Deployment day: version 1.1.3 is now live

No better day to stress-test our deployment systems than Friday the 13th! Luckily for us the update was flawless and all stores have now been updated to version 1.1.3 of the SolidShops application.

Improvements made in this release:

  • we streamlined our template language and made it more straightforward to build out your templates
  • the documentation has been updated to reflect changes we made to our template language
  • all existing themes have been automatically updated to use the new template language
  • Turkish is now a supported checkout language (Hoşgeldin kullanıcıları türk!)
  • Turkish Lira is now a supported currency
  • Swedish is now a supported checkout language (hurra!)
  • We have removed the limit on images you can add per product. Go nuts!
  • Revision dates are now shown in a more human friendly manner
  • We added sample data and screenshots to new stores to make you feel right at home
  • The signup and getting started process has been polished and made even more user friendly
  • fixed a bug where people could buy more items than there were in stock
  • got rid of RE-CAPTCHA in favor of a much easier to use Captcha system on shop contact forms

We’ve been working on a number of new features as well. Make sure you follow us on Twitter or Facebook so you won’t miss any of them when they get announced.

Happy selling!

Tips for using QR Codes in Business Cards

We recently made a couple of business cards for our team to give out whenever we meet interesting people. When creating these cards we’ve learned a number of things that make the use of QR codes on print such as business cards more efficient.

If you are thinking about using QR codes for your next round of business cards, the following tips may come in handy to save you time and frustration.

Always use short url’s

QR codes tend to get more complex when you put more information in them. Therefore it’s best to use a URL shortener if you want to open a web page when the users scans your card. We use which creates a QR code for you automatically, does the same thing. The only downside is that they don’t provide a vector version of the QR code, which is handy when designing your cards.

If you want to generate a vector QR code, use this tool which even has an API.

Make the QR code large enough

Not everyone is packing a 10 megapixel camera on their mobile phone. Make sure you test your QR code on different devices. Our first test printout had a QR code that was slightly smaller and while it worked great on iPhones, some older Android and Windows Mobile devices were having trouble recognizing the code.

This has nothing to do with the platform you are on, but with the resolution of your mobile camera. Test, iterate and test some more until you have found the perfect balance between QR code size and scannability.

Use black on white

Although we’ve had some success with a dark blue QR code on a light background, things seem to work best when just using a black QR code on a plain white background. Use colors anywhere else on your cards, but try to stick to plain black and white for your QR codes.

Track results

You will want to track how your networking efforts are working out. While sending a short email reminder after meeting somebody in person is a good idea, it’s a good idea to track your QR code campaign in any analytics tool. We use Google Analytics to keep track of how many people have scanned our cards.

Tease, reward, provide value

Reward anyone who takes the time and effort to see what that QR code on your cards is all about. Don’t just send a person to your homepage but create a separate landing page for those adventurous souls that have scanned your card.

We have set up a landing page with a little surprise for anyone who has gotten their hands on one of our cards.

Happy networking everyone!

Winning The Lottery Without Buying A Ticket

What would you do if you would win the lottery? Would you still be doing the work you do today?

For me the answer to that same question is absolutely yes. I didn’t really win the lottery, I don’t even play on it, so that kind of limits my odds of winning. But I do know this: if I would win the lottery tomorrow, I would still be running SolidShops. I would also keep teaching my students about web development and server management. That’s exactly what I do today and it’s what I love doing most.

Personally, I think that’s just as good as winning the actual lottery.

Of course here at SolidShops we have good days as well as bad days just like everywhere else. But that’s ok, it makes you appreciate those great days even more. What’s important is that you stop doing what you’re doing from time to time and think about it: are you doing what you are really passionate about?

If not, why not pivot into something what you really love doing. In the end, you only have one journey. Make it count.

Today we had a lot on our plate to discuss. The weather in Belgium is exceptionally good these days so we decided to enjoy the sun a little and went out to have our meeting on a sunny terrace in the city. We actually ended up having a very productive meeting and enjoyed it tremendously. After the meeting, we had some amazing Belgian beer to top things off ;).

Don’t feel guilty about those days where you are less productive than you could have been. Sometimes the journey is more important than the outcome and walking that road will bring you one step closer to winning that lottery, without buying a ticket.

Cheers to that.

Thanks For The Smile

Earlier today we received a support email from one of our clients that actually made me smile throughout the day. The following is a direct quote from that email:

“I am actually excited about using [SolidShops] which unfortunately is not how I feel when I log into Magento”

No expensive gifts, no jokes, just a very honest sentence in a support mail is what it took to make me smile and feel good about our work. From the beginning, we have focused on making SolidShops easier and more pleasant to use than other ecommerce software out there.

It’s amazingly rewarding when somebody notices why we go the extra mile. Thanks for making me smile today, you know who you are ;).

Photo by Alan Cleaver

Deployment day: version 1.1.2 is now live

Spring has finally arrived here in Belgium. Actually, in the past month newspapers have reported that our small country has had the best weather in Europe. Eat that Spain and Italy!

