Sunday, 16 July 2017

Hush-hush project now released - NiftyGridZPro

We've spent the last few weeks working on a siginificant upgrade to NiftyGridZ. So significant, our new WordPress plugin is called NiftyGridZPro (and replaces the old one entirely).

One limitation with the old NiftyGridZ was that you couldn't allow visitor interaction with the product grids on posts and widgets. Pages were ok but not widgets and blog posts and it turned out to be one limitation too far to be allowed to stand.

When building NiftyGridZ we hadn't realized how great for the visitor it would be to be able to see, say, just two items on a blog post or in a widget but able to see far more by paging through the product grid contents. Or even to search a grid from within the post or widget.

So with the new NiftyGridzPro you have that flexibility. Now you can:
  • display anything you like from Zazzle...
  • wherever you like on your WordPress site...
  • in whatever size grid you want...
  • allowing for the degree of visitor interaction that makes sense with the way you're using it...
  • from simple (inbuilt) search form and grid navigation elements...
  • all the way up to complete stores
Not bad, hey?

What feature(s) would you like to see added?

Examples of what you can do with NiftyGridZPro
Get your free NiftyGridzPro plugin here and try it out for yourself!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Working on the NiftyGridZ logo

I did have a placeholder logo for my new NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin until I could find the time to do a proper one. I spent a big chunk of today working on it. I like how it turned out...

Here it is:

What do you think?

find out more about NiftyGridZ here

Monday, 26 June 2017

Steampunk random character / role generator

I've had a lot of fun making a random character generator for the Steampunk subgenre over the last couple of days.

If you've loved films like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Wild Wild West (Will Smith) and Van Helsing, then you'll be able to picture the Steampunk theme.

Imagine art deco, steam-driven machines, lots of cogs, wheels and valves; bodices, tophats, goggles, waistcoats and sweeping vicorian dresses, cut for an active adventuress. Yup, that's steampunk!

The character names and occupations come from those who are found in the steam-filled, darkened alleyways and drawing rooms across Victorian London and beyond. Names to conjure with, right from the pages of the best stories yet to be written.

Here's a screenshot of it - click to try for yourself! Which name and occupation is your favourite?

* made with NiftyGridZ

Thursday, 22 June 2017

A bit of Boudoir and Bath promo fun

I've now started the little bit of promo fun I promised to people taking part in my curated Boudoir and Bath collection project.

I'm pinning a couple each day from each collection to my Boudoir and Bath Pinterest board.

Now that's all going smoothly ahead I can start work on my next. Monogram Girl About Town will showcase coordinated fashion accessories from the wonderful independent artisits on Zazzle. It's a work in progress while I track down suitable collections meeting your high quality design expectations but still worth a quick look.

Want yours included?

If you're a Zazzler with a suitable collection - or you want to make one - just make sure you use template text for the visitors' initial(s). As long as your designs use text0 or text1 (as the "URL Parameter name") then all will be well. One or the other, but not both.

So if you've got one you think is good for it, drop off a reply with a link in the comments and I'll take a look. Thanks!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Improvements to the NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin continue

I've now added options that let you sort the product grid after its contents have been pulled from Zazzle.

See the official blog for more.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Boudoir and Bath collection promo fun - development

I'm in the middle of working out details of a fun promo project for a planned Boudoir and Bath collections storefront.

I've built the placeholder storefront using my own collections to flesh it out for now, as you'll see if you follow the link above.

If it's more than a week or so since this post, it might even be the real one by then. It all depends on if/how quickly designers over at Zazzle agree to take part.

For the curious, the grid is created by my NiftyGridZ WordPress plugin, the rest of the page is hand-crafted.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

NiftyToolZ ready for launch...

I'm just waiting on a domain name to finish being set up and then I'll be officially launching the new NiftyGirdZ Wordpress plugin.

[sitting twiddling thumbs]

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

NiftyGridZ Shortcode builder tool

Shortcode-with-options Builder

I've just added a helper page for building a NiftyGridZ shortcode with the options you set up.

