Category Archives: Softwate Update

The Great Homepage Experiment

Softwate Update

Our website WebEden.co.uk has been around for 5 years now, and we’re constantly working on it. We add new content, create new services, add videos and update pages.

But WebEden.co.uk is by no means perfect. It feels a bit ‘old school’. The text is tiny. The website is built with the small screen size and browser in mind. In short, we think it needs an update.

The first step on updating our website is testing out some new design ideas. We’ve created a new version of our homepage. And we’re using a cool bit of technology from Google called Website Optimiser to test whether this new version of our homepage coverts better than the old one.

Here’s our current homepage:

And here’s our new alternative:

Half people trying to get our homepage are shown the original and half are shown the alternative. We get a report in Website Optimiser showing us which version works best. This is what it looks liike:

At the moment the alternative new version is beating the old one but it’s early days.

Once we’ve found out the best design we’re going to launch with a whole new site based on that design – that’ll be in the middle of January.

But as a customer of WebEden, and a seasoned website builder, which do you reckon is best? Leave us your design comments below!

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New Release coming shortly!

Softwate Update

6 weeks ago we let you know about our new release, which will be the biggest for a whole year. At that point we fully expected and planned to have the new version out this year.

However, we’ve had to take the decision to delay release until early January. It makes sense to avoid getting new stuff out there just at the point that everyone – support team, developers, the lot – are reduced to a skeleton holiday crew.

The most important thing for us to avoid is giving you something shiny and new and it breaking, without anyone being there to fix it.

To remind you, the January release includes a new mobile optimised HTML version of your website; some great enhancements to the current HTML version of your site; and some bits and bobs that need to come before the full blog update.

We’re also giving you some new shape components (with cool stuff like drop shadows, gradients and images fills).

There is a big change in the way that store all the data associated with your website. The full blog release should follow at the end of Jan / start of Feb.

So: sorry for the delay. We promise it will be worth the wait.

And Happy Christmas!

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Bye Bye Old Control Panel

Softwate Update

At the back end of September 2009 we released a brand new control panel for you to build and edit your website.

It allowed more rapid access to certain features, with some new functionality too.

At the time we said that we would at some point stop support the old toolbar and phase it out. That point has been reached! When the next major release goes out (the new blog), the old toolbar will be retired.

Of course 90% of you are on the new control panel in any case, but for those who have stuck with the old one you will be automatically migrated to the new.

If you want to manually upgrade then you can do so by going to:

View

and then

New Toolbar

This is what it looks like:

Here’s what we think the new control panel is good for:

*Use the full screen browser for editing – you can move edit tools outside the boundary of your site
* Zoom in/out while editing – you make your site bigger/smaller to help ’see’ it in full glory
* Sticky edit tools – the Toolbar remains at the top and the Editor will remain on screen as you scroll up and down
* Show off-screen objects – if you drag something off your site (outside the boundary), you can choose to hide or display off screen objects (new under ‘view’)
* Detailed insert menu – more objects can be added in one click, including some new HTML snippets (’Insert’ menu)
* Quick pages menu – includes quick ways to add pages, copy pages and change page length, plus edit meta data (for search engines) more quickly (see ‘Pages’ menu)
* Links to other services – Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, AdSense can all be viewed without leaving your site (new ‘Services’ menu)

So if you haven’t already, upgrade now.

And bye bye old toolbar, we had some good times…

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WebEden News: Blogging, Ecommerce & Mobile

Softwate Update

It’s been a long time since we gave you a product update – in fact our last major release was the new control panel back in July – so I wanted to let you know what the developers had been up to here at WebEden.

Blogging is coming

For the past 12 months we’ve been working towards a new blog tool. Our current blog tool was designed back in 2003 and the plain fact of the matter is that it’s out of date. Few of you use it. And others who want a blog have signed up with free services like blogger and then integrated that with your WebEden website.

Blogging has come a long way since those days, and there are now some great tools available to publish blog content in a recognisable, systematic format. The problem we had is that WebEden is a design tool that allows you to create great visual free form designs. You can create, drag and drop any object around the page. The challenge was: how do we turn all of that content and design and translate it into a regular, systematic blog.

Nevertheless the white-coated ones have come up with a very cool solution to blogging, and we’ll be adding it to the WebEden website builder in just a few weeks. The new blog will have its own special place inside the control panel. You’ll still get all the cool design-led stuff, but you’ll be able to add a great blog too.

Ecommerce is coming

Luckily enough, ecommerce data needs to be ordered and system–a-tised in a similar way to Blog data, so the blogging tool will be shortly followed by our long awaited ecommerce too. Honest. Not much longer to wait for that one. We’re aiming for this year.

