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Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

New Feature – TotSites Mobile

Monday, November 15th, 2010

As a parent I find it a challenge to have the camera “ready” for those candid moments that I want to remember the most. Sure I can ask “Izzy, wait here while Dad goes to grab the camera and then would you please put your hat on again, stand on one foot, and grin at me sideways?”.  Not to mention those absolutely adorable moments when they say things like “Dad, why do boys have hair on their face…. Tell me the truth Dad…” as only a three year old can. I like to think that my memory is the same as it was 10 years ago, but as I get busy I tend to forget to post these to my TotSite until I frantically try to remember a week later.

The only thing that has saved me is the fact that I typically have my phone with which, thank you to technology, now doubles as a camera, camcorder and a Browser.

You can log in to your TotSite now and add Journals and Photos from your mobile device, but to be honest it’s not as easy as it should be. That is why we would like to announce TotSites Mobile!

The mobile version of TotSites is streamlined to let you get right to the point to add photos or that quick journal entry recording that funny phrase or moment you just experienced with your family. If you go to the log in page on TotSites it will automatically detect if you’re using one of the popular mobile devices and redirect you to here: Totsites Mobile Login . Simply use your normal username and password and you are set.

iPhone Users: There is one small problem for iPhone users (I am one of them so  I know exactly how annoying this can be). Apple does not allow you to upload files from your device through a Browser. This is not a limitation of TotSites but instead a limitation of the phone itself. We are looking into creating a full blown iPhone application to be released in the App Store. If you happen to know any iPhone App developers please have them contact us! We are looking to have something ready in the near future. You can still upload Journals, Fun Facts, and Growth Charts with the existing TotSites Mobile site!

Everyone Else: Your Android, Windows 7, Blackberry, Palm etc.. will work exactly as you would expect with TotSites mobile.

This is a new feature that we plan on tweaking often. If you have particular features or comments please let us know!

New TotSites Features!

Friday, September 24th, 2010

We just added a few new features you might want to know about!

1) Facebook comments and TotSites photos – When you post your photos to Facebook from TotSites you can now optionally have all Facebook comments copied back to your TotSite automatically! This way when friends and family leave a cute comment on your Facebook photo it will be stored in your TotSites Keepsake.

2) Linked Accounts – For those parents that prefer to have an independent site for each child, you can now link your TotSites accounts. Once they are linked you can easily switch between both sites while you making updates. You can also add photos from any linked account into your Journals and site homepage.

3) Allow Friends and Family to order Photo Prints and Memory Books – Does Grandma ask you for new pictures to hang on the wall on a regular basis? You now have the option to let her order photo prints and memory books directly from your site! To set your preferences just log in to your site and click on the Sharing tab.

4) New Theme: Dinosaur – Looking for a fun theme? Check out the new Dinosaur design,  just released.

Wander back in time to when dinosaurs ruled the earth! A variety of different colors and creatures make up this fun prehistoric theme.


TotSites and Facebook finally working together!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Nowadays who doesn’t have a Facebook account or at least hasn’t heard of it?

Over the years we have had the chance to talk with new Parents and hear what they like, don’t like, and flat out NEED (more time + sleep).

The cool thing about TotSites is that it’s a private “memory locker” of sorts that allows you to create and share a digital Keepsake to chronicle your Baby’s or Family’s life. Every photo, fun fact, growth chart, home video of the “first steps” and of course all the fun comments from close friends and family is located in one easy to find collection. Mom, Dad, and invited friends and family have immediate access to see how cute your baby is anywhere they have Internet access. (You can also order a  Keepsake CD for viewing offline!). Unlike Facebook, TotSites allows you to easily save all those “firsts” that you will always want to remember in one organized location.

At the same time, we know that Facebook offers you the option to network and connect with nearly an infinite number of past acquaintances. Many Parents use Facebook for a multitude of personal uses and additionally to share the occasional picture of Baby. Keeping in mind that Parents are always looking for ways to create more free time, we decided it might be a good idea to allow you to link your TotSite to your Facebook account. This way you can still add all your private memories to TotSites while selectively choosing which ones you also want on Facebook and then let us post to your Facebook wall. Now you can upload ONCE and publish to both sites.

- Selectively choose what to keep private on your TotSite and what to also publish on Facebook.

- Optionally publish Photos, Journals, and alerts you add to your TotSite on your Facebook wall.

