The “Before You Launch” Checklist

Starting an online business is an exciting venture, and it probably didn’t take you long to create a few categories, add some products and set your featured images. Your shop is looking good!

we-are-openThere are some important setup tasks that you don’t want to overlook before you start advertising your Merchant Shop. Most of these settings and are covered in Chapter 3 of the Merchant Shop User’s Manual, and can be found in the “My Merchant Shop->Settings” menu of your dashboard.

Probably the most important thing to you will be to make sure you get paid when your customers make a purchase. When your Merchant Shop is configured, the PayPal payment gateway is left in “sandbox” mode. This allows you to test your merchant shop checkout without actually processing the transactions.

If you will be accepting payments using your PayPal account, log into your dashboard, and go to “My Merchant Shop->Settings”. Once there, check the “Payment Gateways” tab, and click the “PayPal” link to verify your account settings are correct. Once you are satisfied that the settings are correct, don’t forget to take your shop out of “sandbox” mode. You should also review the settings for other payment options, such as cash on deliver, checks and Stripe.

While you’re in your Merchant Shop settings, be sure to check the other tabs, especially Tax, Shipping and Emails.

If you’re unsure about sales taxes, check out this article for some helpful advice. Once you know which customers you need to charge sales taxes for, you can save yourself some time by downloading your state’s rates from TaxRates.com. These can be quickly imported by logging into your dashboard, and choosing “Settings->Tax Rate Upload”, and following the on-screen instructions.

If you have a Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account, you should configure the “Follow Us” widget in your Merchant Shop sidebar. If you do not use any of these social media sites, you may still want to remove the “Follow Us” widget from your sidebar, as it links to the NuggetWeb accounts by default. You can change the widget in “Settings->Widgets” of your dashboard. Widgets are covered in chapter 7 of the Merchant Shop User’s Manual.

The “About” page on your Merchant Shop tells your visitors who your are, what your business is about and your preferred contact information. When you receive your Merchant Shop, this page has some instructions on what you may want to include on the page, and how you can edit it to reflect your unique business.

Now you can feel confident that you are ready for business, and start promoting your new business!

Did we miss something? Join in the conversation, and tell us in the comments below.

What changes are coming in the next version of WordPress?

WordPress version 4.3 is scheduled to be released sometime in early August and it has a few big changes that you’ll likely want to know about. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming in the next version of WordPress:

Editor Improvements:

If you spend much time writing posts, you’ll be able to speed things up by using some of the shortcuts included in the new version. Using * or – will create an unordered list, or you can use 1. to create an ordered list. Using # will transform the text into H1, ## to H2, ### to H3 and so on. The > character will transform into blockquote.

editor-text-patterns

Better Passwords:

WordPress 4.3 will introduce a new user interface for the password reset screen. It will automatically fill in the new password field with a strong password.

passwordreset

When you add a new user, WordPress will now send them a password reset link instead of a pre-selected password in plain text. During the process you also have the option to click on the show password button and add a password for the new user. WordPress will show a strong password auto-filled when you click on the show password button. You can change that to your own password if you want.

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The goal is to make sure that users understand the importance of using strong passwords.

Easier Favicons (Site Icons):

Favicon or site icon is the tiny icon that you see next to a site’s name in your web browser. In the past, WordPress users had to use a plugin to add a favicon or add it manually by editing their theme files.

WordPress 4.3 will allow you to upload your site’s favicon or site icon from the WordPress admin area. Simply visit Settings » General and upload an image for your site icon.

siteicon-wp43

WordPress will also allow you to crop the image and will also show you a live preview of how it will look in browsers and as a mobile icon.

Menu Editor has Moved:

With a heavy push for the theme customizer adoption, WordPress core team is slowly moving all theme options one by one to the customizer screen under Appearance->Customize.

Widgets management was added to the customizer in WordPress 3.9, and theme switching was added in WordPress 4.2.

WordPress 4.3 will allow you to manage your navigation menus from the theme customizer.

While you can still manage and edit your menus using the old interface, the goal of this new addition is to allow users to customize all their theme settings from one settings page with a live preview.

There has been a little push-back from the WordPress user community about moving the widgets and menus to the customizer, so it will be interesting to see how things progress down the road. Look for these changes to your WordPress dashboard next month and let us know what you think.

Updates, Updates and More Updates!

