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How Do You Prepare Your Website for an Upgrade to Drupal 8? 6 Key Steps to Take
Have you had enough of hearing and reading about cutting-edge Drupal's innovative features? About all the improvements that its developers have implemented to this version of Drupal? About its: unmatched functionality   about how it can upload files a top speed   about how it comes equipped with cool multilingual add-ons   about the truly innovative mobile-first mentality that it embeds   and about its goal to cut out the middlemen and empowering the end user even more?   About extended control, put in the hands of developers, builders, content editors and site admins?   And now you want some of all that, too, right?   You want to gain such control over your own site, as well, to supercharge it with such power and to get it aligned not just with the present-day digital trends, but to those of the future, as well. Those that Drupal 8's developers have already anticipated?   Then go ahead! But, before you upgrade to Drupal 8, take some time to go through our set of 6 tips on how to get your site properly prepared for this significant upgrade   Preparation is key for a smooth and effective upgrade to Drupal 8, you know!   1. Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8: Audit Your Current Site   No business/website owner “worth his salt” could possibly have high hopes from upgrading his website if he skips this major step!   How could you project its evolution if you're clueless (or have just a vague idea) of where it's standing right now, from a technical standpoint?   So, before you rush in to install all those “uber cool”, feature-rich Druipal 8 modules on your website, you'd better start building the rock solid foundation of your future Drupal 8 website. Open a forever reliable Google doc. and start filling it up!   Start examining your current website and write down the answers to a couple of key questions:   What sections of your current site do you use most frequently? What sections of your site are barely ever used? Is your current administrative interface user friendly enough? Are there any broken links or inefficient workflows on your site?   Write down everything that you find relevant in your Google doc., ranging from those aspects/workflows on your website that you won't give up to, to all the challenges that you're facing as you're closely auditing it, thoroughly.   Don't forget to write down all your migration-related expectations, as well!   As you and your team will have your moments of inspiration and will “burst” with new innovative ideas that you could implement on your site, make sure to write them down in this soon to become your priceless resource: your Google doc.   You may not realize it now, but this document “locking in” all the key aspects of your current website will be “pure gold” once you delve deeper and deeper into all the other stages of this site preparation for migration process!   2. Keep It Under Version Control    Sometimes it's Drupal's innovative nature itself that could turn into its own weak point!   The “empowering the user” goal, aimed at turning the whole configuration changes into a matter of point and click could also turn breaking up a site into a matter of just a few seconds.   Good news: through its Configuration Management Interface (CMI) Drupal 8 promises to put this possible scenario away for good!   What you can do, for avoiding such an unwanted scenario to happen, is to capture updates via code and to roll them into your production site. Rely on version control and on Drupal 7's Features and Configuration Management modules.   Implementing such a good practice will automatically guarantee you a more streamlined Drupal 8 workflow and a “safety-net” if something wrong happens: you can always roll back those trouble-making changes.   Ever-so-useful practices, like this one, will always watch your back!   3. Re-organize Your Team: Set Up a Modular Workflow    Preparing your team, as well, and not just your current website, is another crucial step of this whole “preparing to upgrade to Drupal 8” process!   Drupal 8's own distinct nature (compared to other versions of Drupal) calls for a far more scalable, modular approach to its CMS design and content authoring.   Therefore your team, as well, should be structured differently.   This calls for a different type of workflow! One where each team's leader gets assigned to coordinate it, to make sure the overall vision gets properly implemented, while each member of the team gets manageable tasks (one class file per developer, for instance).   Separate implementations, several distinct tasks assigned to each team member will put together the Drupal 8's specific workflow: a much more scalable, easy to handle and therefore efficient one.   With each member of your team focusing on a specific part of the project and a leader coordinating the whole team, they'll get to respond to any occurring challenges in a far more promptly manner!   4. Audit Your Current Modules, One by One   With your team now ready to enjoy all the advantages and to handle all the challenges of Drupal 8-specific modular and scalable workflow, it's time to run an audit on your modules, as well!   It's crucial that you have everything, at the modules' level, up to date, before you upgrade to Drupal 8!   Take a close look:   Are there modules on your site that you haven't been using in a long, long time and so, are just taking up space there? Are there deprecated modules on your current website? Are there modules which have been updated on Drupal.org, but not on your website, too?   Take each one of your Drupal 7 modules and closely examine them, discovering which ones are still active, which ones aren't up to date etc.   There might not be an equivalent in Drupal 8 for each one of your Drupal 7 modules, but even so, it is crucial that you have your Drupal 7 ones active and updated.   Are there any custom modules on your current Drupal site?   Then rely on  Drupal Module Upgrader. The command-line will streamline the entire module converting/updating process from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8.   To sum it up, these are the 3 key steps you should take during the module audit stage:   analyze the current status of each one of your modules on Drupal.org discover which ones of your Drupal 7 modules already have a Drupal 8 equivalent available find out what Drupal 7 modules have been transferred to Drupal 8 core   5. Run Security Updates Before You Upgrade to Drupal 8   Is installing the latest Drupal security updates part of your “routine”?    It should be!   It saves you huge amounts of time, especially when you're preparing your site for critical changes, like this one here, when you're about to ugrade to Drupal 8.   Not to mention that it safeguards your whole online presence, your entire business, after all.   Therefore, make sure your site runs on the latest version of Drupal, that both your core and your contributed modules are properly secured. That all the recently patches have been installed before you upgrade to Drupal 8.    You wouldn't want precisely this upgrade to turn into a source of major vulnerability for your website from a security standpoint, now do you?   6. Keep Up With The Latest Module Changes   Get informed before you upgrade to Drupal 8!   This means that you shouldn't rush in to perform the migration until you haven't updated your own knowledge regarding Drupal's modules:   what modules will be part of Drupal 8' core? what modules are already deprecated? what modules are no longer part of the “contrib” section in Drupal 8?   Find out what's new in Drupal 8, in terms of modules: which ones have “leveled up” in the “hierarchy”, which ones are no longer aligning with Drupal 8's mentality and innovative nature and so on.   Find out all about what's changing, what's trending and what's not, anymore, in terms on Drupal modules, before you migrate your website.     This is our set of 6 tips and tricks for preparing your website for a smooth upgrade to Drupal 8. Do you have any other “preliminary procedures” that you usually undertake before migrating your website from one version of Drupal to another? Feel free to share!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 13'2017
Drupal 8 Modules You Should Use
