Business Catalyst Blog

[Updated] Business Catalyst February release - products canonical urls, forum spam filtering and admin interface performance updates

Cristinel Anastasoaie Friday, February 14, 2014

[Update] Due to some last minute optimizations, we've decided to push the release to Tuesday, 25th February.

On Monday, February 24th, a new release of Business Catalyst is scheduled to take place. The release continues the improvements on search engine optimization, anti-spam measures and admin interface performance. Additionally, a lot more smaller tweaks and bug corrections have been included in the release. Check out below what you can expect.

Canonical URL for products

A Business Catalyst e-commerce site has multiple URLs for products, depending on the number of catalogs a product is included in. This raises a problem with search engine rankings and page scores, as they are distributed amongst the various product URLs.

Our February release takes a step forward in helping partners and business owners make their e-commerce sites more SEO friendly by introducing canonical URL for products. This will allow marketers to choose a preferred URL for a each product and instruct search engines to use that. The page rank and related properties will be consolidated into the selected URL, making it more visible in search results.

By default, BC will pick the first product URL and make it canonical, insert a link rel=canonical in page head and response header to instruct browsers and search engine which is the preferred URL of the product. Customers will be able to change the canonical URL through the edit product interface from admin console or through the import engine (for bulk updates).

SPAM filters for forums

In a continuous effort to reduce spam on customer sites, we have updated our anti-spam engine to also filter forum posts. Starting with this release, we're going to apply IP blacklisting and content filtering to forum posts as well. Additionally, all existing sites settings have been updated to enable content filtering for forum posts (the engine was in place, but a lot of sites did not have it enabled).

Following the release, we will continue to monitor the level of spam getting through and consider additional measures to keep it under control.

Admin user interface updates

For this release we have continued to optimize the new admin user interface performance so that customers get a better experience when managing their site. While the process is not yet complete as there is still room for improvement, we have made some major steps towards a faster and more flexible admin user interface. The change required us to make radical updates on the admin interface structure, as well as the decommission of the old admin interface. Here are some details about the changes made:

  • Admin user interface V2 has been removed completely
  • Admin URLs now start with /Admin and we've dropped the hash convention from the URL; old admin v3 URLs will be redirected to the new pages to preserve backwards compatibility (ex: /AdminConsole/#!/Admin/AdminPage.aspx will be redirected to /Admin/AdminPage.aspx)
  • The iFrame used to display main admin content has been removed
  • The custom menu items (config.json) are still loaded using hash URLs
  • Open Admin (closed beta) applications URLs are loaded at /Admin/AppLoader.aspx?client_id={{CLIENTID}}

Other updates

  • More than 100% improvement when importing email lists on databases of more than 50,000 already imported contacts
  • More powerful passwords are now required for admin users. A password should now contain small and capital letters, a number and a special character; existing users will not be forced to change passwords
  • A new admin report has been introduced to enable site admins to see the list of failed login attempts
  • Paragraph styles support has been added in the new InContext Editing editor 

As always, we have a series of bug fixes and feature improvements that are listed on our forums, so check out the Technical release details there.

We hope you will enjoy this release and look forward to your feedback.

The Business Catalyst team

 

 

Reminder for the BC Partner Webinar: Email Marketing with Megan Taylor

Diana Olteanu Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't forget to attend our webinar:

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

To help you put your learning into practice, webinar participants will be receive a 15% discount on their next website. (*Some conditions apply, see below)

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.

*15% discount coupon applies for new site upgrades on any yearly desired plan, for the 1st year fee. Pricing will be reset to regular pricing after 12 months from the upgrade date. Coupon validity: 31-Mar-2014, only available for the webinars’ attendees.

Thank you and hope to see you there!

Designing for the New BC Open Platform with Scott B Reynolds

Diana Herac Monday, February 10, 2014

Are you ready for the Business Catalyst Open Platform? Even if you haven’t signed up to be a beta tester, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for the launch. Join Scott B Reynolds from Thrise as he discusses how to start designing a “BC App” for your own sites or the BC App Store.

This presentation on 11th February (12th in AUS) 2014 is hosted by BC Sandpile. Find the times and sign up information on bcsandpile.com.

To get early access to the BC Open Platform Program send an e-mail to the BC Partner team. This program is open to all partners (paid or free) that have created at least one paid site on Business Catalyst.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team  

Email Marketing month on Business Catalyst!

Diana Herac Wednesday, February 05, 2014

When you are the owner of an online business, one of your key strategies should be keeping your clients informed: whether you're launching a new product they might like, an interesting sales campaign or simply telling them what you've been up to. This is where email marketing steps in and helps you deliver that message easy, efficient and fast. 

