Recently, Facebook has announced that their Activity Feed Plug-in will be deprecated on June 23rd. For more details about the announcement, visit the deprecated plugins page.
Following this announcement, Business Catalyst is going to retire the corresponding BC module with our July release. Please make sure that your customers and team members are aware of these important updates. Since the plugin will stop working, it is recommended that you update your site(s) to remove the corresponding code.
Alternatively, you might want to consider replacing it with Facebook Page. For more details on how you can add a Facebook Page plugin to your site, check the Facebook Page Plugin article on the Business Catalyst documentation site.
Thanks to those of you who attended our May BC webinar about Building an App in an Hour with Michael Sallander. In this webinar Mike revealed from start to the finish how we can build the “Solid Company Settings” App.
If you were unable to join us live, check out the webinar recordings here:
Business Catalyst does a lot of amazing things out of the box (especially with apps) but many times your clients have the need to connect BC with an external system such as CRM, Ticketing, Email Marketing, or Live Chat software. In this webinar, Mike Sallander will uncover for you simple, yet practical, examples of apps that connect BC to 3rd party platforms.
If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to answer all your inquiries.
[Updated - May 14th 11:30 PST]: We've just sent a follow-up email to explain the incident. Since we've used the BC Email Marketing engine, the broadcast has been limited to BC partners and business owners that had the email address registered with BC and opt-in to receive emails.
As you are probably aware, customers have received a warning email with the following subject: "Warning: You Are Close To Reaching Your Email Newsletter Limit". The email was sent from a Business Catalyst email address or the partner email address (for white-labeled Partner Portals). This email has been accidentally sent and does not reflect the actual email credits a site has.
First, we apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused you, and offer you a detailed explanation on what happened and what measures we're taking to prevent this in the future.
The accidental emails were caused by an incorrect parameter update following a minor system update on Monday, May 11th:
Due to an incorrect parameter update and use, the internal engines checking the email quota on Business Catalyst paid sites (Partner sites are also considered paid sites) have considered all sites reached their email quota and automatically triggered the email credit limit warning email
The error impacted a large number of Business Catalyst paid and partner sites
The email has been sent to Business Catalyst partners and to all admin users with Administer System privileges
The email has been sent from a Business Catalyst email address or from the Partner email address (if the site was under a white-labeled Partner Portal)
The email has been also sent to Creative Cloud members which have published a site on Business Catalyst
To contain the problem and to prevent such incidents in the future we have:
Temporarily disabled the automated warning email engine
Investigate the code updates to find the root cause of the incident
Fixed the incorrect parameter issue
Updated the warning email engine to add an additional check at this level
A service update will be done shortly and restart the automated warning email engine.
Once again, our apologies for any inconvenience this incident might have caused. Our team is fully committed to provide the utmost level of support to all our customers and we continuously dedicate efforts to improve our services.
Michael Sallander is a serial entrepreneur who has emerged as one of the leaders in the Business Catalyst community, co-founding Chicago Digital, BC Academe, and Solid Sky. He is a unique problem solver who enjoys helping businesses and developers alike.
In this webinar Mike will reveal from start to the finish how we built the “Solid Company Settings” App. This simple app gives your customers the ability to easily update their company information across the entire website. Pick the sessions below and register on your relevant timezone.
Wed, May 13th: Build an App in an Hour with Michael Sallander
To help you put your learning into practice, webinar participants will be receive a 15% discount on their next website. (*15% discount coupon applies for new site upgrades on any yearly/biyearly desired plan, until the next renewal. Coupon validity: 30-Jun-2015, only available for the webinars’ attendees. The discount code will only be offered live, during the webinar session.)
If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com. We will be happy to answer all your inquiries.
The new rendering engine is just out the door for most sites and we are getting ready to finalize Liquid. As such, in order to allow the team to better focus their efforts on the next version of Business Catalyst and additional improvements to the core product features, we have decided to stop development on the Business Catalyst extension for Dreamweaver and retire it from the Creative Cloud Add-ons store. The Dreamweaver CC version 2014.1.1 will be the last one compatible with our Business Catalyst extension. Partners using greater (than 2014.1.1) versions can continue to edit Business Catalyst sites through Dreamweaver by using standard sFTP connections instead of the Business Catalyst panel and site management interfaces.
