15 Feb 2017

EverWeb 2.1.1 Just Released with Updated Widgets!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Widgets

EverWeb version 2.1.1 has just been released with improvements and enhancements to some of its widgets.

Here’s what’s in the new release!

Audio Widget Updated!
The Audio widget has been in EverWeb since version 1.0. This is its first update and includes useful new options to set the default playback volume, autoplay when you load the page, auto looping and mute controls. Remember to think carefully when using the default volume and autoplay features, especially if the page is accessed in a public area. People are quite noise conscious!

Contact Form Advanced Widget Updated
The CFA widget added some SMTP features in 2.1 which have been tweaked further in 2.1.1 to make it more reliable for servers that don’t support sending email without SMTP details included. If you use the CF widget, EverWeb 2.1.1 is a must have update.

Other Minor Changes
There are a couple of other small, but nice to know, changes in 2.1.1. The first is that EverWeb will now remember the last setting used for spell check. That’s handy if you’ve ticked ‘Check Spelling While Typing’ as it now stays that way the next time you go back in to EverWeb.

Last but not least, if you change the name of an asset that’s used in the Image Slider widget, the asset name is now updated correctly in the widget as well.

And as always, there are the usual maintenance and stability fixes.

If you’ve got a question about the new point release or any other question about EverWeb, why not drop us a comment below? Thanks!

09 Feb 2017

Writing Your First Blog Post? Read This Before You Start!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks, Web Design

There’s a whole host of reasons why blogging is essential for your website. A regularly updated blog reminds your audience that your website (and by extension you and/or your business) is alive and kicking! It helps drive SEO traffic if fresh content is added regularly and a well written, and marketed, blog may foster a lively discussion forum. Blogging also helps define your website’s ‘personality’. We create websites with a particular ‘audience’ in mind, and your blog should reflect this. Lastly, a blog lets you expand on subjects that may be less core to your website, or where you want more in-depth coverage on a particular topic, product, idea and so on…

If you’ve just updated, or purchased, EverWeb version 2.0, now is the ideal time to start your own blog! EverWeb’s new blogging tool can be used straight away whether you have an EverWeb+Hosting account or your own hosting provider. There’s no setup needed. So, the technical part is easy and it may be that writing your own blog is the difficult part! Here are some thoughts and insights to get you started with blogging…

It’s a Learning Experience!
Writing a blog is always a learning experience and you’ll probably make mistakes along the way. Will your audience like what you write? How often should you post? What happens if you run out of inspiration or have writer’s block?

Undoubtedly you’ll have questions about blogging, most of which will be down to you to answer, e.g. you’ll post every Tuesday. The best advice I can give is to do your homework before you start. List the questions you have and try to find your answers through trusted friends, family and internet resources such as ProBlogger which is great for first time bloggers. In the example, blogging every Tuesday will help you post consistently. That’s good for you and good for audience building. People love consistency!

Focus Your Ideas
Blog posts need ideas! It’s usually best to have only one main message, idea or theme per post. This will focus you when you write. It also makes your post easier to read and understand for your audience. You’ll lose focus, and possibly your audience, if you have more than one message or idea in your post.

Keeping ‘one idea per post’ also means you have more ideas available for future posts. If you’re going to post on a regular basis this is important. There’s nothing worse than having a deadline and nothing to write about. Keep an ideas list to hand and always have a standby blog post ready for emergencies.

Know Your Audience
It’s important to always write FOR your audience, using an appropriate style and tone e.g. if you write in a formal style when your audience is ‘informal’, you may drive away your audience. Aldo be careful not to talk down, patronize or insult your audience either. It will drive any traffic away immediately!

The ideas you use in your posts should also be relevant to your target audience. Always keep your audience in mind as this will focus you and your posts. I always ask myself, what’s interesting for my audience, what’s new, what features should I look at and why? What’s the benefit? For inspiration, I’ll look at relevant sources e.g. when writing about EverWeb I may look at other EverWeb related articles, the EverWeb Discussion Forum, websites relating to SEO, web design and so on to keep on track.

The Blog Title and First Sentence!
Once you have your idea it’s time to start writing! This is often the most difficult part of blogging: the first words! It can stop you cold in your tracks. Try breaking through this block just by writing something – anything – as a first sentence even if it’s really bad! You can go back and change it later. The important thing is that you’ve written something! and you’ll probably find that the rest of the post flows easily. Finish by editing the title and/or the first sentence which you’ll probably find is now a lot easier to do.

Keeping Audience Attention
Humans have an incredibly short attention span and living in a world of soundbites makes it more challenging to keep your audience focused on your post. If you don’t hold your audience’s attention for 90 seconds they’ll probably get bored and go elsewhere. Try to make a strong post title and a first paragraph that engages e.g. set a question that you will answer later. Look at other blogs that inspire and engage you. What appeals about one blog post and not another? What keeps you reading or turns you away? Use the Editor Toolbar features such as bold and italics sparingly – just for emphasis!

