BIO Digital Marketing http://www.brogproperties.com BIO is a digital marketing agency. We plan and build digital marketing campaigns for clients who need a long-term, solid partner that gets results. Mon, 30 Dec 2019 21:27:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 Webflow creates a new way to make websites http://www.brogproperties.com/webflow-creates-a-new-way-to-make-websites/ http://www.brogproperties.com/webflow-creates-a-new-way-to-make-websites/#respond Mon, 30 Dec 2019 21:26:14 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=4871 Build custom websites visually, manage projects in a shared dashboard, collaborate with your colleagues, then charge clients directly for ongoing costs right from Webflow. It’s the all in-one platform for growing agencies serving modern clients.

Go beyond templates

Design and develop completely custom sites visually, harnessing all the power of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in a visual canvas. Webflow is the only design tool that lets you create production-level code.

There’s a big chunk of that web design process that I can skip now, and sort of merge the prototyping and development phase, which has helped me build client sites a lot faster.”

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Website Life After Launch http://www.brogproperties.com/website-life-after-launch/ http://www.brogproperties.com/website-life-after-launch/#respond Wed, 24 May 2017 19:05:11 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=4861 What’s the value of long-term website support?

You just spent three to six months focusing on a new site build or redesign, it has launched, and now you can forget all about it for a year or two, right?

Not so fast. Websites are living, breathing things. It may not seem like they need attention, but a neglected website will die a slow, quiet death. It’s just a matter of time.

Without content updates, visibility on search engines will diminish. Without security and software updates, your website’s software platform (your content management system) will become out of date, which makes it vulnerable to cyberattacks, and it could even break, which would make it difficult to update content or retrieve the site at all.

 

rocket-launch4

Three Keys to a Safe and Healthy Website

Choose a design and development partner that offers long-term technology support. Check their references. Firms that offer website support after launch are interested in developing a partnership with you and creating a long-lasting site that they can build upon.

Your technology partner will pro-actively apply security updates, monitor website performance, and report on website analytics — without you having to ask for it.

1. Security and Maintenance Updates
With open-source content management systems like Drupal and WordPress, the community is continuously releasing security updates and features to close security holes that keep it safe from hackers; regular updates by your developers allow you to take advantage of these advancements.

Important: Your developer should upload updates into a test environment to make sure it’s working properly before going live, or you may experience conflicts or downtime. Whatever you do, don’t rely on automatic updates!

2. Security and Performance Monitoring
Before launch, your developer should install a web application firewall that helps protect your site from malicious attackers, such as bots that will start attacking your login URL, or individuals who are searching for a page that initiates a database query that bypasses cached content.

A database query is a high resource request, which will make your server get slow and eventually grind to a halt. Your developer will monitor activity via this web application to make sure you’re not getting hit.

Bonus? Ask if this firewall includes a CDN feature — content delivery network — which helps make the site load faster.

3. Google Webmaster Tools Monitoring

Every month, your developer should check the Google crawl reports to make sure everything is being indexed correctly. An error may mean that a website change was configured improperly, which can lead to whole sections of the website becoming invisible.

This report will also show 404s — pages not found — which may mean you’re missing out on SEO juice from referring sites. Your developer should be able to proactively fix these problems so you don’t miss out on traffic.

What if long-term website support isn’t offered?

If your design and development partner does not include ongoing support, consider this a red flag. We have done many rescue projects where a large and well-known organization — redesign completed months ago — suddenly realizes they have no access to their site, no insight on how it was put together, and no place to start fixing problems.

In fact, we’ve seen companies come very close to losing multiple years of search history, content, and online search link reputation due to a lack of monitoring.

What does long-term website support cost?

The hard truth is this: Whether or not you choose to sign up for monthly development support, you’ll likely pay for it one way or another. You’ll either pay up-front, as a part of an ongoing relationship that helps protect and support you and answer questions as your company and website evolves and grows, or in the form of emergency fixes, rebuilds, and lost opportunity when the site is not functioning.

Need help determining whether your back-end support contract has you covered or is worth the cost? We’d be happy to talk.

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What is Content Strategy? http://www.brogproperties.com/what-is-content-strategy/ http://www.brogproperties.com/what-is-content-strategy/#respond Fri, 10 Mar 2017 20:36:48 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=4852

We’ve heard about—and hopefully developed—content strategy for our website(s). But too often content strategy is lumped in with basic business strategy. Instead of assuming that our site material will parallel our business flow, developing a farsighted plan to draw consumers/readers into our corporate purpose through varying but related angles can build readership, improve sales, and promote sustainability.

