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It All Begins with a Click - Introducing the New Call-To-Action Buttons
by Big Santo on 

Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons are an essential landing page element, used to elicit a response from the visitors. Traditionally, implementing an effective button is a tedious process involving image design and animation programming. Well, not anymore.

Introducing the new Big Santo Call-to-Action button functionality. Available as a built-in Text and Image editor element, the CTA button is a versatile tool for point-and-click creation of buttons with mouse-over animation effects. Each button features settings for custom color, size, captions, sub-captions, icon image and more.



It takes just a couple of clicks to add and configure an interactive CTA button

Use the new Big Santo feature to create CTA buttons that entice visitors to click.

CTA buttons work well only if you do some forethought and planning. Designing the buttons has to be part of the page layout design process and to address 4 important aspects: placement, size, color and message.

Placement

The location of a CTA button is critical to it's success. We recommend to give your CTA button a prominent placement, but remember to take your entire page layout into account when making this decision. Use the codeless options for button alignment, text flow and spacing to determine the best spot for the button.

Draw attention with prominent positioning
Besides the obvious placement at the top of the page or at least above the fold, you have additional location options for increasing button conversion rates. Putting a CTA button on a distinguished area such as padded section is another way of making it stand out. If you choose a placement in the center - align the button horizontally in the center of the page to draw attention to it.

Use whitespace to detach CTAs from other elements
Whitespace can transform a page design in various ways. Some of them are purely aesthetic,  while in terms of CTA buttons white space has a tangible impact on their effectiveness.

Separating the button from areas with other design elements gives it visibility and makes the page feel less cluttered. If you think that a CTA button is not big enough to stand out, first try surrounding it with whitespace. Be careful not to exaggerate, otherwise you’ll loose the logical connection between the page elements.


Surround the CTA button with whitespace to make it stand out. You can easily do so, using the built-in spacing tool.

Size

In cases where using white space effectively is not an option, you can use the size and shape of the CTA button to draw attention to it. The size of an element relative to its surrounding elements indicates its importance. Decide how vital certain site actions are, and size the buttons accordingly. You can do so with the help of the user-defined or pre-set options for button size and color that are available with the Big Santo CTA button feature.

Here are some tips on how to draw visitor attention by changing the CTA button size:

CTA button size vs the surrounding elements
If the button is placed above the fold, and in order to grab visitor attention, the CTA button should be roughly 20% larger in width than the website logo element. Another easy test is to do the “5-pixel blur screenshot” test - apply a 5-pixel blur to a screenshot of the webpage and make sure that the CTA button is still visible.

CTA button size vs the less important call-to-actions
To indicate the importance of the primary call-to-action with respect to other actionable items, you can vary their sizes. Remember that the primary CTA button needs to command attention without overwhelming the page design.

You can select the preferred button size from a convenient drop-down menu to apply it.  

Color and Appearance

We’ve combined color theory with marketing best practices to help you create great CTA buttons. Colors are a powerful tool for encouraging feelings that lead to a desired action. You can guide website visitors to make the choices you want them to make just by using the correct colors and color combinations.

Use contrasting colors for primary CTAs
When speaking of contrasting colors we actually refer to complementary colors that are located on the opposite of one another on the color wheel. When placed next to each other, compliments make each other appear brighter.
   
Background vs foreground color contrast
To make a CTA button stand out by changing its color,  give it the complementary color of the background color.

Color contrast vs surrounding elements
For large buttons, choose a color that is less prominent compared to surrounding elements and the background. For smaller buttons you may want to choose a complementary color. But whatever color you choose, make sure you design the button in such a way that it is noticeable without interfering with the overall design.

Animations
Another approach to improving the visual impact of a CTA button is to animate it. The new Big Santo CTA buttons make this previously time-consuming task a breeze. It only takes a couple of clicks to bring a static button to life and make it glow, shake, pulse and more!

You can choose from 7 mouse-over transitions like dissolve, move up and enlarge. This feature reveals the mouse-over captions and subcaptions in a way that promotes attention and ensures the effectiveness of the CTA message.

