LATEST FROM OUR BLOG

Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

What Are the Web Design Myths You Should... Bust in 2017? Here’s a Top 10
It's no doubt that these web design myths “controlling”, just like some “tyrants” the online world, have initially emerged as web design innovative notions, turned into widely used techniques, and, finally, into highly influencing web design trends.  It's also true that since their “adopters” have started to take them way too literally or to refuse to adapt them to the ever-evolving digital landscape, to the ever-changing users' digital behaviors, these web design practices have gradually turned into... myths. Into rigid, “dusty” web design mindsets risking to affect both the design's quality itself and the website visitors' experiences. Be better than that! Be smarter than that! Take smarter design decisions than those still “stuck” with these preconceived assumptions which are no longer relevant in 2017's web design context.  And here are the 10 web design myths “exposed”: 1. "The 3 Second Rule" This is probably the best exemplification of a notion turned into a rigid “rule”. Of a concept taken ridiculously literally! No need to develop a paranoia imagining your generic website visitor holding a timer in one hand and his mouse (if we're talking about a desktop user) in the other and counting precisely those 3 seconds! It's absurd! The 3 second rule is just a figure of speech (it could easily be a 2 second a 4 or 5 second rule) “invented” only to stress the importance of an optimized page loading time. To “warn” you that you should constantly strive to boost your website's performance.  If your web pages load in, let's say, 4 seconds, it's really not the end of the world! Instead, if they load in 3 seconds just to show a bad design and low quality content... then you might be, indeed, facing a major traffic problem! 2. "White Space Is a Wasted Chance of Capitalizing Space on My Site" This is already a “prehistoric” type of web design preconception! And we couldn't give you better examples than Google's front page and Apple's clean and airy design where big chunks of white space act as spotlights directing our eyes towards their “star” products! “Clutter” is your biggest enemy when it comes to web design! While white space and moreover, strategically using it for guiding your users' attention towards key points on your website, well, this is almost an “art”! Less sure is more, in this case! White space acts as a spotlight focused on the key content(s) on your web pages, but only if you just know just how to focus it! 3. "Mobile Device Users Are Always On the Fly and Easily Distracted"  It's a false assumption now “cemented” in the collective thinking: mobile device users are always on the go, always in a rush and easily distracted! It's noting but an exaggerated generalization! In fact, studies (Google's studies, the one that we're referring to here taken in 2012) have shown that:   68% of mobile device users are, in fact, accessing websites from their smartphones in the comfort of their homes (surprise, surprise!)   67% of desktop users are simultaneously using another device, as well, as compared to 57% of mobile device users.    We're all living in the age of distractions. We get constantly distracted whether we're just watching TV, doing online shopping on our smartphones or reading articles on our PCs!  You should still design for highly mobile users, but being fully aware that “on the run”, “striving to resist various distractions”, is not the main context that your mobile device users will be visiting your website in! 4. "Good Usability's a Must, While Good Aesthetics an Option" This thinking's maybe one of the riskiest user experience pitfalls! With all the web designers and web owners out there playing all their cards on good usability, they tend to undermine good aesthetics' key role or (even worse) to ignore it completely. You can't effectively reach out to your users and turn them into customers, if you don't emotionally connect with them, first. If you don't strive to make the very best impression (and since we're all highly visual creatures, a “good first impression” is nothing but another word for “great looks”). Usability's a very technical concept, made of certain (equally) technical, precise tactics to implement for achieving good usability on your website. While aesthetics is far more “human” and it's to humans that you need to reach out to first and only then to... “prospects”. Do keep that in mind! When combined, these two “powers”, good usability and good aesthetics, or, better said, good usability and credibility (that good aesthetics invests your Drupal website with) you can't get but a superpower to turbocharge your website with! 5. "User Feedback Is Not to Be Questioned or Debated" Of course that you should constantly ask for your users' feedback, it's vital for every business, be it online or not! What you should avoid doing is: taking that feedback, all the comments that your visitors will leave on your site, too literally! People don't always know what they want and they're quite bad at explaining their preferences, why is it that they like/dislike certain features on your website or anticipating their future choices/behaviors. A “healthy” way of doing web design is to dig in, starting from your users' comments, to the core problems! Base your design decisions on those core problems to be solved, first and foremost! Complying with your users' suggestions/complains, should come second on your list of “motivations”.   6. "Simplicity Can Only Mean Minimalism"- One of the Popular Web Design Myths And this web design myth is still influencing, to a great extent, web designers' work and website owners' design decision-making! There's this popular belief turned into a whole trend, that you can't possibly achieve a simple design than by cutting out UI elements, by drastically reducing steps and user interactions on your website. False! Even a complex web design can be made simple if you're a gifted web designer! Focusing on simplifying users' experiences and reducing the visual surface (minimalism) is not the same thing as reducing all the “friction” that a way to laborious, overly demanding design would imply from the user's point of view (simplicity). Its not the same thing as striving to reduce some of the energy that he/she would invest in visually “digesting” the content on your website. Notice the difference? 