Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News
18Oct/120

WordCamp Vancouver 2012 Recap

Last weekend, we (Canadian Cloud Hosting - www.cacloud.com) had the honour and pleasure of sponsoring WordCamp Vancouver 2012 at the platinum level and we really enjoyed supporting such a great group of local WordPress enthusiasts including developers, bloggers, college professors and connecting with everyone who stopped by our table or engaged with us on Twitter.

If you stopped by to drop off a business card for our free raffle to win free hosting for a year but didn't hear from us, you can still benefit from being a participant. You can visit our site at www.cacloud.com and use our promotional code CACLOUDWP30 to receive an exclusive 30% off. But, you must act quickly before the code expires on October 31st, 2012.

Finally, we curated most of WordCamp Vancouver 2012 and whether you were on site or not, you can share this summary with your friends and tweet us at @cawebhosting if you'd like us to add any relevant online content like your own recaps. We had a lot of fun being a part of this event and up next, we have BuddyCamp notes to share with you, so in the meantime, you can peruse our own event photos through one of our Pinterest boards and/or our Facebook album. While you're there, feel free to "like" our page, you never know what awesome discounts we'll hand out in the future, so don't miss out!

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

11Oct/120

Social Media Week Vancouver 2012: Engagement, Authenticity, and Content

It's the fall...and it's time to get social!

Social Media Week Vancouver 2012

About Social Media Week 2012

On September 24-28, 2012, the Socialized team brought us Social Media Week Vancouver for the second year in a row. Social Media Week Vancouver in 2011 was a great hit and this year, they once again delivered another jam packed schedule including insightful talks and panels covering anything from crisis management, storytelling, business blogging, social media strategies to a media conference featuring Gary Vaynerchuck, social CEO's and their practices, even the Dragon's Den summit and more. This fall, 13 different cities across the world hosted Social Media Week, and as expected, the online and offline buzz generated created engagement, new connections, and lots and lots of discussions surrounding anything social media related throughout the entire week. I had the opportunity to attend several events and in comparing it with last year, I noticed some overlap and some emphasis on certain topics, which I'll share in three parts.

Engagement is everything. If you're new to social media, focus on engagement.
These days with the advancement of technology, consumers are becoming more verse with technology and the social media world and they turn to the internet to share their experiences with brands and not only do they do so, they also want to use these newer social media avenues to interact with their favourite brands and perhaps, other like-minded customers for exchanging ideas or simply to connect with one another. Many speakers and brand ambassadors mentioned that being a social brand was essential in order to have an open line of communication with their own customers, focusing on being available and engaging in a timely manner with inquiries, or in general discussions, using social media platforms to alleviate crisis issues or to be able to share the latest announcements without sounding too pushy. The consensus among several events was to be present, to listen actively and to be a participant - a two-way conversation, which as our own brand, we're a big fan of!

Authenticity makes you sound more human and more genuine. Use your human voice.
Being authentic was by far one of the themes that kept coming up over and over during that week. The message from speakers reminded us to interact as an individual, to let customers know who you were by showing customers that you were a real person behind a logo or a brand. To do this, it helps to immerse yourself in your company's culture, get to know your co-workers better, and let your voice on social media shine through. Trying to humanize a brand can sometimes be challenging, but that is why it's even more important to stay genuine when you're having conversations with your customer base, and remember that sometimes, mistakes can happen as well. This is social after all, and no one is perfect.

Content, content, content, it's all about content.
Last year, one component was for companies to be able to share their stories and this relates to this year's point: content. Many sessions emphasized the importance of having fresh content on your sites and especially, your social media sites. Customers are constantly looking for news, product announcements or overall content that will be useful to them and that could come in many forms like education, entertainment, etc. Creating frequent, new content can be difficult. One of the most interactive and useful tips during the business blogging session gave away some great takeaways through a simple customer service exercise. Customers come to you and ask you many questions, often times, they will be similar and redundant, therefore, instead of responding privately to that individual, you could turn those answers into a blog post and without too much effort, your content comes to you.

Social Canadian Web Hosting at Your Service

Here at Canadian Web Hosting, you'll continue to hear us talk about the community that we serve and our members vary across so many different industries and for us to be able to support so many of them is a true honour every day. We listen to our customers, engage with them constantly and as an online community, we appreciate that interaction that helps us understand their stories better as we continue to do business with them. Social Media Week reminds us that we're doing things right and both companies and customers are in this together as new media evolves in the future. In conclusion, if you're a current or a future customer, we want to connect with you.

