• 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?

    With all the new features, why would you even say that? If you decide that you would rather not take advantage of all the Client Billing 2.0 benefits, or if you fail to activate Client Billing before March 3rd, your account will be converted to account billing, and you will then be responsible for billing your clients. LightCMS will still continue to bill you personally for your base monthly rate.

    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!

  • New Responsive Design: Hitch

    We're excited to announce the release of a new responsive design to the LightCMS system: Hitch. As you might guess by the name, we created this design with couples looking to get "hitched" in mind. Hitch can serve as the perfect foundation for building a wedding web site to share the couple's story, wedding plans, photo gallery, and ceremony details with family and friends. And don't forget, with LightCMS's Password Protected Page feature you can hide certain pages like event details or an RSVP forms, granting access to only those visitors who know the password.

    As with all of the LightCMS designs, this design is available for use on any LightCMS website at no additional charge. The new design can be customized through the built in Design Editor, and advanced users can download the 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 it to your site or download the source files. You can also see the design in the LightCMS Design Viewer.

  • Don’t Let Bloated Graphics Hijack Your Web Site

    The images on your company’s website have a big impact on visitors and are often their first impression of your business. So they need to be professional, up-to-date and fast. You want vibrant images and rich graphics, but if you have too many they can slow the site’s performance. I think we can all agree that no one likes to wait for a page to load, much less an image.

    Below are my six top tips for making sure your images aren’t bigger than your bandwidth.

    1. Compress, compress, compress. Digital pictures can take up an enormous amount of bandwidth if not properly compressed and that, in turn, can turn your website into a frustratingly slow experience. To keep images to a reasonable size, use a program such as Photoshop or Pixelmator and use the Save for Web and image export, respectively, to cut the size down. If you would like to make the image file size even smaller, you could also run the file through an image optimizer software like ImageOptim for the Mac. This application uses several compression algorithms to decrease the file size, yet keeps the image looking the same. ImageOptim can reduce PNG file sizes by 30-40%. The smaller the file size, the faster your site will load. Alternatively, you can reduce the physical dimensions of the image– for example, reducing a 3264 by 2448 jpg image from an iPhone 6 plus, down to 700 by 525, takes the file size down from 2 MB to 295KB. If you go a step further in Photoshop and save it for web, the file size drops to 71KB.
    2. Know your image formats. Different image formats have different uses. The older GIF format produces small files, but the images aren’t as sharp, and limited to 256 colors. GIFs are best for images with text and flat colors, as well as cute videos of cats. JPG images, on the other hand, are great for photographs or graphics with thousands of colors. However, be prepared for large, files of 3 to 5 MB’s on average. JPGs can, and should be, reduced through resizing and compression (see above) but that could possibly sacrifice some image clarity and colors. For images with large blocks of solid colors, you have a need for transparency and PNG graphics are best. PNG files compress well, but they will have an overall larger size than GIF and JPG images.



    3. Beware of large galleries. LightCMS (as well as other CMS applications) have an image “gallery” feature which allows web designers to put a number of small thumbnail-sized images on a single screen so the viewer can see them all at once. The viewer can then click on a small image and a larger version of it will load. However, you should keep in mind that galleries can load both the small and the large versions of each image causing the image files to compete for bandwidth.
    4. Use 3rd party video services. In the old days of Flash players, websites would host their own .flv’s and visitors with free Flash players could view them. Now, however, hosting Flash videos on a site is pretty much history. Today’s answer is to post your company videos to sites such as YouTube or Vimeo and embed the link on your site instead. The video plays on YouTube, saving you the storage space and bandwidth.
    5. Anticipate new technologies and how they may affect your site. Mobile devices created a need for more cleanly organized sites and fewer, smaller images. Now retina displays are moving things in the opposite direction with displays showing your site in a much higher resolution. To take advantage of the sharper capabilities of a retina display you can have two versions of each image, one for a retina-capable device and one for normal displays. The browser will look to see if the higher quality image is available and serve that image. If not, it will load the regular image.
    6. Make sure images are your own. Finally, make sure all of your images are your property. Designers are often tempted to “borrow” good images from other people’s sites. Don’t. The odds that someone will notice are higher than you think, and in the era of social media, your theft of someone else’s intellectual property could become a trending topic. Don’t you want to showcase your own high quality content for visitors to admire?
  • LightCMS Super Charges Steadfast Creative's Growth From One-Person Startup To A Thriving Digital Agency

