Newsletter February ’10

As the end of each month approached I began wondering what to put in the upcoming newsletter. I know that the newsletter has for the most part been based on Tribulant and our products, with news about what’s coming up, where we have tried to improve and so on. Geeky stuff, and probably a bit boring to many of you.

Over the next few months I will play around with the contents and hope to engage you, our dear reader, in a more interesting newsletter and perhaps encourage you to write in with ideas, tips, tricks and maybe just something interesting that you would like included in the next newsletter from your personal point of view. Yes, we mostly sell commercial products but it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to build a community and relationships with our customers. We do!

In this Newsletter

  • Our New Look
  • Plugin of the month – WP Thumbshots
  • WordPress Newsletters plugin v3.7.5
  • Blogging Tips & Suggestions
  • Articles & Snippets Submissions
  • A Little Humour

Our New Look

In the last few weeks we have been working behind the scene to produce a new updated look and feel for the readers and new visitors. The new site is in the final stages of testing but I give you a peak.

The Carousel

Carousel
click to enlarge

As you can see it’s neat, smooth and has an improved auto scroll. Congrats to the programming department.

First Impressions

First Impressions
click to enlarge

The Front page has been really reworked and is mean and lean and hopefully grabs new visitors instantly. We all know what they say about first impressions counting.

Tabbing Around

Tabbing Around
click to enlarge

The Plugins page for each product has a fresh set of tabs and icons which make getting around the site a pleasure and add to the ease of use. A friendly site that is appealing always attracts  new traffic and keeps users coming back.

February’s plugin of the month reviewed

This month I will be reviewing the WordPress Thumbshots plugin. It is a free download from WordPress and developed by Antonie Potgieter. Yeah I know some of you might say that because our guru developed it, it will get an all praise review. Not so! I intend to take different plugins each month and give them the once over. Some may get “apples” while others may get “acorns”.

“Quickly insert a thumbshot of any website with a shortcode and a URL as a parameter into any WordPress post/page. This plugin makes use of the Thumbshots.com service and can be used with either a free or a paid account”

The description sums up the plugin. Basically it allows you to insert thumbshots of a page or picture from a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). This major advantage of using this plugin is that it uses a shortcode. If you do a lot of blogging and have not yet become a fan of shortcodes then I suggest you give them a try if your plugin allows their use. Shorcodes are normally friendly text type description contained in square brackets and make blogging easier and a pleasure if you do a lot of imbedding and look something like this  – [short code link].

This plugin is a time saver if you want images that are stored elsewhere or you want to give you readers a visual link to a page on another website. It already has over 450 downloads and positive ratings!

Installation

Is simple and easy and is well documented on the plugins page on WordPress and follows the standard WordPress methodology.

Size

At 150kb zipped it’s very small and is a quick download. Installed it comes in at around 353kb which is what one expects for this type of plugin, so there is no wasted space. The code is tight and clean. Most of the space is taken up by the 3 small PNG screenshots included in the download.

Compatibility and version

This is a version 1 release and is seemingly bug free. It is compatible with version 2.9.2 of WordPress and should be compatible with versions 2.7 and 2.8, although I did not test it with earlier versions of WordPress. We will continue to develop the plugin as the WordPress CMS evolves.

Cost

Free, yes, FREE!

Conclusion

I like this plugin and its overall feel and look is appealing. I think it is targeted to a niche market and while it is not a must have on all blogs, I think it is definitely worth considering if you need something to help you with external images that are incorporated into your blog as a thumbnail picture. It gets 4 out of 5.

WordPress Newsletters plugin v3.7.5

This version was released early in February, on the 8th to be exact. It is fully compatible with WordPress 2.9.2. There are a number of bug fixes and improvements to it. Here is a quick list of features already integrated into the plugin…

  • Multiple mailing lists.
  • Bounce email management.
  • Newsletter queue & scheduling.
  • Email templates.
  • Complete email history.
  • Unlimited sidebar widgets, configurable.
  • Post/Page opt-in embedding.
  • Offsite subscription forms for non-WordPress sites.
  • Publish newsletters as posts.
  • Send posts as newsletters.
  • Add email attachments.
  • SMTP with authentication.
  • Gmail SMTP Capability.
  • Ajax powered features.
  • Import/export subscribers easily.
  • Custom dynamic opt-in fields.
  • Paid subscriptions (2CheckOut, PayPal).
  • Unlimited subscribers.
  • Email tracking.
  • IP logging of subscribers.
  • and many, many more…

Blogging Tips & Suggestions

Bloggers HandbookI know that there are hundreds of magazines and books out there but my surprise find this month is Blogger’s Handbook Vol 1.

This is a new title release from Image Publishing. It’s filled with great articles, step-by-step advice and is an easy read for the beginner and the more experienced bloggers. What puts it at the top of my to read list is its great to see what others are doing and gets one going with so many ideas.

So as my Tip this month is get a copy. For the publisher’s site go here:

http://www.imagineshop.co.uk/item_show.php?itemID=1336

Articles & Snippets

As a reminder, we invite you to send in articles of interest, comments and feedback for our ‘Readers Column’.  If you have a press release for your own products or website, please feel free to submit it for consideration in the next newsletter.  Topics may be varied at this stage as this is a pilot project.

All we ask is that the articles are related in some way to your business, field of interest or expertise and are non-political, may be considered of general interest and are suitably tasteful. For those interested, email us at support@tribulant.com or submit it directly at our helpdesk.

A Little Humour

A Little Humour

The Wrap Up

Well that’s it for another month. I look forward to hearing from you and don’t forget to send us your site for inclusion in next month’s news letter. Be safe and be well.

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