There have been a lot of software updates lately from a new version of WordPress to security updates in hundreds of the popular plugins used in many of your websites.

WooCommerce has been busy updating their software and many of the add-ons that are available for the e-commerce platform. We know it’s important to have the latest features and security patches and we will continue to make sure your websites are up to date with the latest software versions.

If you keep up with WordPress news then you may have heard about the coordinated security update this week for thousands of WordPress plugins. No need to worry – we’ve got you covered and have been keeping up with the updates several times each day this week to make sure your websites aren’t vulnerable.

Finally, WordPress released version 4.2 today, codenamed “Powell” in honor of jazz pianist Bud Powell. Here’s a great video they put together that covers what’s included in the latest update:

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the recent updates.

NuggetWeb Support

NuggetWeb Service Update

The New Year is time for change and we have some changes coming that we think you’re going to love!

We are migrating to a new server… and it’s a beast! Not only have we seen 71% improvements in website load times compared to our current configuration, but the move will allow us to provide new and exciting features!

NuggetWeb SupportWhile everyone will benefit from the speed improvements, we will soon be able to offer our Merchant Shop Plus and Pro subscribers a dashboard to manage your domains as well as the option for parked domains (domain aliases).

If you have our Merchant Shop Pro, you also will soon be able to manage your email accounts and email forwarding, and we can finally offer spam filtering!

We will be carefully moving and testing each of your websites over the next few weeks to the new server and do not expect downtime to be an issue.

We hope you’re as excited about these changes as we are, and if you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for choosing NuggetWeb!

December WordPress Update Coming

Sometime around the middle of December, WordPress will be releasing an update to the software running (nearly) all of our clients’ websites. There are some important and exciting changes being rolled out in the upcoming release and we wanted you to be ready.

WordPress UpgradeThere’s nothing you have to do to get the update. Once WordPress finishes their testing and releases the update we will be performing our own testing to make sure your websites will continue to run properly. Once we are confident that the update will not cause any problems we will roll out the update to your website for you.

Here are the most noticeable changes you can expect in the December update:

  • New distraction free writing mode moves all of the meta boxes and menus out of your way when you’re creating new content (click here for a video demo). There’s no word yet if this will be turned on by default or not, but it’s worth taking a look at the video.
  • New inline formatting toolbar for images embedded into posts.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

WooCommerce Updates (E-Commerce Sites Only)

This update is for e-commerce websites only. If you do not use My Merchant Shop on your website this update does not apply to you.

Last week the developers of WooCommerce released a “major” update to the software many of you use for your Merchant Shop. That same day they released three subsequent patches to the software, so we were a little hesitant to rush into the upgrade right away.

Things like that can happen, and it looks like they have everything stabilized over there once again. We have now had a chance to test the software and we will be rolling out the update to all of our e-commerce websites this week. You will notice a few changes in your dashboard, so here’s a run-down of what’s new in WooCommerce version 2.2.2:

Perform partial refunds on orders

Store owners can now do partial refunds on orders; define the refund amount, qty, and optionally restore inventory. If the gateway supports it, the payment can be automatically refunded too. You may need additional API information into your PayPal configuration.

Updated order totals UI

To support the partial refund functionality, the order items and totals panels have been combined. As a result we have a simpler, more user friendly order page.

Variation stock management

You can now set stock management options (such as backorder support) at variation level giving much greater control over stock.

Improved Payment Gateways

The Payment Gateway API has been enhanced to support refunds and storing transaction IDs.

You also now have the option of using Simplify Commerce by MasterCard. Simplify Commerce currently has lower rates than PayPal and Stripe, so we’re happy to be able to offer you this new option. To use Simplify Commerce, log into your dashboard and navigate to “My Merchant Shop -> Settings” and select the Checkout tab to manage your website checkout options.

 

Stripe Now Offers Two-Day Transfers

Stripe announced Wednesday that you can now receive payments faster. Here is the May 7th email Stripe sent out to customers:

stripe-logoWe’re excited to let you know that we’ve sped up how quickly you’ll receive your money with Stripe.

It used to be the case that there was a seven calendar day delay between when you charged a customer and when funds arrived in your bank account. We’ve reduced that delay so that any future payments you receive will be transferred to you in two business days rather than seven calendar days. For example, funds from charges made on a Friday would arrive in your bank account on the following Tuesday.