To enable Facebook with your TotSite:

  1. Login to your TotSite
  2. Click on the “Share” tab
  3. Look for the Facebook Link
  4. Once you are on the TotSites Facebook page follow the 4 steps to link your Facebook account
    1. Turn on Facebook
    2. Connect with Facebook
    3. Give TotSites permission to publish on your wall (we will ONLY post what you explicitly tell us to)
    4. Optionally give TotSites offline access so we can publish on Facebook without you first logging in to your Facebook account.

Our goal is to help you better separate your private vs. public memories as well as save you precious time! We hope the new Facebook integration is one step towards accomplishing this goal.

If you have comments or feedback please let us know!

New Photo Gallery

Friday, October 9th, 2009

By popular demand we added a new photo gallery option for you to use with your TotSite! Some of the new features include:

- Updated Gallery page. Previously there was one photo gallery displayed per row. When you have 30 photo galleries it made your visitors scroll more than they should. Now three photo galleries are displayed per row.

- Photo thumbnails were moved above the main photo.

- Slideshow controls were moved above the main photo.

- A more dynamic slideshow speed control bar was added.

Check out an example of the new slideshow. You can control which version of the slideshow appears on your site by logging in to your site, going to the main Photo page, and selecting the “slider” gallery option in the Photo Tasks box.

If you have comments or suggestions please do not hesitate to let us know!

How often to update your TotSite

Monday, July 14th, 2008

One of the more common questions we get from Parents is “How much time does it take to create and update a TotSite?”. The first part is simple – you can create your TotSite and have something fun to show friends and family in under 5 minutes. All you need is one adorable photo or a precious fun fact/milestone along with one of our adorable themes to make Grandma smile! Don’t take our word for it – create your online baby journal and try it for yourself!

Typically Parents fall into one of three categories in regards to how often they update their TotSite.

Daily
Some Parents prefer to update their site daily. They journal their daily adventure with their new little one and maybe add a picture or two. Taking 10 minutes before bedtime can be a great way to help keep your family milestones recorded so you can put your mind on other more important tasks – like sleep!

2-4 Updates per Month
During the first year of your Baby’s life there are so many changes, firsts, and smiles that you may want to keep a record of what is happening a couple times per month. This can be accomplished with a few quick sentences or even with the latest photos from the Zoo. Don’t feel like you need to write some long journal with every detail that happend during the month but instead just highlight the few things that made you laugh or smile.

3-4 Times per Year
In many cases Parents will update their TotSite around the Holidays as they have a ton of photos they want to share with friends and family (Be sure to order your prints with the new TotSites Photo Center – 5 cent Photo Prints!!!). They update a few galleries to their TotSite and then create a recap of the highlights since the last update. This tends to be a trend as Baby gets closer and closer to a full blown Toddler.

If Grandpa and Grandma had their way they would have you uploading new photos and videos every day. Heck, if we all had time, who wouldn’t want to journal their child’s milestones, photos, and videos in a daily format. The reality is not all Parents have the time or energy for this level of updates. Speaking from a personal point of view, I know we don’t have time to update our daughter’s TotSite daily. We typically update our sites when we order new photos (every 1-2 months) and this is plenty to create a Keepsake we will cherish for years to come.

There is no right answer for how often you need to update your TotSite. The idea is to share, record milestones, and most of all have FUN! Friends and family will enjoy whatever you can add to your TotSite and you can create a valuable Keepsake for when Baby is older (including comments from Great Grandma!)

Brian

TotSite Polls – What are your favorites?

Monday, February 19th, 2007

We received a few emails from new parents asking what other TotSite members are using for Polls on their site. I thought it would be a great idea to post a few examples here on the blog, and then open it up for everyone else to add their favorites too.

My wife and I have been using TotSites now for a little over 2 years (Yes, we use it too! In fact, we will be welcoming our second child in about 2 months!!!) and we have used a variety of fun polls. A few of our favorites were:

  • What is Baby’s first word going to be?
  • When do you think Baby will start walking on her own?
  • Now that Baby is walking, how long until she can catch up with the Kitty?
  • How long till Baby asks Daddy for a puppy (without help from MOM!)?
  • Will Baby actually sleep while camping?
  • What will Baby’s new sibling be?

I always find it entertaining to see how our friends & family votes. Obviously some questions are created by Mom and others by Dad, each with their own bias. We can almost see the faces of our friends as they read and vote on the list of available answers while trying to guess who created the poll! It always adds a smile to our face when we see the results and we can’t wait to show the questions/answers with Baby when she is old enough to enjoy them.

Please share some of your favorite polls by leaving a comment on the blog. That way we can all enjoy some creative ideas =) 

Brian

Optimize Photos for Your TotSite

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Why do we have to “optimize” photos anyway?

