Oakville • Burlington • Milton • Halton Hills

Oakville Digital Marketing Blog

News, articles and information to help grow your local business.

We are now Hwy52 Digital!

We are now Hwy52 Digital!

Earlier this month we changed our name to Hwy52 Digital. We made this change to more accurately position our business within the category of "Digital Marketing Agency".

Digital marketing is sometimes referred to as web marketing, online marketing or internet marketing. It is really the umbrella term that we feel best fits the range of services we have been providing that include: web development, social media management, pay per click management (AdWords, Facebook etc) and SEO services.

Just our name has changed. Our focus continues to be in providing small to medium sized "local" businesses a range of affordable digital solutions that get measurable results. Please call me if you have any questions.

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About Us / Our Services

About Us / Our Services

For many business owners sorting out fact from fiction regarding how to use the internet to grow their business can be a real challenge. There is an over abundance of information on the topic and answers are often hard to come by or overly technical. What is SEO? Does internet marketing really work? Where do I host my website? What about security? How does it all work anyway?

At Hwy52 Digital we provide easy to understand solutions that help businesses to grow using the internet. Whether you have a new business or want to grow your existing business, we provide everything needed to create and maintain an effective web presence. We will create and maintain a great looking website for your business, along with a custom digital marketing campaign to help convert online inquiries into new customers. We provide maintenance for your website, security, backups, web hosting, email hosting as well as social media services. We manage the entire process and take care of all the technical details so you can focus on what you do best - which is run your business.  Here is a summary of our services:

Domain Name Registration

If you do not already have one you will need a domain name prior to getting started with your online efforts. We have been providing domain registration services since 2008. Additionally, we can assist in deciding what domain name to register, what domain extension is best (.ca, .com etc.) and advise regarding common mistakes people make when choosing a domain name.

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How to Generate SSH Keys & Connect to your VPS with PuTTY

This is a a bit (ok more than a bit) geeky but I wanted to share my notes on how to SSH to a remote server using PuTTY and public key authentication. People seem to have a lot of trouble with this - mostly with the dredded "server refused our key" error. There are several ways to set up PuTTY to use public key authentication. The method below has worked successfully for me many times -  mostly connecting to our CentOS VPS. I am sharing with you assuming you already have some basic Linux command line knowledge, you know what PuTTY is and that you understand you are using these instructions at your own risk.

  • ssh to server via PuTTY using your user name and password. The user name should be the same user you will be logging in as via PuTTY. I do not recommend using root. You should be in your home directory if not :
    cd ~
  • mkdir ~/.ssh
    chmod 700 ~/.ssh
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POP vs. IMAP

In addition to providing web hosting services we also provide email hosting services - both as part of our web hosting packages and as a stand alone service.

Setting up and managing an email client can be a challenge, especially as more and more customers need to check their email on multiple devices (mobile, tablet, desktop etc.). One area of confusion I often see involving email configuration has to do with what email retrieval connection protocol to use - POP or IMAP.

There is no single answer as to whether you should configure your mail client to connect using POP or IMAP. Everyone works differently and there is no single solution that will work for everyone. This post is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on internet email but is written as an introduction to the POP and IMAP protocols with the goal of helping you to better understand and configure your email across multiple mail clients.

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Notes from Google Engage Toronto - Why Search Matters

I attended an event in Toronto recently that was hosted by Google Canada to kick start the recently launched "Google Engage for Agencies" program. The Engage for Agencies program is new and its purpose is to provide training and support for agencies (like us) that help businesses with their AdWords efforts.

The event was first class and featured a keynote presentation by Chris O'Neil, director of Google Canada, as well as presentations, training and Q & A by other "Googlers" from the AdWords division.

Here is some information from the event you might find interesting.

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What Are Backlinks and Why Do I Need Them?

If you have been learning about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you may have come across the term "Backlink". For those of you who have not, you may be wondering what exactly is a backlink, anyway, and why do you need them?

