SableCraft Web Design, Development and Consultancy 2016-11-01T22:52:49Z https://sablecraft.co.uk/feed/atom/ WordPress https://sablecraft.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/cropped-SableCraft-logo-Copy-32x32.png Sable <![CDATA[URL ReWriter]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=649 2016-11-01T22:52:49Z 2016-11-01T22:52:49Z Continued]]> URL ReWrite is a lightweight plugin to dynamically change urls in all your Posts and Excerpts.

This plugin was made to meet the need to migrate URLs when forced to migrate from one affiliate scheme to another.

With both a simple find and replace mode and a full blown RegEx mode, you can cater for simple and complex url replacing.

Your posts remain unchanged, and the urls are formatted before display keeping your data safe and avoiding risky bulk database edits.

 

URL ReWrite is available for a limited time at the special price of just £10.

Contact at darren@sablecraft.co.uk or send me a DM on Twitter if you’d like to know more, or wish to buy.

 

url-rewriter-settings

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Sable <![CDATA[Blog.ClonezoneDirect.co.uk]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=577 2014-10-04T17:19:45Z 2014-10-04T16:59:35Z Continued]]> ClonezoneDirect.co.uk are the UK’s largest gay product suppliers, and SableCraft supplied a complete system for managing their own blog with a design complementary to the original eCommerce store.

Using a custom-built responsive design, based upon the flexible and well supported Bootstrap framework, the Clonezone blog becomes usable on any sized device, from phone, tablet and laptop to today’s 1080 HD desktop systems. Using a mobile first methodology ensures that even when viewed on the smaller screen, the site remains easy to use and read.

The Clonezone blog aims to be the go-to place for news about Clonezone stores and gay products, as well as providing the Gay community with relevant topical news. To this end careful attention to SEO has been implemented.

From basic SEO such as allowing full meta data management within admin and optimised page construction, to advanced techniques such as implementation of RDFa breadcrumbs to assist search engines in mapping the site’s hierarchy.  Implementing all this with a “user first” approach to make sure the site is first and foremost readable by people. This approach of ensuring that the site is firstly an authoritative source of information for users, means that whatever updates are made to algorithms of the major search engines sites will sill rank well. As I’ve said before present good content well and rankings will follow naturally.

Most importantly ongoing support has enabled Clonezone staff to learn how to use and manage their system themselves. This is vital if the blog is to remain up to date and a relevant source of news.

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Sable <![CDATA[SableCommerce]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=548 2014-08-24T16:14:38Z 2014-08-20T15:16:44Z Continued]]> If you need a full blown eCommerce addon for your WordPress, SableCommerce is the plugin for you.

  • Product Management
  • Product Categories
  • Product Variants
  • Product Options
  • Product Brands
  • Customer Groups
  • Company Groups
  • Discount Management, per user, per group and per company.
  • Multiple address management per user.
  • VAT number tracking for B2B sales

We can configure SableCommerce to use whatever gateway system you use, including PayPal.

 

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Sable <![CDATA[SableAds]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=546 2014-08-24T15:43:06Z 2014-08-20T15:16:08Z Continued]]> SableAds is a fully fledged system for managing advertisements on your WordPress site.

Supporting many types of advert including:

  • Timed adverts – expiring on a fixed date.
  • View – expiring after a number of impressions
  • Clicks – expiring after a number of clickthroughs
  • .Premium – Always showing.
  • Regular – randomly displayed based on a weighting mechanism

With options for giving each advert image a follow or nofollow link, and innovative click tracking system that preserves an SEO friendly direct link SableAds gives you valuable tracking on your adverts performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sable <![CDATA[SearchRelevance]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=543 2014-08-20T15:00:26Z 2014-08-20T15:00:26Z
Just install in the typical WordPress plugin way and it will adjust searches automatically, no settings needed.

Also adds a relevance score to the title of search results, which you can style via CSS (see FAQ).

Version 2.0 gives you more control, including:
  • Hide relevance scores in results titles and/or admin
  • Auto style relavence scores. So you don't have to add float:right to your CSS!
  • Highlight search terms
  • Custom excerpt centered on the search terms found
You can find SearchRelavance at the Wordpress Plugin Directory.]]>
Adjust WordPress search results to order by relevance, not by date.