In February we will talk about email marketing and a series of articles, tutorials and webinars will follow, to analyze this topic in depth.

What is email marketing?

Electronic or email marketing is sending a commercial message to a group of people (usually your client database) using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. Email marketing covers ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, brand awareness and increase sales, push products and services.

Email marketing is usually sent to current customer databases but bought lists can also be used. Broadly, the term is usually used to refer to:

  • Sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.
  • Sending email messages with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.
  • Adding advertisements to email messages sent by other companies to their customers.

How does email marketing work?

  • It's a quick method to communicate your message to qualified leads: your audience, clients, users database etc.
  • Allows you to measure the success of your campaigns through custom reports that reflect open rates, click through and bounce rates.
  • Is targeted because you can advertise the correct product, to the correct audience, at the right time for them. In return email marketing builds satisfaction and trust because your clients will receive exactly what they signed up for/what they need/when they need it.
  • Through a correctly targeted email campaign you can increase your return on investment and build a solid database of recurrent clients/visitors.

Email marketing and BC

There are some great BC built-in tools that will help you maximize the success of your email marketing campaigns:

Using BC you can send three types of email campaigns, in an automated manner:

  • An individual email campaign - one campaign sent to a custom list
  • An email campaign series - dynamic email campaigns based on an event or visitor interaction with your site. For example, you can choose to trigger the campaign 3 days after the visitor signed up for a newsletter.
  • Recurring email campaigns - you can send the same email campaign on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. And you can also put a campaign on hold when needed, easily.

Send email campaign to multiple lists – this will give customers using BC’s email marketing feature more flexibility when managing mailing lists.
Customers can choose to send the campaign to all customers, one or more existing mailing lists, or to a new list. In the same time, you can exclude lists or custom reports from final recipients. And the great thing is that the system will automatically search for contacts present in multiple lists, remove any duplicates and make sure that each subscriber receives the email once.

BC email marketing templates - you can either build your custom templates from scratch or get a head start with BC’s set of cross-client compatible email templates for you and your clients to use. These templates cover a wide range of themes and can be accessed from within your Partner Portal.

Use email filtering for email campaigns - you will want to filter your lists according to categories to get the best possible results: demographics, geography, activity on the website, product purchases, subscriber validity in the mailing list etc. Using filtering the possibilities are endless, as you can always get more and more granular with your filtering criteria. 

Monitor email campaign performance - BC gives you a birds-eye view of your email campaign, including the below reports:

  • Email clients customers used to view the campaign. Example: Microsoft Outlook, Mac Mail, mobile phone, and so on. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.
  • Number of customers that opened the email
  • Actions customer took. Example: A customer submitted a form on your site after viewing an email campaign.

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns - embed dynamic modules such as blog posts, news items or event bookings from your BC site, right inside email newsletters. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content.

Since we're dedicating February to email marketing, stay tuned for a webinar on "Email Marketing on BC" with Megan Taylor from Kapow Interactive, an email marketing case study and useful advice on creating successful email campaigns.

Register here for the webinar:

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

BC Sandpile - February meetings

Diana Herac Tuesday, February 04, 2014

BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst Partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays, 5pm (all times adjusted in relation to this time)
  • New York City: Tuesdays, 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, noon

BC Sandpile's Product Enhancement Project and Open Meeting
4th February (5th in AUS) 2013
This week we will let you know about Sandpile’s Product Enhancement Project and progress that has been made.
Details: http://thri.se/1n8CaLb

Are You Prepared For Business Catalyst Apps?
11th February (12th in AUS) 2013
Are you prepared for BC Apps? Scott B Reynolds from Thrise will show you how to plan and design your first Business Catalyst App. You should attend this event if you are currently building an app, plan to build an app, or just want to learn more about apps.
Details: http://thri.se/1fBd6dg

BC Inspiration from Two Blokes with a Postie
18th February (19th in AUS) 2013
One Year On - Eddy Chan and Mario Gudelj from Two Blokes with a Postie will be presenting some of their latest and greatest API integrations with BC.
Details: http://thri.se/1inDr0S

How To Generate A Revenue Stream From Your Existing Clients
25th February (26th in AUS) 2013
Greg Marcel from 2140 Interactive and BC Client Training, will explain how he leverages the Email Marketing Module to market new BC Modules and features to his existing client base to create consistent work and a steady revenue stream.
Details: http://thri.se/1n8C6v5

Full schedule: http://www.bcsandpile.com/_blog/Meeting_Chalkboard/
Sandpile Recordings: http://www.bcsandpile.com/business-catalyst/resources.htm

Business Catalyst Partner resource of the month

Diana Herac Friday, January 31, 2014

Because we know how important is to get an extra helping hand for your Business Catalyst activity, we're launching a series of articles focused on presenting a Partner resource every month.
This month we will talk about Partner success stories.

