Welcome to Launch Effect v2.41 Lite! Launch Effect Lite lets you create and customize a viral landing page at the click of a few buttons. Version 2.41 includes some important stability fixes and speed improvements, tweaks to the theme’s responsive styling, and large improvements to the way the theme handles the generation of meta data for Facebook sharing, as well as the theme’s ability to play nice with popular SEO plugins. Be sure to check out the Launch Effect > Designer > Global Settings panel for more information. Take a look around to see what’s new and launch something today!
If you’re after a full-featured theme that still has the ease of customization and viral linking powers that you’ve come to love about Launch Effect Lite be sure to check out Launch Effect Premium!
Please feel free to contact us at our support forums if you have questions about setup or are experiencing any issues with the theme.
Setup in Two Easy Steps
Step 1 — Set Your Launch Page as your Homepage
Go to Settings > Reading.
Where it says, “Front page displays,” choose “A static page,” and select “Sign-Up” from the dropdown menu. When you refresh this page, it will disappear and your launch page will appear instead.
Step 2 — Start Designing!
Go to Launch Effect > Designer.
Now for the fun part! The Designer is now divided into three sections: Global Styles, Sign-Up Page, and Theme (premium only). That submenu is located directly under the giant Designer/Integrations/Stats tabs. The best way to get started here is to just start playing around and gaining an understanding of what selections affect which parts of the design. Good luck!
While the Shopify Promotions tab gives you a pretty straightforward way to add discount codes to your site, the Navigation tab might surprise you with its versatility. Sure, you can use link lists to provide navigation to different sections of your site, but did you know that you can also use them to create collection landing pages, product galleries and more?
In your Shopify admin area, click Promotions.
You will see any discount codes you’ve already created as well as a link to create new ones. If you have previously used discount codes, you can quickly see how many times each code has been used.
Adding a new promotion
To create a new discount code, click the Add a discount code link just below the Promotions page title.
- Give your promotion a name. This will be the code the customer uses to redeem the coupon. You can enter your own unique name (such as SummerSpecials2012) or click the Generate link to generate a random code.
- Choose the Coupon Type. You can choose between a dollar discount (using the currency set in your Preferences), a percentage discount, or free shipping.
- To create a dollar discount, enter the amount you want to discount each order. You can further restrict this code by selecting a filter from the next drop-down menu: all orders, orders over, collection or specific product. Choosing any option other than all orders will give you additional filtering options.
- To create a percentage discount, enter the percentage by which each order will be discounted. You can further restrict the code by selecting filters.
- To create a free shipping discount, enter the maximum rate that qualifies for free shipping. You can further filter this by country.
- Edit the Coupon Details. The default sets the coupon to start today, be valid until it is (manually) deactivated, and to have unlimited uses. You can click any of those links to edit the parameters of the coupon to set a start and end date and to limit uses.
- When you are happy with your coupon, click the Create discount button.
To deactivate a coupon at any time, you can always click the Disable discount button to the right of your coupon in the list of active discounts.
More Promotion options
Below the coupon list are three additional promotional tools.
- Google Product Search: To publish your products to Google Product Search, click the Publish them now button. You must be logged in to the Google account associated with your shop to complete this process.
- Google Experiments: To perform A/B testing on your shop, click the Create a New Experiment button. You can choose the element of your shop you’d like to use for multivariate testing and follow the instructions to start a new experiment.
- Shopify Marketing Apps: click the link to the Shopify App Store to add marketing apps to your site.
In your Shopify admin, click Navigation.
You will see all of the link lists you have created for your site. Link lists are organized with the default link lists displayed first and any custom link lists displayed in alphabetical order by list name. Each link list has individual links to sections of your site or external web pages.
A “link list” is a block of links. Each link list has its own name and a unique handle for use in themes. Each shop includes two default link lists (Main Menu and Footer) but you can add an unlimited number of custom link lists, in addition to being able to add, change and delete the links in both of the default lists.
Adding New Links
- Choose the existing menu you’d like to add a link to and click the Add link button.
- Give your link a name. This will be the text that appears on your site (for example, if you’re linking to your Blog and want the link to say My Thoughts, you would enter My Thoughts here).
- Choose the section of your site you want to link to from the first drop-down menu. You may link to a blog, your shop front page, a collection, a page, an individual product, a search page, or an external URL.
- In the second drop-down menu, you can further refine your link choice. For example, if you’re linking to a product, you can choose the product from the drop-down menu.
- Click Add link to add your link to the link list.
If you’re linking to a collection, you can filter the display by tags. So if you have a collection of tee shirts and you want your navigation link to only display shirts that have been tagged “holiday,” you can do so without having to create an additional collection.
Editing Existing Links
- Find the link list you’d like to edit and click the Edit link list link next to the list’s title. The entire link list becomes editable.
