Welcome to the Modern Earth Blog!

Insights into the Online World


The Essentials for Creating Effective Landing Pages - Modern Earth Web Design - Search Engine Optimization WinnipegWith online marketing ever-increasing in popularity with our clients – mostly due to the affordability for small businesses to market themselves online with Google AdWords, Facebook Advertisements, and other social media network advertising platforms – we find ourselves tasked with creating an influx of landing pages. We've compiled a short list of essentials to ensure your landing page will be effective.

It's important to start by defining what a landing page is – for the readers who might not be familiar with this term. A landing page is a page where your visitor is sent to have them complete a particular action or result. Effective landing pages will allow your user to see the value proposition, and thus, they are more likely to do as you requested.


Formulate a plan

It's important to know what your intended audience wants or needs, and establish a concise value proposition, offering this item. Without some sort of incentive, your landing page visitor likely won’t part with their private information and will leave your page.

Know what you want to receive from your landing page – what information should it capture? How is the information you received processed after you have captured it? 

Increasingly, visitors are hesitant to give you their email address – being armed with a strong proposition is only half of the battle. Your landing page needs to convey trustworthiness – and to be what your visitor expected to see including a consistent experience of your business' brand. They need to be able to feel confident in your offering and your organization as a whole – more often than not – by merely glancing at the elements placed above the fold.

Once you have a visitor's valuable information – what are you going to do with it? Technically, it is worthless – what gives it value is how you work with it. The usage of the information is an important and often overlooked, part of the plan.

The landing page is meant to capture the information for you, and then provide the item of value – if either component isn't thoroughly planned or understood – your landing page will never reach its full potential.


Keep the focus on the prize

Attention spans are at an all-time low – especially when a visitor feels the website they are viewing is making attempts to "sell" them something (if they aren't shopping on an e-commerce site). 

For every element you put on the page, ask yourself what purpose it serves – does it need to be included? When creating an effective landing page, having restraint and self-editing is to your advantage.

Common points of distraction typically include – website navigation, non-offer-specific information, or another menu or button which will exit the landing page. If you are concerned about sending traffic to your site, display intuitive options to the visitor to reach your site – after they have converted the goal of the page.


Evaluate your web form

If you are capturing visitor details, likely you will be using a web form to do so. Similar to the other information – having a concise set of fields is key to an effective landing page's conversion rate. Avoid having additional fields present (even if they aren't required). Limit required fields to five or less – and remember, the lower number of required fields, the more likely the form will get used. Finally, label your 'submit' button in a way which re-states your offer and implies an action for the visitor to complete, and places urgency on the request – such as "Download Your Free E-Book Now!".


Creating a landing page for your business is an investment in time and resources, to obtain new, qualified leads. It will require research, planning, strategy, promotion, tracking and analysis of results to work for your business and to become an effective landing page. At Modern Earth, we can help you reach your landing page goals – book an Online Marketing Consultation with us today!


Why is Web Development So Expensive?

POSTED BY Michel Stryker


Dollar Signs - Modern Earth Web Design - Winnipeg SEO

I would like to start out with a story that I have been told for quite some time.  A firm builds complex buildings as their primary source of revenue, and they came across a set of blueprints that they wanted to build.  They tried multiple times but kept failing to deliver.  They decided to contract out an engineer to see what they were doing wrong.  The engineer took a pencil out of his pocket and circled the exact issue on the blueprints.  The firm tried the plans with the modifications, and sure enough, that did the trick.  The engineer then sent the company an invoice for his fee of $10,000.  The firm was quite agitated and told the engineer that all he did was draw a circle on a piece of paper.  They demanded an itemized receipt.  The engineer sent them an updated invoice with two lines… $1.25 for the pencil, $9,998.75 for knowing where to put the circle.


It takes dedication, time, effort, and perseverance to gain the knowledge and skills to perform a specialized trade.   With web development, there is no difference.  Sure, you can certainly update the website yourself, but with great power comes great responsibility.  A single character put in the wrong place in the code can make the entire website break.  A professional web developer can take their digital pencil and find that error for you, which saves you from pulling out your hair.


There are certain content management systems out there that make web development a lot more user-friendly, such as Wordpress or Joomla, but there are times when plugins (pieces of software that add functionality to your website) on those platforms need that special guiding hand to help ensure the website does exactly what you need it to do.  There are off-the-shelf website builder solutions available too, but you get what you pay for.  Most of those solutions are locked in, so if you need your website to perform a specific function and the packaged option can’t do it, you will most likely be out of luck.