Everyone loves to see your new adorable photos, but no one likes a website that take forever to load. TotSites automatically resizes and optimizes your photos for the web, but there are a few things you can do to give your photos that extra “zing”. If this sounds complicated or too time consuming, you can simply upload your photos “as is” and TotSites will take care of everything for you!

Optimizing Digital Camera Photos or Scanned Photos

Most digital cameras use the JPEG format, but the resulting photos come in a wide variety of sizes. To obtain the best quality photograph on your TotSite, it usually makes sense to crop and resize the photo before uploading.

Here are some recommended steps to optimize your photos:

  1. In most cases digital cameras and scanners come with photo editing software that can be used to edit the photos. If not, you might try using a photo service such as Picasa or use your favorite search engine to look for “free photo editing software”. 
  2. Be sure to create a copy of your photograph or use the “save as” option to ensure you do not overwrite your original photo! If anything goes wrong, you will have your original version as a backup.
  3. Crop the photo to remove any unnecessary sections of the picture. This step also allows you to pinpoint the focus on your favorite part of the picture, such as that great big smile!
  4. Most TotSites designs require your photo to be under 500 pixels wide.  Look for a command called “Image Size,” “Resize,” or “Resample.” when editing your photo. When you use this command you will be presented with a dialog box for entering the exact pixels you wish to use. We recommend setting your photos to 500 pixels for the main photo galleries and 300 pixels for photos to be used on the TotSite homepage. 
  5. If the picture is too light/dark, adjust the contrast and color balance. You can make some of those dark photos stand out with a small tweak.
  6. If you wanted to add creative effects or text to your photo, this is the best time in the optimization process to make those additions. Many parents enjoy adding borders or text to their photos before uploading to their account.
  7. When you are done, save the photo in JPEG format. Remember to use “Save As” to ensure you do not overwrite your original photo.

This may sound like a time consuming process, especially if you have a lot of photos to share, but fortunately most of today’s software has made it easy to resize a *batch* of photos quickly. Look for features or commands such as “email photos” that will resize and compress many images for you. Even though “email photos” is not necessary meant to be used to batch process photos to be uploaded to your website – it works well! Remember with TotSites, you do not need to send out HUGE emails that clog up friends and family’s inbox’s. Simply upload the photo in one place to share with friends and family while creating a wonderful keepsake.

You do not need to take the time to optimize every photo, but you may want to make that one photo stand out above the rest, highlight that perfect smile or just remove the unwanted areas in the background.

Once you get the hang of optimizing your photos I think you will find it does not take too much time. If fact it might save you time compared to uploading multiple three megabyte files!

If you have any questions or comments – let us know! We are happy to help.

Brian 

Encourage friends & family to sign your guestbook

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

When friends and family post comments and encouragment in your guestbook it makes your TotSite that much more valuable as a keepsake. Years down the road when you go back and look over your TotSite, it will make you smile when you see what your loved ones had to say.

To encourage friends & family to sign your guestbook, create a link from your homepage. Here are some simple step-by-step instructions on how to add links to your homepage:

  1. Log in to your TotSite.
  2. Click on the General tab.
  3. Begin editing your homepage text.
  4. Add the text that you would like to become the link. (or skip to step 5)
  5. Highlight the text from step 4 with your mouse and click on the link icon: .
  6. Select “guestbook” from the link dropdown menu.
  7. Save your changes.

You can add all types of links in this manner on your homepage, journal and gift registry.

Have fun!

Brian

Adding a ticker to your TotSite

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

TotSites is all about showing off your fun photos, memories etc with friends and family. This does not mean you are *limited* to these items and in fact we encourage you to expand the possibilities.

For example: Pregnancy / Birthday tickers

Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Tickers are a fun way to add more flare to your forum signatures, emails and you guessed it…. your TotSite!

Adding a ticker to your TotSite is relatively easy but does take a few extra steps.

1) Go ahead and create a ticker of your choice from one of the many ticker sites: lilypie.com, tickercentral.com, tickers.baby-gaga.com, and www.snugglepie.com/tickers.html (if you know of another good ticker site please let us know)

2) Locate the “HTML” code provided once your ticker is generated.

3) Login to your TotSite

4) Navigate to the “General” page and look for the homepage text box.

5) Click on the icon.

6) A new window will open where you can paste the HTML code provided in step 2 above.

7) Save the changes in the new window, then save the changes for the “General” page.

Depending on which design you are using you may need to play around with the location of the ticker so it fits well with the design. It might be as simple as adding a couple new lines before or after the ticker. In any case it gives you the opportunity to add fun new elements to your site while adding a personal touch.

Have fun!

Brian