Monday, 24 February 2014

What Defines a Successful Website: Dynamic Content


  "In a global beauty contest for companies, the winner is ... Apple. Or at least Apple is the most admired company in the world, according to Fortune magazine's annual survey. The others in the global top ten are Berkshire Hathaway, Toyota, Google, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, General Electric, and Microsoft. What do these companies have that separates them from the rest of the pack?

According to the survey of executive directors, and security analysts, these companies have very high average scores across nine attributes:

(1) innovativeness,
(2) quality of management,
(3) long-term investment value,
(4) social responsibility,
(5) employee talent
(6) quality of products and services,
(7) financial soundness,
(8) use of corporate assets, and
(9) effectiveness in doing business globally.
What do these companies have in common? First they have an incredible focus on using technology to understand their customers, reduce costs, reduce inventory, and speed up product delivery. Second, they continually innovate and invest in ways to differentiate their products. Some are known for game-changing products, such as Apple's touch-screen iPhone or Toyota's hybrid Prius. Others continually introduce small improvements, such as Southwest Airline's streamlined boarding procedures. "
Ehrhardt & Brigham, Corporate Finance




Website Business Model

website-business-model
Apple and these other companies may be the ideal model of the business world, but it is also necessary to apply these same principles to your website. Your website must constantly be:
(1) on the brink of  innovation, always pushing the technological curve to implement something new;
(2) focused on quality of management, managing your website with the idea of quality over quantity, especially in content writing and display;
(3) considering long-term investment value and thinking about your website for its long-term use and how it will grow. A website's success never remains static. Just because your website is slow today doesn't mean it won't blow up tomorrow or vice versa, invest in the right tools to keep your website growing;
(4) sharing social responsibility. Cater to your social networks through your websites, cater to your customers and their communities through your websites, offer certain programs for certain areas;
(5) focused on employee talent. This can be redefined as developer's talent; make sure that you have only the top talented developers on your project, those that are constantly learning and will seek to grow your website's success;
(6) maintaining quality of products and services. Make sure that everything you offer on your website passes the quality test first and also last, if ever quality comes into question, it is better to sacrifice that piece of content rather than sacrifice the quality of your website.   

This brings me into my next point: The IMPORTANCE of having
DYNAMIC CONTENT...

What is dynamic content? Why is it important? What does it consist of? How do I implement it? Once I implement it does it end there?

These are the questions you are probably considering right now.

Dynamic content, also referred to as a dynamic web page, is defined by WikiPedia.com as:
"A web page with web content that varies based on parameters provided by a user or a computer program."

Dynamic content as defined by Webopedia.com is:
"Web site or blog content that changes frequently and engages the reader, dynamic content can include animations, video or audio."


This website is a great example of dynamic content. The images are clickable to go to the different sections/videos. The user can also engage by clicking the Play button to view the Demo Reel!

In my own definition, dynamic content is any content on your website that is not static, that can change, whether by user parameters or by administrative action.

User-engaged dynamic content (UDC) is content that the user engages in to achieve different results or views, either by filling out a form or by clicking on certain elements; by some type of user-engaged interaction. Administrator-controlled dynamic content (ADC) is content controlled on the backend by the administrator or automatically set up to change. A good example of UDC is a shop that can filter by prices, filter by Year, Make Model. A good example of ADC that is automated is a background changer that changes the background of your website every 3 days.

When creating a website, first contemplate what kind of dynamic content can be associated with your website.  Dynamic content can refer to:
  • pictures
  • videos
  • animations
  • games
  • calendars
  • forms
  • catalogs
  • galleries
  • on-site web apps
  • shopping carts
  • social networks
  • forums
  • user submitted content
  • comments
  • indices
  • lists
  • directories
  • any type of content that a user can change or filter, or personalize.
Without dynamic content, a user cannot spend much time on your website because there is nothing to do. They can always come back and read information or even take a screenshot of your website if it is only static content, but how can you capture their attention for 5 minutes and put them in a good enough mood to press the “Call to Action” button and follow through? Provide a game for them to play that helps them realize what type of service they need.

Dynamic interactive content edifies the solution (your website) from the problem (the lack of knowing where to go, what to do, etc.) and motivates user experience in the direction of your business.


Dynamic content can be so simple as to be your Blog Page, which is filterable, commentable, constantly updating, and can serve as a forum for your site.

Just getting a website is not just a matter of putting pages up any longer. I remember back in the day businesses would advertise in the newspaper. Websites are not a newspaper, they are way more powerful than that.