- Find the link you’d like to change.
- Make your edits by changing the information in the Link Name or Links To fields.
- Click the Save Changes button to save your changes.
Creating a New Link List
- Click Add link list below the title at the top of the Navigation page.
- Give your link list a name and click the Add Link List button.
- Follow the instructions above to add new links to your list.
Adding a Link List to Your Theme
Editing theme files requires knowledge of HTML and Liquid. Do not edit live theme files if you’re not sure what you’re doing! Always back up your theme before making changes.
- Go to Themes > Template Editor. Choose the section of your theme you’d like to add the link list to from the list of available template files on the left. The template file will open in the editor.
- Find the place in the template file where you’d like to add your link list.
- Enter the code for your link list. (In the example below, you are using a conditional tag to check to see if the link list “footer” has any links in it, and if so, creating a paragraph with the class of links and displaying each link in it.)
- Save your template file
Doing More With Link Lists
Want to get a little fancy with link lists? Here are some cool tutorials for using link lists in ways you may not expect:
- Featuring Collections Using a Link List
- Creating a Landing Page for All Your Collections
- Filtering Collections Using Link Lists (forum post)
- Collection or Page Based Smart Sub-Navigation Menus (forum post)
- Offer Gift Wrap Using Link Lists
Next Up: Blogs & Pages.
This store uses a combination of Custom and Smart Collections to manage a huge inventory of pens, inks and accessories. Eagle-eyed visitors will notice that it blends seamlessly with the Copic Marker WordPress site, too. (Hint: that’s not an accident.)
Using collections and tags for a two-tiered sorting process gave us a tremendous amount of flexibility, which we definitely needed to get this site working the way it should! Shopify has made it really easy to access collections and tags via link lists (in the Navigation tab of the Shopify admin). Navigation: not just for links anymore. They’ve also made some changes to the way tags are handled, which essentially allows users to create collections on the fly using tags.
This theme had a lot of custom elements:
- tab-based sub-navigation on the collection pages (which pull in the correct products based on tags)
- overview pages that detail each product family with a graphic and some links
- sidebar graphics that change depending on which collection is being viewed
- related products (again, based on collections and tags – are you sensing a theme?)
Bloom Essentials has a fresh new look! We first designed this site back in 2008 (it featured one of our favorite custom illustrations: the Bloom Girl) and we were delighted when Kim and Nicole came to us for the redesign.
First up, we worked with the Bloom crew to come up with a bold new color scheme that really makes the site pop. We added some fun, frilly elements (after all, it’s a day spa!) and a subtle floral background to add a little texture. We had a moment of silence for the Bloom Girl (don’t worry, she’s almost certainly gone off to become an actress or something) and fell in love with the pretty new site design.
After all, what’s not to love? The front page has a slideshow (with the ability to swap out images in the admin area using theme settings) as well as displaying featured products, testimonials from happy customers, and the latest news from the blog. We’ve also got sharing buttons to make it easy to connect with Bloom Essentials elsewhere on the web.
Oh, and did we mention the blog? Shopify’s got blogging baked right in, so all we had to do is create a template file and the blog was ready to rock!
Check out the newly redesigned Bloom Essentials site to see it in action.
…and we’ve got a fab new companion site to go with it. Check out the WordPress Visual Quickstart Guide: Second Edition site.
Designing for WordPress is one of our favorite things – and writing about it is a close second. We were lucky enough to do both for this project, creating a companion theme to the book as part of the process of walking users through the creation of a simple theme from scratch.
Simple is the key word here; we’ve got a few bells and whistles, but for the most part this theme is a simple showcase of the power of WordPress.
Here are some of the features of this custom theme:
- Text-based header, which pulls in both the site title and the tagline from the WordPress admin
- Author pages, which display each author’s profile information as well as a Gravatar and links to their published articles on the site
- An author overview section at the bottom of each post
- A simple portfolio section, which uses custom post types to display a thumbnail image, URL, description and relevant tags for each portfolio item
- Google Ads integration in the sidebar
And maybe the coolest part? You can download the whole theme. For free.
WordCamp PDX is our favorite conference of the year, and we’re delighted to be attending this year. WordPress developers, designers, and bloggers convene to share information and learn new tricks. Also, there is usually Whiffies.
This year we left the laptop at home – and while we were not the only iPad users there by a long shot, we still got asked about it a LOT. The answer? Using the iPad at a conference is GREAT. It’s light, portable, wifi-enabled and easy to take out and put away (especially using our fabulous iPad clutch). The only thing that could have made it into a must-have conference tool is if we could take photos with it, instead of having to switch back & forth between the iPad and the iPhone. Note to self: get an iPad 2!
