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How To Organise Your Website Content

April 30th, 2015 by

Once you’ve commissioned a web design project the time inevitably comes to organise the content you want to display on your new website. This can be a daunting task but with a methodical, organised approach you can make this job a bit easier on yourself (or whomever you’ve tasked with writing your copy!) and, in turn, your web designer.

Planning

The first thing you need to do is identify which pages you need on your website to get key information across to your website visitors.

Some topics will be more important than others. For example, as a web design agency, visitors to the Ballyhoo website are mainly looking for information about our services, company, projects and contact details. These are therefore all important enough to have dedicated pages on our website and be accessible via the main menu. Other areas, such as job opportunities and side projects like Longbridge Device Lab, are not as important so they can be featured less prominently.

Try making a list of which topics you need to cover and then prioritise them. You may find that some topics can be naturally grouped together under one page or that there may be a lot to say about certains items which will mean a dedicated page is better suited.

Structure

Your website structure can be a tricky one to get your head around, particularly if there’s a lot you need to convey through your content. Pages must have a defined hierarchy whereby the route you have taken to particular content can be clearly retraced. In other words, every page must have a parent.

For us, the simplest way to think about things is by picturing your website using a tree structure. Your home page is the trunk from which all branches stem. Branches can have many smaller branches (sub-pages) but if you trace the tip of a small branch all the way back through its parent branches you’ll get to the trunk.

Following the diagram below, using a web design company like Ballyhoo as an example, to reach the page “Custom Booking Systems” you must follow the path Home > Services > Web Design > Custom Booking Systems. You’ll often see this path displayed on websites you visit in what we call “breadcrumbs” (as in, they help you find your way back home – for an example, take a look at the top of this page).

Grab a pen and some paper and try mapping out your website using a tree structure. Don’t worry if it takes several drafts to come up with something you are happy with. Once you have finalised this, keep it handy for easy reference and create a digital version like the above if possible. This will be very handy for your web designer to refer to when adding your content. Note: if your website structure is particularly complex a bulleted list with indents for each level may be better suited.

Copywriting

Firstly, if you’re not a natural writer and you struggle to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be, please consider hiring a copywriter. Ballyhoo, for example, provide excellent copywriting alongside our web development services as we understand how important good copy is. Although this may not be something you’ve budgeted for it may save you money in the long run as your time can be better spent on what you’re good at rather than wasted staring at a blank computer screen.

If you feel confident or have someone to entrust this task to then please read on. These are our top tips for writing and providing good content for your website:

  • In terms of how much to write, the general rule is to aim for approximately 500 words per page.
  • Write the content for each page in separate documents (e.g. in Word). This will make it easier for you to reference pages in the future and will also cut down your developer’s time getting organised.
  • Try writing the main points you want to cover in short bullet points to start with, you can then expand on these as you write the page proper. Having this list to reference also ensures you don’t forget any important points.
  • Don’t keyword-stuff your copy, ensure it flows naturally. If you are writing relevant copy then the keywords you naturally need to target should appear at regular intervals anyway.
  • Always remember to spell check! It’s surprising how many forget to do this. Also ensure your spellchecker is set to British English so that words are spelled using local rules.
  • Have a trusted colleague or friend proofread everything you’ve written. By the time you’ve written, read and re-read your copy it can all become a blur and mistakes can become less obvious.

Have a go at writing one page of the content that you have identified, timing how long it takes (it should take you around an hour to write 500 words).

Media

In addition to your copy you may also want to include relevant media to support your text. Anything from photos and videos to downloadable PDFs come under this umbrella.

The main thing you need to remember before you send media your web designer’s way is to properly name every file and ensure that every reference to said files are clear and correct within the documents you’ve created for each page.

Ensure that you have permission to use any media files you send to your web designer. If not you may risk legal proceedings and be forced to pay royalties or at the very least take down the files.


If you would like any assistance planning or creating your website content feel free to get in touch with the Ballyhoo team on 0121 295 5352 or by email to hello@ballyhoo.co.uk.