7. "Good Design is Self-Sufficient" “Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”  Therefore, looks aren't everything and good design isn't self-sufficient! Visually-arresting graphics, cool fonts and visually-appealing colors won't compensate for the absence of high quality content. In other words: if there's no happy “marriage” between web designers and content marketers, you'll be left with a great looking website that only you and your team will get to admire. For no user will ever find it! If you don't enhance your great looking design with meaningful, engaging content that not only that completes it, but adds extra value to it, with content that addresses your visitors' needs, then your design won't go beyond its decorative function. 8. "The Homepage Is The Most Important Page on My Site" Homepage's “supremacy” has started to fade away! If it used to be the page that users always landed on first, since it served as the main directory and, therefore, since there was no other way for accessing a website, today this is no longer the case. And it's time that you, too, started to see the homepage's supremacy as a web design myth! Now users can land directly on a product page, coming from certain links posted on social media or on other sites. Your website's visitors might not even get to visit the front page at all. Moreover, and this is especially the case with websites selling products or services, you should accept the fact that your users aren't there for delighting themselves with the “wow” content on your homepage! For them your front page is nothing but a “gateway” to the product pages that they're really interested in. Or, depending on the site's specificity, to the information they can find on other pages of your Drupal site.. Think of Facebook! How often do you visit its homepage as a logged in user? Put together, all the web pages on your site are much more frequented than your homepage. Just think about that! 9. "The Three Click/Two Tap Rule" This is another baseless assumption! That all the elements on your website should be at a three-click's distance or a a two-tap's distance (on mobile devices). Irrelevant! Whether your users decide to prolong their visits on your site or to leave it  after just a few seconds, has nothing to do with this rule. User's main interest is to carry out his task (purchasing something, getting a key info etc.) You could abide by the three click rule and still witness visitors leaving your website in a rush if the content that they'll you'll deliver them, after precisely these three clicks/two taps, doesn't engage them or meet their needs. As a general rule: it's precisely when web design rules are taken too literally that they risk to turn into web design myths! 10. "Cutting Out The Navigational Choices"- One of the Influential Web Design Myths Somehow this theory initially related strictly to short term memory and to multiple product choices, has started to impact web design, particularly navigation, as well! It's one thing to cut out items from an excessive product/services collection (leading to the paradox of choice) and a completely different thing to start removing pages from your navigational bar/menus.  It's those pages that grant your user easy access to the content on your site that he's interested in. It's them that will enhance his/her exploration of your website! So, instead of blocking his/her access to different web pages on your Drupal site and of negatively impacting his overall experience with your website, you'd better figure out how to efficiently group these pages.   And it seems that we've reached the end of our list of 10 web design myths you should be aware of and... stay away from! Have you “busted” others, as well? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 22'2017
Are You Still Following These 10 Outdated SEO Practices?
Are you still “stuffing” your web pages with keywords? Does your SEO strategies still revolve around piling keywords instead of attracting clicks? Are you (God forbid!) still submitting your website to directories? Are you still putting low quality, irrelevant “link baits” on your website, aiming only to shock/stirring curiosity and thus to easily gain the clicks you crave for? Then we can only add this: “The 90's have called, they claim these outdated SEO practices back!” Web technology has changed dramatically since the 90's, the digital arena has changed tremendously and guess what: the bots, too, have got so much more sophisticated! Keyword stuffing and old-school link building won't get you far, especially in the long run. Here are some of the “dusty” SEO practices you should ditch: 1. Creating a Dedicated Web Page for Every Target Keyword Having one page targeting one single keyword, then another one targeting a slightly different keyword and so on, till you get yourself a nice “bundle” of single pages targeting almost identical keywords, is one of those “tried-and-true” old-school SEO practices! Well guess what: Google's got way smarter than that and you should be... over-smart! With upgrades such as RankBrain and Hummingbird, you can no longer “trick” Google into ranking your Drupal website with such an old-fashion SEO tactic. An “updated” SEO practice, in this respect, is to try and naturally “sprinkle” your main keyword, along with its variations, across a single page. Go for the meta description, body content, headline etc.  In other words: go for TOPIC-matching pages, not for a single target keyword-focused ones. 2. Adopting a Multiple Subdomains/Multiple Microsites Strategy Now this (still) is another highly popular SEO technique!  