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Posts Tagged: website

If your business promotes goods and services that are addressed solely at the adult audience, you should give an extra thought on who visits your website. Though the matter of age restriction online is a subject of ongoing debate, our suggestion is to view your website as you would your physical store.

Let’s say you are in the artisanal distillery business. Would you feel comfortable having a 12 year old roaming around the place? Or perhaps you are a photography artist who just opened a show of your latest bridal boudoir images. Our bet is, for both situations, you would feel more at ease if any minor visiting your business would be accompanied by an adult. And since you can’t control who reaches your adult-targeted website, the age restriction pop up comes in handy.

3 outcomes of your age restriction pop up

  1. Your visitor is too young to read. This, by any mean, doesn’t mean they’re not tech-savvy. They can go from link to link until they reach your child-sensitive website. The age restriction pop up will prevent them to enter your website unless they click the right answer. There’s one in two chances they get it right. If you phrase the question right and link the redirect to a kid-safe website, chances are you successfully guide your potential visitor to another page that is better suited for them, with very little chance they will go back to your page to choose the other option. We’ll come to setting up the pop up later in the article.
  2. Your visitor does know how to read and is thought not to lie online. This is the best situation you can hope for. It’s when your visitor has been given guidance either at home or at school as to how to behave both online and offline. This implies that your age restriction pop up will be answered truthfully and the kid will not enter your website, instead they will be redirected to another website.
  3. Your visitor read your pop up and decides they will enter regardless. It is an outcome you might encounter and you’ll probably never hear about it. This course of action is beyond your control and there is very little, if anything, to do about it. It will be your choice if you wish to set up your galleries with a disclaimer as the first image, or if you would feel that a disclaimer should serve as the subtitle of your pages. This will be your personal choice and should be considered when it doesn’t interfere with your brand’s overall concept.

Your age restricted website as seen by Google

To see if your website should have an age restriction pop up, you can view Google’s policy on adult content here. This guideline will shed some light as to what is not considered child friendly. One thing to take out of it is that your age restriction will not decrease the rank of your page.

How to set up the age restriction pop up on your website

  • In your account, go to the Settings page (gear icon)
  • Under Business Type, select one of the four types:
    1. Brewery
    2. Distillery
    3. Specialty Foods
    4. Winery
  • Log out of your dashboard and log back in
  • Select Settings (gear icon)
  • Rollover Extras under the Settings header
  • Select Age Verification under Extras 

Setting up the proper pop up

Now that age verification is enabled on your website, you can go ahead and set up the message that will pop up on entry, as well as the redirect link.

First, in the Age Verification tab, you must enable it.

  1. Fill in the title this can be the title of your page or any other message you wish to convey to your visitors.
  2. Fill in the prompt question – the answers your visitors will be given are Yes (which allows them to enter your website) and No (which will automatically redirect them to another website of your choice).
  3. Add the Under 21 redirect URL – our advice is to send your underage audience to a website that is targeted at them and, at the same time, draw their interest so that they will not return to your page and choose the other answer.
  4. Publish your changes to add age restriction to your website. To disable this feature, simply toggle the age verification feature.

When age verification is enabled, your pop up will appear regardless of what link your visitors use to enter your website.

Age verification is just one of the many features that make liveBooks a reliable platform for your business website. Not convinced? Head over to our website and start your free trial today!

The Internet is full of GIFs, and for good reason – they are the perfect image format to portray a visual loop compressed in a very small size. They go well with the widespread mobile usage – their loading time is short and they use very little mobile data. They are easy to share and embed, whether in blog posts, chatting and, yes, as part of your portfolio website, too.

GIFs are not usually known for their high quality, but they can render 256 colors in 8-bit color images. That’s why, the sharper looking GIFs you might commonly find online portray mostly geometrical figures, logos or 3D renders. This is the general tone set by the majority of GIF posters, but that’s not all GIFs can be.

The greatest thing about your GIFs is that they can create a meaningful context or portray emotions. They create an unseen bond with the viewer and a sense of fulfilled expectation. They are super easy to add to your liveBooks website. These reasons alone should convince you to at least give GIFs a chance to be part of your portfolio.