This resource was created so that BC Partners can share their experience moving from a multiple-platform agency to a BC focused business. You’ll also get some useful advice on managing your client projects, key learnings and a see a few project showcases.

The first Partners that shared their stories with us are Sarah Powell from Blackroom Creative and Bill Sholar and Kim Green of Short Story Marketing.

Check out their stories here:
Blackroom Creative
Short Story Marketing

You can access more valuable resources from your Partner Portal dashboard -> Resources -> Sales tab.

And we’re looking forward to welcoming more inspirational BC stories. So if you feel your business went through an interesting journey since you started using BC and if you want to share your Partner success story with everyone, contact us.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

Thank you for an amazing Townhall!

Magda Neagu Wednesday, January 29, 2014

For those of you who could make it yesterday to the meeting, a big Thank you. For those of you who were not able to join, you have below the recording of the session with a great Q&A with Bogdan, Alexandru and Cristinel. 

Check out the January 2014 Townhall recording to find out more about:

  • Our strategy and planning for 2014
  • Short recap of 2013
  • Open Platform and how it can reshape BC
  • Q&A
Thank you again, and see you for the next meeting. 
Magda

Business Catalyst SEO Case Study

Diana Herac Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Katherine Anderson from Business Catalyst SEO will tell us a bit more about how improving SEO can make a big difference on a site's performance. She will share with us her strategy and present a few SEO tips and tricks that made one of her projects a success.


"In March 2013 we had a small business owner approach us about SEO for their Business Catalyst website that had just been redesigned. Since it had gone live, they were getting little-to-no search traffic.

We started with some Keyword Research and a Full Website Analysis. This gave us a good understanding of exactly how customers were searching for their products and what was under-the-hood of their site.

We also needed to understand the SEO efforts to date by running an Advanced Website Ranking and looking at what phrases the website was already ranking for in the top 100 results across Google, Bing and Yahoo.

It is easier to increase current rankings than to start ranking for new phrases, so we strategized on re-working current content that was already ranking in the top 3-5 pages, to get some quick results.

What did our SEO audit reveal for this BC site?

 In this instance we found that 301 redirects had not been implemented which also accounted for the loss in rankings. Using Google Search and Webmaster Tools, we located the urls of old site pages and added the redirects.

We then check-listed and optimized the website step-by-step, choosing the best options for keyword implementation and index-ability. The on-page text, HTML, link usage, META information, navigation, urls and images were updated to reflect the chosen keywords and improve the relevancy of their site. We then implemented Google Places and migrated it to Google Local to further improve their local search results.Once organic SEO was completed for this client, we saw a sharp spike in traffic from 5-10 hits/day to over 100/day. Over the next few months we added new pages targeted to high traffic searches and reworked existing content. This provided a steady increase in Organic Search results and improved site conversions for our client.

In the last month, Organic Search Rankings provided over 65% of all traffic to the site and we have seen hits increase to over 350/day.

 

What else will improve Search Results?

Further SEO on this website will include adding regular articles to their Blog to increase the number of long-tailed search phrases they rank for.

We will identify dropouts in their sales funnels, delete pages that have high bounce rates and update pages that have high exit rates to improve site conversions.

We will also run content experiments on landing pages to identify design improvements and refine call-to-action phrases.

Site Authority, Popularity and Referral Traffic can also be addressed with focused and relevant Link Building Techniques and increased Social Media Marketing and Sharing.

These enhancements will help ensure a continual climb in rankings and site traffic by qualified customers that are more likely to convert.

How to get Started

Organic Search results are the most important aspect of online marketing as it is the easiest way for potential customers to find a product or service without the need for ongoing advertising costs. SEO is an investment that pays-off overtime and also provides brand recognition and popularity to businesses that rank well.

SEO efforts are different for every client so it is important to take the time to research keyword phrases, analyse the site and investigate current rankings to help build the best SEO strategies."

Thank you Katherine for providing a great case study!

If you want to learn more about SEO and BC from Katherine Anderson, please feel free to take a look at the latest Business Catalyst SEO webinar recording.

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

Episode 34 of the BC Podcast - Alexandru on Open Platform

Diana Olteanu Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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

Scott B Reynolds speaks at Hartford Adobe User Group

Diana Herac Saturday, January 25, 2014

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.