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!

11 Dec 2016

EverWeb Blogging Hints and Tips

7 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!

06 Sep 2016

New to EverWeb? Your FAQ’s Answered!

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks

If you’re new to EverWeb you’ll probably find that it’s really easy to use and you’re creating web pages in next to no time. You may also find that there are times where you’re asking yourself those simple but maddening ‘how do I do…?’ type questions. Well here’s how, with our list of frequently asked EverWeb questions for those just starting out with the product…

  1. How do I rename my project name from NEW WEBSITE to something else?
    You’ll see the name ‘NEW WEBSITE’ at the top of the list of pages you’ve created in the Web Page List in the left hand column of EverWeb. All you need to do is double click on the name ‘NEW WEBSITE and overtype it with the name you want. Press Enter when you’re finished. It’s the same as if you were renaming a page in your Project.
  2. How do I convert a web page in to a directory?
    To change a web page in to a directory, right click on the page name in the Web Page List. You’ll see a popup menu. Choose the option ‘Convert To Directory’. You’ll notice that the page icon will change to a folder icon.
  3. Can I change my directory page back in to a normal web page?
    Once you’ve converted a web page to a directory you can’t change it back. The best thing to do is create a new web page, select all objects in the directory page (using Cmd+A) then copy and paste the objects in to the new page that you just created. Once you’ve finsished, delete the directory page. Be careful when deleting the directory page in case you have pages inside it. If you delete the directory, the pages inside it get deleted too!
  4. I just deleted the page by mistake! Can I get it back?
    Yes, just press Cmd+Z to undo your action as you would in most programs.
  5. I’ve made a web page but I now want to use it as a Master Page. How can I convert it?
    To make a web page in to a Master Page drag the page name in the Web Page List from the grey section in to the blue section and then drop it there. This create a copy of the wen page as a Master Page.
  6. I can’t move anything into, or out of, the header or footer area of my page.
    To move any object in to, or out of, the header or footer area, hold down the Command key whilst dragging the object.
  7. I’ve created a drop down menu using the Navigation Menu Widget, but I don’t want the top menu item to be selectable, just the drop down menu items themselves.
    To do this, select the directory page in the Web Page List which acts as the top menu title. Then go to the Page Settings Tab in the Inspector Window. You’ll see an item ‘redirect to first child page’ at the bottom of the Page Details section. Tick this option then republish your website.
  8. I’m working on a laptop, how can I get more ‘real estate’?
    You can use the vertical splitter on the right hand edge of the Web Page List to reduce it’s width, you can hide the Inspector Window on the right hand side using the Alt+Cmd+I keyboard shortcut or you can hide all of EverWeb’s user interface ‘furniture’ using Presentation Mode (Cmd+.) If using Presentation Mode you can add EverWeb’s sidebars back as you like via the Window Menu or just add the Inspector Window back in using the Alt+Cmd+I shortcut.
  9. How do I duplicate a website Project?
    To duplicate an EverWeb Project first go to the Projects Window. That’s the first window that appears when you launch EverWeb that shows all the projects you’ve created. Click on the up/down arrows to the right of the project you want to duplicate. From the popup menu select Duplicate to make a copy.
  10. I’ve added a Navigation Menu Widget to my page. How do I change the order of the menu items?
    The Navigation Menu Widget uses the order of the pages in the Web Page List. The top to bottom order in the Web Page List translate to a left to right order in your Navigation Menu. So, to change the order of your menu items just drag and drop the pages in the Web Page List to where you want them. The Navigation Menu widget will automatically update as you move pages up and down the Web Page List.
  11. How do I change the Navigation Menu’s default blue color and underlining?
    The items in the Navigation Menu Widget are Hyperlinks to other pages in your project. So, to change the colors and underlines first select the Navigation Menu Widget on your web page. Next, go to the Hyperlinks Tab in the Inspector Window and change the colors and underlining in the Hyperlink Formatting section as you want them to be displayed.
  12. …and finally
    EverWeb always has handy Youtube videos available throughout the product. Wherever you see a “?” inside a circle, you’ll find a video associated with the feature it’s next to!

Just started with EverWeb and have a question? You have EverWeb’s own website as a resource to start with which includes links to the EverWeb Knowledgeable and the EverWeb Discussion Forum.