    Cloud-Based Content Management System Enables Growth for Designers and Design Agencies

    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—December 3, 2014—LightCMS, a NetSuite (NYSE: N) company that provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use cloud-based content management system (CMS), today announced that Steadfast Creative, one of LightCMS’s strategic partner agencies, has used LightCMS to build more than 60 unique websites for small and medium-sized businesses. LightCMS provided the technology platform that helped launch the one-person startup based outside of Fort Worth, Texas, and has fueled its rapid growth over the past three years into a thriving eight-person digital marketing, branding and website development agency. LightCMS has helped Steadfast Creative ignite its business success with easy-to-use features and the creative flexibility to design rich, elegant websites that distinctively mirror a client’s brand.

    “LightCMS definitely gave us a solid backbone and enabled us to really leverage our creative skills to build the business,” said Steadfast Creative founder Brad Parnell, who founded the agency in 2011 and began using LightCMS as a freelancer several years earlier. “I’m a huge advocate of the platform and attribute a lot of our success to LightCMS. If we didn’t have it, I’m not sure we’d have as big a client base or be as successful as we have been.”

    Watch the video about Steadfast Creative’s partnership with LightCMS here.

    Steadfast Creative and its clients have benefited from the simple, intuitive site design and controls in LightCMS.

    These benefits include:

    • Using LightCMS has meant Steadfast Creative can focus on using their design expertise to deliver stunning sites that help the company’s clients attract and engage site visitors instead of spending time mastering specialized programming languages.
    • LightCMS’s support for responsive web design ensures that every LightCMS site displays optimally for the device being used to access that site, whether desktop, smartphone or tablet.
    • LightCMS’s simplicity makes it easy for non-technical users at client organizations to update and manage their sites themselves resulting in fewer support inquiries and more satisfied clients for Steadfast Creative.

    Parnell added, “With LightCMS, I was finally able to offer clients a user-friendly platform for blogging, editing content, uploading images and managing pages—and it’s all hosted. We work with a lot of very busy small business owners who don’t have the time to learn the software. Giving them a beautiful site and showing them how easy LightCMS is to use makes their lives so much easier.”

    Steadfast Creative recently joined the LightCMS Partner Platform program, designed to make it easier than ever for creative designers and resellers, like Steadfast Creative, to focus on what they do best—creating leading-edge websites with a standards-based platform. By taking advantage of the LightCMS Partner Platform, Steadfast Creative has introduced a new and simplified pricing model that provides its clients with websites that have unlimited pages, unlimited products and online store capabilities for a flat fee. For further information, please visit www.lightcms.com/partners.

    “It’s fantastic to see Steadfast Creative and other LightCMS partners unleash their creative talents and realize great business success with the platform,” said Justin Cowan, Director of Content Management for LightCMS. “We’re gratified to be able to collaborate with agencies and designers through the LightCMS Partner Platform to make it easier than ever for them to reach new levels and delight more clients.”

    About LightCMS

    LightCMS is a NetSuite company that provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use cloud-based platform for creating beautiful websites and online stores. Guided by its philosophy of sophisticated simplicity, LightCMS offers an ideal set of tools for individuals, non-profits, and small to medium-sized businesses who want to communicate, conduct business, and sell products online. LightCMS is also a leading platform of choice for web designers and creative agencies. With industry-leading design flexibility, LightCMS offers designers and developers the opportunity to create custom websites their clients can easily manage themselves. More than 175,000 users from around the world leverage the simplicity and flexibility LightCMS offers to build standout websites and online stores quickly.

    For more information about LightCMS, please visit www.lightcms.com.

    Follow LightCMS's blog, LightCMS's Facebook page and the @LightCMS Twitter handle for real-time updates.

    NOTE: NetSuite, the NetSuite logo, LightCMS, and the LightCMS logo are registered service marks of NetSuite Inc. or its affiliates.



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