Thursday, 14 September 2017

V3.2 NiftyGridZPro now out - WordPress plugin for Zazzle

I've completed the next version of the NiftyGridZPro WordPress plugin for Zazzle and made the release public.

V3.2 adds Google Ads capability to improve your earnings!

A random slot / cell in each product grid (created by NiftyGridZPro) right across your site will be chosen to display a Google Ad. You set it  up in your admin settings as shown here.



Think of the Google Ad as another type of global slot message. Learn more and get tips in the FAQ on it, here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

V3.1 NiftyGridZPro officially released

It' s been a few achievement-filled days with NiftyGridZpro. Extended testing of the new features in V3 of NiftyGridZPro went well and it was publicly released.

V3's main feature is to allow the principle of "rotating ads". For NiftyGridZPro the "rotating ads" are placed, real-time, into randomly chosen slots in your grids of Zazzle products.

V3.1 now formally released as well.

V3 made one such global message available, V3.1 extended it to allow you to store up to 5 global slot messages. There's a full post with demo, on the NiftyGridZPro site.

FAQs updated.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Nearly ready to release the next version of NiftyGridZPro

Finalising...

I've been working away at finalising the next version of NiftyGridZPro. The new version brings with it:
  • A new shortcode option to use only the Zazzle-added product names in your title area.
    This gives a nice, clean product grid item display and is really hepful when when space is tight
  • A truly powerful Slot Message system
  • An Admin Settings page for NiftGridZPro (used to set associate (aka referral) id and to set up global slot messaging

FAQ update

The last couple of posts describe each of these features in depth. What I've been doing is preparing the FAQ entry for Slot Messages.

Now those are done, all that remains is to work out
  • pricing
  • when / how to release the new version
  • how to deal with upgrades for exisiting license holders
  • what goes into the announcement material
Once that's done, all that's left to do is to share the material and make the new version available.

I've just had a thought about the marketing aspect of it. Perhaps I should do teasers on the new version on the NiftyGridZPro site? That's be cool!


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

NiftyGridZPro Slot Messages - Another new feature for the next release of our WordPress Plugin

I've continued working on the next version of NiftyGriidZPro, my WordPress plugin for Zazzle storekeepers and affiliates.

Slot Message

The new Slot Message feature allows you to use an optional set of shortcodes to set up an image and link. The optionally linked image gets placed randomly somewhere in your product grid, replacing temporarily what was already there.

You can see it in action here

You could even use a gif image to give a short animation.

Other features may be added as time goes on. No release date has yet been set for the new version.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Working on next release of NiftyGridZPro WordPress Plugin

I've been working on the next version of NiftyGriidZPro, my WordPress plugin for Zazzle storekeepers and affiliates.
I've added an optional feature to only display the part of the title that Zazzle adds to product titles made up by the designer.

You can see it in action here

Other features will be added as time goes on. No release date has yet been set for the new version.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

How to: Get Animated Zazzle Collection gifs on Pinterest, Facebook and GPlus

Animated posts are easy!


I just made this #animated pin on Pinterest. When its url is shared on Facebook or GooglePlus, it only takes one click to see the animation and then one more click to visit your #ZazzleCollection (or whatever link you give when creating the pin).

It's a 25 minute project the first time you do it, 2 minutes when you get good! This is a sceenshot of the pin, click it to see the actual pin doing its animation thing :)

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/332562753725231675/


You can see how to do this for your Zazzle collection in this 6 minute vid tutorial:




Saturday, 2 September 2017

All tools now operational in the Nifty Promo Control Panel

All tools in the Nifty Promo Control Panel are now working again.



It's brilliant for promoting and has some neat features. Best of all, it's entirely free. Tip my coffee jar with a donation if you like it :)

Slideshow Generator fixed in Nifty Promo Control Panel

Here's a slideshow created by copy-and-paste code from the Nifty Promo Control Panel.


search (new window)

What do you think?