How Much Should I Write?
It’s a common question but there’s no easy answer. There are a couple of things you should consider though. The first is that Google loves content! Preferably fresh, unique content. So don’t plagiarise content from other writers as Google will penalise you and you’ll probably get sued if you’re found out. The only exception is when you’re quoting in which case you should credit the author and content source anyway. And just copying and pasting your own content around the internet also won’t work.

Although Google loves content and it’s great for your SEO, quality content is where you should be focused. It’s more important than word count or SEO! If in doubt always remember quality above anything else!

Check, Check and Double Check
If you read anything on the Internet, even from professional news websites, you’ll find articles littered with spelling and grammar mistakes. It’s frustrating to continually pick through mistakes. To avoid posting ‘mistakes’, when you’ve finished your post, save it then then walk away from it. If possible, get someone else to proof read it for you. If that’s not possible, come back to it later, read it through again and then correct any mistakes.

The other tip is to learn about how you write e.g. I know I am bad with ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ and when to use them and when not. For me, it is (it’s!) a blind spot I always check for now when I write. Try listing your own weaknesses so you can correct your copy before publishing!

Summarize
It’s always good to round off your post by coming full circle to answering the question you first posed. In this post, it’s that writing your first blog post is a learning process and that preparation before you start will reward you and your audience. You’ll make mistakes for sure, but even if you do, it’s a learning experience!. With blogging there is no rule book, but a few tried and trusted guidelines will help get the creative juices flowing! Good luck with your blogging.

If you have any hints and tips to share please drop a line below in the comments section. I’ve only scratched the surface here, so feel free to have your say! Thanks!

24 Jan 2017

EverWeb version 2.1 is Out NOW!

2 Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks, Web Design, Widgets

EverWeb’s just been updated with the public release of version 2.1. The new version focuses on improvements to the new blogging environment, an upgrade for the Contact Form Advanced widget and some great small but really useful UI enhancements! There’s also number of under the hood improvements as well as the usual maintenance and stability fixes. Here’s a summary of what to look out for…

Blogging
EverWeb’s blogging feature adds a new section in the blog main page widget so you can include a link to your full blog archive. The option lets you set the name of the label you want to use and includes options for left, center or right alignment on the page. There are also a various minor fixes and enhancements mainly relating to Google Fonts, WordPress imports and Facebook commenting.

Contact Form Advanced Widget
The Contact Form Advanced widget debuted in EverWeb 2.0 and gets an update in version 2.1 with some new features. Perhaps the most important feature is the option to enter SMTP details in the Widget Settings. This is designed to improve reliability of receiving emails. It’s highly recommended that you fill in this section when using the CFA widget. There’s also a help button in the widget that will take you to an EverWeb knowledgeable article if you need help or guidance.

In EverWeb 2.1 the CFA widget now includes the ability to delete form options and reorder control options.

The most important fix for the Contact Form Advanced widget is that the ‘Reply To’ address is now set correctly. If you are using the CFA widget in EverWeb 2.0 or 2.0.2 it’s recommended you upgrade to 2.1 for this important fix.

Workflow Enhancements
The latest version of EverWeb includes some really handy keyboard tricks to improve your workflow.
If you hold the Command+Option keys down when dragging an object, EverWeb doesn’t change the selection. This means that, for example, if the object is covered by other objects it’s now easy to move the selected object.
The second keyboard trick is to hold the Command+Shift keys down when dragging or resizing an object. When you do this, all of the objects beneath it will move down so retaining the page layout that you originally created. This is a great time saver and highly recommended!
Other useful UI tweaks include Function+Arrow keys now work in the EverWeb Design Canvas and the addition of a ‘Rename’ option on the sub menu that appears when you right click on the Project file name in the Web Page List.

We’ll take a walk though the first two workflow enhancement features soon as well as a complete walk through of the new SMTP Settings of the Contact Form Advanced widget.

Updating to EverWeb version 2.1
You can update your version of EverWeb using the EverWeb-> Check for Updates… menu, or directly from the EverWeb Download page. The download is available in two forms, OS X 10.7 and Higher and OS X 10.6.

Before you update your copy of EverWeb, please remember that updates are free if you have purchased EverWeb less than one year ago, or have a valid updates & support plan if your EverWeb version is more than one year old. More information can be found on the EverWeb Download page.

In the meantime, let us know if you have any questions about the update or if there’s anything else you need to know about EverWeb!

