All Posts By

Jacques van Heerden

PrestaShop Makes Setting Up an Online Store Easy

With the ever growing popularity of online stores, a lot of people have come to wonder which platforms are suitable to help them sell online. Today we will be looking at one of the most trusted online platforms for setting up your selling business, PrestaShop. PrestaShop is free ecommerce software built on a solid foundation of support structures and helping you the seller prosper.

So why exactly should you consider PrestaShop as your online platform for setting up your business? Let’s have a look at the few points below.

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Selling should be easy

When looking at any store provider for your new project, you have to make sure that their platform is suited to your selling needs. No one ever said selling would be easy, but with the right provider, I beg to differ. PrestaShop sets its self apart by having taken care of every detail so that you don’t have to worry about a thing.

From setup, to sale you’re covered from head to toe with guides, directions and ease of use functions. Setting up a store has never been this easy. PrestaShop has two great ways to get started selling online. The first way is by downloading PrestaShop and hosting it on your own server. Or you can go with the new cloud version of PrestaShop, which is hosted on PrestaShops cloud servers, but still completely free. Both options still run off the same version of PrestaShop, it just comes down to if you want to host it yourself, or have free hosting with the cloud.

Walk through their demo

YOU are their most important asset

When it comes to a lot of companies, they worry about their revenue, their platform, their mistakes, their press etc. When it comes to PrestaShop, what I’ve found is that they value their users, and the community the most. Yes, sure they look after their business, just like everyone else, but with a community of over 700,000 you can see why the company has been built around this group. PrestaShop also has the largest and most active ecommerce forum in the world. It’s where you can go to ask questions, find answers and make the most of your online store.

signup-prestashop

Easy to setup solutions

I’ve tried a lot of software over the years and it amazes me how simple their available solutions are. If I didn’t want to setup my own server and self-host, I’d simply click on their cloud setup, choose my store name and email address and Bam! I’m in. Obviously there will be a bit of a process to go through, I mean you’re setting up a shop to take other people’s money from them…However, PrestaShop has really streamlined the process to help you get up and running a lot faster than most other platforms online will.

If you were to go with the self-hosted solution they offer, most of it will be in your hands. Setting up your server, installing the platform, setup, database connection etc. It comes down to who you want to serve and what your technical abilities look like. Either way, PrestaShop has the best solutions for your store.

Scalability in mind

PrestaShop thought ahead when they started launching online stores. That’s why they have more than 200,000 stores online that have been launched using PrestaShop. One of the key things to look at when building a sales portal for your goods is the scalability of the platform. In this case, PrestaShop is one of the best platforms when it comes to scalability. PrestaShop has no limits on the number of products you can sell, and is capable of handling as many pages as your store might need. They also have a plethora of certified web agencies to help you with anything from design to development surrounding the platform, they will help you make your dream become a reality whilst earning you money.

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Hands-On Training

In the day and age we live in, knowledge is everything. Therefore PrestaShop has built an educational training division into the company. Teaching you to become better at using their platform to sell; they has expert instructors on hand to teach you the ins and outs of the platform and how you can take full advantage and be successful using the PrestaShop solution. These sessions are conduct online on a monthly basis, but classes are kept small to make it easier to interact live with the instructor to answer any questions you might have.

Expert Support to help you

Support is the most important part of any company. Especially when the you, the customer struggle to get into the backend of your store, have missing products or any other problem for that matter. The support system PrestaShop has put in place helps you focus on what matters in your business so that they can take care of the rest. You can sleep soundly at night knowing their are people out there that are ready to help you at a moments notice. One of the most overlooked places for support comes right from the forum. Many of the issues you may encounter when creating and running your online store have most likely happen to someone else earlier on.

Checking the forum for the answer to your question is sometime the fastest way to find the answer you’re looking for and keep your store up and running with out any downtime.

Conclusion

You don’t have any excuse not to launch that sock shop you’ve been wanting this entire time or that clothing line. PrestaShop is there to help you setup in no time and run a profitable online store! Are you running an online store with PrestaShop currently? Using another platform and looking to switch? Let us know in the comments below!

Getresponse – The Easiest Email Marketing Software on the Market

I had a look at GetReponse right when I started out setting up my first email newsletters, at the time it wasn’t a sound fit for me, but I decided to have a look at GetResponse one more time to see whether things have changed.

