My Father in the boat
My Father in the boat

Why Blog?

  I am not one to blog yet it is something that I tell my clients they should do if it has meaning to your site.

Writing a blog is a way to increase your site's presence on search engines however, if no one reads your blog, and possibly more importantly if no one quotes or links to your blog then it is really an exercise in futility. This by no means one should avoid writing a blog. There are rules for blogs to work, one needs to know the rules and be able to use them to your advantage.Trust me I'm Lying: The Confessions of a Media Manipulator

There is a wonderful book called, "Trust Me I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator" by Ryan Holiday, it gives an inside view on how blogs can influence the media, and a company's image.  The idea of 'fake news'  is as old as the media itself, and not a recent phenomenon as certain people may have you believe. What however, has changed is the format and quickness  of who and where the stories originate.  No longer are the stories coming from the mainstream media, social media is the influence and there are no rules. Yet, as Mr Holidays points out manipulating the media is a slippery slope that needs to be tread carefully.  There is good information in the book on how to get your name noticed on the internet and is worth the read.

All sites do not require blogs. A trades person's website does not necessarily need a blog. A business blog always needs to be cognizant of the company's image.

If you want to blog, it is important that you continue to blog with regular and timely frequency. If it is a daily blog, then make sure you do it daily (weekends off of course), if it is a weekly then weekly, etc.  And always try to post at the same time, morning, afternoon, or night.

We, at Smiling Dog Designs can help you to be noticed on the internet. If you want to know more please drop us a line.

SEO Bug on a leaf
SEO Bug on a leaf

SEO  -  More than Smoke and Mirrors

The internet and website designs have come along way from  the text based format that it was when it first began.  Obviously, the advancement of technology has had a lot to do with it.  And as with most things that hit the mainstream,  advertising and the ability to make money was leading the way.  Anyone who lived through the dot com era of the internet when people made and loss millions can attest to that.

And along with millions of people uploading websites it soon became harder and harder for people to get noticed or found on the internet.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, et al originally wrote algorithms that based search results on meta keywords but it soon became apparent that people were just loading the tags with words that had no correlation to their sites only to get a higher rating on the result pages.

For instance, if your site was promoting a product like rugs and you lived in Vancouver, people would enter words like Canada, BC Ferries, Things to see in Vancouver, coffee shops in Vancouver, or a name of another province

coca_cola sign_on_barn
coca_cola sign_on_barn

Social Media

I recently gave a talk on the importance of combining social media with advertising to a group of sales people. I was surprised at the number of sales people who were not using social media as a platform in getting their message out. And those who were using social media were using Facebook® and little else. Depending on the type of business that you have and the products that you sell, there are several marketing venues available to you through social media.

Let's face it, the smart phone has totally changed the manner in which we communicate. People are no longer sitting still to browse the internet, MSN messenger is a by-gone product as a fast and easy way to chat, and we now have a multitude of apps available to capture, text, and send our thoughts, pictures and streams from our phone. Our smartphones are kept within easy reach of our finger tips, left on in case we get an important message. They have come to be so prevalent in our society that laws are enacted to prevent us from using them while driving; announcements are made before live performances to turn them before the show begins; we check our phones while standing still for a moment in a line at the store, at a corner. They have become an extension of ourselves, making them an obvious choice to advertisers and marketers everywhere.

Facebook® is the largest social media platform to date boasting over a billion users and growing. Others like Instagram®, twitter®, Youtube®, and Whatsapp® etc., are also growing at exponential rates. Which ever one you choose to use, and by all means you should be using more than one, each one has its own idiosyncrasies and collection of users thus each campaign must suite that platform.

Before launching your social media campaign, plan it as you would any other marketing strategy. What are the goals? Are you looking to brand? Increase traffic to your website? Convert higher click through rates? To improve communications? Or are you collecting data?

Also, you need to answer;  Who is your audience? What platforms are they using? Where do they hang out on those platforms and what are their interests? How do you initialize interaction? Consider your message. Who are you and what is your message?