Good mobile version is coming

The rise of the iPhone and iPad, and Apple deciding to not support Flash on either iPad or iPhone has created a ‘Flash war’. Many websites require flash in order to be able to work. This means that they don’t work correctly on those devices.

Your WebEden website gets published in both Flash and HTML. We originally did an HTML version to make all your sites W3C compliant, and to give them very good SEO qualities. The challenge now is to make this HTML look right on Smartphone screens.

To this end, we’re almost ready to release a new version of WebEden which produces a phone-screen optimised single column layout mobile website. It’s been tough. But it’ll be worth it. This will definitely be live by the end of this year.

That’s it for now

We’re really excited about these new updates, so we wanted to let you know what they were all about. Much of our development comes from suggestions you make. So keep them coming in, and we’ll keep developing!

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Getting ready for the Online Privacy Code

Social Media Softwate Update

I’ve written quite a bit on this blog about online privacy. When it comes to advertising, last year there was a lot of media attention given to behavioural targeting – where advertisers reach you based on your online behaviour. Advertising firm Phorm was at the centre of that furor, and they exited the UK late last year.

Then of course there was Google Street View, and the fear that it was invading personal privacies (and helping thieves to boot!). Last year we advised you all to add a privacy policy to your website, to make it clear what information you were collecting about visitors.

New Code of Practice

Well now it looks like Websites will have to stick to a new code of practice put in place by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The whole point is to make sure that your website visitor’s information is kept secure and private.

The Personal Information Online Code of Practice simply firms up the advice we gave with regard to having privacy policy. Websites need to make their privacy settings clear and store data securely. There are 8 principles for looking after personal information, but what it boils down to is that only specific, relevant data can be gathered, if a website doesn’t needs the personal information, then it must not hold onto it longer than necessary.

For example, if a company no longer needs your email address or credit card details, they’re obliged to delete them.

If you have a log in to your site, the privacy settings must be well highlighted.

A representative of the ICO said: “Organisations must be transparent so that consumers can make online privacy choices and see how their information will be used.”

“Individuals can take control by checking their privacy settings and being careful about the amount of personal details they post to social-networking sites and elsewhere online,” he continued.

If websites fail to abide by the code, they could be forced to do so by the ICO.

What about you?

Have you put a privacy policy on your site? Do you think that fears over online privacy are overblown? Leave us a comment below.

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WebEden Facebook Application now in Live Beta

Social Media Softwate Update

There is a palpable sense of excitment here in the WebEden office. Raybo, our residence technological wizard, has turned the WebEden Website Builder into a Facebook Application! This means that you can now sign up to WebEden – and build a website – from within Facebook!

We need your help!

This is where you come in. We’re live, in Beta, but to iron out the bugs we really need some live testing.

We’ve been through it until we can’t see the wood for the trees, so it would be great to get your feedback too. Please help us by signing up to the WebEden Facebook Application and let us know if it all works OK!

How do I test it?

There are three ways you can find the WebEden Facebook Application.

1. Go straight to the application, which is at http://apps.facebook.com/webeden/

2. Go to Facebook, and search in the top search box for ‘webeden’. Click on the application in the drop down choice:

3. From the WebEden Facebook Page (which you can find here) just click on the ‘Website Builder’ tab:

Try it, Test it

Please try out the application and let us know if you can build a website. Try sharing the application with your friends to see if that sharing function really works. And then leave us some comments so we know what we need to do to make it better!

You can leave a comment below this post, on the forum, on the WebEden Facebook Page.

Thanks – and good luck!

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What are the best features of the new control panel?

Softwate Update

The fanfare and commotion may have faded, but not the buzz. The new WebEden control panel has been live for nearly two weeks now, so we thought it was about time we shared our favourite features!

Image Resizing

This is a ‘behind the scenes’ change, but one which makes a big difference to everyone using our website builder. All images are now automatically resized when they are uploaded. This means that you can add a lot more images to your website without having to upgrade to the next package. And all your visitors get a website that loads much faster.

Customising Shortcuts

Here’s a nice one to kick off with! The new control panel has a series of shortcuts that you can choose to display. Add the right ones for your personal website building experience – and get rid of the ones you don’t use or need.

Link Editor

The new link editor lets you add much longer URLs to link to. You also get the option to open links in the same or a new window.

Colour Picker

This is the best one, and a must have for those who are into design! The colour picker allows you to copy any colour you find on the page, and use it on another element of your website. No more digging round trying to make things look exactly the same colour – the picker’ll do that for you.

