Friday, 31 October 2014

Are You On ...a Blacklist?

If you run your email with your web-hosting as many business do, you may have already suffered the inconvenience of one day finding that your emails sent to certain recipients get bounced back at you with a very robotic-looking message that seems to vaguely refer to a poor reputation.

Having your email blacklisted can be a real problem.This can be particularly upsetting for ladies. ;D

What you are seeing is indeed a rejection of your message by the reputation service enlisted by the Internet Service Provider of your intended recipient. Worse is, it's not the message being blocked, it's the IP address of your server. So all email accounts that run from your hosting are affected.

"But why me?!! I'm not a #&^*@! spammer... All I do is GET spam!"


It could be that an email account on your hosting has been compromised by a malicious script from within an email, or an external hack.
Or it could be an innocent mistake by a user at your end. Unfortunately with the ridiculous prevalence of spam nowadays, the largely futile measures taken by ISP's to try and protect their customers tend to also take out their customers as collateral damage.  A Blacklisting could be triggered by things such as:
  • Sending too many emails in succession
  • Sending to large mailing lists
  • Forwarding an email from an undetermined source
  • Clicking a link or download in an email from an undetermined source
  • Sending emails to an address that does not exist or is expired
What can you do if your Domain/Server IP is blacklisted.
Because of the overwhelming prevalence of spam and the mass incidence of false-positive listings, most Blacklists will de-list automatically between 1 and 7 days.  Some Blacklists may require a removal request to be sent.

To see which Blacklist is blocking you from your intended recipient, either
  • refer to the failure notification message that you received, or
  • perform a search using an online service like
The important thing is that you find out whether or not your email account/s remain comprised.  Repeated listings would indicate that there is an issue.  In such a case, the simplest and surest thing may be to delete the offending email account from both the server and every office computer, and then re-create it afresh. Yes, you WILL LOSE YOUR MESSAGES when you do this, so take steps to record anything that must not be lost.

What can you do to minimise the chance of being Blacklisted?
  • Be careful using mailing lists
  • Use a quality internet security software application with email scanning
  • Do not forward emails that have "done the rounds". You know the ones.
  • Clear junk folders every time you check you mail.
  • Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
Another option to consider may be to run your email through a external paid subscription service like Google My Business (previously Google Apps for Business).  This option is highly recommended for people travelling internationally with on business, when reliable sending of email becomes even more difficult to achieve.

For those with patience and a reasonable level of web-savvy, avoiding the blacklist is something that be achieved reasonably easily.

But if the back-end of the internet is really the last place you'd want to be, Lime Dezign can work through the issues with you.

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Friday, 24 October 2014

My Award Speech

In years gone by, I've been fortunate enough to have had my efforts rewarded and recognised as winner of the odd award here and there.
Could be funny when people Google "Best actor 2014".
Despite the inference of my heavily doctored image, the awards of which I speak were not of such ceremony that any speech was required. Whilst that is almost always a good thing, it occurred to me that when spoken from the heart, the speech is possibly as important as the award itself.
There aren't any formal awards for me anymore.  I'm way over all that.  But I am very conscious of how blessed I am with all that I have and the people in my life that have made it possible.
I think; Sure, it's important to have some talent and work hard. But that's not all it takes to do well & be happy. So many of the blessings and challenges that carry me through are because the people who have supported me in all ways, both directly and unwittingly.
So without further ado, and for no other reason other than I'd really like to say so; here is my thank-you speech:

Thank-you... my Mum & Dad. Being a parent myself now, I have a reasonable idea of what you would have went through raising me, and how much you love me. my brothers and sisters, immediate and extended. I'm ever enriched by your friendship, humour, love and support. the Mother of my boys.  Ange', even through our ups & downs, it's obvious still what a wonderful person you are. Since the day we met, my life has been so much better because of so many things you put into it. my daughter Cam'.  So wonderful I can barely grasp it. Love you. my boys, Wyatt & Flynn. You're EPI----------C!!! Love you. my friends. For the pure enjoyment of your friendship and being able to share a bit of life with you. my clients, many of whom I can unpresumptiously also call friends. Without your faith in me, and your continued support, I wouldn't have my business or freedoms I enjoy from it that are so important to me and my boys.
And lastly but not leastly, God.  Not just for repeatedly sparing my butt from a higher-than-average incidence of my own dumb sh*t over the years, but for a life of love and opportunity that has always had pretty good head-start.

So what was the Award? Dunno really. Doesn't matter!  :)))

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Many Faces of the Humble USB'

USB sticks, thumb drives, flash drives, memory thingies... there are many names for them. But you might be surprised at how many forms they can take too.

In a recent job, one of my fav' clients needed to supply data with staff training manuals we were printing, but was concerned that a conventional USB stick would be too easily lost. A way was needed to keep the data and printed manual together.

 A solution was found in these credit-card sized "wafer" style USB memory cards which slipped neatly into a pvc card-wallet fixed inside the Manual's outer cover.

The USB contact swivels out for insertion to any USB port.
Available in capacity ranging 2Gb to 16Gb, they are printed both sides with any full-colour design you can think of, and are protected with a high quality gloss laminate. Costs per unit are around the $15 mark (depending on capacity), plus design. Minimum order is 25.

Innovative USB flash drive designs currently extend to many forms, including "keys", pens, wristbands / bracelets, even LED mini torch-lights!

Have a idea for your own promotional USB's?  Contact me. As far as promotional gifts go, USB flash drives certainly rate highly in terms of use & appreciation.

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Friday, 10 October 2014

Ten Years in Design: Time to Start that Blog

Brett McGaw - Lime Dezign
It's something that so many small-business people know they should do. Yet even after it's started, the novelty of the Blog falls back to the bottom of our inexhaustible list of tasks.

Having started my first blog only now, I suppose that I hardly qualify to give advice!  Perhaps. But mine is a case of sorting my clients first, and leaving myself to last.  It's a bad habit. ; j

My experience in online marketing shows that not maintaining the online presence of one's business means getting left behind in the race to connect with customers online.

I've built and optimised websites for a quite a few clients now.  They're getting anywhere from 200 to 700 page sessions per month now, with bounce rates between 40% to 60%.  Even with only 200 sessions, the stats show that probably half the visitors were relevant. That's not bad.

What am I getting? About 120 sessions with a bounce rate of over 90%.  In real terms, that's only 12 visitors per month who actually bother going beyond the first page. And all but 5 were from other countries!

But isn't SEO expensive? Well it can be, depending on who does it. I'd say that the clients I've served are getting a decent return for their outlay.  In my case, leaving online marketing unmaintained and completely to chance has proven expensive anyway; in terms the opportunities I've missed (and my competitors have gained).

So I'm starting by Blog as part of my recovery plan.  It will serve as an interesting and useful resource for prospective clients to get an idea of who I am and what I can do to help in promoting their business. When aligned with my web-marketing strategy, it will also increase the prominence and relevance of my website to users searching for the type of services and information I provide.

Thanks for reading. You're comments and feedback are most welcome!

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