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Precision Computing Arts / Fastwebdev Blog
Precision Computing Arts / Fastwebdev Blog

Welcome to the Precision Computing Arts / Fastwebdev blog. We use this blog to post interesting news about our Sitebuilder web hosting and content management system (CMS). As with other blogging systems, blog articles from our system are indexed in Google and other search engines within a week or two.

(Customers can set up and maintain similar blogs on any Sitebuilder websites that we host.)

Tuesday, September 20 2011
New order archiving featuresSystem Update: 4.19 - [08/25/2011]
Orders are now archived automatically in order to improve the performance of the order management area.
  • Order states of Completed, Shipped, and Cancelled will automatically be moved to the History area after 3 months. 
  • All other order states will automatically be moved to history after 6 months. 

Merchants can access these orders by clicking the History link in their order manager area or by entering the order id in the search field. 

Ecommerce reports still will reflect information for all completed and shipped orders even if the order has been archived. 

 

Posted by: Precision Computing Arts, Inc, AT 06:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, September 09 2011

Fraudulent Digital Certificates - Visit Microsoft Website for DetailsMicrosoft is aware of active attacks using at least one fraudulent digital certificate issued by DigiNotar. A fraudulent certificate could be used to spoof content, perform phishing attacks, or perform man-in-the-middle attacks against all Web browser users including users of Internet Explorer. This issue affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows.

Typically no action is required of customers to install this update for supported releases of Microsoft Windows, because most customers have automatic updating enabled and this update will be downloaded and installed automatically.

For more information, including how to manually install this update, see Microsoft Security Advisory (2607712) at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/advisory/2607712.mspx.

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 12:38 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, August 18 2011

New Features - System Update 4.18bSystem Update: 4.19 - [8/20/2011]
System Update 4.19 is available to all Precision Computing Arts/Fastwebdev web hosting clients, and it's chock full of useful and fun features, which are summarized below. If you have any questions or would like us to help you implement these features, please don't hesitate to contact us!

 


 


User accounts
The user accounts pages have been updated to make accounts easier to navigate and manage.

 

Tabs have been added at the top of the user accounts page that let you easily switch between the user groups and user accounts view. Navigation has been enhanced to make it easier to switch between user groups.

The user accounts details page now opens in a popup window for quick access. The selected user group checkboxes have been updated to make them easier to work with. A new link has been added to the user account detail page that lets you send a quick email to the user.

Mailing list
The site mailing list pages have been reworked to make the mailing list easier to use.

  • Updated mailing list user interface.
  • New email templates added (30+ new templates).
  • New email templates automatically include social networking links in the template.
  • Updated mailing list template user interface. You can now preview a template before selecting it.

New option to set the email "from" display name as well as a tracking code for the email. The tracking code is automatically added to links in your email. This allows you to track the effectiveness of your newsletters.

Form builder
New options at the top of the form builder make it easier to enable the contact DB and mailing list features on the form. The form builder user interface has been updated. There were a lot of options on the page which can make the form builder a bit confusing to configure. Some options have been moved into settings tabs.

Social networking
The social networking sharing icons now include the Google +1 button and LinkedIn buttons. You also now have the option to hide/display both the social widget buttons or the social icons. A new option to send a Tweet from with in the admin has been added to the marketing area. The blog manager has a direct link to send a tweet about a blog post.

Edit tabs [preview/experimental]
This update includes an experimental new site builder header. We have added an option to try out a new set of tabs at the top of the site builder to get feedback. The new set of tabs provides quick access to the new marketing/reports area as well as direct access to core ecommerce functions for store accounts. It will be easy for customers to switch between the existing tabs and the new tabs. To try this feature, select Admin > Editor Settings > Edit Tabs Style [Optmized]

Website edit header tabs

  • admin
  • view site
  • edit site
  • design
  • marketing/reports
  • help

Ecommerce edit header tabs

  • admin
  • website
  • store setup
  • products
  • orders
  • customers
  • marketing/reports
  • help

Marketing/Reports
The new marketing/reports sections provides easy access to the most important markting features that are integrated with the site builder as well as quick access to statistics, search engine submission and site guides. The core marketing features, blog, mailing list, social networking settings and twitter are all included.

Misc updates

  • The view/edit tab drop down menu now includes links to the settings pages.
  • Message board no longer requires capcha when you are logged in.
  • Displayable user name for message board when user accounts/login required to post messages.
  • Updated mobile/browser detection for stats and mobile pages.
  • The drop down tab menu for edit site now includes direct links to all of the settings pages.
  • Calendar uses timezone offset.
  • Site page search now includes blog posts and HTML pages.

