February 2009 Website Builder News

In this issue of Website Builder News, February 2009...

  • Free Training NZ Wide
  • Plain English Dates on Events
  • Shopping Cart - Full Address and Delivery Details
  • New Ecommerce Features Coming Soon
  • Surviving the Recession Online 
  • Putting your Website in Limbo? 
  • Job Vacancy
  • Websites of the Month


Free Training Sessions NZ Wide

We have a mix of 2 hour and 4 hour training sessions. Both sessions teach you how to create and update your own website yourself. The longer session includes a free search engine optimisation section. Make sure you don't miss out on this opportunity as the SEO training courses will soon be chargeable. The following sessions are all free:

  • Hamilton - 23rd March
  • Auckland - 25th March
  • Auckland - 15th April
  • Wellington - 29th July
  • Christchurch - 12th August
  • More Locations/Times

Remember there is extensive help available from our FAQ's which is backed up by phone and email support.  Or there is always the option of 1 on 1 training - usually just one hours training (@$100+gst) will give you a jump start in your ability and greatly improve the results for your time and effort.  


Plain English Dates on Events

Thi Senaratne our new programmer has been working hard subtly improving your Web Widgets experience. Thi (pronounced tee) has recently added some artificial intelligence to pages that ask you to input dates (events, calendars...) now you can can type in plain english like 'next tues' or 'last march' and the field will intelligently auto fill the date in the correct format.

This may seem like a small detail but it is indicative of our goal of ever improving the way our system works, making it easy and intuitive for all users and we welcome your feedback on this and any other suggestions you might have.


Shopping Cart - Full Address and Delivery Details

We have made some changes to the checkout area and freight maintenance area of ecommerce sites.  

  • By default, your customers are now prompted to enter their city/region, postcode and country, resulting in more complete and tidy customer data for you to use in your processes.
  • You also now have the option of letting your customers specifying a separate delivery address and/or a gift message.  This is great for those of you selling gifts, flowers and the like.

Control of all these options is in the shopping setup area, under "display options".

If you have manually added gift messages and giftee delivery details to your checkout forms in the past, then you might like to consider the new option which will be formatted more nicely. Simply delete the "additional checkout questions" that you have added and use these new features.

The freight maintenance area has been tidied up and reworded. We hope that you will all find it much easier to understand and manage your freight settings in future.

For more information on how to turn these feature on and off see our FAQ on the subject.


New Ecommerce Features Coming Soon

Now that the busy Christmas and Valentines season has passed, we will be doing even more updates on our ecommerce system. These include:

  • More pricing display format options on shopping pages
  • Currency select drop down on shopping pages, using "your own fixed exchange rates" for checkout in unlimited currencies.
  • Auto currency select where we can match a foreign visitor with a best guess currency.

If you have seen these setup options already in our CMS, then please note they may not yet be functioning on your live site.


Surviving the Recession Online

Everywhere you look nowadays you see downsizing, tightening of purse strings and sadly even business closure.  What can you do to tune up your business to survive in these difficult times?  We we at Web Widgets don't claim to have all the answers, but we do want to help you to succeed online, and here are some ideas -

Are you taking care of your relationship with existing and potential clients?  Everyone that has a live site with us, that has a 'contact us' form on their site or any communication such as sales, has a growing database built in to their Web Widgets CMS.  Are you utilising it?  Free with every hosting plan is our professional 'bulk mailer' and rather than being a spam tool, it is a great way of you keeping in touch and building your relationship with your clients. Explore how to use it and even if you are using it, look for ways of adding value to what you send your readers. 

Your readers may not right now be in a position to take you up on 'special offers' and the like, but they may well appreciate you adding to their knowledge of your services, products or other helpful advice.  Then in times to come, when they are ready to make a move, they will have a mental connection with you.

Spend any idle time you have building up the content on your website. The more product and industry knowledge you can add to your website, the better if will be for your long term search engine ranking. Investing a little of your spare time now, will put you in a better place when the economy bounces back.

Also very importantly, do not let your website ever go offline. Even a few days offline may cause long term damage to your current search engine ranking, or worse yet, may cause no results to be returned even when you are back online. Web hosting is such a small fee, so remember to pay on time to ensure uninterrupted service to your website and best ranking in search engines.


Putting your Website in Limbo?

Do you need to downsize, suspend your site or even cancel your hosting?  Not a pleasant thing to have to discuss, but nonetheless sometimes necessary.  Completely shutting down a website is not your only option and where there is hope of continuing your online presence there are a few far better options that will at minimise the loss of your invested time and money.

  1. Change to a lesser hosting plan - if your traffic is low, and you don't use the bulk emailer, then you could potentially delete a few pages and files and go on to a lower hosting plan. 
  2. Changing to an annual plan includes a discount of about 13% over the monthly rate. Or changing to the monthly rates might ever so slightly improve your cash flow.
  3. Go semi offline with a single webpage, with email services continuing as normal. Your main website will be backed up ready to go back online with short notice. The bulk emailer is not included in this package. This option is only $10 per month (or $100 per year). 
  4. Go offline, with no email services and no backup. That option is free, and you can freepark your domains for only the renewal fee of $33+gst each year.

Please note that if you do take your website offline, you may still receive one more invoice. We charge your online account at the start of each billing period, also know as your aniversary date. However, we don't email invoice statements until the end of each calendar month. So if your aniversary date is the 5th of each month, and you cancel on the 25th of the month, then you will still receive an invoice for a full months hosting. 

Unfortunately we cannot discount part months for unused hosting. However if you are only a few months into an annual hosting plan, then please contact us to receive a discretionary credit on the unused portion of the year. There is an option to expire your web hosting exactly on the next aniversary date.


Websites of the Month

Here's a small selection of our customers DIY websites. Some of those we think have done a great job of designing and creating using the Web Widgets tools.

Here are some examples of externally designed websites imported into our CMS.
Our inhouse local music site has received a revamp also

And view our updated portfolio of professional designs this month

Do you have any feedback on our newsletter or CMS products? Please let us know.

Best regards,
The Web Widgets Team

Phone: 09 622 0797


Posted: Wed 18 Feb 2009