Ballyhoo Refresh Version 2.0

March 31st, 2014 by

We’ve added some big features in Ballyhoo Refresh Version 2.0 to make our content management system even more versatile, thus helping you to maximise your website’s potential, drive more traffic and engage more visitors.

Multiple Language Support

Multiple language support is now available for Ballyhoo Refresh. This new feature allows you to output any number of languages on one website with a great amount of flexibility.

Each language is independent, giving you free reign when it comes to the content that’s added; whether you want to exactly duplicate your content in another language, omit some pages or have completely different content altogether. The choice is yours.

This does mean however, that when making updates to your site they will need to be carried out in each language individually. If this proves to be too time consuming or sounds like too much hard work then you may want to consider having a support and maintenance contract with Ballyhoo so we can help lighten the load!

Switch Between Desktop & Mobile

We all know how frustrating it can be when we land on a mobile version of a website when we would prefer to see the desktop version. Nine times out of ten (and especially when the website has been created by Ballyhoo) the mobile version is perfect for the device you are using, but what if it’s not? Well, we have added a function to allow your visitors to simply switch between the mobile and desktop versions of your website as they wish.

What if you don’t have a mobile or responsive version of your website? Well you should get one! If you’re not convinced here are a few facts that I’ve read recently:

  • 91% of all people in the world have a mobile phone.
  • 56% of people own a smartphone.
  • 50% of mobile phone users use their mobile as their primary internet source.

If you would like to discuss a mobile or responsive version, or even if you are interested in seeing how many people access your site using a mobile device each month, then please feel free to get in touch. In the meantime check out some of the recent responsive projects we have been working on.

Added Spam Prevention

We’ve added some new techniques to block spam getting through our Testimonials module. Spam is the bane of a website owner’s existence and no matter what we put in place to try to stop it spammers always seem to find a way to get through. We’re pretty close to stopping it altogether but will keep adding new techniques as they become available.

Improved Advanced SEO Options

Ballyhoo Refresh has the option to allow users access to advanced SEO settings such as Page Titles and Meta Descriptions to help you optimise your appearance in searches. The optional SEO settings (if turned on) can now be found neatly bundled together at the bottom of the page editor in the admin area of your site. If you’re not sure what we’re talking about then don’t worry, these settings are more for our advanced users; just leave the fields blank and Ballyhoo Refresh will take care of the rest for you.

You Are Currently Logged In As…

Ballyhoo Refresh version 2.0 now displays your username at the top of the page at all times making it easier to track who is currently logged in to the system.

Find Your Nearest Improvements

The option to include a full address with the description of your business in our Find Your Nearest module has been added in Ballyhoo Refresh version 2.0. The address you add will appear below the name of the added location on the map as well as on the location’s individual page to give your visitors even more information about your location.

Ballyhoo Refresh Version 1.8

March 21st, 2014 by

Version 1.8 of our content management system Ballyhoo Refresh has now been released. In this version we have a large scope of new features and modules to help you keep your website up to date and provide the best possible experience for your customers. There’s quite a lot to get on with in this version so let’s jump right in…

Separate Page Headings & Titles

A meta ‘page title’ is the title used by search engines when they list a website in their results pages. A well worded page title lets searchers know exactly what a page is about and therefore entices them to pay a visit.

Previously Ballyhoo Refresh would display your page heading as the page title, while this was a perfectly acceptable practice we wanted to offer that little extra bit of flexibility.

With Ballyhoo Refresh 1.8 you now have the possibility to specify a separate page heading and page title. This allows for more adaptability meaning that pages can be titled exactly as you want them to be.

Drag & Drop Sub-Page Ordering

Ballyhoo Refresh now gives you the ability to reorder the sub-pages within your site. Simply click and drag on a thumbnail to reposition it – the sub-page will automatically snap to a grid so there is no need to worry about being too accurate.

Authorship for Pages

Authorship can now be added to pages (old and new) to display a head-shot or avatar and a little bit of information about the author. This is shown at the bottom of every page belonging to a particular author and you also have the option to select ‘none’ should you not want the your profile to be displayed.

