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Insights into the Online World

Apr272016

Memories of a modern and down to earth internship - Modern Earth Web Design - Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg

Making the transition from school to work life is an exciting time for any student, and in some cases, the change can be a challenge. As you begin a new career, with a company, it’s possible for things like workflow and process to become deconstructed, or maybe I should say, reconstructed. For me, however, the internship I was embarking on was an even more special one – it also represented a cultural transition.

 

The Beginning

My journey began two years ago – I left behind family, friends and a stable career in my home country of Brazil to go back to college on the other side equator, in Canada. I enrolled as an international student taking the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. The final component of the program consisted of a 3-week workplace internship – leading me here, to Modern Earth.

 

Life in Brazil

My past includes having the opportunity to work at some of the top advertising agencies in Brazil – where I honed my skills in graphic design, advertising, branding and identities for many years – but Modern Earth was my first taste of the North American work environment. Think about the stereotypes associated with Brazil; the ones surrounding fun, friendliness, openness and include examples like Carnaval, Samba, and World Cup? Yeah, I have to admit – they are accurate. The country of Brazil is what they call a high-context culture (source link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-_and_low-context_cultures).

Canada, on the other hand, is a low-context one. When comparing the environment where individuals conduct business, Brazil’s can look a bit informal when compared to Canada’s environment, coming from their low-context style of people. Nevertheless, I like better how things go in Canada regarding human interaction. I would best describe it as a slow start, and growing day by day, as people get to know and trust each other. The interactions shift and continue to evolve until they form a warm and respectful relationship. Therefore, because of the pace, it wasn’t hard for me to quickly adapt without losing my identity.

 

My 'Modern' Internship Experience

Speaking specifically, during my time at Modern Earth I spent most of my days working alongside the lead of Modern Earth’s Creative Director, Barrett. As per my low-context discovery of Canadians, he comes off quite reserved and quiet (although extremely friendly). But after a few days, we started to bond. While working with him, I came to the realization that his knowledge of web development is massive. He taught me many things about how to approach the creative process to design a website across the many stages of a project’s lifecycle. Planning, efficiency, and high impact aesthetics – combined with a laser-like attention to detail are his mantras – and valuable lessons I will keep. On the various assignments I was given during my internship, I was able to interact and work with Mike, the Development Manager (and also, a talented videographer); Philip, the President of Modern Earth; Dan, Modern Earth’s CEO; and Stacey, a front-end designer, and developer. Everyone who I had the chance to work with has made a significant impact on me.

I’m content with my Modern Earth hosted internship, and if I had the opportunity to choose again, I wouldn’t hesitate – I would choose Modern Earth. It is a great place to learn and start a career, with friendly people, interesting clients, and cool projects. Coming into the internship, this was my impression of their company on my first day – this is the opinion I take home with me on my last one.

 

This Modern Earth guest post was authored by Gustavo Magalhães, who completed a 3-week internship with us as part of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. Born and raised on the northeast shores of Brazil in the city of Fortaleza, Gustavo spent a decade working for a handful of Brazil’s top advertising agencies. In 2014, he made the decision to broaden his horizons – this prompted a move to Canada to pursue new, but related, opportunities in the digital media field. Besides his passion for graphic design and web technology, Gustavo is an avid music lover, songwriter, and guitarist.

Email Scam Warning - Kinek Dramex Group

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Apr252016

A scammer calling themselves "Kinek Dramex Group" is using our physical address as the location of their Canada office in an email Scam. Please report any messages you receive from them as Spam.  They are not a tenant in our business center and are in no way connected to our company.

The emails that are being sent offer the recipient a job and look like the images below:

Kinek Dramex Group Email Scam

Kinek Dramex Group Email Scam

When you receive a suspicious looking or unexpected email there are 3 important things to remember:

  1. Never open attached files.  These may contain harmful files that could damage your computer, or cause data to be lost.
  2. Never respond with personal identification or banking information.  Scammers send "phishing" emails with generic requests to verify a number of things including account password resets, package confirmations, or transaction history.  Many of these emails are made to appear as though they were sent by a professional entity and may include logos, and other easily recognizable brand information to make them more convincing.
  3. Never click links within a suspicious email.  Spammers will use this links to send you to low-quality webpages that may compromise your online security.