In cases where you need to focus attention on a primary CTA button in an unobtrusive, but eye-catching way, use the 6 highlight animations. These effects are not triggered upon user action, but rather animate the button every 30 seconds by making it shake, move up and down, glow and more. Once enabled, this feature greatly improves the button visibility, serving as a visual reminder.

Message
The CTA button feature allows for easy creation of customizable captions and sub-captions for the default and mouse-over states of the button. The text is editable and allows for testing different messages without time-consuming and costly redesigns. You can easily create effective CTA button messages by simply following the steps below.

Button Caption


Formulating winning button captions is all about finding the right emotional triggers.

Keep it short
Just follow this simple rule of thumb: 3 words or less.

Communicate sense of urgency or scarcity
Suggestions to perform an action will be effective if you create a sense of urgency or scarcity. Using words such as "now" or "immediately" convey such urgency. Create scarcity with messages like “Only 5 products left” to employ the law of supply and demand. The less the supply is, the greater the demand will be. Remember to include numbers when you apply urgency or scarcity. Replace “Only a few products left” with “Only 10 products left”. People trust numbers.

Use command verbs with an implied benefit
If you don’t include verbs, visitors will not be encouraged to take action. It’s proven that strong action verbs draw attention. Examples of such strong verbs are Buy, Shop, Watch, Compare, Download; Examples of weak verbs are Click, Get, Try, See, Read.

Be specific about the exact desired action
The words should describe the action or result of the CTA. When possible, avoid using “OK” or “Cancel” as it requires reading the surround text to understand the meaning of the button.

Button Sub-caption
The button sub-caption is used to overcome visitor’s hesitation to take action. The hesitation usually stems from thinking that an action will be difficult, costly or unsafe. Another reason for hesitation is the lack of information of what happens after the click.  Take care of these concerns to improve the number of button conversions.

Tell the visitors that taking the action is easy
Use statements such as “no forms to fill”, “one-click”, “takes only 30 seconds”

Give the visitors a peace of mind
Answer anticipated questions that visitors may want to ask before taking the action. Point out that taking the action is safe. For example, indicate that their credit cards won’t be charged at this point, that there is a money-back guarantee or that they can always opt out of the newsletter.

Set expectations
Give additional information on what the visitors will get or what will happen after taking the action.

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Text and Images - Add and Format Images - Part 2
by Big Santo on 

We are very excited to announce the release of second batch of improvements in the most often used component in Big Santo: the Text and Images editor. The goal of this release was to simplify the management of images for novice users, while at the same time unleash the power of the web to more experienced users.


At first sight you will notice the image properties panel is significantly simplified with just three settings: Image Size, Caption and Alignment. But with the simple flip of the Advanced switch, you get all the options available before plus a lot more in the newly redesigned panel.  

Another major improvement in this release is the ability to set a different image that will appear when you roll-over an image, and what transition effect should be used between these two images. Having roll-over images can greatly increase the interactivity of your web site, and can be used to create attractive call-to-action buttons. See example of this feature in action below (roll-over the image) as well as on this demo page.

In addition to the rollover image options, we are also introducing a new stock image library which will allow you to use stock images and icons on any of your pages. You can choose one of several collections of images and filter the images in a collection by keywords.

Once the stock image has been added in the Text and Image editor, you can use it as any normal image, except that you can’t edit it.

Learn more about the new Library features, and how to create rollover images in just a few clicks by following our detailed tutorial and in these examples.
 

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A Rockin' New Text & Image Editor
by Big Santo on 

We received lots of enthusiastic reactions to the new Text and Image editor update. So many of you were eager to get started with the new features, that we decided to split this release into several smaller updates, in order to get them to you sooner.


Recently we released the improved Link Interface. There has been a complete overhaul of its design and functionality, giving you more control over how you create links on your website.




Besides the Text and Image editor, you'll find the updated Link Interface in the Page Image Slideshow, Section Tab options, Form action, Members Login, Galleries and Navigation Items options.

