The internet is an amazingly place full of many different technologies, developed by many different organisations, over a period of many years.
How can we best support our customers to have an awesome web experience, interacting well with all other systems, while at the same time offering great value.
Our understand that our customers want us to be experts in all website related technologies, and we make our very best effort to do this, but the internet keeps moving, changing, adapting, and it can be hard to maintain knowledge across all aspects, all of the time.
In fact our own system has grown so much over the last 17+ years, that no one team member can know every feature of our own CMS system in detail.
Let's consider the context of the world we operate in.
There are hundreds of different web browsers, running on different computer operating systems, different devices, with different screen resolutions. Also each user may be running different versions of each application. All of those computers, devices, and applications were developed by other parties. We make a best effort to ensure our website templates will display on all possible devices. For example
There are hundreds of different email client applications, running on different computers, on different operating systems, and different mobile devices. Each user may be running a different version of each application. Each user may also have installed different applications that attempt to scan their incoming email and filter out spam and phishing attempts. Each user may have a different network configuration, connected to a different ISP, via a different modem, and perhaps configured with DNS trickery to give access to oveseas television streaming services.
Email travels through many different paths, but all of these steps potentially cause issues
When a customer copies/pastes content from an email, or PDF, or word document or spreadsheet, or even from another website, that may copy hidden codes into content, that are not immediately visible as a problem, but later present themselves as a problem by rendering oddly on different devices. A best effort to "clean" pasted content is attempted, but it is prone to error. Or the cleaning itself, might not be desired by the content creator.
Tabular layouts by customers often make mobile display difficult, if the table has been designed for a bigger screen, there is no easy way for a mobile device to render it, without causing scrolling in 2 directions.
Customers have access to change fonts/colours/sizes of text in many different places. If they then make a global change to a template theme, there may remain inconsitencies with white text on white background, or mismatched fonts and sizes.
Because we allow customers to enter their own content and tweak so many aspects of the design, the responsibility for testing that content displays correctly in all possible browsers, and on all possible email clients, remains a customer responsibility. If you experience any common issues that you think we could address better with our tools, then please provide us with feedback including screenshots, and the name of the relevant applications, so that we can improve our system.
Customer photos may have been uploaded straight from a camera, or edited in any number of hundreds of different photo editors, such as Photoshop or Paint. Each photo editor produces a slightly different file format, with different meta data and compression. The photo might have been saved as a JPG, PNG or GIF, or even some other format. The image might have animations or transparency codes built in.
The pixel size might be low resolution, or many mega pixels in size. The better the resolution of an image, usually the bigger the file. Bigger file sizes make pages slow to download and increase website traffic. Smaller file sizes might look pixelated or blury.
Our drag and drop editor provides sample images that a user can replace with their own images. Users can resize and crop their photos, and mix and match landscape and portrait, with a range of different aspect ratios. If the final image is too small or too big for the box it was inserted in, or if the ratios don't match, it may look untidy.
Some email programs display images at their "original size" and ignore the styling rules we use to resize your image to the box that should contain it. In 99% of cases, the images normally display ok in most places. However, a small percent of the time, it might look wrong. It is a good idea to test your emails in a range of different email programs, mostly focusing on Outlook and Gmail as they each cause the most issues (different issues), and a simply formatted email designed to work in both of those email clients will likely display well in all other devices.
We encourage the use of a professional photographer so you can have lots of great images, that use consistent sizes, lighting, etc.
Essentially there is no limit placed on the customisation of your website and content. You can tweak your website with unlimited potential. But what happens, when some of those tweaks don't happen as you expect?
We make it easy for you to change your link colours, heading colours, backgroud images, banner images, and several other aspects. Most templates are customisable but not all.
We typically do our best to answer a few questions, and get you started, but this intermediate/advanced level of users are expected to research these standard languages on the internet, and use "trial and error" until they get their desired end result.
All feedback is welcomed, but support for HTML/CSS/JS is chargeable.