You may have noticed that Google have fairly recently started to show pictures of authors next to entries on a results page. In order for this to appear a special link needs to be included in your website to point Google to the author’s Google+ profile. Ballyhoo’s authorship feature includes this link for you on every page where an author has been specified, thus enhancing your appearance in Google’s results pages.

Configuration of this feature must be carried out by a developer, contact us for more information.

Positional Enquiry Forms

Ballyhoo Refresh now allows you to position a contact form anywhere within a contact page – simply pop {enquiry form} into the HTML where you want the form to appear. This means you can now add a call to action in the most optimal place to encourage your customers to get in touch.

If you’re not familiar with HTML just let us know where you’d like your forms to appear and we can do this for you.

New Anti-Spam Techniques

New anti-spam measures have been put in place to reduce the amount of unwanted messages that are sent through your contact forms, product enquiry forms and testimonial forms. We hope that the new techniques that we are using will bring us closer to stopping these spammers altogether but in the meantime you should see a significant reduction in time-consuming spam.

Product Demonstration Module

Our new Product Demonstration Module allows you to show off your products in all their glory. This fantastic module allows you to include a product description alongside multiple images and also includes the ability to include an enquiry form so customers can easily get in touch.

The main product image is displayed in a large size, with thumbnails positioned either above, below or to the side. The thumbnail images can be rearranged in the admin area by dragging and dropping them into the desired position. When a user clicks on the thumbnail it takes the place of the main image and the main image can also be clicked to view an even larger, zoomed version.

Back to Top

Last, but by no means least, we’ve added the possibility to include a ‘back to top’ button at the bottom of a web-page. Once a visitor reaches the bottom of a page they will be presented with a button which will whiz them straight back up to the top when clicked. This adds extra functionality to your website, making it even easier to navigate thus engaging your visitors that little bit longer.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.23

February 4th, 2014 by

Version 1.9.23 of Ballyhoo Commerce gives you the power to harness customer reviews, add banners across your entire website and better utilise discount codes to drive sales. Read on to find out more!

Feefo Order Feed

Online reviews are becoming a massive influence on the buying process and the power of this media should not be underestimated. To help our customers harness and effectively apply their own reviews we have now integrated Ballyhoo Commerce with Feefo, the independent customer feedback system.

Feefo is a third-party tool that is used to collect genuine customer reviews about your customer service and products. The entire process is automated and feedback can be shown on your website. Feefo also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service by allowing you to publicly respond to any negative feedback.

Furthermore, Feefo has great search engine optimisation benefits and directly contributes to your Google seller rating (the star rating that appears next to your Google Ads and Google Shopping listings).

As part of our integration, every half an hour Ballyhoo Commerce will automatically generate a list of new orders to send to Feefo for processing. Feefo will then contact your customers for their feedback and, once this is provided, your reviews will be displayed on their website.

To ensure Feefo is used to its best ability Ballyhoo has become a Feefo partner, meaning we have all the skills to configure and manage your Feefo account and help you make the most of it. Please note that Feefo requires an ongoing monthly investment and a set up fee will also be charged. For more information on this service give us a call on 0121 295 5352.

If you think you’ve got great service and products, prove it!

Site Alert Banner

On request, we have now added the ability to add a site-wide banner to your e-commerce website. This appears across the top of every page on your website and the text is fully customisable in the Content Manager of Ballyhoo Commerce.

Here are just a few ideas of how you could use this new feature:

  • “Merry Christmas from all the team at Ballyhoo!”
  • “Enter discount code BALLYHOO2014 at the checkout for an extra 10% off!”
  • “Low stock – delivery due in 1-2 weeks.”
  • “Ballyhoo will be closed between 1st May – 10th May for essential maintenance.”

Limited Discount Codes

Discount codes can be effectively used to drive new sales on your website and encourage repeat custom (see our blog Why You Should Use Discount Codes). In some cases they can even make the difference between a sale or a fail.

To give you further control over this powerful selling tool, we’ve expanded the functionality of our Discount Codes manager to allow you to limit the number of times a discount code can be used.

