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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 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
Tips To Hire Best Web Design Agency In Toronto
When you’re making a decision about which Toronto web design agency to hire, you’re making a decision about the future of your business. A well designed, quickly loading, a good looking website will bring you, clients, increase sales and lead to success. A bad website… well, let’s just say it will cost you more. If you’re a small business, looking for an affordable web design Toronto studio is understandable. It’s perfectly achievable too. There are good web design agencies in any price range. There are bad ones in all price ranges as well. So how do you make sure to hire the Toronto web design agency that’s right for you? Here are a few considerations that can help you make the right decision. Look for relevant experience. Markets and industries are different. If an agency worked with fashion shop websites in Europe, it doesn’t mean they will know how to build a website for a Toronto hi-tech company or a local car repair shop. They may, or they may not. Picking a company that worked with clients in your industry locally is the safer choice. Affordable is not the same as cheap. Remember there’s the trio of things: Fast, Cheap, Good. You can only ever choose two of them. Choose fast and good, and it won’t be cheap. Choose cheap and fast, and you won’t get quality results. But it can be affordable. As we just said above, there are good companies in all price ranges. Just don’t make it your top priority. See how communication works. Are emails answered quickly? Do they provide detailed answers? The company you’re hiring should sound interested and reliable. They should be able and happy to explain what exactly you’re getting for your money. Make sure you’re also available, to establish good communication and trust, of course. Portfolios are important, but checking them won’t hurt. Unfortunately, it’s not impossible for businesses - in any field, for that matter - to exhibit projects that are not their own. Luckily, it’s easy to check. All you need to do is contact their client and ask how the service was. This way you gain a confirmation that the portfolio project is real, and also find out about how good it was working with the firm. An honest Toronto web design agency will only encourage that. We hope this helps. Good luck in your search and a subsequent new project!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 02'2017
 Which Is the Best Mobile and Web App Development Technology for Your Own Project?
Many businesses now decide to create an app. There are many reasons for it. Some businesses simplify transactions with existing clients this way. Some find it helpful when attracting or retaining clientele. In other cases, the app is a bonus with cool, interesting features that make clients happy. Whatever your reason for considering mobile web app development, there is something that you should decide first. Apps are different. There are native mobile apps, hybrid apps and web applications. They all have similarities, but they have differences as well. Let’s give you a quick overview about what them. Native Apps Most of what we know about mobile apps comes from native applications. Each is developed to work on mobile devices only, with versions for different platforms, even if it’s the same application. An iOS app won’t work on Android, Blackberry or Windows phones, and vice versa. They have been the default for a long time, the reason being that their functioning on each device is optimized for that device. That makes a better user experience. The problem with them, however, is that they have to each be built from the ground up. If you want your app to work on iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones, you need to essentially produce 4 different applications. That can be costly, and you need to make sure the company you hire has all the necessary mobile web development tools to get the job done on all four. Web Apps Let’s continue with the mobile web app vs native app comparison, and return to the hybrid application a bit later. The web app can run on all devices regardless of the system, but it may have difficulty displaying well on some browsers and screen sizes. There are adaptive and responsive web apps that attempt to fit in different viewports, which they do with increasing if not perfect success. At the same time, the web app won’t be able to operate your camera, so anything that takes pictures is not an option here. This is not all bad, since - again - it will save you lots of development time and more than a bit of money. Just make sure it’s right for your purposes. Hybrid Apps This is a combination, or rather a compromise between the two. The hybrid app will appear in app stores, increasing its discoverability, but will run in the browser. What’s sure though, is that the decision is not clear-cut. You choice of app should be the optimal solution to your specific needs. Just ask your native or mobile web app development experts and see what they say. Good luck with your project! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 02'2017
 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
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
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
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
Get Personal With Your Users: 6 Ways to Personalize Your App and Deliver a Great Experience
