by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

HTTPS as a ranking signal

Google never mention what they actually look for when a ranking a website in their search results. This was true until last week.

https Vs http

https is generally seen as the standard for e-commerce websites. It has started to used more and more by large websites as a measure of trust and security. Google started using it themselves at the beginning of last year..

This is their from their press release (to read this in full follow the link)

“Security is a top priority for Google. We invest a lot in making sure that our services use industry-leading security, like strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means that people using Search, Gmail and Drive, for example, automatically have a secure connection to Google”.

“We’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal. For now it’s only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content—while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web”.

Link to Google Press Release on HTTP

Is there a marketing angle to move to https sooner?

If you website visitors are filling out enquiry forms etc then knowing they are doing this over a secure connection may build trust over other websites.


You will not need to use any plugins for https routing.

Once you have installed the SSL certificate, simply add the following rule into your htaccess file:

# HTTPS redirect
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}/$1 [L]

Reference :  WordPress Support SSL

Thanks, Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Landscape Photography – Perranuthnoe Beach Cornwall

Sometimes you feel you have captured something special, and with this one I felt I had.

It had been a busy day in front of the computer and it would have been so easy just to put on the TV. On the coastal path that evening the world seemed to slow down and after taking this photo I stayed there until the sun dropped behind the headland.
Taken from the coastal path looking towards Perranuthnoe. My local beach and one of my favorite locations. Perranuthnoe is also a foodies delight with ‘The Cabin, Peppercorns Cafe and The Victoria Inn.


  • Canon 7D
  • EF-S 15-85 Lens
  • Polarizer Filter

Post Production

  • Photoshop CC
  • HDR Filter


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Google Plus – Hangouts On Air

Hangouts On Air – Promoting your business – just be yourself

This is a show we produced and hosted for the ‘Google Plus for Cornwall Business Community’

It is a good example of how to promote a British brand via a Hangout On Air. This was unscripted and things did go wrong (like the comment tracker) but I felt it was worth sharing with you all.

Stevens The Cornish Slate Company sell traditional crafted Slate products all around the world and have embraced social media and HOAs to get their message across.
The show was kept to it’s 30min time slot and both myself and Sue Aston did our Breakfast TV approach when interviewing Pat Scully This made the whole show relaxed and more natural.

Thanks, Phil

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Sunset over St Michaels Mount Cornwall

Taken on April 29th at 8.30pm tonight during our Genius Loci management meeting!  We come up with most of our best ideas when we have our meeting walking along the coastal path near our home.Tech stuff
Canon 7D
EF-S Lens 15-85 Lens
Polarizer Filter

Post Production
Photoshop CC
HDR Filter

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Mounts Bay Sunset – Cornwall Photography

My local walk around Perranuthnoe and Mounts Bay is never the same. each time the sea, the colours, the landscape changes.


  • Canon 7D
  • EF-S 15-85 Lens
  • Polarizer filter

Post production

  • Photoshop CC
  • Two images one with HDR
by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Cornwall Photography – Stock photos of Cornwall

We have thousands of photographs of Cornwall in our archive. Just tell us what you are looking for and we will send you some examples. Our photographs of Cornwall have been used in magazines, online, product packaging and in newspapers around the world. This photograph of the coastline near Porthcurno was taken for a shoot for Visit Cornwall.

We are working on making more of our cornwall photography available online and to buy directly from our website.

Cornwall Photography

Phil Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

How To Set Up a Hangout On Air Concert

Hangouts On Air are one of the best features on the Google Plus platform.  The holy grail for musicians is the option to broadcast their own concerts.

The Sue Aston Show, was the first real Hangout Concert broadcast from the UK at this level of quality. We had a lot of comments from around the world about how we set this up.  The Violin is a very unforgiving instrument if not set up correctly.  For standard Hangouts On Air you can get away with a external webcam and mic but for music you do need an external mixer for the additional control.

This first show was broadcast on March 2nd and was watched in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Africa.

Since then we have produced many successful online shows
Up until January 2015 this was our set up.

