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New Services for Your Site, and Other News-y Things

Just a few updates… if you subscribe to our newsletter, you heard this already. Don’t be left behind! Subscribe to our newsletter!

HOP ON THE ROAD

If you want to catch us on the road, you can see us here:

* Chicago, Oct 3-6 at the LION Summit: Innovation for Digital Media Entrepreneurs (a conference for independent local publishers)
http://www.lionpublishers.com/conference/home/
We’ll be speaking about comment systems.

* Portland, Oct 14-15, at ExpressionEngine Conference 2013
http://www.expressionengineconference.com/
We plan to learn all the secrets of top EE developers, then share them with you.

OK, so what else is new?

EASY SMALL PAYMENTS

Prolific author Sam Harris, one of our favorite clients (but you’re our real favorite), relies on the ExpressionEngine website we built him to regularly promote and share his blog posts, essays and books, both real- and e-.

We just finished building for him an online micro-transaction billing system with a service called TinyPath.  TinyPath makes small transactions quick and painless—one-time charges for text or videos, and recurring subscriptions.

Charging for bite-sized content should be easy and clean, and TinyPath’s tidy and flexible API* allowed us to build a really elegant interface that controls all the pricing through ExpressionEngine.

Whether you offer articles, advice, monthly services or informational videos, they all can be monetized through TinyPath with close to zero fuss, and without requiring any special merchant account or PayPal hassles.

Since actions speak louder than words, you’ll want to see TinyPath hands on. Head over to http://www.samharris.org/paid_content

Click on $1 to see the demo, and you won’t get charged. (We won’t really make you buy anything from Sam, promise.)

( * What’s an API? It’s an Application programming interface. Basically, it’s a set of questions and responses that a program or service guarantees will always be answered the same way. So if we build something that relies on an outside service, like weather or maps or billing… without an API, we’ll have to tweak and update it all the time, but with an API, we’re much less likely to have to update it unless a major change is required.)

PAGE SPEED

We’ve been getting many requests lately that go like this: Hey, can you speed up my site? How? And how much would that help?

Improving the responsiveness of your site can deliver many benefits:

* fast sites encourage more page views
* fast sites rank better on Google and other search engines
* fast sites often sell more products for more revenue

Site speed can be gained in these ways (roughly):

* migrating to a faster server (the tiny expense is usually well worth it)
* reviewing and improving the way your pages are programmed
* making sure your site’s HTML is proper and modern
* cutting down on what’s displayed on the page, from you and third parties
* switching to more efficient or different methods of delivering functionality

Hop Studios can help you with all of these steps, and because we’ve been doing so many of these lately, we’ve gotten quick, efficient and effective at speeding up ExpressionEngine sites, especially older ones. If you’d like to see how your site stacks up in the speed department, you can test it here:

http://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Just put in your site’s address, and it’ll tell you, out of 100, how you’re doing.

EDITORIAL SERVICES: DEFT PROSE

You surely remember Susie Gardner, formerly of Hop Studios. She’s started up a new company, Deft Prose Editing, which offers a panoply of services.

www.deftprose.com

Bring your novel, project proposal, biography, thesis, news story, blog post, or white paper to Deft Prose, and it’ll leave better than it arrived, guaranteed. Susie offers copy editing, technical editing, development editing, content organization and review, and of course all sorts of related tasks.

From tweets to trilogies, Deft Prose should be your first and last stop before you publish. Contact Susie today, for a simple site review or for assistance with any other word project that’s on your plate.

EXPRESSIONENGINE

The latest version of ExpressionEngine is 2.7.0.

If you have any earlier version of ExpressionEngine, at this point, we definitely recommend upgrading. EE 1.7.3 is very old and may stop working with some add-ons; and EE 2.6.1 and earlier have exhibited login problems that could result in data loss.

Log in and look at your admin panel footer. If it doesn’t say 2.7.0, let us know and we will upgrade you.

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