We’ve thought of a number of ways this can be effectively employed:

  • Promotions
    “The first 10 customers to use this code will receive 50% off.”
    The first benefit of a promotion of this type is that it will drive customers to your website, especially people who may not ordinarily have visited. Secondly, customers who don’t put their order through in time to receive the discount may still make a purchase – if they’ve gone to the effort of getting to know your products, imagined owning them and added them to their basket they are now emotionally invested and may still choose to place the order at full price.
  • Customer Service
    Create a one-off discount code to tempt a customer into placing a large order or to compensate an unhappy customer. In these situations the discount is likely to be high so you can limit the discount code to just one use. This prevents losses if the discount code is spread around the web or if the customer tries to use the code more than once.

Email Validation

From order confirmations to website usernames, we all rely on email. Our emails let us know what’s happening across our lives, both online and increasingly offline, and we often use our addresses to grant us access to the many online services we sign up to. But what happens if you enter your email address incorrectly?

Quite simply, if you enter the wrong email address during the registration process you won’t receive important emails about your purchase or service and when you do come to try and access your account you may encounter difficulty and, at the least, wasted time.

To try and prevent this happening to your customers we have added an email validation function to Ballyhoo Commerce. Email validation checks the formatting of the email address the user enters to ensure it matches the standard format address@domain.suffix. While this doesn’t guarantee against the user typing the text part of an email address incorrectly, it will draw attention to common mistakes like using an apostrophe instead of the @ sign and forgetting to put the dot before .com.

More New Features & Improvements!

Price By Length Improvements

The length field is now empty as default and an error message is displayed to the customer if they add the product to their basket without entering a value.

Automatic Tidying

The Ballyhoo Commerce system will now attempt to tidy user submitted values to ensure you have clean and consistent text, notably on invoices. If needed the system will add and remove capital letters where appropriate, e.g. if all lower- or upper-case text has been used.

Add Weight to Product Variant

Item weight is used to correctly calculate shipping values. To ensure this is accurate we have added the ability to specify the weight of a product variant where this would previously have used the value of the primary item.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.22

October 8th, 2013 by

In Version 1.9.22 of Ballyhoo Commerce we’ve introduced new features and improvements across a number of areas of the e-commerce system, including saved orders, pricing, auto-complete search, blogging and our new Tradebox integration.

Automatically Saved Orders

Abandoned orders can be very frustrating for online retailers; someone has chosen to visit your website out of hundreds of others, gone to the effort of adding products to their basket and then… nothing. Unfortunately, it’s rare you’ll be able to find out exactly why they haven’t completed their order, however genuine the reason, but with our latest e-commerce feature we hope you’ll see an increase in the number of customers returning to finish their purchase.

We gave customers the ability to save orders for later back in Version 1.9.19 and have since improved this feature in subsequent versions, most recently allowing you to specify how many days you want orders to be saved for and adding automated reminder emails to let customers know their saved orders are due to expire.

From this version onwards we will also now automatically save orders that aren’t completed within 2 hours of the first item being added to the shopping basket. To allow this the customer needs to have logged in or registered as a customer prior to the order being saved due to inactivity, so this is very much geared towards those users who have committed to the sale but have genuinely had to stop in their tracks (perhaps due to a family emergency or connectivity problems, who knows?).

An email notification will be sent to the customer to let them know the contents of their basket have been saved at current pricing and we will then follow the normal saved order procedure, e.g. with email reminders sent at regular intervals, until the order expiry date.

Tradebox Update

Following the launch of our Tradebox integration in the last version of Ballyhoo Commerce we have used customer comments to improve this feature. Your feedback is integral to the ongoing advancement of this e-commerce system so we encourage you to let us know your thoughts whenever you can – no matter how trivial the issue may seem!

Upfront Pricing

Pricing should be transparent when you are shopping online but sadly on many e-commerce websites customers are still caught out at the checkout stage when additional charges like VAT and delivery are added.

We are committed to making additional charges crystal clear. We already show the customer everything they’ll be charged on the main shopping basket page but now we’ve also re-worked the shopping basket summary (the part of your website on every page that shows the customer how many items are in their basket and the total value) to show the final price the customer will pay at the checkout too. Goodbye nasty surprises.

