Category Archives: Mobile

9 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Marketing Strategy

PrintMobile is the most personal medium and one of the most popular…and it’s growing fast. In fact, eMarketer reports that mobile ad spend will top $100 billion worldwide in 2016…51% of digital marketing. That’s an amazing 430% increase in just 3 years.

More and more customers are using their smartphone and tablets to engage with brands via apps, email, social media, and text. They expect a flawless mobile customer experience that seamlessly integrates with the email and web experiences they have with a business.

If you want to tap into this rapidly growing market and improve your strategy, you need to consider these 9 mobile-specific tips. Continue reading

Navigating the Mobile Web

Mobile conceptual iconsEvery once and a while, we like to dial in on one specific area of design and give it a thorough looking at, prod it with sticks and generally see what’s what. Today we’re going to be taking a peek at the state of mobile web navigation.

Though web navigation comes in a few standard iterations — the horizontal nav and the vertical nav — with a few exceptions for people that are pushing the envelope, the reduced real-estate of the mobile screen has required designers to come up with a number of interesting ways to handle laying out those desktop menus so that they are friendly to the mobile viewing space. This is especially true of large or complex menus that don’t easily reduce.

So stick around, and we’ll go through some of the solutions modern web designers are using to get the job done. Continue reading

New SEO is a Horse of a Different Color

seo-758264_1280We’ve written a number of posts to help demystify some misconceptions and confusion about online search, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google’s never-ending algorithm changes. It’s no easy feat to keep up with Google changing its algorithms 500-600 times a year. With all those changes, SEO today “ain’t” what it used to be!

SEO is growing, changing, and evolving into something different than even a few years (or just a few months) ago. To understand what’s happening, we have to look at the progression of search and adapt to the new ways to optimize search…while not losing sight of creating valuable content. Easier said than done, I think!
Continue reading

How to Have a Worry-Free Site Launch

rocket-launch-67643_640So, you’ve finally pulled the trigger on a spiffy new website, and now, after all of the brain-storming and collaborating with designers and developers, you’re ready to show off your shiny new portal to the world. I know it’s human nature to want to push through the site launch as quickly as possible, especially when you are really excited about it, but it is doubly important to take your time during the final launch, first impressions being what they are and all.

Just like when you leave the house before you go on vacation, it’s important to run through your site one last time for a final check, make sure all the doors are locked, garbage disposed of and items you want to take with you all gathered and safely packed away.

Here is a list of things it’s important to check before you throw the switch on your live site:

Is It Social Media Ready?

These days, its no longer sufficient to make sure your own site performs. You also need to make sure that it interacts properly with social media sites. If someone posts a link to your site on Facebook, Twitter or other site social media site, how does it display? Do images from a blog post come through properly? Is the description appropriate? If the social media service has multiple layouts for shared links, does your link create the version you desire?

Is It Optimized for Search Engines?

The number of things you can do to optimize a website for search engines would fill a bunch of posts on their own, so suffice it to say that you need to make sure you at least have a start on getting some of it done. If you are using WordPress as the base for your site, like Solamar uses for all of the sites we build, than this one will be made significantly easier for you by using one of the many robust SEO plugins that are available. Feel free to check out some of our other posts related to SEO for more tips on this one.

Does it Look and Work Right in all Modern Browsers?

Individually, people tend to favor one browser or another, so unless you check your site in all modern browsers before launch, your first notice that something is broken will probably come to you in the form of confused or disgruntled site visitors. Best practices these days is to make sure your site works in the current version of Safari, Firefox, Chrome on the Mac and the PC, and versions of Internet Explorer 9 and up.  Version 8 of IE and below can now safely be ignored.

Is Your Site Mobile-Ready?

Every day, more and more people are browsing the internet on their mobile devices, and it is no longer acceptable to have a website that doesn’t look good on them. Pull your site up on as many mobile devices as you can, or make sure that your developer is using a comprehensive mobile-testing solution that looks at multiple screen sizes on both iOS and Android. This is especially true now that Google is dropping sites in the rankings on mobile devices that don’t look good on them.

Do You Have Backup and Security in Place?

You should have your site’s files and database backed up on a regular basis, and you’ll also want to make sure that you have hardened its security against intrusions. Both of these things are also made easier if you are on a WordPress install by using plugins to help you speed things up.

Want the launch of your new site to be as worry-free as possible? Give the design team at Solamar a shout, and we’ll make sure that you’re good to go.

Why You Need to Be Using a Password Manager, Period

16870840125_cf8e0fd94e_oYou need to be using a password manager. There, I said it. “But, but….,” you say. NO! YOU NEED TO BE USING A PASSWORD MANAGER!! I don’t care that your system of sticky notes and napkins has served you for years. I don’t care that you don’t have that many passwords to remember (yeah, right). I don’t care that you always use the same password for everything. Actually, I take that back, I do care about that. STOP USING THE SAME PASSWORD FOR EVERYTHING!! There is a better alternative and it’s called a password manager. You need to be using one.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what a password manager is —  it’s simple, a password manager is a piece of software that generates, securely stores and gives you access to your passwords, wherever you might be.

Here, then, is some info and tips on how to choose the best password manager for you. Continue reading

How Emojis are Changing Brand Advertising

emoji-653309_640First things first. Before you find out about the growing and changing use of emojis, you have to know what an emoji is. It’s a small digital image or icon (a pictograph) used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication. Emojis, which come in a vast range of shapes, colors and motifs, started in the late 1990s in Japanese electronic messages and spread across the world. They have become common and are now included in Apple and Android operating systems.

