimisation and usability.

4 – You can’t find your site in Google

It might sound obvious but have you searched for your site within Google? Even if it was once there doesn’t necessarily mean it will still be there now!

As Google’s algorithm get’s cleverer, any mistakes that may have been made may suddenly become evident and your site may be being penalised. For example, if you’ve traditionally paid for the type of SEO that has relied on inbound links, you may have recently disappeared from the rankings due to Google penalisation! Even if your site is still there, it may mean that your results are being suppressed!

Not being able to easily find your site from a Google search you should get your SEO looked at ASAP

5 – Exits from contact form but no enquiries

You’re getting the visitors, you’ve got a low bounce rate but you’re not getting the enquiries. Have you tested your contact form? Are your contact details correct? Does your form work? Does your page work on the main web and mobile browsers?

Another one that sounds simple but you’d be amazed how few people actually spend a few minutes each month testing the functionality of their websites.

Send yourself a test message and try the number otherwise it could mean there is a problem!

6 – High percentage of visitors from abroad

There is a lot of information within a website that most people would never even give a second thought to. For example, how does Google know your site is UK English? Maybe it is American English or Australian! I suppose it could look at your server location or domain name and hazard a guess, however, don’t forget that Googlebot is just a piece of software that only has a very short amount of time to assess and categorise your site!

Unless the hidden information within your site is included and correct, your site may not be optimised for its target geographical location and therefore may not be appearing in the right country. It’s important to get this checked and corrected if necessary.

7 – Getting enquiries for products or services you don’t provide

This one seems quite simple on the surface but is actually quite complex. A good website will not only index well within Google for the correct search terms and turn the visitors into enquiries, it should also help your site visitors to properly qualify themselves – or in other words, help them to decide if this is the site they need.

If you bore your visitors with difficult to read text and fail to tell them what you do in a simple, concise and fast manner, the majority of them are going to do one of two things – leave or contact you to ask you what you do – Will you paint my kitchen? No, we only sell paint! What are your opening hours? No, we don’t have a shop! You end up doing what your site could be doing – letting people know if you’re what they’re looking for!

Getting enquiries for products or services you don’t provide means you should test your site’s usability.

8 – Slow loading times

When was the last time you checked to see how quickly your site loads? Clear your cache and give it a go. Googlebot only spends a short time visiting your site and if a proportion of that time is spent waiting for your site to load, it’s not going to be indexing properly.

Another one of the most common problems is badly optimised images. Simply specifying a width to resize an image is a terrible idea! Whether it’s laziness or inexperience, it will still cost you heavily in terms of Google ranking, bandwidth and usability!

Check your bandwidth usage against your visitor numbers and see if they tally. Make sure your images are optimised and that your server is in the UK.

Slow site loading times mean you should have your hosting and site optimisation checked.

9 – Site not displaying properly on mobile devices

Even if you don’t know the statistics you can probably guess that the number of people using mobile devices to access the web has recently exploded and is only set to increase!

Even here at Seven Creative we use Android’s browser; Chrome for Android; Safari for iPad and iPhone; Silk for Kindle; and this is just us!

It can be costly to optimise a site for mobile – especially when it comes to cross browser compatibility – however, there are a few simple things to look out for!

Check your visitor statistics and see what browsers they’re using. Test your site on yours and your friends’ mobile devices. If your site uses Flash, oh dear… time for a new one! If you do find an issue, it might only be a small job to update your site’s CSS to accommodate the new mobile browsers.

There is also talk that Google may be about to start penalising sites that have a bad or absent mobile version so now is the time to act!

10 – Your site looks tired and out-of-date

Just as in person, you only get a very short time to make a good impression. When was the last time you updated your site? Does it look old or outdated? Are your images poor quality? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then that is the image of your business you are projecting. Of course, if that visitor met you in real life you’d impress them with your wealth of experience and industry knowledge, but the bad news is you’ll never get that opportunity. The visitor will hit ‘back’ and click on the next link – your competitor.

If you would like help with any of the potential website problems listed here, get in touch with us on 0114 383 0711 or contact us through out contact page 

Top 10 Biggest Website Mistakes Stopping You From Winning Business

Every day here at Seven Creative, people show us their sites that were built by other companies and ask us things like “why doesn’t my website appear in Google” or “Why do I hardly ever get any calls from my website” so we thought we should produce a quick check-list to help you evaluate your website and hopefully spot the areas stopping your website from indexing properly in search engines and hindering the site’s conversion rates.

This is by no means an exhaustive list; however, these are some of the most common problems. Don’t forget to let us know if you think we’ve missed something important!

1 – Contact details

There is a good chance that a lot of the visitors to your website are simply looking for your contact details. Other visitors are there evaluating you deciding if your the right one to ‘buy’ from. Your contact details, therefore, need to be available at the moment the site visitor makes the decision that they want to get in touch. Making it tough to find your contact details, hiding them or even requiring  the website visitor to ‘click’ to find them can irritate and annoy – and this is the last thing you want when your competitors are only a ‘back click’ away!

Make your contact details prominent throughout the site. This will not only allow a potential customer to get in touch with you easily and quickly, it will also show potential customers that you have clear communication channels which will help to quickly establish trust – which is vital!

2 – What do you do?

I’m amazed. I’m staggered! The amount of sites I visit every day and I sit there thinking ‘what do you actually do?’ Every time we approach a new project we reverse engineer it from the point-of-view of the potential customer. By firstly profiling the customers you are able to build in a flow toward the website goals, avoid jargon which confuses people, and massively increase usability which means you’re much likely to end up with a website that actually works (provided your developer know what they are doing, of course!)

