5 New Features in datAvenger 5.0

As we’ve been covering over the last week, we’re launching datAvenger Pro 5, the latest version of our advanced content management system, within the next few weeks. Before we launch, though, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the great new features in this version.

Dramatically improved drag-and-drop form creation

Companies who use datAvenger Pro have told us they love our easy-to-use, drag-and-drop form editor. It eliminates the difficult process of building forms; instead, you pick the field type you’d like to add, drag it into the big form area, and your form is ready to go.

We’ve heard that datAvenger Pro users would love to be able to add more than one field per line in order to keep forms compact and less rigid. datAvenger Pro 5′s form module does just that: you can now add as many fields per line as you like.

Content stats for every page

When you first go to edit a page, sometimes you want an at-a-glance look at what’s contained on that page. In dA Pro 5, not only will you be able to see a preview of every page’s content, but you’ll also see a count of the number of words, fields, or submissions for every page. We hope these small tweaks will allow you to see a better picture of your site.

The best URLs yet

datAvenger Pro has supported search engine friendly page addresses since we launched version 4 in 2006. A normal version 4 address would look something like this:

http://www.example.com/content/4052/Visit_Our_Store/

We decided to step it up a bit by making page addresses in dA Pro 5 even easier to read — and even better for search engines. When you’re editing a page in dA Pro 5, there’s a new option to create a custom URL that’ll look like this:

http://www.example.com/visit-our-store

At Sephone we’re committed to creating the best experience possible for your site’s visitors. We also do everything we can to stay on top of the latest guidance from search engines to make sure you’re a step above your competition. That’s why we’ve constantly refined page URLs in both datAvenger Pro and our basic content manager, datAvenger.

Easy sharing on Facebook and other social networks

datAvenger Pro 4 allowed you to specify what keywords and description you’d like to include in the metadata for each page. In version 5, we’ve added the option to add an image. This is perfect for those times when people share your site’s pages on sites like Facebook, allowing you to add an eye-catching graphic into feeds on social networks.

An asset manager made with you in mind

datAvenger Pro 5 assets area

Personally, my favorite new feature of datAvenger Pro 5 is our new assets area. Assets are all the stuff you upload to your site: images, documents, and media. Our new assets area is filterable by content type. It’s searchable by keyword. It’s sortable by name or upload date. It allows tags to find your assets even faster. It includes thumbnails of images right in the asset list. And best of all: we’ve included drag-and-drop uploading for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari users. That’s right: all you need to do to upload files to your site is to drag them from a folder on your computer onto the assets list in your datAvenger admin area. Simple as that!

Version 5 is a huge new release of datAvenger Pro, and we’re really excited about all the new functionality we’ve been able to include. If you’d like more information about when you can upgrade your dA Pro site to version 5 – or if you’d like to know more about moving your site to datAvenger – we’d be happy to talk with you!

datAvenger is a product of Sephone Interactive Media

datAvenger 5 New Features

As we’ve been covering over the last week, we’re launching datAvenger Pro 5, the latest version of our advanced content management system, within the next few weeks. Before we launch, though, we wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the great new features in this version.

The best URLs yet

datAvenger Pro has supported search engine friendly page addresses since we launched version 4 in 2006. A normal version 4 address would look something like this:

http://www.example.com/content/4052/Visit_Our_Store/

We decided to step it up a bit by making page addresses in dA Pro 5 even easier to read — and even better for search engines. When you’re editing a page in dA Pro 5, there’s a new option to create a custom URL that’ll look like this:

http://www.example.com/visit-our-store

At Sephone we’re committed to creating the best experience possible for your site’s visitors. We also do everything we can to stay on top of the latest guidance from search engines to make sure you’re a step above your competition. That’s why we’ve constantly refined page URLs in both datAvenger Pro and our basic content manager, datAvenger.

Dramatically improved drag-and-drop form creation

Companies who use datAvenger Pro have told us they love our easy-to-use, drag-and-drop form editor. It eliminates the difficult process of building forms; instead, you pick the field type you’d like to add, drag it into the big form area, and your form is ready to go.

We’ve heard that datAvenger Pro users would love to be able to add more than one field per line in order to keep forms compact and less rigid. datAvenger Pro 5′s form module does just that: you can now add as many fields per line as you like.

Easy sharing on Facebook and other social networks

datAvenger Pro 4 allowed you to specify what keywords and description you’d like to include in the metadata for each page. In version 5, we’ve added the option to add an image. This is perfect for those times when people share your site’s pages on sites like Facebook, allowing you to add an eye-catching graphic into feeds on social networks.

Content stats for every page

When you first go to edit a page, sometimes you want an at-a-glance look at what’s contained on that page. In dA Pro 5, not only will you be able to see a preview of every page’s content, but you’ll also see a count of the number of words, fields, or submissions for every page. We hope these small tweaks will allow you to see a better picture of your site.