It’s important to understand that I love functionality and beautiful design combined. They have to work together without lacking any usability on the user end. I’ve heard some good things of GetResponse in the past few months and that some bigger companies were moving their lists over, so it sparked my interest.

The first thing I noticed, was that they were offering a 30 day free trial for you to test the software. This makes it clear that the company believes in their product and that they would support it for free, no risk involved on your end.

So I signed up…

Functionality is great

One of the first things I’ve noticed since trying out GetResponse way back when, was that their interface is so easy to navigate and understand. Not only do they provide me with helpful guides pointing the way for my first time use, but the general getting around navigation is super easy. Sections are clearly marked and accessible. You don’t really get lost like you do in other service provider interfaces.

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Took me 3 minutes

It literally took my 3 minutes to setup a new list, import some contacts and start setting up my first campaign. I didn’t have to look for tools or pages to help facilitate the process, they were all directed my way, if I could put it that way. Their importing functions work well and looks solid.

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Guided Training

From the start, they offer you to attend their live training daily webinar where they will teach you tactics of growing your list from 0-100,000. It’s offered on a daily basis and looks super helpful for people just starting out with newsletters.

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Auto Responders are easy

Often times auto responder setups can take time and needs you to sit down and think of the dripping time frames. In this case, GetResponse made it super easy to setup your auto responders. It’s a beautiful interface that guides you through the process, spelling out all the details until the setup is complete.

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Survey integration

It’s not often that you find survey tools integrated with your email marketing, even though surveys are an important part of any business’s long term growth. GetResponse has done a beautiful job of integrating surveys with their software, you can create your surveys right in your dashboard and send it to whom ever subscribes to a certain link you publish. It beats having to sign up for extra survey software!

Survey

Easy subscription form creation tools

I gotta say, everything about GetResponse to me spells, “easy.” Getting into an often times complicated creation process of producing signup forms have been done neutralized due to the software’s easy creation tools and guided cues.

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You have the ability to choose from over 200 pre-designed form templates, or to start from scratch using their beautifully structured form creator. It really works like a charm.

Formbuilder

New Landing Page Integration

Say what? Yes, that’s right. GetResponse has introduced landing pages into their suite of tools available to you. It’s amazing to see that an email company takes intuitive to bring together different tools to make a completed package that can serve millions. Even though the landing page creator is still in beta, it serves as a powerful tool to capture new leads for your business.

Landingpage

You get to choose from a lot of pre-designed templates readily available to you to setup your landing page, it’s really simple to create something that could take you a lot of time usually.

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What Neil Patel has to say about GetResponse

For those of you who don’t know Neil Patel, he is an authority figure in the world of online marketing, having built two successful companies, Crazy Egg and KiSSmetrics and blogging about his progress at QuickSprout, let’s hear what he has to say about GetResponse.

My overall view of GetResponse

I gotta say, after playing around with the software, doing different tests and tasks, I love it. It’s simple, elegantly designed, fast and responsive. The pricing plans look great for what you get. Just testing out the software has convinced me to make the switch to GetResponse. Will you be doing the same?

Why Your Blog Sucks and 5 Steps to Fix it!

Sitting at home, wondering why people can send out simple tweets and manage to get 2K retweets to their latest blog post? Why it seems that you work so much harder than them to get traffic to your blog, but ultimately fail? Have you ever been honest with yourself?

Well have you? The realization which you might come to right now is that your blog sucks! No, not the design, but the content. Design doesn’t matter all to much whether people will read your content or not. I started Creativeoverflow with a generic template, something I bought on Themeforest. I managed to get traffic right from the start, simply because I wrote unique articles. Articles that people wanted to read.

Now you might be thinking that I’m preaching to the choir here. Well maybe I am, maybe I’m not…that’s for you to decide. My point here is that you’re going to have to fix your content in order to reach your traffic goals. I’m going to show you how in a second, but first I want to let you know that consistency is key. Uniqueness is key. Honesty is key.

I have made mistakes before. The blog started off with a bang, a lot of interested parties and we grew by the thousands. Then I made the mistake of appointing an editor and retracting myself. What did that do for Creativeoverflow? Well, it messed it up. Curated content was put at the top of the list, revenue and advertising was the target and somehow the editor forgot about our audience. The audience that took me a lot of blood, sweat and tears to build up. The audience that kept me awake for nights at end to provide high quality, unique content for. The audience that I built a report with and that trusted me with their focus.