Have you decided to finally turbocharge your existing website with some of all that functionality and innovative features that Drupal 8's been so appraised for? Or maybe it's no migration/leveling up involved, but you're actually facing the challenge of building a brand new company website and you want to “charge” it with some of all that Drupal 8 power and flexibility that the whole community of Drupal developers is so excited about? Then you must be wondering which are the best Drupal 8 modules that you could select for your new or your “to be migrated” website! Your question is more than legitimate, considering all those feature-rich Drupal 8 modules (and there are over 2000 of them!) that this latest version of Drupal is “seducing” you with. And it will continue to get increasingly challenging to choose the very best, considering the fact that Drupal 8 is still a work-in progress. Its community is constantly:   porting modules from previous versions of Drupal building brand new ones  putting together their efforts for making it even more stable and user friendly   Before we go on sharing with you our own list of five best Drupal 8 modules, allow us to give you a good piece of news! It's, in fact, part of the whole boosted functionality and extra cool features “battle plan” that Drupal 8's developers have put together for this version of Drupal: many of the highly popular Drupal 7 modules not only that have been ported to Drupal 8, but they're now in its core!    And now, let's enlist and detail a bit the modules on Drupal 8's “walk of fame”:   Best Drupal 8 Modules to Turbocharge Your Website With 1. Admin Toolbar   Why was there a need for a “new” admin menu? What “flaws” of the original menu needed to be fixed in Drupal 8?   Well, in Drupal 7, even though the admin menu enabled adding drop-down menus, it lacked responsiveness. A mobile-friendly look was greatly needed! One aimed at fixing the “barely visible, hardly clickable on mobile devices” issue of the former drop-down menus.    And so: Drupal 8's Admin Toolbar was born!   It's a fully responsive version, with enhanced drop-down menus functionality, streamlining the admin's workflow: admins can now break the habit of constantly clicking-through in order to get to various sub-menus.    Thus, an easy to use back-end interface for all those user roles in charge with content editing, producing or moderating is now available in Drupal 8!   There's more! Admin Toolbar comes with a sub-module, as well: Admin Toolbar Extra Tools! This one empowers admins to extend their menus' functionality even further: they get to add extra links for running cron, for flushing cache etc.   Talking about Drupal “empowering the user”, right?   2. Google Analytics   Google Analytics is any website owner's “best buddy”. It “obediently” delivers you pretty much any type of reports and comprehensive charts you need for monitoring your visitors' behavior and your site's overall performance.   Still, this is no news for anyone running an online business, especially not for someone operating in the digital “arena” of 2017, right?   Now, what Drupal 8 does, though its Google Analytics module, is that it streamlines your whole data monitoring and interpreting process, since it enables you to analyze your statistics right from your Drupal interface!    This is the “real” news!      3. Token   We couldn't have possibly left out precisely one of Drupal's most popular modules, right?   There isn't one web developer in Toronto, site administrator or website owner who could imagine carrying out their daily tasks without relying on tokens. They're Drupal's ultimate efficiency-boosters!   Acting as placehoders designed for automatically completing the tasks you assign to them, they streamline anyone's work.    Here's probably the most “rudimentary' example for you: a basic token such as [site:name] will automatically insert your website's name!   Basically what the Token module does, is that it supplies those tokens that are not available in core, especially fields, and also an user interface for you to use for scanning through the available collection of tokens.   On a greater scale, this module, one of the very best Drupal 8 modules, can work together with other modules, such as Pathauto, for carrying out more complex tasks, too. Tasks such as providing URL patterns for your whole Drupal website!     4. Devel    Devel is not just another one of the modules on our top five best Drupal 8 modules list: it's a whole “bunch” of sub-modules, in fact. One more “tempting” than the other, both for developers and for Drupal themers.    Let's highlight some of the most popular ones:   Devel Node Access: provides detailed information regarding the node access mechanism of your Drupal installation Kint: a debugging tool designed to display variables and backtraces in a nicely formatted, organize way, thus easing your overall understanding Web Profiler: adds a bottom toolbar presenting you all kinds of relevant stats, such as database queries, which services are being used, cache effectiveness etc. Devel Generate: creates dummy entities, thus populating your test site with images, taxonomy, dummy users etc.     5. Pathauto   What makes Pathauto one of the best Drupal 8 modules?    It's  marks the end of and “era”, the “node/4803” types of links era, and the beginning of a new one! One of the automatically generated user-friendly, easy to remember types of links.   The ones that your users will be more familiar with and that search engine will find easier to discover, read and index, as well.   As for you, say “hello” to a higher ranking in SERP!    “How does it work?” you say?    What Pathauto does, in Drupal 8, is that it generates URL aliases automatically: no more manually created Drupal links from now on.    Moreover (and this is huge!), it enables you (or, better said, it “empowers” you) to change the custom token system generating the URL aliases as you wish!     And this is our list of top five best Module 8 modules! The modules that we rely on for setting up and managing various features of the web projects that we carry out here, in our web design company in Toronto!    Which are your own favorite ones?    ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 07'2017
 What Are the Best WordPress Plugins? Those Must-Have Ones, Regardless of Your Website’s Specifics?
Looking outstanding and being 100% functional is nothing but the bottom of the “pyramid” that your site needs to “climb” for standing out in the fiercely competitive digital landscape! You still need to "supercharge" it with all the functionality provided by the best WordPress plugins in 2017! You do agree, don't you? It might look like you've figured it all out: beautiful imagery, gorgeous graphics, “in trends” design, great functionality. It looks like you've checked everything off your list.   And yet: your website won't be able to stand out once launched “into the wild”!    Your competitors' checklists might just be a little more complex than yours: they might have taken security issues a lot more seriously than you and SEO optimization, as well.    They consider, also, making their websites far more visible and “inviting” for the search engines to “crawl” in. They consider turning the content managing/editing “ordeal” into a matter of just a few clicks and they might also anticipate when their visitors intend to leave their sites and have figured out an effective means to “lure” them back in, to eventually turn them into customers.   Could your “ just” awesome looking WordPress site ever compete with that?   We're ready to help you get it ready for the fiercely competitive digital arena! In this respect, we've put together a list of “website boosters”: 10 best WordPress plugins that will take your website to the next level in 2017!  1. Yoast SEO, One of The Very Best WordPress Plugins   It's by far WordPress's most popular plugin and no wonder why: it's “overloaded” with SEO-boosting features aimed at helping you optimize your website at various levels. The perfect reason for adding it to our list of 10 best WordPress plugins in 2017!   It's WordPress's “Swiss knife” when it comes to supercharging your SEO strategy!   Now let's detail a bit what this plugin can do (or help you do):   it helps you add meta tags   it streamlines your tags across all your data analytics platforms   it encourages adopting the best practices for properly aligning and positioning your keywords across the content on your WordPress site   it comes with built-in page analysis: you can change the length of your titles, edit your descriptions and do all the needed optimization “hocus pocus” within the web pages. It practically analyzes each page for you and signals to you the existing errors so that you can rush in and take the right measures.   it incorporates an XML sitemap generator, making your website “inviting” for search engines to easily “crawl” in and parse your content.    it allows you to import/export plugin settings   Yoast SEO's functionality boils down to two aspects:   it guides you in optimizing the content on your site it makes sure it's visible and that it complies with search engines' guidelines, thus ensuring its high rank in search engines!    2. Google Analytics WD   A website lacking Google Analytics-provided data, as its main “fuel”, is a “stillborn”!   It's like running your digital business blindfolded: you just “guess” who your audience is, where they come from, what pages on your website they visit most frequently, how much time they spend there and so on.     Now, you don't want to take such a risky “guess”, right? Big data-driven business decision making will, no doubt, be one of the most influential trends in 2017!   And still: why should you install and activate this WordPress plugin when you probably already have a GA account?   Because it will streamline your whole data analyzing workflow: you'll get to monitor your GA data right from your WordPress dashboard. No need to switch between windows over and over again anymore! And this is one of the strongest reasons why we do predict it to become one of the best WordPress plugins in 2017!   You'll get to view all the relevant reports and not just the audience-relates ones, but those regarding all the authors and other logged-in users, too. You get to monitor how well each one of the categories on your WordPress site/each blog post each performs, you get to monitor your visitors' behavior in real-time.   Besides, the “more than tempting” feature of displaying all the data right in your WP dashboard, this plugin's ready to “seduce” you with another irresistible functionality: a goal management one! You can track targeted tasks and get notified when they're completed.    Ready for more?    You can easily integrate this WordPress plugin, one of the very best WordPress plugins this year, actually, with your Google Analytics account and it also “spoils” you with a panel where you get to compare stats over a certain period of time.   All the business-generating data right there, nicely displayed and easily accessible on your WordPress dashboard!   