Media library page
Use the new media library page to create a sortable media list with embedded media player. Upload your audio/video files. The media library automatically creates a RSS feed/pod cast for the uploaded media.

Text editor
The text editor 2.0 now allows you to easily setup H1, H2, H3 tags via the style drop down. Simply select your text and click the style drop down to apply one of the header styles.

Blog

  • The blog user interface has been updated.
  • New option to save a blog post as a draft.
  • Added support for integrating Facebook comment system (enable from blog settings page).
  • Blog manager now has direct links to easily send a tweet with link for new blog posts.

Basic traffic stats

  • Basic traffic stats are now maintained for up to 3 years (this will only include stats collected after the update is installed)
  • New option to reset all your traffic stats
  • New option to reset your traffic stats referrers/search engines/keywords
  • Stats have been updated to be tracked in the site owner's local time based on their time zone setting
  • NOTE: Stats before this update will not reflect the correct timezone

Ecommerce

  • Ecommerce reports are now displayed in the user's time zone (only applies to new orders completed after this update)
  • For products that ship in their own box, you can now set the package dimensions
  • New gateway (Moneris for US merchants)

Tell us what you think!
We are always looking to improve the quality of our services and your feedback is appreciated. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let us know.

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 06:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 08 2011

New Features - System Update 4.18bSystem Update: 4.18b - [5/18/2011]
System Update 4.18 is available to all Precision Computing Arts/Fastwebdev web hosting clients, and it's chock full of useful and fun features, which are summarized below. If you have any questions or would like us to help you implement these features, please don't hesitate to contact us!

 


 


Animated image transition effects
Go to the design area to set up animated transition effects for your image galleries, rotators, rotating banners and content slider components.

Austrailian e-commerce updates
This feature displays the shopping cart prices/total including tax. To enable the feature, go to the "customize fields/international" settings page and check the "Use Australian VAT tax display" box.

Product ID on product catalog page
Go to the general settings page to enable the product ID display. When this option is enabled, the product ID will be displayed to the right of the product name on your product display page. There are 2 settings, one for the product category and another to display the product ID on the detail pages.

Social networking link
When the Facebook link is enabled, the Facebook like button is now displayed along with your social networking links. To configure social networking links, view your website, click the settings button and then click the social networking link on the left side of the page.

 

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 02:06 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, July 07 2011

What's New? System Update: 4.18a System Update: 4.18a - [4/28/2011]
System Update 4.18 is available to all Precision Computing Arts/Fastwebdev web hosting clients, and it's chock full of useful and fun features, which are summarized below. If you have any questions or would like us to help you implement these features, please don't hesitate to contact us!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ECOMMERCE IMAGES UPDATE

Product zoom images
Use the new product image upload user interface to upload zoom images of your products. When a zoom images is loaded the system will display a zoomed version of the image when a visitor hovers over the main product detail image.

Bulk image import
Easily import your main product images as well as more product images. To learn more, go to the store import/export page and click the bulk image upload option.

Additional product images
It is now easier to load more product images using the new product image upload user interface.

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 02:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, July 04 2011

SEO ServicesWhat We Do to Improve Customers' Search Engine Results

We design all websites with good search engine performance in mind, and my customers' websites appear to be doing well. I've had customers get VERY expensive estimates from SEO experts who proposed to do what 23 already had done (or could do) myself. We did the necessary work, and their search engine results improved.  

With the client's input regarding desired search keywords, we make sure keyword content is complete, and keywords and meta tags are present for each page. Then we use the built-in search engine submission features available on your Cool Tools system, which hits all the major engines.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Standings in Search Engines

  1. Brainstorm which keywords you want people to use to find your site, and and be sure those keywords are already in the pages of your site. The most important keywords should be on your home page. (If you decide to hire us to help, be sure to write down and send us all the keywords that are most important to you.)
  2. Type your keywords into the major search engines (mainly Google.com, Yahoo.com, and Bing.com, in that order of importance). If your site is on the first page, you've got it made! Check out your competitors, too, and see what keywords find their sites high up in the results. Note that some businesses have so much competition that it's virtually impossible to always land on the first page of the search engine results, so no one can guarantee top-page performance. Also be aware that search engines change their methods for finding sites relatively frequently, so your site may be at the top of the heap one day and appear to move down the next; there's no way to really prevent that. Regardless of what the search engines do, your best bet is always to have high quality keywords in your content and meta tags.
  3. Look at which directories pop up with your keywords and get into those directories (each directory will explain how to get listed).
    For example, we plugged "real estate appraisal wisconsin" into Google and found several real estate appraiser directories at the top of the search results, including http://appraiserusa.com/wisconsin/, http://www.alamode.com/DirectoryGenerator/Appraiser_Wisconsin.htm, and http://www.appraisercentral.com/st/wi.htm.

