• New Features: Client Billing Goes Live and More

    This LightCMS release marks a pivotal moment for Client Billing 2.0. Client Billing goes live, and the new method for billing your clients becomes active. This release also includes a redesign of the account dashboard to provide you with important information about your business and sites. Keep reading to learn more.

    Client Billing 2.0

    We have been telling you about it for weeks, and today is the day. Client billing has gone live, and you will soon start realizing all of the many benefits this new method of billing your clients offers. Let’s review what this means to you.

    • Billing is initiated on your behalf by LightCMS.
    • The invoice sent to your customer is branded with your company information.
    • Your company is listed on your client’s credit card charges.
    • You no longer have to request your profits from us. Your money is paid immediately and directly to you by Stripe.
    • Your profits are greater because the processing fees are less.
    • LightCMS bills you only for your monthly base charges.

    If, for whatever the reason, you did not activate client billing, then your clients have been switched to account billed, which means that you are now responsible for billing your clients outside of the LightCMS system. LightCMS will still bill you for your base monthly charges.

    For more information on Client Billing 2.0, see the Client Billing 2.0 Blog post.

    Account Navigation for Single Site Users and for Account Billed Users

    Release of the new dashboard brings different account navigation for single site and account billed users. Previously, selecting Account from the User menu, took account billed and single site users to the account dashboard which provided no useful information because of the nature of the sites.

    Now, when account billed users select Account from the User menu, they are taken to their Website List page.

    Websites List Screen Shot

    When users with a single site select Account from the User menu, they are now taken to the Account Detail page.

    Website Details Screen Shot

    New Account Dashboard and Account Navigation

    This release brings a redesigned dashboard to LightCMS partner accounts. The dashboard gives you at-a-glance insight into your business and your client accounts. To access the dashboard, log in and click your name in the upper right corner. Select Account from the dropdown menu.

    As you can see from this screen shot, the dashboard organizes your account information into five primary sections:

    • Financial Snapshot
    • Accounts Status Summary
    • Account Status Detail
    • Revenue Graph
    • Recent Blog Posts

    Financial Snapshot

    The financial snapshot lets you quickly see important financial information about your account revenue and fees. These include:

    • Next Billing Date – the date you will next be billed
    • Monthly Revenue – the sum of everything you bill your clients
    • Monthly Fees – the sum of what LightCMS bills you for your client accounts
    • Projected Annual Revenue – your monthly revenue multiplied by 12

    Accounts Status Summary

    This section of the dashboard lets you quickly see the status of your client accounts. This includes:

    • The number of new sites added
    • The number of sites upgraded
    • The number of sites downgraded
    • The total number of billed sites

    Account Status Detail

    This section provides you with the detail of accounts in three specific areas:
    • The trial accounts expiring
    • A listing of accounts that have been upgraded
    • A listing of accounts that have been downgraded

    Revenue Graph

    The revenue graph presents you with a line graph of your account revenue over the past 12 months. When the new dashboard is released, if you have revenue information available over the past 12 months, then the graph will reflect that revenue. If you have no history available, then the prior months will show no revenue, but as time passes and you receive revenue, you will see those numbers reflected in the graph.

    LightCMS Blog

    This section of the dashboard gives you a listing of the most recent posts on the LightCMS blog. You can click a blog post title to go to the blog and read the post.

    Updated Terms of Service

    The LightCMS terms of service have been updated and we now have terms of service for the partner platform. 

    For a look at what else you will find in this release, to expect in this release, take a look at the 2015.2 release notes below.


    Release 2015.2

    New Features

    • Client billing goes live with this release and the new billing methodology becomes active. Read the Client Billing 2.0 blog post for details.

    Enhancements

    • Made numerous, subtle design changes across the sight to flatten the design, including buttons.

    • Updated the CSS to improve page load times and reduce file size.

    • Streamlined design code across the entire system to maximize performance.

    Resolved Issues

    • When a user signed up via the sign up element, the name field in the user table was not populated. Since the user name is used as the edit link on the user page and no name existed, the record could not be edited. Now, if no name is found, the link defaults to "Edit User".

    • Image uploads for images with accepted extensions no longer fail.

    • When exporting a blog from one LightCMS site and importing it into another, the post-url, if provided, will also be imported.

     

  • New Features: Client Billing 2.0 and More

    This release of LightCMS brings you the first phase of the highly anticipated Client Billing 2.0, Client Billing Activation. You will also find a new, responsive design in this release. Keep reading to learn more.

    Client Billing 2.0 Activation Period

    With this release, we roll out the first stage of Client Billing 2.0: Client Billing Activation.  We encourage you to activate Client Billing as soon as possible. Once activated, you are finished with your part, and all you have to do is to wait for Client Billing to become active on March 3rd.