Auto-complete Search Enhancements

The addition of our auto-complete search facility meant that customers could find the product they were looking for within seconds of typing the first few letters of their search query. We’ve now enhanced this so that the system searches products by variant too so the customer has even more chance of finding what they want on their first search attempt.

Product variant results will be shown on both the auto-complete search drop-down selection and on the main search results page.

New Blog Features

If you’re using the blogging abilities of Ballyhoo Commerce (in the Content Manager) you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve added a few new features for you in this version too.

We will now be able to add custom styling to blog posts (when we upgrade your website or develop a new Ballyhoo Commerce website from scratch), you’ll have the ability to change the published date of your blog posts and the first paragraph of your post will automatically be shown as a content excerpt on the parent Blog page.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.21

September 25th, 2013 by

We believe the latest version of Ballyhoo Commerce could revolutionise the way you manage orders.

Our e-commerce system is now fully integrated with Tradebox, a Sage Certified desktop application that seamlessly unites your e-commerce website with your Sage accountancy software to make e-commerce order management an automated and effortless experience.

Tradebox E-Commerce Integration

Tradebox Finance Manager is a desktop software application that seamlessly ties together your selling channels with Sage Accounts. This allows Sage to become an effective order management solution, giving you control over all the orders you receive online in one location.

Tradebox is Sage Certified meaning it has met stringent third-party software tests, complies with minimum requirements for installation and functionality and is always compatible with the latest available versions of Sage Instant and Sage 50.

A number of the most popular online marketplaces are already integrated with Tradebox, including Ebay, Amazon and Rakuten (play.com). Some of the biggest e-commerce systems on the market today are also fully integrated with Tradebox so we are proud to announce that Ballyhoo Commerce has joined the list meaning that our customers can enjoy the many benefits of Tradebox too.

Tradebox essentially pulls all of the order data from your website (including customer, order, shipping and payment information) and presents this data to Sage Accounts in a consistent and digestible format. This means the order data from all of your selling channels, e.g. if you’re selling on your own website and Amazon, can be reconciled so that you always have the clearest picture of how your business is performing and what needs to be done.

Even if you’re only selling through Ballyhoo Commerce this new addition to our system could save you valuable time by removing the need to manually import order data. It will also allow you to automatically create picking and packing lists and print out invoices, address labels and dispatch notes.

Important VAT Notice

In order to facilitate our integration with Tradebox, and thus Sage, we needed to change the way Ballyhoo Commerce manages VAT.

Now, we calculate VAT on the price of each product (rounded to 2 decimal places) then multiply that by the quantity sold. This is done for each item and then summed for the order total.

Please note that this change applies to upgrades to Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.21 and above.

What else is new in Version 1.9.21?

Product Variant References

Ballyhoo Commerce now gives you the ability to add unique reference codes to each product variant. A major benefit of this is that products will be split by reference code in your product feed so that each variation shows up as a single product. So, if you share your feed with Google Merchant Centre, or any other price comparison engine, each variation will now be listed as an individual product.

The auto-complete search facility in Ballyhoo Commerce will also search these reference codes so if you’re selling a well-known product your customers will be able to find what they’re looking for more quickly than ever.

VAT Calculations

A number of changes had to be made to the system to accommodate our new Tradebox integration and one of the more major changes was the way we calculate VAT.

Previously, VAT was calculated on the whole order but it is now calculated on a per order line basis to tie in with the way Sage calculates VAT.

SEO

As with any new version of Ballyhoo Commerce we aim to include enhancements that will assist your search engine optimisation efforts.

In Version 1.9.21 we have improved the handling of renamed products, categories and content pages so that, if you change the name of a page or product, you don’t lose any of the progress you’ve made in your SEO endeavours.

We’ve also taken steps to ensure that only the most important pages on your website will be indexed by search engines.

Social Sharing Buttons

Social sharing buttons have been around for a long time now so we’re all used to seeing counters alongside them showing how many times a page has been liked, tweeted or +1’d.

There are a few reasons you might want to turn the counter part of the button off though – perhaps no-one is sharing your website and you want to hide this or perhaps the buttons have been added to your website retrospectively and a growing number of digits in the counters would compromise the layout of your website.