Just install in the typical WordPress plugin way and it will adjust searches automatically, no settings needed.

Also adds a relevance score to the title of search results, which you can style via CSS (see FAQ).

Version 2.0 gives you more control, including:

  • Hide relevance scores in results titles and/or admin
  • Auto style relavence scores. So you don’t have to add float:right to your CSS!
  • Highlight search terms
  • Custom excerpt centered on the search terms found

You can find SearchRelavance at the WordPress Plugin Directory.

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Sable <![CDATA[LegendQuest]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=538 2014-08-20T14:13:41Z 2014-08-20T14:11:35Z
Created to power RPG servers, with it players are able to become heroes and shape their character with a wide range of races, classes and skills.

LegendQuest is designed from the beginning to be completely configurable, highly flexible, and totally adaptable to your needs. Consisting of a system of configurable races, classes and skills. LegendQuest is at the core of your servers RPG setup, and powers all your RPG elements.

Server owners have the option of completely customising their RPG setup. Want to go fantasy Tolkien style? Setup Humans, Elves, Orcs and Dwarfs and Hobbit races, with fighter, mage, bard, ranger and more classes. Want a modern setting? Turn of races, and setup classes for mercenary, merchant, soldier, etc. Want a more classic MineCraft feel - Make races for Human, Ender, Wither and Pigmen. And classes for miner, farmer, hunter, crafter...

It's your RPG experience - your way.

Read more here]]>
LegendQuest is a RPG plugin for MineCraft servers using the Bukkit API.

Created to power ImagiCraft’s MMORPG server, with it players are able to become heroes and shape their character with a wide range of races, classes and skills.

LegendQuest is designed from the beginning to be completely configurable, highly flexible, and totally adaptable to your needs. Consisting of a system of configurable races, classes and skills. LegendQuest is at the core of your servers RPG setup, and powers all your RPG elements.

Server owners have the option of completely customising their RPG setup. Want to go fantasy Tolkien style? Setup Humans, Elves, Orcs and Dwarfs and Hobbit races, with fighter, mage, bard, ranger and more classes. Want a modern setting? Turn of races, and setup classes for mercenary, merchant, soldier, etc. Want a more classic MineCraft feel – Make races for Human, Ender, Wither and Pigmen. And classes for miner, farmer, hunter, crafter…

It’s your RPG experience – your way.

As characters gain experience, they can gain more skills. Either unlocking skills as they level up – or by earning skill points to choose the skills they want. Its up to you the server owner which system to use, you can even mix and match both.

More importantly, each class and race can have limits placed on allowed, weapons, tools, armour and “abilities” such as crafting, smelting, enchanting, repairing etc…


Full information, details and project help can be found on the LegendQuest BukkitDev project page.

Source code available atthe GitHub LegendQuest Repository.

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Sable <![CDATA[Calm down dear, its only a messaging app!]]> http://www.sabletopia.co.uk/?p=512 2014-10-04T13:14:26Z 2014-08-04T14:15:12Z
Twitter was too short for me to make my full rant about this...
So here's the full force.]]>
Recently I’ve noticed that this article about the “Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger” is doing the rounds again.

Twitter was too short for me to make my full rant about this…

So here’s the full force.

Disclaimer

Facebook does have issues. They do retain a lot of data, for example when you type in the status box but then delete it, they note you changed your mind (but not exactly what you typed). They are quite open that in future if/when possible they’d like to track the deleted text content too.

And that’s the crux here. Facebook track every interaction you make with Facebook. They do this to try to learn what you like/dislike so they can show you more of the first and less of the latter. And so they can then target adverts at you better. If the advert is more likely something you like – and seen while reading a news post that you also like – you’re more likely to click through.

And that’s how Facebook make money. How much did you pay for Facebook? At last time it was reported (August 2012) Facebook had over 180,000 servers. It’s likely to be far far more now. This hardware and the expertise required to maintain it – let alone the development staff needed to develop it – run to a bill of over $80 million a month – based on Facebook’s claim it costs over $1bn a year to run.

Facebook trades in data.  By collecting every scrap it can it build a profile and then use that to target adverts at you.