    Client Billing Activation is a simple process where you give us information about your credit card, your company, and your Stripe account. To activate Client Billing, simply follow the Activate Client Billing button on the Partner Program page. This button takes you to the Activate Client Billing page.  On this page, you will need to give us the following information:

    • Credit Card Information - If we already have your credit card on file, the card information is automatically populated. For your security, only the last 4 digits of the card number are displayed. If we do not have a card on file for you, then you will need to enter it to continue. If we do have a card on file for you and it needs to be changed, you can do that on the Account Information page.



    • Company Information - Your company information will appear in the header area of the invoice that is generated and emailed to your customer. You can view a sample customer invoice by clicking the invoice image. The email address will be listed in the header and will be used as the reply to address on the email.



    If you already have a Stripe account you can sign in to it, or if you don't have a stripe account, you can set up an account by completing the form. You will be asked to provide information about your business, personal information about yourself, details to display on your customer's credit card statements, and your banking information for Stripe to pay you.

    See our recent Client Billing 2.0 blog post for full details of Client Billing 2.0.

    New Responsive Design 

    We're excited to bring you yet another fully responsive design: Overture. As with all of the LightCMS designs, this design is available for use on any LightCMS website at no additional charge.

     Home Page Inside Page

     

     

    You can use this design as is or customize it with the LightCMS built in Design Editor. If you're an advanced user, you can even download the design source code to use as a starting point for a new, custom design.

    To see the design in action for yourself, click the image above or log in to LightCMS and go to the Design section on the toolbar. Choose the Gallery, and look for Featured Designs. You can apply the design to your site or download the source files. You can also see the design in the LightCMS Design Viewer.


    Release 2015.1

    New Features

    • Client Billing 2.0 Activation is now available. Follow the Activate Client Billing button on the Partner Program page to activate client billing on your account. 
    • A new responsive design, Overture is now available in the design gallery.

    Enhancements

    • The percentage discount code amount was limited to only three characters. This prevented entry of discounts such as 1.25%. The discount field now allows entry of up to 5 characters, and server side processing validates that the percentage is not greater than 100%. 

    Resolved Issues

    • In certain situations, a one cent rounding error occurred because the rounding method used for calculating freight was different from the rounding method used for summing the order. The checkout page now uses the normal rounding method for both. 
    • The force password change at next log in check box would not save the setting if the box was checked and then unchecked prior to saving.
    • Special characters in event titles are now stored correctly.
    • Paths to digital product download files are now always generated the same way.
    • If a store customer entered a billing or shipping company name, the name was not included on the order-print.aspx page.  Now the company name, if entered, is listed above the customer name on the order-print.aspx page.
  • 7 Web Design Mistakes to Avoid

    The design of your organization's website is a bit like the layout of a retail store. You want customers to find it attractive and accessible, fun to browse but also efficient for those who want to buy and check out quickly. Unfortunately, designers often make mistakes when creating the look and feel of their company's site. Here are the top ones to avoid.

    1. Not using a responsive layout. Responsive design is a method for ensuring a web site adapts to different client devices such as desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones and other mobile devices. Without it, you must update and manage several different templates, CSS files, and/or a completely different site. Responsive layouts ensure consistency of content and images for your customers regardless of their devices.
    2. Use Flash. Apple stopped supporting Flash in all its mobile devices, and using it alienates all of those users. Presumably you could have one site for Windows desktop users who have Flash, and the rest done in CSS3 and Javascript, but why have all of that extra code to be responsible for? By sticking with Javascript and CSS3, you get similar effects and avoid duplicating your work.
    3. Go heavy on artwork or unusual treatments. A decade ago, it was fashionable to push the envelope in web design with lavish graphics, layered art, curved or diagonal designs, and other out-of-the-box creative approaches. But today, so many people are using their phones and tablets to access websites that simplicity, consistency and predictability are of much greater importance than unusual web design. It is also more difficult to maintain a consistent look with responsive templates if you have an intricate and complicated design. If you're tempted to go a bit wild with your art and layouts, first check your site's traffic to see what percentage of your visitors are mobile. If you've got 40 percent or more mobile users, or even 30 percent, hold back with those interesting but unpredictable layouts and go for clean designs that will display well on any screen.
    4. Crowd your site with images and text. Overcrowded web pages with little white space are difficult to navigate or read. Crowding literally tires the eyes and can cause visitors to move on. Pages need white space to provide boundaries, refresh the eyes, and enable readers to quickly grasp what is most important on the page. So be liberal with your white space. One caveat however: Don't "trap" a batch of white space in the middle of the page. That's jarring. Instead, use wide, but even, margins between the content, while lavishing a bit more on the outside margins.
    5. Copy another site’s designs. It’s fine to take inspiration from other sites you admire, or even use some specific ideas. But copying all or large parts of someone else’s layout is a big no-no. The rule of thumb is that it’s ok to borrow ideas on things like color combinations, fonts, use of graphics, and navigation – but never OK to outright copy it. It will inevitably backfire on you when someone – a customer, partner, competitor, random visitor – notices the theft and comments on it in social media.
    6. Don't provide enough contrast. Web sites should be easy to read and navigate, so contrast is important. It’s especially important to have good contrast for things like text, buttons and links. Contrast means both dark on light tones (e.g. black on white is better than charcoal on light gray) and color contrasts. Some colors, no matter how dark or light, don’t pair well. An example is orange with red, or green on blue. Even a light orange on a dark red is going to be hard on the eyes. If you’re not sure, ask the opinion of those around you.
    7. Forget your visitors' needs. Do you cater to seniors or others with accessibility issues? Consider who and how people will be using your site. Seniors or vision-impaired visitors need bigger, darker text or easy to see buttons and images that can be enlarged. People who have arthritis may find it difficult to click through multiple links or manipulate sensitive drop-down menus. Others have trouble using mice and touchpads, so they appreciate sites coded to support keyboard navigation as well. And to ensure that color-blind visitors can identify a clickable link, use underlined or bold type as well as color to make it stand out.