The other major piece that contributes to the higher expense is the snowball effect.  Most of the time code is dependent upon other parts of the code and making one seemly insignificant change could take down the entire site (believe me, it happens more often than you think!).  Us programmers like to sing our song “99 bugs found left in the code, 99 bugs found in the code, take one down, patch it around, 2,361 more bugs in the code.”  The time spent preventing and minimizing these bugs can drive the price higher.

With custom web development, we can take a lot of the stress out of the situation on your behalf.  We make sure that the software does exactly what you need, hunt down and squash the bugs, and ultimately prevent you spending a lot of your most valuable resource - time - trying to do something that is best left to the professionals.

5 Tips for Junior Developers

POSTED BY Steven Larson


5 Tips for Junior Developers

   As a recent graduate fresh off of my practicum experience and a couple months into my first job as a developer,  I thought it might be beneficial to share a few tips I picked up along the way that may help if you are in a similar situation.  Your list may vary slightly, but I would like to outline five things that I have found to be a great help as I transitioned from college student to full-time junior developer.

cap.jpg1.    Write Things Down!

This may not seem like much, but it is important.  I made the mistake at the start, to assume that I would be able to remember what was being told to me the first time around and overlooked this, but as time went on I quickly learned this wasn’t the case.  As a junior developer, chances are, most of your work will be something brand new to you.  Even experienced developers go through a transition when starting at a new company and need guidance on things, let alone you.  My first couple weeks I found myself asking the same question a few times before it clicked.  Avoid this and take a few seconds to right down the file path, or the repo name, or whatever else the problem will be.  Since I started taking notes, I have noticed a huge difference in the speed in which I can handle my work.

2.    Research… Don’t Think Your Learning is Complete

If you want to improve quickly and feel like a useful part of your team environment, this is a must.  As a junior developer, your knowledge base is most likely limited, really limited, to almost the bare essentials.  School can only teach you so much at a base level, the rest you learn from hands-on experience.  If you currently have a job, you will probably have noticed most of the fixes we do as junior developers, aren’t simple.  Why?  Easy, the simple code doesn’t break.  Usually.  And as this is the case, it means any fixes you are required to complete are more complex issues.  Now I know programming covers many different areas, so I am not suggesting that you go out and research everything, but I am suggesting you find something.  I recommend choosing one thing a week that you are lacking experience with or that your company uses, and to research and learn more about it in your free time.  You will notice improvements quickly, and if you are a graduate looking for a job, find a skill set that seems like a lot of companies in your area are looking for and try learning those.  Some knowledge in areas companies are looking for could go a long way in your next interview.   

3.    Understand Your Task

   This might seem simple, but knowing what you are trying to do before setting out to accomplish this goal, will save you a lot of time.  Before I started taking this approach, there were many times I worked on a task for an hour or so, only to realize that the result I was trying to accomplish wasn’t what was being asked for and having to go backward and start again.  Not only will you save yourself time and the company some budget, but a clear picture of an end goal goes a long way to accomplishing a task to the best of your abilities.

4.    Keep Things as Simple as Possible

   It is very easy to overthink things when you are at first starting out.  Be it nerves at not wanting to mess things up, or the assumption we might not be able to do what we are trying to do, it seems at first that you will tend to overcomplicate an issue.  To help me with this habit, my approach is to go back to my college way of thinking.  When first starting, I quickly realized the code and the issues I was trying to look at/resolve, were far far more complex than any I had seen in college, and it made me nervous about my skills and took me away from my confidence in my abilities.  What you need to remember is not that college taught you everything that you will see at a job, but it gave you a foundation (usually using simple solutions) to code and to work through a problem.  As I started looking at issues with the same step by step approach I had taken in college, I found out quickly that even with much more elaborate programming, the concept was the same, and it helped bring my confidence back up.

5.    Relax and Trust Your Abilities

   Freshly graduated, it is easy to have a mindset of confidence in yourself and be eager to go and start your new career.  Chances are a lot of you made it through your last few projects at school quite easily or without many complications, but as you begin your new job you will quickly notice that almost every task you get assigned to you frustrates you and gives you many complications.  It is easy to look around and see senior developers handling their jobs and to compare yourself to them and to demand yourself to be better, leading to frustration and slowing you down.  Just remember you aren’t a senior developer, at least not yet.  You will have a lot of growing yet to do in your programming abilities, so relax, take a step back, breathe, and remind yourself of what got you to where you are today.