3. WP Super Cache    Try visualizing this domino: slowly loading web pages leading to poor user experience, leading to a low conversion rate, leading to low ranking in search engines!   So, you got the point: speed is a crucial SEO factor!    And here is where WordPress comes in, bringing you ones of the best WordPress plugins this year!   It comes with an easy to install, to activate, to configure and to use plugin: WP Super Cache. Its “easy to use” feature is no doubt what makes it so popular among all the other plugins promising to supercharge your website with top speed!   Practically, it's a content management system “crafted” to guarantee you that big “floods” of traffic won't slow down your website!    Confidently “welcome” high traffic!   4. BackupBuddy   This is probably the very first WordPress plugins that you should install and activate on your site!   No matter how sophisticated a security solution might be, it could never “beat” a good backup system!   Take no risks when it comes to putting all your vital business data and your priceless customer data “under a secure vault”. WordPress's Backup Buddy is one of those solid “vaults”.   Here's how it will guarantee you your good night sleep:   you'll get to schedule your backups (you can back up on a daily, weekly or monthly basis)   you'll get to store your backups in Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, Stash, Dropbox or even your own personal email inbox   you'll get to restore your thus saved WordPress website with just a few clicks   moreover, it will streamline all your future migration and site duplication projects   Ready for more good news? WordPress's Backup Buddy's not monthly subscription-based!    5. OptinMonster   And it's no doubt a “supercharged monster plugin”! One that goes far beyond “just” empowering you to easily create and to customize opt-in forms aimed at enticing your website visitors to subscribe or to convert.   But first, let's get into details regarding its opt-in form crafting feature:    you get to select from a multitude of opt-in web forms (attention-grabbing pop-ups here included)   you have a whole collection of visually-appealing design layouts at your disposal, so personalizing your form is nothing but a matter of drag-and-drop   What type of opt-in form would best serve your “website visitors converting” strategy? A full-page pop-up or rather a sidebar pop-up, somewhere at the bottom or maybe one showing up from the left side? Your options are almost limitless!   Get ready to turn your visitors into subscribers with this cool features-supercharged opt-in form!   And since we've mentioned that it's not just the whole opt-in forms building and customizing features that makes it a “must add” to your future “arsenal” of WordPress plugins, here are some of its other “luring” features:   A/B testing   page-level targeting   relevant analytics   pre-included exit intent technology: one of its “highlights”, enabling you to trigger a pop-up form the moment a user plans to leave your website      6. Form Maker, Among the Best WordPress Plugins in 2017   “Forms” are part of a website's “DNA”: it can't function without them! Or at least it can, but without supporting any interaction whatsoever, without generating any business, after all!   From surveys to registration forms, to contact forms or questionnaires, WordPress's Form Maker turns the building of a web form into a matter of a few simple clicks.   Not only that it streamlines your workflow, but it also invests you with freedom of customization! Forms become are entirely customizable!   You have no more than 41 editable themes to choose from! You have form fields for numbers, text input, custom select, checkbox for multiple-choice questions and... more!   Collect the information you need from your website's users, through the effective forms that you'll put together nice and easy and then feel free to use Form Maker for monitoring the statistical data (based on the answers you'll collect) that it will provide you with    That's right, this plugin “lures” you with such a feature, too!   7. Soliloquy   Get ready to dazzle away your website's visitors with visually-arresting, highly engaging sliders!   Crafting them has never been any easier than with Soliloquy's drag-and-drop builder!   The plugin enables you to drag and drop not just your stunning images, but video content, written content, testimonials and so on.   Presenting your products/services in the form of some interactive, visually-appealing sliders will become just a matter of a few clicks!   With a whole array of templates to choose from, with its feature enabling you to pull images directly from your social media sites, this WordPress plugin will boost all your efforts of putting together irresistible, highly effective WordPress landing pages!   8. Sucuri   2017 will witness an increased number of cyber-attacks! You don't need to be a visionary to predict that!   So, what do you do as a business owner or as a web developer in this context? You seek the best protection opting for one the best WordPress plugins this year!    You look to keep your WordPress website protected “under” the most powerful firewall: you put together your first line defense! And Sucuri is the security toolset you need!   It will be your web app firewall that will constantly monitor and keep your site/your business protected from all types of cyber-attacks: malware threats, DdoS, XSS attacks.    Here's how Sucuri Scanner, “battle plan” is structured:   It performs file integrity monitoring It performs blacklist monitoring, as well   It  runs file audits on your website   It performs malware scanning   In one word: it PROACTIVELY protects your WordPress website, seeking to track down malware and detect imminent attacks before they even occur.   9. All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets   It's no news for any web developer in Toronto or business owner operating in the digital landscape: rich snippets are SEO boosters!   And WordPress, through its All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets, comes in to boost your own SEO efforts!   How? It practically generates and adds the Schema.org markup to your content, thus “better describing it” for search engines!   With a user-friendly interface and all the most popular types of rich snippets to choose from, you'll be adding rich snippets to your content in no time!    10. Google XML Sitemaps   No SEO strategy, no matter how solid and complex, cold be sustainable if your WordPress website doesn't get indexed first!    All your SEO-oriented initiatives will then be nothing but “sandcastles”!   Now, what this WordPress plugin does is that it generates precisely the type of maps, XML maps, that search engines could use for “crawling” into your site to discover and index all your web pages, all your URLs!   It will make your website far more “inviting” for them!   Moreover, this plugin, one of the very best WordPress plugins this year, will keep search engines “notified” whenever you've added a new web page to your website!    In a nutshell: it's the easiest and surest way of “steering Google's spotlights” onto you website and thus granting it a higher ranking!     What WordPress plugins do you consider “crucial” for your own business this year? Which ones will be, in your opinion, the very best WordPress plugins this year? Maybe you'll go for some “niche” ones, that would better respond to your company's specific needs? We're looking forward to discovering what other WP plugins you'd “vote” for this year!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 06'2017
The Anatomy of an Effective Coming Soon Page: 7 Essential Elements
Do you master the art of building anticipation?    Or maybe you still overlook its “power” and you usually go straight to launching your website, confident enough that it will “blow their minds”. That all that “fuss” about generating buzz and enticing potential customers, while your site is still under construction, is nothing but a waste of resources.   Or maybe you're one of those website owners or developers in Toronto who sees it as a “step” to be checked off a list: you simply stick to the “standard procedure”. You go for the conventional textline (“Coming Soon” or “Under Construction”), followed by “...” , opting for the “same old same old” font, same background color as the one appearing on thousands of other websites?   Instead, if you're one of those “detail-oriented” developers/business owners who'd love to learn to “master” the art of anticipation, you're on the right blog!   If you'd like to find out how you could build your loyal audience, one that would be “present” at the “big launch” event before you've added the very last touches to your product/services, if you'd like to build that aura of “high expectations” around your website before it's even ready to be launched, this is the right “tips and tricks” blog post for you. Keep reading:   1. Keep Them “In the Loop” With a Countdown Timer    It might look like such a “worn-out” tactic to you.   And yet: mind you don't underestimate the power of a countdown timer! It's a more- than-useful tool for building anticipation: let them know, don't keep them in the dark, how much days there are left till “the big moment”.    From a user experience perspective it's definitely a “go for” strategy to subtly “guide” your visitors. To gradually deliver them “clues” they need for reaching their journey's destination: in this case, when's the launch date and how much days they still have to count till they “get there”.   2. Go For an Email Sign-Up Form    Now don't think that people will keep counting days till launch time and that precisely on that day they'll rush in to visit your website!   Instead of “slacking off” and to genuinely expect users to “flood onto” your site the day you'll release it “into the wild”, send them remainder emails!   