Author Archives: Ken

New Light-box image effects

Softwate Update

For traditional web developers who write their own code, there has been a cool way of displaying images called ‘light-box’.

We’ve now brought this effect to WebEden so that you can take advantage of it too!

Now, when in edit mode there’s a new ‘pop up’ tab in the Editor which let’s you set the pop-up flag, the pop-up image and an image caption.

This is what the editor looks like:

This means that any image can be popped up to full size, so that your visitors can get it in all its original glory.

This is what the same image looks like when popped up on the screen:

NB. This feature isn’t available for images inside galleries or frames, but we’ll look at extending it further in the future.

The only drawback at the moment is that this isn’t available for images inside galleries or those in frames.

That’s it

Take a look at the new features and let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog, Facebook or Twitter.

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Can you help a Technophobe?

Archive

We’ve previously talked about how to explain this web stuff to beginners and online help for people who know less about the web than you.

Now the BBC has taken up the challenge by launching a project called ‘First Click Friends‘.

The aim is to help an estimated 9 million people in the UK who have never even used the Internet.

Can you rescue a Newbie?

 

The BBC wants us more tech-savvy people to become the ‘first click friends’ of these people, rescuing friends or family members from the web-ignorance.

The idea is to guide their first few steps on the web, giving users the knowledge and skill to navigate themselves deeper into the web.

There are downloadable starter manuals, further resources and information about the project all on the new BBC ‘First click friends’ website.

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New .XXX Domain Name Extension in the pipeline

Archive

What’s your favourite domain name extension? Have you opted for the .co.uk? Or are you a fan of the web’s biggest domain, the .com. What about one of the new domain extensions such as .biz or .info?

Well if you’re a fan of domain names then you might be excited to hear that there’s a new one on the way – the .XXX. But before you rush out and buy one beware: this is for adult content only!

The Internet’s governing body – the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently approved the new .XXX domain but will restrict it to ‘adult content’ Web sites.

ICANN have been chewing this over for a decade but gave it final approval at its annual meeting in San Francisco in March, voting 9-3 to approve the domain.

There’s actually quite a few governments, including the U.S., opposed the creation of the domains. And surprisingly, the Free Speech Coalition, which represents some of the adult industry, were also against it.

Perhaps the only ones to profit will be those selling the new domain extension – thought to cost $60 each.

And no, WebEden will not be offering the .XXX for sale!

What do you think – a good idea because it clearly marks out adults sites? Or is this just another money making exercise for ICANN and the registrars? Leave us a comment below.

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New Website Builder Templates

Softwate Update

Locked in a darkened room, fed on honey dripped down strings from the ceiling, the WebEden developers have turned their attention to beauty. And beauty, to them, means new templates.

We’ve had lots of requests from you about the type of new tempates you’d like to see. A lot of you mention that you like to start from scratch, without any template at all, so we’ve added a blank black and white one to the template list.

Others have talked about wanting to go for designs that use large background images with menus laid over the top. Here’s some cracking new ones to satisfy you:

And those of you who like more traditional formats, we’ve got some new designs that we hope will float your boat.

That’s it for now.

Let us know what you think about these new designs, either by commenting below or getting in touch with WebEden on Facebook or WebEden on Twitter.

 

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WebEden Wins Best Web Tool!

Softwate Update

Well what can I say?

WebHostingSearch.com, a leading webhosting guide, has recommended us as a top pick for web site building solutions!!!

And here it is the award…

We were up against some pretty big names in this market so we’re chuffed, pleased, excited, and honoured  – thanks WebHostingSearch.

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Our Shiny New Website

Softwate Update

After literally months of planning, arguing, designing, developing and testing we finally went live with our new website yesterday. We really like it, we hope you do to – and we’d really like to hear what you think.

Here’s what the old one looked like:

And here’s the shiny new one (to compare)

Why a new site?

Well the old one had been around since early 2005, and it was really showing it’s age.

To start with it wasn’t very wide, built for a time when screens and resolutions were a bit smaller.