If you have received one of these emails, please do not respond to the sender.  If you have questions about email scams, or other network securtity issues, contact us to discuss, we would be happy to help!  

A 5 Minute, 5 Point Website Usability Check

POSTED BY Emma Sadonick-Carriere

Apr182016

The age of high-speed internet and smartphones has shortened out attention spans and elevated our expectations.  Users expect the information they want at the exact moment they want it.  Here is a 5 point usability check you can complete on your website in 5 minutes.  Start with your home page and branch out from there. 

  1. Mobile friendly or responsive functionality
    How does your website look on a smartphone or tablet device?  Over half of all searches are completed on one of these devices; if your website doesn't provide a good experience for users your chances of appearing in search results are slim.  Google has changed their algorithm to check for this functionality and is more likely to show a mobile friendly website to a searcher on a mobile device.  
  2. A clear call to action on every page
    Once the user arrives at your website, do they have a clear direction to follow?  What is the next step you want them to complete?  Have a clear message or a call to action, on every single page of your website.  
  3. A lead generation form
    So many business websites miss the opportunity to generate leads.  A form that collects the users name and email address is a great way to generate leads - but you have to give the user something of value right off the bat.  This could be a pdf download of a how-to guide or a spreadsheet to help them organize their day.  Whatever you provide to the users should be more valuable than the information you're asking them to provide.        
  4. Clear navigation
    Easy to follow navigation is essential to the usability of your website.  A logical information architecture with a clear hierarchy will make it easier for users to find the information they want in a timely fashion.  The more clicks a user has to go through from the search result to get the information they want, the higher the odds they will "bounce" and move on to the next search result, or refine their query.  
  5. An H1 tag on every page
    Headings are used to establish the important elements of page content.  The h1 tag is the most important, h2 second most important, and so forth.  Using headings tells search engines the most important elements of your website page content.  Include keywords in headings where you can and increase your chances of being found for related searches.

This quick test should give you an idea of the important elements of your website pages that could be improved, and where you stand out against your competitors!  

The web today is filling up with all kinds of businesses wanting their piece of the pie.  You will need to come up with ways to make sure you stand out above the rest.  As developers, we can help you make sure you get your slice.

 

Here are a few ways that web development can enhance your online marketing:

 

Automatic Social Media Posts

    Can’t be near your computer 24/7, making sure that your social media is posted at the correct time?  Let a programmer help!  We can take your social media posts and schedule it out on a regular basis, as long as you provide it with enough time in advance.  Once you get the hang of things, it’ll be a piece of cake!

 

Alert for trends/keywords

    Want to know how the public views your brand?  Want to know what’s hot or what’s not?  Web developers can come up with ways to detect keywords/trends that can alert you and let you know how your brand is doing.  You can pick and choose which words to monitor, take the feedback with a grain of salt, and use it to your advantage!  See if you can cut the mustard with them and get them happy again!

 

Fine-tuned Emails

    Nowadays, when a user signs up for a newsletter or anything involving their address, you can personalize emails to their specific needs, based on their location.  If they purchased something off your website, you could use this information to send them cleverly crafted emails to let them know there are more items they may like!  It may whet their appetite for more, and they’ll come back to eat some more!

 

 

Once you have your pie, everyone else will get their just desserts.  Just remember to be gracious and think back to the hard work that got you where you are.  If you excuse me, it’s lunch time, and that’s my cup of tea!

10 Common misconceptions about online marketing for business - Modern Earth Web Design - Search Engine Optimization WinnipegThe way businesses interact with customers has changed. New tools and platforms have moved the conversion online. Online Marketing (or Digital Marketing) involves a combination of social media networks, a website, product landing pages, pay-per-click advertising, and search engine optimization all forming a foundation showcasing your company's brand online. Each component of an Online Marketing strategy can strengthen your image online and help attract customers new and returning. Due to the newness of the industry, there are many misconceptions as to what Online Marketing is – below; I will help divulge the ten most common myths.

