Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What Are They Thinking?


Sometimes you read an article and it really makes you wonder! That’s what happened to me when I read an article about a community stopping funding for upcoming events. I don’t know the whole story, but if it true, I think that it is a big mistake! Festivals and events are the backbone of any community. Making it harder for festivals to grow and prosper is “wrong” thinking. Consider, for a moment, what festivals and events mean to a community. First of all, they bring a community together. They give the community and its residents as sense of pride and purpose, a sense of community. They make residents want to reside in their community much longer and to give back to it! Successful, well-funded festivals bring new visitors into the community. If people are enjoying themselves, they will spend money, sometimes, lots of it. They go to restaurants, stay overnight in hotels and shop in local retail stores. If they really have enjoyed themselves, they might even want to move to the community and be part of it. Additionally, some visitors may feel that the community is a good place to invest their money! Some might want to relocate their business to the community. Anything is possible! All this means more wealth for the community and more taxes to the government. With healthy festivals and events, everyone wins! I hope that the community’s politicians and staff take a deep breath and reconsider their actions. The heath of their community depends on them doing the “right thing”!
Other communities who are considering similar actions should take note! This is not the time to cut back! It’s time to step forward and be bold. It’s time to make your community the best that it can be!


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Building Your Website – Simplicity and Website Layout


                  9. Simplicity
     The best advice I can give when building your website can be summed up in one word, “simplicity”. If you want people to visit your website and then stay, simplicity is the answer! Let me explain. Search engine crawlers and very particular! They like simple things. They don’t like “flash”. They don’t like “digging too deep” into a website. They want a clear, simple path to find all that your website is offering. If you make it too difficult for them, you will loose your chances of high rankings. So what you might say! Well, without high search engine rankings, people will have a difficult time finding you. Of course, if you only want your friends to visit your website, you don’t have to worry. However, if you want new people to find you, search engines and their rankings are very important! The other reason for simplicity is that people, like search engine crawlers, don’t like complicated! If you make your website too complex, people will quickly become turned off and will leave your website quickly to find something simpler! If your object is to have people visit your site, stay for a while and then buy your products or services, keep it simple!

10. Website Layout
Like “Simplicity”, Website Layout is very important. This is true for many of the same reasons stated above. You need a nice clean layout that allows visitors (human and electronic) to easily travel around your website. Well-marked page links, concise text and descriptive photos all make for a better site. Having accurate, uncomplicated information on your entry page (normally your “Home” page) gives your visitors a clear picture of who you are. Giving visitors the ability to easily look through your website will keep them on it for a longer time. If you are selling products or services, having well written descriptive text is imperative.  Easy to follow instructions on how to make a purchase will help you make more sales. Always remember, when building your website, it is for the benefit of your customers, not a monument for you and your web designer





Thursday, November 8, 2018

Building Your Website – Page Content and Site Updating


5.    Web Page Content
As search engines become more sophisticated, web page content becomes more important. Content should be written in an interesting informative way. It should relate to your website and its purpose. One way of relating is it is by using your keywords and key phrases, but not too often. According to Mike Small, a veteran SEO specialist, the rule of thumb is not to mention your keywords more than 4 times per page and to split them equally between paragraphs. Two mentions of your most important keyword in the first section is the only exception. He goes on to say that there should be between 150 and 250 words of text per keyword. Finally, he says to mention each keyword towards the end of the page. This shows overall consistency and topic authenticity.

Keeping your visitors interested in your website and having them stay on it for several minutes will help increase your site’s search engine rankings.

6.    Website Updating
Another way of promoting your website is to update your pages frequently. Adding pages can also helpful. The pages must be added for a meaningful purpose, not just for search engine show. Keeping you website up-to-date and accurate shows search engines that your website has substance and is important to its visitors! Besides, it you don’t keep your contents up-to-date all the time, why would people want to visit your site more then a few times, even if you have an interesting site? I think the key to having a great site is to put you as being one of its visitors. What would you like to see as a visitor? How often would you go onto your site if you were a visitor and why? Answering these questions will help you think about your site more often and will help you manage it better! Remember the old saying “Treat others as you would have them treat you”. If you and your site “treat” visitors well, your website will be a great hit!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Building Your Website - The Importance of Text