An asset manager made with you in mind

datAvenger Pro 5 assets area

Personally, my favorite new feature of datAvenger Pro 5 is our new assets area. Assets are all the stuff you upload to your site: images, documents, and media. Our new assets area is filterable by content type. It’s searchable by keyword. It’s sortable by name or upload date. It allows tags to find your assets even faster. It includes thumbnails of images right in the asset list. And best of all: we’ve included drag-and-drop uploading for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari users. That’s right: all you need to do to upload files to your site is to drag them from a folder on your computer onto the assets list in your datAvenger admin area. Simple as that!

Version 5 is a huge new release of datAvenger Pro, and we’re really excited about all the new functionality we’ve been able to include. If you’d like more information about when you can upgrade your dA Pro site to version 5 – or if you’d like to know more about moving your site to datAvenger – we’d be happy to talk with you!

datAvenger is product of Sephone Interactive Media.

5 questions to ask when comparing CMS options

We’ve shown that having a content management system for your site is important. But there are a number of content management systems available for use on sites. Web development companies usually pick one or two they like best; they might develop their own (for example, we built a CMS called datAvenger at Sephone), or they may choose to use an open-source CMS to power the sites they make.

But what should you compare if you’re looking at a few CMS options? Here are five questions to ask.

Is it hard to learn how to edit my site?

If you make a lot of changes to your site (or even if you don’t), the most important piece of the CMS puzzle is feeling comfortable with the area where you edit your site. If it’s a hassle or burden to find the page you want to change, wrangle with an editor, and then stumble to push the page to the live site, you’ll find yourself frustrated – fast.

If, on the other hand, editing makes sense and is easy to do, you can have an up-to-date site that changes whenever you like. There’s no reason why a simple content change on your site should take more than a few minutes. Don’t compromise on a CMS that makes you do more work.

Will my site play nice with search engines?

It’s important that people can find your site on the web. Search engine optimization (or SEO) isn’t all about the content on your site; it’s also about how your site itself is built. A good CMS can help your site shine on search engines.

A good first check is to see how the page addresses (known as URLs) look for your site. Many older content management systems use a combination of codes and ID numbers in the URLs for every page:

http://www.example.com/index.php?pageId=25&section=5
http://www.example.com/directory.php?dirId=25&person=52&view=standard

These kinds of URLs are tough for search engines to understand because they don’t say anything about what’s on the actual page. Look for a CMS that builds URLs using the title of the page, or another set of keywords you can customize:

http://www.example.com/about-us
http://www.example.com/directory/person/jim-smith

These make it easier for both search engines and your visitors to remember your site.

Bonus tip: Ask how a site’s CMS handles mistyped or broken links. In the tech world, we call these 404s. Ideally a CMS should show a screen that tells your visitor that the page is not available. It should also send a special server status code (a 404) so that search engines and other sites can tell that the page doesn’t exist. This helps search engines remove a page from their results after you delete it from your site.

What kinds of content can I have on my site?

Form moduleAs we mentioned in our “What is a CMS?” post, most content management systems allow you to edit text in a rich text editor. This allows you to style text, add links and images, and more. Chances are, though, that your site isn’t only text. What if you want to add a form for visitors to fill out, an image gallery, or a widget from another site? Make sure that the CMS you choose can support the kinds of content you need (or can be customized to adapt to what your site needs to do).

Can I preview my changes before everyone sees them?

The administration area for some content management systems allows you to see how the changes you make will look on your site before you publish them to your live site. This is a great feature if you’d like to be able to tweak what you write before the world can see it.

Bonus tip: See if your CMS saves drafts as you work. If your browser or computer crashes, you don’t want to lose all of your changes!

Are pages for my site ready to be shared on social networks?

A link shared on FacebookFacebook and Twitter make it super simple to share links. Will the pages you share look their best, though? Facebook, for example, lets pages choose what they want for a description and image of a page when it’s shared. Check to see if your CMS can control how this looks instead of posting just the first few words from the page (or just the page title with no text at all).

These five questions are a good starting point when you start to compare your CMS options. If you’d like to know more about how content management systems can help your site, read more on our blog or get in touch with us!

datAvenger is a product of Sephone Interactive Media.

What is a content management system?

We all know how important it is for your business or organization to have a presence online. When you first decide to set up your site – or when you decide to make a change in how the site is run – one of the most critical decisions you can make is whether the site will use a content management system (CMS).

A content management system allows you to make changes to your own site, even if you have little technical knowhow. Instead of calling up a developer every time you’d like to change some text, rates, or a phone number on your site, a CMS lets you log into an administration area with a username and password and make the change in an editor. Once you’ve made the changes, they’ll appear instantly on your site.

Features of most content management systems

Content management system editor

Content management systems often feature rich text editors that allow you to style the text of your pages.

Most content management systems allow you to do a number of common tasks on your site.

