Archive for Web Design

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!

24 Nov 2016

NEW! iWeb to EverWeb 2.0 Website Conversion Service Launched!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Web Design

If you’ve developed an iWeb website you may be thinking of converting it to EverWeb, especially now that EverWeb version 2.0 has an all new blogging environment! So now is a great time to switch over, but even though there’s an easy Import facility built in to EverWeb 2.0, you may not want to spend the time and effort redeveloping your website.

RAGE Software, the makers of EverWeb, has the ideal solution for you! The company’s just announced the launch of a new service where they will do all of the work for you! The service will convert your iWeb website to EverWeb using updated features such as Master Pages, SEO features, mobile page optimizations, advanced contact forms, popup window and much more. So you get an updated website with modern day features included!

The EverWeb website has more about the iWeb to EverWeb Conversion service and includes a Contact Form to complete to get a quote for the conversion work.

14 Nov 2016

EverWeb version 2.0 Launched with Blogging!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Web Design, Widgets

ew20-default-posts-screen

EverWeb version 2.0 has just been released to the public and includes the highly anticipated blogging feature!

Great News For iWeb Users
For Apple iWeb users, EverWeb version 2.0 is the release many have been waiting for. It’s headline feature of a fully integrated, feature rich blogging experience comes with a look and feel that’s immediately familiar and intuitive to iWeb users. You can import your blogs from iWeb in to EverWeb at the touch of a button. Your blog entry headings, creation dates and main body text (including font styling) are transferred over easily. For those using WordPress blogging, EverWeb version 2.0 can import them in the same manner.

Key EverWeb version 2.0 Blogging Features
Whilst EverWeb’s new blogging feature retains an iWeb look and feel, there are still many new and improved features. EverWeb version 2.0 includes a blog post editing window to add and format your text, add images, hyperlink text, create lists, paragraph headings, quote levels and more! The Editor window is great for adding features specific to each blog post. You have all the tools bloggers expect with the convenience of a Toolbar to access commonly used features.

As well as the Editor Window, there’s also the Preview window. This window is where you can add features that you want to apply to all of your blog posts, e.g. social media buttons. Drag and drop the object that you want on to the Preview Window and it will then appear on all blog posts. In many ways it’s like using a Master Page.

There are a lot more features to discover, many of which can be found in the blog’s Widget Settings. For now though, here’s a summary of EverWeb 2.0’s main blogging features:

  • Automatic lists
  • Image wrapping
  • Justified text
  • Comments using Disqus or Facebook Comments
  • Importing iWeb & WordPress blog posts
  • Embedded media including video
  • Automatic Google Fonts
  • Automatic RSS feed creation and more!

Other EverWeb version 2.0 Features
Whilst blogging is the massive new feature of EverWeb 2.0, there are also some other great additions to the product!

  • The Toolbar has been relocated from the bottom of the UI to the top. This is good news as it’s better for your workflow. Once you’ve used it for a day you’ll never want it back at the bottom!
  • The new Contact Form Advanced widget that will help you create super advanced contact forms you can fully customize. The new Widget includes ten form ‘Controls’ so you can add questions to your contact form using drop down menus, radio button or checkboxes. You can include default values in Text Controls to help visitors via pre-filled text. All Contact Form Advanced options are easy to use as you would expect. The regular Contact Form remains in place for simple forms.
  • Character Spacing has been added to the Spacing section of the Text Inspector so you can now stretch out text horizontally. Great when you need to tweak the the look of your text!
  • A new RSS Subscribe button has been added on the Insert-> Button menu so your visitors can subscribe to your EverWeb or external blog.
  • The EverWeb User Manual has been updated and improved and includes info on blogging in EverWeb. As a small new feature, you can now access the Manual directly form the Projects Window as well as from the EverWeb Help menu.

For more on the new EverWeb version 2.0 and a new look EverWeb website, go to the EverWeb website to see it’s new blogging feature in action!

For information about updating your version of EverWeb to the new version 2.0, check out the official EverWeb version 2.0 announcement.

If you’re looking for EverWeb tutorials about the new version, there are preview videos on YouTube to enjoy.

If you have a question about the new version of EverWeb, let us know in the Comments section below. We’ll have lots more on EverWeb 2.0’s new features in the near future for you!

06 Oct 2016

iWeb and macOS Sierra Compatibility

4 Comments iWeb 101, Software, Tips and Tricks, Web Design

iweb-dead

As you may already know, Apple has recently released the new MacOS Sierra Operating System (10.12) to the general public. If you’re thinking of upgrading and also have iWeb installed on your computer read on…

Is my hardware capable of Supporting macOS Sierra?

macOS Sierra can only be installed on the following Macs with a minimum of 2GB memory and 8GB storage space free…

  • iMac (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • MacBook Air (Late 2010 or newer)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010 or newer)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or newer)

If your Mac is older than those listed you won’t get offered an update to the new OS if you run the App Store.
As well as the above hardware compliance you’ll need to have one of these Mac operating systems installed…

  • OS X El Capitan v10.11
  • OS X Yosemite v10.10
  • OS X Mavericks v10.9
  • OS X Mountain Lion v10.8
  • OS X Lion v10.7

Is iWeb compatible if I upgrade to macOS Sierra?
So far it’s early days for the new OS, but reports coming in from various sources, including our own testing, point to some issues with iWeb such as

  1. The blog post list is too small so can’t be used at all as you can’t see any blog posts!
  2. Intermittent and inconsistent crashing when publishing websites leading to Force Quit scenarios
  3. Images sometimes fail to publish at all
  4. Sometimes code appears on published pages
  5. Lack of support for retina images within iWeb and no Retina display support for published websites.

Conclusions
You can probably still use iWeb on macOS Sierra as long as you don’t mind putting up with some, or all, of the problems listed above. Apple’s new APFS file system, introduced in macOS Sierra, is built for the future as it underpins and unites macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. However, for legacy applications such as iWeb, it may prove to be the cause of crashes and other compatibility issues.

There’s also the ongoing issues caused by iWeb not being updated, or maintained, for over five years now. Technology moves on so our recommendation is to look out for the upcoming EverWeb 2.0 release. The new version is in beta test at the moment and is expected to include blogging as it’s headline feature. iWeb users will feel right at home with EverWeb’s easy to use iWeb like interface that brings today’s technology with it. We’ll update you on this exciting new release as more details emerge and a launch date is announced!