Some users add third party plugins to their websites. If these scripts are put in the wrong place, they may not work, or they may interfere with other features working. Some plugins require additional work to capture ecommerce metrics, or successful conversions. Common plugins include
All feedback on thirdparty plugins is welcome, but support is chargeable.
Many intermediate users know how to import/export CSV files from their spreadsheet, other inventory programs, and in/out of our ecommerce CSV import/export area. However, it can get tricky when dealing with products that belong to multiple categories, or product variations that share a common product definition. Some data types have strict formatting rules, such as dates/times. The subtle difference of a 0, negative number or positive number, may be the difference of "main category", "no category", or "which category". The visibility of products is also controlled with some unique numbering conventions.
CSV import/exports also have potential to cause alot of problems quickly. If your file is formatted incorrectly, then you may end up hiding alot of products you wanted live, or changing the price incorrrectly etc.
All feedback for CSV import/export is welcome, but all support is chargeable.
We make it easy to add standard inquiry forms and registration forms to your website. These might be as simple as a subscribe box, contact us form, or a more complicated registration form, with some custom questions. You can also create completely custom forms, including file uploads, and any manor of input type or shape/design to your form. All customisation subject to your level of understanding. Typically some kind of field validation is required to ensure some fields are completed and answers formatted correctly. A thankyou page, might need some custom fields, or link to a payment page. An auto responder might need to go back to a submitter with additional information for the customer. A form notification will need to be sent to the web master, or desired recipient. Essentially, when you bring all of these elements together, you are basically building a small program. Our free support for forms is limited to giving you some basic tips, and pointing you to our online help guides.
All feedback for form maintenance is welcome, but all support is chargeable.
Our system integrates with several other third party applications like Xero, Vend, Unleashed, Fastway, eShip, etc etc. We try to make it easy to sync your products or orders between these systems.
However, every API has subtle differences. If you have 3 items in stock, and 1 is sold in the shop/factory via external POS, and 1 is sold online at 3am, then how much stock do you have? It could be 2 items, depending if you have fulfilled the order, but only 1 item available for purchase. The way third party systems count stock, is they may not count the new web order, until the status is changed.
There are just so many complexities with regards to API's that we have the simple approach to support. All feedback is welcome, but all support is chargeable.
Everyone wants their website listed on the top of google. However Google has it's own rules about where it ranks a website, and when it will next index your website to look for new content or changes in content.
All SEO feedback is welcome, but all SEO support is chargeable. We can recommend other SEO experts in our consultants directory.
We have so many awesome ways to construct a discount rule, or define a product price, that when a customer presents a discounts logic issue, our design support team are often left scratching their heads. The most important factor for investigating a discounts issue, is that a customer has presented a clear test case for our team to understand the issue. You will have a clear understanding of your own products and current sales offers, but every case is unique to us. Please provide the following information
We are happy to investigate your discounts and pricing issues, but we need you to provide us the test case.
We have added over 1000 help files in our online help guide. This list of help files have been compiled over 17 years of listening to the questions that our customers have. Sometimes our customers can't find the help they need in the online help area. It would help us if you could send us a link to any page that you think has erroneous or complicated instructions, or if you could send us a topic that is missing, and that you would like us to add.
We have hundreds of templates. Some of these templates are more than 4 years old. We attempt to review all our templates, but mostly we review our templates when a customer finds a specific issue with a template they selected. We then remedy the customers issue, and the template that caused it, thus removing the issue for future templates.
Over the years, browsers upgrade, HTML/CSS features get depricated, CSS versions increase
Microsoft Outlook has been a particular problem for bulk email formatting. We have had to add "bandaids", and remove perfectly nice features from our bulk emailer, simply because 10% of the email market won't see the feature as expected. One day we hope that microsoft email clients will render their HTML emails exactly the same was as their Edge web browser renders HTML web pages. There is no security issue, nor any logical reason, why different microsoft products render HTML differently to each other, or to the 90% of other products, that all render the HTML correcltly. When Microsoft does catch up, or their market share declines some more, then we can revisit the formatting of bulk emails so that you can once again do more with your formatting.
We sell domains almost at cost we pay for them, and some times even below cost. There is no implied free service for providing Email, DNS, nor managing DNS.