Let us know in the comments section below if you have any questions!

22 May 2016

10 Tips for Trouble Free Publishing in EverWeb

No Comments EverWeb, Software, Tips and Tricks

Publishing your website to the Internet takes just the click of a button with EverWeb. It’s satisfying knowing that your hard work’s almost paid off and your website soon to go live for the world to see. But what happens if it doesn’t work or its taking so long that you think the publishing process has stalled completely? Our Q&A session below takes a look at some common questions that get asked about publishing with EverWeb, and the steps you can take to help resolve such issues.

Q. How do I know that my website’s still publishing and not stalled?
A. There are a couple of ways to check that your website is still publishing. Once EverWeb has processed the website project file, the upload to server process continues in background. You’ll notice a progress circle indicator appearing to the right of your website name in the Web Page List. The circle should fill as publishing progresses. Alternatively, go to the Site Publishing Settings (use the File-> Edit Publishing Settings menu) where you can see each file being uploaded to the server.

Q. When I publish my website it doesn’t appear on the Internet.
A. Check that you’ve published your website to the right location. It could be that you’ve published to your local hard disk instead of the Internet. In the File-> Edit Publishing Settings menu check that ‘Publish To’ is set to ‘EverWeb’ or ‘FTP Server’ and not ‘Folder’, then try publishing again.

Q. I’ve updated my website project and published it but the changes don’t appear on the Internet.
A. Clear your browser history or try refresh the page a few times. In some cases you may need to quit and relaunch your browser.

Q. Can I publish my website to the Internet using a trial version of EverWeb?
A. The only difference between a trial version of EverWeb and a purchased version is that you cannot publish either locally or to the Internet with the trial version. You’ll need to purchase EverWeb to publish.

Q. I’ve uploaded a website using FTP but EverWeb publishes pages I’ve recently deleted. If I publish to ‘Folder’ it works fine. However, when trying to publish via FTP again the deleted pages get published!

A. Use File -> Publish Entire Site to republish the whole website again. You may have been using the ‘Publish’ button which only publishes changes. In this instance, a complete publish of the website may be needed.

Q. I’ve just switched to an EverWeb+Hosting account, but when I publish my website I still see the old one in my browser.

A. When switching to EverWeb+Hosting you need to update the ‘nameservers’ as they tell a domain which server to point to. The process can take up to 72 hours to completely update so bear this in mind when you are planning your switch over. An EverWeb tech note on nameservers will walk you through the process…

The second possibility is that you may be looking at an old URL for your old website. browsers often have autofill enabled when you start typing

Last but not least, quit and restart your browser as this will clear the browser cache.

Q. When I try to publish my website it gets stuck part way through.

A. This could be a firewall related issue. It could also be related to using networks in hotels or public places where certain types of Internet connection may be blocked or restricted.

Alternatively check to see if you are publishing via FTP over SSH. EverWeb only supports publishing via regular FTP or via FTP over SSL. In EverWeb go to the EverWeb-> Preferences… menu. In the Account tab deselect ‘Use Secure Publishing’. If you still have problems, uncheck ‘Use passive publishing connections’ in the ‘Publishing’ tab of the Preferences.

Q. I’ve published my website via FTP but hours later it’s still not visible on the Internet.

A. It’s possible that the directory/pathname is incorrect so the files don’t go to where they should go! Check the Directory/Path details in the File -> Edit Publishing Settings menu then try again.

Q. My website publishes but really slowly!

A. If you have a large number of images or if the image files you use are large, this may slow publishing. Large image files could also result in slow page loading in browsers. Optimize large image files before importing them in. When importing a large TIFF PSD or PDF file, EverWeb asks if you want to optimize it to web resolution.

If you’ve already imported large image files, remove them from the Assets List. This will keep the image place holder on the page. Drag and drop the optimised version of the image on to the placeholder to complete the task.

Q. Any general tips on publishing with EverWeb

A. Always keep your copy of EverWeb up to date with the latest release. There are always improvements, enhancements and optimisations with every release.

If you do experience problems with publishing, check the EverWeb forums to see if others have had the same or similar problems.

Check to see if the problem is related to your Hosting Provider

There’s always the option to log a ticket with EverWeb Support.

Do you have any publishing hints and tips that you’d like to share with the community? Let us know in the comments section below!