I spent way too long this morning trying to figure out how to syndicate a Google news alert to our new site at www.flyfishingfundi.com using a Gmail account. The general instructions on how to do this are published all over the web – but the specific Gmail account settings which are required are not.
Initially, I didn’t want to use a Google account to achieve this at all.
The idea is that Google sends out a news alert “as it happens”. WordPress is then supposed to fetch the news alert from the email server like a standard email client. WordPress can then be set up to autopost or send the post to draft so that is can be quickly published. It seems like a handy way to boost the content on a news based site and acts as a kind of news aggregator.
However, when testing the Google news alert with a standard server email address, one main problem arose – Google sends out news alerts in html format. The WordPress wp-mail.php system seems to strip these html emails so that nothing appears in the post.
Google can send news alerts in plain text (although, apparently not video alerts) if the account is registered. Registering an account seems to always mean setting up a Gmail account.
From there it’s easy to set Gmail up to forward the plain text version of the Google news or video alert to a standard mail account. However, my experience to date indicates that convoluted systems like this may technically work, but they tend to get messy or become unreliable over time.
So, the logical solution is to simply use the Gmail account to fetch syndicated content for the WordPress site. The problem is, none of the logical or published settings seem to work!
I finally got the blasted thing to work though, with largely unpublished instructions found on some obscure forum post!
In WordPress > Settings > Writing see the Post via Email section.
The account settings need to be set up like the example below. Note the ssl prefix to the server address. Also not the googlemail.com address, not gmail.com address.
Mail Server: ssl://pop.googlemail.com
Login Name: firstname.lastname@example.org
Password: Your Gmail password
The response to our first email newsletter distributed in June has been extremely positive. That’s encouraging, because we spent quite some time developing a mix of content we thought would be interesting for our readers.
We also spent some time researching web design for the development of the marketing emailer and soon realised that as a visual company, we wanted a newsletter that would stimulate the senses. So the email newsletter was designed with less text and more images so that readers are quickly able to choose what articles interest them without having to wade through reams of text.
Neither Calvin nor I are exactly sure how the animal theme images came into being both on the website and in the email newsletter itself, but we are pleased with the overall feel and, as a result, will keep the nature theme going for future editions of the newsletter.
The subscribe, unsubscribe and email distribution is all handled from within our own site so there is no need for a third party email newsletter distributor to get involved.
Of course, we have and can implement the same email technology for existing and new clients too. Just give me a call on +27 72 219 5297 or visit the Contact Us page to set up an appointment.
While everyone rabbits on about the importance of “Web 2” and “Social Media”, email is still the most important way to share content, a quick Google search reveals:
Excessive image editing in Photoshop for stock photography, web design and print has a habit of making a histogram all blocked and bitty or something like an old toothbrush – so knackered-looking – nobody really wants to use it.
However, there are times when excessive editing seems to be the only way to pull some value out of an image. There are also plenty of examples of really good-selling stock images that almost certainly have received their share of histogram abuse. But how do those clever web and print designers and multi-skilled photographers get away with it?
Perhaps they simply resize their images after editing!
I was trying to rescue an ordinary-looking image yesterday and gave the Nikon file a bit of a rogering. After noticing the resulting dismal histogram, I wondered if a resize with bicubic sharper would replace the missing image data my editing had destroyed
The process seemed to work!
See the images below for evidence:
I’m yet to conduct further tests on this and as a result don’t know how far one can push a histogram before it can’t be recovered by resizing. But if the process works, then there may be a logical way to repair damaged histograms and keep the original file size.
- Open the RAW file as large as possible. In Adobe Bridge, there are options at the bottom which allow for a larger file to be created from the original RAW file. Also open the file at the highest bit rate.
- Conduct all the image processing that you can do at the highest bit rate before reducing the bit rate.
- Finish image processing that can only be done in 8bit.
- Now reduce the file size to the official pixel size. (12mp for D300, D90. 16mp for D7000 and/or similar for Canon cams).
Does the process work for you too? Anyone have anything else to add or a correction to make?
Update: I’ve now worked on another image to see how far this saving by resize will go. It can help a lot, but it’s certainly no panacea for all histogram ills. See the heavily processed image below and resulting histogram – saved by a combination of resizing and using an adjustment layer as per this site page: http://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/adjustment-layers/
A portion of this article has also been published on the Dreamstime Blog.
Where your company website ranks on Google goes a long way to determine its success as an online marketing medium. You could spend a fortune on search engine optimisation . . . or read on to find out how owning the right domains is the fast & affordable secret to online search.
