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Fundamental Website Setup Links

“Hidden” AWSOM Plugin features: Display Ads to Non-Registered Users

As part of my “Hidden” features of AWSOM Plugins I want to point out a usage for the AWSOM News Announcement plugin for WordPress that may be of use to Site Admins. Most people who use the AWSOM News Announcement plugin typically use it for it’s most basic function: adding a News block above your posts on the Index page of your site. This is one great usage of this plugin and the most obvious one. But you can have multiple News Posts active at the same time, so I’d like to point out another easy usage that adds power and capabilities to your site.

One of the things that you can select when adding a new news announcement is what viewer level is able to see that particular News Post, and each News Post can have different viewer levels. By default it’s set to “everyone”, but you are able to restrict the viewer to any of the regular WordPress registered user levels. So, you can make a News Post only visible to Subscribers or Administrators, or any level in between. This makes the News Post a handy way of informing other members of your site about important information that only applies to them.

Of course an obvious usage is to restrict certain things so that only registered visitors can see/use things. An example is an audio/video player for extra site content. With the “run php” setting in News Announcement turned on you can embed any player that requires javascript or php code to function. Now you have created an incentive for visitors to sign up to your site.

Conversely you can do things so that ONLY non-subscribers see certain News Posts. By selecting this as the viewer level for a post, it only gets shown to general visitors–>which makes it an excellent way of displaying ads to non-registered users while making it a “benefit” for people to sign up to your blog so that they aren’t presented with ads. Since any content can be added to a News Post and can run, almost any ad company code or system can be set to display in a News Post.

So not only do you now have a way to give your readers information, but you can present ads and reserve enhanced content and generate more reasons for visitors to interact with your blog.

A Thank You For Your Support

I just wanted to give a thank you to our most recent supporter, Mr. R. Wilder, who used our Paypal donation link to donate to the AWSOM.org development fund. I’m a firm devotee to the free Open Source Software model, and I will never ever charge for anything developed here, so it really makes me feel appreciated when someone feels strongly enough about my work to help keep it going. I would like to point out that purchases from the Onezumi Studios Online store are also a great way of contributing to the site. Also, for those of you who would like to contribute but can’t do so financially, the other way to help is to simply tell others about our software and sites and therefore bring us more web traffic, which is a great alternate way of supporting us.

So, thank you Mr. Wilder and everyone else who has contributed and mentioned us, it’s what really let’s us know that what we are doing is right and is making a positive impact. It’s greatly appreciated.

Bam! I’m Rich! (or not), Blog Worth Metric Tool

Hey, AWSOM.org is worth $287,350 dollars! Or maybe not. But if you want to find out how much your blog site is “worth” there’s a fun tool available from http://www.business-opportunities.biz/ that utilizes a metric based on how much the AOL-Weblogs Inc deal was worth to estimate how much your blog site would be worth. Mostly just an exercise in how popular/well known your site is on the internet, but still an interesting thing to check out. The direct link to the tool page is here.

VectorMagic: How to make your images into merchandise

I’ve come across an interesting service that might be of interest to artists. Stanford University has a website up at http://vectormagic.stanford.edu/ that claims to be able to convert static images (raster pixel based) into vector based images (mathematics based, scalable) in a manner that loses very little of the original look. Why is this important? Well, to print or make merchandise out of artwork it is often important to resize the image to different sizes, which raster based images often times do very poorly–especially if an increase in size is necessary (think poster printing). A vector based image is based on a mathematical formula that can be increased or decreased and retain the exact same look and information (you are basically just adding or subtracting numbers), so you can scale a vector image to any size.

The best part of this new service is that it’s currently free. It is semi-limited right now though in that it claims to be optimized more for logos–so scaling your aunt Bertha’s birthday party photo probably won’t work well–but for most people getting their logo or other artwork into vector form for free in a high quality form is a no-brainer.

I’d be curious to hear from anyone who uses the service if it worked well for them. I’m not an artist so I can’t really judge these things. Feel free to send me an email or post on the Harknell.com forums about it.

Exciting Developments in Open Source: Magento Commerce

I am always excited to see new Open Source web package development, and none more so than Ecommerce solutions. I’m really excited about a new system I discovered recently called Magento Commerce. I haven’t had much time to fully evaluate it, but from what I can see, these guys are building a really super store website system. It looks just as good as any professional online store, with all of the features you’d expect. The fact that you’d normally have to pay a ton of money to get something like this developed, and this is open source and free, is spectacular.

The only lingering questions are how secure this program is, how easy it is to work with, and how difficult it is to upgrade it. But all I can say is if you have been struggling with OSCommerce or any of those other free store site programs, I’d suggest taking a look at this one.

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