When we are looking at content strategy on a website as a whole, or on a subset of pages within that site, we are analyzing the intended vision as it accomplishes company goals. Let’s break that last sentence down. Content strategy directly connects to your business objectives. But be clear: business strategy and content strategy are not the same thing. Hannah Smith and Adria Saracino of distilled.net have explained this concept of content strategy as being a “high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective”. They are expressing that before writing blog posts or adding substance to your site, such material should be guided by a greater vision that encompasses the core of your purpose. By going back to your business motto and corporate objectives, you can develop a content strategy that determines what material you need to display first and foremost, what information you need to regularly update, and how you will do so. In other words, your content strategy will draw upon your corporate strategy, and if done well, bolster it by hitting those objectives.

Having a guide for keeping up with your website—and specifically with “generation pages” like blogs—enables your site to be a useful marketing tool. That “high-level vision” connecting back to your underlying goals breeds the smart creation of useful content ideas. Such ideas, once thoughtfully organized, can provide a map for upcoming information to be dispersed—often adding upon concepts and allowing for intelligent linking that keeps users on your site while learning and investigating ever helpful material. Mapping out content over time will allow you to further unfold your objectives and draw site visitors back. This skeletal core of your content strategy includes the planning of upcoming topics with enough room to allow for timely pieces when something newsworthy needs to take center stage. It’s not necessarily a linear plan, though some content may flow best that way; rather, it’s a concept hub that grabs the attention of your reader and keeps you continually expanding as well.

By preparing for this process using a content strategy, you will know where you are going with your content; and equally as important, you will remember what you have covered, which will reduce the natural human tendency to become repetitive. Speaking in circles can negatively impact your readership by being too elementary, leading your audience to believe you really have nothing of value to add to the vast Internet conversation. We love the way Smith and Saracino capture this concept:

“Additionally, a lack of strategy can lead to generic content, and generic content simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Generic content is unlikely to rank organically. Generic content doesn’t get shared. Generic content doesn’t engage people and is therefore unlikely to deliver against your wider marketing objectives. If you skip the strategy and head straight to delivery you’re in danger of creating content which could either confuse or alienate your audience, or fail to reach them at all.”

With a strategized content plan that is regularly reviewed, you or your employees can more easily determine what material is appropriate for linking your company’s purpose with those seeking your information. Keep in mind this quote from A List Apart: “Content is appropriate for your business when it helps you accomplish your business goals in a sustainable way.” Focus on that content strategy before churning out the deliverable for the screen. While the two strategies discussed earlier are not the same, they certainly support each other through their connection to your company objectives.

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Imagine You’re Young and Homeless… http://www.brogproperties.com/imagine-youre-young-and-homeless/ http://www.brogproperties.com/imagine-youre-young-and-homeless/#respond Mon, 01 Dec 2014 21:21:55 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=4684 Lines. You line up for every meal. A shower. A bed. To use a computer. To see a doctor.

You are tired from standing and walking much of the day on minimal energy since you aren’t eating enough. You’re cold because you bounce between soup kitchens and shelters frequently. You’re suffering from depression while isolated from family and friends.

Imagine trying to get your life on track in that environment.

This December BIO is raising funds in support of Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) with our annual BIO Boost. RaY is a great group of people reaching out to youth living on the street. They provide meals, showers, mental health and addictions counseling, and a place to come in from the cold.

As a youth resource centre RaY provides a range of work experience programs. They make it easy for kids with nothing to access computers in a safe environment.

Let’s join RaY in saving kids from falling through the cracks in our community. Watch the video below to see some of the great results this organization has produced and take the next step by donating at saveyouth.ca.

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Marketing Is “Easy” http://www.brogproperties.com/marketing-is-easy/ http://www.brogproperties.com/marketing-is-easy/#respond Fri, 11 Oct 2013 01:57:14 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3654 Ask anyone in the marketing industry (advertising, research, digital, etc.) and they will not deny the fact that many people, still, think marketing is “easy” and some have a very hard time understanding what the value of marketing is.

It might be because the internet is flooded with “how to in X easy steps” marketing topic articles. We’ve all seen those articles they offer vague 5 steps to create something marketing related. There are thousands of them out there, and they all deliver the same vague message. These articles don’t give you any specifics on how to ACTUALLY achieve your goals, following those “easy steps” will probably leave you where you started.

The reality is, marketing is not easy. For example, Content Strategy is a big topic nowadays. Everyone is talking about it and its importance, and you can find countless articles “create strong content in 5 easy steps”. No, No, No… creating content won’t take you 5 easy steps it will take you 652! (please refer to this?useful article) and it’s not easy. Look, I know we are not doing brain surgery, nor sending people into space, but it does not mean marketing is easy or not valuable. It requires different kinds of skills and certain personality traits, but it’s not easy.