Partners still using older versions of Dreamweaver (version 2014.1.1 and below) can continue their workflows that include the extension, with limited support available in the future for this setup. If you need help finding out the DW version you are on please go to Help -> About Dreamweaver.
Dreamweaver Creative Cloud customers with versions newer than 2014.1.1 can continue to manage their sites through the sFTP server functionality.
Dynamic Price app allows 3 simple features:
1. Dynamic price change when attributes with cost are selected (both for sell and retail pricing)
2. Show total price for product calculated from quantity instead of sell price for a single item
3. Hide attributes cost from user
Easy to install, zero coding skills are required!
Only $9.99 per site.
About the developer:
Since 2008, with 750+ projects accomplished, EZ-BC helps BC partners from all over the world to deliver Business Catalyst sites of any size and complexity. You design and they do the rest for you. For more info visit EZ-BC / Code Production.
We are excited to announce that Solid Sky LLC, one of the top BC app developers, has acquired The BC App Store (www.bcappstore.com) from uGurus, LLC. The BC App Store is the official marketplace for distributing apps for Adobe Business Catalyst. The co-founders of Solid Sky, Mike Sallander and Scott Shefler, have been very involved with the Business Catalyst community in the past 6 years through their web agency Chicago Digital and online training programs at the BC Academe. Solid Sky and its affiliates are dedicated to serving the Business Catalyst community by focusing on making the product better and strengthening the community.
The purchase of the BC App Store allows for new focus and renewed energy on growing the central marketplace for Business Catalyst apps. Apps enable greater functionality and extensibility of the growing Business Catalyst platform and are a key component to Business Catalyst’s strategy for evolving the platform. Giving 3rd Party developers the ability to contribute to the platform helps Business Catalyst stay competitive and more completely deliver an all-in-one platform.
Check out some of the popular apps in the store today:
Back-up BC - Easily backup your websites and store on external cloud services
BC Client Training - Train clients 24/7 with white-labeled BC training videos.
Home page slider - Launch a homepage slider without web apps
Brent Weaver, CEO of uGurus, tells us the transition to Solid Sky is complete and is excited for the BC App Store’s future: "I am really excited to finally be able to announce that Mike Sallander and his team at Solid Sky have taken over the operation and ownership of BCAppStore.com. Mike has a rich history in the BC market with his agency, training, and app brands and is a great fit to take our vision to the next level. This transition began in December of 2014 and is now complete. Mike's team has been supporting operations since the New Year and has been doing an excellent job. More apps are in the store and there are many announcements on the horizon for how apps will continue to support and enhance the BC partner community."
New and exciting apps ready in 2015:
BC Video Gallery - An easy-to-use video gallery management system
BC Social Store – sell your products on a Facebook page
Dynamic Price – enhance the “Add to cart” experience
The release of new apps is not the only thing that has happened this year on the BC App Store. Solid Sky is committed to making the BC App Store even better. To accomplish this they are focusing on 2 areas:
Make the experience of installing apps simple and enjoyable
uGurus did a great job putting together the technology behind delivering apps with one click. Solid Sky has improved the experience by adding support documentation and additional support channels: Live Chat and Phone.
Help Developers contribute Apps
Solid Sky is there to help app developers every step of the way. Solid Sky plans to release new resources and training materials that may include a new SDK, UI Kit, and Sample App. They will also host free webinars for the community on app development:
Mike Sallander, CEO of Solid Sky, had the following comment regarding their new acquisition: "It is incredible to have the opportunity to play a more integral role in the future of a product that we fell in love with and dedicated ourselves to many years ago. The community surrounding Adobe Business Catalyst has been instrumental in the success of our agency and I am motivated to give back and help the community grow”.
Business Catalyst wants to show its support and dedication to the BC App Store and Business Catalyst Partners by offering a discount on new Business Catalyst subscriptions for App Store Customers.
