Diana Iliescu

Episode 34 of the BC Podcast - Alexandru on Open Platform

Tune in for Episode 34 of the Business Catalyst podcast! In this episode we announce the winners of last month’s Story Challenge, talk about the Open Platform Beta launch, get an interview with Director Alexandru Costin, and much more. Don’t miss out, listen below.

Listen to this month's podcast:

Simply click the play button below to stream the podcast via your browser.

player

Alternatively, you can download the podcast in .mp3 format for offline listening.

In this episode :

  • Brent Weaver and Brian Lowry announce the Story Challenge winners
  • Brian Lowry gives Javascript book recommendations to get ready for Open Platform
  • Brent Weaver interviews Alexandru Costin about Open Platform and other developments with Business Catalyst
  • Reminder about v2 UI being discontinued
  • Learn about this months challenge

Get Interviewed!

If you want to make your debut on an upcoming BC Podcast, contact Brent (brent@bcgurus.com)

Win big by answering the Project Challenge!

Leave a comment below with a link to a recent BC project you completed and a couple of sentences describing the project and you’ll be entered in next months contest. The top three projects will receive a FREE BC Gurus premium template credit worth $149 each.

Until next time,
Brent & Brian

View Comments

Wednesday February 12th, Scott B Reynolds from Thrise will explain why Adobe Business Catalyst, an all-in-one solution for building and managing online businesses, is the most underrated product in the Creative Cloud. Scott will go over the value of Business Catalyst, walk-through practical features, and answer as many questions as time allows.

Register for the event, or watch it live (via Adobe Connect)

Scott is a Premium BC Partner, an Adobe Community Professional, and an organizer of BC Sandpile.

View Comments

Spread the word about your Dreamweaver web portfolio by adding social media and optimizing your portfolio for search engines to find you. Then publish your portfolio and make sure to keep it fresh with new content that promotes the work you're doing.



Dreamweaver and Business Catalyst work hand-in-hand to help you create powerful websites and online stores faster than ever. A Dreamweaver CS6 subscription includes free hosting on Business Catalyst for one site, while a Creative Cloud membership includes free hosting for five sites.

Read more on the Dreamweaver-Business Catalyst integration for an overview of the Business Catalyst features built into CS6, working with module templates from this interface and display some new features like code completion and related files.

View Comments

To ensure the highest levels of performance we will be performing updates to servers located in our Dublin AWS, New Jersey and Sydney AWS data centers. To minimize the customer impact, the updates are scheduled at the most convenient hours for the region and will take up to six hours to complete.During the maintenance procedure the Partner registration and Trial site creation will experience service interruptions, User and DNS management (such as creating users or zone replication) will be unavailable, and comments will be turned off for 60 minutes, impacting sites on ALL data centers.Additionally, throughout the maintenance procedure, website front-ends for sites located in the respective data center that have heavy database usage my experience slight service interruptions.

Maintenance schedule:
  • Start time: January 29th
  • Duration: We are targeting a 4 hour maintenance window. Please see below the datacenter timezone as well as a link to check local time. We will keep you informed via status.businesscatalyst.com
  • Data centers: 
Customer impact:
  • Partner registration, Trial site creation
  • Several intermittent website front-end interruptions for some sites
  • User and DNS management 
  • Comments will be turned off for 60 minutes

For up to date information about system status, check the Business Catalyst System Status page.We apologize for any inconvenience caused by these service interruptions. Please make sure that your customers and team members are made aware of these important updates.Thank you for your understanding and support,

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

View Comments

First Townhall meeting of 2014

Hi all, 

As we are starting this new year we wanted to take an opportunity and share a bit of our vision and planning with all of you. So if you want to hear more about Open Platform and where we see Business Catalyst going with this new opportunity please join Alexandru and the BC Management team on January 28th for a Connect session. 

You will get a glimpse of what we have been working on in the past few months, what we envision with the new platform and where we see the product progressing in the future. 

As always, we have 2 sessions, one for our Australian partners and one for our US partners. Please register to the one that best suits your needs. 

View Comments

This month, we're moving on through SEO month with a guest article on SEO powered by Innovaxis, a BC Partner with a solid experience in marketing services, email campaigns, PR, website development, social media, channel development and more.

When people talk about search engine optimization (SEO), most are really talking about link building. While building links is important to enhance the visibility and SEO for any given website, we’ve found that it’s becoming increasingly more important to implement on-page SEO with every new Google algorithm release.

For our clients, we’ve consistently increased their traffic, lead generation and e-commerce sales by 100-300% by implementing these 3 On-Page SEO Best Practices.