This is a real issue. Anyone who’s ever been assigned with asking for money for a marketing project, or if you’re like me, work for a marketing agency and are responsible for bringing new clients, explaining the value of marketing is not an easy task. People who don’t understand how difficult marketing can be assume the cost of those services should be relatively low… this is logical, many things that are easy have the perception of being cheap. Except that in reality if an organization wants to have a few marketing channels (for example, digital, print, and promotions) it will cost a few pennies. Please don’t misunderstand, there is a big difference between having a marketing channel and having strategically backed up marketing channel working towards achieving goals (but that’s a topic on it’s own). In short, marketing is not easy or cheap, if you take a shortcut, you might not not be able to reach your business goals.

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Do It Yourself Marketing http://www.brogproperties.com/do-it-yourself-marketing/ http://www.brogproperties.com/do-it-yourself-marketing/#respond Thu, 29 Aug 2013 02:02:37 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3657 One night after countless hours spent online I came across?diydisasters.co.uk, as the name indicates, it is full of DIY stories gone wrong. One of my own DIY stories will be remembered by me and my parents forever.

When I was a little girl, I decided to do my parents a favour by washing their car. Like any normal 6 year old I didn’t know the proper way of doing it, but I knew you needed water and a cloth. So one summer day while waiting for my parents to come back from work, I grabbed a wet cloth, went outside and started wiping down the car (never mind that I didn’t have bucket or soap). Once the cloth got too dirty, I ran back inside, washed it in the sink, and ran outside to continue wiping the car with the same cloth.

When my parents came home from work they were very happy to see their forest green metallic colour car now all covered in grey, dusty, dirty circles.

My story and many other “gone wrong DIY” stories are very similar to marketing attempts done by businesses nowadays (especially digital marketing). As many others, I was very proud of myself for tackling a challenge I wasn’t an expert in solving. In general, people pride themselves on their ability to tackle any task DIY style (even when they shouldn’t). While many are well skilled and able to execute DIY tasks with grace and achieve professional-like results, others rely on sheer good luck and sense of humour to get them through.

I feel that many companies nowadays approach digital marketing the same way many people approach DIY tasks. You might be successful, but in most cases you will probably end up with dirty grey circles on your beautiful forest green metallic colour car.

Because digital marketing is a relatively new field, many businesses know they should be online, but have no clue what a strong digital presence looks like and how to actually achieve it (I mean they see young people use all these “books of faces”, twitters, and playing around with code … so how hard can it be, right? Wrong!).

What may seem like a safe corner to cut (cost wise) one might run into some trouble:

  • In business time is money and it can take significant time to create a strong digital presence. Time that could be spent making sales, tweaking systems, and otherwise running the core business.
  • Glitches, broken links, and hacks are just some of the troubles a company might run into while trying to manage their online presence. To fix those you will be required to give up yet more time and money.
  • Hosting and maintenance are costs that will come with having an online presence. Most digital marketing agencies maintain their clients sites, installing updates, security patches, and tackling issues as they come along.
  • If you are selling a product online (e-commerce) you need to be well aware of security and liability considerations you might face if there is a security breach.

The digital marketing component of your business requires strategy, focus, organization and creativity. A digital presence is not static, it requires love and attention to be effective. So, when you, as a business owner, realize that:

  • you don’t have enough knowledge and skills to create audience focused content.
  • you don’t have enough time to create an editorial calendar to keep yourself organized and engaging at all times.
  • your graphic design skills are limited to just seeing a picture, liking it, and thinking it’s a good idea to put it on your website (just because you like it doesn’t mean your audience will)
  • you don’t have enough time to train yourself on analytics and understand which one of your tactics are effective and which fail (that’s the great thing about digital marketing, everything is trackable)

I really recommend outsourcing those services, before you end up struggling and ineffectively using all these wonderful tools.

Now that you’ve decided to listen to reason, read our article “How to prepare your business for a web project

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On Teaching Web Design and Development http://www.brogproperties.com/on-teaching-web-design-and-development/ http://www.brogproperties.com/on-teaching-web-design-and-development/#respond Wed, 14 Aug 2013 02:08:22 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3661
As a company, we are interested in how students are taught web design and development. As you might imagine, the quality of students coming from post-secondary courses profoundly impacts our business from the quality of our work to our profitability.

After reading an?article by Jen Kramer?over at Smashing Magazine about some of the issues and solutions on the teaching side, I thought I’d chime in from the industry side.

The structure and content of web design and development courses needs work. In addition to the teaching side issues Jen Kramer mentions, I see broader issues that I’ve described here.