Most people that want a website for their business simply want an About Us, User Sign Up, and a Contact page. Why end there? Why not develop a forum on your website for employees? Why not develop a company history Wiki on your website as new developments occur in your company? Not only are these things well-documented and organized within the root of your site, but it is also excellent marketing for anyone that stumbles across your site to find out about your latest innovation that you just came up with last night!

The success of your business nowadays depends so much on your website that these factors that I just discussed are key survival tips to staying relevant in today's search-engine market, which is the #1 business driver nowadays, as most people are engaging in handheld devices and mobile app tools.

SO WHAT DID WE LEARN?
DON'T BE STATIC, BE DYNAMIC!


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Our Work: AROD Mercedes Benz Alex Rodriguez Meet & Greet

CLIENT: AROD Mercedes-Benz, Houston, Texas's best Mercedes-Benz dealership, offering new and pre-owned vehicles, service and parts.

GOAL: Using b roll from the event held on Monday, January 13th, craft a brief web video highlighting the Alex Rodriguez Meet & Greet, an event that was hosted for members of the All-Star Club by Alex Rodriguez, a rewards program for Alex Rodriguez Mercedes-Benz clients, and which benefitted Texas Children's Hospital.

SPOT: AROD Mercedes-Benz: Alex Rodriguez Meet & Greet



Monday, 17 February 2014

The Evolution of the Internet Language

When I was first fully introduced to the wonderful world of social media, I was already aware that there were ever-changing social media trends to follow and keep up with. But the more I delved into this wonderful world, and the more people I reached out to through the various mediums of social media, the more I began to notice certain things. Grammar things. Things that would have given your elementary school English teacher nightmares.

The names of search engines have become verbs. Well-known writers are purposely forming what should be considered incomplete sentences, yet these fragments still seem to make perfect sense to the readers. Periods aren't merely symbols to indicate the end of sentences anymore; they are used as a way to make. a. point. (no pun intended)

What I discovered was not simply a ‘Social Media Trend’, but a revolutionary digital language: The Language of the Internet. And in today's world it's essential to know it.

You might be on the same page as me, or you might think I’m being a little absurd to consider an Internet language comprised of grammatical idiosyncrasies to be so so vastly important.


YGTBKM - A common Internet abbreviation.

 If you’re a skeptic, then hear me out for a moment:

If you own a business, and you obviously want that business to succeed, you’ll need to invest in marketing. 93% of marketers use social media for business, and if you're not in that 93%, you need to be.

One of your goals is invariably to reach out to consumers, increase your business brand awareness, and eventually persuade said consumers to purchase your product or service.

There are over 313 million people in the U.S. Of that 313 million, 266 million people use the Internet, the majority being younger consumers, who have lived (or have practically lived) their entire lives with the Internet. Internet English has been ingrained in them. 

Thus, speaking their native language is 
KEY TO YOUR BUSINESS'S SUCCESS.




So whether you’re an Internet English n00b or an Internet English snob, below are the top most relevant phrases/words I have learned on my way to becoming proficient in the Language of the Internet, and I hope that they may inform and enlighten you. Like with any new language, familiarity with the grammar of Internet English will enable you to understand it better. HAPPY LEARNING INTERNET ENGLISH 101!


GOOGLE IS AN OFFICIAL VERB

Goo·gle
[goo-guh  l]
verb, Goo·gled, Goo·gling.
to search the Internet for information about (a person, topic, etc.): I googled your mom the other day. 

That’s right. Google is an official verb. Even Dictionary.com acknowledges that the most popular search engine in the world has become a universally understood verb.


PERIODS ARE NO LONGER NEUTRAL


Periods used to be looked at as, quite simply, the neutral finish to a sentence, but they have recently taken a more assertive, I daresay aggressive, approach. Periods frequently replace exclamation marks, question marks, and are often used to convey a truckload of emphasis, especially when coupled with all capital letters.

Newrepublic.com has a good read on how periods may even have started to suggest downright anger in the texting arena:




BECAUSE IS NOW A PREPOSITION

The word 'because' has traditionally been defined as a subordinating conjunction, meaning it connects two parts of a sentence in which one subordinate explains the other.

However, the past few years it has since transformed into a preposition...


"I can't talk now because working."

"I love The Big Bang Theory because science."

"I gained ten pounds the weekend after Valentine's Day because discounted chocolate."

In fact, 'because' has become such a grammatical game changer that it is the American Dialect Society's 2013 Word of the Year


Because amazing.


ADJECTIVE PRONOUN ADJECTIVE IS A THING

Example: Sleepy cat is sleepy.