Alexandru Costin, Senior Director at Adobe shared his excitement to see this renewed investment from the community in the BC App Store:
“The BC Platform project has always been about the community and allowing partners to expand Business Catalyst based on their needs. We are greatly excited to see a new partner get aboard this project and taking over the BC App Store. With the new apps coming and the hosting discounts for app purchases this promises once again to reinforce the BC Platform with new functionality and great new apps.”
Buy any admin app today and receive a discount code for the value of the app towards the purchase of a new BusinessCatalyst hosting plan.
Each individual app purchased on the app store will receive a discount code for BC hosting services.
Discount code is an absolute value equal to the value of the app.
Discount codes can only be redeemed once, even if entire value is not used.
Discount codes can only be redeemed on the same partner portal where the app was purchased on.
Discount codes can be applied to sites pushed live with any billing frequency (monthly, annually, and biyearly).
Pricing will restore to regular pricing schedule following the discounted billing period.
All extras (users, emails, disk space and newsletters) will be charged at the regular rate.
Discount codes are not stored. Neither the BC App Store nor Adobe Business Catalyst is responsible for locating lost discount codes or issuing new discount codes.
The validity of the code is 6 months from the date of the app purchase. Codes not used until the expiry date will no longer be valid.
Megan shares what she wishes she knew when starting out
Don’t forget about offline marketing.
It makes sense that a web professional would market themselves online. And, in many cases this is a good strategy, but don’t forget about marketing yourself offline. Megan works closely with her local Chamber of Commerce, wraps her car with her company information, and even advertises in the local newspaper. Every area is different so experiment with your marketing, but don’t forget about traditional marketing.
Say no to work, but keep in touch.
It’s smart not to spend too much time with clients who aren’t ready to invest in their online business. This is why Megan says “no” to some work. However, she keeps track of these potential clients. When work is slow, these contacts can be valuable leads. Many of these contacts could now be in a better position to pay for online services.
Work on your business.
If you start a website-building business, you probably already know something about building websites. Put some time into learning the business. Educating yourself in sales, marketing, and accounting will help you build a successful business.
To learn more, listen to Megan’s entire interview.
It is a widely known fact that beginning April 21st, 2015 Google will apply new indexing rules that are aimed to change the search algorithm for mobile devices. Olga Karavan from Code Production/EZ-BC will share a few thoughts on how these changes will affect existing Business Catalyst sites and the advantages of a new algorithm you can benefit from when creating new sites.
About the new algorithm
On April 21, 2015, Google will release a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm which means that Google will use Mobile Friendliness as a ranking signal. The update doesn't apply to tablets or desktop, just smartphones, but everyone should make their site mobile friendly, because about 60% of search traffic now comes from mobile.
"Statistics show that more people are going 'mobile only' - either because they never had a desktop or because they won't replace their existing desktop," Google writes in a blog post. "
How to Prepare for it?
If you already own a mobile-friendly website, you won’t have much to worry about. However, if your website is not ready for mobile strategy for your online presence, get this done as soon as possible.
Make sure the mobile version of your site is active and functional. Responsive designs are popular, but you can also have a separate hosted mobile version of your site. Google doesn’t have a preference, as long as mobile users’ experience isn’t interrupted.
Google’s mobile bots can crawl your site. If Google can’t see it, it may as well not even be there.
Webmaster trends analyst from Google, Gary Illyes did share a few details in a recent Q&A. The summary of Q&A is given below
Responsive design does not have a ranking benefit
Mobile friendliness is determined at the page level – not sitewide
Tablets will not be affected by this update
Google is currently working on a dedicated mobile index
What about mobile sites? (Mobile support feature in BC)
Responsive sites have their own benefits, but even if you have mobile site, you are safe from this new update. Google understands following setups as Mobile Friendly,
Responsive Web Design
Google explains Separate URLs as, a common setup would be pages on www.example.com serving desktop users with corresponding pages served on m.example.com for mobile users. Google does not favor any particular URL format as long as they are all accessible for all Googlebot user-agents.
