• New features: blog post auto-summary and more

    As a part of this week's upgrades to our system, we’ll be pushing out some new features. We wanted to give you a heads up on these so you’ll be aware of what’s coming.

    Blog post auto-summary

    AutoSummaryWe’ll be implementing a new auto-summary feature for blog posts. You’ve always had the ability to specify summaries for blog posts, but up to now, you’ve had to manually create them. The new auto-summary feature will automatically create summaries for every blog post by using the first three sentences of the post in the summary field. You’ll still have the ability to override the auto-summary and specify your own summary if you wish.

    Don’t worry, this won’t change anything on existing blog posts. We'll disable auto-summaries for posts in the system prior to the launch. But auto-summary will be turned on by default for all posts you create after we launch the feature. When you're creating a blog post, you can click on the "Advanced" tab to turn the new auto-summary feature off for that post.

    Keep in mind that blog post summaries are currently only visible if you choose the “list with summary” skin for your blog element. If you do not have any blog elements using the “list with summary” skin, the auto-summary feature will not affect your site in any way.

    Force new password

    We’re also adding a security feature that will give website administrators the ability to force users to create new passwords the next time they log in. Simply check the box on the user’s settings screen and the user will be required to enter a new password before accessing the site. This is ideal for setting up new users. You can now give them a “placeholder” password knowing that on their next login they will have to set up their own unique password.

    New look on user settings and website settings screen

    Last week, we began rolling out enhancements to the look of the system settings screens. The changes are currently visible on the user settings screen, and tomorrow’s release will add the new look to the website settings screen as well. This is all a part of our push to continuously enhance our system and tools and to ensure consistency.

    Estimated launch time

    We're planning for these features to launch on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 around noon CST (GMT -6). We do not anticipate any downtime related to this upgrade.

  • Getting results from your blog

    Chances are that you are familiar with blogging. Perhaps you've even put together a personal one before. It's become an extremely important part of our online culture over the years, changing everything from how we get our news to how we evaluate companies. People looking for specific products often look to company blogs or blogs written by reviewers to help them make informed decisions. But the company creating the blog reaps benefits reaching far beyond simply informing potential buyers.

    A blog, written well, creates the following important benefits for your company:

    • Increases search engine visibility (SEO) - Each blog post will essentially show up as a new page on your site, letting Google know that you have a lot of material that is relevant and interesting.
    • Engages clients - Through your blog, your clients will get a chance to see a more "personal" side of your company. Perhaps you will decide to write about specific areas of interest that clients ask about. This gives clients and potential clients a closer look at how you approach problems and meet their needs.
    • Shows leadership - By writing about what your business does, you show your clients how much you know. This develops your position as an industry leader, showing to potential customers and clients that they can trust you. Not only will this influence whether a potential client approaches you, it will impact your business through word-of-mouth.

    With a great blog comes great responsibility

    So, you're ready to start blogging? Here are some basic tips you'll want to keep in mind to make sure you get the most out of your new blog.

    • Add content regularly - When visitors see that a blog hasn't been updated in a while, they'll wonder if the company is still active or has everything together.
    • Keep content relevant - You'll want to maintain that feel of industry leadership by approaching issues your visitors care about.
    • Use a spell-check of some sort - Poor grammar and spelling can hurt your credibility.
    • Explain technical terms - Using trade language shows that you know your craft. Explain difficult terms so readers know they can come to your website to get a better grasp of what they're looking for.
    • Show some personality - Blogs don't have to be perfect, and that means each post is a good chance to show your visitors that your company has real, caring people that want to work with them.

    Other pages in the Getting Results series:

  • Announcing the recipients of Radium3's Website Giveaway

    Today, we are pleased to announce the two recipients of Radium3's Fall 2010 Website Giveaway:

    Arts Aftercare
    Seattle, WA

    Arts Aftercare exists to help artists of all kinds engage with the issue of human trafficking on a personal level and to assist aftercare centers in the development and staffing of art therapy programs by becoming a bridge between the world of artists and the world of human trafficking aftercare. Recently, we spoke with Brian Howe with Arts Aftercare to let him know that his organization had been selected as the winner, and he had this to say:

    “The chance to receive a website built by the folks at Radium3 is amazing. As a small nonprofit without a budget for this, the difference it will make for our work will be huge. We're an organization that connects artists to youth recovering from the effects of modern slavery, and having a website designed by Radium3 will help attract more artist volunteers. More importantly, it will help us tell the stories of the youth more effectively. Thanks Radium3!”

    —Brian Howe

    Read more about Arts Aftercare on their finalist page.

    Love Link Ministries
    Oklahoma City, OK

    Love Link is a non-profit organization whose mission is not only to serve the community, but also to give the community a place to give back. Their current ministries include a sober living program, food pantry, and thrift store. We recently got in touch with Marilyn Stark, executive director of Love Link Ministries, to inform her of her organization's selection in our giveaway. She had this to say:

    “Love Link is thrilled to be the recipient of a web site by Radium3.  We are in process of relocating and enlarging our services to the community so this comes at the perfect time.  This will allow us to do far more than we could have otherwise!  Thank you so much.”

    —Marilyn Stark, executive director of Love Link Ministries

    Read more about Love Link Ministries on their finalist page.

    These generous organizations will receive custom website designs as well as one year of free hosting on the Radium3 content management system. We are looking forward to working with them to develop their new websites in the days ahead. 

    We also thank the rest of our fantastic finalist organizations. If you're unfamiliar with them, please read more about them here. Each organization provides incredible services for its community, and they are all well loved, as evidenced by the overwhelming support they each received in votes. It has been our honor to have gotten to know them through this process. Finally, we want to thank everyone who took the time to nominate or vote for an organization. Without your help, we would have never known about many of these great organizations. 

