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Matthew Guay

Writer. Former Tuts+, Mac and Web AppStorm Editor. Brainstormer-in-chief. @maguay | Techinch.com

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As the owner of an e-commerce website, you probably already know all about the importance of providing the best possible support to your prospects and customers. Support via chat has long been a popular way to do so, but there was always one major stumbling block: You had to choose between live chat and virtual chat. Both options have their pros and cons, and choosing between them isn’t easy. Thanks to HelpOnClick, you no longer have to choose one over the other.

Live Chat – a great feature for any e-commerce site

People respond very favorably when they arrive on an e-commerce site and see that live chat is available. They know that they can get answers to their questions on the spot. Sure, email support and telephone support are options too, but they require users to expend extra effort. Let’s face it: People don’t want to be interrupted during their online shopping experiences. With live chat, they can get much-needed support without any disruptions.

Virtual Chat – an economical alternative

As great as live chat may be, it can be pretty expensive. The more live agents you have, the more you’re going to pay. Of course, you can always opt for live chat with a skeleton crew, but you’re sure to end up with long queues of people waiting for assistance. No one wants to be left waiting around like that, and you’re bound to miss out on many exciting opportunities. Virtual chat uses automated scripts to provide basic support, so it’s a viable alternative. The biggest issue is that there’s only so much it can handle, and many people are going to be left with unanswered questions.

What if you could have both?

Imagine if you could have live chat support to handle the bulk of your online inquiries but back it up with virtual support. You’d enjoy the best of both worlds. That’s no longer a mere pipe dream; such technology already exists, and it’s called HelpOnClick. The premise behind this cloud-based service is simple: It offers live support most of the time, but the live support is supplemented by virtual support during periods of peak activity.

Get it now, with a Special deal for AppStorm readers

Whether you’ve been relying solely on live chat or virtual chat or have been trying to decide between the two, you no longer have to make compromises. You just need to get a HelpOnClick account.

For AppStorm fans, HelpOnClick offers a special deal – Live & Virtual Chat software 50% off for the first year subscription. Get the special deal on HelpOnClick website. From this point forward, it will be smooth sailing for your online business.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Need a great way to find out more about your customers in 2014? Then you need to try out addpoll.com, our sponsor this week.

Addpoll.com is a great poll and survey tool that’ll make it simple than ever for you to create detailed surveys and more that work just like you want. It includes a simple drag-and-drop interface that makes it simple to create the surveys and polls you want, with tools to include anything you want in your surveys — even a media gallery. You’ll then get real-time access to your poll data, complete with a geotracking map, and can export your form data in the formats you want.

Then, the best part of addpoll.com is its great integrations with other web apps you likely already use. You can integrate it with Mailchimp, Salesforce, Google Docs, all your favorite social networks, and web hooks to integrate it into your own apps. That way, you’ll be able to bring in all of your data and keep up with your survey responses in the apps your team is already used to. Then, with custom CSS, your own domain, and more customization tools, your surveys and polls will look perfectly consistent with your branding. And with a Pro account, you’ll even be able to accept payments from addpoll.com forms, so it can be your one app for all your data processing needs.

Try out addpoll.com today!

Addpoll.com makes creating polls and surveys incredibly simple, and it’s priced so nicely there’s no reason to not try it out. You can get a free addpoll.com account and create unlimited polls and surveys with up to 250 responses per month for free. Then, you can get a Pro account starting at just $15.95/month for 5000 responses, or an Extra account for $29.95/month for unlimited responses. That makes it affordable for your company to make all the polls and surveys you want, no matter your size!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Did support take up more time of your year than you’d like to admit? Then perhaps it’s time for something better. Bluetrait, our sponsor this week, is the simple help desk tool you need — and if you happen to be a seller on Envato’s marketplaces, it’s the support tool designed specifically for you.