How does it work? Instead of putting together all your digital marketing efforts to optimize a single, heavy-content, complex website, you get them “diffused” on several microsites. You fork your website into multiple microsites/subdomains. And you're trying to keep each one of them ideally optimized, to give each one its due attention, of course! “More” might seem like “more effective” to you at first, like getting “more” successful results, from an SEO point of view. In fact, it's just the same result that you'd get if you had just one website's content to focus on, to invest your time, energy and SEO expertise in. Just that it's “spilt” in several directions (miocrosites/subdomains)! In this case, the results you'll get are, for each smaller site, just the fourth/third or maybe the fifth parts of the results you'd get if you administered/optimized just one large website instead of a “constellation” of microsites! It would be far more efficient to get one website ideally optimized for a high ranking position, than to try and push forward a whole “ecosystem” of smaller websites, wouldn't you agree? 3. Building Your Keyword Strategy on AdWords' “Competition” Results “and on cost per click”, we should add, as well! If you're still “fueling” your company's keyword planning strategy with those results that you get using AdWords' “Competition”, you should stop! Or at least perceive that data simply as a rough guide. These tools won't reveal to you which is the competition set, how dense and qualitative your competition's content is, whether they manage to both “lure” visitors in and to serve them precisely the content they're looking for and so on. In a nutshell: do keep an eye on the competition scores that you can see in Adwords, but keep in mind also that there are many other factors building a “competition” and determining how hard it would be for you to rank one word or another. 4. Keyword Stuffing: One of the No Longer Effective Outdated SEO Practices     “The more the merrier”, right? “More target keywords”, we mean, all piled in your web pages' titles and your meta descriptions is sure to bring you more links, more traffic, right? Well, not anymore! Since it's clicks that you're craving for and since it's the online users that you should try to lure in the first place (not search engines), keyword stuffing is no longer an effective SEO tactic. Online users have got a lot pickier, a lot more  cautious when it comes to spamming, and “asking without giving anything back “(e.g. digital marketing not focusing on delivering valuable content) so you should expect them to avoid you website when they read your keyword-overloaded titles and meta descriptons. Do insert your keyword, but don't overuse it! Do strive to make your meta description sound like an invitation for searchers to delve into your website's unique, valuable content and not as a “desperate attempt to trick them in. Not merely as a list of keywords!  5. Matching Your Target Keyword With Your Domain Name If you or your company's team of SEO “gurus” are still “faithful” to this SEO practice, you'd better discard it from your “toolbox” of SEO tactics immediately! Since you're only guiding your own visitors to your competitors' websites! You're simply offering your competitors more traffic on a silver plate! Not to mention that, besides your own visitors, who'll gradually start to avoid your website, since it has a name that sounds “not trustworthy”, no authority site in your niche will agree guesting your content, either.  Therefore: stop using your target keyword as your domain name. You want your it to sound more branded, much more credible than that! 6. Using Unfocused Linkbaiting Techniques Another one of those outdated SEO strategies that you should leave behind, if you're still using it is this: using irrelevant link “baits” to draw users on your website. In high quality content's “kingdom” you just can't expert this SEO tactic to be effective any longer! Instead, go for on topic “link baits”, using content that is, indeed, a perfect match to the current one on your website. Moreover, focus on value-added content for your link “baits”, that draws in both links and attention! 7. Using Inappropriate, Spammy Internal Links Anchor Texts Mind you stay out of the “sketchy”, “spammy-looking” or (even worse) manipulative anchor texts' zone! It might have been a widely used SEO technique a few years ago, but it's turned into a highly risky one! It's one of those outdated SEO practices with a negative impact on your website, pointed out by those from MOZ themselves! Google's started to value well-written and relevant anchor texts used in internal link building. Make sure yours are perfectly usable (you'd better ditch the “lower font” SEO practice for your anchor texts, thinking that it's for search engines and not for searchers that you're inserting them after all) and relevant and you can stay assured: you'll be in Google's “safe zone”!   8. Overlooking Other Search Engines Do put searchers/website visitors first, Google second, and mind you don't stop there! You'd better start considering winning other search engines' attention, as well! Signing up on Google Search Console and following Google's webmaster guidelines on a regular basis should be completed by sustained SEO efforts for gaining traffic from other search engines, too. Think Bing, think Yahoo and you'll be actually thinking of all those iPhone users that are not using Chrome, but these two search engines. Why should you overlook two potential sources of traffic (even if they're really Google's rivals)? Especially since you have tools like Bing's Webmaster Tool to support your SEO efforts on?   9. Undermining Mobile Optimization's Importance This is not just one of the outdated SEO practices, or better said “mindsets”, that you should ditch, but a very risky one, too! Just think of Google's AMP initiative and the stress it started to lay upon users' optimized mobile experiences! Undermining mobile optimization's importance is almost a “prehistoric” SEO mindset if we compare it to the whole “mobile-first” philosophy! Now, in this respect, here is a quick “starter kit” from our team of Drupal developers in Toronto, that you could easily implement for getting your Drupal website mobile-friendly:   stay away from Flash and other software that's incompatible with mobile devices   ensure that users can zoom out/zoom in the written text   space out your links so that users can tapped on easily   read all the guidelines included in Google's AMP   And since we've tackled the mobile optimization's issue, allow us to add a last piece of advice: resist the temptation of using intrusive, annoying interstitials! What do we mean by “intrusive”? Well, those types of interstitial which are almost impossible for users to close, making it impossible for them to gain further access to the content on your website. Google hates whatever users hate these days! And we guarantee you that making your content less accessible will get on their nerves! 