How safe are blogs?
We think blogging provides an ideal platform to safely explore the world of digital literacy and it promotes safe and positive online behaviour. Here is a blog post answering most of the most common questions: http://creativeblogs.net/blog/2013/02/06/blogging-and-e-safety-some-frequently-asked-questions/
How do we go about designing a blog site?
Once you have ordered a site from us, we will send you a questionnaire eliciting some basic choices about the design of your site. This page has some notes that may be of assistance: http://creativeblogs.net/notes-on-designing-a-new-blogsite/ In short, the better and more comprehensive design brief you can give us, the more likely it is that we can build a site that meets your needs.
How do we get support?
We have a customer support Help Centre and full details of how to raise a support request can be found here: http://creativeblogs.net/support/
Do we have a guaranteed support response time?
We don’t. In practice, we strive to have a reputation for excellent support from our customers and we work hard to retain this. We use Zendesk to provide a state of the art customer support platform and full details on how to get support can be found on our support page: http://creativeblogs.net/support/
Do we guarantee uptime for our service?
We strive to keep our service online and running as smoothly as possible. While we hate it when any one of our servers develops a fault or their are problems with internet connections, we cannot guarantee that this won’t happen. Furthermore, although all our servers are protected by industry standard security measures we cannot guarantee that we won’t have to take a server offline in order to protect your site from attack. If such a disruption ever occurs we will endeavour to restore the service in a reasonable time. Under no circumstances can we be held liable for loss due to the non-availability of our service.
What about transferring content from existing blogs?
Where asked we will transfer data from existing blogs. This is always done on a “best endeavour” basis and relies upon us being able to access the blog in order to export the content: you will need to provide us with usernames and passwords. Depending on the blog, exported content may or may not include images, attachments and embeds. We cannot guarantee that we can successfully import all data from a 3rd party service. Depending on the number of blogs that you wish us to import we may make a charge for this service and we will agree the cost of this in advance.
What is a Custom Homepage?
As part of the setup of your site we usually build a “custom homepage”. This will be based upon a theme that we use as a framework and then customise further. We usually use Woo Themes as a source of the themes for homepages as these themes are extremely flexible and powerful. Also included in the design is a customised blog template which means that every time you set up a new blog on your site it will already include design features such as your school logo, custom colour, links back to homepage etc. However, there are limitations to what can be achieved within a theme’s framework and if you require custom design work that goes beyond the scope of the theme we will advise you if this will incur extra cost. Ask us for some examples of the latest designs that we have launched.
What if I want to make a change to the homepage?
Once a blogsite has been launched, we appreciate that schools may wish to make minor changes to the homepage. Please present any changes required to the site in a list as soon as possible, and in any case within one month of the site’s launch. Changes requested after this time may be charged at our discretion. From time to time we run training sessions on Woo Themes (the author of most of our custom homepages), and this is sufficient to allow most users to make basic changes to content on the homepage.
Why do you ask for teacher’s email addresses?
WordPress requires all users to have a unique email address. In fact, this can be a dummy address and we strongly recommend that you use dummy addresses for children’s accounts. Most teachers however, will want to use a real email address as their class blog will email them whenever a comment is received for moderation. Only us and your WordPress network admins can see email addresses stored in your blogsite and our policy is strictly to never pass email addresses on.
Can we use our existing domain?
To keep things simple, avoid delays, and costs down we nearly always set up new domains for blogs and always host them on our own server. We will organise the transfer and redirection of old domains if you require and will simply charge you for the hosting of the domain transferred (currently £25 per annum).
We will never build or support blogs on 3rd party servers (see notes on choosing a domain here).
Can we use our domain for Google Apps for Education or for Email or Moodle etc?
We will make the necessary changes to the settings of your domain to enable you to use your blog’s domain to provide service such as Google Apps for Education and Office 365. We may charge up to £50 for making the necessary changes to the records held for your domain on our servers, and it is your responsibility to ensure that the information furnished by you is accurate. We offer no support for 3rd party services such as Office 365 and Google Apps and we will not host these on our servers for you. The limit of our support for 3rd party services is the maintenance of DNS server records.
Do we have to have training?
We know from eleven years experience that the only customers we tend to lose are those who have not invested in training. Therefore, we will only provide our blog service without training under exceptional circumstances. If you are an experienced user of WordPress you may feel you are able to deliver training to your staff yourself, and that is fine. However, the multisite administration menu is usually beyond the experience of most bloggers, and training in this aspect allows you to create blogs and users and manage your blogsite yourself. We provide technical support to all our customers, but it does not include managing your blogsite for you. We strongly recommend that even if you intend to provide teacher training in blogging yourself you book our WordPress Multisites Administrator Training Course. We will not accept an order for our service without training unless this has been agreed in advance.
We also recognise that circumstances may change at a school and a previously experienced administrator may move on. For this reason, we occasionally run extra training courses at minimal or no cost at schools around the country so keep an eye on our site for these upcoming opportunities.
It’s worth noting that every single one of our most successful blogging projects has received an INSET programme from us. Visit our training page.
Can we install plugins and themes on our blogs?
We have always allowed schools to install plugins and themes on to their domain. A plugin is a piece of software that changes the way WordPress works and a theme is a design template which changes the way WordPress looks. When your site is delivered it comes ready configured with a suite of plugins that we use to make WordPress a safe and secure environment for schools. It also comes with about 130 themes for you to choose when creating class blogs. We strongly recommend that you get thoroughly familiar with our standard platform before introducing any 3rd party plugins or themes.