A Backlink, also known as an inbound link, is simply a link from another website to yours. Backlinks are important for SEO because search engines like Google and Bing use them to help rank websites in their search results. Backlinks are something like votes from the web - the more "votes" (backlinks) a site or page has, the more authority it is considered to have by the search engines. There are many other factors that are used, but backlinks are one of the most important. Basically, if you want to show up high in the search results, it is good to have a lot of backlinks.

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RSS Explained

For those of you unfamiliar with RSS you no doubt will have seen the standard RSS button RSS Icon on web sites and wondered what is was. RSS is essentially an internet web feed format designed to share web content such as blogs, news, audio, video and a variety of other on-line content. RSS mostly stands for "Really Simple Syndication" but is sometimes referred to as "Rich Site Summary". In this article I would like to take a closer look at RSS, what it does, and how it can help your business.

The typical internet user may have several sites or more that they frequent for their content. They may visit Yahoo News, CNN and The Wall Street Journal for current events. They may also visit several entertainment or personal interest sites like PGA.COM or MLB.COM in addition to trade related sites like Hwy52.com. This ad hock method of information retrieval is very inefficient and can be quite time consuming.

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How to Write a Press Release for Beginners

First of all, let's get straight what a press release is and is not. A press release is a short article written in a factual way. It is not a sales letter or an advertisement. Its main purpose is to promote your product, company, or event to the media in order to gain publicity. A well written press release can make a reporter's job easier by providing the basics for a news story, but a poorly written one will be discarded.

The most important thing to remember about a press release is that it must be "newsworthy". Newsworthy basically means something that is interesting enough to be, well, news!  The five main criteria used to determine whether an item is newsworthy are its timeliness (is it current?), significance, location (how local is it?), prominence, and human interest value. For example, a men's clothing store giving Tie-tying tips to dads for Father's day is news (timeliness, human interest), but having a Father's Day sale is not. Remember, it has to be interesting to those in the media and to your audience, not just to you.

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Easy Way to Get Your Business Noticed on the Web

If you have a small business, and haven't signed up at Google's Local Business Center* yet, you really need to do it! Local search has become the hot search space, and if you ever want to get noticed in Google's "7-Pack" (The 7 business listings that appear beside the map at the top of a search results page), then you need to get started. You can sign up even if you don't have a web site!

You can find it through Google Maps (http://www.google.com/maps), just follow the link that says "Put your business on Google Maps". This will take you to the Local Business Center. If you already have a Google Account, just sign in with your email and password, or you can use your Adwords login and password. If not, sign up for a new account with Google.

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Top 10 Dot CA Business Domain Name Sales

Here are some of the top selling .ca business-oriented domain names of the past year, including the top two which sold in January of 2010:

  • Play.ca - $34,000 USD
  • Vans.ca - $25,000 USD
  • Interaction.ca - $30,000 CAD
  • ForSale.ca - $29,000 CAD
  • Boots.ca - $19,950 USD
  • Suits.ca - $18,900 USD
  • PropertyManagement.ca - $14,200 USD
  • YourMoney.ca - $8,000 USD
  • Stores.ca - $8,000 CAD
  • HomeBusiness.ca - $8,000 CAD
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Do You Have an SEO Strategy?

Every day in North America more individuals than you may realize use the major internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to search for products and services that you sell and provide. Chances are that if you are not on the first or second search results page for your keywords or phrases you are not going to get that call.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a term that refers to the art and science of getting people to find your website on the internet. It's a bit of a misnomer actually as you do not "optimize" the search engines but rather you optimize your web site to be found and to rank high on the search engines.

I can say from my own observation that SEO is a science that it not fully exploited in the majority of businesses. Most likely do not have an SEO strategy and have not given this subject the priority it deserves. Consequently, there is a real opportunity for businesses that develop appropriate strategies to lead in this area.

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What's in a (Canadian Domain) Name?

Like many of you I no longer use the yellow pages to look for products and services but instead rely on the major search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo. When I need a product or service for either personal or business use I simply enter the keyword or phrase in to my favourite search engine and based on the search results I will decide how to proceed. Getting your business to rank high on natural search results pages is important but just as important is whether a potential customer will click through to your site or to your competitors site.

There are many reasons why people choose one business over another when both rank high on search engines but I want to discuss only one for now  - your domain name type.

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