Many people have an instant knee jerk to that profiling. Yet in their wallet they carry a Nectar card, or a Tesco clubcard, or some other loyalty scheme card.

It has always astounded me that people who complain at even having to give a Surname or date of birth to a website, are quite happy to let Tesco record every item they buy.  Think about that next time you have to do some sensitive shopping – a tube of piles cream, a cheap copy of 50 Shades of Grey.  Don’t be surprised if you buy burgers, buns, relish and insect replant – and receive offers on BBQs in an email later that week.

Facebook have time and again been show to be overaggressive on data collection. This is true, data is the currency you are using to pay for the service. But they have enough real flaws without unwarranted knee-jerk panic reactions.

 Terms Of Service?

The Huff article frequently make reference to Terms of Service. Yet they list the “Application Permissions”. These are not the same thing. It’s just that the phrase “Terms of Service” is scarier sounding that app permissions. There is no Terms of Service agreement that pops up to accept like an EULA would do. The ToS are, like almost all other services, just a link at the end of the setting page. They link to Facebook’s general ToS that interestingly hasn’t been changed since November 2013.

So what are application permissions?

Firstly note that the Huff article is now 20 months old…  that list is way out of date.

Also, it’s interesting that the Android app has been targeted here. On iOS there is no app permissions to agree to – just find in app store, add the app and run as usual. No scary popups there.

Over on the Android platform, every app has to request permission to use certain features of your phone.  The camera, network, SMS, contacts etc.

Remember that messenger has voice messaging, picture sending, and the option to link contacts so you can see their Facebook avatars as the contacts photo and status in contacts. How can the app link contacts without access to your contacts?  How can it record a message without access to the microphone?

“But it says at any time?”. Yes it does, otherwise every time you tap the record message button you’d have to click yes or no on a popup saying “Messenger wants to access the microphone now?”. That would get annoying real quick – Microsoft got a lot of flack for that when they introduced UAC with similar constant popups back in Vista.

“How about reading and access to SMS?”. Facebook sends verification texts to prove your identity and increase security. By detecting the SMS, reading it to verify the code and then deleting it, it automates this process without you having to copy and paste codes about. There is no permission for “access SMS from a certain number” only “access all SMS” so they have to use that permission.

In summary…

The Facebook messenger apps permissions aren’t too dissimilar to many top end apps. Indeed the number of permissions is more a mark of how well the app integrates with your phone and contacts than any measure of privacy violation.

For those interested – here’s the current list of permissions for the messenger app.

Facebook Messangers Permissions - July 2014
Facebook Messenger’s Permissions – July 2014

A lot less worrying wording 20 months on.

Compare this to a popular mobile game…

2014-08-04 11.48.52

Instead of asking why a messaging app that sends voice/images/texts to your contacts needs access to your microphone, camera and contacts list, maybe you should be asking why King.com make a game that needs access to your browsing history, bookmarks and other running apps?

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Sable <![CDATA[CaraSutra.co.uk]]> http://sablecraft.co.uk/?p=550 2014-10-04T10:03:07Z 2014-07-20T20:39:49Z CaraSutra.co.uk blog was re-designed with its own custom theme to replace the previous design. The previous theme was overloaded with unneeded options and features, and stripping back to a new theme with just the needed features was the preferred option.

In this case extra features included bespoke systems to handle product reviews, galleries, viewing archived Xenforo posts and allowing visitors to post guest reviews.

Combined with a responsive mobile first layout and bbPress powered forums, the end result is an award winning blog site, a leader in its industry.

Read more here...]]>
The CaraSutra.co.uk blog was re-designed with its own custom theme to replace the previous design. The previous theme was overloaded with unneeded options and features, and stripping back to a new theme with just the needed features was the preferred option.

In this case extra features included bespoke systems to handle product reviews, galleries, viewing archived Xenforo posts and allowing visitors to post guest reviews.

Combined with a responsive mobile first layout and bbPress powered forums, the end result is an award winning blog site, a leader in its industry.

CaraSutra.co.uk also utilizes SearchRelevance and SableAds to enhance usability, and generate revenue.