Either way, we can now show social sharing buttons with or without their respective counter statistics – just let us know if you want us to do this when we upgrade your website.

Ballyhoo Refresh Version 1.7

July 8th, 2013 by

Ballyhoo Refresh version 1.7 is by far the most important release of our content management system to date. It includes a host of major new features and content management modules to help you manage your website and provide visitors with the best possible platform to interact with your organisation.

We’ve really pushed the boat out here and have developed several exciting new features that you can use to measure your website’s success and interact with your users. Read on to find out more…

Google Analytics Event Tracking

For those who don’t sell online one of the most effective measures of a successful website is knowing how many people contact you through it.

Keeping track of how many visitors actually get in touch with you (your conversion rate) is a big deal. Knowing where these rewarding visits have come from and being able to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategies is powerful, allowing you to focus your efforts and bring in even more customers.

Ballyhoo Refresh will automatically track events in Google Analytics allowing you to accurately measure your conversion rate. Whenever someone submits your enquiry form or clicks on your email address in the header or footer of your website an event will be tracked in Analytics showing you how that new customer reached your website, including the keyword they found you with in Google or the campaign that caught their attention.

Facebook Commenting

You can easily create a community around your website and give visitors a voice by enabling new Facebook commenting on Ballyhoo Refresh.

This is a direct integration that allows logged in Facebookers to comment on your content and start a conversation. While you’re sure to learn a lot from your customers in this way the main bonus is each user’s comments will be shared across their Facebook network of friends, family and colleagues, giving your brand a new audience whenever someone posts on your website.

You can turn on Facebook commenting on any page type (gallery, content page, etc.) and comments will be stored even if you disable and re-enable commenting at a later date.

Find Your Nearest

Our new Find Your Nearest module is perhaps the most impressive feature we’ve built for Ballyhoo Refresh so far. Hotels, restaurants, shops and other locations can now be easily and accurately located with just a few clicks!

Find Your Nearest cleverly uses Ordnance Survey postcode data (which is free!) to pinpoint locations and calculate distances. If you operate at several locations users will be able to enter their postcode on your website to find the branches closest to them. Results are handily displayed on an interactive Google map that even has a link to get step-by-step directions to the selected location.

Shopping Basket Module

Do you sell a single product or a small range of merchandise but don’t yet require the features of a full-blown e-commerce system? If this sounds like you you’ll love our new Shopping Basket module with basic e-commerce functions powered by PayPal.

This is e-commerce at its most simple level – allowing you to quickly list products with a single image, description and a price for delivery or collection. If you’ve never sold online and want to test the water or you’re only selling a single item with no variations then this is for you.

Testimonials Module

For any business it’s really satisfying to get positive feedback on the quality of your products and services, not to mention all the hard work you put into each project.

Show off these comments with our new Testimonials module which allows you to create a page on your website dedicated to the feedback you’ve received from happy customers.

Each testimonial (with the name of the customer and the date you received the feedback) is displayed in a digestible format matching the design of your website and there’s even an online form so customers can send you new testimonials by email.

Text-Editing Upgrade

Ballyhoo Refresh uses a comprehensive third-party application to power the text-editing features you use to add copy and format pages. In this version we have upgraded Refresh to use the latest available version, providing a more richly-featured text editing suite with everything you need to ensure your website looks great.

With many of the features you’d expect with a modern word processor, you can format text, add images and add links to make your copy as engaging as possible. More advanced users can even edit the html of the page.

Contact Forms

A further improvement in Version 1.7 is the ability to specify where the enquiry form appears within Contact Form pages, allowing you to place content around the form wherever you want.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.20

May 16th, 2013 by

Version 1.9.20 of Ballyhoo Commerce brings considerable enhancements to our e-commerce offering. A major improvement has been made to the way you edit content on your website and you’ll also find some great progress in areas such as price comparison, auto-complete search and saved orders.

It’s never been so easy to edit text!

Ballyhoo Commerce gives you a richly-featured text editing suite so you can easily format your product descriptions and content pages – much the same way as you would in a word processing program. Advanced users can even access the raw html of the page to create more complex layouts and styling.

