Canva: Design made easy.

Canva: Design made easy.

If your brain freaks out at the thought of creating graphics in complicated programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, then Canva may be your answer.
It enables you to create beautiful posters, invitations, infographics, cards, website graphics, facebook ads or cover photos & even multiple-page presentations.

Canva is an Australian-made graphic design service that takes the headaches out of designing. All you have to do is choose one of the available templates or start from a custom-sized blank canvas. You then use the Layouts and Background tabs to get a rough idea of what you want to design. These tabs are chock-full of options to choose from, whether you want a complete template or just a nice background to build on.

Canva revolves entirely around intuitive controls such as drag-and-drop – so adding, removing, and editing elements on your canvas is simple and straightforward.. and actually fun!

While many Canva elements are completely free to use, some images you’ll see on search results are Premium, and will cost you $1 per image once you download your design. You can, however, easily upload you own photos or graphics, so while Canva’s Premium options are certainly tempting, they’re not a must.

After signing up to the Canva Newsletter, you’ll also get access to some great tutorials to help you master certain techniques, and learn new skills. If you’d prefer not to sign up, you can just check out their blog which is regularly updated with tricks and tips to help you on your way. They are consistently updating to add more templates and functions. It’s really not as daunting as you think!

Check out some introductory videos here:

The Canva Blog:

And if you’re still a bit confused about how to get started, get in touch – we’re more than happy to help.

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Each time you send an email, you should be aware that a huge portion of your subscribers are going to open your message on their phones or tablets — not on their desktop computers or laptops.

It seems that every other week a new study cites an overwhelming number of people who read emails on their mobile devices — 51 percent according to Litmus, 66 percent according to Movable Ink.

The numbers vary, but the savvy content marketer knows that overlooking mobile-friendly emails is a big mistake.

A mobile responsive website design displays your content properly no matter how someone views your website, and you can ensure that the emails you send look great as well, whether or not you have a mobile-responsive email template.

Here are 10 essential tips for transforming your message into a mobile-friendly email. For more information on how Nextwave can help you with your email marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out Nextwave commerce

1. Compose short subject lines


The amount of space mobile devices provide for displaying subject lines can make even the most succinct writer cry herself to sleep.

Even though some email clients will display your entire subject line text, many do not.

And since your subject line in an email is akin to your headline, you don’t want to cut it off and miss an opportunity to connect with your reader.

The solution is to either keep your subject line short — 40 characters or less is a good rule of thumb — or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

2. Use a single-column template


On a mobile-device screen, multiple columns typically appear condensed and confusing to navigate.

A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward even when it’s viewed with different email clients.

Single columns can also simplify your design and spotlight your important content.

3. Keep your email under 600 pixels wide


While most modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs, there are exceptions.

When your email width is 600 pixels or less, users won’t have problems viewing emails that were formatted for large computer screens.

Set a width attribute in your email template’s table tag to 600 pixels or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

4. Use a large font size


Since a 10-pixel font is difficult to read on a desktop computer screen, and small screens make small fonts even smaller, most people will delete your email before they’ll squint and strain their eyes in order to read your tiny text.

A font size of 13 or 14 pixels makes your email substantially more readable on a small screen.

But don’t be afraid to go even larger than that. Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.

5. Display small images


Smaller images reduce load times and bandwidth. Many mobile users still use 3G or slower, connections, so the speed at which images load is vital.

If you have technical chops, or know someone who can help you, use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.

Another option is to shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal to both load your images faster and conserve your user’s bandwidth.

6. Provide a distinct call to action


A call to action should prompt your email recipient to do something. Generally, that “something” is tapping (or clicking) a button that further leads him down the path you want him to take.

Your call to action needs to be large enough for him to easily and effectively do this on a mobile-device screen.

Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers, and while mobile manufacturers have created devices that accurately respond to your actions, they’re not perfect.

If your readers have to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, then there’s a chance they won’t bother.

Display a compelling call to action that is at least a 40 pixels square — and preferably larger than that — to keep the reader engaged with your email.

7. Don’t make your call to action an image


Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses. So if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email client doesn’t have images enabled for your sending address, she will not see it.

After all the work you put into crafting your emails, it’s a bummer to miss an opportunity to get your reader to take action.

