Archive for EverWeb

22 Mar 2017

Coming Soon! Animation Effects in EverWeb!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Web Design

Breaking News! If you’ve been to the EverWeb website recently or to the EverWeb YouTube channel, you’ll see some great news. The next release of EverWeb will include animation effects!

Although it’s only a ‘Sneak Peak’, the Home, Features and Pricing pages of the EverWeb website use animation effect really effectively to make features on each page really pop. The teaser video clip shows us just some of what’s going to be possible soon!

It looks like this is going to be one awesome release coming up! There’s no news of a date yet, but we’ll keep you posted as soon as we find out! It looks as if this is going to be a big release…

16 Mar 2017

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Master Pages

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

I was quite surprised recently when a customer sent me their EverWeb project file and I discovered that it didn’t have a Master Page. The website was only seven pages in total so maybe it wasn’t a big deal. When I started browsing through the project I immediately realised that a Master Page would reap benefits, even with a relatively small website project.

Why Use Master Pages
Master Pages were one of the first major features added to EverWeb back in version 1.2. It was one of the most requested features that iWeb lacked and rightly so as it immediately gives you these great benefits…

  1. Design Consistency. Presenting your website with a consistent design on every page is vital when you want your visitors to easily navigate your site to find and discover what you want them to. Placing objects in consistent locations on your web page and using the same style approach for things such as titles, buttons, logos and so on is really important so your visitors don’t get a frustrating experience. Consistency should also extend to page settings as well. Having a consitstent framework to design your site in is easier for you as well as being easier for your visitors.
  2. Design Accuracy. Web design also needs to be pixel perfect. Have you ever visited websites where things like titles and buttons jump around a bit as you move from page to page. Or the background color changes slightly when it really shouldn’t? Your website should focus your visitor on it’s content, not the distraction of a poorly placed objects on the design canvas. A Master Page will instantly take these issues away and you’ll have a more focused visitor as a result.
  3. More ProfessionalYour website is often the first place potential and existing customers go to when they want to discover more about you, your company, your products or your services. Often it’s your calling card for the digital age. Creating a professional appearance is a must. If you have followed the first two points above, you’re already getting there. Take time to think about the design of your Master Page(s) as and test the results on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. If necessary create Master Pages for each environment so that you offer your visitors the right experience on all platforms. It’s the professional approach!
  4. Easier Website Maintenance and Updates. Having one Master Page to maintain and update rather than all of your web pages is a no brainier. Having just one page to update means you’re less liable to make mistakes. Updating many pages with the same changes is boring and repetitive which is where errors start to creep in.
  5. Saves Time. We all know that time is a valuable commodity to most people. Using a Master Page is the perfect tool for this. If you do make a mistake, or need to make changes or a quick website update it’s faster and more efficient to do so using a Master Page. All changes immediately get applied to any page that uses the Master Page so it couldn’t be easier!

Creating a Master Page

Creating a Master Pages is very simple to do – just click on the ‘New Master Page’ button in the blue Master Page section of the Web Page List. If the blue section is not visible, it’s probably because the splitter bar (right above the Project name) needs to be dragged down to reveal it. Next you will see the the Theme Template Chooser, so select the Theme and Page Style you want as you would do when adding any regular page in EverWeb. Note that you can’t make a Master Page from of a blog page style.

Once the new Master Page has been created it’s added to the Master Page section. Name the Master Page in the same was as you would for a regular page. In fact, use the Master Page in exactly the same way as a regular page. The only difference is that you will only add objects that you want to appear on all pages that are going to be using the Master Page. Typically, this means that the body area of the page is usually empty as this is where regular page content will go.

In my customer’s case, I took her company logo, tag line, contact details from the header and footer and the social media buttons she used and placed them in the Master Page in the same locations as they were on the regular pages. I then made sure that the Page Settings for content width, content height, header, footer, background color and browser background were set correctly. Again, that’s another real benefit of the Master Page. You only need to set up page defaults once.

Using your Master Page

Once you have finished your Master Page, apply it to all of the pages you want to use it with. To do this, select the regular page that the Master Page will be attached to. Next, on the Page Settings tab of the Inspector Window select the Master Page to attach using the dropdown menu in the Master Page section. You’ll see that the page changes, adding in the objects from the Master Page.

The objects that come from the Master Page all have a black page symbol in the top right hand corner meaning that you can’t edit them from a regular page. You can only edit these objects by editing the Master Page itself.

