All Posts By

Chris Smith

The best email services

By | Resources, Training

Firstly, it’s important to have a decent email address and if you are an organisation or business it should reflect your business name and/or website address.  In other words, if someone sends me an email from a gmail address or one of the other “personal” address systems I regard it as personal or from someone who does not have the capacity to have their own email system that they control.  Normally when you buy a domain name it comes with email options and all is handled through the servers that host the domain name.  But that may be limiting either by space or the number of services on offer.  However, it is easy enough to “split” the mail element away from your hosting domain.  This means that you could have your email managed by a different company with greater resources and capacity including space and anti-virus at source.  The added professionalism can help your business, allowing you to save and archive more messages, have additional features and access a sophisticated web based option for mail as well.  It can be like having your own mail server in the cloud without the cost of running a server.  A couple of the main contenders here are google and outlook, but for a comprehensive look at a variety of alternatives along with their pros and cons have a look at this feature from Cloudwards

DNS servers that work well and fast

By | Resources

You don’t have to use your ISP’s DNS servers and sometimes can get better results with others.  Try these:



Now part of the Cisco empire, the primary is with a backup on

Norton ConnectSafe

Available in its basic form on (backup

Comodo Secure DNS

Rather like Google in that there is no configuration – using the service is simply a matter of switching to the services primary and backup servers on and


Available on and, DNS.Watch is almost unique in offering an alternative DNS service without the website logging found on most others.

VeriSign Public DNS

Not to be outdone, VeriSign recently started offering public servers on and


By | Training

A list refers to a set of subscribers who have agreed to receive mail from you.

A Campaign refers to a mailsshot you are going to/have made.

Mailchimp handles all aspects of doing this with ease.

It has a number of sophisticated features which allow you to:

  • design newletters
  • segment/filter your lists
  • create a registration form with additional fields
  • auto generate mails for new subscribers (paid for)

Mailchimp is free if you have fewer than 2000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails per month.  In addition to providing a professional legal mailshot service, it also uses its own server for sending email so reducing the pressure on your own ISP/web service.


By | Training


Download the app (android)
twitter elementsRegister Twitter with a relevant name – e.g. Rainy Dayt with an email address accessible on your device
Choose your organisation website if relevant.  You do not need to add a phone number.  As you go through the set up stages you can skip them.

Follow me (@virtualriders)
and one or two others
and then each other… and then anyone else interesting!

Tap on settings and then profile, then edit profile.  Make sure to set the website address and then you can put something in the Bio.


Although Twitter allows you to broadcast to everyone by default, you can send a personal message to an individual person.

When you Tweet, your message is just out there for anyone to find and your followers actually receive a copy of your Tweet.

So, if a message is to be personal, you DO NOT Tweet, you talk privately to them by sending them a message.  This is called a direct message.

Click the envelope (ME) icon.

You will be prompted to find friends, but don’t tap this, tap the speed bubble with its plus sign (top right).  You will be prompted to enter a name.  This must be someone who follows you.  Their twitter name with the @ symbol will appear.

Tap it and then type your message at the bottom of the screen.  Then click SEND.

It’s similar to sending someone a text.

Your messages will appear as a dialogue similar to text messages.

50 Twitter Tips

more tips

How to get more followers
Posting Tips for NGOs using Facebook and Twitter
Social Media Tips for NGOs
Top tips on writing for Twitter for charities
[slideshare id=50569131&doc=twittertipsforbeginners-150715195617-lva1-app6891]





Email links and resources

By | Resources

Email explained in 2 minutes


Temporary email addresses

If you give web sites and new contacts a disposable email address instead of your real one, you can selectively disable a disposable address as soon as you get spam through it, but continue using all other aliases.

All disposable email address services provide this basic functionality, but some have other neat features that make life with email less spam and more fun.
 Avoid spam and stay safe – use a disposable email address! Click the “WTF” button below for help. So far we’ve processed 1,277,204,160 emails, Keeping your 


By | Resources

Picmonkey is an online image and photo editing application which manages most of the effects and tweaks you need for preparing images for your website… and more.

Using it is straightforward, but for extra information you can always use their video tutorials

and “how to’s”

For a basic introduction, see the video below:

Top ten tutorials

Basic Edits Definitions

images manually or type in the desired proportions. PicMonkey offers preset crop sizes for
printing or for using as online avatars.

tool allows you to rotate your photo 90? to the left or right, flip, or straighten your photo
with the slider or drawing a line with your mouse along an edge that should be straight.

Many features work with a single mouse click but allow the option to adjust a
slider for more control with Edits, Effects, the size and transparency of text,
Stickers, and Frames.

allows you to manually adjust the brightness, highlights, shadows,
and contrast of your image, or you can have PicMonkey Auto –
adjust the image.

allows you to auto adjust the colors in your image. The neutral picker option allows you to
use a dropper to balance out the colors in the image so that one color doesn’t overshadow the
other colors in the image. You can also adjust the slider bars to change the saturation and
temperature of the colors in your image.

allows you to adjust the slider bars to change the sharpness and clarity of the pixels in
your image.

allows you to enter a new width and height for your image. This will give your image new
dimensions. You may choose to Use Percentages if you would like the image to be 50% larger. It is
recommended to Keep Proportions as well.


By | Resources

Videos and notes on setting up Woocommerce.
It is advisable to use a theme which states that it works or is designed for Woocommerce.

This shows you how to set up a website AND Woocommerce

More specific for Woocommerce