So, you've put your brand's name on a shiny new app!    It's visually enticing and it works “as smooth as butter”, too. And where do you add that its navigation is more than intuitive, as well.   It sure looks like you've checked all the major “must-haves” off your app's list. And yet...   It takes just a “Hello there!” or recommending to your app visitors products with absolutely no connection, whatsoever, to their previously bought items, and your “visually-arresting”, smoothly functioning app itself will risk to “become history”.    Personalization is key in mobile marketing!   A tailor-made customer approach is what makes the difference between “just another” great-looking, fast-loading app and a great-looking, fast-loading app that keeps users hooked on and wanting to come back for more. We, too, the team in this web development company in Toronto, are great fans of this approach.   Now, don't rush in to “recycle” your previous targeting experience, either! It may be still relevant for your desktop marketing strategy, but not for mobile.   A new medium comes with a different user behavior and requires a different type of strategy, as well.   Without further ado, let us highlight for you some things to keep in mind when you put together your personalized mobile marketing plan:   Get To Know Your Users   You couldn't possibly personalize your users' journeys inside your app if you continue to see them as “audience”.    Start perceiving them as “individuals” first, then individualize their experiences.   Especially since nowadays you have valuable analytics at your fingertip practically: this gives you an accurate (real-time) insight into your users':   demoraphics age sex on what sections from your app they visit more often when was the last time they used it even what they're doing in your app RIGHT NOW   And this is gold information!   Why not use all this data about your “guests” for crafting contextual offers for them, for boosting your app with tailor-made engagement features (instead of the “one-size-fits-all” type of in-app messages): coupons, video tutorials, notifications, you name it?   “Say Their Names” As You Welcome Them On Board   Yes, you've got it right: this means so much more than just going for a “Hello + Your User' First Name” greeting formula.   This is just basic personalization, but it's a start.   Still, take a few steps further: use the details that your users provide you with, as they sign up into your app, for customizing their experiences right from the start.   For ensuring your app will leave the very best first impression on your users!   By the time they start exploring your app, you'll have their names, their dates of birth, you will then know something about their preferences, so you can come up with your first tailor-made product suggestions for them.   Why not trying to guide them towards the exact pages of your app that they're interested in?   Instead of letting them “without any guidance whatsoever”, wandering about your app?   Tailor Your Content To Your Users' Behaviors   Once you've made them feel welcomed and “handled as individuals” in your app, go ahead and tailor all your content to your guests' click behavior.   Recommend them products/services similar to those that they've already shown interest for!   Moreover, if you want to collect data for personalizing their next visits, make sure to implement in your app features such as “auto suggest” and “product recommendations”.    This way, they'll feel that you truly care about the experience they had using your products/services. Not that you're collecting information in order to “prepare” your content for their future visits in your app!   Your users will "tell" you how to personalize the content you deliver them in your app. You just need to invest some time in “listening to them”, then some more in turning the “clues” they'll give you into “mobile marketing gold”. It's “well invested time”, and we, the team of developers in this digital agency in Toronto, can confirm it from experience.   Personalize Your Push Notifications   This is not a matter of “just” reaching out to your users and “closing a sale”, but a matter of infusing your push notifications with personalization. Of focusing on the wrapping, as well, not just on the message within!   Offer something to those customers who will have abandoned the cart, but make sure that “something” is perfectly tailored to their preferences, to their action history!   Implement In-App Features To Boost Interaction   Browsing through piles of pictures, watching videos, “digesting” plenty of text, keeping up with all the notifications, scanning through all the fields of your menu can get quite overwhelming for your app users after a while.   You are aware of this, aren't you?   Now, for easing their exploration and for enhancing interaction, consider boosting your app with some personalized in-app features.    Here are just two examples:   personalized in-app referrals: give your users reasons to “pay you another visit” in-app chat: your users can get over the “paradox of choice” if they can stay connected with their family and friends and thus ask for their opinions on the purchases they indent to make   Engage in Ongoing Conversation With Your App Users   … instead of simply popping up “messages”, whether they're general or personalized in-app messages.   The approach to success is the one of “individualized feedback”!   Depending on what screens from your app your users has accessed, on what actions they did or did not perform, you can adapt your in-app messages and level them up to “ongoing conversations”.    Here are 2 possible scenarios for you:   a user has given you a good review, he/she's just filled in your customer satisfaction survey: you could then invite him/her to rate your app in the app store   another user has given you a negative feedback: you could then ask him/her for more info so that you can fix the signaled issue(s) and improve his/her future experience in your app or you could tempt him/her with a tailor-made offer.   Final Thoughts   Your app users expect not to just to enjoy some “memorable experiences” while in your app: they demand “personalized experiences”.   So, instead of investing all your resources in functionality, it's time to focus on implementing those elements of personalization which drive users to convert into shoppers and to come back for more.   Also, another final thought for you: test it once, test it twice and experiment som more! Test  different visuals, content, layouts, you name it. Look for ways to constantly improve your users' journey in your app, to constantly add new levels of personalization to their experience.   What are your thoughts about personalized mobile marketing? To what extent do you personalize your mobile apps? Use the comments section below to drop in a few words about  your own experiences as an app developer!    ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jan 20'2017