jueves, 14 de febrero de 2008

PayPal alternatives in South Africa

We have had a number of clients inquiring about selling low-volumes of product on their websites recently, exactly the kind of thing PayPal would be perfect for.

Sadly for our South African clients, this really isn't an option thanks to our good friends at SARS (the South African Revenue Service).

South African's can set up PayPal accounts. They can pay money from their South African bank accounts into their PayPal accounts and they can spend that money as they choose, but they can't transfer any money paid into their PayPal account back into their South African account.

So, if you sell something on your site the money paid into your PayPal account will be utterly useless to you (unless you intend to spend all that money on locks of Britney Spear's hair, or napkins used by Elvis).

Fortunately there are alternatives and two we've heard a lot of positive talk about recently are PayFast and Setcom.

PayFast is only in Beta at the moment, so you may wish to hold back for the final version before signing up. The fee structure is as follows:
R1 - R25 000 2.00%
R25 000 - R100 000 - 1.80%
R100 000 - R250 000 - 1.60%
R250 000 - R1 000 000 - 1.40%

Setcom have a range of fees depending on whether your customer is paying by credit/debit card, setcom account, or various other services, and they promise
"payments (that) are made in real-time, quicker than bank transfers, checks, or money orders".

Most importantly, neither service charge monthly, setup or signing fees. So, you pay as you earn (something that SARS would encourage no doubt!)

We are yet to make use of either service, but will review them as and when we do.

jueves, 31 de enero de 2008

Mozilla Firefox continues to grow

According to research, Mozilla's "Firefox" browser ended 2007 with a significant increase in its usage.

Its still hasn't caught up with Internet Explorer, but still ended the year with a significant market share of 28%. So, bearing this in mind, have you taken a look at your site in Firefox recently to check that its looking as good as it does in Internet Explorer?

The research in question, was performed by French internet traffic analysis company XiTi Monitor (so its also written up in French) here and here's Wired magazine's take on the research.

While this article focuses on the reason's why Firefox's popularity is on the increase, it doesn't touch on what this means for the website owner, namely that it is no longer acceptable to pass off alternative browsers as passing fads, or un-important. It is now more important than ever that your site looks the same when viewed through Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari. At the very least, a user should still be able to navigate your site in any of those browsers (you'd be surprised just how many sites we see where this is not the case!).

sábado, 12 de enero de 2008

html: The Email Standards Project

You think coding for web browsers is tricky, try e-newsletter coding!

With a variety of software based email clients like Outlook, through to the many different web-based solutions such as gmail and yahoo, it is becoming nigh on impossible to code the perfect HTML email, but before you ditch that great new e-newsletter campaign and resort to the good old days of plain-text, there is a light at the end of the e-tunnel.

The Email Standards Project are attempting to "improve web standards support and accessibility in email", and deserve a beer from every web designer and programmer out there if they achieve their stated objective:

"Our goal is to help designers understand why web standards are so important for email, while working with email client developers to ensure that emails render consistently. This is a community effort to improve the email experience for both designers and readers alike."

While they go about trying to achieve this herculean task, you can make use of their site to see which email program developers to strike off your Christmas card list, or perhaps to see which standards are supported by the offenders at Gmail, Microsoft, Hotmail, Apple and Lotus in order to ensure that your e-newsletter still looks the business.

Need pictures for your web design?

Does your site look drab and uninviting? Time to add some images to your site copy.

This usually produces responses along these lines:

"but where do we get these images?"

"We haven't got the time to take them ourselves, and we don't have the budget to pay a professional to do it for us"

"This is not an affordable or viable solution"

Fortunately, help is at hand as this is where stock image sites come in.

Ranging from:
the high end Getty Images,
to the affordable iStock
to the free (but check the license on each pic) stock.xchng

We would advise that, unless you want something incredibly specific, you start with stock.xchng or a similar site, and go from there. Alternatively, dust off the camera and get snapping!

jueves, 10 de enero de 2008

Blogs: Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers

Want to start blogging? Who better to turn to for advice than Jorn Barger, the man credited with inventing the blog.

In this article on the wired magazine website, Jorn Barger shares his Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers. Including, at number 4:

"Being truly yourself is always hipper than suppressing a link just because it's not trendy enough. Your readers need to get to know you."

So expect links to Bon Jovi, Neighbours, Neville Meintjies from 7de Laan, and other "un-trendy" things that amuse us in future posts!

lunes, 7 de enero de 2008

PHP: 10 things you may not know

10 things you (probably) didn’t know about PHP.

Great post on Rightbrainnetworks.com. Of particular interest is the reference to the Ternary Operator. Put simply if you are using an "IF" loop, and only testing two conditions, instead of using:

"if (condition1 == "set")
$variable = 1
$variable = 2

you can use:

$variable = (condition1 == "set") ? 1 : 2;