10. Still Applying Old-Fashioned Linking Building Methods  These practices have been “the holly Grail” of link building for a long, long, way too much time. So, no wonder that many Drupal website owners and even so called SEO “experts” are still so “fond” of them. Our advice for you: let go of the past, a past dominated by (now) outdated SEO practices and, step into the future! Let's sum up some of these emblematic link building strategies which (surprise, surprise) do not work any longer:   submitting on generic directories, where you could easily enlist your website: they're such a waste of time in 2017, so why bother?   article submitting and here we're referring especially to those websites where there's no editorial review whatsoever   buying backlinks   posting comments on forums along with optimized links   unnatural usage of keywords in your links' anchor texts (do not underestimate 2017's crawlers)   To sum up: invest time, expertise and creativity in producing value-added content and keep in touch with others in your field and ... links will come to you! No need to step into the “black” (hat)” zone for “grabbing” them! And it looks like we've just reached the end of today's post on outdated SEO practices that you should leave behind! We sure hope that it will help you do your own “spring clean up” of your dusty SEO techniques and that it will boost your own SEO strategy's efficiency! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 20'2017
What If You Need to Add More Blocks to Drupal? 3 Simple Methods to Consider
You're well aware that they might affect your site's performance. That it will take its pages more time to “assemble” their whole overloads of content blocks and yet....You just need more blocks, a whole lot more! You just need to add more blocks to your Drupal site! And who could blame you for that? They practically make such a handy means of nicely structuring your custom content and put together a nice, engaging layout! Put together they just turn that complex, yet user-friendly content architecture into reality! Here a block here, there a block, each one enabling you to put together the perfect puzzle for your website. What do you do when you've apparently reached some sort of a limit of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site? Well, you increase that maximum number! And you turn this apparent dead end into an incentive to keep improving your Drupal website's layout! Here's how:   1. But First: A Few Words About Blocks To boil it down to just a few words: blocks are content containers!  They can “hold” text lines, images, lists, full body texts etc. And, the great thing(s) about them is that once you automatically enable them, as you install core or contributed modules on your site,  you can easily adjust them to your liking. Decide upon their size, shape and where you'd like to place them on your site! Where can you view your blocks? Right here:                         Administer >> Structure >> Blocks   Which are the regions (sidebar, footer etc.) on your site that you can place them? Well, it depends on your Drupal site's theme(s), in fact! More themes “spoil” you with the chance to place your blocks differently for each theme. It's in your Block Admin page that you can decide on their vertical sort-order per region. It's there that you'll find your checkboxes, as well, and the link leading you to your blocks configuration page. “Empowered” with these checkboxes to check as you wish and the configuration page, you get to “indulge” in customizing your blocks' visibility to your liking!   2. How Do You Add More Blocks to Your Drupal Site? You're still here, in the block management screen, trying to figure out how to create a new block. It's easy! You go to:                        Administer >> Structure >> Blocks >> Add   See? As simple as that! The management screen comes with a “surprise” “Add block” link for you! Take it from there: fill in your description box, then your block body, pick the region that you'd like this new block to be “sent” to by “wandering about” your “Region Settings” and... end with a click on your “Save block” link! There you have it: Drupal site building made easy with blocks! Feel free to move them around, to drag and drop them in specific regions of your site's theme.   3. But What If You Need More Blocks, A Lot More? Things get a bit “trickier” when your blocks adding “ambitions” go beyond from the “average” ones. When your business website's full functionality depends on being able to carry many, many more “content holders” ( 50-100 or even more). You risk the chance of getting some frustrating error messages, that's for sure! “Trickier”, yet not impossible! There still are a few methods for increasing the limit, the number of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site. Let's point them out: 1. Increase your maxium input size in your .htaccess file It's the ideal solution to take when it's a Drupal multi-site installation that you're dealing with! Here's how you do it: Access the directory where you Drupal site resides >> insert these lines to your .htaccess file:                <ifmodule mod_php5.c="">php_value max_input_vars 2000</ifmodule>    Tip: make sure you're on command line or that the editor you're using has been set up to show “hidden files”! Another tip: if you don't have access to your .htaccess file, since your website is on a shared host, contact your web hosting provider for editing this file for you! 2. Increase your maximum input limit in your php.ini file Since the default value in max_input_vars is set for 1000, feel free to increase it. Double or nothing or... even more? Here's how you do it: Access the php.ini file >> insert the following line:                           max_input_vars = 2000    Tip: in most cases this file resides at /etc/php5/php.ini on web servers! 