Step 1: Implement Custom Metadata
Custom metadata needs to be well written and implemented on every page on your site, through all four layers:

Page title
  1. Put a maximum of 70 characters in your title, to maintain the impact of each work
  2. The first few words have more weighting than the rest, so keep this in mind when creating your powerful one liner
Meta description
  1. Use a maximum of 50 characters to describe your page. This will ensure that you only put the most relevant keywords in there. 
Image ALT text
  1. You want to have at least one image per page, and each image should have an alternative text. This ensures both that your content is visible and indexed by search engine, but also that visitors with disabilities will be able to read your site through their devices, even having a description of the images they normally cannot access. 
Meta keywords
  1. Put a maximum of 500 character to maintain efficiency
  2. The least important metadata field – it may not be indexed by Google at all but no one knows for sure, so we populate this field but don’t spend much time in doing so

Most of these items can be filled in the specially designed BC interfaces, as you can see from the screenshot above taken from this very blog post admin screen. 

Though not metadata, you will also want to incorporate keywords into the URL for every page. This includes both page name and folder name(s) in addition to your domain.

Step 2: Utilize & Incorporate Keywords into Headers
Readers frequently scan headers first to see what part of the page is most relevant. In recognizing this, Google weighs keywords in headers more heavily than body text, starting with H1 headers and followed by H2:

H1 headers
  1. Use only one H1 header per page, to keep the relevance high
  2. As before, the first few words have more weighting than the rest so keep this in mind when creating the header
H2 headers
  1. Not weighted as heavily as H1
  2. Can be several per page along with H3, H4, H5 headers

Step 3: Utilize Google/Bing Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics
While Google Analytics is widely used, it seems that the vast majority of websites out there do not effectively utilize Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. You will also want to upload an XML sitemap to both of them as well as monitor them weekly to resolve whatever crawl errors and HTML improvements are listed.
Monitoring Google Analytics also gives you some incredibly important information:

  • Unique Visitors: is this number going up or down?
  • Content: what are the most popular pages on the site and how does this compare with what you want people to see?
  • Traffic Sources: where are people coming from and where do you want them to come from

Also important:

  • Bounce Rate: should be <50% – you’ve got big problems if it’s above 70-75%
  • Avg. Visit Duration: should be more than 1.5 minutes: <1 minute and your in trouble while over 2 minutes is great
  • Pages / Visit: ideally 4 or more – 1 is a bounce and 2-3 is only marginally better

If your site has strong website traffic but weak bounce rate, time-on-site and page views, you’ve got a conversion problem…

Caution: Don’t Forget about Content
Just remember that, while on-page SEO is critical to your website’s keyword rankings, you can only do so much with it if your content is limited. It’s going to be difficult for a starter site with 5- 25 pages to rank well for anything even with on-page SEO best practices implemented and monitored.

Thank you Innovaxis for this great article! For more valuable tips and tricks on SEO and other topics, feel free to get in touch with Sean Parnell from the Innovaxis Marketing team.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

View Comments
Diana Iliescu

January 15th webinar recording on SEO

Thanks to those of you who attended our BC webinar with Katherine Anderson.

If you were unable to join us live, you can access the last 3 recordings below:


Also, don't forget to register for our upcoming webinar:

Wed, February 12th: Email Marketing with Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive


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.

Thank you and hope to see you in next month’s webinar.

View Comments

Introducing Business Catalyst Open Platform

As we are starting a new year here at Business Catalyst, we are excited to finally be able to share with you one of our biggest development projects. We have heard time and again about your quest to deliver more complex, custom made projects that would perfectly tailor the site to your customers. And most of the times that included not only customizing the front end of your site, but also working on the administration section. 

BC Open Platform at a glance

Our new project called Business Catalyst Open Platform allows you to build custom-tailored Admin experiences for your customers. The new functionality utilizes the idea of apps (or applications) and powerful REST APIs. It is designed to allow you to easily interface with Business Catalyst as a platform, by creating, editing and styling your own menu items using simple JSON configuration files, or connecting with external tools and applications using our APIs. The full Open Platform program will include:

As we move forward we want to open up some of these elements to more developers in a closed beta testing program, so read further to see how you too can be a part of this program. But first, let's take a look at what these new features will help you achieve. 

Build custom functionality in the admin section


Whether we are talking about menu entries in the top ribbon or additional entries in the side menus, you will now be able to control how your customers see and interact with the Business Catalyst admin area, which is where most business owners spend their day. 

For example, you can add your own homepage slider, where the owner of the site can easily upload images or choose them from the existing library, manage all slides in a single dashboard or even create a video slider with clips integrated from Youtube or Vimeo.

This application will  help you by saving development time and giving your end customer a better experience by allowing them to quickly edit their own site in the admin without having to call the partner for future updates.

By creating your own application you will be able to deliver completely custom interfaces, fully adapted to the needs of your customers. These new menu entries can link to outside content or newly coded applications designed specifically for your customers. 

Using the new APIs and having the ability to customize your menu entries will allow you to extend the admin section of BC by building your own tools and applications. 

Package the apps and sell them on the marketplace

Once you decide that you want to monetize your work beyond a single site, you can package your applications and sell them on the BC App Store (managed by BC Gurus), generating revenue from other partners who want to optimize their work by including your application in their sites. 

