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.


Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Nifty Slideshows - improved speed to first slide display

I've spent the best part of today removing Nifty Slideshow's dependence on the Google script widget that it's been using until now.

The script widget's purpose was to change all links in a Zazzle RSS feed's content so they included the given tracking code, the given voucher code and to change the thumbnail size.

Today I managed to penetrate the inscrutable-until-now data structure and call-backs of the Google Slideshow widget the whole thing is based on. That allowed me to make the tracking code, voucher code and thumbnail size changes entirely within the Nifty Slideshow Javascript and so bye-bye to the Google script.

This is good from three perpectives:
  • one less link in the chain of requests and responses going from Nifty to Zazle and back, so things speed up some under normal conditions
  • overall, one third the chance now of that chain getting broken when there are glitches at the Google widget end or the Zazzle RSS feed mechanim end of things
  • Google operate a quota system on Google scripts. When they are exceeded, the script stops working until the next period starts. As Niftys become more popular there was going to come a time when this would be a problem. Not any more :)

Updated tools so far:

  • Nifty Slideshow maker pages
  • Nifty Slideshow displayer page (for social media links)
  • The generated code snippet for putting Niftys on web sites / blogs
  • Staging-NS
The last three of the above are all availble via the Nifty Slideshow maker page. Exisitng Niftys shared on socail media will use the updated version of the displayer page and therefore immediately get all the benefits of the new approach.

Still to do:

  • Marvin maker page Done
  • Marvin dislayer page Done
  • The generated code snippet for putting Marvins on web sites / blogs Done
Those last three should be done in the next few hours / day. 

Other updates swept up on the way:

  • Niftys now consistently respect international domains by not including US-only products for non-US visitors
  • The number of products in collection-based slideshows now respects the &ps= setting
  • The removal of US-only products happens after the &ps= has been accommodated.
    This means you may end up getting fewer in your slideshow than requested, even though there may be more non-US products that would otherwise be avaliable.
As above, these still need to be done with Marvin. Not applicable

Monday, 1 August 2016

1-2-3 Zazzle Pro-look Promo Videos with new Stager-NS tool

Introducing the easiest ever way of making promotional videos for your Zazzle collections or store products, all for free:

Here's a video I made with it. All spooky for Halloween - don't be too frightened by the sound!

As easy as 1-2-3

  1. All I did was use the Nifty Slideshow maker page to choose what I wanted to promote
  2. Then I clicked the Staging link it gave me and chose a background
  3. Next I used my screen recorder to make the video
Yes, that's all! I think youll agree that's pretty wow!

The good thing is, you can use the video in your store's media section as well as upload it to YouTube, Vimeo etc.
And the brilliant thing about YouTube is it lets you share a live video to all major social media channels. By live I mean that it either comes with a play button that plays there and then, or a click takes them to YouTube where it plays.

Now you have no excuse to delay promoting your wonderful designs!