Sharp Auction Engine V. 1.1.0 introduces a variety of new features and fixes to improve overall site performance, most notably a newly redesigned Photo Manager and additional search engine optimization (SEO) features.
Let’s take a look at what’s new!
A project that has been long-coming is now here: a newly redesigned Photo Manager! Auctioneers will now find it easier than ever to upload and assign photos to their catalogs and items.
We took the original functionalities of our previous Photo Manager and added to them to create a more robust and comprehensive tool while maintaining the ease-of-use and responsive design that our users have grown to expect.
The main difference that users will notice is a new layout for the Photo Manager. We have implemented a two-panel design that allows auctioneers to easily toggle between catalogs and items. With the new Photo Manager you can upload photos, assign photos to existing or new items, edit photos, view photo details such as the file size and original filename, feature photos on the catalog or item, delete photos, and more!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SAE provides auctioneers with the ability to conduct their own branded timed online auctions right from their own website. Now we take that even further with new search engine optimization (SEO) features to improve the visibility of these timed online auctions in search engine results. These new SEO features allow auctioneers to easily customize the page titles and meta descriptions for their auction pages, and they can add custom keywords to their auction houses, catalogs, and items.
First, let’s take a closer look at page titles. Conveniently located in Auction House Setting under the Theme tab, auctioneers can now update page titles at any time. Updating this field will change the text that is displayed in internet browser tabs and in search engine results. This new feature allows auctioneers to ensure their auction pages are branded and descriptive, such as “Bid in Timed Online Auctions | ABC Auctions, Inc.
Meta descriptions work similarly. Search engine results display the page title as well as a description. SAE now provides auctioneers the ability to edit this description. A thorough and clear description helps search engines to determine your relevancy to online searches and helps attract more potential bidders to click on your site in search results. To edit your page’s meta description, click on the Marketing tab in your Auction House Settings.
Finally, by request, we have implemented keywords on the auction house, catalog, and item level. This means that auctioneers can add keywords to their auction page, to each new catalog, and to each new item. These keywords further help to improve visibility in search engine results. To add keywords to your auction page, click on the Marketing tab in your Auction House Settings. To add keywords to your catalogs and items, simply go to the corresponding Catalog and Item Managers.
In addition to these new features we have implemented for auctioneers, we have also implemented SEO practices for our own sites. For example, we have made keywords searchable on the SAE site. This means that if a bidder searches for a specific word, if that word is a keyword on your catalog or item, it will be displayed in the results.
Furthermore, we have updated our own page titles, meta descriptions, and keywords, and we have verified our sites with Google and Bing Webmaster Tools. We have also improved our overall url structures and created sitemaps for betting search engine indexing.
Please note that, in order to deter black hat SEO practices and to comply with search engine guidelines, we have applied limits to page titles, meta descriptions, and keywords. For example, meta descriptions are limited to 160 characters because anything beyond that is truncated in search engine results.
In the past, we introduced an option to add videos to display on items. We have extended this capability to items now, as well. On the Catalog Manager, auctioneers will now see the option to enter a YouTube url, and the video will display under a new Video tab on the Catalog Detail page.
To assist auctioneers in adding videos to their catalogs and items, we have also added help text and a preview option to the Catalog and Item Managers.
Conditional Bidder Approval
For each catalog, an auctioneer has the option to approve bidders automatically or manually. By request, we have added an additional option: conditional bidder approval. Auctioneers can now configure their catalogs so that bidders with a phone number on file will be automatically approved, but bidders without a phone number on file will be subject to manual approval.
The Catalog Manager is an important page for auctioneers. Serving as a central location for editing and managing catalog details, it is one of the most frequently used pages by auctioneers. In order to better organize the sections on this page, and to simplify navigation from one section to another, we previously made each collapsible and expandable. Each section had its own Save button. Now, to simplify the overall process, each of these Save buttons is now a Save All Changes button. That means that you can update multiple sections, and just click Save All Changes once, and all of those changes will be saved.
For V. 1.1.0, we have implemented two new emails. The first email is sent to a user as a confirmation that his or her password was changed. This serves as an extra layer of security for users, ensuring that changes to your account were made by you and not someone else.
The second email is sent to new auctioneers upon the creation of their online auction house. This Getting Started email provides a useful list of steps that auctioneers should take to fully set up and customize their auction houses. With simple instructions and links to helpful How To Guides and YouTube tutorials, this email makes getting started an easy and fun process!
In addition to changes to the Catalog Manager, the Manage Items page has been enhanced to now include additional information. On this page you will now find additional details such as the Starting Bid, the Reserve Amount, the Total Reserve Amount, and the Total Current Bids Amount. This allows auctioneers to view more information at once in a centralized location, eliminating the need to navigate to additional pages for the information.
Each auctioneer that signs up with SAE receives an SSL certificate for his or her auction page at no additional cost. In order to streamline the acquisition and installation of the SSL certificate, we have added an optional section to the Auctioneer Signup Form to automate the process. This eliminates an extra step and helps auctioneers get their first auctions up and running more quickly.
Display & Navigation
In addition to the many improvements already detailed, we’ve implemented many other changes to improve overall display and navigation. Take a look at some of those changes below:
- Bidders will now see a more vibrant and interactive bid box because we have added a blinking function to the bid button. Now no matter where you are on the page, look for the blinking button, and that’s where you can place your bid!
- An important change to the Bid Modal helps bidders more clearly differentiate between placing a regular bid and a maxbid. Of the two fields that display on this modal, whichever one is not currently is use is deactivated, avoiding any confusion as to whether or not you are placing a regular bid or a maxbid.
- The links for each catalog on the Auctioneer Dashboard have been enhanced to include links to access Invoices, Payments, and Reports.
- The auction house statistics on the Auctioneer Dashboard have been converted to links, allowing auctioneers to display all catalogs of a certain type (such as draft, live, upcoming, closed, or archived) with just one click.
- We have improved the display of Facebook shares for the SAE website, sharpauctionengine.com.
In addition to the above changes, we’ve added a ton of new solutions to our Support Portal for V. 1.0.4! Some new solutions for auctioneers include How Tos such as “How to set default Terms and Conditions,” “How to allow pre-bids on upcoming auctions,” and “How to upload an auction house profile image.”
The Support Portal continues to grow and serves as a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn more about our product!