Category Archives: Oracast News

The Rules of Usability

website rules of usabilityWhen developing a new website, our managers, developers and creative team often meet to check-off our list of website quality checkpoints.

Here are 5 rules for website usability:

 

5 Second Rule

When a fresh new design is created for our clients, we step back and take note of what stands out first on the page. Where does your eye land first? Where does your eye go next? Is it conveying the message our client would like to communicate? Does the page flow, is it clear, and does it lead to the desired call to action? There is some debate on exactly how much time you have to capture your website visitors, but the initial impression is made within seconds.

 

Easy Navigation – 3 Click Rule

We clearly define our clients objectives from the get-go. We then ensure that the website is easy to navigate by applying the 3 click rule. This rule says that visitors can find what they are looking for in 3 clicks from any page of the site. Easy navigation is extremely important as website visitors are usually in a hurry and click onto another site within seconds if they do not see what they are looking for.

 

Copy Writing

We encourage our clients to keep content bite sized. Use bullet points and images wherever possible to keep interest levels up. Avoid long paragraphs, especially on the homepage. Need we say more?

 

Font Size / Spacing

While there are differing opinions on the ideal font size, we like to lean towards too big rather than too small. It’s important that all text is easy to read, with proper spacing and continuity of fonts and sizes.

 

Critical Content is Above the Fold

The “fold” is the imaginary line where the bottom of your screen would cut off without scrolling down. 80-90% of website visitors don’t scroll down so it’s important to have your most critical content “above the fold”. This should include your “call to action” and contact info.

 

While this list is not complete, these rules are a good start on which to critic the usability of a website. Need help with your website? Contact us today!

When, Where and How – Social Media Strategies Every Marketer Should Know

We recently came across an insightful report on www.trackmaven.com that analyzed 1.2 million blogs which resulted in two billion social shares. Social media is constantly evolving and approaching it with a solid marketing strategy produces the highest engagement and best results.

Here are the most interesting facts and tips for building a successful marketing strategy based on the latest research.

When To Post

Weekdays are the most popular days to post on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Tuesdays and Wednesdays have long been thought to engage the highest viewership. Surprisingly however, Saturdays and Sundays actually produce higher engagement and more shares. If you’re looking for more interaction from your posts, try experimenting with weekends. If you see a higher level of engagement, then work that into your marketing plan.

 

facebook-post-day-of-week-trackmaven

The best time of day to post is in the evenings when people spend time surfing the web and sharing posts that interest them.

TIP

Always schedule your posts in advance. I love this “hard to find” feature on Facebook that allows you to schedule posts.

facebook-scheduler

 

Where Should You Post?

The largest social networks of course are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has 1.23 billion active users, so that is an obvious social media platform for most marketers. There are however, countless smaller networks that may be relevant to your brand as well. While it would be a waste of time and impossible to post on all of them (without a small army) it’s important to understand where your target audience hangs out.

Linkedin is the best network for B2B. Google+ is important for SEO. Pinterest is a powerful marketing tool across many creative business sectors. Spend time researching your target audience to find out where they are most likely to hang out.

 

How To Post – Interesting Punctuation Facts

Do question marks matter?
According to the research done by TrackMaven, when posts are framed as a question, the social media shares double. How many question marks should you add to your post???? Just one! Engagement dramatically declined when more than one question mark was used.

Exclamation Points!
While multiple question marks decreased social shares, multiple exclamation points had the opposite effect. Social shares actually increased when the posts had four exclamation points as opposed to just one to two. What? What!!!!

Length
Keep your titles short and to the point. Anything over 60 characters resulted in a steep decline of interest.

 

If you need help with your social media tactical plan, Oracast is here for you!!!!

What You need to Know: Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

On July 1, 2014, Canada introduces new rules under Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) for businesses and their employees when it comes to sending electronic messages.

Does it really matter? Well the fines can go up to $1 Million for an individual or $10 Million for a corporation, yikes!

The new rules set three requirements for sending out commercial electronic message (CEM), to an electronic address.

  1. Obtain Consent
  2. Provide Identification information
  3. Allow the recipient the ability to ‘Unsubscribe’

Consent

Consent is the only tricky one, as there are two types of consent: expressed and implied. Note that a form with a pre-checked check box cannot be used as it assumes consent. For expressed consent you need the customer to opt-in and take positive action to indicate their consent. For implied consent you must already have an existing relationship to the user.

