New In Zoho Sites: Code snippet, LinkedIn widget and more

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We’ve been fortunate to have our feature priorities be continuously questioned by the community. As a result, we are announcing 5 new features that, we believe, would make a difference to most of you who have been repeatedly asking for these.

Third-party widgets and scripts via code snippet
The Embed widget has had an upgrade; in addition to HTML code, you can also insert scripts and code snippets now. Widgets and apps from most third-party vendors demand that you to insert few lines of script into your website. You can add them all now. That includes scripts that work behind the scenes, like tracking and in-page analytics. (See how.)

Custom Page URL
You can now customize the URL of a page. This is important on the SEO front, as it is on the aesthetic front, allowing you to optimize your pages for hot keywords.

LinkedIn Widgets
Previously we introduced widgets for Facebook and Twitter. But of course, you need to work too! Now we’ve added a LinkedIn widget for you to add your company profile, personal profile, and Share button to your website.

Custom 404 page
Whenever a visitor accesses a wrong URL of a webpage, a 404 page comes up to direct the visitor to other pages on that website. This is increasingly becoming an opportunity for creativity and a way to excite visitors when they least expect it. So we now leave it to you. Customize your 404 page however you want.

Revoking a published site
Just as you publish a site with ease, you can now bring down your website as well. But why would you want to do that? Well, we figured you might want to perform some periodic maintenance, and this would be the easiest way to do it and get back up when you are ready.

Try them out, and let us know.

Rethinking On Typography With Google Web Fonts

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“Big type, even huge type, can be beautiful and useful. But poise is usually far more important than size — and poise consists primarily of emptiness.” – Robert Bringhurst

Picked that up when researching web fonts, and realized how very true it is with typography, just as it is with anything else. Typography is the easiest decision you can make towards achieving a dramatic difference in website experience.

We experimented with web fonts on our own websites and blog, and found that the outcome was indeed much better than what we had been shackled to. As a measure of passing on the goodness, we integrated select fonts into Zoho Sites, and plan to expand. Every website created on Zoho Sites will now have the web fonts edge.

Another good thing about it is that, unlike most other font libraries, it is open source. And, they can be downloaded for use locally as well. Google’s deep library of web fonts are reported to be used in well over than 100M web pages already, and is well on its way to becoming the new standard. We believe this is a refreshingly new way to rethink on overused conventional fonts.

Just in: Zoho CRM Web Forms and Button Element for Zoho Sites

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Website is the face of every business while CRM is the backbone. As a measure to link them both, we now have Zoho CRM web forms integrated with Zoho Sites.

All the customization is done in one place where the data is stored. With such integrated Website-CRM system, you will have streamlined and up-to-date information of Contacts, Cases and Leads at your disposal. You will be better prepared to make decisions for successful negotiations with customers. Here’s all the help you need.

Another significant feature that we are announcing today is the button element. The button element enables you to create call-to-action buttons that link to any other page, thereby making the links prominent.

Try them right away!

Merry-go-round of Pictures: Introducing Carousel Of Banner Images

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Images are the fanciest of all elements in a website. Today, we’re announcing a great new way to make the most of your images. Banner of a website gets the most exposure, and when it has animation, it adds to the attraction. This can be extremely useful when you advertise some event you are hosting, raise funds for a cause or to highlight your unique selling points.

Another advantage we are introducing, is page-specific banners. You can have different banner settings for each page, so that every page looks unique.

We have close to 20 effects to give you a wide choice of transitions. It eliminates the need for JavaScript and other technology involved in implementing these animations. Not everyone speaks JavaScript. All the proof of a pudding is in the eating. Experience it now.

Launching, 8 huesome themes

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A combination of technology and art is essential in the making of a great website. It is also important that theme speaks the soul of your business, and reflects the mood of what you want to convey. Launching, 8 new themes, mostly inspired by color combinations.

Measured:

To add a subtle touch to your business with a dash of measured hues.

Aristocrat: 

As aristocratic as Blue. A stylish but formal touch to your website. A poised one.

Timeless: 

The dull vintage lanterns glowing in gray adds to the classic feel. Preciously timeless..!

Teak:

A blended theme of solid wood with communication and technology. For a sturdy business design.

Compact:

Compact and self-sufficient design that gives a neat outlook. A humble design.

Twilight:

A theme that is explorable in all senses. The alternating Orange stripes are refreshingly fresh.

Destiny: 

A hazy white-toned palette, named “Destiny”, gives a very sophisticated look to your website with the tints underplayed.

Surreal:

A theme that is most suited to showcase your artistic works. With a mellow background, your project would be the highlight.

You can also use the visual editor on these new themes to come up with your own color combinations. Check them out.

A letter of appreciation for Zoho Sites

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Six months ago, we launched Zoho Sites. It has been a wonderful journey since then, with memorable events along the way; customization of themes, password protection, checkout buttons and Zoho Mail integration. But it is letters like this that keep us pushing for more.

Friends, colleagues, even some gallery directors have urged me for years to build a website for my artwork. “It’s the most effective and sophisticated marketing technique ever devised to reach a global audience”, they said. With an online gallery, I’d be representing not just myself, but other artists whose work I felt was worthy of a shot at international attention. So, what does one in that situation do? One Googles.

Web building software, No HTML code required, Widgets, themes, drag & drop… Hell, I barely knew what any of that stuff meant. Then, about half way down the first page, “Watch out, Google…” It was an article about an up-and-coming challenger to the corporate giant’s hold on web building, hosting, and email services. Good place to begin my research.

The site was friendly and easy to navigate, and the tour was enlightening. HOW MUCH, was my next question. And after checking out the affordable pricing, I WAS sold. And now, a couple weeks of using it, I’m not just sold. The girl at the bakery counter today is probably still talking about the man who kept saying: “Yeah, just head to Zoho Sites!”

The true test of my partnership with Zoho was when I needed directional guidance. I received it promptly, professionally, and with a most comforting and respectful personal touch. It’s quite ironic, really. Little did I know that the second I teamed up with the people and technology at Zoho, I’d already made my first cyber allies.

Sincerely,
Rico

Introducing a Visual Editor for Customizing Website Themes

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Website is one place where people judge by the cover, and are mostly right. That is why a good looking business website has a significant effect on the business. Zoho Sites had already made it easy for anyone to build such business websites easily. Today, we are making it even more friendlier on the design front.

Introducing, a visual editor to customize themes.

Till now, theme-customization could only be done with a bit of CSS. But not anymore. You can now customize visual properties of a theme, such as background image, menu, color, size and font face of text. Without a speck of HTML/CSS, of course. You can preview the changes as and when you make them.

What’s exciting about this visual editor is, using this, you can create umpteen different versions of the same theme. The themes in our gallery are ready-to-use, but you can re-paint them, so that they look just how you want, in every way. The customization of themes, together with flexible layouts and drag-drop builder, makes Zoho Sites the easiest way to create a business website, all by yourself. Try it out.