Clean Code - Clean Site

POSTED BY Steven Larson


Clean Code = Clean Sites

If you have knowledge on the subject of programming, you have probably come across the terminology “clean” code.  If you are a business owner you may be asking what is clean code, and why is it important for your company’s developers to implement it into all aspects of their work?  Though every programmer might have a different answer for what constitutes as clean code, I would describe it as code, “which is easy to read and easily manipulated if updates need to be made.”  If the definition changes from programmer to programmer, one thing that is widely believed would be the fact that a site containing clean code will lead to a more efficient and easier to maintain one. 

Shift to Clean Code

As technology progressed exponentially over the years, programmers have shifted towards clean coding.  Gone are the days of counting bytes to try and save as much storage as possible with your code.  As bytes moved to KB, then to MB, then to GB, and finally to TB, writing clean code has become the focus of programmers.  You may be asking, what exactly are some of the benefits of clean coding, which is causing almost all programmers to put an effort into making their code as clean as possible?  Well, I’m glad you asked. 

Benefits of Writing Clean Code

The biggest benefit would be the time saved in the long run, and we all know that time is money.  Rare are the projects and sites that after completion, have next to no maintenance and upkeep to them.  After completion, 99% of projects have constant updates and minor fixes to them, which usually leads to more than just one of your programmers looking through all the code to fix the issue.  If you have ever seen unorganized programming, you understand the frustrations of sifting through line after line of code and trying to comprehend what exactly the code is doing.  In today’s programming world, we are almost always working as a part of a group on a site or project.  So you can imagine the time it will save if the code is clean and easy to understand.  

Additional Benefits

Besides just readability, it also will make any changes to the code easier to accomplish for your workers.  If done properly, it will help reduce many changes down to a line or two of code instead of having to create, or change, multiple lines.  It will also allow the code to be used across multiple sites instead of restricting the functionality to one particular site.  Just imagine how much man hours of labor you could potentially save with this ability!  As you can see time is the biggest benefit by far to your company.  You can save a lot of hours of labor costs!  An added benefit on top of that would be happier employees.  In the end, it only makes sense to explore the clean code route for your business. 



Tags Clean Code 

4 Design Tricks You've Got to Try

POSTED BY Stacey Wiebe


Computer at Desk - Modern Earth Web Design - Web Design WinnipegThe best thing about style and design is that the world is always changing, and this constant evolution is ever so true for web design. With the core technology frequently upgrading to fix bugs and incorporate the newest and best practices, we’re always on our toes trying to find what’s new and exciting to make our website stand out from the crowd. Understanding how new design techniques can be applied to your site will help to make it a more efficient tool and create a  powerful online representation for your company.


Use Larger Font Sizes

I like big text, and I cannot lie. It’s an easy way to draw interest to a critical section of a website and a naturally SEO-friendly design element! Using a base font size of 18pts where it makes sense and increasing the line-spacing for body text will help to make the already difficult on-screen text a little bit easier to read. Readability on mobile devices is a key feature and has contributed to popularizing this trend. Ensure you choose a web-friendly typeface that will scale well, and you’re off to a good start.


Paypal Screenshot - Modern Earth Web Design - SEO Winnipeg

Simplify Navigation

Reducing the options of your visitor might initially seem like the opposite of what you want to do, but it can have a positive outcome. Placing fewer items in your navigation can help reduce the amount of clutter that exists on your site and allows you to create better-looking designs. Complicated dropdown menu systems that require ninja-like reflexes can create too many options while strategically placed navigation items can help guide visitors to your most valuable content.


Stop Using Sliders

Image, video and text sliders and whether to use them is a topic that’s highly polarizing; you either love them, or you hate them. Phasing them out goes along with the idea of simplifying your navigation, cutting out items that distract the visitor and don’t positively affect navigation to site content. Instead, use a well-planned image or large text area that reflects the brand and intent of that website. Having a single thoughtful piece also looks far more impressive than the multiple slides that vary in quality of design and content. 


Lay Off The Sidebars

Another entry item that focuses on clearing up clutter on a website, I know, but hear me out. Sidebars were initially used to feature additional navigational elements such as recent posts and popular content, but this was also a time when we thought animated gifs and mouse trails were a good idea so maybe things have changed a bit? Sidebars get overtaken by ads and low-priority content, and we’re constantly hounded by advertising, so visitors have subconsciously learned to ignore any blocks of text or images that look like ads. This phenomenon has turned what should be a productive and useful content area into a waste of space. Removing the sidebar can help put the focus back on the main content and improve the response to Call-To-Action graphics.


Keeping up with web trends is important, but so is being knowledgeable about why you are making the choices you did. Intelligent design choices translate to visitors being able to use a website better which can help your business grow.