SliQ Article Submitter

June 29th, 2012

SliQ Article Submitter version 1.4 has now been released. For version 1.4 a number of performance improvements have been included making SliQ and even better means of submitting your articles to directories.

SliQ Article Submitter includes support for all the major article directory scripts including Article Dashboard, Article Setup, Article MS and PHPLD. With support for WordPress, SliQ can not only post to WordPress-based article directories but can be used to post to your own private blogs.

SliQ supports creation of unlimited author accounts at directories and will automatically create or sign up for the author accounts as well as handle any confirmation emails returned. SliQ’s ability to extract passwords from the directory confirmation emails alone can save hours of your time.

For each author account, SliQ will let you write and submit unlimited numbers of articles making SliQ an ideal way to increase exposure for your website, services or products. To save you even more time, SliQ also includes a scheduler that can be used to spread article submissions over days or weeks. With the scheduler you can line up as many articles as you like to be submitted over a period you specify on SliQ’s intuitive scheduler tab.

To try out a free trial of SliQ Article Submitter before deciding whether to purchase, please visit http://www.sliqtools.co.uk/article-submitter.aspx and download a copy. SliQTools’ article submitter is available at a very reasonable price (starting from $24.99) and can also be purchased in a package deal with SliQTools’ directory submitter, SliQ Submitter Plus, for an even more affordable way to help you build links to your website.

article-submission-software

Improvements in Version 1.4

SliQ Article Submitter is now much quicker to load if you have added your own custom directories. Some users had added several 10s of thousands of directory URLs into their own custom article directory lists which could cause loading times to get fairly long. We have improved and optimised loading times so that SliQ is now quick to starts even with very large article directory lists.

We have also improved the processing of adding custom article directory lists so that SliQ makes large lists more manageable, requiring less user interaction to delete unwanted URLs.

Installshield – Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\…

June 28th, 2012

After upgrading an older, Installshield 11.5 Basic MSI project into a newer version of Installshield, although the project built OK, when I ran the installer I got a warning saying:

“Unable to save file c:\windows\downloads\ ….”

and the installer then brought up a folder dialog expecting to be told where else it could save a file. On a hunch I reran the installer with admin privileges and the installer ran cleanly with no message boxes or dialogs.

The problem turned out to be a permissions problem on Windows 7, with Windows refusing to let the MSI installer save working files onto the C:\ drive without admin privileges.

Here’s how I solved the problem:

1. In the Installation Designer, under the Media/ Releases node, select the release and then click on the Setup.exe tab as shown in this picture:

msicachepath

Note the Cache Path value – this is set to [WindowsFolder] which causes the installer to unpack its working data onto the c:\ drive which is not a good idea on Windows 7 without admin privileges.

2. Change the Cache Path value to:

[LocalAppDataFolder]Downloaded Installations

which is a writeable folder.

localappfolder3. Rebuild then run the installer.

All is now well and the installer runs without confusing popups on Windows 7, XP and Vista.

Click here for more Installshield tips.

Small Business Accounting Tips

June 25th, 2012

Keeping on top of your accounts is vital for any small business. Take a look at our top accounting tips for SMEs to see how you can make sure your business is in the best financial shape it can be.

accounting tips

1. Open a business account

When you start your small business you should open a separate bank account for it. This will make it far easier for you to keep track of your finances and will help you reconcile your bookkeeping figures with the amount in your account.

2.    Keep up-to-date with your bookkeeping

Reconcile your books and accounts regularly to avoid any accounting errors. Try to check your books on a weekly or monthly basis. If you’re using online accounting software, make sure you regularly back up your financial information. Keep your paper accounts in good order – it may even be worth scanning any paper records to keep electronic versions. Make sure you log every expense and every piece of income

3.    Produce a monthly cash flow statement

By producing a regular cash flow statement, you will be able to see exactly what state your accounts are in. This will make it far easier when you come to submit your Tax Return as you will have all your figures and documents in place. It will also help you to keep track of how much you are spending and whether you are overspending in any area, as well as helping you to see trends such as seasonal increases and decreases in profit.

4.    Research whether you’re entitled to pay less tax

Find out if you are entitled to any tax relief as a small business owner. There are some circumstances in which it may be possible for you to pay less tax. These are if you are entitled to Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, buying equipment to use in your business, research and development tax reliefs and direct investment incentives.

5.    Look into accounting software

Consider using accounting software to help you keep your accounts in good order. This can often save you time and money.

6.    Think about hiring an accountant

Consider hiring a business accountant. Do your research and make sure whoever you use is registered to an official accountancy body or organisation.

7.    Invoice as soon as possible

Ensure that you send an invoice out within 24 hours of a service being delivered, as some businesses have a 30 day or even 60 day payment cycle. If you delay sending an invoice by even just a couple of days you may face a long wait to be paid, which can impact the rest of your business.