You can use it here - and what's cool, you can save your settings via its bookmark link (My Shortcode Settings).
I've given a link to it in the Nifty Control Panel, in Step 2.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

New WordPress Plugin from the NiftyToolZ range

Over the last month I've been working on my first WordPress Plugin, the first dedicated support for WordPress sites in my NiftyToolZ range.

It's nearly ready for release and I'm just polishing all the supporting stuff (installation instructions, screenshots etc).

I've prepared two versions: a free and a premium one.
The only difference between the free and paid-for license is that in the free one, all links use my referral id.

This is cool...

There's a couple of cool benefits to the way the licenses work.
  • If you start on a free one and decide to go for a paid license, all links in previous posts will stop using my referral id and start using yours right away!
  • If you don't want to renew your paid-for license, that's ok. Everything will still work but links will revert to using my referral id.
  • If you let your license expire and then decide later to pay for another license period, once more all links in pre-exisiting posts will go back to your referral id.
I've designed it this way so you're never locked in to anything and are free to pay or not pay as your circumstances dictate.

Get the free one...

Details of how to get the free one will be in the next issue of my Zazzle Tools and Tips newletter. If you don't want to miss out on this fabulous free WordPress plugin, sign up right away. The next issue is due out imminently!

Sign up here

Dive right in...

If you want to get the premium version, which uses your referral (associate) id in all links instead of mine, choose your license here

Friday, 28 April 2017

Sampler of products using fine art photography

click to personalize and buy

Lakes Edge Abstract Tranquility Jigsaw Puzzle
Dreamy Moments series: An almost abstract picture of a partially sunken branch a...
Agapanthus, African Lily - In Deepest Sympathy Card
Floral series Featuring a beautiful agapanthus - which literally means the love ...
You Lift My Spirits, Fine Art Photograph Postcard
Inspirational series: A fine art take on hot air balloons soaring into a dramati...
Above The Chapel Altar - Happy Anniversay Darling Card
Faith series: A fine art greetings card presented in black and white showing the...
A Walk In The Park - Good Luck with your Surgery Card
English Scenes series An artistic photo showing a tree-lined walk in the grounds...
Fencing In The Dunes blank notelet / card
Dreamy Moments series: The photograph is a picture of a path picking its way thr...
Dalhousie Castle, Midlothian, Scotland Magnet
Scottish Scenes series: A great gift featuring a photo of Dalhousie Castle, once...
Fine Art Pony Head and Mane on metallic-effect Business Card
Metallic series A great generic business card template. Just upload your logo or...
Sleepy Puppy - Missing You Card
Animals and Pets series: A cute picture that anyone who adores Pomeranians will ...
Vintage Fordson Tractor, Bredbury Hall Postcard
A picture of a vintage Fordson Tractor seeing out its days and beautifully prese... 

Zazzlers: A big bunch of Nifty enhancements

I have been a busy bee... here's a summary of the enhancements I've made to the Nifty Promo tools in the last few days.

  • On embed-code product grids, an option to add a by-line underneath each product description, linking to the product designer's store. Give credit where credit is due!
  • New share options for the two product grid sharing pages and the same for the two slideshow sharing pages: Google Plus, share-by-email, tweets include images

Here's the detail...


To get a by-line included underneath each product's description, just check the box as shown in the screenshot. The eagle-eyed will see it in the code section I've scrolled to in the screenshot.

Note this is only for the product grid embed code promo tool.

New share options

Here's a link to a slideshow sharing page where you can check out the new options.

Remember that this applies only to the product grid sharer pages and the slideshow sharer pages (you know, the ones for peeps who don't have a website to use).


For Twitter sharing, the image used in the tweet is the first in the product grid or slideshow.

There's a gotcha with slideshows due to the way I've had to implement the twitter sharing:  Even though it uses the first image, if a different one is displayed in the slideshow, it'll use that one's title! So make sure you either change that in the tweet box that comes up or stay on the first image in the slideshow when you tweet.