Second, the font was very small, making it hard to read and hard to engage with.

Third, although we had addressed this over time, there were too many unclear demands on the visitors’ eyeballs.

Over the years we’ve added to it and experimented some too. But wholesale change was what it really required.

Why this design?

What we’re trying to do with our homepage is to reduce clutter, make it easy to navigate, and make signing up to a trial as easy as possible. There’s been a general movement in web design towards ‘single action’ pages where the design reduces the choices for users to just 1. In the case of our homepage, it’s all about getting people to sign up to a trial.

Who did it?

The original design was put together by our designer Kevin Man, and it’s been coded up by resident developer Raymond Francis. And our hats are taken off to them for the hard work.

Here’s a picture of the happy couple (Kevin in the left, Ray on the right)

Is it working?

Waaaaaay to early to say at the moment, but take a look at this, a graph of the ‘bounce rate’.

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website without looking at any more than the first page.

Before the change our bounce rate was around 30%. Now it’s nearer 23%. That’s nearly a 25% improvement. That seems like a pretty good improvement to me! But more importantly, this shows the benefit of having a re-think about the design of your website  too.

There’s still lots of work to do: sorting out the design for the forum for starters!

What’s next?

We’re really working hard to release our blog feature to you as soon as possible. It’s in testing, the feedback has been good, so it really won’t be much longer. Honest.

What do you think?

We would really appreciate your feedback on the design, good or bad, constructive or otherwise. You’ve all got good opinions on what looks good when it comes to the web, and we’d like to hear them!

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Don’t want to see it? Just ‘click to exclude’

Digital Marketing

Google have increasingly been accused of listing lots of websites in their results pages that offer little or no value to people searching for products or information.

These websites often contain very ‘lite’ information, and have been developed purely to rank highly on Google and make the owner some advertising revenue.

Farmer time

Google have responded to these criticisms with an update to their search algorithm called ‘farmer’, which aims to weed out these built-for-ads sites, often called ‘content farms’.

Site Exclusion

To help with this Google are adding a feature called ‘Site Exclusion’. If you – as an individual – see websites that you think should not be ranking highly in the results page, you can add these to your site exclusion list and you will no longer see them.

This is what you’ll see:

The sites that you exclude will only be removed from your personal results pages – everyone else will continue to see them.

You can manage the list of sites that you’ve excluded from within your Google account:

A Ranking factor?

But what’s interesting is that Google may in the future take into account whether a site has been added to thousands of people’s exclusion lists, and use that information to reshape the results for all.

According to Google: “While we’re not currently using the domains people block as a signal in ranking, we’ll look at the data and see whether it would be useful as we continue to evaluate and improve our search results in the future”.

Once you have the site exclusion feature enabled let us know what you think. But please don’t exclude ‘webeden.uk’!

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YouTube turns 6

Google Products

Well who’d have thought it? That tiny crying baby is no longer – YouTube is now fully grown up. Well, 6 years old at any rate.

And do you know the quite scary facts?

Fact 1: There are over 48 hours of video uploaded onto YouTube every minute.

Fact 2: There are 3billion views every day on the site.

Here’s a nice infographic from YouTube to sum it all up.

A fan? Or had enough of the big ‘Y’? Leave us a comment below.

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5 Web Design Tips for your Business Website

Softwate Update

Your website is often the first and only way potential customers find out about your business. And as website visitors make a decision in the first 6 seconds about whether to stay or leave, it’s vitally important that you present your business in the right way, and give your visitors the information they’re looking for.

Yet so many small businesses make classic mistakes with their site, effectively showing all these customers the door before they’ve even got inside.

So what are the important web design tips you should follow?


1. Make it easy to move around your website

People usually arrive on your website looking for specific information. If they don’t find it quickly they will leave, and have the impression that you’re a disorganized business.

The reason that websites have menus along the top or down the side is because user expect a particular format for websites. Stick to this format, and make the most important information the first thing they see.

Have a think about why people are on your website. Are they looking for your address or contact details? Do they want to know your opening hours? Do the want to know if you stock a particular item? Are they interested in the trade bodies you’re a member of? Answering these questions will help you organise the pages that should be easiest to find.