Create GIFs from photos

Adobe Photoshop is the best tool to use when the source of your GIFs is your image gallery. Head over to the Adobe help page for a short and great tutorial on how to create animated GIFs from your images. The plus side of using your dedicated software when creating GIFs from images is quality control in a private medium.

Use snippets from your videos

Sharing videos is great, but creating GIF teasers from your videos to add them to your home page grid gallery is ten times as awesome. You can create GIFs from videos in Photoshop, and the link in our previous paragraph has a section dedicated to that.

You can also use online GIF creators such as Giphy – it creates GIFs from your YouTube or Vimeo videos, but you can also upload your video source from your computer. While the resulting GIFs come in good quality and don’t have a watermark, each time you create a GIF it is automatically uploaded to the Giphy library.

GIFs on your liveBooks site

You can add GIFs to your site just like you do with any other image – add them to your image collection or straight to the image block. They act like any other image, so you can adjust their widths, add overlays or hover effects, or even set them as backgrounds.

Our suggestion is to use them in grid type galleries, where their size is usually smaller. This way they will create the awesome dynamic effect without looking too grainy.

The pronunciation debate

You can say it like in gift, or like the peanut butter Jif – the debate is still on. But one thing’s for sure, regardless of how you want to pronounce it, you should give GIFs a try on your website.

Sign up for a free trial today and get in all the action the liveBooks website builder has to offer!

Posted in Website Tips and tagged with , , , , ,

Canada, Nunavut Territory, Repulse Bay, Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) climbing onto melting iceberg near Arctic Circle on Hudson Bay

“All the easy pictures have been taken. But I’m here to tell you there are still some stupid and crazy ones left out there.”

Coming September 2018, liveBooks client, Paul Souders, release his book Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay and the Quest for the Perfect Bear.

Published by Mountaineers Books, it tells the story of four summers’ worth of solo polar bear expeditions to the arctic ice of Hudson Bay. It’s a humorous look at all that goes into making polar bear pictures the hard way. No crew, no guides and no National Geographic expense money. Just a guy, a boat and a willingness to do almost anything for a photograph.

About Photographer Paul Souders

Souders never set out to be a nature photographer. He grew up between a trailer park and a chicken farm. Where he’s from, nature was mostly poison ivy, junk cars, and broken glass.

Souders began working as a new photographer back at his college newspaper in the early 1980’s. He started out imagining a career in photojournalism, and learned his craft at a small community newspaper outside Washington, DC. After a brief stint freelancing and maxing out credit cards to go cover an assortment of international conflict stories, he was broke and looking for a steady paycheck. Souders traveled north to another news job, up in Anchorage, Alaska. He spent most days chasing the happy staples of daily journalism; photographing house fires and car wrecks and local sports assignments. But along the way, he found himself drawn to the nature and wildlife he found outside his doorstep. He decided it was at least as much fun to go out and explore those subjects, and have focussed more and more on photographing wild places around the world.

In the 25 years since then, Souders has traveled to nearly seventy countries and visited all seven continents. Nearly all of it was shooting on spec for his stock photography agencies. He says,

“It was always a counterintuitive business model; spend my own money to go someplace, work endless hours creating new images, then hand them over to a stock photo agency, for free, in the hopes that they might actually sell the damn things. But it was a way for me to go out and do the work that I dreamed of doing, without having to beg for assignments or sponsors. It worked for a good long while, even if in the last few years, I’ve seen a precipitous decline in image royalties.”

Most recently, I’ve been drawn to working on longer boat expeditions to the arctic regions, and trying to tell the stories of a regions that’s undergoing rapid change. I already owned most of the gear and the boat I’d need, so I could keep my expenses down and spend lots of time out in the field.”

Canada, Nunavut Territory, Repulse Bay, Polar Bear Cub (Ursus maritimus) beneath mother while standing on sea ice near Harbour Islands

Q&A with Paul Souders

What made you decide to go out and do the solo polar bear expeditions?

A few years back, I started thinking about how to see and photograph polar bears on my own.

