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Email Outage Resolved - April 2017

POSTED BY Modern Earth

Apr062017

We were aware of a problem impacting clients ability to send or receive email.  This has now been resolved, and all email service is back online.  Service was unavailable from 7:10 am CST until 9:55am CST.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns you can reach us at 866.766.7640 or 204.885.2469

Thank you for your Patience,

The Modern Earth Support Team

Email Outage - April 2017

POSTED BY Modern Earth

Apr062017

We are currently aware of a problem impacting clients ability to send or receive email.  While we investigate and resolve the issue, we have taken the server offline to ensure data is protected

At this time, we do not have an ETA for resolution, however, will provide updates as more information becomes available.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns you can reach us at 866.766.7640 or 204.885.2469

Thank you for your Patience,

The Modern Earth Support Team

Sep282016

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

Sep222016

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

Sep082016

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.