Now that you’ve applied the Master Page, you’ll probably notice that you have the same objects twice on the page. As the Master Page objects ‘sit’ underneath the regular page and can’t be deleted unless you edit the Master Page itself, you can delete the duplicate objects from the regular page so only the Master Page objects remain on the page.

When you’ve completed this task for all pages in your site that are using the Master Page, publish the entire site using the File-> Publish Entire Site menu.

If you need it make changes in the future to all of your pages at one time, you’ll only have to do the changes to just the Master Page. Adding and working with Master Pages even on small websites is something that takes very little time, and will save you lots of time in the future!

if you have a question about Master Pages, please let us know in the Comments Section below. Thanks!

02 Mar 2017

EverWeb’s Contact Form Advanced Widget Explained

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks, Widgets

The Contact Form Advanced (CFA) widget is a great successor to EverWeb’s original Contact Form widget. The new widget debuted in EverWeb 2.0 offering a highly customisable form that can include drop down menu selections, radio buttons, checkboxes, pre-filled text fields and much more.

EverWeb version 2.1, and the recently released version 2.1.1, add more options and capabilities to the CFA widget which we will go through in detail later on. To start, let’s take a look at perhaps the most important new option: SMTP Settings…

SMTP Settings in the Contact Form Advanced Widget

EverWeb 2.1 now includes SMTP Settings to make sending and receiving email easier!

SMTP Settings
The CFA Widget Settings now includes an ‘SMTP Settings’ section. This is designed to help the contact form be more reliably delivered to the form recipient. It’s important to fill in the SMTP Settings correctly otherwise the form won’t work properly. The new ‘More Help’ button steps you through the process of filling in the settings if you are unsure about what to fill in. The steps also cater for everyone, whether you have an EverWeb+Hosting account or your own hosting provider.

The CFA widget in EverWeb version 2.1.1 has also been updated to improve the reliability of sending and receiving emails if you do not use the SMTP settings, which is like how the original Contact Form widget works.

Troubleshooting SMTP settings
If you’ve followed the above steps but still find that your contact form is not working, try these troubleshooting tips:

  1. Use EverWeb version 2.1.1. This release typically fixes most issues with the CFA widget so is highly recommended. If you’re having problems with your contact form and are not on the latest version, update EverWeb first to 2.1.1, republish your website (use File-> Publish Entire Site) then test your contact form again.
  2. Check that you have completed the steps from the ‘More Help’ button in the widget.
  3. Check that the ‘Email Address to Send Form to’ section has been filled in with a valid email address. It may seem obvious, but quite often people forget to fill in this field!
  4. Check that the password you’ve used in the SMTP Settings is correct. If you’re unsure, you may need to reset your email password. If you reset your password, exit EverWeb and log out of your email. Relaunch EverWeb and log back in to your email and try again.
  5. Check your SMTP settings with your hosting provider to make sure they are correct if you are unsure about any settings you may have entered.
  6. Check your webmail! I made a contact form and was not receiving email, so I checked my webmail and found that the emails were being received. The problem was that my Apple Mail wasn’t configured correctly so didn’t receive the emails even though they were correctly sent.
  7. Publish your website. Using preview with a contact form will not work as the widget sends email to the outside world which it can’t do when using preview. Sometimes you may also find that publishing your entire site may be beneficial. Use the menu to do this as the Toolbar ‘Publish’ button will only publish changes made to the website.

Important! When using any contact form, it’s paramount that you test that the form works. Remember that when you hit the ‘Submit!’ button and get the message ‘Your message has been sent’ this doesn’t mean that the message has been received! So… test, test, test!

Updated Form and Controls Options
EverWeb 2.1 (and 2.1.1) now let’s you reorder and delete Form Controls and Option List items. Reordering items is done in the same way as other you would for items in Asset Lists in other EverWeb widgets by clicking and dragging the control up and down the list until you have moved it to its new location when you just release the mouse button. In EverWeb version 2.0 you had to delete the widget and start again if you wanted to remove controls, so this is a welcome enhancement.

Fixes for the CFA Widget
The updated widget also contains some bug fixes including an important one where the form is now correctly sent to the email address that you enter in the widget.

If you are new to the widget there’s also a Contact Form Advanced widget video tutorial available to get you acquainted!

As always, if you have a question, let us know… we’ll do our best to help!

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!