Following up on our bi-weekly deployment promise we’ve made to ourselves and to our clients, we are proud to present our sunny 1.1.2 release.

You can now:

Fixes and improvements in this release include:

  • when editing product variants, original selections and prices are now kept intact
  • added documentation for newly supported payment providers
  • added documentation for creating custom 404 pages
  • added documentation for using custom templates
  • warnings about mixed content on some pages have been resolved
  • removed 21% tax notification for anyone living outside of Belgium
  • a bug was fixed that would not show the full date about events in your dashboard

Thank you all for your constructive feedback and for requesting some very useful features. Keep it coming!

Enjoy the sun everyone!

Deployment day: version 1.1.1 is now live

The bi-weekly deployment process that we started in January this year has proven to be of great value. Not only is it a great way for us to focus only on what really matters, but our customers know that every two weeks we’ll put a new version of our application online. In those new versions we often implement bug fixes, but also new features.

You asked for more payment providers, you got it.

In this release, we have added support for the following payment providers:

Next to this support, we have made the following improvements to the application:

  • we reduced the overall number of queries in the webshops with 60%
  • a bug in our template language that caused duplicate database calls has been fixed
  • the stock level is validated during checkout
  • more detailed statuses are shown in the activity log
  • the link to our admin page was not correct after a password reset
  • wa added the currency: Trinidad and Tobago Dollar (TTD)
  • we added the currency: Australian Dollars (AUD)

Keep sending in your feedback so that we can continue to improve our software.

Deployment Day: version 1.1.0 is now live

Since our previous release we have focused our efforts on redesigning the way you can implement payment providers. The interface to add and configure payment providers has been finished and now we are testing and adding more payment methods to the application, based on users’ feedback. The 1.1.0 version of SolidShops marks the beginning of some new exciting features we’ll be implementing.

Over the past few months we’ve fixed a great number of small bugs and issues some users have reported to us. Every bug that was sent in has been resolved and we’ll keep updating and releasing a new version of SolidShops every two weeks.

In this release, the following changes and improvements have been made:

  • rewrite of the payments integrations interface
  • Italian version of the checkout process has been tweaked
  • order confirmation mails now clearly show the shop’s name as the sender
  • adjustment of our pricing plans: the limit on the number of content pages has been removed!
  • Philippine Peso (PHP) has been added to the list of supported currencies.

Keep sending in your feedback so that we can continuously improve the application and help you
build better online stores. Enjoy the update!


We changed our pricing plans: no more limits on content pages

Until now we limited the number of content pages you could create in your store depending on the pricing plan you were in. Our users have let us know that this was really a limiting factor on how they could use SolidShops to build better online stores.

For example: many stores only sell a couple of products but have several rather static content pages like a normal brochure website. Because of the number of content pages such a store was adding to their store, they would have to upgrade to a higher pricing plan even though their number of products was very limited.

We listened to our clients and decided to drop the limit on content pages completely. No matter what pricing plan you are in, you are always able to create as many content pages as you like. With that limitation removed, there is no need to integrate SolidShops into a separate website you have running somewhere else. Just use SolidShops to manage your content pages easily and build your store and website all in one place.

Take for example the following “static” page at the this fine espresso bar and Solid webshop created by the fine folks at Webnology.

Thanks for the great feedback everyone. This decision will enable you once again to build better online stores.

Don’t have an account yet? Why hesitate. Start a store in only a couple of minutes by signing up for a risk free 30 day trial.

Deployment Day: version 1.0.9 is now live

The bi-weekly deployment process that we started in January this year has proven to be of great value. Not only is it a great way for us to focus only on what really matters, but our customers know that every two weeks we’ll put a new version of our application online. In those new versions we often implement bug fixes, but also new features.

In this version we have implemented the following:

  • all shops now have an auto-generated sitemap.xml file for better search engine indexation
  • all shops now have a robots.txt file at
  • payment processing has been re-written from the ground up in a new admin screen
  • support for manual bank transfers, cheques and cash on delivery has been added
  • support for Ogone, and 2Checkout is underway!
  • an Italian version of the checkout process has been added
  • solved a bug where the use of single quotes would cause problems when adding variants
  • using images from your assets in checkout caused an SSL warning in Internet Explorer, this has been resolved

This was a maintenance release where many other things have been improved behind the scenes. Expect support for more payment providers in the next few releases, as well as various improvements and bug fixes.

Keep sending in your feedback so that we can continuously improve the application and help you build better online stores. Enjoy the update!

SolidShops in Vitaya Lifestyle Magazine

This month SolidShops got mentioned in Vitaya magazine, a monthly lifestyle magazine. You can find us on page 26 in the “techno mix” as the WWW-tip of the month.

Here’s a small screen grab for the Dutchmen among us.

Thanks Vitaya, for featuring us in your splendid magazine.