Friday, 1 September 2017

YQL issue and the Nifty Promo Control Panel

I've partially solved the issue with YQL and the Nifty Promo Control Panel.

What happened

On Thursday 24th August the Yahoo Query Languge RSS feed facility stopped working. Soon after it started to work only intermittently. Many of the tools within the Nifty Control Panel use it, as does the panel itself, so everything stopped working reliably.

The fix

After lots of research on line, I found someone who mentioned that if you keep retrying to pull the feed with YQL, you eventually succeed.

I've only applied this fix to:
1) the control panel's own display while you're getting the products you want
2) the live product grid pull in:
Step 2: Choose your type of promoting->Get code for embedding in other sites->Product Grid code






I've tested the fix and it works just fine. Any new ones you create on your blogs / sites by using the live grid code will now work. It might take a little while longer to display your grid, depending on the number of attempts it has to make in trying to get a successful pull. It'll try up to 10 times before giving up.

(The static product grid code option above the live one works just fine as is - no changes were required)

There is a risk and it's that Verizon (who bought Yahoo) decide to remove YQL completely. If that happens, a completely different approach will need to be developed.

Over the next few days, I'll be applying the same fix to the other tools in the Nifty Promo Control Panel that need them.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Nursing Stationery and Office

If you have a friend or family member who is a nurse, or you are one yourself, then these personalized business cards, journals and other office items could be the perfect gift.

They're easy to personalize - just click to visit the product page (opens in a new window) and type over the placeholder text with the details you want. If you like what's already there just leave it as is or you can choose to blank it out if you like, your choice.

I'd love to hear what you think of the designs, so leave a comment if you're so inclined :)


Saturday, 19 August 2017

New - Guitar Cases on Zazzle

I love the new guitar bags / cases just released on Zazzle. Here's a lovely outer-space themed selection I made today:


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Zazzle: making a template text item

Make things as easy as possible for your customers to personalize the products you design by using template text.

If you know how to use template text already - or even if you don't - the 1m30s vid shows a neat trick. Find out how to put the same template text in two places on a mug, so a customer only has to type their text once and see it on both sides!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Review of NiftyGridZPro by Diane Clancy


Many thanks to Diane Clancy for this review:
NiftyGridZPro is a fabulous new tool for promoting Zazzle products. Mark Highton Ridley created an extremely flexible way to showcase Zazzle items in a grid. Right off – there is a free version and a paid version. This is wonderful because you can either just use the free version or test it out to see whether the paid version is right for you.

This is for WordPress sites. NiftyGridZPro is a plugin that is very easy to install into your WP blog. Mark shares detailed information, in a very simple format, to teach you how to install and activate this (and other) WP plugins.
Then the fun begins!! One wonderful feature is there is a way to create grids of products in case Zazzle’s feed goes down. Any of us who have relied on Zazzle rss feed know there are times – sometimes for long periods of time – that it just plain disappears. This has a solution to that problem!

It is so exciting to me that I am able to create fall back grids for when Zazzle rss is down. It was very simple to create another grid, put it into the correct folder, specify the file, and then I know there will always be a grid for the posts that I create!! (You do need access to either your control panel or FTP to use this feature. But there are already default ones in there so you are covered no matter what. No more dreaded blank posts.)

The grid plugin allows you to make lots of choices. You may choose items from a certain shop, from a collection or from the marketplace itself. Of course, you choose which type of product goes into the grid. If none are specified, then any items from the shop, collection or MP go into the grid.
Of course, you specify your own affiliate code. There are tracking codes both for the primary grids and the back up grids so you know where the sales are coming from. NiftyGridZPro is very remarkable because it is easy to change the background colors of the items, the grid color and several other style choices. It is very simple to include – or not – price, shop from where the product comes, descriptions, tags.

It is also possible to have a search button on your product grid. This visitor interaction is very unusual and another great aspect of NiftyGridZPro. This only searches where your grid is set to pull from, so if you are pulling from your shop, you won’t lose your customers! (Due to a Zazzle limitation, when pulling from collections, the search pulls from the Market Place. All this is covered in the comprehensive FAQ.)

