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We've written some insightful, entertaining articles that span topics from support to design to content management and beyond!




This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

An illustration depicting a man organizing a website layout

 

When it comes to real estate, the old saying goes: location location location. It is no different when it comes to the virtual real estate on your website, and that is why the placement of your content is so important. It can make or break something even being seen or interacted with at all in many cases, and depending on what the content is, this could be very detrimental.

 

Most websites make use of a banner area on the Home page, right at the top. This is often rotating, and you should make use of this as often as possible to point to new or temporary things/updates with your business. Your banners should probably change about as frequently as you would expect your common repeat customers to visit. This can be a little bit of work to upkeep, but it is well worth it.

 

Your navigation is also vitally important in guiding people to relevant information, and keeping your navigation short and concise is a big part of making this effective. Consider keeping the items to about 5 or 6 at most, and consider not even including dropdowns if possible. You can guide to further subpages if necessary, from within your relevant content, but the goal is to streamline your visitors to the places they want to go as quickly as possible to avoid them losing interest.

 

Finally, page placement itself is a big component. If you want something to stand out on the page, consider leaving space around it to make it more obviously visible, and making sure it is close to the top of the page. It is important not to clutter important information as it can dilute the message and users can be sidetracked or lost. Keep your pages clean and focused, and this will help drive users where they need to go.

 

If you ever have questions, feel free to reach out to us any time!

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Woman talking to a friend using video chat

 

When it comes to the way we interact online, things have changed drastically in the last few years. We have seen a migration from the phone to email, from email to instant messenger, and from instant messenger to server-based community groups such as Discord or Microsoft Teams. Likewise, we have seen many programs come and go such as Ventrilo, Teamspeak, Skype, and many others as better and more robust programs replace them.

 

These days, it seems that the options are limitless when it comes to professional conference calling, but what if you are looking for more than this? Microsoft Teams can offer additional features such as meeting scheduling, calendar integration, and group chats within your organization. You can also record meetings for later viewing and send it out to participants. Other programs such as Zoom offer a smoother calling experience, at the expense of many other features.

 

For grouping on a personal level, nothing beats Discord these days. The server customization options are nearly limitless, and for the low cost of $0 it is no wonder nothing even comes close in terms of competition. They even took a major step with the COVID-19 outbreak and expanded their server capacity to allow for up to 50 users to stream video at one time from a server - something even professional services could only dream of offering (and probably at a hefty cost). The UI is unmatched and very easy on the eyes - it is also fairly customizable.

 

Things will always evolve - I do still recall when Skype was king - it will be interesting to see where the future takes us with these communication platforms, but I am eager to see what emerges in the coming years.

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

REM Celebrates 20 Years in Business

 

We at REM Web Solutions are honoured and grateful to be celebrating 20 Years in Business!

 

Thank you so much to all of our awesome clients that have kept us busy and supported us over the years!

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Lancaster Smokehouse website on a computer monitor

 

About

The Lancaster Smokehouse is a Southern Style family restaurant founded in 2011. We brought Southern BBQ to Waterloo Region with our first restaurant Hog Tails BBQ in 2009 after learning the craft on the Southern BBQ Competition circuit in the 1990's and 2000's.  With growing demand, we wanted to expand into a bigger restaurant and catering and The Lancaster Group of Companies was formed.

 

We now consist of our sit-down restaurant with a banquet hall, our catering and events/food truck company and newly, our Crumb Bakehouse. All our food is homemade, and ingredients are local. We are big supporters of highlighting great local companies, and farmers that keep our economy going.  The “Lanc" delights our great customers as the "go-to-spot" for mouth-watering Southern BBQ, amazing experiences, live music and awesome Craft beverages!

 

Lancaster Smokehouse's Main Contact Person: Caitie Agostinho, Owner/FOH GM

 

No. of Employees: 53

Established: 2011

Location: 574 Lancaster St W, Kitchener, ON

 

Visit Lancaster Smokehouse website

 

 

 

Q:

Why did you choose REM?

 

A:

We really needed to move into a different direction with our website. After finding REM through an industry colleague and looking at REM’s website to see what they had to offer, we called them up to see if they could help us. Rob and his team were overwhelmingly helpful in guiding us to what steps we could take next with our website and the tools they have for us to take our website to where we needed it to be. The support they offer is a big thing for us. It allows us to fix things on the fly and when we need help, we know there is a knowledgeable team that is just a phone call away. Another big driving force why we chose REM was because they are our neighbours! It was the icing on the cake to have them be just down the street from us and being able to continue to support local.