For this, you'll need their email addresses and what more convenient way of collecting them than by placing an email sign-up form on your “under construction” website page?   Your “crop” of contact email addresses will turn out to be a “gold mine” at your disposal, one that will jump start the whole success of your website/business.    A simple, email-reminder, before launch day, will set the difference between a “newly” resealed website, with barely any visitors, and one witnessing a significant wave of traffic, from the very first day.   3. Consider a “Limited Pre-Sell” Tactic   This strategy works best once you've set up a particular context beforehand:   first of all, it works best if you're actually selling something on your website (online courses, various products) secondly, you should build an “community” loyal to your brand during the “launch tease” period and to convey trust.   In order to strengthen this particular audience's trust in your product, preselling your it (or offering early adoption discounts, especially if we're talking about online courses), even if you haven't yet finished it, it's an effective two-purpose strategy:   you increase anticipation for your product's final version, build trust and entice them to come back to your website, once it's launched   you get to collect valuable reviews, which could instantly be turned into “last minute warnings” that you should improve certain features of your products/services before launch day   Not to mention that you could use the gains resulting from pre-sell for actually investing them in the “last touches” that you'll apply to your products!    4. Generate Buzz on Social Media, Too!   Your company's social media accounts make the perfect “environment” for generating buzz on and for spreading it to lots of potential website visitors/customers.   Therefore, don't rely strictly on that “database of priceless email addresses” that you'll collect, but on all the followers that you'll manage to attract on your social media acounts, as well.    This way, you'll have visitors “flooding onto” your website, on launch day, coming from two sources instead of just one.   “How do I increase social engagement on my social media accounts”, you say? By getting creative!   Gather your team of Toronto developers and come up with a “hard to resist to” giveaway/major discounts scenario. Make your incentive truly effective!    Next, come up with a condition: use social promotion as a means for them to gain access to the items that you'll giving away or selling at an incredibly low price! Make them Like your page, to post something related to your website's upcoming launch, on their accounts and link to your company's social media page, you name it.   “Give before you ask!” Remember?   5. Keep Your Text Effectively Concise   You want to give away “clues” about your products/services, you want to “seduce” potential customers with words, to reveal to them why they should sign up for the email remainder, but you definitely don't want to give away too much through a too long, “hard to digest” block of text!   It's a “launch tease”, you know! So, you should give away enough information for them to get a short insight, not to “reveal” everything and “bore” them with an entire “history” of your product! Keep it conveniently short, keep them “in suspense”!   6. Engage Them With a Video     Is there any need to stress the “power” of video content once more? It's the type of     content that captivates instead of merely “deliver infos” about a soon to be launched product/service/course.   Therefore, consider “turbocharging” your coming soon page with “the power” of video!    It's up to you how you decide to showcase your products in this video. A possible option is that of a “collage” of short interviews with members of your team. It will build trust and it will help your visitors to “put a face” on your brand even before your company website “steps into the spotlight”! It will “humanize” it and it will ease interaction!   7. Come Up With an Irresistible Incentive for Launch Day   The “Give before you ask” tactic shouldn't be limited to “presells”.    Exploit this strategy till the very end: which, for a coming soon page is the website's launch itself. Give away something on launch day, too!   A possible scenario would be this one: you already have a “collection” of emails coming from your sign-up form, so you use them to send out an alluringly designed email letting your potential customers know what they'll get if the revisit your recently launched site.   Not only that you'll let them know that “the waiting is over”, but you'll also give them a reason why they should visit it precisely on launch day: since your giveaway is limited to launch day!   This is, in our opinion, the “anatomy” of an effective coming soon page. What other elements do you think it should include? Feel free to share if you have any other suggestions or to disagree with our suggestions, in the comments below!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 02'2017
3 Tips on How to Put on an Authentic “Local Accent” When Telling Your Brand Story
Could your enterprise-size brand, with a strong presence in the online world, ever “rival” the familiar, always-ready-to-help, “born and raised there” salesperson that everyone in the community knows and esteems? Could your national chain of restaurants ever compete with a small, family resto in your attempt to “lure” tourists into your local restaurant, promising them “authentic local flavors”?    Our answer is: yes, you can! But not if you continue to “broadcast” the same “one size fits all” type of message. Not if you continue to tell your brand's story in a monotonous, corporate-like tone!   Your national brand can still build its own loyal narrow audience, within that local market, if you decide to mingle with key “locals”, who can lend you a hand for producing hyperlocal, authentic content. Content that your local targeted audience will “digest” far better.   Your whole “local” content marketing strategy should, therefore, rely on collaborations with these particular “creative locals”!   They're the ones who'll help you find an answer to your dilemma:   “Should I “exploit” my team to collect content with a “local flavor”, from each and every market that I'm striving to send my brand's story to, a “mission impossible”, from the very start, due to the huge resources involved and amount time required? Or should I appeal to my local partners, even if I know that they might lack writing talent and storytelling skills?”   Local creatives and local influencers are, in fact, the answer to your dilemma! They're the ones that will boost your local content marketing efforts!   Hyperlocal, authentic content “that works” will help you boost your SEO and your improve your social media engagement, too! 2 major benefits that no national brand could afford to underestimate, right?   More about how your company could benefit from strategic collaborations with these “key” locals and how to “identify” them, in each one the local markets that you're targeting:   1. Sponsor Local Journalists    Local journalists, especially those that are truly gifted with the talent of storytelling, will always be a “gold” resource for your local content strategy!   That “neighborhood flavor” that journalists working for small local news sites can provide, will always weight a lot, a lot more than the generic content delivered by larger, nationwide daily news.    It's a win-win-situation if you come to think of it: nonprofit local news sites get a new source of revenue and your company gets its brand story told in a local “dialect”.    Your gifted local collaborator will invest some of his/her talent and local knowledge into a piece of content promoting your brand (for your brand's commercials, content to be published on your company website or other branded media) or in a sponsored post.   Either way, he'll be the intermediary you need for “winning over” that specific local market and he'll be the “advocate“ of your brand. He/she will portray it as one striving to discover and then to incorporate the targeted local audience's own “brand story” in its message.   But How Do You “Recruit” These Talented Local Journalists?   First of all, you should internalize this: creative local writers and publishers need revenue diversification!    See it as an opportunity: it's in these local creatives own interest (or at least in the interest of the local news sites they work for), too, not just your company's, to lend you a helping hand to tell your brand's story.    Also, be prepared for “rejection”, too: not all of them will want to “help” you, not even if we're talking about commissioned writing.   Not all these gifted local journalists will want to help an “enterprise brand” “invade” their local market and “outshine” the small local businesses.   But some of them will want to “help” you: so seize those opportunities, in particular, for getting your otherwise standardized brand's message “infused” with valuable topic knowledge!   2. “Lure” Local Influencers: Your Brand Story's Advocates   Whether they're local vloggers, bloggers, Youtube or Instagram “personalities”, you “want” to approach these “local VIPs”.   They'll be your brand's advocates, the ones with the biggest impact on that narrow, targeted audience that you wish to “seduce”.   Moreover: they already have the content writing know-how and the needed local knowledge, too. So, it's already a  an “ideal combo of qualities” that you can't afford to overlook! But how do you “lure” them? How do you convince local influencers to turn into your brand's dedicated promoters?   