 

#1 – Online marketing is nothing but technology [1]

Incorrect, Online Marketing uses technology extensively to push your message to audiences, but there are many offline components which go into a successful Online Marketing campaign. Creating fresh content, reviewing analytical data, forming strategies, executing your plan, and changing course based on results are all things you need to do.

 

#2 – You don't need a website; you just need a Facebook page [2]

Untrue, it's always best to have a website as the cornerstone for all of your Online Marketing initiatives. Due to the terms and conditions of a the social media network, you don't have 'ownership' of the content you post. It's best to think of Facebook as rented space, versus your website, which is a tangible item you own.

 

#3 – SEO can be 'set it and forget it' [3]

Search engines are always looking for ways to evolve and innovate – their goal as a business is to find the best result and display it to their end user. Because of this constant element of change, you need to be reviewing and making changes to your SEO strategy over time to produce the results you are wanting.

 

#4 – Not focusing on quality content [4]

Quality content on your website and throughout your Online Marketing strategy needs to receive attention as much as the other items on this list. With quality content, your audience will gain a better sense and understanding for your business, be able to see your value proposition more easily, and the quality will feed into other aspects of your strategy, such as SEO.

 

#5 – Online Marketing can only be successful with significant website traffic [5]

Creating an online marketing campaign to a targeted audience or group of clients or potential customers is often more effective than blanketing your message to anyone online. The key is knowing who your audience is, along with the best way to reach them online – the quality of your leads is something you want to focus on, over the quantity.

 

#6 – Online marketing is expensive [6]

Due to the vast amount of free platforms and tools designed to work within this medium efficiently, this phrase is inaccurate. Due to the size and scale of the available communities online, chances are the only expense you will need to cover is the cost of hiring a company to complete the formation of the online marketing strategy for you.

 

#7 – Negative space and scrolling online [7]

Due to the acceptance of mobile devices for Internet usage, long gone is the notion of users who don't want to scroll down. Because of this, a web designer will have more options for creating proper spacing for the elements on the page. Having purposeful empty space will allow your viewer an easier time to scan the page and will give you the ability to have your message make more of an impact.

 

#8 – Online marketing produces results overnight [8]

Another incorrect myth – online marketing will not give you instant results. Like any marketing, it may take ten or more touches to your audience before they become a customer. Online marketing will allow you to get your message in front of them on technology they are already using, which can target specific groups, has options for automation, and can deliver analytical data which will let you know how well you are doing or what you might want to change.

 

#9 – Too much self-promotion [9]

If all you are doing is talking about how awesome you are (which is fine to do in moderation), your audience will soon become bored. Create posts and share information which is relevant to your business or industry, but also, can be of value to someone who might not have seen it online themselves. Broadcasting this type of material across the platforms you engage in places you in the position of the 'subject matter authority' and your audience will be more likely to contact you when they require someone with these skills.

 

#10 – Anyone can do it [10]

With any of the items on this list, you can do them yourself, but your time is likely better spent focusing on other areas of your business in which you are an expert. Working with an online marketing company, they will assist you in identifying existing audiences, help you find new, potential customer groups and ensure your brand and message is consistently represented online across all of the platforms and technology you are interested in becoming involved.

 

If you are interested in making Modern Earth your online marketing partner, we would love to hear from you. If you are interested in setting up a no-obligation consultation contact us to book your appointment today!

 

Sources:

[1], [2], [6], [8] – http://blog.dragonwealth.net/10-misconceptions-about-digital-marketing
[3] – http://marketingland.com/15-digital-marketing-myths-cmos-need-stop-believing-143446
[4], [9] – https://www.techwyse.com/blog/internet-marketing/common-beginner-online-marketing-mistakes/
[5] – http://digitalmarketingphilippines.com/8-common-myths-about-digital-marketing-infographic/
[7],[10] – http://szaboka.com/articles/10-common-misconceptions-about-web-design/