    We generally recommend customers submit to the directories themselves, because it requires knowledge of their business and sometimes payment; it's tedious data entry work, but generally easy to do. Having us do something you can easily do yourself would not be cost-effective for you.
  4. Consider some paid advertising (e.g., Google Adwords and various directories). I think this can be a last resort, except for industry "musts."
Here are some quotes from a customer (www.kevinmcginnstables.com) whose site we built with search engines in mind. He also worked on his own (with a little help from us to get started) to submit his business to various general and industry-specific directories. He wrote:
"Thanks so much for demystifying building a high functioning site for me. Many friends that are expert at online marketing have complimented your work and your calm and clear direction has given me a new presence on the web.
 
6/16/11 Update: When I initially contacted you in February 2011, I had 3-1/2 clients. My site went live in late March. I have picked up 6 new clients since you redid my site and I started listing myself anywhere I could. So I am up to 10!!! YOU are magic!!!!! Once I get caught up $$$$Ly in about a month, let's talk about how to enhance the site more.
 
7/1/11 Update: I've been sticking to free directories only, with the exception of the professional horseman's association directory because it's an industry "must." I've been doing OK with my cheapies! My income has risen about 120% in 6 weeks! It was like a switch went on Friday May 13th when my website went live. Who said Friday the 13 was unlucky?"
Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 04:04 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, May 04 2011

New FeaturesSystem Update: 4.18 - [3/28/2011]  

The most recent System Update 4.18 is available to all Precision Computing Arts/Fastwebdev web hosting clients, and it's chock full of useful and fun features, which are summarized below. If you have any questions or would like us to help you implement these features, please don't hesitate to contact us!


CONTENT SLIDER
Use the content slider to set up animated content sections with your own background images and text. Visitors can use arrows or page icons to navigate between slider content sections.

Edit any page, click the add button and choose the content slider from the design/layout component section.

GOOGLE FONTS DIRECTORY - CUSTOMIZE YOUR SITE WITH NEW FONTS
Most newer web browsers now support the ability to download fonts, giving you more control over how your site text looks. Google has setup a font directory to easily allow you to use new fonts on your website.

In the text & styles area, you can now choose from a selection of many different font styles from the Google font directory. To choose your additional fonts, click the font drop down and click the more fonts link.

Use caution when selecting additional fonts. Adding more fonts to your site can cause your site to load slower, so be sure to only select fonts that you are using on your site.

SIDEBAR CONFIGURATION
The sidebar configuration window provides easier access to sidebar minimum width and other options. An icon has been added to the top sidebar to open up the sidebar settings window. You can set the minimum sidebar width as well as enable/disable sidebars while editing the page.

DESIGN LIBRARY
More color layout options have been added to the design library. To view more options, go to the design library, find a design and click the color icon to preview the design in many different color schemes.

ECOMMERCE

  • Sidebar links mode - expandable tree format
  • Sidebar links mode - display categories as section titles
  • Option for full path navigation (breadcrumb links on top of all product pages)
  • Easier to move products/categories in and out of the hidden products area
  • Customize all labels/text for shopping cart and checkout pages
  • Configure gift certificate expiration
  • Customize css/style for the product sub category and links display

MULTIPLE FILE UPLOAD (DRAG DROP) FOR CHROME AND FIREFOX
When using Firefox or Google Chrome, you can multi-select and upload files. This is useful for setting up photo galleries or uploading files via the file manager. The upload form also includes a drop box. You can select files form your computer and drag them to the drop box to automatically upload them to your website.

PREVIEW : LAYOUT BUILDER (ADVANCED FEATURE)
Get more control over your design with new layout builder designs. Customize the backgrounds, margins and padding for different areas of your layout (quickbar, logo, banner, menu bar, content areas, sidebars, footer). This is an advanced feature that requires good knowledge of web design/css.

PREVIEW : WEB DEVELOPER TOOLS (ADVANCED FEATURE)
Use the web developer tools to customize your website. This is an advanced feature that requires good knowledge of web design/css and web programming. 

  • Install custom template templates
  • Create custom layouts for products
  • Upload your own menu buttons
  • Customize your menu styles, photo gallery styles and more.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK!
We are always looking to improve the quality of our services and your feedback is appreciated. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please let us know.

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 10:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, April 01 2011

The Huffington Post recently reprinted a blog article by Anne Hill titled "5 Great New Social Media Strategies." Read the complete article. I've summarized this article for you below*.