Bluetrait’s a simple online help desk tool that has all the features you need to give your customers the best support possible. You can create canned responses, email notificaitons, custom priorities and statuses, and more to help you keep on top of your support requests, and can tie it into your email account to it’ll automatically turn emails into suppor tickets. You’ll be able to reply with a rich email editor in the app that has full HTML support, and can easily file away tickets or find them again later. Then, as mentioned before, it integrates with Envato’s marketplaces so you can easily see what products your customer has purchased from you and can give them personalized support. It even makes it simple to keep up with your team, with custom graphs that’ll show who’s logging the most tickets.

But then, perhaps you won’t have to do quite as much support as you’re thinking you’ll need to, since Bluetrait lets you create a Knowledge Base that’ll help your customers support themselves. Right in your same support interface, you can write articles about all of your app or theme’s features and show your users how to get the most out of them. They’ll be able to find out what they need, and save you the hassle of replying to every single request. But even if you do need to reply, Bluetrait makes it easy to reply anywhere with its responsive theme that’ll work on any device.

There’s more, too. Bluetrait recently added a WordPress extension, so you can import your WordPress accounts into Bluetrait easily. And early next year, Bluetrait’s adding an option for domain mapping, so you can use your company’s domain name with Bluetrait’s support app for no extra cost.

Get 50% off Bluetrait This Week!

Best of all, you can give your customers the support the need in the new year and save money at the same time. Bluetrait normally costs $14AUD/user/month, but this week, Bluetrait is running a special 50% off discount. Just signup for a new Bluetrait account for your company with the coupon code BLU50P, and you’ll get 50% off your account for life. You can even add new employees in the future, and still get the same 50% discount for every new employee you add. And you’ll still get the full 30 day trial to make sure it works for you. That’s a great way to get your company on the right start for offering better support next year!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Christmas time is here, and with that comes traffic jams in mall parking lots and the never-ending decisions over what gifts would be great for everyone on your Nice list. But playing Santa can be a rather hard job, especially if you’re trying to find something that’s special and unique.

It’s nearly impossible to buy gifts that are web app centric, unless you’re buying a Chromebook or perhaps a Firefox phone for a special someone, so we didn’t do a roundup of gifts just for web app fans. Instead, we’ve included a ton of geeky gifts in our roundup of gifts on Mac.AppStorm, and there’s a ton of stuff for everyone on your list. You’ll find the latest Doxies (great for scanning documents and saving them to your favorite web apps), the awesome Raspberry Pi (the $25 way to get online), and much much more.

If you’ve got some holiday shopping left to do for geeky folks, this is the list for you. Go check it out!

Continue Reading at Mac.AppStorm…

It used to be that we’d drop in and let our neighbor’s know when we were planning to go out of town — and perhaps that’s still common for many of you. But we never used to grab a megaphone and announce to the whole world that our house was going to be vacant for a week.

Now, of course, one can’t possibly embark on a journey without saying as much on Twitter. And then, you’ll faithfully track the journey online, documenting coffee breaks with Instagram photos and sharing gift opening videos with your world of Facebook friends who are already bored of giftwrap and escaped to Facebook only to see more of it. And each time, you’re likely tagging your locations or at least subtly including geolocation data that makes it all too obvious exactly where you are.

Or then, perhaps you don’t. For there’s others — often, older than the first set — who are terrified to announce their travels to the world. Pictures can always be shared next week, but while traveling, there’s to be no mention at all of the fact they’re not at home. Of course, their absence from social networks is equally conspicuous, but at least they have a bit of comfort thinking others don’t know where they are.

We’ve hit an odd point in the eternal pull between public and private. We’re reeled by the revelations of the NSA’s spying, and yet love to share the locations we’re at. I used to never share location data, and felt somewhat odd publishing almost anything personal in pubic, and then decided to embrace location sharing. And yet, announcing vacations still somehow feels like a tad much — but I’d still be as apt as anyone to Instagram airport architecture shots, a tell-tell giveaway of travel.

How about you? Will the whole world know of your holiday travels, or are you going to keep your peppermint mocha and gift unwrapping and travel memories for yourself?

WordPress has grown and changed over the years, from a simple blog system into a full-fledged CMS. In that time, it’s gone from a basic white theme to a bright blue and then a more subdued grey and tan that we all know and love today. Along the way, it’s picked up a ton of features, and the world of computing has shifted from desktops to mobile and tablets. It’s time for some changes.

