Archive for Tips and Tricks

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!

11 Dec 2016

EverWeb Blogging Hints and Tips

5 Comments Tips and Tricks

Blogging with EverWeb version 2.0 gives you a dynamic canvas to work with. Here are some hints and tips that we’ve found to share with you…

  1. Use the Page Settings Tab
  2. As you probably know by now, when you create a blog in EverWeb, it contains three pages: blog, posts and archive. Just like any other web page that you create in EverWeb you can apply page settings such as content width, content height, header and footer height and so on. Remember that you can also set the page and browser background as well.

    The Page Settings tab is especially important for the posts page, as all of your posts will adopt these settings as you can see by looking at the blog posts preview window.

  3. Master Page or No Master Page?
  4. You can set defaults for the posts page using Page Settings and you can also add objects to the blog posts preview window that are then applied to all of your blog posts as well. So, what about Master Pages? Where do they fit it?

    The answer to this question is that it depends on how you want to work. If you use a Master Page, you will have to edit the Master Page to make changes. If you use the blog posts preview window instead, objects can be edited ‘live’ so any changes you make are instantly reflected on all blog posts. You may prefer one way of working over the other. You may find that using a combination of the two is best e.g. you use a Master Page to apply certain website defaults, such as content width and height, background colors etc. to your blog posts. You then add specific objects to the blog post preview window to customize the blog to make it appear as a special part of your website.

  5. How to Add a Thumbnail
  6. You can add a thumbnail image to your blog post when it is displays on the blog main or archive pages. To do this:

    1. Select the post you want to attach the thumbnail to in the blog posts list of the ‘posts’ page.
    2. Next go to ‘Post Image’ in the Post Options section of the Widget Settings.
    3. Select the image you want using the ‘Choose…’ button. When you select a Post Image it can then be used as a thumbnail for the post in the blog main/archive pages.
    4. The image appears in the Preview window of the post. If you do not want to display the image in the post itself, select ‘No Image’ as the ‘Style’.
    5. Next, go to either the blog or archive page.
    6. If you do not see the thumbnail displayed next to the post, select the widget. Next, go to the Widget Settings and set the ‘Style’ to something other than ‘Just Text’. The thumbnail will appear.
  7. Using Extra Space
  8. If you want to add extra space between your blog post listings in the blog main and/or archive pages, you can use ‘Extra Space’. If this does not seem to work, check to see if you have a thumbnail image included. If the thumbnail is higher than 50px the ‘extra space’ will not appear as it’s been used by the thumbnail.

  9. Setting a left hand margin when using Full Width
  10. If you’ve set the blog posts preview window widget to ‘Full Width’, you’ll see that your text appears flush against the left hand margin of the browser window. To create a margin on the left hand side, make sure the ‘posts’ page is selected then go to the Text Inspector tab and use ‘Insert Margin’ to create the left hand margin you require.

  11. Resolving gaps between shapes in your blog
  12. Shapes are often used to define specific specific areas of a web page e.g. a horizontal, colored rectangle is often used in the footer. A vertical rectangle shape is sometimes used down the side of the page e.g. to define a sidebar or navigation menu. You may want the vertical and horizontal shapes to meet to give the page a continuous appearance. That’s usually easy to do, but in blog pages you may see a gap where the vertical shape should meet the horizontal shape. This happens because the blog widget automatically adjusts vertically on publishing so pushing the footer down. To stop the ‘gap’ appearing set ‘Allow Free Dragging’ ON for the vertical shape and extend the shape down enough so that some of it encroaches into the Footer shape. This will ‘cover’ the gap (see screenshots below).

    Body footer gap

    On the right is the blog main page with where the yellow column meets the blue column. To the left if the preview, showing the gap between the object in the body area and the object in the footer.

    Body Footer no gap

    On the right hand side, the yellow column has ‘allow free dragging’ set on an the object encroaches into the footer underneath the blue object. The result to the left is no gap between the objects when previewed.

    Remember to first test using Preview to make sure the gap is filled before publishing!

  13. How to duplicate a blog post
  14. If ever you need to duplicate a blog post, select the post you want to duplicate in the blog post list. Right click on the post name and select ‘Duplicate’ from the menu. EverWeb will make a copy of the post for you!