5.    Use of Keywords in Text
Just as the selection of keywords is important, making sure that they are seen and found is also important! In order to optimize your keywords, they need to be mentioned several times throughout your text. However, their placement must make sense. As I have previously said, search engines are becoming much more sophisticated each day and can tell when a site is trying to fool them into giving a higher ranking then is deserved. They don’t take kindly to this and can penalize. The penalization may or may not be warranted, but regaining ranking is a Herculean task. Assuming you are creating a legitimate website, let your information and expertise be your “Calling Card”. Ultimately this strategy will become the benchmark for website ranking.
6.    Highlighting Text
As it stands right now, web crawlers are sent out by search engines to find keywords. Just including the keywords in your text will help, but won’t make them outstanding. Highlighting keywords (bold, underlined and italicized) will really help. Remember, though, this is how it works now, but likely, not in the future. You need to either keep up with internet technology yourself or find someone you trust to do it for you. Like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared”!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Building Your Website – Meta Elements (Continued…)


1.    Meta Tags and Descriptions
In my previous articles I mentioned the importance of keywords. Keywords act as your 24/7 electronic “Business Card”. They are part of what search engine crawlers are looking for. Because they are important, it is imperative that you and your website designer consider them carefully. Keywords can either be a single word or a “string” of words. They need to reflect what people, who are looking for your kind of website, will type into the search engine for their “search”. The more specific your keywords, the more qualified the visitors to your site. Well thought out keywords can also increase your chances of being on the front page of search engines. When you are thinking of what your keywords should be, think what you would type in to find your kind of product or service. In other words, become the visitor!
2.    Meta Description
The Meta description describes and defines what your website is all about. The description has to been short and concise and, most important of all, it has to be accurate. Although Meta descriptions don’t affect your search engine ranking, they do help categories your website, especially with human searchers. They tell the searcher what to expect in your website and hopefully draw them to enter your site. As with keywords, careful thought should be given to your Meta description.
It should be additionally noted that each “important” page in your website should contain both keywords and Meta descriptions. Each page can and should be you silent, 24/7, sales partner!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Building Your Website – Optimization (Continued…)


As I mention in my previous article, building you website so that it attracts Search Engines is an absolute must! There are many things within a website that search engine “web crawlers” look for. (Wikipedia describe them as follows: A web crawler (also known as a web spider, web robot, or—especially in the FOAF community—web scutter) is a program or automated script which browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner.) “Crawlers” are what search engines “send out” to gather up-to-date website information. Search engines use this information for each website to categorize it and to rank it. Some web designers think that all they have to do is to insert some keywords and search engines will love them. This may have been true a few years ago, but, “times, they are a changing!” Search engines are becoming much more sophisticated and are now looking, in addition to keywords, at Meta descriptions, page content, outside links, website continuity and site and content relevance.  If you haven’t included all of these into your website you won’t likely be highly rated by search engines! Being to “cute” also does not help! Search engine companies don’t like it when you try to fool them. If they find out that you have been “fixing” your site too much, they may penalize you or, worse, delete you from their search engine entirely. Having someone you can consult with about the intricacies of website construction and search engine optimization will go a long way to having the type of website you deserve!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Building Your Website


Over the past year or so, I have talked about the importance of festivals and events having good websites. In my last blog I described a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a website designer/marketer. Over the next few blogs I am going to expand on what my friend told me. I don’t pretend to be a website expert, but over the last few years, in developing my website, www.ontariofestivalsvisited.ca, we have learned a few tricks. Some were by design, but most were by accident! The results, however, have given me a fairly successful website. When you type in “Ontario festivals”, we are consistently shown in the top 1-4 positions on the three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN.
1.    Site Construction: Having a website is easy! With the right tools or the right amount of money anyone can have a website. However, having a website is like owning a car. If you have a poor engine you may or may not get to where you want to go. If you have a great engine, you will get to where you want to go with ease! If you have no engine… while you get the picture! Having a great “engine” is the only way to go, so make sure you find out how to get a great engine! Experienced web designers build websites to attract two types of visitors, human and search engines. Search engines are the most important because they direct humans to websites. Each visitor is looking for different things and so, as I said before to have to appeal to both to succeed. The construction of your website needs a sound foundation that includes all the fundamentals of successful sites, that is well written code. Search engines can and will penalize sites for poorly written code. So, if you are designing your website yourself, check with an expert to make sure your site is constructed properly. There are website evaluators out there who can help you and set you straight if need be. If you don’t want to design your own site, make sure you hire someone who has all the necessary skills to construct you site properly. Remember, a website that doesn’t attract search engines or humans is a site without an “engine”!