2012 will prove to be a year of incredible technological advancements. Here are a few of our predictions for web and technology trends in the year to come.
Our holiday eCards are here! Now you can create and send your very own personalized WebCanada & Front60 holiday greeting cards.
‘Twas the night before Christmas, The WebCanada team in-house
Not a creature was working, not even clicking a mouse...
There's no doubt about it, Google is the reigning Internet behemoth. As a company, they constantly innovate to meet the changing nature of the web, and offer a myriad of tools that are priceless to businesses. From AdWords to search results, Google has forever changed the nature of online marketing.
Airbnb is the "community marketplace for unique spaces" that matches property owners who have space to rent with travellers who are looking for an (often cheaper) alternative to a hotel. They've been seeing explosive growth since their inception in 2008 - they currently boast 23 million social connections and actor Ashton Kutcher recently joined the company as strategic advisor. We love that the focus with Airbnb is on the personal connection between guest and host. Airbnb's culture recognizes that rooms and amenities are very important, but so is the human experience of the journey.
Our friends at Zen-tai Wellness Centre recently stopped by to present a lunch and learn centered around de-stressing in the workplace. As a group, we tend to reach for pop and candy to boost our energy, so Naturopathic Doctors Makoto Trotter and Aileen Lim-Trotter shared with us a number of ways to be more mindful about what we're eating.
Foursquare, National Post and GeoPollster Canada have partnered to create a fascinating social media campaign in the run up to the Canadian General Elections on May 2. The campaign acts as a game of location domination, pairing Foursquare users with a political party and displaying their check-in data as party affiliation.
How does it work?
Foursquare users opt to sign in to the GeoPollster Canada campaign, which links with their Foursquare account. Once account permission has been given, the user is prompted to choose a party to "vote" as, and every Foursquare check-in from then on is associated with that party.
Almost everybody has heard of search engine optimization, but the idea of social media optimization is just starting to catch on. Back in 2006 marketing blogger Rohit Bhargava first coined the term, defining it this way:
"The concept behind SMO is simple: implement changes to optimize a site so that it is more easily linked to, more highly visible in social media searches on custom search engines (such as Technorati), and more frequently included in relevant posts on blogs, podcasts and vlogs."
When someone says the word app, what immediately comes to mind? iPhone apps, Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer? What if I included Gmail, Amazon and Facebook in that list, do they still count? Sure they do, they're just web apps, but instead of being created to run on an operating system, they're created to run on a web browser.
We don't think about it, but websites like Flickr, Ebay and even, WebCanada's Live CMS are all web apps, and they carry with them many advantages over the desktop counterparts...
Desktop Applications store information on your computer's hard drive, where web apps store information on a database independent from your computer or on "the cloud." Each time you request information from a web app it pulls the data dynamically, whether it be displaying an email or updating the homepage of your website in Live CMS; all that information is available to you no matter where you go, not matter what computer you're on.
This past week WebCanada was invited to speak at Everest College. One of our senior developers, Andy Zarzycki and myself prepared several topics ranging from industry trends to differentiating yourself in the job market. The goal was to give students some insight into the day of a life as a developer. On our end, it was a good opportunity for WebCanada to showcase what we do and our passion for it.
Starting a blog is a test of perseverance, a lot of research and a love of sharing ideas. But what tools and strategies exist to make the job easier?
It's also important to ask yourself: why do I blog? What is the business strategy? Am I looking to add value to the company website? Do I want to attract web searchers through keywords, or do I just want to use the blog as a medium to convey the company's personality? It's important to put together a game plan and stick to your strategy from day one, and of course, adapt when necessary.
So, how can you keep ideas in the pipeline and ensure that you publish consistently? In this post we'll share some blog productivity tools and strategies that we've used to build our blog over the past six months.
Redoing your website can be a daunting process, but a little bit of planning and expert advice can make the experience painless and dare I say: fun!
How often should a company think about redoing their website? The answer depends a lot on the type of business you're in. For example, websites for clothing retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch or Lacoste often go through several incarnations each year. Or maybe you're in a seasonal business where redoing your website is a good idea in the months leading up to peak season. No matter what business you're in, it's considered good practice to redo your website ever 18-24 months, why?
Pay-per-click marketing seems like a relatively simple concept: bid on some keywords and link your site in the paid results. But there are some who have taken to Google Adwords in new and innovative ways. Here are three examples that I hope will inspire you to think creatively in your pay-per-click campaigns.
Building your brand online and being discovered in search.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a video worth? At least a thousand, if not many more. The greatest advantage video offers is the ease to which it can communicate an idea, and the degree to which our brains are naturally wired to absorb information in this way.
When the web first entered our homes, it was this new medium with which to share information and manage data on a very basic scale. In the early to mid-nineties, we were able to share text and images. With the explosion of broadband the web can now drive richer content to our screens and provide higher level experiences such as videos and interactive Flash websites. And with these new applications comes a greater opportunity to communicate who you are.
More recently countless businesses have taken to online video and viewed it as an opportunity to build their brand presence. Some have been quicker out of the gates than others, but now that so many have done it, it might be useful to ask yourself: why should I do it?
Companies that spend time and money on their corporate communications usually see their efforts pay off in spades; whether it's a polished and persuasive website, or a meticulously crafted brochure, a well-written piece of marketing copy will convey the right message to your client and garner the results you expect.
Why don't we give emails the respect they deserve? Is it because we receive so many and it's simply a slog to get through them? Probably, but that shouldn't be an excuse for a poorly worded, unfocused and confusing email, especially when you're writing to your clients.
I surveyed the Front60 team for their thoughts on this all too important means of communication. If you deal with clients directly or if it's your employees who do, here are a few rules of thumb that will help to make your emails focused, easy to read, and actionable:
Through the use of free tools you can do thorough market research in a matter of hours; the same research would have been less accurate and cost thousands of dollars not less than 10 years ago. It's a great time to own a business!
Market research allows entrepreneurs/businesses to learn about their prospective customers before they begin to invest the time and money in starting a new venture. Online tools have emerged that allow anyone to perform market research.
In July, we featured Vanessa Fox's book Marketing in the Age of Google. Perhaps one of the most interesting excerpts found in the book is Fox's hypothetical look at a company trying to create a better digital camera using the web as a primary market research tool. First the company "BetterCamera," must uncover the top searched-for digital camera features and find a point of differentiation: underwater cameras.
We all want to join the ranks of brands that have succeeded in creating buzzworthy marketing campaigns that drive word of mouth and impact sales. Unfortunately, there is no magic answer, no silver bullet. But what we can do is be inspired by what other brands have done and try to learn from their ways of thinking.
You've got a name, logo, business cards and a letterhead, but do you have a brand? A brand in its simplest form is a noun, a thing. It's not simply the name of your company, or a way for people to identify you against another; although it serves those purposes. A brand should make you feel something, make you aspire to be like them, identify with and trust them.
Brands have characteristics the same way people do; most, if not all major brands have brand strategy guides that are meant to be followed closely across all communications. This includes everything from the layout of a banner ad, to the social media, to the way customer service representatives conduct themselves.
It happened so fast. In mid-2008, we moved into our new office at 2 Carlton Street right in the middle of Downtown Toronto. A few months later we took over the office next door. Now summer 2010 has arrived and we're moving again...
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