Order of the items, size of the grid cells and promo codes are all easy to add. Though personally, I find the default settings very well thought out and useful. It is easy to get the html code to put into a file, either for backup grids or to use on a page. Mark details some of the best ways to work with backup files. He has very clear, simple explanations for each step of the way.
This is one grid page I created https://www.dianeclancy.com/products/delightful-bubblescape-mugs-from-zazzle. These mugs are Bubblescapes. Whereas this grid page https://www.dianeclancy.com/shops/colorful-joyful-patterns-mugs features mugs with some of my patterns. So the only real change between these 2 pages is the store I pulled the mugs from. Yet you can see the grid carries very different images on the mugs.
And of course, the grids are responsive so they are perfect for mobile too! And there is an advanced feature you can use for incorporating into pages, but that is just one more extra!

I suggest you get some grids with the NiftyGridZPro going and see how easy it is!! Mark provides help via email or the Zazzle forum and he replies very quickly! I personally am delighted that I chose to get NiftyGridZPro to help with my Zazzle promotions. It has helped get me back in gear!
Diane Clancy, independent Zazzle artist

Monday, 31 July 2017

Got there in the end - small tweak, hah!

What a week it was last week. I released our NiftyGridZPro Zazzle WordPress plugin having tested it thoroughly. Great :)

I then realized we could remove one of the restrictions. I was unhappy that you could only allow user interaction with a grid on pages and not in posts and saw a way to allow it. A fairly simple tweak.

Here's a screenshot of a product grid allowing interaction:
http://niftytoolz.com/latest-updates-to-niftygridzpro-plugin


As it turned out, not so simple. After a few false starts, the team got there in the end. Which is nice!

So the only restriction now is that you can't allow your visitors to interact with grids you put in a widget in the sidebar.

See it all in action on the NiftyToolZ blog, here: http://niftytoolz.com/blog

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Hush-hush project now released - NiftyGridZPro

We've spent the last few weeks working on a siginificant upgrade to NiftyGridZ. So significant, our new WordPress plugin is called NiftyGridZPro (and replaces the old one entirely).



One limitation with the old NiftyGridZ was that you couldn't allow visitor interaction with the product grids on posts and widgets. Pages were ok but not widgets and blog posts and it turned out to be one limitation too far to be allowed to stand.

When building NiftyGridZ we hadn't realized how great for the visitor it would be to be able to see, say, just two items on a blog post or in a widget but able to see far more by paging through the product grid contents. Or even to search a grid from within the post or widget.

So with the new NiftyGridzPro you have that flexibility. Now you can:
  • display anything you like from Zazzle...
  • wherever you like on your WordPress site...
  • in whatever size grid you want...
  • allowing for the degree of visitor interaction that makes sense with the way you're using it...
  • from simple (inbuilt) search form and grid navigation elements...
  • all the way up to complete stores
Not bad, hey?

What feature(s) would you like to see added?

Examples of what you can do with NiftyGridZPro
Get your free NiftyGridzPro plugin here and try it out for yourself!



Thursday, 29 June 2017

Working on the NiftyGridZ logo

I did have a placeholder logo for my new NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin until I could find the time to do a proper one. I spent a big chunk of today working on it. I like how it turned out...

Here it is:

http://niftytoolz.com/the-niftygridz-wordpress-plugin

What do you think?

find out more about NiftyGridZ here

Monday, 26 June 2017

Steampunk random character / role generator

I've had a lot of fun making a random character generator for the Steampunk subgenre over the last couple of days.

If you've loved films like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Wild Wild West (Will Smith) and Van Helsing, then you'll be able to picture the Steampunk theme.

Imagine art deco, steam-driven machines, lots of cogs, wheels and valves; bodices, tophats, goggles, waistcoats and sweeping vicorian dresses, cut for an active adventuress. Yup, that's steampunk!