Jump in right away by logging in to your account or read on to find out what is new.

Improved Workflow
The first thing you'll notice when you open the pull-down menu, is that the list of pages from your site that appears inside the pull-down menu, are much better organized. The pages now appear grouped and indented if they are in folders.



You'll see an anchor icon appear next to any page that contains one or more anchor links. Clicking on the triangle next to the icon, will lists all anchors on that page. Linking to any place, on any page on your site, was never this easy!



When you are linking images, a new { Image Lightbox } option will appear in the Link Interface. Selecting this option will create a link that opens the full-size image in a lightbox-style window. This new functionality will replace the Zoom application.

Typing the name or URL of any page into the Link text box, will instantly update the pull-down menu and filter the pages shown to match your search criteria.

Passing your mouse cursor over a page name in the pull-down menu a new tooltip will appear,  that will show the name and the URL of that page. This comes in extremely handy when you have multiple pages with the same or similar names.

New Image Editor
Big Santo users have come to rely on our fully-integrated image editor for correcting their photos before adding them to the pages of their website.

What you may not have realized, is that the editor itself was provided by a service called Picnik. A few weeks ago, Picnik announced they would shut down the service on April 19, 2012.

Without wasting much time over the loss, we immediately started to look for a replacement.

Picknik has been replaced with Aviary as the new, fully-integrated image editing tool.



Aviary is a photo-editing platform that works just as seamlessly with Big Santo as you are used from Picnik.

Aviary offers a number of great tools to spruce up the photos you add to your website. These include, among others, tools for correcting and enhancing brightness and color balance, adjustment tools to adjust orientation, cropping and sharpness, even tools to remove red eyes and whiten teeth. In addition, Aviary also offers about a dozen beautiful stylistic effects to make your photos pop.

You can access Aviary by clicking the Edit button that appears after you upload an image in the Text and Image Editor, Image Galleries, Form Editor, Page Image Options, as well as in Customize Design > Custom Site Background and Custom Site Ornaments.

Different Link Types
To add an external link, all you have to do is click inside the text box of the Link Selection Interface, and start typing. The set button [ICON] becomes green as soon as you've entered a valid link to help you reduce the chance of entering invalid web addresses.



Linking to an email is as simple as typing a valid email address into the text area. You can even link to a phone by just typing tel: followed by the phone number. Linking to an external secure (https) page requires that the URL starts with https://.

Whether you select a page to link to from the pull-down menu, or enter it manually, a valid link is automatically indicated by an icon that appears in front of the link address, specifying the type of link. Big Santo has different icons for internal pages, normal (http) and secure (https) external links, email addresses, and phone numbers.




Advanced Options
When advanced options is enabled for the Text and Image editor, the Link interface shows several additional options.



New or Same Window
By default, all internal links open in the current browser window, while all external links open in a new tab or window. With the advanced options enabled, you can change this behavior any way you want and have full control over where you want your links to open.

Open in Lightbox
New is that the pull-down menu now includes a Lightbox option. Instead of sending your website visitors to a different site, you can opt to show content you are linking to inside a lightbox, layered on top of your site. Note: this is different from the { image lightbox } mentioned earlier.



More Search Engine Control
When search engines index the web, they look for links on pages that they already know, to find new content. This is how your new articles get automatically found by Google and other search engines.

Sometimes you don't want a certain page to be indexed by search engines. One way to achieve this is by creating a so-called "nofollow" link any time you link to that particular page. The new No Follow option in our Link interface lets will automatically create a link that instructs search engines not to follow or index the page you are linking to.



This is just a quick overview of the most significant changes and updates of the Link interface. Let us know in the comments below what you think of the update
 

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Take Control of Social Sharing
by Big Santo on 

Has this ever happened to you: you are excited to share your freshly published website or page with your Facebook friends, but when you paste the URL into Facebook's status box, Facebook does not find all the images or gets the title or description wrong?


Today we are launching Social Sharing, which gives you full control again over your page titles, page descriptions and thumbnail images as your content is shared on Facebook and Google+.

