February 2011
Karelia Software -- Please load images to see email properly.

Greetings from Karelia Software!

Is it the end of February already? My how time flies — as you can see below, we have been busy. Let’s call this edition the “February 29” edition, OK?

Sandvox 2 Coming Soon

Sandvox 2 icon

Last month we mentioned that we are working on Sandvox 2, and since then we have gotten a lot of positive feedback and many questions about what it will be like. We’re still several weeks away from launch, so even though we are not ready to take the wraps off completely, we thought we would tell you a little bit about this new version and how it came to evolve.

Back when we first started building Sandvox, way back in about 2003, we were planning on building a program that had the elegance and simplicity of Apple’s “iLife” apps like iPhoto and iTunes. By the time it was released, we think we succeeded in that goal; Sandvox 1.0 was a good tool for the beginner. But with iWeb as our new competition, we realized we needed to make sure that Sandvox was there when people reached the limits of iWeb. So as we built version 1.5, and then 1.6, we added in many powerful capabilities, and along the way, made sure that Sandvox would excel at building websites that could be easily found and indexed by search engines.

preview of Sandvox 2 inspector

When we started laying out our plans for Sandvox 2, we decided to take a lot of cues from Apple’s “iWork” applications like Pages and Keynote. These kinds of applications balance power and simplicity like no others that we have seen, and we wanted to bring that kind of experience to the arena of building websites. A lot of our inspiration comes from those applications. If you have used these tools, you’ll see what we mean once you start working with Sandvox 2.

Some of Sandvox's Object menu We also wanted the whole web-page building experience to be much more flexible, giving you direct manipulation of the elements on your pages as you build them. To accomplish this, we did away with the concept of specific page “types” — i.e., a text page, a photo page, a video page. In Sandvox 2, you’ll just create new pages, type or paste in text, insert images or other high-level objects (like those shown here), then drag those objects around to change their size and alignment.

Last month, we asked you which feature you’d like Sandvox 2 to have, and we are still collecting those answers for a few more days. If you haven’t already, please take a look at January’s newsletter and vote on the feature you’re want most.

We haven’t announced pricing yet, but we are planning on having a very special offer to current Sandvox users and members of our mailing list. Now is a good time to encourage your friends to sign up for our list so they are sure to get the special deal when Sandvox 2 becomes available!

We’ve set up a special web page with a bit more information about Sandvox 2 just to give you a teaser of what it will look like. Please check it out, and leave your comments and questions at the bottom of the page. We’ll try to answer some of your questions in our next newsletter.

5 Link Building Tips

We want to make sure that you are getting the most from your website, so we offer some general tips for website creators in our monthly newsletter. Be sure to check out the archives.)

If we were forced come up with one word to encapsulate the goal of search engine optimization (SEO), it would be “links”. The end result of superior SEO practices is to acquire as many quality back links as possible.

Here are 5 simple strategies you can use to dramatically improve your search engine ranking through link acquisition. Note that you do not need to hire an SEO firm to perform any of these, assuming you can set aside a few hours each week for your campaign. Before you begin, spend a little time with Google’s Keyword Research Tool to be certain your most relevant keywords are incorporated into your copy.

And keep in mind that the core of any link building strategy is brilliant content. As the old saying goes, if you don’t have something remarkable to say, hire someone who does!

  1. Direct Website Contact — Often overlooked are the “Useful Links” or “Resources” pages of other connected industry sites. You can frequently get your site listed on those by simply contacting the curator by phone, email, or LinkedIn and introducing yourself.
  2. Blogs — If you don’t currently have a blog on your site, add one. Sandvox makes this easy. Then, post to it at least once a week. If your content is of high quality, people will want to link to your website. Also, go to related sites and guest post on theirs, being certain to include a link back to your own website, especially using your important keywords as the text in the link.
  3. Article Submissions — A well-written article, with exciting and relevant content can be incredibly valuable. Limit the article to just a few hundred words. (Google “article submissions” for information on getting started.) Don’t forget the link to your site!
  4. Social Media — The value of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for link building is much like email. It takes a lot of contacts to result in much benefit. But, if you can provide appropriate and fresh content, your contacts will return for more.
  5. Directory Submissions — The best ones have human editors (and may charge a fee). Directories that allow you to create the text, incorporating your keyword research, will be most valuable.

In This Issue

  • Sandvox 2 Coming Soon
  • 5 Link Building Tips
  • Websites of the Month

Application Downloads

Download iconSandvox 1.6.8

MacAppStore iconiMedia Browser 2.0

Other Downloads

(Only for our newsletter subscribers)

Download bonusesSandvox Bonus Designs

Download“77 Ways to Get Traffic” eBook

Sandvox Design Providers

Get the latest updates from all design providers

Sandvox Sites Directory

Examples of Sandvox-Built Websites contributed by people like you

On the Social Networks

Twitter: Follow @karelia

Useful tidbits posted frequently!

Facebook:
Become a fan of Karelia and join Sandvox group

Facebook-exclusive Sandvox discount!

Yahoo Groups:
Join our Sandvox Group

Connect with other Sandvoxers!

Sandvox Websites of the Month

This is the latest in our newsletter’s monthly feature that spotlights a few Sandvox-created websites that we think show off the application’s features well. We hope these examples will provide some inspiration for your own Sandvox site! After this month, we will be putting this feature on hiatus until we have some websites created with Sandvox 2 to showcase. (Don’t worry, you won’t need to re-submit your site if you already have!)

If you would like to have your website considered for our Websites of the Month spotlight, just choose “Submit to Site Directory…” from the Site menu in Sandvox, and fill out the details about your site (or sites). Doing so will get your website listed on SandvoxSites.com, and we may choose to feature your site in a future mailing of our newsletter.

Utilizing a distinctive approach to marketing an intense fitness program, Toronto-based Tessa Louise Gill has created a visually arresting site, Les Trois Sports that peaks our curiosity with the tagline: Tri Smarter, Not Harder.

She realizes the importance of maintaining up-to-date information on her site by linking to articles published within the past few days. The charcoal background professionally highlights the content without the starkness that black can emit. The black and white photo is attention-getting without becoming a distraction.

Sheeveaun Moran’s website, Learn to Meditate in 2 Minutes embodies much of what is unique and beneficial about today’s Internet. There is no other medium that allows full reader attention and concentration on an ad, which at the nucleus, is the substance of all websites. Unlike other advertising, on the web your customers are searching for your advertisement, not trying to avoid it.

At first glance, the site is a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, we are encouraged to learn self-introspection and to acquire inner peace and patience via the calming techniques of meditation; on the other, we are allowed to believe that patience is not a requirement - we can actually achieve this goal in only two minutes. The site is attractive, compelling and effectively portrays these ideas.

The best way to sell a book is to be certain your website stimulates the appetite for more reading. Sue VanHecke does just that with her site Rock 'N' Roll Soldier: A Website. Not only does she captivate us with a Viet Nam era photo and accompanying narrative, she adds credence to her claims by noting an award and nomination the book has received, followed by a lengthy list of critical reviews.

Why did she go with Sandvox? Sue comments, “I love how Sandvox is designed to work with my Mac. It’s so intuitive, everything just makes sense.” Check out Sue’s site and notice how you are urged to scroll down. That too, makes sense!

Congratulations to this month’s featured websites!

See you in the Sandvox!