The Problems with Programs

Programs conflate design and development.
Anyone who works in the industry recognizes the significant differences between the design and development ends of the business. Programs teach the two as if they were one subject, ignoring the complexities and nuances of both and producing a student who understands neither.

Programs teach outdated material.
The curriculum in these programs is? often out of date before a student enrols. When the student graduates, they will not be prepared for the work environment and will require significant training and retraining to erase bad habits they picked up in school.

Programs don’t teach students the importance of lifelong learning.
Important in any field, but especially important in the exceptionally fast-paced environment of the web, students need to be immersed in educating and re-educating themselves on a daily basis. This is the way they and whomever employs them will stay ahead of the curve.

Programs don’t teach students requirements gathering and scope estimation.
In any workplace students will be expected to ask the right questions and provide accurate (or at least not widely inaccurate) estimations of scope.

Programs teach bad or questionable habits.
Designing for a single web browser. Use of Flash for non-trivial user interface elements. Reliance on grids. Reliance on complicated JavaScript or 3rd?party modules, and bandwagon jumping (insisting on using the next “big thing”) are all bad habits that students gain during their course work.

Stop conflating design and development

What to do?

Obviously, the teaching of website design and development needs to change. For starters, these programs need to?stop conflating design and development, it’s an over simplification. Provide an introductory course that provides general knowledge in both spheres, but have students choose the track that interests them. Once they’ve chosen that track, require courses in the opposite track to round out their skill-set.

Next, please?involve industry in curriculum development. Have industry representatives (freelance and agency) sit in on some meetings and provide insight into what is important in a productive hire from their perspective.? Have development experts provide direction on best practices and the current state of the web.

Teach lifelong learning?by getting students started with resources they can use to expand their knowledge on a daily basis. Involve them in community groups on platforms like Google Plus and LinkedIn. Teach them how to root out the solutions to complex design and coding challenges. Encourage them to build personal portfolios and code open source projects as a way to not only expand their knowledge, but be a resource to the larger design and development community.

Give students “real world” assignments.?Have them estimate the scope of a project to redesign and develop their company’s website. Get them to sit down with a “client” to gather requirements and put together a creative brief. Have them take apart the code of another developer or the use another designers work to put together something important.

Stop teaching bad habits. Again, involve designers and developers who work in the industry.? They will tell you what works, what doesn’t, the factors to account for when making technology decisions, and the harm bad habits cause in the real world.

So, where to?

For the most part, programs exist and make money training students to be hired by an industry that thrives on the availability of highly skilled labour. The two work together in a kind of symbiotic relationship. With web design and development that relationship is out of parity. Only by working together, educators and industry, can we bring the relationship back into harmony.

BIO is a digital marketing agency that offers years of experience in web design and development.?Contact us if you have a project you’d like to discuss.?

 

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Plasti-dip and an Icon Motorcycle Helmet http://www.brogproperties.com/plasti-dip-and-an-icon-motorcycle-helmet/ http://www.brogproperties.com/plasti-dip-and-an-icon-motorcycle-helmet/#respond Mon, 01 Jul 2013 02:11:12 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3665 I purchased this?Icon Airmada helmet a couple of weeks ago and realized that a few other riders had the same helmet. I wanted to do something that would set my helmet apart from the other helmets but that wouldn’t be perminent. Since my brand colors are orange, I thought, why not add a little touch of orange to my lid!?

original-concept

Since I am not a professional painter, I decided to use a product called Plasti-Dip. When completely dry, Plasti-Dip looks like paint but with a unique twist – it peels off like rubber! Traditionally, Plasti-dip was used to coat the handles of work tools to give them bettergrip. Car enthusiasts started using the product to coat their entire cars and wheels, giving them a different look which could be changed easily by peeling off the old color and applying a new one.

?plasti-dip

Equipped with my sisters tooth brush..errrrr, I mean a “used” tooth brush and some rubber gloves I loaded up the tooth brush with an abundant amount of orange Plasti-Dip and started splattering away at my helment until I got the desired look I wanted. To finish it off, I gave the tooth brush bristles a few flicks to add some of the finer detail. I think all those years of using the Photoshop air brush tool paid off!! I really like the final results and if I decide in a few years I want to change the look, I’ll just peel it off!

?airmada-right Photo-125 Photo-126

If you are interested to know more about how I created this design feel free to drop a comment here ?? Thanks

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Social Media Users Touched by NSA Spying http://www.brogproperties.com/social-media-users-touched-by-nsa-spying/ http://www.brogproperties.com/social-media-users-touched-by-nsa-spying/#respond Sat, 29 Jun 2013 02:18:24 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3679 The US National Security Agency’s data collection methods have come under scrutiny lately. In case you haven’t heard, a disgruntled US patriot decided to share the ugliest slideshow in the world (seriously,?it’s bad) with the media. The uglyshow showed how the NSA used our favourite social media services to collect data about us.