Over the past few months we have tested these workflows with a handful of dedicated partners which we would like to thank for their efforts. In the App Store you can see some of the applications they already created. Take a moment to review them and see how your sites could benefit from using one of them. They cover a variety of uses such as:

  • Web App Autoloader
  • Twitter feed
  • Captcha with Refresh
  • Team Directory
  • Homepage slider
  • Dev in a box
  • Get an application installed on your site today and take advantage of the reduced development time and added functionality!

    We want to thank these developers who took the time to test a new technology that was at times incomplete, and who provided invaluable feedback to our team as we progressed. We hope that as we move forward we will see amazing apps built on this platform. 

    Start learning with Developer Documentation and Forum

    Our Developer program includes detailed documentation to guide you through the first steps in building your application, a developer forum where you can chat, ask questions, collaborate and share ideas, as well as provide the BC engineering team with feedback that can be later integrated into to product. 

    At this time these tools will be restricted to the beta testing team, but we expect to open them to all BC partners as we move towards a public Beta release within the next few months. 

    Join our closed Beta Program

    At this time installing apps is available for every Business Catalyst partner. In order to join our developer community and try your hand at coding one of the applications or customizing the admin area of your own site, please join our closed Beta Program. You will be required to sign an NDA and receive access to documentation and tools that will help you with the very first instances of app development. 

    To join the program please send an e-mail to the BC Partner team expressing your interest in this, and they will guide you through the procedure. Please note that the testing group is open to all partners (paid or free) that have created at least one paid site on Business Catalyst.  

    Within the next few months our team will continue to develop these features with the help of the Beta Group, and then open the development program to all partners of Business Catalyst. 

    We hope that you are as excited as we are to embark in this new chapter for Business Catalyst, and shape the future of the platform. 

    The Business Catalyst team

    View Comments

    As announced back in the BC November release, we are slowly moving towards a complete decommissioning of our V2 admin interfaces. With a project that started back in 2011, version 3 of our administration interface is now prepared to take over from the old version. 

    As part of this transition there are two further steps that will be taking place within the next month:

    • Starting with January 15th all users will be automatically transitioned to Version 3 of the admin interface with an option to switch back to V2 if needed
    • Starting with February 5th the option to switch back to V2 will no longer exist, and V3 will remain the only admin interface available.

    We advise you to communicate these changes to any customers you might still have working on the old interface and facilitate their move to the new interface and workflows. If you have any questions please let us know and our team will do their best to help manage and support this transition in its last phase. 

    The Adobe Business Catalyst team



    View Comments

    SEO month on Business Catalyst!

     

    For most online business owners, having their site as a top recommendation on search result pages is a healthy indicator that their business is going places. And this should be indeed part of your BC site’s growth strategy: more visitors = notoriety + more sales + a bigger client database.

    This month we will talk about SEO and a series of articles, tutorials, webinars will follow, to analyze this topic in depth. 

    What is SEO?

    SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and probably came into use in 1997. It is the process of getting traffic from the organic or natural listings on search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing etc.  not paid or "sponsored" results such as Google AdWords.
    Web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
    At its most basic, SEO means finding ways to increase your BC site's appearance in web visitors' search results.

    How does SEO work?

    In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently your BC site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. Nobody can guarantee that your site will be ranked first but following some simple, best practices will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.

    SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
    As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.

    Some good strategies to improve your BC site's SEO:

    • Edit the site's content regularly and be sure to keep a constant flow of fresh, exclusive and  high quality content. Valuable content will generate returning visitors + new visitors.
    • Use keywords and improve the structure of your URLs for easier and more intuitive searches.
    • Make your site easy to navigate through a clear and easy to navigate menu using the homepage as your starting point.
    • Integrate internal links into your site.
    • Remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
    • Use external channels to promote your site: social media distribution, newsletters, conventional marketing (posters, direct mail etc.)

    Other good strategies are using search friendly URLs, metadata descriptions, using effectively the robots.txt and being aware of "nofollow" links.

    SEO and BC

    Using BC, you will have access to a set of built-in tools to ensure that your site receives a SEO boost:

    • BC produces friendly and customizable URLs for your website, blogs, online shop catalogs and products, web apps and more.
    • At regular intervals, the system produces your website's site map in the format specified by Google and Yahoo and sitemap.xml and RSS feeds will have SEO friendly URLs resulting in better SEO. These search engines will index your site map and add all the content on your website to their database.
    • All of the major search engines are aware of all the content on your BC website: web pages, announcements, FAQs, literature (PDF documents), shopping catalogs and more. And if you want to keep private certain content, you can place it in secure areas so it is automatically excluded from the list of content that is available to the search engines.
    • With BC, you will have access to a dedicated user interface and tags to display custom blog post metadata.

    And we are constantly improving BC sites’ SEO performance through system releases.

    Since we're dedicating January to SEO, stay tuned for a webinar on SEO powered by Katherine Anderson from Sirocco Web Design, a cool showcase example and a few tips and tricks on becoming a SEO master.

    Register here: 


    The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

    View Comments