Sunday, 11 September 2016

Find out what the new V23 of Nifty Slideshows brings you

Bug fix

I fixed a bug with sharing slideshows to the gallery but the main reason for releasing a new version was some behind-the-scenes changes to improve things generally.

New features

  • All major and some minor settings can now be set in the link you use to start up Nifty Slideshows. This means you can set your own defaults like referral id and store id. More on this below
  • Customer-only products now fully supported from the following makers:
    • homewetbar
    • glasswithatwist
    • alpisano
    • agogocreative
    • banderoleandbirch
    • bears4humanity
    • calliopedesigns
    • carriageoakcottage
    • carvedsolutions
    • christmasbykrebs
    • coinrings
    • cookiecutterkingdom
    • countrybarnbabe
    • crystalimagery
    • custom_candleworks
    • customphotoblanket
    • cutmaps
    • dayspringmilestones
    • ellawinston
    • factory_enova
    • gogostickers
    • handcraftedaffairs
    • hammers_and_heels 
    • hello_bride
    • heybabycraftco
    • helloworldpaperco
    • holmesstamp
    • holtzleather
    • hipflaskplus
    • jdsmarketing
    • justtherightpillow
    • lazerdesigns
    • lepapierstudio
    • loveyoualatteshop 
    • magic_wood_art
    • mrcwoodproducts
    • marshmallow_farms 
    • metalandlights
    • missyvdesigns
    • milkandhoneyluxuries
    • mkdesignsus
    • moresprinkledjoy
    • newswangerpen
    • paragonleatherworks
    • rustalgic
    • range_leather_co
    • rnkshops
    • sipdark
    • sistermoonboutique
    • smilingtree
    • sofacitysweethearts
    • sugar_yeti
    • tealsprairie
    • themintbox
    • uniqueledproducts
    • visionusa
    • waggingwipers
    • wordswithboards
Customer-only products are those where there is nothing for storekeepers to design. All those I looked at are exclusively available on and not international domains, so I've assumed that's the case for all of them.

Setting your own defaults - advanced users only

You can pass the settings you want used into Nifty Slideshow maker by including them as parameters in the link you use to start it.

For example, let's say your store id is dizzydebbie, you can save yourself time typing that every time by starting Nifty Slideshows using this link:

Once you've set up the link for your defaults, bookmark it for ease of use next time. You can even set up different defaults for different promotion needs and bookmark them all. Maybe one per autopost blog you regularly use, for example.

A full list of parameters you can use follows. If you don't use a parameter, it will use a default, usually blank.
  • rf=
    Your referral id, for example 238582202591969585 (this is the default)
  • bg=
    Background colour to use for non-in-situ product shots, eg ffffff (this is the default)
  • st=
    Sort type. Choice of popularity or date_created (default = popularity)
  • sd=
    Sort directon. Choice of desc (most popular or newest first) or asc (least popular / oldest first). The default is desc
  • ps=
    Page size. The number of products requested from Zazzle's rss feed mechanism (used to get the products for the slideshow). Example 35 (default = 15)
  • pg=
    Page number. Instead of returning the first "page size" set of products, pull the nth set. Example 2 (default = 1)
  • tc=
    Tracking code. For example, nft_ss_pntrst_thnks_gvng (default = nft_ss)
  • title=
    Title of the slideshow. Use + instead of space. For example Mugs+with+Thanksgiving+designs
  • qs=
    Search word / term. Use + instead of spaces. For example thanksgiving+turkey
  • storeid=
    The part that comes after for example hightonridley
    Note it can also be a collection. If so use collections/collectionid For example, collections/119815600039373332
  • dp=
    Department id. For example, 252178814251104427
  • cg=
    Category id. For example, 103739611579647755
  • pm=
    Promotion code. For example, ESSENTIALS40
  • zd=
    International Domains. Choice of 1 use international domains or 0 don't use (default = don't use)
  • mt=
    Autopost blog secret email address. For use when using your own email client to share to autopost blogs. Example
  • uh=
    Unhide autopost section. Choice of 1 unhide or 0 hide (default = hide)
Remember, the first option (url parameter) you use is preceeded by ? and subsequent ones are preceeded by &

For a full description of how Nifty Slideshows uses these, please see the documentation.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

More on sharing Nifty Slideshows to the Gallery on Pinterest

The Nifty Slideshow maker page uses the AddThis service for its sharing buttons. When clicked, they let you share the page with your friends so they can make their own Nifty Slideshows.