3. Increase your site's maximum input limit in your settings.php file This is the most “versatile” solution of all three. Most Drupal web developers can fix the “I need to add a lot more blocks to my Drupal site” issue with this easy “trick”: Access your settings.php file >> there, under the “PHP settings”, insert this line:                                     ini_set('max_input_vars', 2000);    Tip: you'll find your settings.php file at /sites/default or /sites/all in your Drupal website's root directory Why is it that this fix is the most recommended one? It's because you won't be “impacting” your PHP stack, but rather handling this specific issue only: lots of blocks (loaded with data, too, obviously), that you need to insert on your Drupal site. How about you? What other fixes do you rely on when you're dealing with an “overload” of content blocks that you need to add to your Drupal site? How do you “break the limits”? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 16'2017
How to Clear Your Drupal Cache: 3 Handy and Reliable Methods
Before we get into details on why you should rush to clear your Drupal cache whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”, how about exercising your imagination a bit? Scenario no. 1: “You're a visitor, accessing one specific page of a Drupal website, then switching to another one, then... all of a sudden... the web page you will have just landed on instantly turns all white! All content disappears!” Scenario no. 2: “You're a Drupal web developer and you've just given your theme a “routine” update. Or maybe you've just finished developing a custom module. Everything seems to be working perfectly fine on your Drupal site when... tragedy... meaning WSOD... strikes and leaves you “defenseless”: staring at the big white nothing!”   Does any of these 2 scenarios bring back unpleasant memories?  Well, in today's post we're ready to help you put together your own “emergency   kit”! The one including all possible solutions to apply whenever WSOD strikes again, focusing, of course, on the “clear your Drupal cache” one. Keep reading: 1. But How Does Drupal's Cache System Work After All? Drupal's caching is a key performance-booster! What it does is saving and storing copies of the requested content on a Drupal site's page, so that when the next visitor accesses the same web page link, it will automatically display the stored content. A great way of saving your server's resources. Now, with all the “hard work” that its caching tables need to do (storing and then delivering the stored content, the menu links, the scrips), now and then “accidents” happen and they stop delivering content. Therefore: WSOD happens! 2. "White Screen of Death": What's Causing it? Maybe the term “causes” is not the most appropriate one. Let's replace it with “instances”: instances when WSOD occurs. Here are a few:   after you've updated the theme on your Drupal site   after you've updated a Drupal module   after you've run your updates on Drupal core itself   while you're developing a custom module for your (or your client's) site   after you've moved your Drupal site to another server What does this mean?  Well, it means that since we have a “bundle” of instances when this terribly frustrating error occurs, we also have a “bundle” of possible solutions to rely on for getting it fixed. And, speaking of them, our team of Drupal web developers', here at OPTASY, favorite one if the “clear your Drupal cache” emergency solution! 3. Which Are The Other Ways to Fix a WSOD Error? As already stated: clearing your Drupal cache is not THE one and only way to resolve the “big nothing” problem on your Drupal site. Here are just some of the other methods you could include in your “emergency kit”, whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”:   check your Watchdog tables   check your error log files   recreate your permissions   restart your web server    uninstall the problematic modules   enable error reporting (although, these are cases when a WSOD can lock down your site completely, caching the very “culprit” code itself, the one that might be causing the “white chaos”) And there are many other possible solutions to the “white nothingness” error. We've just listed some of them. Take them all into account and make sure you have this “emergency list” at hand when... the inevitable occurs! Needless to add that, based on our own experience as Drupal developers, we recommend you, as a way to fix your future WSOD errors, to clear your Drupal cache.  4. Which Are the Main “Clear Your Drupal Cache” Methods? 4.1 Use Drush  Rely on Drush command-line interface for a quick fix of your “White Screen of Death” error! Here are the Drush commands to use to clear your Drupal cache (depending on the Drupal version that you're using): In Drupal 7:   drush cc or drush cache-clear: for selecting which cache to clear     drush cc all or drush cache-clear all: for clearing all the caches at once   In Drupal 8: drush cr or drush cache-rebuild: for rebuilding your website and clearing all its caches                      4.2  Use the Database You could also clear your Drupal cache manually, by emptying all the cache tables stored in your database. Of course, it goes without saying that you should go for this method only if you're confident enough (leaving no room for human error in the equation) to handle those database tables: if you know what you're doing! This is a two-step solution, in fact:   use phpMyAdmin (or maybe you prefer another database administrative tool instead) to access your site's database.    