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Sable <![CDATA[Content is King, but don’t forget the Prince…]]> http://www.sabletopia.co.uk/?p=417 2014-10-04T14:04:25Z 2013-11-03T21:26:19Z Continued]]> If you have any involvement in SEO you’ll have heard the phrase “Content is King”.  Google has for many years been trying to make the content of a page the most important aspect and for the most part it has achieved that goal this year.

I’ve always said to any person that would listen that trying to game Google’s algorithm is pointless.  Every change Google has made, and every change they will ever make, is to try to make the content the focus – and then judge if that content is relevant  and authoritative for the search the user entered.  At best any “black hat” attempts to trick a  good ranking will stop working,  “Just make good content that’s easy to use and access” I would always say.

Wrap_Rage_ExampleThe “box” in which the content is stored is irrelevant to whether that content is relevant or authoritative and should expose the content as best as possible with clear navigation and a simple user interface.  You can think of old-school table based layouts and sites crowded with extra mark-up and distracting extra information as packing your content in impenetrable clamshell, Google won’t try too hard to get inside and will just skim what it can get to easily.

But content only addresses half of the “relevant  and authoritative” requirement.  When written well, content will be relevant, but the authoritative aspect has to come from somewhere else.

But where? At the moment a large part of relevance comes from getting similarly relevant pages to recommend you with a back link.

You may have heard of Google’s ‘Penguin’ updates which tweak their detection of backlink abuse.  If you vanished from results pages when one of these updates rolled out then you need to clean up your incoming links, and maybe even disavow any links you can’t get removed.  Don’t let anyone tell you it’s because of your site’s structure, or sitemaps or some such nonsense.  Heck, sitemaps simply tell Google where your content is (and it can usually find that itself) and how often it changes.

But there’s a new kid on the block; social media. This rising Prince is ready to take its place alongside the content king.  The best content in the world is useless without good distribution.  What better way to see if something is authoritative than to measure how people are talking about it?

Social sharing is rapidly growing as source of organic traffic, and one you can no longer ignore.  Don’t just focus on the King, remember to effectively distribute your content via social media sources as well, and you’ll notice Google starts to treat you better in return.

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Sable <![CDATA[Sites don’t have to look good to work…]]> http://www.sabletopia.co.uk/?p=363 2014-10-04T13:54:08Z 2013-11-02T16:52:24Z Continued]]> Whilst working as a Web Developer on many sites I’ve often had clients far more focused on aesthetics than function.

This obsession has included things as specific as being asked to move text one pixel to the left, to the more vague “bold, bolder, bolder…less bold”.

This has even lead to me developing a sixth sense for the right time to spot and save a ‘finished’ version of the website. Client’s often have several options they want testing which I know they will go on to reject. However, just like the Matrix, they have to see it for themselves. I then just restore back to the point the project was really done .

However this myth that pretty websites do well just isn’t true. Whilst a certain level of professionalism typically begets a nice clean design that looks attractive, this is not the end goal.

Take for example lingscars.com. With £50m value of cars leased in 2012 you can’t argue the site works.

Have a journey on the WayBack Machine to Amazon of just a year ago and you’ll find a pretty boring, dare I say it, ugly site. eBay has similarly recently tried to upgrade its aesthetic. Both these sites have become giants before they addressed their appearance.

Also take a moment to look at Craigslist – here’s the London UK page. No one is going to this site for looks.

 

So why do they work?

In almost every case above the answer is content and usability.

Hidden beneath clever psychological marketing it may be for LingsCars, but if you scratch away the GeoCities styleé veneer you’ll find everything you could possibly want to know about leasing cars.

And whilst LingsCars sacrifices some degree of usability for this clever marketing, the others don’t. Plentiful navigation to get to the exact department abounds and a large search box finishes off each the design.

People have long made analogies between bricks and mortar stores and websites. So let’s further this trend – the clarity of signs you have around the shop marking each department (Navigation) and the availability of shop assistants to ask for help and their knowledge (Search) will do far more to help customers find what they want to buy (Content). The fonts used on the signs, the staff uniform, all these factors are secondary.

This is not to say design should be neglected, not at all. Bad design can destroy confidence and good design will distinguish you as more professional than competitors. But its all for naught if it’s been prioritized above usability and content.

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