I had chartered proper expedition sailboats, steel-hulled seagoing yachts, to take more ambitious high-latitude expeditions; including a couple times up to Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, near eighty degrees north latitude. I wanted to photograph polar bears and the barren, Arctic landscape. The place was otherworldly, halfway between the top of Europe and the North Pole—stark, frightening, and breathtaking in its austere beauty. It was also not cheap. The boat charter alone cost more than $25,000, on top of the extortionate costs of plane tickets, food, and the abundant stocks of liquor required to maintain the skipper’s good humor. Even during the photo industry’s flush years, I could never afford a three-week charter on my own, so I cast a wide net and dragged along anyone who could pay. A few even remained friends after the yelling was over. Others, well, there is no enemy quite like the one you make on a cold, cramped boat in the middle of nowhere, with no possible escape from each other. I will accept much of the blame. I know that I can be difficult.

I had come to photograph polar bears, and photograph polar bears I did. I would stand on deck in the cold wind for hour after toe-numbing, finger-freezing hour, doggedly scanning the ice. I adopted my best steely-eyed, thousand-yard stare, feet apart, and scanned the ice through a pair of bulky and overpriced German binoculars. When I finally spotted my quarry, I notified the skipper with a curt flick of my chin to show our new course, and say simply, “Bear.”

No wonder everyone hated me.

Before I found myself set adrift on some lonely iceberg by mutinous shipmates, I needed to find another way. I turned to my own small boat, named appropriately enough C-Sick. I imagined that if I could take her north, I might see polar bears on my own terms, living among them for weeks or months at time.

I wanted to go alone, since I never saw much point in venturing out into the wilderness as part of a group tour, paying good money to be alternately bossed around and cosseted by guides who were younger, smarter, and better looking than me. I wasn’t getting any younger, but I still imagined myself tough enough to travel hard across most any wilderness. Besides, sleeping in the dirt and eating dismal camp food makes good practice for the day my wife grows weary of these antics and changes the locks.

A trip like this could, and probably should, take years of preparation: a slow acquisition of the necessary skills and training and professional-grade equipment. Given enough time, anyone in their right mind would likely come to their senses and decide to stay home and catch up on the yard work instead. For me, it’s always made more sense to just go. Go before doubt creeps in, and then figure things out along the way. I wasn’t getting any younger and I imagined that, if nothing else, I could fail in truly spectacular and memorable fashion.

Canada, Nunavut Territory, Underwater view of Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) swimming near Arctic Circle along Hudson Bay

How would you describe your experience on your expedition?

The whole thing began as a sort of lark: I wondered if I could step out my front door and travel overland to the shores of a cold and mysterious sea; Hudson Bay, then set off by boat to see polar bears, maybe have some adventures? Whether any of this was possible, advisable, or even strictly legal, I never thought to ask.

Pretty much anybody can walk off the plane in Churchill, Manitoba, the self-proclaimed Polar Bear Capital of the World and, with the application of a few thousand dollars, hop onto the nearest oversized, overstuffed, and overpriced Tundra Buggy, and join a gaggle of other photographers and tourists to go trundling off to see dozens of polar bears in an afternoon. But that’s not really my style.

I decided that if I wanted to go out on my own, it would be a BYOB job—Bring Your Own Boat.

This is as good time as any to point out that I, at the time at least, I hated boats. I hated the smell of them. I hated the cloying dampness, the sea-sickening bobbing-cork lurch, and the musty, cramped spaces. I can’t be the first to notice that a life at sea offers all the benefits of prison time, with better odds of drowning.

Starting with the purchase of an inflatable boat barely ten feet long and a small ten-horsepower outboard motor, I assembled a mountain of gear in my garage. I packed up layer upon layer of long underwear and weather- proof sailing gear, goggles and gloves, hats and boots. I stuffed cases with photographic and underwater equipment. I gathered camping and survival gear, a stove and weeks’ worth of dried camp food, satellite phones and beacons and ‘bear-banger’ noisemaking shells.

I admit that I may have gone a little overboard with the bear protection. I found a tripwire fence that would emit a deafening shotgun-shell blast if a bear stumbled through its perimeter—great if you wanted to try reasoning with a wire-entangled, half-deaf, and fully enraged polar bear. I bought dozens of noisemaker shells and a pen-sized flare launcher, which was like the shittiest gadget from the worst Bond movie ever, a pen that goes “bang” . . . but not very loudly. I would deploy it in case stern looks and strong language failed to dissuade.