You can define Social Sharing settings for each page individually in the Page Options Panel, or for your entire site in the Site Properties Panel. As with Search Engine Optimisation, Page Options will override site-wide settings.



What's even better is that if you have already defined titles and descriptions in Search Engine Optimization, Social Sharing can directly use those. As you can see, you are in full control of how your content gets shared!

Big Santo's Social Sharing uses a technology called Open Graph, which was originally published by Facebook but has since been adopted by Google for its +1 sharing.

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Create a Great Facebook Page Tab in Minutes
by Big Santo on 

Social media has become one of most important marketing channels for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and Facebook - with almost 700 Million users - is the social network of choice. Having an attractive and useful page on Facebook not only helps you engage with your existing clients, it can also bring you new customers.

Today we are very excited to release our new Facebook page layout, which makes creating your own custom Facebook Page tab as easy as any page in Big Santo. Using the new page layout, you can unleash the full power of Big Santo on your Facebook Page.

You can add custom tabs to your Facebook Page, where the content of each tab comes from your Big Santo site. Inside each tab, you can add any content, including our gorgeous image galleries and our powerful applications like the Appointment Scheduler or the soon to be released Gift Card and Deals application.

You can choose to keep the design of your Facebook Page tab consistent with your web site design or use a Facebook-like color theme.

By using section groups, you can create multi-page mini-websites that will show up as a tab on your Facebook page. Having all Big Santo features at your disposal creates endless possibilities for your Facebook Page, limited only by your creativity.

The new Facebook layout is available now for all Big Santo business subscribers. To get access to it, all you have to do is to re-apply your current design by going to Control Panel > Change Design and clicking Apply.

The next time you create a new page or open the Page Options, you will see the Facebook layout option.

To learn how to create your own custom Facebook Page with Big Santo, watch the video below.

Note: List of Big Santo Apprentice based designs: Atlas, Atlas B, Atria, Atria X, Atria X Light, Chara, Electra, Kuma, Meissa, Mira, Pasta Arc, Pasta Oval, Polaris, Sirius, Sirius Light, Vega, Vega Light


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Sneak Peek: Gift Card and Deals Application
by Big Santo on 

Did you know that gift cards and daily deals are a great way to increase revenue and drive new customers? With Evolving Solutions experience with group buying at How She Goin, Big Santo's upcoming Gift Card and Deals application, you will be able to add these to your website with just a few clicks.



Gift cards are a great way to say “Thanks”, “Happy Birthday” or simply “Hi there” and with the new application you can enable your website visitors to buy and send printable gift cards with ease. Also you can run your own Groupon®-style daily deals and give your customers time-limited discount on certain products or services. You can limit the number of deals that are sold, as well as the period during which the offer is valid, and the built-in Facebook and Twitter integration can share your deal with the social network of your site visitors.

This application is not yet officially released, but we will let you know when it is ready.  If you want to know right away, please sign up for our mailing list on our home page. (bottom of the page)


 

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Facebook application update
by Big Santo on 

Today we are releasing an update to our Facebook Social Plugin application. Facebook social plugins are a great way to let your website visitors share the content on your site with their friends.

The new update includes the latest Facebook social plugin; the Send button, as well as an overhaul of the interface, which makes setting up social sharing easier than ever.

New: the Send button

Almost a year after the introduction of the Like button, Facebook introduced the Send button. While the Like button lets site visitors quickly share content they like with all their friends, the new Send button lets them share it with just a group of friends. The Send button lets your website visitors send a link to a friend through Facebook Messages, post it to a Group, or email it to an individual.

You can add a Send button to your Big Santo site in two ways.

1. Standalone Send button. Add the Facebook application to any content area on any page of your site by selecting the application from the Add Content menu and clicking on one of the green areas that appear. In the Facebook Social Plugin Application Panel select the Send button plugin type. Click Add to add the button to the page.



2. Combined Like and Send button. If you want to offer both Send and Like buttons to your visitors, select the Like button plugin type from the Facebook Social Plugin Application Panel. You'll have to enable Advanced settings and check the Send button checkbox.