When I started looking at the engagement statistics and the site traffic reports, I immediately saw the difference. Yes, traffic was up, but engagement was down…a lot! I was angry, I was distraught, ultimately it was my fault though. I withdrew myself and left Creativeoverflow in the hands of someone else, someone that I trusted to uphold the brand, company and focus on growth. Sure it did grow, but not for the right reasons…Not for the reasons I started this site.

Then it dawned on me…Creativeoverflow sucks! How was I going to fix this and bring it back to its previous state of glory? In my situation it led to the editor being fired and then I sat down, mapped out a plan to recover what was lost and started to asses the damage that was done.

If you know what I’m talking about, you’ve probably been in the same boat as myself. Everything is going for the site, but there is still something key that is missing….so how do we fix this?

Step 1: Analyze the Statistics – (3-4 Hours)

This is always my step backwards! I step back and assess the situation at hand. I have a list of applications that I go through to do my assessment. First of all, I backtrack to when the editor started and then look at the number of articles published since he started. I then start looking at the engagement statistics, comments, shares, trackbacks, bounce rates, acquisition methods, retention rates etc. I even dial down to look at the social media accounts and their growth, posting numbers etc.

I compile an Excel spreadsheet with all the data I collected to start deciphering what has happened and that I can bring my understanding of the situation to better light.

Tools I recommend to use

You can obviously determine your own method of assessing the situation and whether or not your situation really is a problem and how it needs fixing.

If you were to be assessing your own contribution to your blogs growth, I would look at Raw Contribution Statistics, Posting Consistency, Conversion ratios, Engagement levels and Blog Innovation. That’s definitely an article for another day if anyone is interested!

Step 2: Map out an action plan – (1-3 Hours)

Now that you have the raw data in hand and know what is going on, it’s time to start mapping out how you’re going to fix this situation, restart your blog and start pushing publishing boundaries for new innovative content. In this case, Google intervened a bit because there were so many links sold on the site. They activated manual spam action towards Creativeoverflow and this pushed down our PageRank to 0 and had people start questioning our credibility.

Part of the action plan was to find all the links that were a problem and add nofollow tags to them or remove them, especially if I wanted to get back the credibility that Creativeoverflow once carried with the users. Another part of my action plan was to setup a new posting schedule for articles, social media outlets and weekly reader engagement. I decided that part of my plan would be to focus on engaging with our readership on a more personal level than before. We will also be focusing on creating a lot more unique content for our readers than before, so idea lists were drawn up and series structured.

You can ultimately decide how you want to setup your action plan, people interpret action sets differently, set it up so that it works for you. Make sure that your plan is extensive and detailed.

Step 3: Start taking action (1-unlimited Hours)

When you start with your first task on your list, make sure that you efficiently complete the tasks at hand and double check the results. Once you’ve completed some once off tasks, make sure that your schedules are in place and that you effectively manage the content set to go live on your website. Focus on building quality content. People have different speeds of doing things when it comes to blogging, so be sure to set aside enough time to get things done.

Note: The reason why I can’t put a solid time frame on this is that ample amounts of time go into producing content, removing bad links and building a credible blog. It’s also an ongoing thing that never stops. Therefore you need to make some friends.

Step 4: Reach out to others – (3-5 Hours)

Here is your chance to reclaim lost relationships and start new ones. Reach out to people in your niche, offer your help and expertise and don’t ask for anything in return. Eventually your kindness and helping hand will pay off and they will help you without you having to ask them. Don’t become friends for the sake of promotion or recognition, become friends because you are truly interested in what they do, write about and offer to their readers. Offering people a helping hand will help you more than you think in the long run.

Step 5: Be Consistent in this new direction – (Keep Pushing Forward)

Blogging and consistency go hand in hand. Especially if you want to be successful. You need to decide how you want measure up against your competitors, how you’re going to be different and how that is going to look to the public. Obviously you’ve already mapped out your plan and if you want to be different, stand your ground and go for it. Don’t back down, even if you get critique, it’s part of your journey. Keep pushing forward and follow your plan of action day in and day out…You can update your plan as your blog restores or if it’s new, gains traction…

I believe you can do it, so should you!

Good luck on your blogging journey.

P.S: These steps are explained in very basic terms and I do believe that I need to sometime in the future layout an article in a lot more detail than the above. Explaining to you exactly how I setup an action plan and how I schedule my calendar to act upon that…If there are enough requests, I will do that for you.

20 Premium Photoshop Actions You Must Have

Photoshop Actions are time savers, life savers and everything in between. Helping you complete complex tasks in seconds that could often take you minutes or hours to perfect. I’ve compiled a range of different Photoshop actions that you need in your arsenal and that you’ll love.

I have a few of these and find them helpful ever so often, you would too. Give them a go and see what you’ve been missing out on.

If you don’t know what a Photoshop Action is: It’s an automated script that outputs a certain pre-recorded result that manipulates your image currently on your canvas.

3D Map Generator | $6

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90 Premium Actions Set | $10

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Dimensions – 3D Generator Action | $5

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PROActions Bundle – Film & Special Effects | $8

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22 Vintage Letterpress Photoshop Actions | $6

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Stitched Leather Generator | $4

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Skin – 20 Retouching Actions | $7

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50 Photo Effects – Curl & Shadows | $5

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3D Box Generator Action set & Templates | $6

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Super Engraver | $5

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188 Actions Ultimate Bundle | $34

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FilterGrade – 220 Actions Bundle | $29

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8 Watercolor + Acrylic Painting FX | $7

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Light Leak Kit + Free Item | $16

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Paint Pro | $4

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Season Actions | $8

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Pixelator – 14 Mosaic Pixel Effects | $5

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Blueprint Generator: Action + Layer Styles + Pat

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POP ART Creator PRO – PS Action | $10

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180+ Premium FX Action Bundle | $30

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IM Arsenal Releases New Minimal Icon Set (20% Discount Coupon Inside)

Inconcept Media Arsenal has just released a new set of 50 Minimal Education Vector Icons. The set consists of 50 minimal unique line icons that you can use for commercial or personal use. The icons are vector based and therefore you are able to export them as any size you want, including making some small edits if needed.

Use Coupon Code for 20% Total Discount: 20OFFTODAY

If you purchase $20 of products and use your discount, you only pay $16. The discount applies to the entire cart value on checkout.

Let’s have a look at the icon set and some other resources available at the Arsenal.

50 Minimal Education Vector Icons | $8

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Buy Now

10 Restaurant Logo Templates | $8

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Flat Seaside Holiday Icon Set + (Long Shadows) | $8

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The Cranberry Restaurant Advert/Flyer | $6

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Buy Now

100 Minimal Hotel Icons | $10

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Buy Now

58 Scribble Social Icons | $5

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Buy Now

You can checkout the rest of the product here. I know they are working hard to release some more resources soon, as much as 4-5 a week. Enjoy.

Divi 2.0 from ElegantThemes.com has just been launched! Win a developer subscription

ElegantThemes.com is one of the veterans of the WordPress themes market, and one of the best choices for a great quality vs. price choice. With over 200 thousand pleased customers, it offers bundles such as the one for $69 and 87 themes which can be used multiple times on more than one domain.

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The latest theme from Elegant Themes is known as Divi, and it has been three months in the making, a period during which it created a lot of anticipation. Apparently the greatest theme develeped so far by them, it promised great flexibility and a lot of innovative features, which at the beginning of the year turned to reality.

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Five months later and we have our hands on a new version already, Divi 2.0, with even more perks to add up to the new site building experience. Divi’s ambition is to change the way site building works forever. It may not be the first to throw itself at it, but by the looks of it, it surely has what it takes to succeed. It’s completely code free, something which WordPress users have been waiting for since the WordPress release, and it turns the dashboard into a virtual construction site. Every part of the site is like a brick, and can be customize in an infinity of ways. This, of course, leads to limitless flexibility, enabling the user to create any sort of website, from blogs to e-stores.

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Divi 2.0 offers extra stylization in the form of a modified header, new navigation concepts and more layout options.

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The Giveaway

If you would like to try it out, use the script below, and we will make sure to handpick three winners at the end of the campaign. The subscription is priced at $89 for one year. We wish you the best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Smashing Conference in New York – 17th to 18th June 2014

It’s finally that time of year again. The Smashing Conference is in New York from the 17th to 18th June 2014. Making it’s way from the other side of the world, the Smashing Conference is hosted by Smashing Magazine, the most popular online design magazine of this era. The conference is all about hands-on insights, exploring real-life projects and workflows as you would experience it in your day to day musings.