I’d owned C-Sick, a 22-foot cabin cruiser for a few years, and had traveled extensively along coastal Alaska. She was small enough—eight-and-a-half feet wide, and twenty-two feet long—to haul on a trailer, but came equipped with a rudimentary bed, table, and kitchen. She reminded me of my old VW camper.

I imagined a grand journey that would begin at the end of my driveway and ultimately deliver me to the top of the world. I started planning with an outdated Rand McNally road atlas. I traced the fat blue ribbons of American interstates to where they fed into an orange-colored line that marked the Trans-Canada Highway. From there, I could cross over the Rockies and traverse the rolling heartland prairie that spanned almost half the continent. After that, the path turned thin and red as it wound up into the northwoods of Manitoba, until finally dwindling to a tentative dotted track, like a string of breadcrumbs, that ended at a town I’d never heard of along a river I didn’t know existed.

If I could get past that last pinprick of a town, Gillam, and find the spot where my map showed the Nelson River flowing winding and blue, it would be only seventy-five miles to the vastness of Hudson Bay. From there, I’d hang a left at the river’s mouth and head north. It was only a couple hundred miles to Churchill. Beyond that, I counted five little dots, tiny towns or villages scattered along the coastline between Churchill and the Arctic Circle, nearly six hundred miles north as the crow flies.

And that was where I planned to spend as much time as I could, traveling along the edge of the melting summer ice and searching for polar bears.

Canada, Nunavut Territory, Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) peers through window of expedition boat on ice pack near Arctic Circle along Hudson Bay

How do you capture the “perfect” photograph?

The first year I went north, I had traveled ‘light,’ carrying my inflatable Zodiac dinghy, and outboard and 500 pounds worth of gear north on the train to Churchill, Manitoba in late June. I must have looked like a homeless, survivalist hoarder when I stepped off the train and unloaded everything.

I spent weeks driving the Zodiac through the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay, in northern Manitoba. I wound my way through the shifting maze, and stopped frequently, climbing up onto any high spot I could find on the ice, then slowly scanning the horizon with binoculars for the white-on-white outline of a bear. This had been going on for days, and I was venturing farther and farther from shore, feeling anything but hopeful about my prospects. But from one crumbled snow-covered ridge, I looked, and then looked again, and—to my surprise—saw movement. A half mile away, a young bear woke and quickly shambled from the ice off toward water.

Polar bears are creatures of the sea. Classified as marine mammals, they spend most of their lives on the ice or in the ocean. Though possessed of a fearsome reputation, most bears will often as not avoid human contact when they can. This one, a young female judging by her size and build, gradually calmed and began to grow curious as I slowly trailed her. We were soon moving through the water in tandem, separated by a hundred yards, then fifty, then—holy shit, that bear was really close.

I dumped my camera gear out of its waterproof cases and shot her with the works. Telephoto lens. Wide-angle lens. Underwater pictures with a housing and fisheye lens. I held the outboard’s throttle and steered the boat with one hand while shooting with the other. I even mounted one camera onto a six-foot boom and then awkwardly tried to swing it closer to her, but succeeded only in dunking the contraption into salt water, killing the camera, lens, and trigger.

Undeterred, I dug out a spare camera and began chewing the insulation off a copper wire to jury-rig a replacement shutter cord. As the bear swam beneath an iceberg, I managed to drift the boat in closer and hang the boom beside a hole in the ice. She rose to breathe and I began shooting, blindly pressing the shutter cable and hoping that something, anything, might be in focus. She submerged for a moment, then surfaced again for one more breath before disappearing beneath the ice.

I sat there for a long while, the scene burning into memory. But I was still more than thirty miles from shore, and darkness was gathering. I pulled the out- board’s starter cord, felt the motor catch, and steered my boat toward shore.

Canada, Manitoba, Churchill, Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) hides while submerged at edge of melting ice floe on summer evening

How did it feel you felt like you captured the perfect polar bear photos?