And finally…

EverWeb version 2.0.2 is now available!
EverWeb had a maintenance update last week with the release of version 2.0.2. It’s a bug fix release and also includes some minor enhancements to the product. Check on the EverWeb-> Check for Updates… menu to update your version. For more information check out the blog on the EverWeb website!

Got your own tips about blogging in EverWeb to share? Don’t keep it to yourself, let us know in the Comments section below!

25 Oct 2016

Improve Your Workflow with EverWeb and Mac OS

No Comments Tips and Tricks

If you work on a laptop, screen real estate is often a precious commodity, especially if you’re using an 11 or 13″ MacBook. Website developers often feel the pinch when working on the go. You’ll probably want to have email available, a browser window open, and all your website development apps to hand. You can use your Mac OS to better manage your workflow better. If you’re using EverWeb there are also a few ways to get more screen real estate back. Let’s start with what can be done in your Mac OS…

Use Spaces
Using Spaces is a real boon. Spaces lets you have up to 16 different desktops available for use at any one time. In this way you can set up a specific ‘Space’ for a specific use e.g. if you take a lot of screenshots you may want to set up a Space that has a just plain white background so you don’t need to change your screen backdrop every time you want to take a screenshot.

Spaces also allows you to allocate which apps are available in which Space. You can choose either ‘All Desktops’, ‘This Desktop’ (which is the current desktop) or ‘None’ which makes the app available only to the desktop it gets opened on.

bear in mind that Spaces aren’t totally flexible though. If you have four desktops set up and want an app to appear on desktops 2 and 3 only, you can’t do it, which is a pity.

Setting Up a New Space
To setup a new Space, you need to use Mission Control. On a laptop use the F3 function key, or use a three finder upward swipe on the trackpad. You’ll see a menubar at the top. In the center of the menubar you’ll see the Spaces that have already been set up (e.g. Desktop 1). To add a new Space, click on the ‘+’ sign in the top right hand corner.

Now configure your new Space with the background that you want. To add the apps that you want to the Space you just added, right click on the App in the Dock. From the submenu, select ‘Options’ and then in the ‘Assign to…’ section choose the desktop that you want the app to be available on. That’s it!

Using Spaces
To switch between Spaces call up Mission Control using a three or four finger left/right swipe on your trackpad. Click on the Space of your choice.

Group apps together that fit nicely depending on your workflow e.g. I always make sure that I have EverWeb, Safari, Pixelmator, Pages and iTunes available when I’m working on website development. Everything else goes on different Spaces keeping me focused on one thing at one time!

Use Split Screen
Apple introduced split screen capability to the Mac in OS X El Capitan. This can be useful if you want, for example, to write a long piece of text in Pages, then copy it to EverWeb.

To split the screen, open both the apps that you want to share the screen. In the first app, click on hold on the green button in the top right hand corner of the window. The app shrinks to half the screen with your other apps showing on the right hand side. Click on the second app and it will fill the rest of the screen.

Use the vertical splitter line that separates the apps to increase or decrease the amount of screen space each app takes up (see screenshot below).

Split screen with EverWeb and Pages

The split screen on a Mac lets you have two apps side by side. Use the splitter to give one app more or less screen space

You can switch which side the apps are on by just clicking and holding the top of the app window and dragging it left or right to switch side. If you want to unspoilt the window, just click on the green button in the top left of the app.

Be Smart Working With Your Apps
Getting to know the apps that you use can also help you save screen real estate. Apple’s Preview program is often the Swiss Army knife app that can save you having multiple apps open when you only really need one open. The same is true of word processing or presentation apps that often have cross product features that can save you loading two or three apps when only having one open gets the job done.

EverWeb and Screen Real Estate
EverWeb has some good ways to help get more screen canvas back. The Window Menu is where you need to be for this. Before EverWeb version 1.9 you could only use the Window-> Hide Inspector (Cmd+Option+I) menu to get more space back by hiding the Inspector Window. In EverWeb version 1.9 and later, you have this and the ability to hide the Toolbar (Cmd+Option+T). Use both the aforementioned commands if you just want the Web Page List visible. Finally, if you want to hide the whole EverWeb UI, use Presentation Mode (Cmd+.)

These easy to set up and use features of your Mac OS and EverWeb help you get the most out of limited screen workspace. They also help you to focus on the tasks to hand and be less distracted with other things if you organise your desktop Spaces wisely!

If you have a question about this blog article, let us know in the Comments section below!