Most companies today understand they need great SEO for their websites, and they need to actively participate in social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. However, there are some new FREE options for you to consider in your quest for successful Internet marketing. These include:

  1. Set up a Yelp Business Profile. This is especially useful for storefronts, but can be used for non-storefronts as well. Yelp provides a mobile app for finding products and services while you're on the road, and Yelp has an extensive set of features that allow people to review businesses and post events. Visit yelp.com to get started.
  2. Get listed in Google Places. It turns out that being listed in Google Places will improve the Google search results for your business. If that's not an incentive, we don't know what is! Visit Google Places to get started.
  3. Increase your visibility as an expert on Quora. Quora bills itself as "A continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Quora is a place to learn and to have others learn from you. Visit Quora to get started.
  4. Use video to get your message across. There's nothing like a video to showcase your products, services, and to give your business personality and pizazz. A small video camera or smart phone will get you started for little money. Post to YouTube and other social networking sites.
  5. Use Meetup to create or join a group for local events. This tool is perfect for businesses that regularly hold informational meetings. Visit Meetup to get started.

* Special thanks to Kevin McGinn of Kevin McGinn Stables for bringing this article to our attention!

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 04:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, February 14 2011

My BlackBerry Isn't Working

For those living in the techno age, this is really a hoot.

http://biggeekdad.com/2010/12/blackberry-not-working/

Posted by: Elizabeth AT 10:44 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, February 11 2011

The Costco Connection (February 2011) recently featured an article titled "Nine Steps to Getting Your Website Noticed" by Andy Tilbrook. The original article is available at http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201102?pg=28#pg28.

Here are highlights of the tips:

  1. Be sure to submit your website to the big 3 search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing). Links are:
  2. Submit your site to dmoz, a human-reviewed non-profit Web-monitoring project that links to Google's directory. Link is: www.dmoz.org/help/submit.html
  3. Include a sitemap, which provides a list of your web site's pages for the major search engines. You can generate a sitemap automatically at www.xml-sitemaps.com. After generating the map, you will need to upload it to your website and submit it to the search engines.
  4. Be sure the content of your site includes the key words and phrases that people would enter into search engines when they are looking for the type of product or service that you offer.
  5. Try using Google's keyword tool to get ideas for keywords to include in your site. Link is: www.google.com/sktool/
  6. Be sure the filenames of your photos include descriptive keywords, such as avoid_gum_surgery.jpg. (And don't forget to include the "Alt" tags.) 
  7. Encourage links from other (related) websites to yours. For example, when commenting on blog articles that are related to your business, be sure to include a link back to a relevant page on your website. Also, ask for other sites to link to yours. For example, if you sell volleyball uniforms, ask the webmaster for your local volleyball club to link from the volleyball club's site to your site.
  8. Use informative description and title meta tags on each page of your site. These tags are not visible to website users, but most search engines employ them when creating a listing for your website's pages in their indexes.
  9. Use relevant, visible headings that employ your search engine keywords throughout your site.

If you would like us to help improve your site's search rankings using the tips below, please contact us.

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 20 2011

Read Are You Nobody? Do Your Customers Know Your Name?
Click above to read the entire blog article

Our friend and client Karalyn J. Eckerle of Cardinal Point Virtual Assistants wrote an excellent blog article titled "Are You Nobody? Do Your Customers Know Your Name?" We encourage you to read the entire article to fully enjoy her great tips and wonderful writing style. But if you're in a hurry and want some truly useful nuggets of marketing advice, read the Top Ten List below:

  1. Branding (name association) is an important concept in business.
  2. Word-of-mouth advertising is the most valuable marketing tool we have.
  3. Become known in your field by telling people what you do, with passion!
  4. Connect with folks through business cards that reflect your character and the type of work you do, and then be imaginative in your use of those cards.
  5. Distribute at least 5 business cards every day, preferably with a customized note on the back.
  6. A frequently-updated website and a blog are nearly mandatory in today's Internet-oriented business world. (Please contact us if you need help with these items!)
  7. Visit Internet blogs and websites related to your business, and comment on blog articles that you find.
  8. When commenting, leave a link to your own blog or website in your signature line.
  9. Be a physical presence in your community, volunteering your expertise to become better known (plus, volunteering can be fun and emotionally rewarding).
  10. Toot your own horn occasionally so people will know who you are and what you do.

We completed a website makeover for Karalyn's company, Cardinal Point Virtual Assistants, on January 19, 2011.

 

Posted by: Elizabeth Olson AT 11:25 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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