Here’s a breakdown of some of the sessions:
Evan Solomon from Automattic talked about figuring out what your users really want. A/B testing is a huge benefit. Question assumptions. Test liberally, he says, and don’t be afraid to test out crazy ideas to discover new ways of doing things. Even if your tests don’t show what you’re expecting, if you learn something, it’s a success. He gives a great example of the WordPress.com main page sidebar; they assumed they needed to tweak the information below the sign-up button (wording, graphics, etc) – but when they tested a version with nothing at all below the sign-up button, conversion rates increased by 25%. He recommends using something like Optimizely or his yet-unreleased WordPress plugin that will let you do A/B testing from the Dashboard. See the slides from his talk here.
Andrew Nacin (core developer of WordPress) dove right into wp_query. This talk was way over my head, but it was crazy interesting to learn about how WordPress queries data and how to filter results to limit query variables. I won’t do it justice, but here are my notes from the session: Every wp_query has methods that mimic the global conditional tags. The global conditional tags apply to wp_query, the main or current query. Conditional tags only work after the data has been parsed; you can use it during get_posts. Make sure you restore to the main query by using wp_reset_query. Most of these functions have been around since 1.5 or 2.0. Core queries are all filterable, which is useful because the API will not always do what you want. His slides are all here.
Next up was a session on SEO by Ira Pasternak, Milen Cole, and Sarah Tetreault. They reminded us that SEO is an ongoing process; you can’t just set it up at the beginning and then forget about it. When checking your search engine ranking, be aware of Google personalized results; when you’re logged in to any Google account, your search results will be different from other people’s, since Google uses your browsing history, bookmarks, friends’ recommendations, etc. to tailor your search experience. Try logging out of your Google account to see if your business’ search results are the same.
They also talked a bit about search engine algorithms and how a site ends up at the top of search results. Relevance, of course, is key. Relevance is about content but also authority; traditionally this was measured by how many sites link to you and also how highly ranked those linking sites are. If you have a local business, citations are also important. The number of times that people mention your website along with your phone number or address (even if your URL is not used) raises your authority, which raises your rank. Link building is contextual; you’ll want links from sites related to your industry. Compare to your competitors to find out who is linking to their sites. Use a tool lie SEOmoz to find that out.
They closed with a reminder: SEO is not passive. You need to actively pursue links in the form of articles, blog posts, newspaper articles, local listings and directories.
Aaron Hockley, WCPDX organizer extraordinaire, talked about the future of personal blogging. Personal blogs are no longer necessarily focused on a single topic; a photographer’s blog, for example, might include posts about coffee and bicycling in addition to posts about photography. Aaron has consolidated his blogging to is personal site and his business site rather than dividing his energy between 4 or 5 different single-topic sites. This turned out to be a common trend for many other attendees: to have a single site that functions as a hub for their online identity. People are starting to follow people as opposed to topics. If you want to filter your feeds, you can organize by topic, etc – but is this necessary? Do people want to subscribe to targeted feeds, or do they want to read everything by the author? (We’ve found the latter to be true in our own experience.)
Feel like you missed out? Come to WordCamp PDX next year (or find a WordCamp in your area). The range of topics is hugely diverse & there’s always something new to learn. Keep your eye out for videos of these and all the other WCPDX sessions to hit WordPress.tv sometime soon.
There’s a LOT going on around the couldbe studios offices lately: fun projects for clients both new and old, an in-progress update to our WordPress book (and the corresponding from-the-ground-up redo of the WordPress book site’s theme), and more – but one of the things we’re the most excited about is hiring our first onsite employee!
Kendra Perez has joined the couldbe team as a part-time intern, bringing a knack for numbers (sorely needed around these parts) as well as a love for web design.
To make room for the new addition we moved Matt’s desk into the smaller office (now that Matt’s got a fab new day job, he primarily develops for us nights and weekends – the smaller office works perfectly for him) and arranged the main office with two desks and a defined space for the kidlets to play while Kendra and Jessica work. (They have a TV, video games galore, snacks, and a couch – we’re jealous!) Aside: we’ve found that the more kids we have in the office, the easier it is for the grownups to get work done (although couldbe kid Ellison is pretty great about keeping himself entertained – or, as he calls it, ‘working’ – while mama cranks out a few websites). When the little ones are at school or day care, the kid area doubles as a snazzy reception spot (although, perhaps disappointingly, we rarely turn on the XBox for our visiting clients).
Kendra is just starting out with web design, and we’re eager to find out what works best for her in terms of tricks and tools. We’ve set her up with Coda for coding and Flow to keep track of to-dos, and she’s already got a head start using Illustrator and InDesign. Maybe there’s a blog post in there – what do you think, Kendra?
We’re all seriously excited about all the changes around here and are looking forward to a great second half of 2011.