The character names and occupations come from those who are found in the steam-filled, darkened alleyways and drawing rooms across Victorian London and beyond. Names to conjure with, right from the pages of the best stories yet to be written.

Here's a screenshot of it - click to try for yourself! Which name and occupation is your favourite?

http://niftytoolz.com/collections-steampunk?pqs=&psc=collections%2f119846048880064258&ppg=1&pps=80&pst=&psd=&pdp=&pcg=&pbg=ffffff&ptc=ngrdzwp_stmpchgen_collections_119846048880064258&ppm=&gsm=price&gsd=pulledorder&zutp0n=text0&zutp0v=FKF&zutp1n=text1&zutp1v=Marquis%0AFrederick%20Keoch%20Fowler&zutp2n=text2&zutp2v=Wandering%20Sprocketsmith%20Gadgeteer

* made with NiftyGridZ

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A bit of Boudoir and Bath promo fun

I've now started the little bit of promo fun I promised to people taking part in my curated Boudoir and Bath collection project.
http://niftytoolz.com/collections-store-boudoir-and-bath

I'm pinning a couple each day from each collection to my Boudoir and Bath Pinterest board.

Now that's all going smoothly ahead I can start work on my next. Monogram Girl About Town will showcase coordinated fashion accessories from the wonderful independent artisits on Zazzle. It's a work in progress while I track down suitable collections meeting your high quality design expectations but still worth a quick look.


Want yours included?

If you're a Zazzler with a suitable collection - or you want to make one - just make sure you use template text for the visitors' initial(s). As long as your designs use text0 or text1 (as the "URL Parameter name") then all will be well. One or the other, but not both.



So if you've got one you think is good for it, drop off a reply with a link in the comments and I'll take a look. Thanks!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Improvements to the NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin continue

I've now added options that let you sort the product grid after its contents have been pulled from Zazzle.

See the official blog for more.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Boudoir and Bath collection promo fun - development

I'm in the middle of working out details of a fun promo project for a planned Boudoir and Bath collections storefront.

I've built the placeholder storefront using my own collections to flesh it out for now, as you'll see if you follow the link above.

If it's more than a week or so since this post, it might even be the real one by then. It all depends on if/how quickly designers over at Zazzle agree to take part.

For the curious, the grid is created by my NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin, the rest of the page is hand-crafted.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

NiftyToolZ ready for launch...

I'm just waiting on a domain name to finish being set up and then I'll be officially launching the new NiftyGirdZ Wordpress plugin.

[sitting twiddling thumbs]

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

NiftyGridZ Shortcode builder tool

Shortcode-with-options Builder

I've just added a helper page for building a NiftyGridZ shortcode with the options you set up.

http://www.kdl.to/niftygridz-shortcode-builder.html


You can use it here - and what's cool, you can save your settings via its bookmark link (My Shortcode Settings).
I've given a link to it in the Nifty Control Panel, in Step 2.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

New WordPress Plugin from the NiftyToolZ range


Over the last month I've been working on my first WordPress Plugin, the first dedicated support for WordPress sites in my NiftyToolZ range.

It's nearly ready for release and I'm just polishing all the supporting stuff (installation instructions, screenshots etc).

I've prepared two versions: a free and a premium one.
The only difference between the free and paid-for license is that in the free one, all links use my referral id.

This is cool...

There's a couple of cool benefits to the way the licenses work.
  • If you start on a free one and decide to go for a paid license, all links in previous posts will stop using my referral id and start using yours right away!
  • If you don't want to renew your paid-for license, that's ok. Everything will still work but links will revert to using my referral id.
  • If you let your license expire and then decide later to pay for another license period, once more all links in pre-exisiting posts will go back to your referral id.
I've designed it this way so you're never locked in to anything and are free to pay or not pay as your circumstances dictate.

Get the free one...

Details of how to get the free one will be in the next issue of my Zazzle Tools and Tips newletter. If you don't want to miss out on this fabulous free WordPress plugin, sign up right away. The next issue is due out imminently!