On the southbound train a week later, I finally had time to sort through all the photographs on my laptop. I finally got to that image sequence, and there was my bear, walking across the ice, swimming and diving. Suddenly, there it was: one magical image that I’d never seen before, nor imagined, not even in dreams. In it, the polar bear floats beneath the surface, staring back up at my camera, surrounded by ice and empty sea, lit by the burnished, hazy sun.

I laughed out loud, then started parading up and down through the passenger cars like some lunatic, showing the picture to a trainload of complete strangers.

Canada, Nunavut Territory, Close-up of Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) biting at camera near Arctic Circle along Hudson Bay

What else would you like to tell us about your book?

In the end, I spent four summers there, living weeks and months at a time on my small boat, cruising at the edge of the melting ice and searching for polar bears and other animals. I photographed dozens of polar bears living wild and unafraid near the Arctic Circle at the northern reaches of Hudson Bay. I spent vast amounts of time watching the bears as they moved along the melting sea ice and on shore. There were times when the bears relaxed completely, and I was able to show them staring through the boat’s window at me, or swimming through the water, hunting on the ice.

At the end of each day, while I was downloading and backing up my digital images, I began keeping a journal of each day’s dramas and minor disasters. I sometimes shared those in my blog, and that eventually evolved into my first book; Arctic Solitaire: A Boat, A Bay, and the Quest for the Perfect Bear.

The book took more than a year to write, and I finished it last summer while traveling alone up the coast of northern Labrador in a new boat, a 43-foot steel sailboat. Cranking out a quick dispatch or blog post is one thing, but writing a book uses a completely different set of muscles, and made me think about photography and wilderness travel in far greater depth than I had ever done.

A lot of folks imagine that working as a wildlife photographer is an altogether glamorous and wonderful job. On good days, it really is. But there’s also an incredible amount of hard work and frustration and disappointment. And, in my case anyway, a vast trove of ridiculous mistakes to be made. I like to think of this book not as a how-to manual for photographers, but more of a cautionary tale.

Find out more about the book here: https://www.arcticsolitaire.com/

Purchase the book here: https://arcticsolitaire.squarespace.com/shop/arctic-solitaire-signed-by-the-author

Canada, Nunavut Territory, C-Dory expedition boat caught in sea ice in Frozen Strait near White Island on summer morning

August 22nd, 2018

How to Use Any Page as your Homepage

Posted by liveBooks

Your homepage, or start page, is the entryway to your entire website. It’s what your visitors see when they first access your website. It’s the best opportunity to catch their interest – it’s where their focus is at its finest. So why not use this to your advantage?

One of the many liveBooks features allows you to set any page on your website to be the homepage. Here are just a few ideas on how this great tool can work in your favor:

Set a Campaign page as homepage – online campaigns can help you gain more visibility. When running a campaign on your site, instead of editing your homepage, you can use another one specifically designed for your marketing purposes.

Set your Shop page as homepage – when you’re running sales, or have new merchandise you want to bring the attention to, this is the way to do it.

Set your Events page as homepage – any shows, fairs or other events you want to invite a large number of guests to are better shared the instant your visitors set their eyes on your website.

Set your Contact page as homepage – when you’re updating your contact information, email, phone number or physical address, you can opt to direct your clients directly to the Contact page for a set period of time.

To give any of your pages the homepage attribute, you need to follow these seven easy steps:

  1. Log into your account.
  2. Go to your Content editor.
  3. Choose the page you want to use as homepage and click the Settings gear associated with the page.
  4. Select Use as homepage.
  5. When prompted on your decision, choose Yes. 
  6. Your new homepage will have a small house icon next to the Settings gear. 
  7. Publish your changes.

Unless you hide your original homepage, it will still appear on your website and function as any other page, leaving all your initial info intact. The only thing that will be different now is the first bit of information your visitors see when they enter your website.

As all businesses differ, so do the services and products they offer, and there are tons of ways to design your homepage with the liveBooks platform, whether it is a temporary one or the one you wish to settle on for a longer period of time.

To gain access to all the wonderful tools liveBooks has to offer, sign up for a free 14 days trial today!

 

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