From what I can tell, this grammatical phenomenon starting happening around 2012. I know that only because of a question of a very confused asker on Yahoo Answers


 Who knows, Hilbert. All I can say is the crazy Internet is crazy.


RICKROLL. JUST. RICKROLL.

I decided to include this oldie but goodie because older family members still ask me what the heck it means, and I feel bad for anyone who hasn't been enlightened by this. The term was first coined circa May 2007, when someone on 4chan, a popular image-based bulletin board, posted a link on to Rick Astley’s 1987 music video ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ disguised as a sneak preview for the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV, a new release at the time.



Since that time, the Rickroll meme has become a viral bait and switch; a person posts a hyperlink which is seemingly relevant to the topic at hand, but actually leads to the music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up'. 

INTERNET MEMES HAVE REPLACED CHILDREN AS THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD

Enough said.


  
NSFW IS NO JOKE

An abbreviation for 'Not Safe For Work', NSFW was coined circa 2007, when Fark.com founder Drew Curtis apparently attempted to trademark the phrase. His application was denied.

Now, I may or may not need to tell you this, but if an article or Twitter handle description reads NSFW… DO NOT CLICK ON IT. 

DO NOT PASS GO.

DO NOT COLLECT 200 DOLLARS.



SUMMARY

The incredible language of the Internet is constantly evolving, and it’s far from just being a cyber language. It's an IRL language, too. I shout out hashtags frequently (i.e. HASHTAG AWKWARD). I can’t tell you how many times I have typed ‘what’ in capital letters, ending in periods instead of question marks, something that 5 years ago I would have slapped myself for doing. Every day I am in awe of the wonder of technology, the wonder of the Internet, and the evolution of Internet language. To get the complete Internet English dictionary of slangs and phrases, visit here.

What do you think of the evolution of the language of the Internet? What phrases or new words are the most relevant and/or mind-blowing to you? Comment below or tweet to us at @Swagger_Media!


Until next time… GTG GBTW TTYL! 




Monday, 10 February 2014

The Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Less than a week ago we celebrated exuberant excess and frivolity with the passing of the Super Bowl and while I didn’t watch the whole game, I did catch trailers for some of this year’s upcoming studio tent poles. The act brought on an intense wave of nostalgia for pre-internet times when we movie geeks had to wait until the Super Bowl to catch a glimpse of all the cinematic awesomeness that would soon be heading our way. As a result, my eyes were glued to the screen during the commercial breaks (the main attraction, in my mind) and I continued my ravenous trailer-viewing afterward in case there was anything exciting the programmers omitted.


And so, in such a spirit, I present my top 10 most anticipated films for 2014!



The LEGO Movie (February 7)



OK, so yes, this movie is already out and by the time you read this I WILL have seen it, but all signs point to YES on this one. Fun trailer, great cast, and the animation is just fantastic. The first time I saw the trailer I honestly thought the majority of the film had been done using stop motion animation and I can’t decide whether I’m more disappointed or amazed after finding out that it’s all CG.


Grand Budapest Hotel (March 7)



Yes. Yes. Yes. That is all.


Noah (March 8)




Of all the films on this list, I feel the most conflicted about this one. On the plus side, it has a pretty stellar cast, the special effects look like they’ll be quite an impressive spectacle, and, most of all, it’s directed by one of my favorite filmmakers, Mr. Darren Aronofsky. On the other hand, it looks like it takes EXTREME liberties with the source material, the odds of cultural accuracy look slim considering the cast is made up exclusively of English-speaking white people, and films made by great directors given extravagant budgets and the attached studio control usually disappoint. I guess we’ll just have to wait until March 8 to see whether we’re in for rough or smooth sailing…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)



Marvel has got their stuff together, and this looks like a rollicking good time that might even have a little bit of substance to it. Go ‘Murica!

Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)



After Noah, my runner-up award for reluctant excitement goes toThe Amazing Spider-Man 2. While its predecessor may have had bad reasons for revamping the series so soon after the last one ended, it proved to be fun, distinct from the Raimi films, and, at least in my opinion, Andrew Garfield was a much better representation of everyone’s favorite web-slinger than Toby McGuire. HOWEVER, the trailer makes it look like this installment will suffer from many of the same problems that brought the initial franchise down, namely too much going on and too many villains. We’ve got Electro (turned to a psychotic murderer because someone forgot his name?!), the Green Goblin (Harry? What about Norman?), and the Rhino (WHY IS HE A TRANSFORMER WITH MACHINE GUNS???)


Still, Spider-Man is Spider-Man. Count me in.