We, at our web design company in Toronto, do favor the “Give before you ask” strategy!   In way too many cases it's not even physical stuff that you can “tempt” local influencers with.    You could “reward” them, in advance, for the time and effort they'll invest, with an invitation (or more) to some of your company's spectacular, glamorous events, attracting lots of personalities in your field.   Tip 1: for many of these bloggers, getting the link to their blogs on a national brand's website and social media accounts already is a significant boost for their own SEO efforts and social media strategy.    Tip 2: “think outside the box!”. When most of your competitors are reaching out to bloggers with the highest no. of followers, you should focus rather on those key bloggers whose “narrative voices” “fit” your brand. Who could add value to your brand's story and not merely “convey your message” it to their local followers!   How Do You “Track Down” These Local Influencers?   It's quite unexpected that even now enterprise-level brands haven't yet exploited the “local marketing resource” of partnering with local influencers to its full potential!   How about turning this context into a business opportunity for you?   In addition to his experience as a writer and his valuable knowledge as a local (that local journalists provide, too), an influencer would also help you “get your brand's story told to a wide audience” from that local market that you're targeting.   “How do I find local influencers?”, you say?   Here are some tactics you could employ:   think what terms/phrases are more likely to be found on a local influencer's blog: "here in Toronto" intitle:"blog"   consider, also, that some bloggers might not include the word “blog” itself, too, on their blogs and try out different combos such as: "here in Toronto" intitle: "restaurant"   3. Collect Local Data: “Get Under Their Skin!”   It won't be easy, we won't hide it from you! It will take your team of developers in Toronto a while for “doing their hocus pocus” and make city pages generate local data.    But it's worth the effort!   Dig up as much “local” information about the cities/communities that your company's tying to reach out to: Which are the most popular cafes there? What pizza places do most of them prefer to order from? What rent a car companies are most popular in those communities?   “Equipped” with such priceless local data, your team could then use it for crafting blog posts or landing pages with a local touch.   These will be the right means for you to resonate with that targeted local audience: you'll show them that you're full aware that they're unique and that your brand “cherishes” their uniqueness!   You'll thus win their trust and consolidate your local presence.   In Conclusion:   Face it: you need hyperlocal content if you want to boost your raking in SERPs and local publications.   Face it: your team, no matter how large or efficient it might be, won't ever manage to “grasp” that “neighborhood know-how”.    You need to team up with local people, to “recruit” new partners from all those local creatives and influencers, if you really want to add an authentic “local flavor” to your brand's message and to efficiently resonate with your narrow local audiences!   Now your turn: what tactics does your company rely on for producing quality local content that works? How do you collect your “local data” and efficiently “spread the news” about your brand in the targeted local communities? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Feb 01'2017
How Do You Make Your Website More... Usable? An 8-Step Guide to Website Usability
It's a trap: don't fall for it! Don't trade website usability for innovative UI design! Don't strive to impress and thus undermine your site's main goal: making it super easy for your visitors to navigate through!   Instead of dazzling them away you might just... drive them away! Instead of impressing your visitors with your Drupal site's stunning design and beautiful graphics you'll be getting too demanding.   You'll demand too much effort and time, since users will need to invest way too many resources for “untangling” your innovative and therefore unfamiliar interface, instead of focusing on its high quality content.   So, what should it be? Do you want a “avant-garde”, visually-spectacular website that only you and your team would “feast” your eyes on whenever you want, for boosting your self-confidences?   Or rather an inviting website that welcomes in lots of users, making them come back for more?   If you've chosen the second answer, then here are some pieces of advice, “collected” from our team of web developers in Toronto, on how you can boost your website's usability! They're just common sense tactics that everyone knows but many ignore, you know:   1. "Bid on" Standard, Familiar Navigation    Remember: you're reaching out to users with an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish, according to the latest studies.   Therefore, you'd better use those 5 (or less) seconds wisely!    An optimized navigation menu, in terms of usability, should be:   familiar: do not let yourself seduced by the urge to “reinvent the wheel”. Your users are already used to find the main navigation menu on top of the page, displaying links to key pages on your website, featuring concise titles. “Familiar” means “less time invested in recovering from the “surprise” of a new type of layout and less effort (leading to frustration and confusion) for figuring out how the new layout works. So, less time and effort from your users and more pleased users for you: it's a win-win situation after all! effective: don't fall for the trap of pulling off a multi-level navigation bar and a side bar “combo”! You risk to tire your visitor! Our advice to you is to trimline your navigation bar (stick to maximum 7 fields) instead of turning its layout into a true “maze” for your users to solve.  accessible: making your menu quick to find you'll be enhancing accessibility throughout your entire website. Your visitors will then know where they are and where they can go next. No need to get them “stuck in wondering”: light their path with simple, straightforward navigation! Tip: a great tool for improving your website's organizational schema is Crazy Egg. It will provide you with a heat map “enlightening” you on what sections on your page users engage with more frequently. Empowered with such a map, you'll get to effectively display and organize elements on each one of your site's pages!   2. Lead Them Through With Visual Hierarchy   Pulling off a truly effective informational hierarchy is an “art”, but one that you can master following these key principles:   wisely “exploit” that section on your homepage that users' eyes fall on first once they land on it (the center of the page, underneath your navigation menu, or the top left corner): place your most important piece of content there, one that should provide a lower level of detail!    use larger font size for drawing attention to high priority pieces of content   go for visually-arresting images for signaling a higher level of importance given to a particular piece of content   It's no rocket science, it's just helping your users to easily digest your content. By pointing out to them what content is more important and which blocks of content fall on a lower level of the visual hierarchy, you'll be subtly guiding them along your homepage's content.   You'll be taking them on an enjoyable tour instead of confusing them and “bombarding” them with equally “flashy”, equally important information that they can't possibly “digest” all at once.    Tip: strive to keep each content section concise and you'll be “encouraging” your visitors to keep navigating, in a quest for some more “small dosages” of details.   3. Make Your Call to Action Stand Out   We couldn't be talking about a “usable” website lacking a straightforward “call to action”, right? It's what makes your site “usable”.   Therefore, make sure your call/s to action is well visible on your front page and on every other page: “Buy Now”, “Start Your Free Trial”, “Learn More” etc.   They will turn users' visit from just an “aimless wander about” into a journey with a clear destination!   4. Loading Time: Optimize, Optimize, then Optimize Some More   No “frustratingly” slow loading website could pass the 5 second test, right? It will just put users' patience to a test!   So, what can you do for improving your web pages' load time? Here are some optimization tips for you:   optimize your CSS files    optimize your images and scale down their sizes   remove duplicate scripts   optimize browser catching   Tip: heavy scripts, such as JavaScript, are one of the main “culprits” for slow loading pages. Instead, consider opting for minimal scrips if you want to deliver your users a far more agreeable, faster experience on your website! No need to take our advice, take Google's instead: its whole AMP initiative revolves around boosting web pages' load time on smaller screens, too!   5. The Power of Imagery: Handle It With Great Care   Stunning images are a great power which, once triggered, can help you get your users “hooked” to your site, to break up huge blocks of content, to enhance readability and even to add an extra layer of meaning to it, too. A text upgraded with images will always have a much more powerful effect on the reader.   Where do you add that beautiful and highly suggestive images will always be far more easily to digest than big chunks of text alone.   Still, make sure you handle this power with care!    For it you're overcrowding your web pages with outstanding images and even, worse, if you overload it with poorly optimized ones, the result will be: confusing, tiring the user's eye and making him lose his patience, too!   