We’ve already enabled this change for you. Existing payments will be sent with your old schedule, while all new payments will be sent to you in two business days.

This move makes Stripe a more attractive payment gateway in comparison to PayPal since customers are currently re-directed temporarily to PayPal’s website during the checkout process. When using Sripe, customers stay on your website throughout the checkout process.

Now that payment processing times and fees are the same for both PayPal and Stripe, we encourage you to try Stripe for your payment gateway. It’s fast and easy to sign up, and configure your store to use Stripe instead of PayPal. Simply follow the guide in our user’s manual.

NuggetWeb Support

WordPress 3.9 is Here!

As we mentioned last week, we have upgraded our servers to the latest WordPress version this morning, and it comes with some visible improvements to your Merchant Shop dashboard.

WordPress 3.9 is code-named “Smith” in honor of Jazz organist Jimmy Smith. The upgrade includes hundreds of “under the hood” improvements that you will probably never notice, and a few changes that are likely to catch your eye. Let’s take a look…

A smoother media editing experience

Improved visual editing

editorThe updated visual editor has improved speed, accessibility, and mobile support. You can paste into the visual editor from your word processor without wasting time to clean up messy styling. (Yeah, we’re talking about you, Microsoft Word.)

Edit images easily

imageWith quicker access to crop and rotation tools, it’s now much easier to edit your images while editing posts. You can also scale images directly in the editor to find just the right fit.

Drag and drop your images

dragdropUploading your images is easier than ever. Just grab them from your desktop and drop them in the editor.


Gallery previews

gallery

Galleries display a beautiful grid of images right in the editor, just like they do in your published post.


Do more with audio and video

WP-3.9 Media Playlist

Images have galleries; now we’ve added simple audio and video playlists, so you can showcase your music and clips.


Live widget and header previews

 Add, edit, and rearrange your site’s widgets right in the theme customizer. No “save and surprise” — preview your changes live and only save them when you’re ready.

The improved header image tool also lets you upload, crop, and manage headers while customizing your theme.

Thank you for choosing NuggetWeb.com, and we hope this update helps make your job just a little easier. If you have any questions or experience any difficulties because of the update, please submit a support ticket so we can assist you.

 

Merchant Shop User’s Manual Now Online!

NuggetWeb is very please to announce that the Merchant Shop User Manual is finished, and now available online for Merchant Shop owners!

NuggetWeb User's ManualThe Merchant Shop User Manual covers every aspect of running your Merchant Shop, so you get your business online and start selling your products quickly.

Need help with a specific feature of your Merchant Shop? The User Manual is completely searchable, so it’s easy to find just what you’re looking for!

Just log into your account at http://support.nuggetweb.com/my-account/ and click “User Manual“. You can search the User Manual from any page on the support site.

Still have questions? Post a messsage in the support forums, or submit a support ticket for assistance!

Thank you for choosing NuggetWeb for your e-commerce solutions. We hope to continue serving your business for years to  come!

NuggetWeb Support

Finding Zip Codes for Local Pickup and Delivery

Would you like to offer delivery or pickup for your local customers, but aren’t quite sure how?

Finding zip codes for local pickup and deliveryNuggetWeb offers Merchant Shop owners the option to offer local pickup and local delivery for customers nearby. The only problem is, you have to know what zip codes you want to offer these services to.

Thankfully, there is a site like FreeMapTools.com to simplify the process for you. They offer a free tool to find zip codes within a radius that allows you to put in your zip code and the number of miles you are willing to travel for delivery, and it will give you a list of comma-separated zip codes within the distance.

Find zip codes Tool: http://www.freemaptools.com/find-zip-codes-inside-radius.htm

To configure your Merchant Shop for local pickup or deliver, copy the comma-separated list you received from FreeMapTools, and log into your Merchant Shop Dashboard.

Once logged in, hold your mouse over “My Merchant Shop“, and click “Settings“.

Merchant Shop settings menu

 

On your Merchant Shop Settings page, click the tab titled “Shipping“, and select the “Local Pickup” option. Enable Local Shipping, and paste your list of zip codes into the text area labeled “Zip/Post Codes“.

Local pickup settings

Click “Save Changes“, and repeat this procedure for your Local Delivery options. Note that you can set a price for local delivery, or leave it as $0.00 for free delivery.

Now your local customers will have the option for pickup and delivery when they reach checkout!

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