It’s really not rocket science – just say what you do and make it prominent. People love useful snippets but get turned off by big paragraphs. Get the important stuff ready-summarised and you’ll be amazed about how much of a better on-site experience your potential customers will have!

3 – Keywords and phrases

Before you built your site, did you check what people were actually searching for in relation to your products and services? It’s staggering how many people don’t! What is the point in having an all-singing-all-dancing website if no one can ever find it because it doesn’t match the phrases they’re using to find your products and services!

It’s very simple; find out what your potential customers are searching for and then make sure those phrases appear in your website (of course, in a natural context) on the relevant pages. Websites that don’t work don’t do this. It’s a simple as that.

4 – Social media

If your company is popular, they’re talking about it on the Social Media channels. If it’s not, they’ll be very little mention of you on these channels and Google knows this full well. Also, you need to demonstrate to your potential customers that you’re available with open and clear communication channels were anything to go wrong.

Not engaging with your potential customers on the appropriate social media channels is missing an opportunity to raise your profile, find new customers and without these ‘social media bookmarks’, Google will evaluate your website to reflect this and therefore your search engine position may not be as good as it could be.

5 – Images

It’s amazing how few people understand how much of an impact optimised images can have on your site. Properly optimising the compression and getting the aspect ratio correct means they’ll display quickly, the alternative text will be indexed by Google and the image name is an opportunity to get your image in an image search for the relevant products and services.

Also, I’m staggered by how many people put their really important text content as an image! Google can’t read this and you’ll find it very difficult to update if details change!

Optimising your images provides so many benefits it’s something you really need to focus on right from the word go.

6 – Content optimisation

Once you’ve got your keyword and competitor analysis report, you’ll be able to create well written text that also includes a natural density of your keywords. Stuffing keywords is not only amateurish, you’re website will be penalised by Google and you’ll not appear properly in the search results.

They key is and always has been to create good quality website content with a natural density of your keywords and phrases. Of course, there are ways to increase the emphasis on the really important content; however, trying to fool the Google algorithm is at best a very risky thing to do.

Focus on the correct word count and the keywords and you’re half way there!

7 – Compliant and well formatted code

The code is something you’ve probably never a thought to. If your website looks OK, the code is OK, right? Wrong! Errors in the code are not generally visible to the average website visitor, however, if Google encounters a poorly coded website, there is a good chance you’ll be penalised.

Broken links, validation errors, properly hierarchical use of HTML, etc.  will not only mean your site will display more quickly but also that Google will be able to correctly assess your key words and phrases and you’ll therefore appear in the relevant searches.

Poorly written code – and you’d be amazed how ubiquitous it is – will mean your site will not index properly. This is not difficult to fix – although it’s better to get it right in the first place – it’s just, in my opinion, the sign that the web developer is either lazy or doesn’t know what he’s doing.

8 – Counter-intuitive navigation structure

There is very little as frustrating as trying to navigate your way around a site with a poor navigational structure. We encounter these every day and it’s something that will certainly be losing you customers! What does it say about your company if your site is confusing and it’s sometimes impossible to find the page you’re after?

When building a site, the site navigational structure needs to be designed with scalability and usability in mind. It needs to be simple and easy to use otherwise your site visitors will simply hit ‘back’ and click on the next link in Google. Usability testing is something that can highlight this; however, it’s a much better (and cheaper) idea to get this right from the start.

9 – External links

In SEO circles we call it ‘juice.’ Imagine your site is a half-full glass of juice. Every time you get a link to your site it adds a little juice to the glass. Every link that leads away from your site takes a little juice away. The more relevant and more important the site that links to yours, the more juice you get. The fewer out-bound links you have, the less juice you’re giving away.  Now imagine that Google evaluates your site based on how much juice is in that glass and you have a picture of how Google uses links to help assess the importance of your site – the more juice you have, the more important the site is. The less juice you have, the less important the site is.

Be very aware that outbound links are taking away ‘juice’ from your site. Are they really that important? Could you do without these links?

10 – Domain name

One of the main criteria Google uses to assess your website is your domain name. The current domain registration term and the keywords within the website are two things that allow Google to decide whether your website is relative for a search and whereabouts in the search results it should be.

When you’re picking your domain name, make sure you’ve done your keyword and competitor research first. Your current customers may be searching for your company name but your potential customers are searching for your services. Remember, if your website has been built properly, it’ll index for your company name regardless of the domain name. Google also loves an established domain with a long registration period so why not have your domain registered for 10 years?

If you’d like any advice on picking a domain or need any other domain services such as registrant change, moving domains, re-establishing domain ownership or registering your domain, give us a call.

11 – Bonus mistake – Poor quality SEO

How could we possibly have a list about mistakes you may be making from an SEO point of view. The new Google algorithm updates mean that many people who have been paying for SEO over recent years have suddenly plummeted out of the rankings. Why? Because Google isn’t stupid. It knows that many people have been trying to manipulate their rankings by building hundreds of links from external sites whilst putting very little emphasis on good quality content – and now they’re paying the price.

‘Cheap SEO’ isn’t synonymous with ‘poor SEO’; however, they are very often the same thing. Good quality SEO does and always has had an emphasis on high quality content.

More information? Get in touch with us

Seven Creative in Sheffield provide the full spectrum of web marketing services such as SEO, social media optimisation, web site development and usability testing.

Call us today on 0114 383 0711, visit our website at www.sevencreative.co.uk or email us at contact@sevencreative.co.uk for more information.