The software we use to power this feature of your e-commerce administration area has now been upgraded to the latest version to give you some great new features to use in the everyday maintenance of your online shop.

As with any software upgrade, fixes for some bugs identified in previous versions are also included.

In-line Editing

Previously, when uploading images, adding links or editing html, windows with the extra features needed to carry out these tasks would open independently. As you may have experienced, having several windows open at once can be a little confusing. In this version the additional windows now open in-line with your browser, eliminating the clutter on your screen.

Resizeable Text Area

When adding or editing text you can now expand the text area to the dimensions of your choice by clicking and dragging from the bottom-right corner of the box.

Expanding the area will give you a better idea of content flow and reduce time spent scrolling through text in the editor.

Spellchecking

Correctly spelled words are not only reportedly good for search engines, they also impact the way customers perceive your professionalism – surely there’s no excuse for typos in this day and age?

An integrated spellchecker is now included in the text editor which is especially useful for those of you who write your content on the fly. Typos could be a thing of the past!

All new price comparison feeds

In an increasingly frugal shopping climate, price comparison engines are becoming the first port of call for many online shoppers. With Ballyhoo Commerce you can capitalise on this increasing trend to get your products in front of an ever-widening shopping audience.

The majority of price comparison engines use a pay-per-click model so you only pay a fee each time a shopper makes the decision to visit your website. As such, an increased marketing budget is required to make the most of this type of online shopping channel.

Introducing Become.com

We’re happy to announce that Become.com is the latest price comparison engine to be integrated with Ballyhoo Commerce. Become is predominately a comparison shopping website but also features buying guides and product reviews. Their data feeds are used by a number of other price comparison websites so there’s a good chance your products will be seen by a wider audience than anticipated.

A product feed especially for Become is now a standard feature of Ballyhoo Commerce so all you need to worry about is setting up and maintaining your account with them (we can even help with this!).

Google Analytics URLs

Having as much information as possible about the visits to your website can only be a good thing. Ballyhoo Commerce now uses Analytics Tracking URLs as standard in all product feeds to enable you to capitalise on the extra information they can give about visits to your website.

These URLs provide your Analytics account with valuable additional information beyond the usual data enabling you to tailor reports to measure the success of your marketing campaigns and evaluate how much revenue is really being generated by your investment in price comparison.

Automatically collected Shopzilla feed

A Shopzilla feed has been a part of Ballyhoo Commerce for many years, allowing you to upload your products to their price comparison engine.

Recent improvements they’ve made to their systems mean we can now set your Shopzilla product feed to be automatically collected. This eliminates the time you regularly need to take to upload your most recent feed to their system, meaning you can spend more time on other aspects of your online business.

Manufacturers added to auto-complete search results

In each new version of Ballyhoo Commerce we’re building on the auto-complete search feature we added in version 1.9.18, introducing category results in 1.9.19 and now manufacturer results in 1.9.20.

Many of you stock several products by the same manufacturer and with customers ever more aware of branding and the desire/necessity to have matching items, it seemed natural to include manufacturers in search results.

Saved order enhancements

Again, we’re trying to build on the Save Order feature we first introduced in version 1.9.19 in each new version of Ballyhoo Commerce.

In this version we now allow you to specify how many days you want saved orders to be valid for and we’ve also added automated reminder emails for customers who haven’t resumed their orders – letting them know at set intervals that their order is due to expire.

Other improvements in 1.9.20…

As per usual a number of minor improvements have also been made to functionality, usability and performance. In particular we’ve introduce more SEO improvements, fixed a number of validation issues with social sharing and made restricted features more obvious when a user is not logged in.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.19.1

April 11th, 2013 by

Ballyhoo Commerce 1.9.19.1 is a minor update to our e-commerce system to complement the updates previously made in version 1.9.19.