DNS is an integral service that is required to make email and web hosting work. It tells the end user, who is managing the email and web hosting for a given domain name. DNS is provided free with all our email and web hosting plans. However, if you host your website elsewhere, we need to charge for a DNS only hosting plan, and for any DNS administration you require.
DNS management task are complicated enough that the average person can make mistakes, or doesn't fully understand what they are doing. Often a support ticket is raised, and our design oriented teams also don't understand the DNS terminology. We have built our domains management system to make it easy to register/transfer/setup domains for use with our web hosting and our email services.
It is usually best if you move your domain to your new web host to manage.
Website World is a pretty awesome ecommerce and content management system. It has heaps of functionality. Much of the functionality we built ourselves, and can therefore control the rules and adapt the content automatically across a range of device sizes.
However, WYSIWYG style content, is typically edited through one of our industry standard text editors. If you are editing content for the web, you should test your content in a range of browsers from time to time. If you are editing your content for email, you should test your content in a range of email clients from time to time. Once you have built up your confidence, then you will be able to work faster with less testing.
Should you have any issues, please provide feedback about how we can improve our system so that neither you, nor the next person, experiences a similar issue.
Some issues (related to third party applications or systems) may remain unsolveable by us. However, we might give you some pointers about alternative approaches you can take to work around the issue.
Some issues, will be outside our ability to give you quick support on. There are just so many different permutations and combinations of technological issues, that we cannot solve all issues immediately.
In order to keep our prices as low as possible, we are very much focused on a DIY (do it youself) approach. Therefore, several aspects as we have outlined above will require paid consultancy, paid training or otherwise paid support. The more you can DIY, the more affordable our solution is. The more you require support and training, the more you would need to budget for professional help.
We promote a list of web designers and resellers who are experienced in using our system, so that if you need help, you can find an expert to help you. Some of our resellers are more technical in nature, some are more design oriented, some are more business professional, and some are more affordable. Each will have different skillsets, experience and pricing. We remain agnostic to your chosen provider, so if you don't find you have a good fit, we would encourage you to find another to help. If you get particularly poor service from an independent contractor, please do let us know.
Some of our resellers are also rostered on to our support desk. We authorise our support workers to independently engage in chargeable work with our customers. Website World is primarily focused on making the online service as awesome as it can be, and ensuring our hosting delivery is without fault. All paid consultancy and training is independent of our company Web Widgets Ltd, even if you negotiate work during a support call. We provide no warranty over the work completed by our independent resellers, and you should consider their terms and conditions when you engage them to do work. Web design is such a "how long is a piece of string" consideration, that often a web designers and customers expectations are not aligned.
We also host Wordpress websites. As we did not develop wordpress, we cannot offer free support for any wordpress issues you face. Our support for wordpress is stictly limited to server up time, and investigating OS level error messages. Whereas with our own CMS platform, we developed the majority of it, and can therefore provide fixes for bugs.
Please do not hesitate to give us feedback. No matter how small an issue, we need to know as urgently as possible, when customers are not getting satisfactory service. We want to know all your great ideas for how we can improve our system, so we can make it even better.
It always helps if you can provide screenshots, so we have a clear understanding of the context of your issue.
It helps if we are clear on if you are just providing feedback, or if you urgently require support or a solution for an issue. For example, if your issue relates to a bug in an area that is normally chargeable support, we really do want you to let us know. So please do report the bug, and we will attempt to fix it as soon as possible. Rest assured we will not charge you for support without first warning you.
Sometimes we offer a quote to fast track a request for a feature improvement. We get lots of suggestions, and they are all important to us, but we need to prioritise which ideas will be dealt with in which order. If we feel that your feature might be too far down the track to be useful for you, we might suggest a quote for fasttracking the development. If you decline the quote, we will still add your idea to our todo list, and we will get to it eventually.
If you have any suggestions on how we can improve our online help or training videos, please send us an email with a link to any video or help file that is out of date, incorrect, or alternatively which topic you would like us to add.
Posted: Friday 9 June 2017