If you attended Social Media Week Vancouver, what other trends did you notice? Please share your comments.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

9Oct/120

Canadian Cloud Hosting Sponsors WordCamp Vancouver and BuddyCamp Vancouver 2012

WordPress is a free and open source blogging platform used by millions of users across the globe and many organizations use it as their content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. The WordPress community is such a dynamic crowd and we’re excited to announce that this upcoming weekend through early next week, Canadian Cloud Hosting is sponsoring WordCamp Vancouver and BuddyCamp Vancouver. Bloggers of all levels and developers should consider attending these events. Both events are welcoming and even designers or other enthusiasts can participate if you want to learn more about WordPress, you'll be welcomed to join us since the format caters to different levels of expertise, so don't feel intimidated.

WordCamp Vancouver

WordCamp Vancouver 2012

WordCamp is all day conference mainly focused on WordPress, split in two tracks: 1) users and 2) developers. Unlike other conferences, this event is affordable to all and you'll be able to meet, share, and most importantly, learn from a knowledgeable line up of speakers and connect with them and other attendees. The event will be on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 8 am to 5 pm at the BCIT Burnaby Campus. Tickets are only $25 and part of the line up for users include Tips to Grow Your Professional WordPress Business, Demystifying SEO, How to Make your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly, and for developers, they include Calm and Simple Code With Purpose, Mistakes I Made using jQuery, and How to Avoid them, and Interacting with External APIs. The full schedule will provide you with all the details, so that you can plan out your day ahead of time.

BuddyCamp Vancouver

BuddyCamp Vancouver 2012

For those of you who are more familiar with WordPress, you most likely have heard of BuddyPress, an open source social networking software package (owned by Automattic since 2008), a plugin that can be installed on WordPress to transform it into a social network platform. It is designed to allow schools, companies, sports teams, or any other niche community to start their own social network or communication tool. These two-days are geared towards a more advanced audience, split in two tracks as well: 1) education and 2) developers. BuddyCamp will bring all of the community benefits as WordCamp and a chance for even more collaboration on their hack day, on the second day. The event will be on Sunday, October 14, 2012 from 8 am to 5 pm and Monday, October 15, 2012, from 8 am to 2:30 pm (hack day) at the BCIT Burnaby Campus. Tickets vary from $10 to $35, including a live stream option and part of the line up include The Future of BuddyPress, Community Building Tactics for BuddyPress Sites and UBC Blogs and the BuddyPress Experiment. The full schedule will provide you with all the details.

Our Ongoing Community Involvement

This weekend will be a fun filled packed event of connecting, learning, and collaborating and we're proud and honoured to be a platinum sponsor for both WordCamp Vancouver and BuddyCamp Vancouver to support the WordPress Foundation and to show our ongoing commitment to give back to this thriving online, global community. Also, don't miss out on your chance to hear Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress on Sunday, October 14, when he speaks at the first ever BuddyCamp Vancouver and we'll even be raffling off some great prizes too at both events. See you there!

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

6Aug/120

Tourism Richmond Talks’ Recap: Why Taking Risk Pays Off

If you've been following our blog, you'll know that while we love informing and educating you about our exciting web hosting and IT solutions related products, we also enjoy sharing innovative, business tips for our tech savvy community. This time, we'll focus on the tourism (and food) community to switch things up. While this isn't an industry that we have blogged much about in the past, some key elements will relate to entrepreneurship, an area that we constantly monitor. Besides, we know that our customers touch endless industries and since tourism is one of them, this is relevant to them, but also to the countless entrepreneurs using our services.

With that said, this past spring, you might have heard of this online buzz coming from Richmond, BC, regarding the food blogger gig announcement for a lucky winner to eat out for an entire year in that city. Last Wednesday, the Social Media Network hosted one of their social media speaker sessions at the Network Hub, featuring Brittany Riddell, marketing manager for Tourism Richmond. The event hashtag was #TourismRichmondTalks and the topics covered were as followed: how Tourism Richmond got all foodie eyes via social media, the social media behind Tourism Richmond’s recent 365 Days of Dining campaign and finally, being social in tourism.

Photo © riacale on Flickr

Key Facts from the Tourism Richmond 365 Days of Dining Campaign

      • 365 Days of Dining was the biggest campaign [in the greater Vancouver area] since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
      • In Richmond, BC, there are over 800 restaurants and over half are Asian influenced (we even have our own proof with an off-the-cuff blog post that we wanted to share with our local community).
      • This specific campaign used a triple A approach: affordability, accessibility, and its large Asian culture.
      • #365DaysofDining (their official hashtag during the campaign) was groundbreaking because it was driven purely by social media and the momentum of bloggers around the world.
      • The perks and compensation validated the work of food bloggers worldwide as professionals.
      • The applicant pool came from over 23 countries, 26 US states and all 10 Canadian provinces.
      • 1507 applicants were narrowed down to top 12 applicants with 6 people reviewing all of the organic applications.
      • The top 12 finalists resulted in an increase of 6500 Facebook fans and transparency with the campaign remained from beginning to end.
      • Constructive criticism and ranting is hard to distinguish and a crisis plan was already in place from the very start.