manually empty the “cache” labeled (you'll see the “cache_” prefix there) tables from your database, without deleting them (do keep this “tiny detail” in mind!)    Note: Remember to make an update of your website before you go ahead manipulating its database! 4.3 Use the Performance Page  And the third “clear your Drupal cache” method on our list is the one implying the Performance Page.  Just go to admin/config/development/performance and click on the “Clear all caches” button. Cache clearing made simple! It looks like we've reached the end of today's post on how to clear your Drupal cache and why you should start seeing it as a handy solution to your WSOD errors!  And yet, allow us to give you one last piece of advice: make a habit of testing your updates first instead of running them directly on your live website! It's probably one of the simplest ways of keeping the “White Nothingness” at bay! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 15'2017
Trends Bumping in Internet Marketing Companies at Toronto
Trends digital marketing and SEO never stand in one place. With frequent Google updates and new tools and methods of outreach, companies have to race to catch up on the best practices in this field. 2017 is well on the way, and we can already form a list of most popular and effective digital marketing strategies adopted by Toronto SEO experts. There are many developments in this sphere of business, so we will focus on the main 5 trends. Data Based Marketing. It is no longer enough to choose keywords and work out an SEO strategy based on them alone. Google is no longer that easy to manipulate, and what’s more important now is how good you are at offering what people are really looking for. It requires more thorough research to figure out what it is that users are after and how Google deciphers it. We as an internet marketing company in Toronto find that the levels of precision you can reach are incredibly rewarding however, despite them requiring more work. Video Ads and Live Streaming. As mobile bandwidths become bigger, video is entering our lives in an insane rate. It’s easier and more accessible for most users, especially the younger audiences out there. Live streaming is easy to achieve, doesn’t require an expensive setup or editing tools, and very entertaining when done right. Mobile is Growing. Many users don’t even have a laptop computer at home anymore, let alone a desktop computer. Most of the browsing is done outside, on the way to work on the bus or when shopping around. Being easy to find by users when they browse from their mobile devices has never before been so important. Social Media Integrations. Social media works better and better in terms of integration with websites, and the conversion rates from there is only going to increase. Facebook and Twitter are no longer just PR platforms but can be used to drive real sales on your page. New Algorithms. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their means of going through and presenting search results to users. Naturally, this means new hoops for us to jump through. PPC companies in Toronto and companies who focus on organic SEO practices will have to adjust yet again to stay in the game. Naturally, this is a game we’ve been playing for a good, long time and have gotten very good at. If you want to improve your online presence and increase your sales, you are just a call away. Talk to you soon!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 10'2017
Drupal Website Development: Benefits of Implementing Your Website On It
Drupal Website Development Drupal is the new kid on the block. Yet it managed to conquer a decent chunk of the seemingly already saturated market. One of the reasons it was able to compete with giants like Wordpress and Joomla, is that it’s incredibly well made and very versatile. It comes will all necessary things to create anything from a personal page to an eCommerce store and all the way to vast social networking portals. It has nearly 30,000 modules and several thousand themes, as well as an army of enthusiastic Drupal website development experts to help you set up and get the show on the road. In fact, this army is growing rapidly due to the fact that unlike Wordpress for example, it comes with everything a developer needs, all packed in a neat, easy to use development environment. There is no confusion, no need to boggle your mind with endless glitches, updates that crash your theme, and other unnecessary trouble. Also, Wordpress may be good for a small website (and a beginner web developer), but try to do something more complex than a 5 page site, and problems will start multiplying. So yes, Drupal takes a bit more developer brawn and some serious skills, but our web design company, for one, has definitely adopted it as our CMS of preference.  Here’s a concrete list of 5 benefits that put Drupal web development far ahead of the alternatives: Full Open Source. Most of what you need is free. This reduces web development costs a great deal, making it easier for us to serve our customers at even better prices.  Perfectly Customizable. Compared to it, other CMS systems tend to lock you in the grid of a given theme and have hard time letting you out. Drupal website templates are very flexible. Great Integration Capabilities. It has amazing API support, connecting your Google Analytics, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else quickly and with ease. Mobile Ready. There are CMS systems where themes look great until you view them on mobile. Here the system makes sure every layout is mobile ready without the need for long hours spent on adjustments. Powerful SEO Capabilities. SEO is important and Drupal website development allows for great outreach with detailed customization capabilities.  The bottom line is Drupal is newer, more stable and more powerful than the alternatives on the current market.  This is why we chose it and sincerely recommend it to our clients.... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 10'2017
How To Choose A Reliable Digital Marketing Agency In Toronto?
Reliability is one of the more important things in any profession. What good is an amazing physician that neglects his patients? The same with web development. You want to find a digital marketing agency in Toronto that is, first and foremost, reliable. Unlike many other things, however, reliability is a quality that becomes apparent only after you begin working with your digital advertising agency. Then campaigns don’t quite work, deliverable are not delivered and the whole situation is a bit of a mess. But does it have to be this way? Not at all. So how do you choose a reliable company? By paying attention to those few important things. ✯ First impressions. The ones that are made during initial communications. Visit their office. Does it look too organized to be truly busy? Or is it too messy to be efficient? A good digital marketing solutions company is tidy enough, but teeming with activity. There has to be a buzz in the air. This means they are engaged, energetic and devoted to their work. ✯ Meet the team. Try to feel the person you are talking to, but chances are other people will be doing the actual work. Ask to meet the marketing team. The strategist, the designers. Ask if the same people will be on your portfolio. Ask them if the company sees employees come and go often. If the team seems happy and the work environment buzzing but stable, you’re in the right place. ✯ Recommendations. Never be shy to ask for referrals. Look at their marketing portfolio, and follow up with their previous clients. Ask about the working experience, the relationship and how they ran the campaign. This is not as good as a personal referral, but is far more telling than just browsing a portfolio or catalog. ✯ Inquire about the work process. You’re now almost sure this is it, but wait a little and ask one more thing. The work process includes the frequency of meetings, phone conferences and briefings. What reports you will be getting and how often. Who do you talk to when you have questions and what kind of results you’re to expect. Digital advertising agencies that do well by their clients will be happy and excited to tell you all about those things. Once you got those four items down, your chances of making a mistake after all are nearly zero. Good luck in your marketing campaign!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 10'2017
How Do You Choose a Web Development Services Provider? 4 Things to Keep in Mind
Choosing a company that provides web development services is not as simple as shopping for other services. If it’s your business you’re getting the website for, its success and reputation inevitably hinge on how good the website looks and functions. Professional web development services are too often offered by people who are not necessarily a good choice to work with. It is, therefore, a critical hire. Here are a few things to keep in mind in order to make sure you make the right decision. Take time to notice personal qualities. Professional competence is important, but if the person is reliable, they will be truthful about their abilities as well. They will also stick to your spec, and deliver quality results on time. Look for drive, determination, and passion in the people you’re hiring. If all those qualities are there, you are on the right track.   Try them out on a mini project. Before you up and spend your entire web development budget on what may turn out to be a bad choice, try them out. Website designers for small business are usually understanding and will take on a smaller job first. This will allow you to gauge the quality of their work and general performance before making a big commitment.   Focus on the essentials. Experience and knowledge are not the same thing. Whether the Canadian web design company you’re interviewing can answer particular questions about JavaScript’s history or when PHP was created. What is important are things like: How many developers do you have working on each project? How do they communicate, especially when editing the same website? Do you have a designated web designer or is the development team responsible for web design as well? What are the current design trends for businesses in our industry? What are the steps you would suggest to take in our particular situation?   Take the time in hiring, but once you did, keep an eye out on things. Even when you’re sure you made the correct choice, don’t be in a hurry to leave it all to the company. Web development services demand constant communication. Stay on top of things, make sure you get frequent updates and be ready to make a hard choice if things go off the rocker. Keep those 4 things in mind when hiring a company for web development services, and you should be perfectly fine. Good luck!... Read more
Serge Karpyuk / Mar 10'2017
How to Boost Your Drupal Performance: 10 Simple, But Effective Techniques
Here you are, super excited and quite proud of your content-driven Drupal website that: you can customize to your liking “spoils” you and your team with a highly flexible editorial workflow, with a great administrator experience comes with unmatched scalability which allows you to project your business far into the future, in other words: to dare and to dream big.   No matter what “floods” of traffic and “truckloads” of data/content the future has in store for you, Drupal's got you covered! How about speed?  It would be a pity to compromise its powerful heavy content-handling capabilities “in the name of” top speed now wouldn't it? You don't have you! Your content “load” and your Drupal website's complex architecture can remain “unharmed” while you continue to dream big in terms of page loading super speed if you implement these 10 techniques to speed up your Drupal performance:   1. Is Your Site Running on The Latest Version of Drupal?   As obvious and quick and easy (compared to other “tweaks for speed”) this performance-booster might be, there still are Drupal website owners or Drupal developers that overlook or underestimate it! Don't be one of those who rush in to implement the more advanced performance-improving tactics and skip the “elementary” ones! So, you've got our point: always make sure to update to the latest version of Drupal. Needless to add that it's that version, the last released one by the Drupal community, that has all the bugs and errors that you might be facing right now already solved. Not to mention that all the other “surprise” upgrades and improvements that it's been supercharged with while your site was still running on an older version. 