In a nutshell: use imagery to impress, capture attention and “tell a visual story”, but mind you don't overdo it!    6. When in Doubt: Use White Space   It will always “come to your website's rescue”, keeping it from looking discouragingly crowded. Any web designer in Toronto “worth his salt” would confirm you this!   Use white space for keeping your content airy and easy to navigate through and to be digested.   It's pretty much like you'd be inviting your visitors in a light and airy living room instead of a dark, boxes-stuffed basement.   Don't underestimate the impact of white space on your website's usability!   7. Break It Up With Headings and Subheadings   Instead of “serving” users “hard to digest”, big chunks of text, how about breaking it up with headings and subheadings?   Now only that it will increase readability tremendously, making your written content easier to scan, but it will also boost your SEO: H1 still remains a major ranking factor!    In order words: use heading and subheadings for improving user experience and you'll implicitly improve your “relationship” with the search engines, as well!   8. “Consistency Is Key” Is More Than Just Another Motto   Consistency goes hand in hand with “familiarity”!   Keeping the same layout, same fonts and color on every page, will reassure your visitors that they're “on the right path, that they haven't deviated from it.   Keep a consistent theme throughout your website and you'll make your website easy to use: just think about it, now only that you'll instill a sense of familiarity, but you'll be saving your users' time and effort otherwise “wasted” for “deciphering” the new theme, for understanding the new layout's organizational schema etc.   Now to boil down usability to the essentials, we've seen that it relies on 5 main principles:   Consistency   Simplicity   Familiarity   Relevancy   Accessibility of a site    How about your Drupal website? Would it pass the 5 second test? What other usability-enhancing tactics have you used so far? What's your opinion: what role does usability play in the “making of a website?”                           ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 30'2017
10 Effective Strategies to Get the Links that Google Approves
Most of the time it is “Do Not” type of information that you find online when you're trying to find out what types of links Google appreciates. Those types of links that will boost your site's ranking and help it avoid the risk of being put on Google's “nasty” list.   It's far more rarely that you come upon “It's OK to” type of content, right? Articles that clearly point out to you the link types that Google would really love to see on your Drupal site and how precisely you can gain them.   This is why for today's post on our blog we've decided to highlight the “good natural” link types that you should strive to generate for your site.   We'll be focusing on what you should do, not on what you must stay away from. On what link types, precisely, you should gain.   This being said, here's our list of 10 types of links that comply with Google's guidelines:   1. Ask People for Links   And yes, this would still be a “natural” link, even if you ask for it.   Which ones of your friends, family or bloggers in your company would gladly (with no incentive included in the equation) put your brand's link on their blogs/websites or mention your company in one of the pieces of content they'll write?   If they genuinely vouch for your company, showcasing their “vote of trust” in the form of a link, Google will appreciate it.   You'd better set up your list of potential “link hosts” right now!   2. Appeal to Your Industry Connections    How does your own “network” of industry connections look like? Maybe it includes most of the developers in Toronto, food suppliers or maybe real estate agencies instead.   Is your company listed on all your collaborators' “Our Partners” pages?   A good practice, for gaining more links that Google approves of, is to check what business lists your competitors are listed on. Then, to do what it takes to get your own business, as well, listed among those websites relevant for the niche that you operate in.   3. Recover Broken Links   But first: how do you get a pertinent report of all your broken links?   Simple! Your go to Google Search Console and search for crawl errors!   Next, once you've identified them all, you have two options:   you contact the admins/content editors of the websites on which the link to your company seems to have been misspelled and you kindly ask them to correct the misspelling (after you've politely thanked them for adding it in the first place, obviously)    you create a redirect, enabling the broken link to link to your website. It won't “weight” as much as a clean, correctly spelled one, but it sure is worthier than one opening up a 404 page.   4. Focus On Niche Business Directories   "EXCLUSIVELY on niche business directories”, we should have added!   And this is to set a difference between those spammy directories where pretty much anyone could create a link and the niche, harder-to-get-access-to ones, truly relevant for your own type of business!   These and only these are the type of directories that, once your business gets listed, will send good signals to Google!   Run your own “investigations” online, and find out where your competitors have got their businesses listed and try to get your company Drupal website's link published on those “members-only” type of directories, too!   5. Be a Journalist's Source    Familiar with HARO? The online service that practically brings together journalists and valuable sources? These sources are professionals in their fields, who can provide the former with the relevant, expert information they need for wiring their pieces of content?   Well, what would you say about “enrolling” in this program?   You might step into the shoes of a truly valuable source for a future “viral” article, one including a link to your company's site, too!   6. Plan a Newsworthy Event/Campaign   Think of a publicity-attracting event or a campaign: a “run for charity” event or one encouraging young talents to compete and to show off their potential and win a role in your company, an environmental awareness activity, you name it, one that would get you media attention.   Give journalists something to write about! “Something” that has your link in it!   Tip: Do a “research” on the latest news, those relevant in your niche and find out what journalists would write about. Use the results as a source of inspiration, but make sure you challenge your creativity and come up with something that would get even more press attention!   7. Make Your Content Stand Out   Content is, indeed, king, but “sticky”, viral content is... emperor!   But how do you produce content that people would share and talk about, content that stands out from the “sea of potentially viral content” online?   One good old “trick” is to go to Yahoo Answers and filter the information by your business type/products you sell or services you offer!   Find out what are people's genuine questions related to your type of services/products and turn that information into “VIP” content.   Articles that will, subsequently, answer precisely the questions that your potential customers are asking themselves, will “hit their target right away!   You'll then be much more confident to reach out and ask for links when your initiative is “backed up” by viral content that people love, don't you think?   8. Get More Links With Your Already “Linkable” Content    Do you know what pages on your Drupal website are currently “stealing all the spotlights”?   The right way to get your own “top” of the most “linkable” pages on your website is the following:   access Google Search Console go to “Links to Your Site” then go to “More linked content”   There, once you click on “More”, you'll get an accurate report on what URLs fron your website are most popular.   Put together a list and then use precisely this linkable content on your website for promoting it to your future “link hosts”! These URLs will act as your “trust signals” supporting your efforts for attracting more links from those that you'll contact.   Tip: you could, as well, contact those who've already put your link on their websites, for thanking them them, in the fist place, and for asking for content suggestions, secondly. What other type of content would be relevant, interesting enough for for their audiences?    9. Reclaim Your Company Name's Mentions   Let's assume that you've set up Google Alerts and that now you know that there are cases where your brand name's got mentioned, but not linked to, as well.   Select those particular brand mentions from your report and get ready to reach out to those people and to kindly ask them to “reward” you with a link, as well (after, of course, you've expressed your gratitude for already having mentioned your brand's name).   Piece of advice: it's a good practice to go over this data and to contact those who've mentioned you, but haven't linked to your website, on a monthly basis.   10. Exploit The Media Attention That You're Getting   That's right! Another “natural” way for getting more links that Google would approve of is to get the most out of the media attention that you're already getting.   Is your company currently in the spotlight? Then think of strategies for getting even more publicity, for getting the media write even more about your brand!   This, implicitly, means more good, natural links for you!   Do you know any other strategies for gaining good links? Feel free to share in the comments below! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 27'2017
 What's Your Story? Tell It on Your About Page!
