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.

How to Choose the Right Team to Upgrade Your Site to Drupal 8
Here you are, facing a big challenge: which one of all the Drupal teams “seducing” you with their whole array of migrating services to go with? Which one is THE one to upgrade your site to Drupal 8? Which are the key questions to ask them before you take your decision? Your “questionnaire” should turn into a powerful tool during the selection process! Just think that it's more than a migration “marathon” that this company will undertake (migrating you site's content, all its modules etc.), but a whole website redesigning “marathon”, as well! In other words: don't go for your most “seducing wooer”! Now in order to streamline your selection process and to reduce the risk of taking a wrong decision to a minimum, we've put together a list of “clues” for you. “Clues” that will help you identify your future Drupal partner. Ready? Here it goes:   1. Get Clear Evidence of Their Experience Before You Upgrade Your Site to Drupal 8 References from their previous customers here included! It's a more than “clue”, we know that, but even so, we still felt like putting it on top of our advice list: make sure that the Drupal agency who'll be handling your migration project has enough experience working with Drupal! And not just with Drupal 6 or 7, but with Druipal 8, as well. It's already been a while since November 2015, when Drupal 8 was released into the wild. So every Drupal agency worth its salt (and your attention), should have already    added at least a few Drupal 8 projects to its portfolio. Never accept that your company should be anyone's “guinea pig”! Ask for clear evidence of their work with several versions of Drupal, as well as references from their clients. And this should be the very first step to take during your selection process! 2. You'll Want a Team Actively Involved in the Drupal Community And it's this community involvement proof that might just be THE “tie breaker”! The one that will differentiate the Drupal agencies that you should keep on your list for further checking from the ones that you should... well... take off your list! Just think about it: the more active a team is, as a contributor, the more up to date and familiarized with the latest projects of the Drupal's “ecosystem ” they are. The more reliable will their decisions be once they handle your migration project. You won't risk “ending up” with a Drupal company wasting too much of your valuable time (and money!) on coding PHP instead of relying on the latest future proof approaches! And this is just an example! In a nutshell: check whether the Drupal team that you're considering to hire to upgrade your site to Drupal 8 is active in the Drupal community! Also, if you come to think of it: it's precisely the team behind Drupal 8, that group of developers working on its core and modules, seeing that the open source platform keeps up with the ever-growing digital needs of all companies operating in the online world that are the real “culprits” of its cutting-edge features. Therefore, the more a Drupal agency stays connected to this community of Drupal developers and designers, the more reassured you can be that its team knows what it's doing. Simply put!   3. Make Sure Your Project Is Not Their Very First Drupal 8 Migration Project Remember our previous advice: “Never accept that your company should be anyone's “guinea pig”!? No matter how temptingly cost-effective their estimate might be! Therefore, make sure you don't skip this part where you ask for clear evidence of their experience not just of working in Drupal 8, but in migrating websites to Drupal 8, as well! Get information about and analyze the reviewed company's previously Drupal 8 migration projects!    4. Ask Them How They'll Be Handling Each One of Your Crucial Current Modules And this “chic chat” around the critical modules/features on your current website should no way miss from your selection process! You're entitled to point out to each one of the interviewed agencies which are the modules/ functionalities/sections on your company's website that you “stubbornly” want to keep. Ask for specific migration plans that they would develop for each one each one of these key features on your site! When there's no correspondent module in Drupal 8, ask for alternatives! Either way, have this open discussion with each one of the Drupal teams that you're interviewing, challenging them to come up with sustainable solutions to your requests. Leave no room for compromise risking to impact your website's functionality. No room for surprises that you would be “forced” to accept once the migration project has been started!   5. Be Skeptical About Speedy Estimations  Time is money, no doubt about that! But when it comes to Drupal 8 migration project estimations, too little time spent in an in-depth analysis of your site will, on the contrary, be more harmful to your budget on the long run! In other words: don't go with the hastiest, overly confident and overly “enthusiast” Drupal team! One that will immediately give you an estimate “on the go”, without feeling the “need” to dig in deep into your website. If a company won't take a close look at the whole content architecture on your Drupal website, won't “delve” into its custom code or analyze its theme CSS& JS, you should instantly “turn on your alert”. It means their estimation is riskily superficial and that you should jump straight to the next Drupal agency on your list. No point in taking such a risk! Tip: if an in-depth analysis of your website means a way too risky process for you, you can always go for a “temporary account” solution. Give the reviewed Drupal team this account, then, once they've completed their “digging”, just cancel it.  These are our 5 clues that will hopefully streamline the process during which you select the Drupal agency top upgrade your site to Drupal 8. Do you have other key criteria or key questions on your list, as well? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 10'2017
Ready to Put Your Website/App to The Test? The Usability Test?