Google Plus

Like with Twitter, when sharing on G+, the image used is the first in the product grid or slideshow. No text is pre-populated, so be creative in what you write. Make sure you point out the link is to a slideshow, so they know what to expect.

Share by email

AddThis tech support have told me that this is just how it works - nothing I can do about it. When allowing for share by email, and still making sure Pinterest sharing works properly, the email share "note" field ends up with the product image url in it - not what's wanted at all!

So watch out for this gotcha and replace it with the text you want to see above the email's product image.
I recommend emailing it to yourself the first time you use it, before using it for a customer or an autopost blog, just to make sure you know what to expect.

Itching to try out the new options? Get your fix here:

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fine Art, Wheat Field Rise Poster - click/tap any in slideshow to personalize and buy

Click/tap image to have a look at my 15 most popular fine art pieces, shown as a slideshow.

Fine Art, Wheat Field Rise Poster

Dreamy Moments series: A breathtaking view over a wheat field to the horizon and beyond. A trail of tractor-flattened wheat leads from beyond the horizon to the front of the scene, curves around and h...

-- click/tap to see the slideshow from where you can personalize and buy --

shared using Nifty

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Beach Huts - Father's Day fine art - Fishing Card

Beach Huts - Father's Day fine art - Fishing Card
Winter time at the pebble-beach seafront... A couple and young child are walking their dogs along the concert and above them, beach huts are arrayed with their shining faces…

Surreal Trees Father's Day fine art - Speedster! Card

Surreal Trees Father's Day fine art - Speedster! Card
A very unusual and surreal group of trees seem to be clawing their way over each other to the dramatic skies beyond. Surreal scenes like this hold tremendous appeal to many -…

Monday, 17 April 2017

Pathways - Father's Day fine art - Ice Hockey Card

Pathways - Father's Day fine art - Ice Hockey Card
A path through the fenced sand dunes of a coastal path. Maybe it's a baby buggy that has wheeled its tracks, leaving behind the echoes of laughter and glee at the end of a…

Pony - Father's Day fine art - Pool Card

Pony - Father's Day fine art - Pool Card
Benjy is of a miniature pony breed and is named after one of the Tors on Dartmoor. The curve of his neck and the way his mane flops over, still following the curve; its texture and…

Nifty Support Group on Facebook

I've just created a private Facebook Group for Nifty. It's for those who'd rather get support and discuss strategies and success stories out of the public view.

It's here: Just go there and request to join.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Haystack - Father's Day fine art - Cyclist Card

Haystack - Father's Day fine art - Cyclist Card
A very Kubrick-esque image of fields near Stonehenge during hay making, reminiscent of the ubiquitous monolith from 2001 A Space Odyssey.…

Timeless - Father's Day fine art Cycling Card

Timeless - Father's Day fine art Cycling Card
A pillar proudly stands on the shore in the calm before the gathering storm. Look at it standing steadfast against anything and everything, just as a Father does for his family.…

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Nifty tweak - help added to advanced section

While discussing various things with one of the Nifty guinea pigs, I was asked about pulling by department.

Well, that option's in the more options->advanced options section in Step 1. So I pointed her in the right dircection and casually added that there was a help button for it there.

After I sent the email, I was looking there and saw I'd forgotten to add help buttons for department and category numbers. Oops!

Now added :)

Friday, 14 April 2017

Now exclude Zazzle-added product names from product titles in Nifty

This new addition is out now, here: Nifty Promo Control Panel.

The times to use it are when you use standard products in non-standard ways and the Zazzle-added product names mess up your titles.

For example, if you give a title of "Pink orchid wedding table cards" and use business cards to make them, then Zazzle will add one of several product name variations to the end. For this example, you might end up with "Pink orchid wedding table cards business cards".

Huh? What's that you say? Definitely a confusing effect on the reader!