Your company's story already has loads of potential to captivate and keep your users engaged: it's unique, it's your brand's identity. There aren't two of a kind!   Now that we've got this straight, let us pop up THE question: how are you going to benefit from your story's uniqueness for drawing people in? How are you going to tell it so that you captivate them first, build trust around your brand secondly and then: boost your conversion rates, too?   How about using your About Us page to “tell this unique story of yours”, to tell it your own way and not in a stiff, impersonal manner that would only make it blend with the masses?   How about breaking the mold and turning this section on your Drupal website into a “storyteller” instead of a “boring” facts and stats-showcasing “board”?   How do you tell your story on your About page in a way that engages, builds trust and sparks emotions (not to mention “leads”)?    Here's how:   1. Tell Them Your Story    Remember that we've already talked, in one of our older posts, about the importance of incorporating your brand's story into your website's design?   Well, you should stick to this good  practice if you truly want to be part of the exception, to make your site “stand out from the masses of websites”.   Therefore, engage in brand storytelling on your About page and make your readers... engage with your brand. It's they very first step that our web design team in Toronto takes when starting to create About pages: listening to our clients' stories!   What makes your brand different? Which was the “vision” you had when you “drafted” the first prototypes of your products/services? How did you imagine they would impact people's lives, make a difference and “change the world”?   Maybe you have a funny story about the “birth” of your company instead, or a daring projection of its future “mission” in the real/digital world. Tell it to them!   Run an analysis of your brand's identity, track that “something” that easily sets it apart from the crowd, then go ahead and “exploit” it: put together both descriptive and emotive copy, along with visually-absorbing graphics and “tell” them your story instead of just “delivering” it to them.    A good story will instantly “inject” meaning into your products/services, it will put them in a context and where do you add that good stories are “sticky”, too: they go viral!   2. Humanize Your Brand   It's human beings that you're reaching out to! Not “bots”, not just generic “users”, not just a faceless “audience”.   So, a little empathy, from the human beings in your company to the human beings “paying you a visit” on your website, will just come to strengthen your communication.   In other words: put a human face on your brand, showcase its personality on your About page.    Tip: how about adding some smiling faces there? Natural, genuine smiles (not the corporate-like, “fake” ones), are “scientifically proven” to help people connect and to boost conversions.   Step out from the mass of “stiff” jargon-using companies! It will just make your brand speak “the monotonous robots' language” to your users!   Instead, tell them about your brand, tell them your story with simple words, using short sentences infused with your brand's authentic voice. Whether this means adding the fun factor here and there, some “punchy sentences” or even “on the spot” made up words (easy to “decipher”).   Go for “friendly and empathetic” language and stay away from “rigid” and patronizing language.   3. Trigger The Power of Video Content   … and you'll keep your visitors “hooked” to your About page way longer!   Not to mention that you'll portrait your brand as an innovative one, ahead of the curve, interested in delivering interactive, engaging user experiences.    So, why shouldn't you “unleash” the power of video on this special section on your Drupal website? Tell your story in a video!    Or, even better: put together the power of video with the power of audio and trigger the “force” of multimedia on your About Page! It will be a multi-leveled experience for your website's visitors. Your story's certain to remain carved in their minds for a longer period of time than conventional “harder to digest” chunks of text!   4. Make It Visually Attractive   No matter how extraordinary your brand's story might be, it will impress and fascinate no one if you present it like a list of paragraphs conventionally entitled: Our Team, Or Mission, Our Values, Our Achievements etc.   Your story needs to stand out, visually, on your About page, if you really want to draw visitors in, if you expect it to captivate them and to make it “stick” to their memory!   Your visitors are “highly visual human beings”, so, once you've accepted this, see how you can adapt your whole content strategy around this principle!   No matter what web design team in Toronto you might collaborate with, suggest them to focus on your About page's visual attractiveness (a page which is way too often overlooked)!   Challenge your creativity, get bold, have fun and come up with a clean and fun design, create graphics to liven up your text and to infuse it with visual personality! Think of all the means of making your Abut page look “visually atypical”!   Once you've caught their eye, you'll instantly increase your chance to “lure them in” and to get them into the right mood for “listening” to your story!   5. Use Testimonials as Trust Builders   Your About page is all about building trust, about creating that aura of “authenticity” and “trustworthiness” around your brand. Not just about luring users in and “wowing” them with your unique story.   Trust leads to better conversion!   So, could you think of more efficient trust signals than testimonials? No matter how well you tell your story, visitors will always trust other humans rather than “the voice of your brand”, no matter how authentic and friendly it might sound to them.   Therefore, display testimonials on your About page! Those certifying your products/services could be either regular people or authorities in your niche!   Consider letting others tell your company's story! They'll always be far more convincing than you!   Tip: consider, also, associating your testimonials with “real faces”! Add the pictures of these “witnesses” willing to tell “chapters” of your story! Your testimonials will instantly look far more authentic: visitors will then be able to put a face on each one of the names testifying for your brand!   6. Rely on Words Alone To Make Your Story “Sticky”   You don't even need to ruin your budget for crafting an outstanding About page that draws visitors in and engages.    You could rely on copy alone, for instance! But on creative copy that's compelling, has humor in it and it's “injected” with personality (not corporate-talk).   It takes practice and it takes writing skills for turning your copy into an efficient “one man show” on your About page. For making it it rival other About pages featuring parallax scrolling, visually-absorbing graphics, video content and other types of “juicy” content.    But it is “doable”! Give it a try: carefully chose the words that will tell your story and let them cast their spell and compel!   7. Seize the Chance to Throw in A Web Form   Your About page is, after all, one of the pages with the highest-traffic on your Drupal website. So, why not taking advantage of such a “massive” audience by putting a lead-capture form into the spotlight?   You're not “just” building trust on your About Us Page, you're actually trying to build trust for better conversion, right?    Well, once you've reached your first goal, with the help of your good story told in a highly engaged manner, how about turning it into an opportunity for boosting conversion on your site?   Put a web form for your visitors to complete right  after they've “listened” to you story, when they're still under its “spell”?   The better your story will be and the better you say it, the more contact info and signups will your strategically-placed web form bring you!   Ponder on this “shrewd” strategy for a while!     Your turn now! What other tactics do you use for designing “About Us” pages that stand out? Let's discuss them in the comments section below!   ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 26'2017
How to Start Your Subscription-Based Business in 7 Easy Steps