 


Q:

What was it like working with REM?

 

A:

Every step of the process with REM and their team has been efficient, quick, helpful, kind, knowledgeable and patient! Being in the restaurant industry we often work different hours that are not your typical 9-5 business hours. REM was always there and were very patient with us. Christine did a phenomenal job with our design. She really understood what we were looking for and understood our vision. When our business model changed to mainly takeout, we had to get our website up and running for online orders and push the project along a little faster than we had hoped. Rob, Christine, Brad and the rest of the team were more than accommodating to this.  The commitment and support Rob & his team showed to helping us with the changes has been overwhelming. We know we can always count on them, and not only did we get a great website, but we gained a great friendship with REM.

 

The commitment and support Rob & his team showed to helping us with the changes has been overwhelming.

 

-- Caitie Agostinho, Owner/FOH GM

 


 

Learn first-hand how we can help you with your website needs.
Contact us today!

 

Toll Free: 1.866.754.4111

Phone: 519.884.4111

Sales: sales@remwebsolutions.com

Support: support@remwebsolutions.com

 

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This is a headshot of Christine Votruba.

Collage of REM Team playing Mini Golf for a quarterly event

 

Last week, we had our July Quarterly Event of Mini Golf at Max’s Sports World. It’s been so long since we had a Quarterly! Our last one before this was in January when we played retro games at Pin Up Arcade. That’s because the team-building event we usually have at around April was cancelled due to COVID. This particular event was special because there were a couple of my colleagues that I had not seen in person since January. Plus, we’ve welcomed back Shauna into the team!

 

We enjoyed the sunny, summer weather though it was definitely very hot that afternoon. We split up into 3 teams of 3:

  1. Rob, Matt and Sean S.

  2. Sean L., Sean M. and myself (aka Dev-Sean’s and me!)

  3. Ryan, Todd and Shauna

We played 9 holes in the Blue Course, all the while practicing social distancing and/or wearing a face mask. Beyond a doubt, the highlight for me is Sean L.’s (aka Legger) “chipper” move! I totally LOL’d (laughed out loud) every time he did the trick. And what an impressive trick it was! By “chipping,” he jumped the ball pass the barrier, thereby cutting down the strokes it took to get to the hole. It was a risky trick as one time he chipped the ball and made it fly out into some bushes. (Side Note: please excuse my golf terminology or lack thereof as I’m no expert in the subject.)

 

There was a lot of comradery between all of us with a lot of cheers and helpful tips throughout the afternoon. It’s always very amusing and memorable when we play our quarterly event games.

 

A team that plays well together works well together!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Conceptual image of a man with crumpled paper around his head

 

This is going to be a bit of a meta post. As I was struggling to come up with some good ideas for blog posts this month (it can get a little dry constantly posting about how to change your web content and what to do when it comes to web security etc.) – I realized I had the perfect topic sitting right in front of me – writer’s block.

 

Change It Up for a New Perspective

Getting the inspiration to write about something fresh or new can be tough! Sometimes if I find myself staring at a blank page without even a topic idea, the best thing you can possibly do is just do something different for a little bit. It is a pretty quick and apparent thing if you do not have something obvious to write that there are not going to be words randomly materializing on the page – you need to get your ideas from somewhere!

 

Chat Up a Colleague

For inspiration, the first place I will usually look is to others, but in an indirect manner. Strike up a conversation with a friend or co-worker about the day or something unrelated to what you are doing. The unexpected elements of conversation can often act as a catalyst to ideas and new sources of writing. The same can be said for taking a walk somewhere or going out to take care of an errand (something of that nature) if you are stuck writing. It can simply break up the day a bit and when you return, you may just have the inspiration that you did not have previously.

 

New ideas can be tricky as sometimes this can require extensive research on the topic you’ll be writing about, but take this as further sources of inspiration! You may find something else you want to write about next time too while hunting for information.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Business woman looking at stickie notes

 

There is no doubt that human beings are creatures of habit and routine for the most part. Yes, we do need a certain amount of diversity in our day to break things up and make things slightly interesting, but for the most part we crave routine and it makes us happy, really without us realizing it for the most part.