    You should consider the preferences of all your site visitors when creating your design. The goal is to make their experience as pleasant and productive as possible, so they'll want to come back. The more appealing and user-friendly it is, the better it will serve your company and make your bottom line a nice dark black.

  • Client Billing 2.0: Client Billing Gets Even Better

    LightCMS was one of the companies that pioneered the idea of Client Billing for a CMS, and our clients have loved it since the beginning. With Client Billing 2.0, there are some important changes coming, and we know you will love them as much as we do. These exciting changes bring you an entirely new way of billing your clients and collecting your money! Keep reading to learn more about what Client Billing 2.0 holds in store.

    With the old Client Billing method, LightCMS billed you for your monthly base charges and also billed your clients for their monthly charges. You then requested your money from LightCMS. Say goodbye to this old method, and say hello to a simpler and more efficient billing method!

    Some of the important differences you will see are:

    • The customer invoice has your company information, and your business is listed on your client’s credit card charge.
    • The processing fees are less.
    • Billing is initiated on your behalf by LightCMS.
    • There is no more “Money Pile”. Your money is paid directly to you by Stripe.
    • LightCMS bills you only for your monthly base charges.

    We think you’ll agree these make Client Billing even better!

    Client Billing Release

    The change to Client Billing will begin on February 3rd. This is the date that Client Billing 2.0 will be released. The Client Billing activation period also begins on this day and lasts until March 3rd. March 3rd is the date that Client Billing goes live. This gives you an entire month to activate Client Billing. However, we encourage you to activate Client Billing as soon as possible when it is released so you will be ready for the changeover when the new Client Billing goes live. For the period between Client Billing activation and Client Billing going live, the current Client Billing method will still be in place.

    How to Activate Client Billing

    When Client Billing 2.0 is released, the first thing you must do is activate it. Activation is a simple process where you give us information about your credit card, your company, and your Stripe account. To activate Client Billing, simply follow the Activate Client Billing button on the Partner Program page. This button takes you to the Activate Client Billing page.  On this page, you will need to give us the following information:

    • Credit Card Information - If we already have your credit card on file, the card information is automatically populated. For your security, only the last 4 digits of the card number are displayed. If we do not have a card on file for you, then you will enter it. If you need to change your credit card information, you can do that on the Account Information page.



    • Company Information - Your company information will appear in the header area of the invoice that is generated and emailed to your customer. You can view a sample customer invoice by clicking the invoice image. The email address will be listed in the header and will be used as the reply to address on the email.



    If you already have a Stripe account you can sign in to it, or if you don't have a stripe account, you can set up an account by completing the form. You will be asked to provide information about your business, personal information about yourself, details to display on your customer's credit card statements, and your banking information for Stripe to pay you.

    The Customer Invoice

    As we mentioned previously, LightCMS will bill you for your base monthly charges. We will also generate and transmit your client invoices and initiate billing of your clients, on your behalf. This is the way it has always been. However, now the invoices sent to your clients are branded with your company information, and no longer will they receive their charges from our generic WebsiteHostingBill.com. Client charges are processed using your Stripe account. This is especially beneficial to those of you who white label LightCMS. The resulting funds are paid directly to you by Stripe! 