This is a one of a kind conference and the other location for this conference is in Germany, so if you’re wanting to attend something valuable and insightful that will boost your design career, this is it. It’s the same game, same rules: 1 track, 2 conference days, 7 workshops, 18 excellent speakers and just 350 available seats available.

It’s being held in New York City! Come on…do you need more persuading? Make a trip of it and extend it by two days, go climb the statue of liberty, have a look at the newly opened 9/11 Memorial museum, visit some startup offices and make new friends. If you’re looking to experience your trip as an executive whilst visiting New York, I can recommend Blacklane Limousines, they will take you from point a to point b in style. Getting you to your place of request on-time and being available for you to enjoy the city thoroughly. The beauty about it all is that they aren’t expensive. It’s a win-win situation right here.

You can check out the Locations page and find out where to book hotels, what else there is to do in New York and more.. Click Here

So, let’s talk a bit more about the conference. What they have to offer. Yes, the conference organizers even created a “Convince your Boss” PDF file…Haha. It’s awesome! Great bunch of people and one event you shouldn’t miss.

So who is attending this conference? Have a look at the Attendees List here

The Speakers

Currently the confirmed speaking list consists of: Aaron Walter, Brian Suda, Jesse James Garrett, Eva-Lotta Lamm, Scott Jehl, Fabio Carneiro, Jonathan Snook, Divya Manian, Oliver Reichenstein, Dan Rose, Meagan Fisher, Jonathan Hoefler, Andy Hume, Cassie McDaniel, Mark Boulton, Tim Brown, The Mystery Speaker

Where is it hosted?

We know that it’s in New York, but where exactly is the conference hosted? To keep the tradition of organizing conferences at unique places, they didn’t choose New York randomly. The conference will be taking place in the one-of-a-kind Times Center on June 17–18, 2014, and since it’s a Smashing conference, you should expect a few surprises, but they aren’t going to reveal them just yet.

Ticket Pricing

There are only 350 seats available for this conference and the main conference tickets have been sold out, but there is still hope for you. You can join the waiting list or book a workshop to attend. Get Your Ticketers Here…

If you’re looking for more information surrounding the conference, please check out the full conference page at www.smashingconf.com

Ten Inspirational Quotes about Design

It always seems that most of the world’s population thrive on quotes. They seek inspiration, fulfillment and answers from these wise individuals who care to share their wisdom. I’ve gone ahead and laid out ten quotes that have motivated me surrounding design. These quotes come from different people, but pertains to the same subject at hand. Feel free to share the quotes if you find them inspirational. Enjoy.

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Five of Marvel’s Best Modern Merchandise

While Stan Lee continues to remaster his iconic Marvel Comic franchise through the remakes of some of our favorite superhero movies, super fans around the world will continue to buy into not only the movies, but the surrounding merchandise that comes with them.

Surely Lee will be having the last laugh when it comes to raking in the big bucks from merchandising deals; from lunch boxes to hotel rooms, studies have shown that Lee has racked up as much as $6 billion a year in Marvel paraphernalia. But as times and tastes change, what was the humble pencil case now becomes the latest app or gaming design. Here’s a look at some of the best.

Online casinos

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Marvel Comics aren’t just for kids – they’re having a big impact on adults too, with gamblers over the age of 21 playing a huge range of themed games including games like Marvel Roulette. While the traditional roulette wheel remains, what better betting back up could you hope for than the likes of The Hulk, Spiderman and Iron Man?

Slot machines

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While the online world may be benefiting from Marvel’s iconic super hero design, so too are casinos, with slot machines around the globe featuring some of our favorites including X Men, making that tantalizing rush even more tempting as you rack up three Wolverines in a row.

App comics

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Why go to the toil of destroying the planet when you could read comic books on your smart phone? The Marvel Comics app has access to more than 3,500 comics which you can read on the go, from super heroes to flesh eating zombies. The best part, of course, is that nobody will judge you for reading comics in public past the age of 18.

Phone covers

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If you want to wear your Marvel addiction loud and proud, why not invest in a smart phone cover to show off your best loved super heroes? With no nonsense images of The Hulk gracing the back of your iPhone, nobody will dare to make you angry.

The Interactive Marvel API Program

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In January of this year, Marvel announced the launch of its API Program, giving developers access to comic data for personal use on websites and apps. Perfect for all the budding game developers out there, this is a step further than just playing a Marvel app – you can create your own and make your website look as eye catching and colorful as some of Stan Lee’s most memorable designs.