One great feature in AlbumExposure has always been the ability for you to customize the URL in order to make everything on the client side look like it’s coming from your website.  This way, when your clients log in to view their album presentations, it will be all about your brand in every detail.  It has always been our goal to help you keep your brand in front of your clients as much as possible.

Today, we are introducing a new method that is easier to setup than the previous one,  more accessible to all of our users, and offers higher functionality.  Some of you didn’t have access to your server files, which was previously required, so the new DNS customization method will make it easier to setup via your registrar or host.  In addition, you will have the ability to link directly to an album when using your custom domain and can send clients on a more direct path to their albums.  Also, this feature upgrade will fix a few Safari specific browser issues that some of you may have recently noticed.

If you’ve set up masking previously or if this is your first time, please follow these quick steps for setting up the newest method of URL customizing for your account.  You can view a quick video on our tutorials page or walk through the steps and screenshots below.  Please let us know if you have any questions during the setup, we’re more than happy to help get you dialed in with your custom domain!

#1 – Determine your preferred custom domain

The most common subdomain that we see used is ‘albums’ (e.g. http://albums.YourStudio.com).  You could also use ‘proofing’, ‘albumproofing’, or any other subdomain you prefer to fit your website structure.  One important item to note is that you’ll need to use an entire domain or subdomain with no directories (For example, http://YourStudio.com/albums will not work).  Before getting into the next few steps, you’ll want to make sure you know what domain or subdomain you would like to use. In this example, we’re going to set up a subdomain where clients will access our albums at  albums.garysikes.com.

#2 – Create a DNS record at your registrar or host

The first step to setting up your custom URL will not be in AlbumExposure, but rather at your registrar or host – wherever your domain’s DNS is managed.  This will be the same place as your name servers. For example, if your domain is registered with Dynadot, but hosted at DreamHost, and you’re using DreamHost’s nameservers (like ns1.dreamhost.com), your DNS is managed at DreamHost.

Locate your domain (YourStudioDomain.com) in your domain list and click to edit the DNS.  You want to add a new DNS record with a type of CNAME. The name of the record should be your subdomain (such as ‘albums’) and the value ‘albumexposure.com’, which is where you want the record to point.  Then save this new record and you’re done with the second step!  (Note: the new record will often take a minimum of an hour and sometimes longer to become active depending on your registrar or host.)

A few visuals for step #2 from our GoDaddy (registrar) account:

Locating the DNS for my domain and clicking to ‘edit’ the DNS record -

GoDaddy_DomainDetails

 

Adding a record -

GoDaddy_CName

 

#3 – Enter your custom URL in AlbumExposure

The next step will be to tell AE what your custom domain is.  Inside AlbumExposure, visit Settings > Presentations and in the ‘Masked URL’ field, type the full domain you chose in step 1. Make sure you include http:// in front too.

In this example, our full domain is ‘http://albums.garysikes.com’.

AE_EnterMaskedURL

 

#4 – Use your custom domain in your Send Link email template

Your last step will be to edit your send link email template to use your custom domain. Inside AlbumExposure, visit Settings > Communications and inside your template, replace the merge tag ‘{url}’ with ‘{masked_url}’.

AE_EditMergeTag

 

Now on every new album you create moving forward, when you click on Send Link within an album, you’ll see the url populate automatically for you with your custom domain to provide to your client.

AE_ProperLinks

 

Let’s take a look at the results!

Now your clients will only see your custom URL, like it is coming from your website every time.

Your client’s presentation view -

AE_ClientPresentation

 

Please let us know if you need any help getting setup or switching from the old method.  Quick note regarding the old masking method:  If you have any active album links out to clients, you’ll want to leave it as is.  It will not effect the new method or new album links moving forward and album links you have out to clients for the old method will still work properly.  Once all old albums are archived, you can always delete the old masking folder from your server, but leaving it alone will not hurt anything going forward.

If you have any questions or need help setting up your custom domain, feel free to reach out to us at support@albumexposure.com!  We hope this feature update makes it even easier for you to create a great experience for your clients while they enjoy their beautiful album designs.

Best,

The AlbumExposure Team

Updated User Interface!

January 14th, 2014

Hello friends and Happy New Year!

As you may have seen, we’ve kicked off the year by releasing a new update to our User Interface today!

Overall, the design is cleaner and the interactions are more efficient.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.45.25 AM

 

The navigations have also been reorganized.  So, you’ll now find “preferences” under “settings”, where the different types are more clearly separated.  We’re confident this will make it easier for you to manage email and communications now that it’s more readily accessible. As for “billing”, this has been renamed to “subscription” and appropriately moved under “account”, where you can better manage all account items in one location.  Additionally, under “account”, you might notice the ability to have multiple payment methods and addresses. This is a structural change that may benefit you in the near future, but won’t have any immediate impact or require any of your attention currently.

Songs is still a primary navigation, but we’ve updated the page for easier management of your music and better listening tools for previewing songs as you decide what to pair with a particular album design.

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.48.02 AM

 

It was time to update the affiliate resources as well, so you’ll see new banner designs and a cleaner interaction.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 12.36.44 PM

 

So, the primary purpose of the UI update today is to improve the look, feel, and efficiency of interactions. Underneath it all, this release will also include several structural updates that will set us up to release more features and improvements over the next several months. We hope you enjoy it and look forward to the roll out of more features as well as fun things in the weeks and months to follow.

As always, please feel free to reach out to us at support@albumexposure.com if you have any questions or need help dialing in your workflow!