  • Adding and removing pages
  • Editing pages in a WYSIWYG editor
  • Inserting links and images on pages
  • Customizing page titles and addresses

Reasons to use a CMS

There are a number of reasons why content management systems make a lot of sense for businesses.

  • Save money: Instead of paying a web developer every time you want to change your site, you can make edits whenever you like.
  • Save time: The changes you make in a CMS are published instantly; there’s no waiting hours (or days) for a change to be done.
  • Stay in control: A CMS lets you have complete control of what’s on your site. If you want to add or remove a page, or if you’d like to change some text, it’s easy to do!

We’re about to release the latest version of our own advanced CMS, datAvenger Pro. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll feature more posts about content management and how to make the most of your site!

The new Sephone Resource Center will solve your website editing woes

Technology and the Web are constantly evolving and changing. It seems like every day there’s something new to learn. We know it can be tough to keep up with, and while we try to make our products easy to use, we know some of you might need a helping hand to step into Geekdom.

Sephone Resource Center - for people who feel like this when editing their website. (Photo from http://lolcatz.wordpress.com)

And so the Sephone Resource Center was born! We often have similar questions about the “how-to’s” for the person that is just learning, or if there is a new person doing the job.

The Resource Center is a collection of tutorials for how to do common (and some uncommon) tasks in services like our content management system, datAvenger and datAvenger pro. This list of tutorials will continue to grow with new text and video tutorials and will continue to cover even more Sephone services.

Here are some examples of tutorials that are currently available:

Check it out! Visit sephone.com and click on ‘help’.

Name changes for our datAvenger applications

datAvenger logoHere at Sephone we’ve had two content management products for quite a while: datAvenger and datAvenger lite. datAvenger lite has always been our basic content manager, and datAvenger provided more options for companies that need more control and flexibility. (We have a product comparison of the two products available on our site.)

With some of the latest additions to these products, we’ve realized that the names of these applications don’t reflect the companies aren’t as accurate as they could be. If you’ve visited the admin area for a datAvenger/datAvenger lite site today, you may have noticed that we’ve rolled out a name change to both applications. Here’s what you’ll see:

  • If you’ve been working in datAvenger, your content management application is now called datAvenger Pro.
  • If you currently use the latest version of datAvenger lite (the one with the blue header bar), your application is now simply called datAvenger.

You’ll see these changes in the text of the application, the logo, and references to the applications on our sites.

There are a few key points to keep in mind for this transition.

  • The people who visit your site won’t be affected by this change at all. The only changes you’ll see are in the administration area of your site.
  • The administration area will remain the same other than references to your application’s name. This change does not affect any functionality.
  • Your invoices from us will reflect the name change, but the amount you are billed will not change. This is only a name change, not a pricing change.

Thank you for your understanding during this transition. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Word and WYSIWYGs

WYSIWYG screenshotIn the world of the Web, tools known as WYSIWYGs are used to edit large or complex areas of content. A WYSIWYG – a What You See Is What You Get editor – is useful when you need to insert text formatting (like boldface or italics), links, pictures, or other types of special text into whatever you’re writing.

Every so often, though, you may find that a WYSIWYG editor doesn’t live up to its name, and some content from the editor may look different when you look at it on the site that you’re editing. We find that this happens most often when content is pasted into the editor from desktop editing programs like Microsoft Word.

Behind the scenes of your text: lost in translation

Underneath any document you make with a rich text editor (including Microsoft Word and online WYSIWYGs) is a markup language. The main duty of a markup language is to let the computer know how to display the text you write; it makes the computer able to understand the difference between 36-point text and words that are bold or blue.

Translation booksBut not all markup languages are the same. When a computer copies text from a program like Word into an online WYSIWYG, it does its best to play the role of translator between languages. Once in a while (especially when working with content with a lot of different formatting within it) it isn’t able to correctly figure out how to translate the text from one markup language to the other. Because online WYSIWYGs aren’t as complex as a program like Word, the online text may start to act funny as it finds formatting it doesn’t understand.

What can I do?

When copying text from a program like Word into an online WYSIWYG, we usually suggest two things: wiping and plain texting.

Style wiping (also known as “scrubbing” or “cleaning”) is the easiest way to clean your content of special formatting from external programs. Word icon (1)Word icon (2)Word icon (3)Word icon (4)Wipers usually have their own toolbar button (like one of the icons to the right) and will run through your text and remove any formatting the editor doesn’t understand. (Because of this, there is a chance you could lose some formatting in your text after wiping.) Wipers are usually only found in advanced WYSIWYGs that have a lot of formatting options.

The other option for pasting is to convert your text into plain text before pasting it into the online editor. To do this, paste the text into a program like Notepad. After you’ve pasted the text, select all of it and then copy it again. This middle step removes any special formatting and allows text to flow easily into the online editor.

Do you have any other tricks you’ve learned when pasting your content into online editors? Let us know!