So how do you share that wonderful slideshow you just made to the gallery? Simple, make sure the gallery is on display and only then click the envelope share button.

Here's what it looks like with the gallery on display. You can see the tops of the first few in the gallery at the bottom of the screenshot:
When it looks like the above and you click the gray envelope share button, you should see the email share dialog looking something like this:
Now you're ready to fill in the secret "To" email address, currently the one shown in the first screenshot. Next, fill in the From email address (use your own - note that I won't see this), do the Captcha and hit send.

If you want to get a copy of the email that gets sent, after the secret email address in the "To" box add a comma and then your email address. Note that I won't see that email address either.

If you see instead the screenshot below when you click the gray envelope share icon, then either the gallery wasn't on display when you clicked it or I have a bug I need to know about!

That's what it should look like when sharing the maker page itself, not when sharing to the gallery. Do you see the difference?

Do let me know in the comments (or on the Zazzle forum) if it's not working as described.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Nifty Slideshow Maker V22 now out with new blog autopost support

I found out that the email client on my Mac allows me to paste into the email body any images, links and text previously copied from a web page. "Hmmm", thought I, "that's useful..."

(This works on Macs, iPhones and iPads. I don't have other devices to test on...)

Promoting by autopost blogs

Autopost blogs are a popular way of promoting, so I've added support to make it easy to send your Nifty Slideshows to autopost blogs.
They won't be "live" slideshows on the blog, instead you choose the slide you like best and that product image is used in the blog post. It and it's (product) title are then linked to the actual slideshow.

Remember, a great benefit is...

Remember, one of the great things about this approach is it keeps a visitor's eyeballs on your products. Unlike on Zazzle, where they can be enticed away by any number of distractions on actual product pages. You know, things like "See related designs", "We thought you might like this", "You recently viewed", "Here are some related collections" etc etc.

Anyway, I can't think of any more features to add to Nifty, so this is the final version?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Display your best on the new Nifty Slideshow Public Gallery!

I've just released a fantastic update to Nifty Slideshows. There's now a public gallery you can display your slideshows in for all to see! As usual it uses your referral id and tracking code to make sure you earn any due referral commission and know where the commission came from.

Free Promotion

The gallery is on a dedicated Pinterest board and the good thing is, you don't even need to have joined Pinterest in order to get yours into the gallery!

If you are on Pinterest why not have a look at the gallery and see what people have been sharing already.

I've added the gallery section just above the tips advanced section.

When you click the show/hide button two things happen.
  1. the section opens up to show the existing Gallery
  2. the share buttons switch from sharing the Nifty Slideshow Maker page to sharing the slideshow previewed

Get in the queue!

As you can probably read, you add your slideshow to the gallery queue by sharing by email and sending to a very specific email address. To do this you click the gray envelope icon:
Before you click it, make sure the image you want shown in the gallery is on display. Don't submit lots all at once - the queue is only so deep and everyone deserves to get a fair crack :)

I'd love to hear any comments or suggestions :)
Happy Zazzling!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Enhancement to Nifty Slideshows for your blog side bar or where space is tight

Ok, this really is the last enhancement ;)

Where space is tight

Where space is tight, such as in your blog's sidebar, you use a small Nifty Slideshow, obviously. This works just fine when the available space isn't too restrictive.

However, a 'prettiness' issue arose for very small width slideshows and that was that the navigation buttons, search box and auto-titling could be just too big and impractical for the space available.

New Nifty setup option

To resolve this, I've now added a new option in the Blog/Website slideshow generator only section. It's a checkbox and checking (ticking) it suppresses them as a group. You'll see that reflected in the live preview at the top of the setup page.