Business catalyst allows you to setup both the options, Responsive layout and Separate URLs, to see how it works on Business Catalyst, check this document Mobile friendly websites
Does Google give a stronger mobile-friendly ranking to pages using Responsive Web Design (which uses the same URL and the same HTML for the desktop and mobile versions) vs. hosting a separate mobile site (like www for desktop and m.example.com for mobile)?
No, mobile-friendliness is assessed the same, whether you use responsive web design (RWD), separate mobile URLs, or dynamic serving for your configuration. If your site uses separate mobile URLs or dynamic serving, we recommend reviewing the Mobile SEO guide to make sure Google is properly crawling and indexing your mobile pages. To answer more FAQs about this update, Google has published a list of FAQs, which can be viewed here FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update
If you have any additional questions on this topic, I'll be happy to answer in the comments.
About the Author
Olga Karavan is the Lead Markup Developer and Mentor and Code Production / EZ-BC.
With over 5 years development experience Olga has accomplished more than 1,000 web projects and remains the main expert for HTML and CSS at EZ-BC.
San Francisco: Tuesdays, 5pm (all times adjusted in relation to this time)
New York City: Tuesdays, 8pm
London: Wednesdays, 1am
Sydney: Wednesdays, 10am
Improving Productivity With Online Tools 7th
(8th in AUS) 2015
Following on from our recent Sandpile on “Tools Tools Tools,” Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive will present a suite of online tools she uses in her business to increase productivity, make communication more effective, and decrease administrative overheads. She will discuss how online tools keep her work days organised and reveal her secret trick to staying highly productive every day.
Let's Get Visual: Mind Mapping for Business Catalyst Projects 14th April (15th in AUS) 2015
Have you ever completed a project only to find out that your client has expectations that go way beyond the scope of the project? One of the challenges facing Business Catalyst Partners is conceptualising the website design and navigation with the client in an intuitive and easy to adapt format. Join us as we use Mind Mapping to help with Business Catalyst projects.
Think Tank: Fonts and Business Catalyst 21st April (22nd in AUS) 2015
Fonts are an important part of the web, and are often overlooked. At this Sandpile we are going to invest an hour discussing how the group selects and implements fonts.
Business Catalyst Speed Dating (April 2015) 28th April (29th in AUS) 2015
It's been awhile since we had speed rounds of BC vendors showing off their products/services. Each will get 10 minutes to show off they have to offer to the community. Our BC Speed Dating sessions usually turn out to be the most fun and interesting Sandpiles. Don't miss it!
SEO Best Practices with Katherine Anderson 5th May (6th in AUS) 2015
In working with Business Catalyst Partners in her SEO business Katherine Anderson is in a perfect position to see what we are currently doing and in what areas we can improve in order to give our clients bigger wins. So we have asked Katherine back to discuss: robots.txt, 301 redirects and internationalization.
Panel Discussion: Niche Marketing 12th May (13th in AUS) 2015
What's better than one BC Partner sharing their experiences on Niche Marketing? Three BC Partners sharing their experiences on Niche Marketing. Join us as we explore this important topic with experienced BC Partners as panelists.
Liquid Markup Tips and Tricks 19th May (20th in AUS) 2015
This meeting is what the BC Sandpile is all about - BC Partners exchanging knowledge. We will spend the entire meeting sharing tips and tricks related to Liquid Markup to help each other speed up and improve their Business Catalyst workflow. Bring your tips and tricks to share.
Use Liquid Markup for Out-Of-The-Box Features 26th May (27th in AUS) 2015
Are you wondering how to leverage a single Business Catalyst subscription to host multiple websites? In this Sandpile, Phil Marcuson will share some of the steps he’s taken to implement this capability using a bit of Liquid and some out-of-the-box features. We’ll touch on page templates, liquid logic and includes, categories/classifications and the use of custom module templates. We’ll wrap up with time to share your tips and a Q & A.
The Business Catalyst Blog is dedicated to helping you get the most out of Business Catalyst. We'll post great tips and tricks, useful explanations and news that affects you. Bookmark us today, or subscribe to our RSS feed.