06 Jan 2017

All About the Blog Main and Archive Pages

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks

If you’re familiar with blogging in iWeb, you’ll have a short learning curve when starting to blog in EverWeb version 2.0. Whilst the two products have many similarities, iWeb’s development stopped over five years ago. EverWeb on the other hand get’s regular updates throughout the year adding new features and enhancements to keep up with today’s technologies. In this blog we take a look at EverWeb’s blog main and archive pages, how to use them, how to get the best out of them and where there are differences for those used to iWeb.

EverWeb’s Blog Structure
Everweb 2.0s blogging environment is structured like iWeb with three page types: blog main, posts (called entries in iWeb) and archive. Each page has a specific purpose: the blog main page acts as the ‘index’ for the posts you create, the posts page contains all the blog posts you have created, and the archive page which lists older blog posts that you no longer want to see on the main blog page, or can be used as a reference catalog of all the blogs posts created. Whilst these pages look like any other pages in your Web Page List, each page has some unique functionality. In addition, you can create more than one blog for your website e.g. you may have one blog for desktop and one for mobile, or one for marketing & sales and second blog for technical posts, etc..

The Blog Main page
When you create a new blog in EverWeb, the blog main page is created as an open folder containing the posts and archive pages within it. The posts and archive pages cannot be deleted, only the blog itself. If you delete the blog main page you also delete all the posts you’ve created within it so caution is advised. If you delete the blog by accident, use cmd+Z to immediately undo the action. It’s also useful to set autosave and automatic backups on in your EverWeb-> Preferences menu just in case you need to roll back at any time.

The Blog Main/Archive Widget
The blog main page is the ‘index’ page of the blog displaying some, or all, of the blog posts you have created within the widget on the Editor Window. The widget can’t be deleted from the page. The same is also true for the archive page which has a similar widget which works in the same way as the blog main page. The blog main/archive page widget differs from ‘regular’ widgets as it only has selection handles on its vertical sides. Therefore, you can change the width of the widget whilst the length is automatically handled by EverWeb based on the Widget Settings e.g. the number of posts you wish to display, whether you include thumbnail images and where they are placed, as well as any extra spacing you may wish to add between posts.

The widget can be styled in a number of ways. If you’re familiar with iWeb or with EverWeb’s RSS Feed widget, you’ll find that the blog main and archive widgets are styled in the same way. The widget contains the blog post titles, optionally the date, and an extract of the post itself. To change the styling of the post titles, for example, just click on one of the titles in the widget. All the blog post titles in the widget become highlighted. Next, select the font type, size, weight and color you want to use from the Font Panel by clicking on the Fonts button in EverWeb’s Toolbar. The other sections of the widget work in the same way making it quick work to get the look you want.

Apart from the features outlined above, the blog main and archive pages work in the same way as any other pages so you can add Master pages to them or set other defaults using the page settings tab etc.

Adding the blog to the Nav Menu Widget
You can easily add the blog main page to your Navigation Menu widget. To do this, select the blog main page in the WPL, then go to the Inspector window and select the Page Settings Tab. Tick the box ‘include page in navigation menu’ in the Page Details section of to add the blog main page to the Navigation Menu widget.
If you also check the same box for the archive page, it will be included as a drop down menu option below the blog main page in the Navigation Menu. You cannot select only to have the archive pages or to have the posts pages in the Navigation Menu.

Hyperlinking Your Blog
You can add hyperlinks to the blog main, all blog posts and the archive page by hyperlinking using the Hyperlinks Inspector in exactly the same way as you would anywhere else in EverWeb e.g. if you want to link to some text to a blog post, create the text you want and then highlight it. Go to the Hyperlinks Inspector and ‘Enable as Hyperlink’. Make sure ‘Link To:’ is set to ‘One of My Pages’, then in the Page drop down menu, select the blog post you want to link to.

Linking Desktop and Mobile Blogs

Everweb allows you to link your desktop website blog to your mobile website blog if you have created one. You link from desktop to mobile in the same manner as you would do when linking regular desktop pages to mobile pages.

More about Blogging in EverWeb
The EverWeb YouTube channel has recently launched a series of videos on blogging that may be of interest so check out their YouTube Channel. Don’t forget to subscribe if you want to keep up with their latest vids!
For some further hints and tips on blogging checkout our EverWeb Blogging Hints and Tips article.

If you’ve got a question please let us know below, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

22 Dec 2016

All About the New Contact Form Advanced!

No Comments EverWeb, Widgets

With all the limelight on EverWeb version 2.0‘s all new blogging environment, you may think that we’ve forgotten about the other new features of new release! Fear not as today we’re going to look at the all new Contact Form Advanced (CFA) widget!