Besides the new Send and Like buttons, you can use the Facebook Social Plugin application to add a Like Box, Activity Feed, Recommendations, Activity Stream and Facebook Comments to your Big Santo website, all with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Metrics

Did you know that Facebook offers real-time metrics for the Send button in the Insights Dashboard? To set this up, just claim your domain and you will receive statistics of how many visitors have seen the Send button, how many messages they have sent through it, and how many times others have clicked on the links sent through the Send button.

Interface changes

When you open the Facebook Social Plugin application, you'll notice we've made some minor changes to the way things look. The panel is now a bit wider to accommodate the new plugin and we've moved everything but the required settings under advanced settings. You have one click access to these settings if you need them through the Advanced settings switch at the bottom right of the panel.

As a result, the new interface is a lot cleaner and makes setting up Facebook social plugins less confusing, quicker and easier.

We hope you enjoy the new functionality and look forward to your feedback in the comments.

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What Web Browser Do You Use?
by Big Santo on 

When Google released the first version of its Chrome browser, many believed it would have a major influence, but almost no one expected things to happen this fast. Now, just over two years later, Google's Chrome holds the third spot in terms of market share with 14.85%, and its growing fast, unlike any other browser.

Chrome has proven to be one of the fastest browsers. It runs excellently on even the most modest computer, making it ideal for home and office use.

At Big Santo, we have worked hard to provide full support for the most widely used browsers, and now this includes Chome. Earlier this week, we launched our application in the Chrome Web Store that lets Chrome users create a new account and log in to their Big Santo website with just one click. And of course now our Admin interface fully supports Google Chrome.

If speed and stability are important for you, we recommend you try Google Chrome. Of course you can use any other supported browser (IE, FireFox, Safari).

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New Application: News and Events
by Big Santo on 

Do you know that sharing news and upcoming events with your visitors can help drive more traffic to your website? It also keeps visitors on your site longer, giving you a better chance to turn them into customers.



Big Santo recently released its News and Events application, which makes it super-easy to add short news items and upcoming events to your website in a neat and visually appealing way. You can use an existing news source like a famous blog or online magazine, or you can manually create your own content.

Using existing news sources that are relevant to your business is a great way to keep your site fresh and engaging. Once you set it up, the site will run on auto-pilot, regularly bringing in new content. And with so many businesses who don't update their websites very often, this will make your website stand out. While adding this type of content engages your visitors, don't expect this to improve your search engine ranking.

Creating original content has a direct impact on search results.  It is a long-term investment that will help improve your site's overall search engine ranking, but is more time-consuming. One good approach to use our News and Events application in manual content mode to announce upcoming events such as enrollments, trainings, conferences, etc, that may be of interest to your visitors. In this mode the application can be configured to hide any past events automatically, so you don't have to remove them manually.

To learn more how to use this application, check our tutorial or watch this brief overview:


 

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How to Add Apture's Social Media Toolbar to Your Big Santo Website
by Big Santo on 

Turning your website into a hub for social interaction used to involve linking your site's visitors to a long list of external social media Web sites, or adding lots of widgets and buttons to your web pages. Now there are better ways to make your website more interactive and easier to manage.

The Apture Site Bar is a new way to give readers more information without leaving the page. this is what Apture authors says about the toolbar, but i’ll try to describe what is this toolbar can do for you, once your visitor scroll down on your blog, this bar will appear loaded with some great features.

  • Share on facebook button with a counter.
  • Tweet this for twitter button with a counter.
  • Share on email
  • Search box with jquery, and this mean that your visitor don’t have to leave the page when he search for another content.
  • When your visitor can select any part of your posts text small button will appear that says Search
  • You can customize it with your own logo.

See for yourself:


This is all you need to do to add it to your website:

  • Your website address:
  • Your email:
  • Upload a Logo or Set Title
  • Pick your bar color

Click Get my bar.  Copy the code and now login to your Big Santo account, and add the code as an HTML snippet to your website.

 

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