Equipment – Settings

(Based on 17mbs upload speed)

The Aston Family Show – Music Hangout On in HD

This HOA has caused quite a stir in the world of Hangouts and for a music / talk show HOA it is the most complex but successful one I have produced.
We had over 230 people in the live feed and also had guests on the panel. The show was broadcast live in the USA and viewed in Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Africa and the UK.

It was the first one where we decided to broadcast in HD Video.
We decided to start simple with one instrument and then slowly added more as the show progressed. Towards the end where all four of us are playing I had to leave the production element to it’s own devices.

The set up

  • Violin – Beyer 360 ribbon mic (direct to behringer mixer)
  • Acoustic Guitar – Marshall amp – Shure SM57 –
  • Classical Guitar – Marshall amp (input 2) Shure SM57
  • Electric Guitar – Vox Amp – Shure SM57
  • Vocals / Harmonica / Introductions (direct to mixer) – Shure SM58

All the above inputs were EQ’d at the mixer stage.
Settings were changed from voice to studio throughout.

The live HOA mix was monitored via Pro Logic X which gave me a good idea of what people were hearing. The sound was tested on earbuds and large Tannoy floor standing speakers before we went live.
The live mix from Pro Logic was also fed into the headphone streams so we could all hear each other!

On this HOA we needed at least two more inputs so we upgraded our mixing interface for the next event.

The show was broadcast from our living room so microphone bleed across channels was a huge issue. To combat this we placed each of the amps in different parts of the house. This gave me more control over the mix.
A lot of the mix was live so different settings were needed for harmonica and spoken voice as was reverbs effects etc.

The show was hosted by My Music Hangout in the USA and broadcast from Cornwall. We had a great panel of guests and the comment tracker was doing over time. At one point I had to remind myself we were broadcasting live around the world from our house!


This is great! The sound rocks, the video quality is good for the medium, oh yea. and the music is beautiful.. Had to stop for a sec and realize I’m listening to a mom and her son, playing local tunes from their house 1/2 way around the world. Wow. 🙂 John Ellis (USA)

Another History-Making event here on YouTube as Sue Aston and her talented son Dan present a live concert performance over Hangouts-On-Air. This is testing the waters with the new “Studio mode” audio codec recently offered up to us by Google. While typically too shrill sounding for instruments such as cymbals and violins, it was masterfully controlled in this recording with EQ. Three MARVELOUS songs with very good production values are the result. Enjoy! Terry Leigh Britton (USA)

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Blogging Tips – How long should a Blog post be?

What’s a good rule of thumb if there is one?

This is a subjective subject, but these are my thoughts

  •  Remember you are writing for your readers not a search engine.
  • If you can get your message across with a couple of lines and an image, it’s still a blog post.
  • In some market sectors 70% of your website visitors are using smart phones, so shorter posts broken up with bullet points will be shared more and gain more traction.
  • Wild card  – use video.  A two minute video will equal a side of A4 but will be easier to digest and share.
  • If you are writing a blog post and it keeps getting longer you will find that you have covered  several points that could actually be shorter separate posts.


by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

The Breakfast TV Approach to Hangouts On Air

How to do a Hangout On Air with Two people in the same frame

There will be times for some people and organisations where your HOA guest is in the same building. What people tend to do is set up another laptop in another room, so that each person can have their lower third and be the main focus when they talk. The background to this was we wanted to gain some experience of doing HOAs but also have something we could use afterwards.  The issue was being in the same building we would have to have separate laptops, microphones etc to get the HOA affect of a lower third and separate camera shots (depending on who was talking).

We decided to design a special lower 3rd for both of us and use one screen. This is the outcome. We kept it low key but I am pleased with how it turned out. This has given us ideas of doing this double act HOA again either as hosts or guests!

Tech details

  • Webcam – Logitech c920 – (setting smooth)
  • Mic – Blue Snowball Ice
  • Internet – upload 10 mbs

Phil and Sue Aston

by Phil Aston Phil Aston No Comments

Cornish Pasties Online – McFaddens from West Cornwall

Client News

Meet McFaddens a traditional butcher and makers of Cornish Pasties for over 125 years.

Our brief is to design and build a responsive CMS based website so they can sell their (very yummy) pasties around the world.

Also included in our brief is to provide a digital marketing, social media strategy and photography 🙂

Thanks, Phil

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