Have you ever wondered why your company name, say “ABC Enterprises” always appears at the top of a Google search, while the services it offers, “building”, “plumbing” or “electrical contracting” is lost in a pile of search clutter?
The first, and obvious answer is because there are many companies which offer the same services as you do – your competitors – but there is probably only one company in the industry with your name.
The second is deceptively simple – it’s your domain name. The odds are your company domain name is “abcenterprises.com”. So, what happens when you change your primary domain to “building.com”, or “plumbing.com” or “electricalcontracting.com”?
The answer is that you end up at the top, or very close to the top of the Google search and placement for that phrase.
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Take a look at the Google search results above. That’s our new client, CLB Agencies at the top of the list for their primary product. It’s important to note that this top position was established with just a few “linkbacks” and within days of the site going live.
Note also, that the CLB Agencies name is still prominent at the top as the site title, while the domain name takes a back seat when being viewed on the search page. That’s better from a human user or branding perspective.
The implications for this emphasis on domain names by Google are huge because in means that with the right plan and structure, it’s possible to “own” your industry online.
Since email is still the most important way to communicate content, a quick Google search reveals, we are in the process of designing an email newsletter for distribution.
The newseltter, which is bound to be both visually appealing and feature interesting, web design related content, is scheduled to be released soon.
So, if you don’t want to miss out, subscribe to the newsletter now to ensure you receive your free copy via email.
Unscrupulous marketers are taking advantage of small business owners by promising them “free” website design services were the client need only pay for website hosting.
The catch? The websites are shockingly badly built, updating services don’t exist and, as it turns out, the “design” isn’t actually free, either.
The situation was so bad for one business owner that they called us, almost in tears, asking that we take over their domain and shut the site down while a properly designed solution could be built.
That’s when the story got interesting.
We tendered a domain transfer request to our ISP. As it turned out, the “free” website company hosted at the same ISP. This should have been a good thing. Since no other ISP was involved, a quick domain transfer could be expected and the client’s problems could be quickly resolved.
However, the domain transfer was repeatedly rejected by the “free” website company which, in this instance, is based in South Africa.
Since a website domain transfer can only be rejected on a few grounds, one of which is non-payment, we dutifully contacted the client to confirm that their account was paid up. They promised it was.
A few more calls to Hetzner and the client revealed the full extent of the “free” website company’s dubious plan.
While the company offers a “free” web design service, this is only true while the client pays for website hosting. If the client gets fed up with their bad design and lack of support, they can’t move the domain until the site is paid for in full “at market-related website rates”.
In addition, there is no termination clause for how long one needs to have hosted a website with the company until the website is deemed “paid for”.
So, as it turns out, the website is badly designed, the company offers no real support to speak of and to top it all, the site is not really free, either.
That would be the same as a cellular service provider offering a “free” cellphone to customers so long as they use their network . . . without a contract expiry date.
Sounds fishy? Yup, fishy like a shark.
I wish we could report that the situation had eventually been resolved. However, at the time of writing we believe that the client was still in the same position – being unable to transfer their own online trademark property because of a payment demand from a company which never serviced them effectively.
While it’s probably likely that there is legal recourse for the client’s situation, who wants to pay for an attorney up-front while wrangling over a domain name for weeks, months or even years?
Perhaps the only long-term solution to this kind of domain problem would be the implementation of an effective domain “ombudsman” with the necessary technical and legal authority to remove ill-gotten domains and return them to their rightful owners.
Luminous, a global provider of bank integrated, money management solutions, went live with a slick new site in May. Global Latitude Web Design redeveloped the company’s initial html site onto an easy-to-use WordPress platform. A dynamic base theme was extensively customised for Luminous – resulting in an attractive skin upon which the site has been built.
Philippa Newnes, Head of Marketing at Luminous says:
“We have an in-house company saying which challenges us with the question ‘Is it WOW?’. The feedback we have received from top company management about the new website has been ‘WOW’ with other comments about the new site being ‘world class’.
I’ve found Global Latitude’s team easy to work with. Changes were made within a day, with very quick turnaround times and nothing was too much trouble. It’s been an easy working relationship.”
Fresh off our web develoment press is a new website for Pietermaritzburg-based CLB Agencies – www.muttoncloth.com.
Company founder, Colin Britton discovered an exciting business niche in the production of mutton cloth – the all purpose general cleaning fabric. Having imported top-of-the-range automated mutton cloth manufacturing machines, Colin needed a website that would show off his new manufacturing facility, products and rapidly rise up the Google rankings to ensure a front page listing.
Global Latitude implemented a WordPress site for Colin, developed the CLB Agencies logo, assisted with site copy writing and photographed the manfuacturing facility and products.