The Joomla! Community Magazine™

Happy Holidays from Team EaSE!

Written by | Wednesday, 01 December 2010 00:00 | Published in 2010 December
Whether you have an e-commerce site or a blog or anything in between, the Holiday Season is a great opportunity for promotion. This month we compare Holiday snow effects, Team Member Nicholas Dionysopoulos has a special present for you and Team Member Sully Sullivan provides a little Holiday Fun!

Holiday Present for You!

As any webmaster knows, he is in a never-ending quest to increase the amount and quality of visitors to the site, or drive the sales up if it's an e-commerce site. Traditionally this is achieved by modifying the content shown on page and its placement. Let's face it. Each web page has a very finite amount of space, so we can't clog it with information without slowing down the site or making it look ugly. Even more if it's content not relevant to returning visitors. How do we work around this?

The idea was thrown by Seth Godin in his article “...in the middle, Starting”. We can show content to new visitors, identifying them as such based on a cookie stored in their browsers. About a year ago I took the idea further, added some visual effects and made it into a Joomla! module called “Visitor 2 Buyer” or V2B. Well, it's the holidays season, so I decided to make a little present to you. You get to download it for free, complete with its documentation. The rest of the article will explain how to use it to effectively deliver your “holidays special” offers on your site in a subtle manner.

{slide=Click here to get your holidays promotion rolling}

Drive sales up with holiday coupon codes

One of the tricks employed by many commercial companies is running a limited-time offer to attract new customers. Take the cellphone network operators for example. They promise a “special deal” for new clients so that they can attract them, then up-sell them to make some real profit. V2B allows you to do that on your e-commerce site, too.

Here is our action plan: we want visitors who are not signed in (therefore probably had never done business with us before) to be displayed a subtle but prominent message that a 10% discount offer is underway for new clients throughout the holidays, giving them a coupon code. To make it more prominent, this message will appear “sticky” on the bottom of the page, like in the picture below:

nicholas2

I begin by creating the graphic as a transparent PNG image, required for floating the top of the star graphic out of the bottom bar and over the page text. I upload this image, using Joomla!'s Media Manager, into my site's images/stories directory. The next step is creating a relevant V2B module and publishing it only in the store's index page. Here is how I configured it:

  • Show title: No
  • Enabled: Yes
  • Position: footer You can use any position you want; the message will be delivered in a floating frame outside the normal page flow. I suggest using footer so that it doesn't create blank space in your main module positions, as happens with certain templates.
  • New user visit limit. 1 This means that our offer will appear only throughout the first visit of our new users; we want our message to be in the spirit of “hurry up, or you'll miss the opportunity”
  • Unique Identifier: holidays-coupon Note: Use anything you want, as long as it's unique between your site's V2B modules
  • Display Mode: Catfish banner
  • Minimum Display Group. Public This means guests and above will see the message
  • Maximum Display Group. Public This means guests and below will see the message. Combined with the previous setting, it constraints message display to guests only.

  • Catfish height in pixels. 40 I use a 60-pixels tall graphic I will be floating with 20 pixels of it being over the page. You can adjust accordingly.
  • Catfish timeout. 0 This prevents the banner from automatically dissapearing.
  • >Custom Message: In the area of the custom message I used the “No editor” editor option to allow me to write some custom HTML. TinyMCE (Joomla!'s default editor) will automatically sanitize the HTML, not allowing us to produce the floating effect we seek. Here is the HTML:
teamease-code-dec2010
  • Menus: Select menu(s) from list
  • Menu Selection: I selected my shop's menu item.

nicholas1

Nicholas asks: "Is there a catch?"

Some people insist that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Well, they're most likely correct. The V2B module will not work with the upcoming Joomla! 1.6 but I decided to provide this commercial GPL3 licensed plugin for free, without any warranty and without any support. That said, if you really get stuck you can always drop me a line and I'll try to respond within a reasonable amount of time.

 

{/slide}

Reindeers need Snow!

A simple way of celebrating the holidays is to add one of the ‘snow’ extensions to your site. You can choose to display it only on one page if you wish. We compare three of these extensions, one plugin and two modules. Note that although two of these are modules, just leave them to display in the default position, they use the whole of the browser viewport to create the effect. All of these work out of the box, adding a simple unobtrusive fall of snow to your site. When you first look at snow extensions they might all seem similar, but in fact they each have different solutions and not just for snow.

Check out Issue 6 Comparison Spreadsheet .pdf below

JoomSnow

JoomSnow
JoomSnow is a neat little plugin by Eugen Karban. It was his first plugin for Joomla! and has some nice parameters for you to experiment with.

Note from the author: Please notice that this plugin only works for Joomla-articles. It doesn't work for components or other extensions.

JoomSnow Plugin Admin Screenshot:

Good tooltips are available if you hover over the options. Speed, sizes, quantity are all available options for this plugin. As the actual snow is an asterisk/star rather than an image you could use any character on your keyboard! With this plugin you can also choose the 'snowing zone' eg left, right or center.

JoomSnow Admin Screenshot

JoomSnow Plugin Frontend Screenshot:

Remember that snow is white and will not show on a white background!

JoomSnow Frontend Screenshot

Check out Issue 6 Comparison Spreadsheet .pdf below

YooHolidays

YooHolidays
YooHolidays Module provides not only snow but fireworks and Halloween as well! 

 Note from the author: "Invite flying bats on Halloween, let it snow on Christmas or light fireworks on New Year's Eve!"

YooHolidays Module Admin Screenshot:

This module has 'time-release' parameters so if you want, for example, snow just in December, you can add this as an option. 

yoofireworks-admin

YooHolidays Module Frontend Screenshot:

Very difficult to screen capture the fireworks but they are fun!

yoofireworks-frontend

Check out Issue 6 Comparison Spreadsheet .pdf below

Snowing

Snowing


Snowing is another multi-purpose Module with a great selection of images included.

Note from the author: Snowing Module for various images - add your own in /media/nok_snow.

Snowing Module Admin Screenshot:

This module has snow, Father Christmas, Holly, Balloons and even Care Bears & Candy. Not only that, you can easily add your own images too. Another interesting option is to have the images flying upwards or downwards - nice for balloons!

snowing-admin

Snowing Module Frontend Screenshot:

This shows just a few of the included images - get creative and make some of your own!

snowing-frontend

Check out Issue 6 Comparison Spreadsheet .pdf below

Two more modules you might like to consider:

Snowfall - creates a pile of snow at the bottom of the viewport!

Christmas Snow - a simple module for the snow effect.

Summary

Team EaSE wishes all of you a wonderful Holiday Season! We hope that you enjoy our December contributions which range from a fun look at 'snow', a commercial extension offered to you for free to a fun do-it-yourself poem in our associated article.  

Issue 7

We are compiling our list of extensions & services for evaluation in 2011, a year that will see the release of Joomla! 1.6 and possibly even 1.7. Thank you for all your support in 2010 - see you next year!

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Team EaSE

Team EaSE

Current Team EaSE Members: Bo Astrup, Babs Gösgens, Brian 'Sully' Sullivan (Team Lead), Miljan Vujosevic

Grateful thanks also to Steve Burge

Past Members: Hilary Cheyne, Amy Stephen, Nicholas K. Dionysopoulos, Neri Valentin-Macias