You should also note that emojis and emoticons are not the same and should not be confused. Unlike an emoji, that is a digital image or pictograph, an emoticon is a representation of a facial expression such as “:-)” (representing a smile), formed by various combinations of keyboard characters and used in electronic communications to convey the writer’s feelings or intended tone.

The Guardian reports, “To complicate matters, some emoji are also emoticons. The standard for the characters breaks them apart into sets by theme. Most are filed under Miscellaneous Symbols and Pictographs, but the emoji which depict emotive faces are separated out as emoticons.” Continue reading

Best Mobile Email App — 2015 Roundup

iphone-393080_1280As we outsource more and more of our productivity and work time to our mobile devices, it has become increasingly important to make sure that the apps we use on those devices have the most useful feature set, and perform with the greatest efficiency. The problem is, as the app store has grown, so have the multifarious apps available to fill your needs.

One of the most important app types in this category is the email app. Most of us are doing a hefty chunk of our email communication via our phones and tablets now, and it’s important for your business and for your sanity that your email experience remains as consistent and seamless as possible across all your devices.

To help you, we’ve tested a number of the most popular email apps and are here to report on our findings. All of the apps we tested were on iOS, but every app we will talk about in this article have Android equivalents, so if you prefer the robot to the fruit, you’ll still be covered. Stay tuned, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of which email app will be best for you!

Why Do I Need a Third Party App?

Because the built in app, at least on iOS, isn’t quite up to the task, that’s why! Sure, Apple’s Mail app has been updated recently to add a few of the features, like swipe gestures, that helped build a following for some of the third party apps we are going to talk about later, but it’s not completely up to snuff, lacking support for Gmail aliases, snooze capability and more. Let me define the criteria by which I whittled down the available candidates.

  • Should be available on as many platforms as possible. An email app is no good if you must switch to an entirely new ecosystem with each new device.
  • Should have swipe gestures. Gone are the days of opening an email and then clicking the archive button. If the app’s inbox didn’t have swipe gestures, then it wasn’t considered.
  • Should be able to handle aliases. Many people prefer to have their multiple email addresses filtered through a single one (I use Gmail for this). Gmail’s web app handles this elegantly, responding with the appropriate address and signature for the alias the email was sent to. Your email app needs to be able to do the same thing.
  • Should support as many email providers as possible, including exchange. There are many, many email providers out there. Your app should support as many as possible.
  • Should be free. There are capable paid email apps out there, but given that there are free ones that do almost everything (and occasionally more) than the paid ones, most of the apps on this list are free.

Ok! With that out of the way, let’s start looking at the two apps that fit.

Mailbox

mailboxMailbox, an email app by the folks who make Dropbox, does so many things right. One of the first apps to introduce swipe gestures that allow you to archive, delete, snooze or file your emails from the inbox with a single swipe, Mailbox is streamlined in almost every aspect of it’s functionality and presentation. Focused on getting you to “inbox zero”, a productivity ethos built on keeping your email inbox empty, it does things like show you the total number of threads in your inbox on the app icon by default, rather than the number of new emails. It also shows you a regularly updated, beautiful and relaxing photo as a reward, if you manage to get all those pesky emails out of your inbox. Mailbox also has a snooze function, which let’s you remove emails from the inbox, but schedule them to reappear at the top at a designated time, and a list function, which let’s you create to-do lists from your emails directly within the app. Mailbox is available for phone, tablet, and even has a beautiful Mac desktop app (in beta), so you can use Mailbox wherever you are, no matter the device. Also, in testing, Mailbox performed the quickest, almost never hanging or crashing.

Mailbox’s one fault is that, at the moment, it only supports Gmail and iCloud email accounts, but the developers are working on adding more services soon.

Outlook

outlookSurprise! Bet you never would have guessed that Apple’s operating system rival would have one of the best email clients for iOS. While it doesn’t have the beautiful, minimal aesthetic of the Mailbox app, Microsoft’s newly released Outlook app makes up for it in an outstanding feature set. It support all major email providers, so you should be covered no matter what service you use. However, Outlook’s standout feature is it’s inclusion of a fully featured calendar, as well as quick, in-app access to all the major cloud file-sharing services. Outlook also features a “Focused Inbox” which uses an algorithm to separate out important email from the chafe, allowing you to dial in on what you need to look at the most. Finally, Outlook’s unified search allows you to look for emails and contacts, and also allows you to view emails by contact, showing all emails related to them, as well as any meetings and files you may have related to that contact.

Outlook’s one fault is that it is so feature rich, it may be overkill for someone looking for a simpler email experience, or who has other preferred apps to deal with their calendar and contacts.

Others

There are a couple of other apps that didn’t quite cut it, but that deserve a quick mention. Boxer is a great app, with much of the functionality of Mailbox and more, but they hide a number of the features behind a paid pro version. CloudMagic has a really interesting feature which allows you to integrate your email client with a bunch of other services like Todoist and Evernote, but doesn’t support aliases and also hides features behind a paid version.

Of course, these apps are constantly being developed and improved, so we’ll check back in after enough time has passed to see if anything has changed for the better/worse. In the meantime, if you want to make sure you are using the best tools for the job, subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll receive the latest tips and advice right in the inbox of your fantastic new email app!