You read that right, the NSA knows about all those times you creeped your ex on Facebook. Horrifying, I know. But how does it affect you? Why should you care? Well it turns out they have might have direct access to this data, so they probably know a lot. Every tweet, like, or +1 you’ve given since 2008 has been tracked, cataloged, and profiled.

I like to believe that when your well-meaning but exceptionally irritating cousin posts, “!Liv lif 2 da foolest!!!!!”, there is a super-smart, highly paid NSA agent reading it stroking his chin considering how this fits into the vast landscape of your life.

I assume all of these tidbits of our lives are prized by the NSA. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Now let’s consider what this might mean to some of the different kinds of people we find on Facebook:

The “Too much information, thanks” Guy

This person shares every detail about every thing they do. Especially if it involves bodily function. Right now? an NSA agent is detailing to his superiors with an awful slideshow the amount of time Mr. Too Much Info has spent on the toilet.

The “Activist”

Everyone has an inner activist. No matter how trifling or misguided the cause, everyone has something. That time you spread the word about how 9/11 was an “Inside Job”. Yeah, the NSA knows about that now. Time to go under ground.

The New Mom

I don’t think there is a person on Earth without at least a couple of these in their mix of friends. These gentle ladies post everything about their child, from what they eat to what they excrete. The NSA finds this useful because they need to stay on top of the next generation of dangerous possible terrorists.

The Quitter

This person likes to tell everyone they’re going to quit Facebook in a dramatic huff only to eventually and predictably retract their statement, thanking everyone for their support. This person irritates me and I bet they irritate you too. I mean, except if this person is you. If so, congratulations! You finally have a real reason to stop using Facebook.

I hope this post helps put things into perspective. As you can see from my list above, there are real lives touched by NSA spying. If you think of other kinds of people on social media are affected by NSA spying, let us know in the comments.

Big Brother image copyright ??1984 20th Century Fox (UK)

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Bet Your Business on User Centered Design http://www.brogproperties.com/bet-your-business-on-user-centered-design/ http://www.brogproperties.com/bet-your-business-on-user-centered-design/#respond Thu, 30 May 2013 02:20:50 +0000 http://www.brogproperties.com/?p=3685
Users want something from your website and you better give it to them fast. But how can we know what the user wants? And how can we know the most effective way to give it to them?

Design that is not focused on delivering immediate value runs the risk of alienating and driving away a potential customer and advocate for your brand.

Often we see brands putting their focus on the “wrong stuff”. Brands want to pump their sponsors before giving users a reason to care. They want to talk about the fantastic programs they offer, before they explain why the user should be interested in supporting those programs. This behavior is the result of an organization thinking about what they need to say, and not what their user needs to hear, or read, or do.

We need to flip it around and talk about or deliver value first.

User-Centered Design (UCD) is a methodology that identifies what your users want and how best to give it to them. The process typically involves:

  • Identifying and researching your users.
  • Understanding their most important needs.
  • Mocking-up ideas that fulfill those needs.
  • Prototyping those ideas in a tangible way to test efficacy.
  • Iterating through several ideas until you have the perfect mix.

It’s unfortunate that when budgets get slashed user research is one of the first things to be cut. User research is so important that dropping it is a like buying a house without consideration for how many kids you have. But we see it from time to time: the user research part isn’t necessary because the brand “knows what customers want already.” I’d bet money that you don’t and you’d be surprised by the results of user research. Interview your customers, supporters, members, or whatever and scratch beneath your assumptions and biases.

The procedure of mocking up and prototyping may sound awfully time consuming, but trust me, it’s a far better approach than commiting to your first few ideas and putting them out there for the world to see. Mock-ups and prototyping are how we flesh out our ideas. They’re thumbnail sketches.?Take your prototypes through a user research process again to gain insight into what is working and what isn’t. Once you’re satisified that it will be a hit, polish it up and present it to the world.

Finally, plan to iterate through this process again in a few months–depending on how fast things move in your business–to review your successes and failures. Start experimenting with new ideas and use split testing to test your hypotheses. The goal is to continually improve your project and increase whatever metrics matter to your business (sales, subscribers, donations, etc.).

User Centered Design can help with all of this, but the process doesn’t begin and end with the firm you hire, it is an ongoing long-term project that will improve your business in ways you never expected.

If you’re looking for a partner to get you started, BIO can help.?Let’s talk about your project.

 

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