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As we enter the new year, we invariably turn our collective focus toward improvement. What can be optimized, escalated, expanded, and enhanced in order to more accurately reflect our best selves. This interest in advancement is not limited to the scope of our personal lives, of course, it spreads to all aspects of business as well. When it comes to marketing a business on the web these days, the array of options and potential directions which can be taken is dizzying. With this in mind, we’re going to take a quick look at the most impactful and prominent trends in web development for the coming year.

Native Advertising & Content
The first area which is being widely identified as an important one to follow for this year is native advertising. Native ads are embedded in websites or pages and provide content which matches the overall look and feel of the host site. Most native ads follow the same editorial form and style of the page on which they appear, creating a more congruent and natural experience for viewers. Native advertising is flexible, adaptable, and provides nearly limitless options for creativity and customization. When combined with content marketing, native ads have the ability to be both engaging and enjoyable to users. With an estimated 74% of ad revenue expected to be driven by native advertising by the year 2021, it’s clear that the time to throw your hat in the ring is now.

Additional Opportunities: Native Advertising can be dynamically optimized for individual user profiles and preferences, allowing businesses to target content specifically to a particular type of user.

Mobile Mobile Mobile!
Web Trends Mobile

Every year we discuss the importance of optimizing your website and marketing activities for mobile users, and this year is no different. With more than half (51%) of web visits now originating from mobile devices, it has never been more important to implement a mobile-first strategy. Mobile phones are so prevalent, really, that it’s difficult to refer to this as a trend anymore at all. The entirety of our lives are increasingly centered around our phones, and that’s something marketers would do well to make note of. As always, Google drives the lions share of mobile search traffic (96%), so it is important to make use of their optimization and analytics tools to keep on top of your positioning.

Additional Opportunities: Google has a new tool out for assessing page load speed on mobile. Give it a try here: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/. Not happy with the results? Get in touch!

Value in Video
One last thing to take note of is the rise of video. For the first time, Youtube has more monthly unique users than Google. This is significant because it demonstrates how important video content has become to consumers of media. Video has increasingly become a medium for providing engaging and interesting content to potential clients. Anyone can make interesting and entertaining video, and when it’s done well, users will interact with it and share widely among their own networks. This activity provides valuable organic reach. A video need not go viral to be effective, it is enough for it to be valuable and amusing to the target audience.

Additional Opportunities: Quirky or unique and engaging how-to videos are a good place to start and are applicable across most businesses and industries.

The trends covered in this article are by no means the extent of things to watch this year, but they are three very important and actionable items for any business to look at and think about. The web marketing landscape is constantly changing and evolving, providing endless opportunities for developing and enhancing your marketing strategy. As always, feel free to contact us if you’d like some advice or direction in analyzing your current efforts or implementing new marketing plans.
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The new blog post is up!

Google has made some pretty significant changes to the way ads are displayed alongside search results. Have you thought about how this might impact your traffic levels?

Check out the article for some pointers on improving page rank organically.
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We just launched Smordin Law's new website!

For over a decade, the lawyers at Smordin Law have been successfully defending cases in cities throughout Southern Ontario. In addition to criminal law representation, Smordin Law provides professional representation and services for Aboriginal clients, youths, and for clients with mental health issues.

Smordin Law needed a team of Hamilton web designers to create an impactful website that would rank well in search engine results. The web design needed to be unique and stand out among other Hamilton law firm websites that utilized the same, stereotypical law firm imagery (gavels, courtrooms, legal documents, etc).

Virtual Image created a unique and effective website for Smordin Law. The web design accomplished Smordin Law's goals of a creative and unconventional law firm website. Large, artistic imagery was used throughout the website, along with high quality images of Smordin Law's office and lawyers. A simple and elegant colour scheme was chosen to complement and accentuate the Smordin Law brand.

View the website here: http://smordinlaw.com/
Home - Smordin Law
Home - Smordin Law
smordinlaw.com
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Virtual Image recently launched Bennett Mechanical's new website! Bennett Mechanical Installations is a fabrication, construction, and installation company specializing in the construction of Water and Wastewater treatment facilities for over 30 years.

Bennett Mechanical wanted a sleek and simple web design. They wanted the website to feel fresh and open, but they also needed to have enough content in the site in order to rank well in organic search engine results. The website also needed to appeal to a wide demographic, with a specific focus on contractors.

Virtual Image took all of Bennett Mechanical's ideas and goals into consideration when creating the new web design. Large and captivating imagery was used on all of the website's pages to grab the viewer's attention. The website's design is very simple and open in order to place a focus on the company's work. Most of the website's users will be visiting the site to see the projects that Bennett Mechanical has worked on, so these needed to be the front and centre.

View the website here: http://www.bennettgroup.ca/
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Virtual Image recently launched Central Plumbing & Heating's new website! Central Plumbing & Heating is a family owned and operated plumbing and heating business providing a full range of services to residential, commercial, and industrial clients.

By utilizing a modern and impactful web design approach, Central Plumbing and Heating's new website stands out among the competition and is quickly rising up through the ranks of Google search engine results.

View the website here: http://centralpandh.ca/
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Virtual Image has redesigned the The Malhar Group website and incorporated a customized content management system (CMS) for quick and easy client-side updates. The Malhar Group is a non-profit arts organization based out of Ontario. The website has been optimized for all desktop and touch-based devices using a responsive platform.

http://themalhargroup.org/
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Virtual Image has implemented a new marketing campaign for the Hamilton Plastic Surgery Centre which includes stronger organic SEO, SEM campaigns, and print advertisements for local newspapers. The Hamilton Plastic Surgery Centre is one of Canada's premier locations for cosmetic surgery. Virtual Image has redesigned their website in an effort to reflect their professional and elegant approach to cosmetic surgery. The website has been redesigned using a customized responsive platform in order to faciliate browsing on all desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

http://plasticsurgerycan.com/
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