WordPress 3.8 is finally here today, and along with the extra new features and bug fixes you’d expect, it also includes a surprisingly nice new redesign that, while largely the same as before, makes the WordPress dashboard look far more modern and at home on any of your devices.

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Got a MacBook, iPad, or iPhone that you’re worried about getting lost or stolen? Worry no more. With Hidden, you’ve got the theft protection all your devices need.

Hidden is a brilliant theft protection system that’ll keep all of your Apple devices protected. If your device gets stolen, Hidden will track its location, take pictures of the thief and screenshots of what they’re currently doing on your computer, and log processes and keystrokes on your Mac so you can see exactly what apps the thief is using and what he’s typing. On an iOS device, Hidden will show a fake alarm that, when the thief tries to turn off, will launch the app to snap a picture and send it to you just like it would on the Mac, so you’ve got the same protection everywhere.

 

You can then login to your Hidden account online and see exactly where your device is on a map, complete with all the other data Hidden has collected about the thief. That gives you the info you need to inform law enforcement and hopefully get your device back. It’s the full-fledged protection your devices need that will give you the peace of mind to not worry about your devices disappearing.

We loved Hidden when we tried it out, and are certain you’ll love it as well. It’s an ingenious way to keep your devices protected.

Get Hidden 50% Off!

Hidden usually costs $15/year to protect one device, or $30/year to protect up to 3 devices, but we’ve got something even better. This month, if you signup for Hidden with our coupon code WASL50, you can get 50% off your Hidden subscription. That’d make it cost only $0.63 per month to keep your MacBook, iPhone, or iPad protected! It’s the perfect chance to buy yourself the perfect holiday gift of security for your devices

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Time tracking apps are among the most predictable apps. They’re all designed to keep track of the time you’ve worked on your projects so you’re fair to both your clients and yourself. Then, the apps typically let you turn your timesheets into invoices, and perhaps track time on the go. Boring, but necessary.

And then there’s the new Timely. I’m pretty certain you’ve never seen a time tracking app like this. It’s the one time tracking app that you’ll actually want to use, it looks so nice. Plus, it’s simpler than most to use, thanks to its drag-and-drop calendar (apparently a popular new trend).

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It’s gift buying season again — that time of the year when you’ve got to rack your brain to figure out what would be a good gift for everyone. But one gift idea that keeps popping up from a number of web apps is the gift of a subscription.

That sounds like a great idea at first. Who wouldn’t love a few free months of Netflix or Spotify or Evernote Pro? Or, for those a bit geekier, a free domain name or hosting might sound nice. You could even make sure your family’s data stays safe by giving them a year of CrashPlan. There’s even the more traditional gift subscriptions — Amazon, for instance, has every newspaper and magazine you could think of ready for gifting in paper or digital. Even newer web apps are getting in on it, with Draft offering gift subscriptions as well this year.

And yet, something seems a bit odd about gifting a subscription. It’s great while you’re using the gift subscription for free, but what about next year? It’s almost like you’re giving your family and friends more work — they’ll have to upgrade to their own subscription next year, or cancel their gift subscription when it runs out. That makes it a bit less nice of a gift than, oh, just about any other physical product.

So how do you feel about gifting subscriptions? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Christmas Tree icon via Eighty8four

WordPress may not be the cool new blogging platform these days, but it is the serious CMS that powers so many sites (AppStorm included). And it’s still a pretty nice platform, one that for the most part works great and — thanks to the huge ecosystem of themes and plugins — can be almost anything you want it to be. But at the end of the day, WordPress is most often used for blogging. And to blog effectively, you’re usually scheduling posts and social media messages quite a bit.

But WordPress is pretty bad at scheduling, and even worse at social media integration. Almost daily I have to click the Quick Edit link on scheduled posts to double-check what time they’re scheduled for, and then use a combination of IFTTT and Buffer to take care of social media posts.

CoSchedule, though, is the one app that could change that. It’s a WordPress plugin that makes post scheduling as simple as a drag-and-drop, and then makes it just as easy to share post on your social networks.

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