2. Boost Your Drupal Performance Using a CDN   Get used to picturing your Drupal website's visitors as “highly demanding”! They might be impressed with your site's (high quality) content richness, but their first impression will worsen, drastically, if that "highly valuable" content takes ages to load! Therefore, consider relying on a content delivery network (CDN) for delivering the content (obviously!) that your users will request at a higher speed.   3. Configuration Changes: a Simple, Yet Effective Performance Tuning   Before you rush to tackle the bigger issues affecting your Drupal performance, make sure you do all the basic configuration settings! Such as this configuration "trick" here, aimed at helping you to boost your Drupal performance: got to Administer- Site configuration- Performance. It's there that you can make your own "inventory" of all the options at hand for JavaScript optimization, CSS optimization and page cache. They're handy speed-boosting options, so why not use them? It's just a matter of box-checking after all! Make sure to check all the key boxes there such as "Compress cached pages", "Aggregate JavaScript files" (and the CSS ones, of course - CSS JS aggregation), "Cache pages for anonymous users" etc. 4. Spare The Resources Invested in Displaying 404 Error Pages    No matter how brilliantly-customized and appealingly-designed your 404 error page might be, it will still use valuable server resources! So, you might want to first get your website scanned using software such as Screaming Fog or Online Broken Link Checker. To identify its “weak points”, its non-existing pages, broken URLs and noneffective content sections than to rely on a Drupal-dedicated module for displaying a 404 error page each and every time there's a requested content-related issue. For all the other cases when you have no choice and you just have to get the “resource-consuming” 404 error page displayed, you might want to enable Drupal Fast 404. It's one of Drupal's modules designed with to speed in mind, you know! It will use just 1 MB of your server's memory.  5. How Heavy Is Your Website's “Load” of Unused Modules?   It's in a CMS's nature (and Drupal's definitely no exception) to “ship with” a heavy load of modules and plugins. Now, can you remember our advice from a previous post on this blog? “If there's a module for it, it doesn't mean you have to rush in and install it on your site” (or something like that; if you want to test my memory you can always look over that blog post again). Therefore, consider it as a “spring cleaning“ for your Drupal website! Go through all of them, make a list including 3 major categories: the “crucial” ones, the ones you've actually never used and those which, once uninstalled, wouldn't impact your website functionality at all (be “cruel”, be “honest” with yourself!). You'll be surprised by how much load you'll ease your Drupal website off just by carrying out this task: disabling and even removing all the unused/unnecessary Drupal modules from your site! Combined with a well-tuned cache (that we'll be tackling in this post, as well), getting rid of your modules overload is probably one of the most efficient ways to boost your Drupal website's performance! 6. Speed It Up: Aggregate Your CSS and JavaScript Files   And here's another factor that dramatically influences your website's overall performance: Drupal's “burden” of CSS and JavaScript files! It's Drupal itself that provides the solution: it enables these files' aggregation so that they load together and significantly improve your website's front end performance. Fewer HTTP requests will automatically lead to faster page loading time, as simple as that! 7. Is Your Website a Drupal Cache System-Powered One?   Learning how to trigger Drupal's cache system's “superpower” is one of the best tactics to boost your Drupal website's performance with! If we are, to sum up, in a very rudimentary manner, how Drupal's caching system works, it would be something like this:   a user lands on your website tries to access a certain page on your site that specific request gets stored (a copy of it, course) in an easily accessible location so that it will load quicker for the next user who'll land on your site and try to access the very same page   Got it? Now since it's a whole caching “system” that we've referred to, you should know that there are dedicated Drupal modules that you can put in charge of all the caching going on on your website: The Internal Page Cache module: it caches and stores anonymous visitors' page requests, delivering them much quicker to future users trying to access them   The Internal Dynamic Cache module: a great “tool” for improving your page load time both for anonymous and for logged-in visitors You simply can't afford (it would be quite “reckless” to overlook this performance-booster) not to use Drupal's cache system to its true potential. Especially since it “overwhelms” you with so many types of caches that you only need to enable: page caching panel caching PHP caching Views caching   8. Is Your Current Web Hosting Satisfying Your Need for Speed?   A fast web hosting is key when it comes to optimizing your Drupal website for high speed! It's one aspect that you can't afford getting “tight-fisted” about! So, you may want to keep the distance from those web hosting providers offering you “irresistible” prices at the cost of shared resources that will just bog down your website. Piece of advice: make sure to choose a Drupal specific host! It's another great “trick” when you want to boost your Drupal performance! 9. Set Up a Reverse Proxy and Your Drupal Server    Call this technique an “HTTP accelerator”! It will streamline the whole cached copies delivery process thanks to the “go-between” server that it relies on.   10. Optimize The Main “Culprits” for Low Speed: Images   That's right, it's the load of images on your website that's consuming most of its resources and, implicitly, which have the greatest impact on your site's loading speed. The solution?  Optimize, optimize, then optimize some more!  And since when it comes to images optimization is just another word for compression, you do that: compress the images slowing down your Drupal website! Tip: among many other built-in “treats” that the innovative Drupal 8 spoils us, developers in Toronto, with, there are its awesome image optimization features. We're referring here to Image Styles, for instance (then you get “by default”) which enables you to optimize your images' sizes so that they're the perfect fit for any type of device, irrespective of its screen size! And this is our “decalogue”! Our list of 10 speed-up techniques, ranging from basic to a bit more advanced, that you should consider when you decide to boost your Drupal website's performance!  How does your own list of top speed-boosters look like? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 08'2017