8.    Have a range of payment options

Try to make things as easy as possible for all involved by having a range of payment options available to your clients. Consider introducing online payments, such as PayPal, and credit cards, which may incur a small cost, but could help prevent cash flow problems.

Do you have any small business accounting tips? Leave a comment and let us know. For help managing your finances speak to SliQTools (http://www.sliqtools.co.uk/contactus.aspx) for our easy-to-use invoicing software.

[Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.Net]

SliQ Submitter Plus V3 Released

June 23rd, 2012

SliQTools has released version 3 of SliQ Submitter Plus, our web directory submitter.

SliQ Submitter Plus

SliQ Submitter Plus

V3 of SliQ Submitter Plus includes all the features of the old version 2 and adds a number of significant improvements making it an even better directory submitter:-

Improved User Interface

V2 already had a reputation of being easy to use but we felt that over time new features had been added in less obvious places. The new user interface layout makes features more discoverable and keeps only the most relevant items on display when performing tasks.

Fully Automatic Submitter

A number of users had requested fully automatic – one-click – submission to directories. Although the Fast submitter from V2 is still present in V3 and can still do automatic submissions, a new Auto submitter has been added that makes a single button click complete submissions to the full directory set in SliQ. The older Fast submitter still allows the greatest precision when selecting directory categories during a submissions run but the Auto submitter offers the highest submission speed and convenience to the user. One of our tips to make the submission process more successful is to use the Fast submitter for 30 to 50 submissions so SliQ can intelligently learn the types of categories you like, then switch to the Auto submitter to let SlQ do the donkey work of completing the remaining submissions for you.

Scheduler

A scheduler was the no. 1 requested feature from our users. V3 contains a scheduler that lets you queue up websites, letting SliQ automatically take care of submissions, email confirmations and live link gathering. You can add as many directory campaigns as you like to the scheduler and leave SliQ to spread your submissions over days, weeks or months as you feel is necessary.

V3 contains many more improvements including support for more recent directory scripts, the ability to specify category words as well as keywords, increased numbers of threads for submissions and an improved directory analyser for adding customer directories. As with V2, SliQ Submitter Plus still lets you submit to 100 directories for free. To take a free trial of our directory submitter, check out the directory submitter product page.

Business Start-Up Checklist

June 18th, 2012

business checklist 1

 When it comes to starting up a business, there are various things you should do to make sure you are as prepared as you can be. Take a look at our checklist to find out some of the things you need to consider.

Find a name for your business
As well as thinking of a catchy name for your business, you’ll need to decide whether you are a sole trader, limited company or a partnership. Have a look at HMRC’s advice for registering as self-employed to find out all your need to know about setting up and naming your new business. If you want to use a corporate name, you will also need to check it is not already in use.

Create a business plan
A business plan will help you focus on what you want to achieve with your business and how you plan to do it. It will also be what you’ll use to convince financial backers and initial customers to invest in your business.

Find premises
Ensure you find the right premises for your business, whether that’s at home, at a hot desk or shared office space, in a rented office or a commercial property.

Sales and marketing
Start promoting your business with marketing. This might include social media, sales letters, email marketing, adverts, leaflets, local press, etc. Think about whether you can do these things yourself, or whether you will need the services of a professional to help you out.

Manage your finances
Ensure you keep on top of your cash flow for your business by managing your accounts. Consider employing a bookkeeper and/or accountant, and look at ways of organising your invoices and keeping your accounts in check.

Look into legalities
There are various things you will need to look into from a legal perspective – licenses, business insurance, health and safety, data protection, intellectual property, employment law.

Understand tax
Make sure you know what is expected of you when it comes to filling out a tax return. Consider employing a tax advisor.  Find out about income tax, corporation tax, national insurance and VAT.

Get your business supplies
Identify suppliers for your business and find out how they work – will they need to be paid in advance, for example? Stock up on the essentials for your office, including business cards, stationery, filing systems, etc.

• For more information for starting a business check out Business Link, the Government’s online resource for starting up, improving and growing your business.

What are your top tips for starting up a business? Leave a comment and let us know. For help managing your finances speak to SliQTools for a no-fuss way to raise and track professional invoices, quotes and credit notes.

Picture courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to Install Google Analytics on a WordPress Blog

June 8th, 2012

If you are interested in finding out statistics about visitors to your blog, the best free way of adding tracking to your blog is to install Google Analytics. Google provides a free Analytics service – you create a new account with Google and they give you some code to place on your website which lets Google track visitors to your site. You can log into your Analytics account on Google and see stats such as the number of visitors from different countries, the number of times specific pages were viewed and so on.