Sidebar Scroll Function

This is a nice little development which makes it much easier to scroll to the feature you want to use when you’ve got lots of panels open. It really speeds up the website building experience.

Line Spacing

The new line spacing editor gives you complete control over blocks of text. You can now spread it out or keep it tight. So many people have asked for this feature, we’re glad to have finally delivered!

What’s your fave?

Let us know what you like best by leaving a comment below.

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New Website Builder Contol Panel is a-coming

Softwate Update

The World Cup may be over but there is a palpable sense of excitement in the WebEden office. Why is that, you may ask? Because this week we’re going to wow y’all with a new release of our website builder

Giving you the Flex(ibility)

Our new release is all about Flex, aka ‘Flash Application Frameword’. This is background coding stuff that means that future developments (of which we have lots planned) will be much easier and quicker to roll out to you.

Right now, this means that the new version will give you:
•    Scrolling Sidebar Panels (woo-hooo. Ahem.)
•    Customised Toolbar Shortcuts
•    Updated Services area for Google Analytics, Webmaster tools and Adsense

We’ve also got a few other changes, including:
•    An eye dropper which lets you copy a colour you’re already using on the page
•    Line spacing control, which lets you vary the line spacing on a paragraph by paragraph basis.
•    Page load times have been cut thanks to image auto-resizing and asynchronous calls to Facebook

For the new control panel you’re going to make sure you have the latest stable version of the Flash Player – 10.1. You can get it here. Don’t worry, your visitors won’t have to upgrade – all they need is version 8.

What’s next?

With Flex, we’re shortly going to release these exiting new features

Blog: A long time in the coming, but our new blog tool will let you add blog articles, give them tags, accept & reject comments. Believe me, this will be a cool tool.

Ecommerce: I know, we’ve mentioned it before, but ecommerce for WebEden really is coming. We’ve got a product catalogue that will allow you to add thousands of products. It’ll be really powerful – but very easy to use

HTML: We’re working hard to improve our HTML rendering for mobile, particularly those handsets that don’t currently support Flash. This is a medium term project due in the next few months

That’s all for now – but watch this space

As soon as the new control panel is release you will be the first to know. Stay in touch with us here on the blog, on Twitter (twitter.com/webeden) and Facebook (facebook.com/webeden).

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How the World Cup changes what people search for

Digital Marketing Softwate Update

We’ve mentioned previously about the effect events have on how people use search engines, and what they search for.

At the first hint of summer, thoughts turned to eating outdoors, and searches for BBQs hit new highs. And regular events such as Valentine’s day always influence traffic and searches on Google.

The World Cup is coming

This time, the event looming on pretty much everyone’s horizon is of course the World Cup. Kicking off this weekend in South Africa, the world cup is one of the most talked about events on the planet.

And as such, it has a big influence on what people are searching for too. Online traffic monitoring firm Hitwise has reported a huge growth in World Cup related searches.

An interesting element has been the growth in searches for national flags, which peaked at 34,000 last week. The search terms topping the table were ‘flags of the world’. Unsurprisingly the ‘England flag’ was the most searched for country flag.

The other top 20 included German, Brazilian, French, Russian, American, and Italian.

Here’s an interactive graph of Google Insights for search, showing the trend in searches for flags over the last 90 days.

What it means for your website

If you have world cup related content on your website this means that your traffic numbers will benefit greatly from this increased coverage. For the rest of us website makers, however, the world cup promises to be a time where website traffic drops through the floor, as people stay glued to their television sets.

Has the World Cup had an impact on your traffic figures? Are you capitalizing on this interest or battening down the hatches until normality is resumed? Leave us a comment below.

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The WebEden May 2010 Newsletter

Softwate Update

The WebEden May 2010 Newsletter was sent out on Friday (I know, its technically June). In case you didn’t receive, here it all is!

Thanks to everyone who joined WebEden on Facebook – there’s well over 100 of us now! Join in, ask a question, and tell us about your website,

We’ve had some great websites submitted to our Website of the Week. Why not submit yours?

The best ones get featured on the blog. Be inspired by these!

Does your website address still include webeden.co.uk? Why not buy a domain name and get rid of the webeden.co.uk bit? Here’s a video tutorial on how to buy a domain name.

And how to point your domain name at your WebEden Website.

Every domain name includes 5 free email addresses, so you can be you@yourdomainname.co.uk.

And finally, have you ever wondered how many people click on the top result on Google?

If you’ve got any feedback, please leave a comment on the blog!

The WebEden.co.uk team
Follow WebEden on Twitter!

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