Cheers, The AlbumExposure Team (Gary, Jared, Jeff, Chris & Ayca)

Hi Friends,

We wanted to update you on a couple of new features. You may have recently noticed that every page uses https and a small lock icon shows in the URL bar, which means AlbumExposure is now even more secure! We’re always being mindful of your security, so we’re excited to have made this improvement.

Another feature we added is the ability to indicate whether the first and/or last spreads of an album are actually representing the front and/or back cover. If either of these are marked as a cover layout, they will be indicated as such in the spread/page count during presentations. The benefit here is that your spread/page count will remain accurate, rather than including covers in the count.

There are currently two ways to create a front cover for an album. One, you can design a spread with the left-hand side blank and the right side as a mock cover (flat color or leather texture). If the cover has an inlayed image, include it at the appropriate size and in the proper place on the right side, as a layer on top of your texture. Two, if your design software forces you to export as individual sides, you can still design the right side as the cover and just ignore the blank left-hand side. Then, when uploading sides instead of spreads and converting all sides to spreads in AE, don’t forget to indicate by checking the box that says ‘Album Starts on Right’. This will create an appropriate spread for your album’s dimensions with the cover on the right side as desired. If you’re including a back cover, you’ll want to take a similar approach, but with the opposite orientation. Design your layout with a blank right-hand side and the back cover design on the left-hand side. Again, if working with sides, rather than spreads, upload your cover as the last side in your set of layouts and it will convert to a spread, leaving the right side appropriately blank for a back cover.

See below for an example of what this looks like, both in your account for choosing cover layouts and in the presentation view for your client’s experience:

 

Oberports1

Oberports2

Oberports3

We know this will clarify page counts for your clients and hope this streamlines your process even more. Please contact us at support@albumexposure.com with any questions – We’re here to help :)

Cheers,

The AlbumExposure Team

Brand New Shiny Email Templates!

September 9th, 2013

Hey friends, We recently pushed out an update that we think you’ll be really excited about! All of the emails sent to your client and branded with your logo are now much cleaner and dare we say pretty!  This includes the Send Link emails as well as all client notification messages.  Here’s an example…

 

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 12.54.39 PM

Your logo will now be at the bottom of the emails, and if a client ever decides to reply to the email or forward it to someone else, the background is now white instead of grey! Hope you love this change as much as we do :)

Cheers,

The AlbumExposure Team

New Royalty-Free Music!

May 1st, 2012

A little while ago we announced that we were teaming up with some local artists to bring you some fresh new royalty-free songs for your album slideshows! You voted on your favorites, and today we’re happy to announce that we’ve added four new songs from two of those artists: Barrett Johnson and The Ultimate Bearhug. The Ultimate Bearhug just released their album last week, and you can now download it free on their website.

You can find the new music in your account under ‘Songs,’ where you can preview each, and also purchase them for your own personal collection if you enjoy the artist.  To play them in an album slideshow, just select the song from the royalty free list when creating your album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We think you’ll love the new tunes!

Cheers!

Jared for the AlbumExposure Team

We’ve got a little Valentine for you :)

We sometimes get requests to pull the original album files from customers because they don’t have access to them for one reason or another, so we decided to make it accessible and easy for everyone!  There’s now a link in the album menu to download a zip of the original files for any album.  We hope if you’re ever in a jam it’ll help you out :)

Cheers!

Jared for the AlbumExposure Team.

If you didn’t already hear, last week we launched some two big updates to AlbumExposure.  First we made some much needed updates to the UI and re-arranged a few things. We tucked a few items that used to be in the main albums list into the album screen that we felt didn’t need to be as prominent.

We also added album stats so that you can see when the client last viewed the album, as well as when and how many times they viewed it.  If you share the album, you can also track  how many times it’s viewed publicly.

We’ve got lots more coming, and hope you love the new features!

Cheers!

Jared for the AlbumExposure Team

Internet Explorer Update

November 16th, 2011

Just over a year ago we posted a blog article about why we were ditching flash and with that went support for book view in Internet Explorer. Today I’m happy to announce that AlbumExposure now supports book view in Internet Explorer 9.  If your client is using IE 8 or less, they’ll simply be redirected to slideshow view when book view is your default.  Clients using IE 8 or less are still able to review albums and post comments, just only in slideshow view.

If you’re using IE 9 on the backend, things might still look a little off due to IE 9′s lack of support for css3 and html5 video, but should work regardless.  We of course still recommend Firefox or Chrome for using the backend of AlbumExposure on Windows, but IE 9 should work if you prefer it.

Cheers!

Jared

A short while ago we changed numbering in client presentations to indicate pages rather than spreads because so many of you asked for it.  Once we did, enough of you requested that we change it back that we decided to add the option to do either, with the default to spreads.

This change will take effect on Monday, August 8 at 10 AM PST.  If you have any albums out to clients that you would like to stay presented as pages, make sure you login and indicate that before then.

You’ll find the new option under preferences in your account:

 

Here’s how the presentation looks with the each option:

 

We hope that the change lets you communicate to your clients consistently in your presentations, no matter if you prefer to work with spreads or pages.

Cheers!

After you’ve created your album, make sure you take advantage of the features we’ve built into AlbumExposure to promote yourself and sell more books!

The public link under “share” is a great page to encourage your client to share their album with friends and family.  It’s a great opportunity to get your work in front of more people.  You could also send that link to parents or extended family for the opportunity to sell an additional book to them. We’ve heard of lots of creative ways people are using the public page!

Last week we added a couple little items to make sharing your albums on AlbumExposure even easier.  When you click to share  an album, you’ll see two new share buttons that you can click to quickly tweet or post on facebook about your album.

 

We also added buttons to the public page so that people who come to view your album can share it on twitter and facebook as well and do some of that promoting for you.

Now go show off your albums!

Cheers!