How can you be sure that your website's or your app's design has been created for the USER?  It might seem  as a silly question to you: “of course that everyone's designing with the “user” in mind!”All web designers embark on their designing adventure with good intentions, meaning that they do start their projects with the User in mind, but what if they lose their “designing for the user” mindset somewhere along the way? How do you know whether your web product reaches out to users, if, let's say, it's just your team that will have played the role of the “user” during testing? Is your company falling into one of these 2 categories?   companies that don't see the point (or that find it too time-consuming and budget-challenging) in turning usability testing into an essential step to take before any new web project's launch   companies that over-complicate the usability testing process and which can't rip the major benefits   Then this blog post is for you! It's a two-purpose post, so to say:   it's meant to answer all your dilemmas on whether usability test does worth your effort or it's just an unnecessary part of your web development process   it's also a step-by-step guide on how to plan, conduct and document your usability tests. Thus clearing away all the confusion surrounding this process. So, let's proceed, shall we?   Why Should You Even Bother Running a Usability Test? As a company owner, just try stepping into your your team's web designer(s) shoes: you're charged to do some sort of “hocus pocus” in order to ensure the ideal overall experience of the website/app that you're working on! And try to carry out your task as you're fully aware that “user experience” is an overwhelming vague and, at the same time, highly comprehensive component of your design and that flaws do happen during the design process.  There's no point in denying that! How do you pull off this “ideal overall experience”? How do you know which are the “ideal parameters” of this “overall” experience? Get it? Without some reliable UX research results at your disposal, you'll be relying exclusively on guessing and “finger crossing” strategy as you put together your design. This is why usability testing makes such a powerful tool, when handle rightly! A tool that will point out to you the UX flaws in your design and, implicitly, the solutions for overcoming them, as well. Now let's continue with our step-by-step guide to usability testing:   Set Your Goals One first caveat: avoid vague goals such as “understanding how the new navigation menu works”! You goals can go from broad to specific (e.g. “which checkout method increases conversion rate on our website”). Either way, do keep in mind to avoid “shooting two birds (or more) with one stone”, if you know what we mean! Don't lose focus! Meaning that you should sift through your super long list of questions, to cut it down to the truly essential ones about your web product. The more accurate the questionnaire, the more accurate will your usability test results be. Same for your objectives: it's better to go for a short list, one tackling only the most relevant issues of your product.   Determine The Type of Usability Test That You'll Conduct  Before we jump straight to classifying the usability tests that you can choose from, we feel like highlighting the fact that: there's no such thing as “better or worse”! Only a matter of “suitable or not”. A matter of whether it's the appropriate one for your specific goal! This being said, these are the tests you can select from and incorporate into your usability session:   scripted: which allows you to target specific goals; your test participants' interactions with your web product are determined by a clear set of instructions, this enabling you to aim at and to analyze individual elements (e.g. a tree test, a hallways usability test)   natural (or near-natural): a test where you analyze and interpret the user's behavior in his/her natural environment, thus collecting more accurate impressions and data (A/B testing, diary studies etc.)   decontextualized: it targets more generalized concepts and triggers broad opinions rather than pinpointing your specific web product (user interviews, surveys etc.)   hybrid: quick exposure memory testing, adjective cards, participatory design; in other words tests aimed at grasping the test participants' mentality(s)   The next step to take once you've determined which usability test(s) is appropriate for your own user testing process, is to go ahead and to put together a document for your whole team. One summarizing your tactics and a plan of how the whole usability session will be carried out.   Start Working On Your User Tasks What exactly will you get your test participants to do? This is THE question! Now before you start to actually put together your user tasks, keep in mind that everything will impact the way they'll carry out their tasks: from phrasing to content, even the slightest details can hinder a proper understanding of your questions! Stay away from bias! With that aspect in mind, decide whether it's “closed” or “open” tasks that you'll challenge your users with. Or maybe both! Let's detail:   open user task: offers participants multiple ways for completing it, leading to qualitative results   closed user tasks: come with “success or fail” type of question, nothing in-between, no room for interpretation   Two extra tips to consider when writing your user tasks:   handle the power of verbs rightly: ask your users “to describe” or “to demonstrate”, therefore do stay away from tricky verbs deviating you from your “pathway to accuracy”, such as the verb “understand”. Some of the “good” verbs that you could insert in your user tasks are the “call to action” ones: “demonstrate”, “evaluate”, “describe”, “organize”   establish what you want your test participants to achieve by the end of this test. What should they be able to do by the end of this usability session? Try answering this question before you start creating your user tasks!   