    Here’s an example of an invoice that we will send to your clients:

    Don't want to use Client Billing?

    There is nothing that says you have to sign up for client billing 2.0, even though it is to your advantage to do so. However, it is important you understand there are some negative consequences if you don’t sign up.

    So what is the downside to not signing up?

    • You will no longer receive profit from LightCMS.
    • If you have a valid credit card on file, your account will be converted to account billing. This means that you will be responsible for billing your clients. LightCMS will bill the credit card you have on file for your base monthly charges. You will then need to bill your clients outside of the LightCMS billing system.
    • If you do not have a valid credit card on file, then LightCMS will take control of your client accounts. Each client will be set up with their own LightCMS account and they will be billed directly by LightCMS.

      We would rather not take over your accounts, so please sign up as soon as possible.

    Although we make every effort to verify the credit card we have on file for you, if you decide not to sign up for Client Billing 2.0, please take a moment to confirm that we have a valid credit card on file so we are not forced to take over your account.

    Have questions?

    If you have any questions regarding the changes to Client Billing and how it will effect you, please email support@lightcms.com or visit our Client Billing 2.0 FAQ's.

     

  • LightCMS 2014: Year in Review

    Can you believe it’s already a new year? If you feel anything like we do, we’re still trying to figure out what happened to 2014. Since life clearly isn’t moving any slower, we think it’s important to write our thoughts down and share them with our customers. So in keeping with tradition, we wanted to take a look back at some of last year’s top blog posts and review some of the important feature enhancements LightCMS gave you in 2014.

    Product Enhancements

    So let’s get to the meat and potatoes of what we’ve been up to. Throughout the course of 2014, we worked hard to bring our customers new features improved capabilities – ones that make LightCMS easier to use, and more secure. Here’s a list of our previous release notes, in case you missed any of them:

    • New Element UI
      • New Element toolbar UI loads faster, and is more efficient
      • New, quicker way to add elements, reducing clicks by 50%
    • Updated WYSIWYG Editor, Including Mobile Access
      • Updated UI to better match the LightCMS look and feel
      • Mobile browsers now provide a WYSIWYG editor
      • Full screen text editing feature added
    • Password Protected Pages & Calendar Enhancements
      • Added password protection for pages without needing to create new user or role in system
      • New Manage Events page allows users to manage and search by names and dates
      • Added end time for calendar invites and visibility to timestamp on event summary view
    • Responsive Checkout & New Templates
      • Friendlier, easier-to-use checkout experience
      • Two new responsive designs – Civet & Liberty
      • Form Builder updated with new look and feel
    • Free Shipping & Stripe Enhancements
      • Added promo code that allows for free shipping on any order
      • More currencies now accepted via Stripe
    • Blog Enhancements
      • Added publish time
      • Enhanced blog post management, allowing search & sort by dates, titles, etc.
      • Read More feature added

    Sharing Knowledge

    We’ve been in the web design business for a long time. We understand the unique challenges that our customers face on a daily basis because this is how our company started. We understand that LightCMS will only be as successful as the customers using our product – when you win, we win. We want to do everything we can to help you build fantastic websites, so we take time to share some of the lessons we’ve learned over the years. Here are just a few:

    Celebrating Success

    In 2014 we continued to celebrate the success of our partners and customers. We shared this with you on our website throughout the year, and we had a blast pulling together the stories of several LightCMS partners. We love seeing our customers’ businesses grow and thrive, and we will always keep our customers at the heart of our product. If you have a LightCMS success story to share, we’d love to hear from you.

    Communication

    As of June 2014, we also started providing release notes to summarize the new features, enhancements, and issue resolutions included in each release. These notes give you an at-a-glance notification of everything to expect in each release, and each of these blog posts can be easily found by checking out our “release notes” tag on our blog.

    < The Source />

     

    Due to the unique needs of our partners and power users, we wanted to have a way to share specific information, recap recent feature additions, preview future product enhancements, and celebrate the success of our partners. We are now accomplishing all this and more via our email newsletter, affectionately known as The Source.

    Looking Forward

    We’re proud of the progress we’ve made thus far, and we’re looking forward to another great year. Speaking of… we’ll soon be announcing some pretty awesome news for our partners who use client billing. If you fall into that category, be looking for an email from us within the coming weeks.

    We are honored to have so many great customers, and we’re grateful for your continued support. If you have any suggestions on how we can make additional improvements to LightCMS, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below or shoot us an email at support@lightcms.com. Here’s to a great 2015!

RSS Feed

Tags

Archive

Try it yourself. It's free.

Takes less than 60 secondsNo commitmentNo payment information required

Sign Up for Free