To summarise:

  • We’ve introduced some SEO improvements including improved canonical tags, a number of nofollows and noindexing some category pages to ensure Google and other search engines focus on your most important content.
  • Security is of the utmost important so steps are taken in each version of Ballyhoo Commerce to tighten this up wherever possible – version 1.9.19.1 being no exception.
  • The view in the Order Manager has also been updated to show authorised orders (ordered by dispatch status) as default. You have more options when filtering which orders to view too, use the drop-down to view All orders or filter by Pending, Processing, Saved, Declined, Authorised and Dispatched status.
  • As usual, a number of bugs we’ve discovered in the system have also been fixed.

We felt these were important enough to release as a minor version ahead of some big updates coming in version 1.9.20. Keep your eyes peeled for more information coming soon.

Ballyhoo Commerce Version 1.9.19

March 21st, 2013 by

Ballyhoo Commerce 1.9.19 is now available as a first time installation or upgrade for your e-commerce website. Along with the usual minor bug fixes, this version of our online shopping software is packed with features that help your customers to find and interact with your products, in particular giving them the ability to save orders for future completion.

Save Orders For Later

A major new feature of this version of Ballyhoo Commerce gives customers the ability to shop on your website and save their orders for later. Particularly geared towards those who want to price check or put together an order for approval, the save order feature is a real time saver for your customers.

Customers shopping on your website will now have a new option alongside the Checkout button on their shopping basket – Save Order. This enables the customer to store their order on the system at current pricing and return to the website at a later date (currently within a maximum of 30 days) to restore the order and complete the checkout and payment process.

Customers who want to save their order must register as a customer to do so, allowing you to capture their details for follow-up calls and marketing (if they opt-in during the registration process).

Order Management

Improvements have also been made to the way the system manages orders, ultimately giving you more visible data about your customers.

Order Tracking

Ballyhoo Commerce now tracks orders from the moment an item is added to the shopping basket – whether the customer has logged in or not. One benefit of this is to help you quantify what proportion of your orders are being pursued to completion, enabling you to identify areas for improvement.

In light of this a range of new order statuses were required, to summarise:

  • As soon as an item is placed in the user’s basket an order is created in the database with a status of Pending.
    • This order will be modified as the user adds and removes items or changes quantities.
    • If the status of the order does not progress from pending within 24 hours we consider the order to be abandoned but do not change the order status.
  • Once at the shopping basket stage a user can choose to proceed to checkout or save their order, changing the status to Processing or Saved respectively. Both require the user to login or register.
    • Once an order is Saved we consider the order to be abandoned if it is not restored and authorised within 30 days.
  • Orders that proceed to and return from a payment gateway are given a status of either Authorised or Declined.
    • If Authorised the administrator has the ability to manually mark the order as Dispatched.

Order Notifications

The system currently sends you an email every time a new order is received, inviting you to log in to your admin area and check the order manager.

This notification has now been improved to include the order number, the total order value and a link that will take you straight to the respective order in the admin area.

Search Engine Optimisation Enhancements

A number of SEO friendly changes have been made to Ballyhoo Commerce to further increase your chances of ranking well in search engines.

Essentially, we’ve made efforts to ensure that only the most valuable content on your website is picked up when search engine robots crawl your website, allowing them to focus on your rich, unique content. We do this by giving select links (to pages like enquiry and product request forms) ‘no follow’ tags, meaning robots should ignore them when roaming around your website.

We’ve also ensured that these robots don’t record empty pages on your website by using 404 Page Not Found messages where possible and have also taken care to remove any extraneous information that has no value.

Price Comparison Integration

If you’re selling competitively priced products you’ll understand how important it is to attract traffic from shoppers keen to get their purchases at the cheapest price possible.

Price comparison engines give you the ability to get your products out there in front of these shoppers, with many requiring just a simple product feed or minor integration to get you started.

We have now integrated the PriceRunner price comparison engine to complement our existing compatibility with Google Products and Shopzilla.

Search

Following our addition of an auto-complete search facility in version 1.9.18 we’ve added the ability to show categories in search results too.

Auto-complete search presents your customer with a range of matching products after they’ve typed just a few letters into the search bar. The inclusion of categories in this list gives your customer a more comprehensive choice of what’s available on your website, helping them to find the perfect item in as few clicks as possible.