To be clear, this won't affect Nifties you're making to share on social media, just the code snippet stuff for page/blog.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Nifty Slideshows and FB sharing now beautiful

In my last post I said:
There is one more but I can do absolutely nothing about it - the ugly url you get on your share when using the Facebook share button. There's a little bit of hope - I've sent an email to AddThis, the share button service providers, asking if it can be resolved - fingers crossed, hey? ;)
Well, I did some playing and guessing and after only a couple of tries got it cracked without needing a reply!


Now, instead of that ugly url it uses the title of the designed product on display when the Facebook share button was clicked. I also add a call to action on the end of it "- click/tap any to personalize and buy"
Here's an example so you can see what I mean:

That now completes my Nifty Slideshow tool. A rough diamond originally, it's now a fully cut and polished gem :)

Zazzle storekeepers or affiliates can try it out here:

Titling update for Nifty Slideshows

You know you can give a title for the Nifty Slideshows you create? Well there was something that didn't work out so well.

How it was and the problem

The way it worked was that
  • if you didn't give a title, then an auto title would be created for you saying something like Top nn trending search term designs or, if you didn't give a search term, Top nn trending unique designs
    any more Nifties opened from yours when a visitor does a search would use the same approach.
  • If you did give a title then, just like above, it would be used both on the original Nifty slideshow a visitor sees and any subsequent Nifties opened as result of them using the search.

This didn't work out so well because the title given could so easily stop being meaningful on the subsequent Nifties.


Say I arranged things so the first Nifty showed the best of my funny designs (by using my store id and the search term just fun) and I used a title of Have a laugh with these fun designs. Great, that's what sits above the Nifty and it makes sense for the products shown.

But if the visitor then uses the search box and changes the filled-in just fun with their new search of, say, sympathy cards, then the same title on a bunch of condolence, grief, bereavement and so on, cards would be entirely wrong!

How it is now - and it works beautifully

So I've changed it so it uses the title you give on the first Nifty and then it auto-titles for any subsequent ones.


In the example above, the first Nifty would have a title of Have a laugh with these fun designs and the next one would have a title of Top nn trending sympathy cards designs - much better.

And that's the last of the things about Nifty Slideshows that has been come up as needing fixing, discovered as I've been using them in anger for my promoting.

There is one more but I can do absolutely nothing about it - the ugly url you get on your share when using the Facebook share button. There's a little bit of hope - I've sent an email to AddThis, the share button service providers, asking if it can be resolved - fingers crossed, hey? ;)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Enhanced category handling for Nifty Slideshows

While I was making slideshows earlier today, I came across a sort-of limitation with using store categories.
I was building slideshows of the collections that Children's Illustrators have put in their Zazzle stores and sharing them on Pinterest. I then came across one who didn't use collections but instead used categories.
Ok, no worries, just use the category feature of Nifty Slideshows. But then I got to thinking about the guided search option - the one where the search terms are used for guiding subsequent searches.

Searches were confined to original category

The way I had it, any search done would be confined to searching in that category. For categories with few designs in them, that would be a terrible experience for any visitor - and no way out for them.

Categories now work like this

So I decided the best bet when using store categories (marketplace, too) would be to:
  • ignore the given category entirely for the guided search, but
  • give a direct link under the search to take the visitor to that category
I think that gives the best flexibility to storekeepers making Nifty Slideshows and visitors using them, so that's how they now work.

Thie is one further refinement I may look at in fututre and that's to make marketplace categories behave as originally - because there will be many thousands of designs in them and so not the issue that store categories have.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Nifty Slideshows - Now you can share on the Zazzle Forums!

The latest enhancement I've made allows yo to share your Nifty Slideshows on the Zazzle Forums.

A new button let's you create the needed BBCode (that's what it's called) to paste into your forum post. You get to choose which picture from the slideshow to use in the forum post
  1. Just pause the slideshow on the one you want
  2. Click / tap the "use current slide" to get your BBCode.
Just copy the code you get and and paste into a new forum post.

Here's an example of one on a post on the Tools Forum.