Tip: try sticking to 5 test users! It's the “magic” number, so to say, when it comes to usability testing. Less participants won't signal all the possible UX flaws that your design might have, while more than 5 users will automatically lead to experience overlap. To users signaling the same problems! Who said this should be a time-consuming, overly complex process? Nonsense! You get the best results by just sticking to a sequence of 5 user tests. That's all! No need for a “marathon” here!   Boil an UX Research Plan Document  A one-page document will do. No need to “stuff” it with information and unnecessary details, lest you should discourage everyone from your team, from marketers to developers to executives. Here's what this plan should include:   the reasons why such an UX research was needed (keep it short: one paragraph will do)   the usability session's essential objectives to be reached   the questions prepared for your test participants   the tactics involved: when, where and how you'll run your usability test   a few words about each one of your 5 participants   the timeline   the test script itself (https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/01/ux-research-plan-stakeholders-love/#a-sample-ux-research-plan)   Make it as concisely and “easily digestible” as possible, but without risking to leave out anyone of these key sections or crucial information to be added to each one of them.   Now Go Ahead and Conduct Your Usability Test And this is it: after all the planning, selecting the right test participants, running your own UX research, putting together your timetable and writing the test documentation, you'll be finally conducting your usability session! As for the testing process itself, our team of Toronto developers has some key advice for you:   make your test participants feel comfortable: reassure them that it's not them that you'll be testing, they're not the “target” (so there's no right or wrong answers) but your product's design itself   record your usability session   give them them space   collaborate: allow your test participants to record their own interpretations, as well, so they can compare them, later on   Write a Usability Report and Share It With Your Team Now it's time that you make sure that everyone in your team is on the same page. That they're all well informed about the results of your usability test, so that they can steer their work-related initiatives and decisions accordingly. Now speaking of this report, we've put together a list of tips and tricks to consider  when you start drafting it:   prioritize the problems signaled during the test: no need to include even the slightest, the obvious issues   be explicit: stay away from vague phrasing and try to be clear and concise explaining the very “root” of every issue   recommend a few possible improvements to be made   Now if you allow us some more recommendations: don't limit to a one-page report, but feel free to include any charts or graphs, the questionnaire itself, audio tracks and so on into your report. Go for a whole folder-report, not just for a simple file-report. And this is it! Hopefully we've managed to give a clear answer to the “Why Bother With a Usability Test?” question and to put together a helpful step-by-step guide on how to conduct your next usability session. One last piece of advice: no need to wait until your web project is nearly ready to be launched! Do run several usability tests during its development process, so that you can collect enough insightful data and to use them for improving your website/app before it's too late. ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Apr 07'2017
What Are the Ecommerce Trends in 2017 with the Biggest Impact on Your Business? Top 12- Part 2
And we're back! Ready to put the spotlights on some 6 more powerful ecommerce trends that will shape the online shopping landscape in 2017. Which could either shake up or skyrocket your business. It's up to you! As you'll see, none of them will come as a surprise to you! They're all actually complementing the “movements” pointed out  in our previous post: the user-friendly content comes to enhance the ultra-personalized shopping experience   a quicker payment process actually complements the whole “simpler UX” ecommerce trend   whereas the multi-channel shopping experience is nothing but a result of the mobile-first mentality that players in the ecommerce “arena” will have to embrace. Or be left behind! Therefore, let's stop with our “teasing” here and let's dig into our list of ecommerce trends with a huge impact on your own business in 2017:   7. Safeguarding Your E-business with Fraud Management Tools Is a MUST In 2017 handling security issues half-hardheartedly has become a colossal risk for you to take!  Just think about all the critical cyber attacks that have shaken up the online world in 2016: LinkedIn, Yahoo, Mark Zuckerberg's account have all turned into “vulnerable victims”. Want to have your company name listed there, as well? If not, then putting your Drupal ecommerce website under the shield of fraud management tools is a must! Use them for tracking down any fraudulent activity on your website. Use them for winning your visitors' trust. Who'll otherwise take a step back if your ecommerce company conveys the unwanted message that you're taking security and privacy concerns way too lightly. That they risk to be left exposed while they browse through and shop on your website. In other words: put HTTPS encryption on top of your priority list in 2017! There's no other way around it.   8. Voice Search Optimization Is No Longer Just an Option Numbers tell it better than we could ever do it: 20% of search requests have been   made through Google's voice search facility in 2016. And this trend is not going anywhere in 2017. Anywhere but... up! So, what do you do? You get your Drupal ecommerce website voice search optimized! What does that mean? Well, it means that you make sure to sprinkle conversational long tail requests throughout the user-friendly content on your site. “User friendly”and “attractive” content: do keep that in mind! This way, you're creating the perfect online shopping context for those potential shoppers who'll be using the search voice facility for placing requests on your website.  