    Congratulations again to Arts Aftercare and Love Link Ministries. We'll be sharing more about our progress in developing its new website in the months to come.

  • Now hiring: Sales Professionals

    Our parent company, Element Fusion, is once again looking to expand its sales team.  If you're an all-star sales representative and have a passion for the web and tech, we'd love for you to apply! So if you think you have what it takes to work with the “best of the best” in the industry, head over to Element Fusion's official job posting for more information.

  • New feature: add users from other websites under your account

    Last week, as a part of our weekly system upgrades, we launched a brand new feature on Radium3. This feature allows you to share users across multiple websites under your account. This is particularly helpful for businesses and organizations that have multiple websites running on the Radium3 system, such as businesses with subsidiaries or churches with multiple campuses that each have their own website.

    Previously, every user on every website had to have a unique email address. This meant that adding a user to multiple websites required inventing additional or fake email addresses. But now, when you as an account owner go to add a new user to a website, you'll see an option to "Add an existing user" (see the screen shot below). Simply start typing a name or email address into the box and our system will pop up a list of potential matches, allowing you to easily select the user you want. Simple, right?

    This release also rolls out an overhaul to the design of the users page. It's all apart of our continuing unification of the user interface across all screens. There's much more to come in user management and other areas of the system as well, so stay tuned!

  • Giveaway finalists announced! Cast your vote today!

    In celebration of our company's ten year anniversary, Radium3 is giving away four websites to qualifying non-profits over the course of 2010. We've already given away two, and you've even helped us by nominating organizations to be our third and fourth recipients. 

    Now we need your help again! We want to know which organization you think most deserves a website donation. Cast your vote today and we'll weigh the voting results heavily in our decision-making process.

    Get to know our finalists

    We received so many great nominations for the giveaways this year, and we’re excited to announce our finalists. One of the best things about our giveaway program is getting to know more about these extraordinary organizations and the work they do. We have put together a an overview of each organization. See our giveaway page for links to each organization's write-up.

    Cast your vote

    Once you’ve read about them, you can cast your vote. The voting form is also on our giveaway page right under the finalist listings. Voting is now open and will be open through November 22nd, 2010. Please cast your vote and also help us spread the word by inviting your friends and co-workers to do the same.

  • Now hiring: Web Designer

    We're currently looking for a talented web designer to join our team. If you match what we're looking for and can work in Oklahoma City, we'd love for you to apply. See the full description here

  • Getting results from your design

    Unless you're a designer, the details involved in designing a great website are bound to be confusing. Among the myriad of technical questions that have to be answered are font and type mechanics, graceful degradation, cross-browser compatibility, etc. And that's why it's so important to work with a professional designer that knows their craft, like the designers you'll be working with at Radium3.

    So what are a the main benefits you can expect from investing in a professional web design?

    • Credibility - A great design conveys professionalism and the ability to be trusted. It implies that your organization is trusted by others as well because it has sufficient resources to spend on added details like web design. For many customers, your website may be the first interaction they have with you. A great design can make that first impression great.
    • Ease of use - A great design makes it easy for your clients to interact with you, increasing your chances for a successful relationship. If your client becomes confused or loses interest because of needless hurdles like poor design, chances are that you will lose their business as well.
    • Results - A great design is critical for results. The bottom line is that a strong design makes your business more credible and easier to interact with. 

    Here are a few ways you can be ready to work with your designer to get the most from the design process:

    • Set up priorities - Take some time to brainstorm the primary interests your potential clients will have in interacting with your site. Make sure this information is well-organized and quickly accessible by grouping similar information into broader categories that can be accessed via your navigation bar.
    • Keep it simple - The main page of your site should typically act as a hub that guides clients to the information they're interested in. Reduce client frustration and navigational difficulty by working with your designer to keep the page uncluttered.
    • Go out on a limb - If you want your website to stand out, be sure to give your designer some space. Clearly communicate your needs and desires, then let them be creative. Their expertise and knowledge should allow them to create a site design that balances your individual needs and their creative prowess.

    Working with Radium3 to set up your website will be an exciting process for your business. And by being prepared, organized, and flexible, you help to ensure that you get the most of your website's design. Be sure to check in next week for the next this series.

    Other pages in the Getting Results series:

  • The new Getting Results series

    When we began working with businesses to create their websites back in 1999, the Internet was relatively young. Not every business had a website. So at the time our mission was to help businesses recognize their need for a strong online presence and then to help them realize that goal.

    Today, the situation has obviously progressed since a website for a business has become almost necessary. Our mission has shifted from convincing businesses that they need websites to empowering those businesses to take advantage of their online presence. A well-designed website has the potential to drastically affect a business's success, making savvy website management extremely important.

    And so with that in mind we're revamping the "getting results" series. Each addition will cover a specific topic related to website management for business and will offer tips and advice on how to best utilize them.

    Here are the articles we've covered so far:

  • New feature: Drag and drop to photo gallery and more

    We deployed an update to our system this morning. Along with a host of behind-the-scenes improvements there's one pretty exciting update to the photo gallery. We overhauled the interface on the "Add/Remove Photos" screen to make the process easier to understand, and we've also added the ability to drag and drop photos for upload. This drag-and-drop feature is written using some of the newest aspects of HTML5, so it is only currently supported in Firefox. We're confident that other browsers will support it soon, but we're not sure how soon. If you are not using Firefox, then you will still see the same trusted upload button that you always have.

    Here's what the new drag-and-drop area looks like:

    To check out the new drag-and-drop feature, be sure you're using Firefox, then log into your website and go to the "Add/Remove Photos" screen for any photo gallery element. Simply drag the images you want from your computer to the drag-and-drop square. We hope you enjoy the improvements!

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