Do already vizualize the confidence-boosting number of subscribers that you'll “hook” after just one week? And even the one scored on the first month after the launch?   Are you secretly fantasizing about the profits closely related to these “alluring” numbers?   Mind you don't plunge too far into the future and get “intoxicated” by your predictions. Mind you don't overlook the “closer to the present” key phases of your business: its pre-launch and its launch!   It's in these preliminary steps that lies your business's striking long-term success or maybe its “premature failure”.   Now that you've (hopefully) shifted your attention from the final results to the two-step preparation process itself (way too often underestimated), keep reading on how to actually get these 2 steps right.   On how to make them “turbocharge” your subscription eCommerce business from its very launch.   Pre-launch: Turn It Into a Strategically Structured “Teaser”   You're about to write history: your own subscription business' history!   It's during pre-launch that you determine, through all the major and minor decisions that you'll make, your business' longevity.   Now if it's a story about success that you want to write, make sure to structure your eCommerce business's pre-launch phase as following:   1. First, Craft Your "Teaser Page" for Success   It's crucial for you to get some sort of early feedback from your prospective subscribers.   In this respect, a teaser page is the perfect “means” for you to create “feedback-generating buzz”. Which you can, later on, turn into “pure gold”: use it for fine-tuning your launch!   But what is, in fact, a “teaser page”?   A truly basic definition would be: it's the much simpler “equivalent” of a standard landing page! It's a definition that our team of developers in Toronto has come up with!   What will you accomplish with a teaser page (“with a well-design one”, we need to add)?   Several goals, in fact:   you collect valuable email addresses you get early feedback you build credibility around your soon to be launched business   What makes the difference between “just” a teaser page and an efficient one?   A whole set of key elements to be included in your teaser page:   a professional logo: needless to add that your logo will enhance your existing brand's credibility and recognition and establish trust in your unknown business a catchy tagline: keep it short (one line will do), make it encapsulate the “luring essence” of what you're offering to your prospective subscribers suggestive imagery: think it as the first “influencer” that your potential future customers, who know nothing, yet, about your new business, will get in contact with. Turn it into a highly suggestive and nonetheless highly influencing “sneak peek” into your business: carefully choose the right mood-inducing color scheme and the “leading actor” of you image itself. Will you be showcasing an “hypothetical” customer expressing precisely the mood/emotions that you'd like your future subscribers to associate with your products or rather... a “tantalizing” image of a your subscription box itself? a brief description: which should include straightforward answers to all the “why” and “how” questions your future subscribers might ask themselves; keep it succinct: tell them why they should subscribe an email call-to-action: be straightforward, let your readers know exactly what “they're supposed to do” after they've read your “teaser page”. So, go for a clear, more-than-obvious “email call to action” section, instead of a subtle, ambiguous “empty form” whose purpose they should guess instead.   an email sign up incentive: why should anyone disclose his/her email to an unknown company? Well, come up with a reason why they should, come up with a “temptation”: free subscription, a special discount, you name it. Also, consider rendering your incentive attention-grabbing: “play” with typography, bold colors, with eye-catching boxes that you could place them in, till you've found your “winning formula”.    social sharing options: give your subscribers the chance to turn into your businesses' promoters. They might feel like sharing your teaser page so, why saying “No” to some free promotion?   Note: consider a pre-launch video, too! Since “video content is king now” (and, even more: about to turn “emperor” sooner than you think) why not turning it into a booster for your own pre-launch strategy. It will help you put a face on your new subscription business and this is huge for building a sense of authenticity around it!   2. Next, Optimize It To Perfection   Be always ready to tweak, to revise, to replace, to experiment, to test and then to test some more!   At this point you can and you're greatly advised to!   Get to the point where you cast away all your doubts and where you “know for sure” what business strategy works best for your teaser page.    Depending on the early feedback that you'll get put together your A/B testing email campaigns:   should you lower your price or this decision doesn't influence your prospective subscribers much? should you you go for a once or twice a month shipping instead?   Fine tune your teaser page through constant testing and experimentation till you've built the desired level of attention around your business launch!    3. Build Some Buzz Around Your Upcoming Launch   And here you are: 100% sure of your business strategy's efficiency (after all the testing and experimentation steps you've taken). What next?   Well, now it's about time you built some buzz around your upcoming launch!   How? By co-opting influencers from your niche!    And here is how you do it:   1. you first sit down and put together a list of 100, 200, 300 (the no. is up to you) of influencers in your niche: reviewers, social media experts, bloggers...    2. next, you send them, each, emails explaining what your new business is all about. A straightforward approach works best: let them know what you're actually kindly asking them to do for promoting your business. Also, promise them a compensation of some kind, quick after the launch. Thus, you'll show your gratitude for their cooperation!   3. you build and constantly update your own social media channels: make a habit of posting topics relevant in your niche; it will gradually help you build your community of followers, a way too valuable “audience” to appeal to on launch day!    4. Craft, Schedule and Send Out Your Email Campaigns   Make sure you don't “neglect” your existing subscribers on your “hunt” for potential ones!   Get them “teased” and increasingly curious about your launch with periodic email updates: update emails, thank you emails, reminder emails, call to action emails.    Note: mind you don't “annoy” them! Keep your emails to “one per week” increasing frequency to 2-3 times a week, in the weeks just before the launch!    Launch: Break the Suspense and Head Straight to Success   Enough with the teasing, with the buzz building, overall: with the strategically prolonged suspense!   It's time you launched your subscription-based eCommerce business!    Just a piece of advice: make sure not to rush it, though. Experts with a far richer experience than the one gained by our team of Toronto developers, would advise you to go ahead with the launch only after you've collected at least 2000-5000 of email addresses!   And here's how we advise you to structure your launch strategy if you want to aim for success instead of adopting a “spray and pray” method:   5. Upgrade Your Teaser Page to a “Legitimate” Landing Page:   What does this “upgrade” evolve?   Here are some key improvements you could apply to your teaser page for leveling it up to a “standard” eCommerce page:   add more incentives: make your offer even “harder to resit to”. Go for an additional giveaway, for “early birds” discounts: raise the stakes highlight the retail value: make it really clear for your potential subscribers how much they'll actually save: let the numbers do the "recruiting work" for you!  include more descriptions: speed up their decision making, reveal even more luring details about your offer  switch from email-call-to-action to sales call-to-action: level up from collecting emails to closing sales. Think through the most efficient techniques for crafting and placing your call-to-action button on your landing page   6. Reward Your Early Subscribers    Handle these early-adopters with extra care!    They've taken some risks subscribing to an unknown service, so consider shattering some of their doubts or post subscription regrets with some discounts/additional compensations!   They've been the first to “reward” your brand with trust from an early start. So, it's common sense that you should find a way of showing your gratitude and turning their “curiosity” into loyalty to your brand.   Note: make sure you make your “early subscribers” discounts' terms and conditions visible on your landing page, lest you should face an “avalanche” of complaints from “regular” subscribers claiming their own “early bird” discounts, as well!   7. Plan Your Your First and Second Shipment Strategies   Important reminder: keep in mind, when you're sending out your first shipment, to include, in addition to those “special early-adopter boxes”, the free of charge ones to all the influencers who will have supported you in the pre-launch phase!   As for the second shipment, consider it as “exceptional”, too, and try these strategies for boosting your new subscription business and ensuring its early success:   carry out a new round of “influencers wooing”   try a new “discount” method for “early birds”, but make sure it's not as tempting as the first one, lest you should lose your early-subscribers' trust, who will legitimately feel “cheated”.     This is our step-by-step guide to a “success-oriented” launch of a subscription eCommerce business!   How about you? Do you have any tips and tricks to share from your own experience as a subscription-based business owner? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 23'2017