Here are a few tips

*Try icons. They’re visually appealing and easy to use
*Group related links together, such as ‘your account, support, contact us’ and ‘Ts & Cs, legal, privacy.
*Make it clear to users which page they’re on by using clear headlines

2. Use Clear Calls To Action

What is the aim of your website? Do you want people to buy something? do you want them to get in touch? Do you want them to sign up to your newsletter? The biggest mistake small business websites make is not having a clear call to action that asks there users to commit to something.

Whatever you want your users to do, make it clear by using a call-to-action button that grabs their attention. Here are a few tips:

*Think about the colour, size, shape and position of your call to action. Make it clear, make it stand out, and put it in an obvious place.
*Don’t confuse users by having multiple calls to action. Decide the main thing that you want them to do and stick to it.

3. Pick the right colours

This might seem a little obvious, but choosing the right colours is critical to your website. I’m not just talking about picking those colours that reflect your logo, your brand or your stationary. But it’s about making sure your colours stand out on the page, making it easy for people to read your content.

The right colours can also effective at sorting out the hierarchy of a page. Here’s some ideas:

*Look at how popular websites use colour and contrast to make stuff easy to read and understand.
*Try using size rather than just colour to make important text stand out.
*Test drive a Colour Contrast tool to check your colour choice such as http://snook.ca/technical/colour_contrast/colour.html

4. Organise Your Content

This is where most small businesses make the biggest mistakes. In a desperate urge to show website visitors how much stuff a business does, many put so many words on their site that it becomes impenetrable to readers.

The truth of it is that most website visitors can’t be bothered to read much text, and will avoid doing so unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even those embarking on a page of text will scan and skip to the end.

So when adding content to your site it’s important to get it into the right hierarchy, making it easy for users to jump to the most relevant section.

Here are three tips:

*Make your font big enough to be easy to read.
*Make significant use of white space, to focus the user on your content
*Make use of titles, subtitles, paragraphs, bullets, block quotes and other tricks to break up long passages.

And never make spelling or grammatical mistakes.

5. Reduce Clutter

This point follows on from content. Generally speaking, the more elements on a page, the harder it is to read. Websites with crammed homepages are difficult for visitors to take in and understand.

And website visitors who leave because they are overwhelmed, are not likely to return soon.

Clutter includes images too – they should only be there to capture attention and guide the user.

Here’s how to reduce clutter:

*With every element on a page, ask yourself the question: ‘can visitors understand this page if I took this away’. If the answer is yes, then you probably don’t need it.
*Make your most important content the easiest to find. Don’t let minor items get in the way of major ones.
*Help your users find what they’re looking for – don’t bog them down with other items like advertisements or promotions.

That’s it

These are five of my web design tips to make sure your small business website gets settled on the right course. Got any others? Leave a comment below.

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Save time online with LeechBlock

Archive

This is the typical pattern of events.

I’m looking at Google Analytics, and then all of a sudden a Tweet about running marathons pops up in the corner of my screen. I click on the link and end up on a website reading about a new marathon running technique.

Whilst I’m there I see an advert for a pair of lightweight trainers and click on it to visit the advertiser and check out the shoes.

Having read about them on the site, I then go looking for reviews to find what other runners thing of the shoes.

After reading a few reviews on different websites I then start searching for the best price of those trainers, until I’ve found a few different places to buy them.

For a final check I try eBay and Amazon just to make sure I’m not being ripped off

And then I think: “where did the last half an hour go? What was I doing?” It’s only at that point I see tab for Google Analytics and go back to the original job.

If that pattern of events chimes with you, then here’s a new idea that can save you a bit of time.

LeechBlock

The LeechBlock Firefox browser extension blocks time-wasting websites during the hours you specify. Just type in the website URLs you find hard to resist, and enter the maximum length of time you want to spend on them.

LeechBlock imposes self-discipline by closing your browser when you’ve reached your limit!

Take a look and let us know what you think!

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