Once finding those answers, conduct research on keywords and run comparative tests against your competitors to see how your product, and your website measure up.  What are your competitors doing? Is it working for them and if so, do it as well but different and better. Be creative and have fun.

No matter which platform you choose, content reigns supreme. Like your website, the content you provide on social media should be relevant, informative, and interesting.  Post on a regular basis. To keep your name at the top of the list it is imperative that you post at least once a day. A recent study done by Instagram® discovered that 48.5% of all brands in the USA post on Instagram®, and the most successful brands (those with a million followers or more), post an average of 4.9 times a week. Social media is a great way to show pictures, videos, info-graphics, how-to articles, and to demonstrate your community involvement.

They are a great way to drive consumers to your website, and blog. As I have stated before, blogs are a great way to increase traffic to your site and to your social media. Blogs should not be overlooked. They follow the same protocol of social media: make it informative, relevant, and interesting and most importantly write them regularly. 

How you use social media is up to you but you need to be using it as part of your marketing campaign.


Proud to be a Canadian - Canada 150

As the 150th anniversary of the formation of Canada approaches and soon passes, I find myself, despite trying to avoid the constant federal promotion, thinking about the country of my birth.

I am very fortunate to be born in Canada, as were my parents, and grandparents. Ever since I was in primary school, I have felt an immense sense of gratification for my country. It may have derived from the moment when I was standing beside my desk in school, at attention, singing along to our new national anthem. I was unaware of the history of how we became a nation, aside from what I was taught at school, and home. As I grew older, gained knowledge and experience, I became aware of what other people had to endure and the sacrifices they made for Canada to become a nation.

Provincial flags ottawaStill, I have an immense pride for being born in Canada.

I am proud to be born a Canadian not for the crimes against the indigenous people, the killing, the displacement, the genocide of cultures or the fact that we continue to allow such atrocities to happen, making little effort towards reparation;

I am proud to be born Canadian not because we continue to allow our natural resources to be harvested at will, without the need of refining, re-sawing, unfiltered, giving little regard to our own environment. We are told that no one will want our resources if we have the audacity of trying to create work for our citizens;

I am proud to be born a Canadian not because our politicians find it easier to blame the other 'political party' for not being on-board with their message than it is to admit they made an error due to their own self interest and greed;

I am proud to be born a Canadian not because there are those among our population who are racists, and bigots, and who think Canada is only for them and their creed, (ignoring completely the fact that they themselves were once considered immigrants. Perhaps, that is what they are afraid of).

No, I am proud to be born Canadian becauseOh Canadian, a girl sits at a table with all things typically Canadian

  • when I talk to people who have moved here, have relocated their lives and families to avoid persecution from the wars and injustices of their home country, have proudly adopted Canada as their home, that worldwide, Canada is regarded highly as a tolerant society, and a place of natural beauty.
  • it is a country that welcomes newcomers into their home to share a meal, and a warm smile.
  • it is a place where you can succeed without interference (for the most part) from others.
  • it is a place where you can belong and practice your religion without persecution whether I or anyone else agrees with your view.

For me, Canada is a place

  • that when you are traveling, having a Canadian flag on your belongings will grant you access to hospitality usually reserved for locals.
  • where Sorry is never the hardest word.
  • where we can debate and still remain friends.
  • where we come together as one in difficult times.
  • where being polite and courteous is still 'cool'.
  • of spectacular beauty, with wide open spaces and clean water.
  • where the cultures of many nations can live together peacefully.


I could write for a long time on why I love being Canadian. I am extremely proud of that fact. Despite all our faults and ignorance, we are a country that at least makes an attempt to improve ourselves through a somewhat democratic political process, a country of good social values, free healthcare, paid vacations, and help for those in need. Yes, there is more to Canada than hockey, beavers, maple syrup, and donuts and I am proud of that.

Happy Canada Day 150!







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