It is very important to note that if a 3rd party theme or plugin creates a problem or even breaks your site we will always try and fix it for you, however this is always done on a best endeavour basis and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to fix the problem, nor how long it will take us to fix. In some cases it may be necessary to go to a previous backup and blogposts may therefore be lost.
We will accept no responsibility for problems caused by 3rd party themes and plugins installed by you on your site and strongly recommend that you contact us for advice prior to installing any such software. Any advice given is not binding and will not constitute an agreement to support that plugin or theme.
We reserve the right to remove plugins or themes from our servers without notice if we feel they compromise the service that we offer in any way.
Can we upload video or audio to our blogsite?
We only allow the uploading of single pieces of media up to a pre-determined size (100mb per blog). If we allowed users to freely upload video or audio direct to our blogs we would have to drastically increase the amount of internet bandwidth we provide in order to serve those videos. This would have a substantial impact on our costs and therefore we would have to charge a lot more for the service. Schools tend to use popular video hosts such as Vimeo or YouTube, and audio sites like Ipadio or Audioboom in order to embed video and audio in their blogs. These services also have the advantage of having excellent apps to upload to their servers and some will also post automatically to your blog. Because of the economies of scale these sites enjoy even their premium hosting services are vastly cheaper than anything we could offer.
How many blogs can we set up?
As many as you need. The software itself has no limit. However, if we feel that the usage you are making of our service is using a disproportionate amount of our resources we may, at our discretion, discuss with you a potential increase in your school’s annual subscription. To date, we have not felt the need to instigate such a conversation with any of our customers in ten years of blogging.
How big can each blog be?
Our default setting is to allow 100mb per blog. This is plenty for most class blogs. However, should you run out of space on one blog we can always allocate more. Again, if we feel that your usage of the service uses a disproportionate amount of our resources we will advise you and discuss a potential increase to your annual subscription. This has not happened in twelve years of providing blogs.
Do your blogs ever carry advertising?
No. Even the free standalone trial blogs that we provide never carry adverts. However, some 3rd party services that our customers use are funded through advertising. These might include visitor counter widgets, game widgets, videos etc. Clicking on these widgets and videos etc will sometimes display adverts and we will bear no responsibility for any adverts provided by 3rd parties accessed through 3rd party widgets and embedded resources on our blogs. Some of these services provide premium subscriptions at cost to provide an advert free service to schools at a reasonable cost.
What is the annual fee for?
The £600 annual fee covers the cost of providing a web server and associated internet services to host your blogsite (for example, we back up your blogsite every night). It also includes subscriptions to premium plugins that enhance the functionality of your site such as the Easyblogging plugin that we use for children’s logins and Wordfence health check monitoring software that scans your site for malware. Finally, it covers the cost of providing technical support if something goes wrong. Full details of the annual fee can be found here: https://creativeblogs.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/206903369-What-does-your-annual-hosting-fee-include-
Important note: the annual fee does not cover redesigning your site, uploading new blog headers or managing your site for you, for example by creating new blogs and moving users around etc. This type of work is chargeable and we will always agree costs in advance.
Where are our blogs hosted?
All of our blogs are hosted in the UK at Rapidswitch using dedicated high performance servers. Full details of our server hosting can be found here: https://creativeblogs.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/206121381-How-we-keep-your-blogsite-secure
Do we comply with Data Protection regulations?
We only collect the data required to setup accounts for users on our service. This will be limited to usernames, passwords and email adresses (usually dummy email addresses in the case of children’s accounts. We never share any such data with third parties.
What you choose to put on your blogs is up to your school and your own policies. We will take no responsibility for information or media uploaded. Should you upload anything to a blog that infringes the law, including the law of copyright, we reserve the right to remove such media or content without notice. For example, we occasionally receive notification of potential breaches of copyright by a school uploading an image to one of their blogs. Under such circumstances we will immediately remove the disputed media and contact you to inform you of our actions.
You may export the data from our service at any time using the WordPress export tool.
How long do we have to commit for?
We charge an annual fee for hosting and support and if you decide you no longer want the service we provide then simply let us know as soon as possible. We will charge for each month that we continue to host your site if you haven’t notified us of your desire to continue with the service. We use open source software to build our blog sites. This is important because it means that your investment is protected. All your content is exportable and you can choose any other WordPress blog host to export your content into at any time.
At your request, we will make available a copy of the database for your site (with all premium plugins and themes removed) via a cloud platform at no charge. Should you wish us to provide this on physical media (i.e. CD ROM) we will charge a £50 administration fee.
We are unable to supply part year or monthly subscriptions to our service.
What happens if we no longer want to use your service?
We’re always sad to see customers go but it happens occasionally. If you no longer wish to have blogs hosted by us you must tell us. Hosting a website has a real cost attached to it and we will invoice you for any part year period where we have hosted your site and you haven’t told us it is no longer required. Our current fee is £75 per calendar month or part month for any site hosted beyond the due date of the annual invoice.
At your request we will provide you with a copy of your site for a small administration fee (£50) and will make the domain name that we have used available for transfer. Please note that we will never provide support for blogs that are not hosted on our own servers, nor will we provide DNS services to host domains on our server and point to blogs on a 3rd party server.