It might look like just an emerging trend to you know, but be better than that: future-proof your e-business by anticipating this voice search trend turning into a megatrend in 2017!    9. The Streamlined Product Return Experience: One of the Influencing Ecommerce Trends in 2017  It's no just through your fraud management tools that you build a sense of security in your website visitors/potential customers. You'll manage to do that with the help of a clearly formulated and streamlined product return feature, as well! Accept it: there will be online shoppers who'll return the products bought on your website! No need to get discouraged, no need to turn your back on this “harsh” reality! Instead, turn it into an opportunity to keep them engaged (ironically!): anticipate it and be prepared for it! Before they've had the “chance” to return their products, you will have already won your customers' trust. And so, their loyalty for your brand won't end after their first return if you turn this process into an agreeable experience!   10. Reader-Friendly, Engaging Content: An Evergreen Ecommerce Trend  Trends emerge and seem to have the potential to shape the online shopping landscape for many years to come and yet many of them quickly fade away! Still, engaging, attractive content (as opposed to the impersonal, generic one) is.. here to stay! … and to dictate how online retailers connect with their customers for a long time from now on! Therefore, if you haven't yet spiced up your Drupal ecommerce website with lively, attractive and user-friendly content, you shouldn't lose any more precious time.  Accompany stunning product imagery with engaging copy. Tell your products' story in a way that would captivate your visitors. And don't stick to your website only!  Blogs, newsletters and live chats make some great engaging content “environments” that will help you reach out to your customers and tell your story! Storytelling, another “power” word that will shape the online shopping landscape in 2017 more than ever!   11. Omni-Channel Shopping Experience: An Ecommerce Reality in 2017 And you can't deliver an omni-channel shopping experience without setting the right context for a multi-channel shopping experience, right?  Therefore, in 2017, more than in 2016, focus on getting your ecommece business “equipped” with features such as real-time stock information or multichannel wish lists.  Then, once you've put together your rich collection of shopping channels to “wow” your potential customers with, make sure you keep your brand's message consistent across all of them! Tip: turn omni-channel selling into an opportunity for you to gather priceless behavioral data about your customers (data coming from multiple sources): dta on their shipping option preferences, what products they like best, their shopping patterns and so on.   12. Speeding Up The Checkout Process Turns Into a Top Priority After they've rewarded you with their time and since are now ready to reward your brand with their money as well, you can't be as reckless as to discourage your customers with a multi-page, super long payment process! Do your best to simplify it, then... simplifiy it some more! “N” fill in forms to complete, an overload of data to deliver, too many boxes to check and pages to go through will, no doubt, be discouraging for your website visitors. Therefore, aim at delivering them a hassle-free shopping experience! Which would be impossible in the context of a way too demanding, overly complex payment process. It's now that we can say that we've reached the end of our list of 12 ecommerce trends to adopt and to adapt to in 2017. Only if you still want to “say afloat” in the ever-changing, ever-transforming online shopping landscape. Have we left out any powerful trend from our list? Do feel free to “scold” us, if so! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 30'2017
What Are the Ecommerce Trends in 2017 with the Biggest Impact on Your Business? Top 12- Part 1
Time sure flies! Here you are now, already getting ready to tear off the third page of your 2017 calendar (April is just around the corner) and to... get your business shaken up or completely whipped off by the global megatrends to come. Or maybe not! Preparation is key and anticipating trends is vital in the online retail market! This is why we've rolled up our sleeves and started to dig up, to do some serious research work for you! We've asked the experts in the field, put in some of our own experience, then added a few “drops” of visionary outlook. And therefore: we are now ready to get you “equipped” with THE  list of “ecommerce trends”! Those that you can't risk ignoring in 2017! Trends that will steal the spotlight on the “ecommerce stage” and which can mean both the END for the players from the online retail arena that score low reaction times and major business-boosters for the quick adopters and adapters. Like you! So, without further ado, the list that you should use as a “backbone” for your own 2017 ecommerce strategy:   1. Personalized Interactive Shopping: The Future of Online Shopping With tools such as artificial intelligence programs and real-time analytics at your disposal, you practically have no “excuse”! No excuse to stubbornly stick to the “one-size-fits-all” type of shopping experiences delivered on your website! Just acknowledging the fact that each one of your potential shoppers has his/her own preferences, unique needs and even specific search phrases that they he usually types in for tracking down products is no longer enough. You need to actually start collecting all this key behavioral data (using the 2 above-mentioned empowering tools)! To interpret it and to use it for “fueling” the highly personalized shopping experiences that you'll spoil your customers with.  