A simple or advanced Contact Form?
The new Contact Form Advanced is an addition to the original Contact Form widget that debuted with EverWeb 1.0. The original widget is very simple and straightforward with few customisation options. It’s great when your requirements are also simple and straightforward.

Contact Form Advanced comes in to it’s own when you need more flexibility e.g. you may want to ask about users about their choices or preferences, you may be conducting a survey, or you may need to give users some extra help when they fill out the form. The screenshot below gives an example of just some of what you can do.

EverWeb Contact Form Advanced

In this example, you can see that a drop down menu has been added for age ranges, checkboxes for fruit choice preferences, extra space added between Form Controls and some font styling.

How Contact Form Advanced Works
As with all of EverWeb’s widgets, just drag and drop the CFA widget on to your page. Go to the Widget Settings tab in the Inspector to customize the form. Some settings will be familiar if you have used the original Contact Form widget e.g. ’email address’, ‘Email Subject’, ‘Email Sent Success Message’ and ‘Submit Caption’.

It’s all about Controls
What’s different with the CFA widget is that it uses Form Controls. These are customizable fields you can add, reorder and delete from your form. Each ‘Control’ has its own attributes e.g. click on the ‘Name’ Control in the list. You will see that its Control Type is ‘Text Box’. You can change this to another Control Type either Text Area, Number, Phone Number Date, Drop Down Menu, Checkbox, Radio Button, URL or email address.

When you select a Control Type, the available options depend on the Control Type you’ve chosen. Any options that are not available are greyed out. For example, the TextBox Control Type has the ‘Add Option’ box greyed out. However, ‘Default value’ text is available which is useful for pre-filling the text box itself. For example you can add instructions for your users e.g. a restaurant may add ‘Let us know if you have any food intolerances or allergies here…’ as a default value to guide the user on how to complete the form.

Adding and Using a Form Control
To add a Form Control:

  1. Click on the ‘Add’ button just under the Form Controls list. Name the new control e.g. ‘Fruit’ and press Enter.
  2. Next select the Control Type you want e.g. Checkbox from the ‘Control Type’ list.
  3. The ‘Add Option’ is available for this Control Type so click on it.
  4. Enter ‘Apple’ as the name and then press Enter.
  5. Repeat this step to create other types of fruit.
  6. As you change the Control Type and Options the CFA will update dynamically so you always see the changes as you make them. At the end of the checkbox list we included ‘Other’ then added another Form Control underneath ‘Fruit’ so that users can enter in their own fruit choice if there selection does not appear in the checkbox list. The Form Control has a default value applied to it.

    Reordering Controls
    If you’ve added in Form Controls but find later that they’re in the wrong order, click and drag the Form Control to where you want it then drop it in place. This feature is also used in EverWeb’s Image Slider and Image Gallery widgets. It’s sometimes a bit tricky to do so try first selecting the CFA widget and immediately clicking and dragging the Form Control you want to the place you want it located. It may take a couple of tries to get used to how it works. If it doesn’t work you’ll find yourself editing the name of the Form Control instead.

    Enhancing Your Form
    One of the great things about CFA is that you can customize Form Controls to produce some great effects. This only takes some very short code snippets that you can add directly into the Control itself. See the screenshot below.

    Form Control Customizations

    The Form Control section of the CFA widget showing the customizations that have been applied.

    Padding Out Form Controls
    Form Controls appear directly one after each other so there may be times when you want to give each control a bit more space. To do this just add

    before the Form Control label to add two carriage returns to give some extra padding.

    Breaking Text
    Using
    in your Form Control label is also a good way to insert a line break if the Form Control label has a lot of text in it. Just insert
    in the text where you want to split the line.

    Text Styling
    To embolden text in a Form Control label, use followed the text you want to embolden, then to return back to normal text weight.
    To use italics, use to start with and to finish.
    You can even combine the two e.g. and to create bold italics text.

    Test Drive Your Contact Form
    Always be careful when you using code in your form! Always test before publishing! For Contact Forms, it’s recommended that you publish a test page to see if the form and any styling (and code) works as expected before you publish a live form. You can use EverWeb’s Preview, but it doesn’t allow you to test ‘send’ and ‘receive’ functionality of the form as both CFA (and the regular Contact Form) use an email address to do this. Therefore, it’s best to publish a test page first.

    Finally, if you have EverWeb version 2.0, remember there’s an upgrade to 2.0.2 which includes some fixes to glitches in the initial release of Contact Form Advanced. And don’t forget that if CFA doesn’t fit the bill for your requirements there’s always the EverWebCodeBox that’s full of third party widgets that may help you out.

    The new CFA expands the capabilities of the original Contact Form and is a great addition to EverWeb. We’re looking forward to more feature adds to CFA in the future!

    In the meantime, if you have a question, comment, or some hints and tips let us know below! Thanks!