 

Routine is Key to a Good Workflow

For the majority of us, we do have our individual routines and these can be very distinct and different at work than at home. I think as long as both routines are consistent, they can be different, this is fine. At work, the routine becomes very important as the lack of routine or the shake-up of the norm can really throw a wrench into workflow. Using tools such as scheduling platforms and calendars can help you organize your day, but if it lacks structure from the beginning this will do you little good other than to show you how busy you are.

 

Categorize and Organize Your Tasks

There are generally certain types of tasks a person is generally responsible for on a daily basis, even if the specifics for the task changes. A common strategy is to set blocks of time in your day to deal with certain categories of tasks, and once your time has elapsed to finish what you are doing and move onto the next block. This can not only help keep your day moving, but if you are noticing one particular task is remaining unfinished every day it points to either more time needed for that category, or the fact that those tasks could be being done quicker.

 

Little Things Make a Big Difference

Simple parts of the routine are important too. Didn’t get your morning coffee? Well this could drastically affect your ability to properly function in your day if it is part of your routine. Road delay caused you to be 10 minutes late? If this affects your routine, it is going to cause a lot more than 10 minutes of delay for you in the day. Make sure to take care of your needs every day as well, as it can be hard to stay at 100% in your routine (easier to cheat or deviate from it) if you lack sleep, proper nutrition, hydration etc.

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Woman listening to music with headphones

 

Listening to music is a deeply personal thing, and everyone has different attachments to different music. Some people cannot get through their day without a constant soundtrack, while others can only handle 1 song or even dislike music altogether while they are trying to focus on tasks. For myself, there are certain genres I go to depending on the nature of the task at hand.

 

Calming Classical Tunes

If I need to answer a large number of customer emails or deal with any sort of situation which requires assisting a person/diffusing a situation, there is something about Classical Music that really helps with this. Whether it is the calming peaceful nature mixed with the brain-stimulating orchestration I do not know, but it allows you to pleasantly deal with just about any situation while still thinking clearly. I highly recommend this for the “Email” phase of your day.

 

Rock Out!

If there is tedious or grunt work to be done, the rock music comes out. This could be anything from data input to assisting a customer with a technical issue (doing the work, not the email reply). It helps to just put your nose to the grindstone and power through, and it does help with your energy levels I find.

 

Stimulating Lofi Electronic Music

When I need to do research, I will often put on a very low-key electronic music of some kind to stimulate thought, as if I am exploring new ideas, I want place myself in a mental state where I will be more receptive to these ideas.

 

These are examples, but find what works for you as it is again deeply personal when it comes to music selection. There is great power in music though, and it can help with your day!

 

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This is a headshot of Brad Anderson.

Person using a laptop and notebook

 

Something I often see from websites as they go through the process of creation and then maintenance is that content often ends up stagnant or untouched for a long time after initial release.

 

Often there isn’t a reason seen by the owner to go back and make updates to certain pages as maybe the information never changes or the content is buried fairly deep in the website. Even for constant or more hidden pages such as these, not only do individuals notice when nothing changes after a while but so do the search engines such as Google.

 

Check Your Content Regularly

It can instead be a good idea to regularly go through your pages and make updates, even just for the sake of bringing an update to the page visually. People will take notice, and arguably more importantly, so will the search engines. It sends an indicator to them that your business is active, and this gives you a sort of priority over businesses deemed to be inactive due to either lack of updates or poor availability of information.

 

Update Some Visuals

There are easy ways to look at this – for example if you decide to make a striking visual change to a webpage, it will be considerably easier and less time consuming for you it mimic these updates on the rest of your pages, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel on a page by page basis. Consistency between your pages in terms of content design also helps give the website a much more professional appearance.

 

You can get creative with this too!

Make many different versions of a page and see what you might like best. You can even have special versions you put up for holidays or special sales to draw a little more attention and to really give the appearance of having an active web presence.

 

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This is a headshot of Rob Matlow.

Happy Canada Day from REM Web Solutions

 

From all of us at REM Web Solutions, we wish everyone a Happy Canada Day! Please note that REM will be closed on Wednesday, July 1st.

 

 

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Contributors

Rob Matlow
93
August 14, 2020
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Christine Votruba
27
July 28, 2020
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Ryan Covert
48
July 26, 2019
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Sean Sanderson
63
July 23, 2019
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Matt Stern
4
July 16, 2019
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Sean Legge
1
June 28, 2019
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Sean McParland
17
June 28, 2019
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Todd Hannigan
47
November 13, 2018
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Shauna Ramsaroop
9
December 21, 2016
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