To use it for delivering them highly targeted product recommendations!   2. Go Beyond Mobile Optimization: Embrace The MOBILE-FIRST Thinking! “Mobile devices are now the source of more than half of the web traffic”, the earth's round and the sky's blue. Nothing new under the sun here, right? Only non-debatable facts! What we're trying to point out here is that making your website responsive is no longer enough! You need to go beyond common thinking that smaller-sized devices are nothing but limitations to the desktop-based online shopping experience. You need to start tailoring unique shopping experiences with mobile devices' specific sizes and functionality in mind, from the very beginning! That's where the future of ecommerce is heading to and you should, too! Thinking mobile-first, seeing smartphones/tablets as distinct shop windows is what will propel you into the future! Moreover: you should seriously consider pairing your ecommerce website with a correspondent mobile app (think Amazon, think eBay and so on).   don't stop there: consider implementing a mobile wallet into your app (think Paypal, think Apple Pay). Digital, hassle-free payment will rapidly be outshining the conventional one and is expected to be adopted by more and more companies operating in the ecommerce industry and willing to simplify their users' entire “paying experience”. And why should you leave behind this “movement”, right?    3. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants or “The Customer Service of the Future” Chatbots, along with AI, are here to stay and to grow into a “megatrend”! So, there's no escape from them! You either adopt them and incorporate them into your whole “creating perfectly personalized shopping experiences” strategy for 2017 or, well, you'll be actually guiding your customers towards your competitors' websites! Online shoppers expect to be “pampered”, to be offered only product recommendations that perfectly fit their own preferences and their specific behavior as online customers. They expect you to have this behavioral data! Therefore, having a virtual assistance “at their disposal” is nothing but another legitimate expectation from their part, as potential shoppers in your estore! Not only that chatbots offer them assistance throughout their shopping journey on your Drupal ecommerce website, but post shopping assistance, as well! They'll be there to answer all their queries after they've actually received and started using your product!  When it comes to chatbots, a new dimension of the personalization trend in ecommerce, what better examples could you think of than Apple's Siri of Sephora's messaging app's Kik? It's a tremendous chance for you to boost customer engagement (which goes hand in hand with your conversion rates) on your website! So, you might want to analyze this trend, one of the truly influencing ecommerce trends in 2017!   4. Social Selling: One Of the Skyrocketing Ecommerce Trends  Showcasing and selling your products/marketing your services on social media! Can't ignore this megatrend, can't escape it and you definitely can't afford leaving your ecommerce business without a social media marketing strategy.  That would be simply reckless! In other words: turn the social media platforms into your own products/services stages! Feel free to parade them there, to put them into a good light and, most of all, to engage with those “in the audience”! Selling isn't limited to websites or to apps anymore (as it has stopped being limited to your physical stores, too) and social media is now much more than just a marketing tool. With tools such as Facebook Live Videos (enabling you to showcase your products and to promote your events) and with an overwhelming majority of your potential shoppers using their social media accounts to engage with their favorite brands, you can no longer leave social selling out of your ecommerce marketing strategy!   5. The Simpler the UX, the Higher the Conversion Rates A simpler checkout process goes hand in hand with the ever so popular ulta-minimal web design! It's one of those ecommerce trends that will highly influence your shopping cart abandonment rate! No need to over clutter your UX, to load it with lots of steps to take and tasks for your customers to carry out before they can finally pay for their products. You risk to annoy them and to make them abandon their shopping carts! Keep it simple! An ideal one-page checkout will do wonders! Especially if it's designed around these 3 key principles in mind: a simple payment process    intuitive product searches   clearly formulated returns policies   6. Same-Day Delivery: Adapt to It or Be Left Behind A generic “fast”delivery or “within maximum n days” will be no longer enough! Not only that your delivery strategy needs to provide more specific answers than those, but you'll be witnessing the rise of the “same-day delivery” trend. Consider it and strive to adapt to it: make an inventory of your resources, improve your current shipping features if necessary, do whatever it takes to perfect your delivery strategy. For your customers expect you to!  In addition to this “uber-ization in terms of deliveries, more and more ecommere companies will be integrating drop-off providers into their delivery strategies in 2017. So, you'd better consider this aspect, as well, as a booster for your own ecommerce business! Quick recap: adapt to the rising “same-day, uber quick delivery trend” or you'll be left behind! As simple as that! We're not ending our list here, for we've prepared 6 more highly influencing ecommerce trends to adopt and adapt to in 2017. Therefore: to be continued in our next post! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 29'2017
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
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 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