Godzilla (May 16)



Director Gareth Edwards proved he had a knack for the kaiju genre  with Monsters in 2010. Now that he has some street cred, a big name cast, and a budget that dwarfs what he had in the previously mentioned independent film, I’m really excited to see what he does in this decidedly more serious take on the King of the Monsters.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (May 23)



Rise had its flaws, but the work of Andy Serkis and Weta created a truly compelling character in Caesar, and I for one am really excited about getting down to the action in this sequel that takes place 8 years later.


A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30)


Yeah, I think Seth Macfarlane and crew are funny.

Jupiter Ascending (July 18)


The sci-fi epics produced by the Wachowskis are really hit and miss, but when it’s on IT’S ON. I’m intrigued.

Interstellar (November 7)



I know next to nothing about this, but, Dark Knight Rises aside, I’m a Nolan fanboy. What can I say?

What films are YOU looking forward to? Leave your thoughts below or tweet at us @swagger_media!


Thursday, 6 February 2014

On Set with Teach for America DC

Since joining the team at Swagger, I have had the pleasure to work with the educational non-profit organization Teach for America on a couple of occasions. One of those occasions was earlier this week, when we had the opportunity to bring our Swagger up to Washington DC to shoot for an upcoming event for Teach for America.
Thurgood Marshall Academy on a rainy, rainy day.

The weather was less than ideal (or maybe I'm just a spoiled Houstonian...), so we weren't able to capture quite as much around town as I'd hoped, but I was lucky enough to interview several Teach for America teachers, alumna and students from various schools in the DC area.

The mission of Teach for America is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education, despite their income or neighborhood. Part of how they do this is by recruiting a diverse group of leaders with a record of achievement who commit to at least two years of service in a low-income community.

What always strikes me each time I speak to a member of the Teach for America organization is their passion for their work. Many of them never imagined they would end up in teaching but wanted to be of service to underserved communities so they joined the program as a temporary experience and now cannot imagine a life without being an educator. These are highly empathetic, intelligent, dedicated people who do more than identify a problem and tell others how to fix it; they roll up their sleeves and commit to doing their part to make change on the ground, every single day. It is truly inspiring to not only experience the passion of the teachers themselves, but to then speak to their students and see what a tremendous effect they have proves what a difference a program like this can make.

Because we were working pretty quickly over the course of two days to get the piece shot, I wasn't able to get a lot of behind the scenes footage, but here are a few snapshots from the DC trip.
At National Harbor in Prince George's County. You can practically see the chill.

Harriet Tubman Elementary School. Chocolate the Hamster lives here.

Capturing footage in an overgrown playground at a Prince George's County elementary school. 
The Martin Luther King Jr. Monument overlooking the Tidal Basin.
Thank you, Teach for America, for allowing us to be a part of this project and we can't wait to show everyone the finished product!  


Monday, 3 February 2014

The Best Super Bowl Commercials 2014

Ahhh, the Super Bowl. Obviously there are plenty of us that are obsessed with the game itself, but many solely look forward to watching the halftime show (which was pretty rockin' this year with both Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers sharing the stage). Others still, like most of us at Swagger, sit down to watch the commercials. While we won't say this year's set of commercials was particularly climactic (not unlike the Super Bowl game itself), there were a few winners in our book. Below are some of our picks for the top Super Bowl Commercials of 2014!

Funniest
This is a hard title to claim, but we're going with Radio Shack's 'The Phone Call'. Why? The very fact that all of our favorite characters from the 80's were brought back to life and Radio Shack clearly has enough sense of humor to make fun of its own brand a little bit is a solid A+ in our book!





Most Adorable
While we don't really get the association between a puppy and a horse's great companionship and Budweiser... who cares. It's freakin' adorbs.




 
Most Improved
Go Daddy typically has some of the worst commercials out there, but this year wasn't so bad... at least it didn't feature ridiculously hot models making out with computer nerds or the degradation of women. Right?!





Most Inspirational
Microsoft wins Most Inspirational, hands-down. The commercial simply titled 'Empowering' praises the wonder of technology and features former NFL player and ALS fighter Steve Gleason typing with his eyes to his son, a viral video of a deaf woman receiving hearing implants and hearing her voice for the first time, a blind artist, and a little boy able to accomplish amazing things thanks to his prosthetic legs. Yeah, this one's got it all and it's a serious tearjerker, so keep a tissue nearby. Actually, just grab the whole tissue box to be on the safe side.




What were your favorite commercials from this year's Super Bowl? Give us a shout in the comments or tweet to us at @Swagger_Media!