The one thing here to remember is that the onus is one the CEM sender to prove they have consent.

Identification

You need to provide an active mailing address that you can be contacted at.

Unsubscribe

Make it really easy to unsubscribe and you’re safe.

Is this only for companies inside Canada?

No, these anti-spam rules also protect Canadians from spam coming from companies and individuals outside of Canada as well.

For more details, check out the government site

Avoid Internet Explorer until bug fixed

698533315982397221Just when you thought Internet Explorer could not get any worse, it did, when Microsoft issued a warning on Sunday that there is a security flaw in all Internet Explorer browsers. To many this may come as no surprise, however the U.S. and U.K. governments even chimed in and advised computer users to consider using an alternative browser until the company fixes the security flaw that hackers have used to launch attacks.

 

Here is the Reuters article: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/28/us-cybersecurity-microsoft-browser-idUSBREA3Q0PB20140428 and here is the article directly from Microsoft: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-US/library/security/2963983

 

It was also noted that the attack will not work without Adobe Flash, which again comes as no surprise. When Microsoft advises that you should use a browser other than their Internet Explorer browser, you can bank on the fact that it’s a pretty serious issue.

 

Attention Windows XP Users: since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP, you will not receive a security update and your computer will remain vulnerable to the bug. The best option for you is to simply download a new browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox; however many security firms recommend Windows XP users to switch operating systems.

CentOS Heartbleed Bug Vulnerability in OpenSSL

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious security vulnerability in OpenSSL that, under normal conditions, circumvents SSL encryption and allows someone to read the information passed through SSL undetected.

From the heardbleed.com website:

The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users.

Also found directly on the openssl.org website:

A missing bounds check in the handling of the TLS heartbeat extension can be
used to reveal up to 64k of memory to a connected client or server.

Only 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta releases of OpenSSL are affected including
1.0.1f and 1.0.2-beta1.

Thanks for Neel Mehta of Google Security for discovering this bug and to
Adam Langley <agl@chromium.org> and Bodo Moeller <bmoeller@acm.org> for
preparing the fix.

Affected users should upgrade to OpenSSL 1.0.1g. Users unable to immediately
upgrade can alternatively recompile OpenSSL with -DOPENSSL_NO_HEARTBEATS.

1.0.2 will be fixed in 1.0.2-beta2.

In summary, for those running OpenSSL versions 1.0.1a through 1.0.1f you are vulnerable. To see what you’re running type: rpm -q openssl

> rpm -q openssl

openssl-1.0.1e-16.e16_5.4.x86_64

The above shows that the openssl version is vulnerable. The good news is that CentOS already has a fix. Simply run a yum update and restart the services that use OpenSSL and you’ll be okay.

 

> yum update

> rpm -q openssl

openssl-1.0.1e-16.e16_5.7.x86_64

If you see version 1.0.1e-16.el6_5.7 or higher then you have the official fixed version. If you are worried that it’s still 1.0.1e and not 1.0.1g, don’t worry, CentOS works the same as RedHat which simply patches the existing version which is shown in the openssl-1.0.1e-16.e16_5.7.x86_64 example above.

 

Once you have verified that the OpenSSL version has been updated restart all services that use SSL.

 

Google Certified Adwords Partner

Oracast is now an official Google Adwords Certified Partner! We are in a select group of about 10 companies in Calgary, Alberta and the third company in Kelowna, British Columbia who are certified Google Partners (at the time of this writing).

 

PartnerBadge-Horizontal

 

 

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) is all about maximizing lead generation and brand exposure for your business. We can manage and optimize your existing Adwords account or we can create a new Adwords account for you if you’re just starting out. All new accounts come with a $300 discount! 

 

Give us a call today and get a free consultation.

Ready for growth in 2014?

Happy New Year!

We hope that you were able to find some time to relax and recharge your batteries over the past couple of weeks. With the start of each new year comes renewed energy, excitement, and motivation to make this year better than the last!

As business improvement experts we’re here to help you succeed online. Do you want more leads? More traffic? More sales? From online marketing (PPC) to social media and search engine optimization, we can help your business grow. Just last month one of our customers let us know that we helped increase their sales by 28%! We’re very proud of that.

As always, if you have any questions we have answers. Give us a call today and let’s talk!

From all of us here at Oracast, we wish you continued success in 2014!