Sign up here


Dive right in...

If you want to get the premium version, which uses your referral (associate) id in all links instead of mine, choose your license here

Friday, 28 April 2017

Sampler of products using fine art photography

click to personalize and buy

Lakes Edge Abstract Tranquility Jigsaw Puzzle
Dreamy Moments series: An almost abstract picture of a partially sunken branch a...
Agapanthus, African Lily - In Deepest Sympathy Card
Floral series Featuring a beautiful agapanthus - which literally means the love ...
You Lift My Spirits, Fine Art Photograph Postcard
Inspirational series: A fine art take on hot air balloons soaring into a dramati...
Above The Chapel Altar - Happy Anniversay Darling Card
Faith series: A fine art greetings card presented in black and white showing the...
A Walk In The Park - Good Luck with your Surgery Card
English Scenes series An artistic photo showing a tree-lined walk in the grounds...
Fencing In The Dunes blank notelet / card
Dreamy Moments series: The photograph is a picture of a path picking its way thr...
Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian, Scotland Magnet
Scottish Scenes series: A great gift featuring a photo of Dalhousie Castle, once...
Fine Art Pony Head and Mane on metallic-effect Business Card
Metallic series A great generic business card template. Just upload your logo or...
Sleepy Puppy - Missing You Card
Animals and Pets series: A cute picture that anyone who adores Pomeranians will ...
Vintage Fordson Tractor, Bredbury Hall Postcard
A picture of a vintage Fordson Tractor seeing out its days and beautifully prese... 

Zazzlers: A big bunch of Nifty enhancements

I have been a busy bee... here's a summary of the enhancements I've made to the Nifty Promo tools in the last few days.

  • On embed-code product grids, an option to add a by-line underneath each product description, linking to the product designer's store. Give credit where credit is due!
     
  • New share options for the two product grid sharing pages and the same for the two slideshow sharing pages: Google Plus, share-by-email, tweets include images

Here's the detail...

By-line

To get a by-line included underneath each product's description, just check the box as shown in the screenshot. The eagle-eyed will see it in the code section I've scrolled to in the screenshot.


Note this is only for the product grid embed code promo tool.



New share options

Here's a link to a slideshow sharing page where you can check out the new options.

Remember that this applies only to the product grid sharer pages and the slideshow sharer pages (you know, the ones for peeps who don't have a website to use).

Twitter

For Twitter sharing, the image used in the tweet is the first in the product grid or slideshow.

There's a gotcha with slideshows due to the way I've had to implement the twitter sharing:  Even though it uses the first image, if a different one is displayed in the slideshow, it'll use that one's title! So make sure you either change that in the tweet box that comes up or stay on the first image in the slideshow when you tweet.

Google Plus

Like with Twitter, when sharing on G+, the image used is the first in the product grid or slideshow. No text is pre-populated, so be creative in what you write. Make sure you point out the link is to a slideshow, so they know what to expect.

Share by email

AddThis tech support have told me that this is just how it works - nothing I can do about it. When allowing for share by email, and still making sure Pinterest sharing works properly, the email share "note" field ends up with the product image url in it - not what's wanted at all!

So watch out for this gotcha and replace it with the text you want to see above the email's product image.
I recommend emailing it to yourself the first time you use it, before using it for a customer or an autopost blog, just to make sure you know what to expect.





Itching to try out the new options? Get your fix here: http://www.kdl.to/nifty-slideshows.html


Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fine Art, Wheat Field Rise Poster - click/tap any in slideshow to personalize and buy


Click/tap image to have a look at my 15 most popular fine art pieces, shown as a slideshow.



Fine Art, Wheat Field Rise Poster

Dreamy Moments series: A breathtaking view over a wheat field to the horizon and beyond. A trail of tractor-flattened wheat leads from beyond the horizon to the front of the scene, curves around and h...

-- click/tap to see the slideshow from where you can personalize and buy --

shared using Nifty