Recap Summary: Taking Risk in Social Media = Online Success

If you're in the tourism industry or you're an entrepreneur looking for new ways to spice up your next social media campaign, I hope that you found some useful tips through this article, feel free to share it on social media to your peers. Tourism Richmond is obviously social and you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and more. This campaign really demonstrates that a calculated risk including a crisis management plan requires a high amount of transparency and ongoing flexibility as the campaign evolves through the end. Course correcting is still a key element and it'll be interesting to follow their journey. We applaud Tourism Richmond for running an innovative campaign in such a traditional media driven industry, taking risks and doing something different among their peers. Finally, you can also view the brief recap from the organizers from the Social Media Network for more information that includes an online curation of the event's tweets.

Special Offer for #TourismRichmondTalks' Friends

To conclude, we are offering a special deal for any offline or online #TourismRichmondTalks' participants including speakers, organizers, volunteers and even sponsors. You can learn more about us at Canadian Web Hosting, and to find out more about this specialized offer, the first step is to follow us on Twitter at @cawebhosting and like our Facebook page. The second step is for you to send us a message with the keyword "#RichmondRules" along with your contact information (email and/or phone number, or even Twitter handle) and we'll contact you directly after we verify that you completed the first step. Are you the next food blogger or tourism ambassador to watch? Let us help you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru

26Jul/120

Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

Some of our community members are already business owners, and others might be thinking of starting their own business. We recently heard a local designer share her own personal story on how she got started with her own business and the discussion surrounded six main questions that you should ask yourself before jumping in. In this article, we're sharing her thought process and how it's helped her along the way, hoping that you'll find some takeaways yourself.

question marks

Photo © Oberazzi on Flickr

Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

1. Why am I doing this? Have a good reason. In her case, providing a specific type of design is what she loves and since that is what she lives and breathes each day, that's a strong reason for her to go after this endeavour. That is her passion and she understands that there is a clear need for her services today. Her skills can be monetized and since that is what she loves to do, she has no reasons not to do it. The following question adds a bit more depth.

2. Where am I now? Know your city, be part of it. She fell in love with the city and decided that this is where she wanted to personally and professionally set roots. Since jobs were scarce, this was a timely opportunity to jump in and do it herself. In her specific situation, she supports local businesses and what works to her advantage is that because she loves the city, she's able to mingle with them at various events, get to know them on a more personal level and know the latest happenings around town. It's important to know what's going on in the community, to understand its culture and most importantly, to be a part of it.

3. Who are my clients? Know what they care about. With the previous point made, depending on your business, you may have a niche and her type of design service is very specific to a particular clientele and once she figured that out, she's been able to spend more time in that specific community to keep up with trends and again, to find out more about them on a personal level. This allows her to put her best work forward when she's designing for each customer. Each customer has different needs and when she's able to learn more about them as individuals along with their personalities, she's able to let that knowledge influence her as she's creating art. In the end, she's able to connect with her customers' requests more easily.

4. How can I educate my clients? You're their teacher. In her design field, not only is she producing work, but she's also keeping her clients informed on her process from timeline to different types of materials that can be used for their requests. She has to consistently be a teacher, an expert who can provide information about any intricacies in her line of work. Some clients may not always understand how much material or time a certain project may take and she's able to inform them about all of the details that need to take place. For example, with Canadian Web Hosting, our latest post provided information on how to protect yourself from a data breach. Being able to provide unique, and useful information will help others see you come across as an expert in your own industry.

5. Who are my peers? How can I collaborate with them? Every industry has a community somewhere, whether online or offline, to share thoughts and ideas and she goes back to connecting with the community, except in this instance, it's about connecting with her own design community where she can continue to learn about what's new and up-and-coming. In other cases, her peers may have a certain skill set that she isn't an expert at, and a new partnership could well easily be formed to work on certain projects. On a related topic, the WHIR's latest magazine covered power partnerships which speaks directly to this question on a similar level.

6. What do I have to offer? Be different, be you. Design is a vast world and her type of design is unique. She takes a very personal approach by connecting with the community and while she shows some of her own personality when the project is more open-ended, she uses the personal tidbits that she learns through engaging with her own clientele to make the work different, and which reflects her clients' needs.

If you have more questions to add, please leave us a comment, or you can bring up this conversation with us on Twitter at @cawebhosting or on our Facebook Page. As always, we'd love to hear from you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru