The Photium Blog
High resolution file uploading
Customers on the Standard and Advanced packages can now choose to upload high resolution Jpeg files to their gallery. This does not affect the number of images that can be uploaded. You will see a tick box on the Java and Flash upload pages to include the original files in the upload.
Automated digital sales
Customers on the Standard and Advanced packages can sell low or high resolution files (if the high resolution file upload option was used). When a customer has finalised the payment, you can choose to have the download links for the files automatically emailed to them. This means sales can be completed without any intervention from yourself. As usual no commission is charged by us on the sale. There is more information about this on the Print sizes admin page.
Client download option
When you need clients to be able to download high resolution images you have uploaded, without them needing to make a payment, you can enable this via the admin page for editing portfolios. A link will then be available below each photo allowing the high resolution file to be downloaded.
If you have uploaded high resolution files to a portfolio and want to download them again, e.g. if your hard disk dies. You can do this via the admin page for editing portfolios.
Customer order history download
The Customer orders section now has an option to download a CSV file of orders to be opened in a spreadsheet program. To help with record keeping, we now store the date a payment was completed and you can set this manually for offline orders when viewing them.
Gallery swiping for mobiles
Visitors who access your website on a mobile or tablet device can now swipe between photos in your gallery. They will see a note below the photos that they can do this if they hadn't already noticed.
Image border effects
The image effects such as a drop shadow, that you can apply to your gallery images, can now be applied to your home page images and other images such as on your blog or custom pages. The option for this is available on the admin page for editing your live template design.
Customers on the Light, Standard and Advanced packages can now set portfolios to be hidden after a specified date. The option for this is available when editing a portfolio.
PNG and GIF thumbnails
When editing a portfolio you can now upload a PNG or GIF thumbnail to represent the portfolio. This allows more design-flexibility, as you can utilise the transparency of these image formats.
There is now an option to reset all visitor statistics except the total views figure. It is also possible to sort portfolio, news and custom page views by clicking on the relevant headers, e.g. Portfolio views or Last viewed date. Lastly, the gallery photo statistics page for a portfolio now includes the title and original filename of each photo too.
All sections of your website that have page links are now easier for your visitors to use, with Prev and Next links as well as the usual page number links.
If you don't like the standard button used for the photo sales feature, customers on the Light, Standard and Advanced packages can now upload their own. There is information about this feature on Photo sales settings admin page.
In the same way you can with customer orders, you can now make notes for your own records on visitor messages when viewing them.
More batch uploading
When you are using a good browser like Chrome, Firefox or Safari, you can now multiple upload images at a time to the Blog, Custom page and Home page sections.
Easier social network buttons
It's one of our most common support questions, "How do I add a link to my facebook page?". Now we've made it much easier and all you need to do is paste in the URL of your facebook page to the new section of the Social network admin page. A button will be automatically created in your website footer, which you can easily customise the appearance of. This also works for other popular services like Twitter, Google+ etc. and if you need a particular service adding, we should be able to arrange this for you.
Search engine optimisation
We've made some behind the scenes changes which will improve the ranking of your website pages. The changes made, will in some cases make a considerable difference.
Previously if you wanted to link to a Shop or Blog category page, this needed to be done manually. It can now be done through the standard Menu drop-down options.
EU cookie changes
A major server move was completed recently, with two of our primary servers being moved to a new data center. After our usual extensive planning and testing, the move was completed successfully with no interruption to service, thanks to our redudant systems architecture.
When typing a support request, relevant FAQs will automatically be shown below. This helps provide instant help to common questions.
Although bugs are very rare, some do creep in occasionally. One causing some trouble was extra apostrophe's sometimes being added after editing blog posts. This was fixed within 24 hours of being reported and if you have any blog posts that were affected you would like returned to normal, please let us know and accept our sincere apologies.
New features under development
We have a number of new features in development stage being trialled at the moment, including things like more gallery viewing options, original file uploading and automated file sales. If you are on the Standard or Advanced package and would like to be an early user of these, please let us know.
As an example, you could have a Services menu link and then sub-menu links could appear when the mouse is hovered over that menu item, for pages covering the different services you offer.
You can set your menu up like this through the normal Menu items admin section and there are instructions there on what to do. Of course, if you have any problems or need help, please let us know.
Some time ago we added a feature to edit the URLs of custom pages. So a page about services you offer with a URL like /page123.html could instead be something simpler like /services.
This feature has now been rolled out to most other sections of your website, including Portfolios, Photos, News posts and Shop categories.
We have set up automatic new URLs for most of your pages which had titles. If no title was present the URL will be the same as before.
If you would like to change any of the URLs, this can now be done via the Meta tags and URLs page. When you add new photos, portfolios etc. the simple URLs will be automatically set up from the titles but you can edit them afterwards if you want. We have added some advice on how to assign URLs on the help section of the editing page.
As well as looking better, these simpler URLs may also give your website a boost in search engine rankings, due to more keywords being included in the URL. Because the URLs have only recently been created, it will take some time for search engines to include them in their results.
You can now set portfolios to be hidden from visitors. When a portfolio is hidden it won’t appear on your main Gallery page and if someone has the link for the portfolio, they won’t be able to view it’s contents.
This feature can be used when uploading photos to a new portfolio and while you prepare it for public viewing. Or you can use it to take existing portfolios offline temporarily.
You are still able to view hidden portfolios, providing you have logged into your admin area.
New database servers
As part of our continued work to ensure the fastest possible loading speeds for all websites we host, we have upgraded our main database servers and replication systems. After exhaustive planning and testing, this upgrade was completed without any problems.
Previously, some of the options such as the new google font feature, didn't automatically update the live preview of the changes being made. Now almost all options update the preview.
More importantly, new features have been added. For example, you can now add drop-shadows or round the corners of your thumbnails and larger images. The size of some text elements can be changed more easily and the same drop-shadow and glow effects can be applied too.
To expand the choice of fonts you can use on your website, we've made it easy to use fonts from the new Google web fonts service.
When editing your website design, just click the "Text" tab and you can choose from over 200 fonts and apply them to different sections of your website's text. You don't need to follow the more complicated instructions on the Google web fonts website, just decide on the font you want and select it on the drop-down provided when editing your design, click save and the font will be active on your website.
Please do bear in mind that some fonts will be harder for visitors to read, so care should be taken when choosing.
You may also notice we've optimised the design editing section, reducing the number of tabs and grouping things together more logically.
It's been some time since the last blog post, partly because we've been so busy. This is due in large part to many of our wonderful customers recommending us to friends (Thank you! You know who you are!) and we've seen a lot of new customers as a result.Although it's been a bit quiet on the blog, we've not stopped adding improvements. It's just many of them have been a bit small to blog about on their own. Here are some you may not have noticed:
When setting up promotions to offer discounts to your customers, you can now limit the number of times a promotion code can be used.
The admin section for adding purchasing options has been improved so a lot less clicking is needed to change or add prices.
When an order comes in, the filenames of the original photos are shown on the order details, to make it easier for you to to locate the files.
Customers on the Advanced package can now link to a new Client login page, so they only have to give their clients a password and their website domain. You can also easily link to this using the new menu admin section (see below).
Gallery / website layout
The menu admin section was previously clunky, being spread out over three sections. There was one section for adding menu links (in the custom page area) and then two on the Menu items admin page for arranging and re-naming. It was also difficult to link to particular sections of your website as you had to find the URL and paste it in manually. That's all changed and everything can be done through the one Menu items admin page. It's also easy to link to portfolios or sections like the "Latest photos" page, as we've put all those links into a selection list for you.
Another common problem was when you have a lot of portfolios and add a new one it would go to the bottom of the list. Now when creating a new portfolio, you can choose to have the portfolio appear at the top of the list instead. You can do the same when uploading photos using the Java and Flash upload tools, having new photos appear at the start of the portfolio rather than the end. And also in these sections, you can create a portfolio on the first page of the upload process, rather than having to do it separately beforehand.
In the General gallery settings admin section you can choose whether titles are shown underneath thumbnails on your Portfolio index pages, or above the large photos themselves. This can be overriden on a portfolio basis as well via the admin page for editing portfolios.
Other usability improvements
If you have a lot of images added to a news / blog post and don't need some of them, they can now be deleted.
We've added thumbnail previews to the File upload section, to make it easier to find the image you want to use in a page.
If you're using the sub-portfolio feature in the Gallery, many more admin sections now show the portfolio structure in the selection lists, making it easier to find the portfolio you want to edit, add photos to etc.
Besides these smaller updates, work is being done on a major refresh to Gallery presentation options, more on that soon!
You can now choose to add a background image to your website. Used carefully this can greatly enhance the visual impact of your design. You can also choose the alignment of your menu and header text. All options are available through the Template designs admin page when editing a design.
Changes have also been made to make it faster to preview or apply designs and to edit your live design from your admin home page.
Always striving for the best possible system performance, we have been able to greatly improve search performance. Now results should always be displayed instantly. More general optimisations were also made, keeping websites loading fast at peak times.
Some customers have been reporting problems receiving notification emails from PayPal when they got new orders. So our servers now send an email to you too, to make sure you can respond to your clients promptly.
The admin page displaying orders has also been re-organised so it is easier to browse past orders.
When viewing detailed statistics for the photos of one of your portfolios, you can now change the sort order. So you can view photos by the number of views they have had, when they were uploaded, when they were last viewed or just view them by the order they appear in your portfolio.
Simple URLs (set up on custom pages to change URLs like /page123.html to /services for example) can now be edited after you have set them. Although we still recommend avoiding doing this unless absolutely necessary, in case the URL has already been bookmarked or indexed by search engines.
The News / Blog index page can now have text added to the top via the News settings admin page, as you can with most other website sections.
Work has also been carried out on improving the admin areas, including:
- The help section for formatting code has been re-written and is easier to access
- Several admin areas are now broken into tabbed sections as they were previously quite long to scroll through
- The list on the portfolio editing section is now tiered so any sub-portfolio structure you have set up is clearer
- When deleting a portfolio with sub-portfolios, you can choose to delete those sub-portfolios at the same time
- Various other small tweaks, such as more preview links after changes have been made
We'd also like to take this opportunity to again mention that we welcome suggestions for improving the usability of the admin areas. So if there's something you feel could be changed to save you some more time, please let us know.Finally a small tweak has been made to the Blog mode option. This shows the content of News / Blog posts actually on the index page, so visitors don't have to open each post to read it. You can now have this same format on your Home page news section via the option on the News / Blog settings page.
This includes instructions on how to add the popular "Like" Facebook buttons to various sections of your website. It only takes a minute and you don't have to have a Facebook account.
This new feature is entirely optional and if you don't choose to enable it nothing on your website has changed.
If you've not started a free trial yet, start one here and then click Photium blog.