By default, this is set on so that you do get the Zazzle-added names as usual. Remove the check-mark and they'll disappear. Here's where to find the new option:

As you can see, it's an advanced option in Step 1.

You'll see the effect on the product titles displayed in the product grid at the bottom.

The only thing not being done in this update are the changes to the embed-code widgets in Step 2. Everything else in Step 2 is done; the slideshows and product grid sharers, individual product sharers and the nIFTTTy scheduler.

Not many will use this feature but it's essential to those who really do need it. Original idea from Swisstoons.

Give it a try here: Nifty Promo Control Panel.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Talking Heads, Counselor, metallic-effect Business Card

A welcoming logo for sensitive encounters

Talking Heads, Counselor, metallic-effect Business Card

Metallic series: A great generic business card template for a Counselor or Counseling service provider. Just upload your logo or use the image of the talking Heads provided. Then customise with your d...

-- click/tap to personalize and buy --

posted using Nifty

Nifty request received - give a way to remove Zazzle-added product names

Browsing the Zazzle forums I saw this request "give a way to remove Zazzle-added product names" or words to that effect.

This need arises when you're designing a product so it's not about its intended purpose anymore. "Aqua beach wedding table cards" is a much, much better title than "Aqua beach wedding table cards business cards".

So I'm in the process of adding that functionality to all the tools in the Nifty tool suite. Good progress made, just doing some beta testing.

Expect a release later today or tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

nIFTTTy Share Scheduler now live!

Well, it was all a bit hectic but I'm pleased to say that the nIFTTTy Share Scheduler has now been released into the wild.

My "official" support page for it is on the Zazzle forum, here. Perfect for getting questions answered :)

Here's a video showing you how to use the nIFTTTy Share Scheduler to automatically post the products in a collection to an autopost blog.
  • It starts with setting up the products to work with - the collection
  • Next is setting up the posting schedule
  • Finally, it shows making the Applet in IFTTT (IfThisThenThat)

You also get to see the applet firing and the resulting blog post. All it assumes, if you want to follow along, is that you have an IFTTT account. Get one if you haven't, here.

Get over to Nifty to try it out after you've watched the vid!

Monday, 10 April 2017

The new nIFTTTy Scheduler is close to launch!

Zazzlers, I've been working on a new project to bring you scheduled posting / sharing of your store products.

The tool is called the nIFTTTy Scheduler and it's in beta test right now.

As you probably guessed from its name, it works in conjunction with IFTTT (IfThisThenThat)
I've just been doing the documentation for it - including how to set up your IFTTT applets to use with the nIFTTTy Scheduler.

The documentation is all linked in the bar at the top ^ - here's the link to the Product Sharer's doc.

Lots of screenshots!

Here's what the new tool looks like:

Watch this space for an announcement when it's released into the wild!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sharing your Zazzle collection by email

Why would you want to share by email using Nifty, rather than with Zazzle's own share-by-email facility?

When you share using Zazzle's share-by-email you get lots of extra stuff that just divides your customer's attention. What you want is for your customer to focus only on what you want to promote - and that's what you get with Nifty's share by email.

You also get a selection of layout styles to use with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 images catered for (see below).

Using Nifty to share by email

Now let's see how you use Nifty when you want to share a collection either to a customer or to an autopost blog.

First, set your collection in step 1:

Next, choose to share your collection by email:

Finally, choose the layout template you want to use:

Once you've chosen your template, make sure you give a title/subject line that will be used in your email and click the email button.

You'll then get a new window where you can provide a note that will sit above the images, hit send and you're done :)

You might like to send one to yourself, first, to make sure everything's as you'd want.

Try it out for yourself, here:

Happy promoting / sharing!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Testing the new 6 horizontal layout for Nifty share-by-email

One large image on the left and right, sandwiching four smaller ones arranged in a square and rotated a little.

click/tap image to see full collection

Line of Sight themed black and white images

A selection from my black and white fine art collection, each featuring lead-in lines (implied or real)

click/tap image to see full collection