You can sign up for Google Analytics here. The instructions for signing up and enabling tracking are fairly easy to follow if you are capable of adding a HTML file to your webhost account. Placing the tracking code on a WordPress blog though is not as obvious as it might be with a static website. However, the method is similar – all you need to do is place the tracking code just before the </body> tag in your WordPress theme.

To find the </body> tag in your current theme, follow these steps:-

  • Log into your WordPress blog as an administrator.
  • Under the Appearance menu on the left, click the Editor option.
  • Click on the Theme files options on the right to find one that contains the </body> tag.

The </body> tag may be in the footer.php file on your theme but on mine I found it in a file called end.php.

  • Paste your tracking code into the theme file just before the </body> tag and then save the file.

google-analytics-wordpress

Your Google Analytics account should now show stats for visitors to your blog. It may take up to 24 hours for the first visitor stats to appear in your account.

InstallShield Major Upgrade: Two entries in Add/ Remove Programs

April 2nd, 2012

After implementing an InstallShield Major Upgrade recently after making changes to a beta version of one of my software packages, I found that there were two entries in the Window’s Control Panel’s Add/ Remove Programs list. Despite the two entries, the installed package seemed to have installed and worked correctly on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. However, having two packages looked untidy and uninstalling either of them uninstalled the software package.

After a bit of research I found that the problem was because I was doing a major upgrade but I had not changed the package version, i.e. I had changed the product code and package code but had left the product version the same. (See this post for info on how to do an InstallShield Major Upgrade). However, in this particular case I needed to leave the version number the same. In order to get the installer to behave as I wished and leave only one instance of the package in the Add/ Remove list, I had to do the following in InstallShield:

1. In the Installation Designer, click the Upgrades node under the main Media node.

2. Open the upgrade entry I had created as advised in my earlier post on InstallShield Major Upgrades:

upgradeentry

3. In the Common Properties for the upgrade entry, instead of choosing to upgrade Any Earlier Version, choose a specific range of versions and enter 1.0.0 in the minimum version field, leaving the maximum value field blank. Remember to check the Version Range Inclusive field to be on the safe side:

installshield-minimum-version

Now when the installer runs it will perform a major upgrade even on an installation that has the same version number as the new (major upgrade) installer.

Importing CSV data from Excel into phpMyAdmin

March 7th, 2012

When importing CSV data saved from Excel into a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin, I was getting an error indicating that there was an “Invalid field count in csv input on line 1″. The settings in phpMyAdmin asked for fields to be delimited by double quotes (“field”) but even after doing that I was still getting the same error message.

In order to get the input to work, I resaved the Excel file as a CSV (and didn’t place quotes around the columns) then removed the first row containing the field titles. In phpMyAdmin I then chose the following settings:

Format: CSV using LOAD DATA
Columns terminated by ,  (not the default of ; )

All other settings were left at their default.

I was then able to successfully import the CSV file.

New Help Desk Launched

February 25th, 2012

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve customer service, SliQTools has now opened a new support help desk feature at support.sliqtools.co.uk. The new help desk software allows customers (or potential customers who are using trial versions of our software) to submit support or sales tickets and track their progress to closure.

The new help desk brings a number of benefits to our customers such as the the ability for customers to see their old tickets and replies. From SliQTools point of view, an added bonus of the help desk is that it provides us with a mechanism to expand our knowledgebase of frequently asked questions. The help desk lets our support staff to write articles to support tickets. These articles then become available for other customers to search through. As the knowledgebase builds up content, customers should increasingly be able to find answers to common support queries so that their problems are solved more quickly.

InstallShield Major Upgrade

December 16th, 2011

Sometimes after making some changes to a product, either updating assemblies or adding or removing assemblies, an installer fails to update a previous version. After running the installer, no errors or warnings are produced but the program files remain unchanged. If this happens the best solution I’ve found is to configure InstallShield to perform a major product upgrade.

To configure a major upgrade, you need to do the following in InstallShield:-

1. Configure an upgrade in the Upgrades node under the main Media node in the Installation Designer …

installshield-upgrades-node

a. First, right-click on the Upgrade Windows Installer Setup node and add a new major upgrade. Make sure that the major upgrade setting Products Sharing my Upgrade Code is selected.

installshield-major-upgrade

b. Click on the Upgrade Windows Installer Setup node and make sure the option to uninstall the old setup is selected.

new-upgrade-node

installshield-major-upgrade-settings

2. Change the Product Code GUID via the Product Properties view under the main Installation Information/ General Information node. Note: DO NOT CHANGE the Upgrade Code – the installer will use this to automatically uninstall the previous version of the product.

installshield-product-code

3. In the Summary Information Stream view, update the Package Code GUID.

installshield-package-code

3. Then rebuild your installer and test it out. Your installation should now be upgraded properly.

Note that if the installer is intended to perform a major upgrade of a package with the same version number (as opposed to the more normal situation of a major upgrade of the same package with a lower version number), see this post for more info.