But the trouble is that when recipients do view images, they often improve click-through rates.

If you decide to use an image for your call to action, make sure the image has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”

That way, even if the image isn’t shown, the message in your ALT text will still appear.

8. Avoid menu bars


As I mentioned above, since fingers are not precision instruments, tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.

I recommend avoiding them completely. It’s an email, not a website, so you don’t need a traditional menu or navigation bar.

With emails, stick to the basic building blocks of the web: links and images.

9. Don’t stack links


Stacked links cause the same problems as other tiny forms of navigation. Here’s an example of stacked links:


If you imagine stacked links within a paragraph, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally click the wrong link.

Also, when two words are right on top of each other, you may mistakenly link the two words to the same destination rather than assigning a distinct link to each word.

Including multiple links in an email is fine, but be sure to look at a preview of the email and separate links with other text, images, or whitespace as needed.

The reader’s experience is your first priority


Think about your own experience when you encounter an email that doesn’t display properly on your mobile device.

Even if it’s from a source that interests you, you may not want to spend extra time deciphering the message.

And if you can’t see the action the sender wants you to take, you certainly won’t take it.

Instead of putting your reader in this undesirable scenario, you can easily create mobile-friendly emails that display properly on any device.

What special steps do you take to produce an optimal mobile-viewing experience for your email readers?


Using Nextwave Mailer, any email campaign you send will automatically be optimized for both desktop and mobile email clients – We can do all this for you – This means you know it will look just as great on an iPhone as it does in Outlook or Gmail. We even make it easy to see how your template will look on a mobile device as you build it.

Six causes for a drop in ecommerce orders

A sudden stoppage in online sales can be scary. Hopefully you haven’t experienced this scenario. But if you have, you know that empty feeling when your orders cease to arrive in your inbox. What to do? As in any time of crisis, take a deep breath, stay calm, and then get down to business in solving this disturbing puzzle in a systematic way.

Here are six areas to investigate.

1. Your Site’s Code Is Broken

Whether you use a template-driven ecommerce system or work with a custom web designer, mistakes can be materialize, seemingly out of nowhere. A small coding error can render your site useless. If your drop in order volume alarms you, place a test order on your site. Perhaps you will discover that the “Add to Cart” button has mysteriously disappeared, or the formatting is out of whack and the prices are not showing next to the products. Go through the entire checkout process, including entering valid credit card information, to be sure you haven’t missed an important detail.

  • Actions: If you or your designer made the site changes, see if you can roll back to a backup. Test your site on a regular basis. Roll out site changes with care or utilize a test site for major changes to your site.

2. Your Related Services Have Expired or Changed

It is possible that you have failed to renew an integrated service that is part of your site and shoppers are unable to proceed with their purchases. Some of the leading culprits: your site security certificate, your credit card gateway, or perhaps a JavaScript-based service like a gift registry. If any of these services go down, your shopping system could fail along with them. These issues will typically manifest themselves by displaying error messages or warnings on your site. As with coding errors, you should be able to discover broken services by going through a few test orders on your site.

  • Actions: Once you find the problem, immediately renew or reactivate the broken service. Keep a database of your mission-critical accounts and renewal dates. If you change your email address, make sure to update your accounts so you receive timely notifications. If you took the cost-saving route when you were starting your business and signed up with sub-par services, consider upgrading to providers that have rock-solid reputations.

3. A Database Update Has Gone Awry

If your product information is delivered out of a database, then you have another point of vulnerability that needs to be reviewed, particularly after a product-pricing update. Your site can look beautiful and function correctly, but if all your prices are mistakenly hiked by 30 percent, for example, you could be driving your customers away.

  • Actions: Have a systematic approach to doing pricing and data updates in which you identify a range of products to use for testing and verification. Maintain a solid backup system for your data. If you discover problems, you can restore your data while you work out the details.

4. Your Site Has Been Infected by a Virus

All too often we hear reports of sites that have been compromised by the installation of malicious scripts. When Google detects a virus intrusion, it will post a message by your organic search listings, informing the world that the use of your site could harm a visitor’s computer. If you have a high-level infection, your browser will likely report the issue to a user or a Google search will reveal the problem.

  • Actions: Sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account and follow the suggestions that Google has provided for removing the infection and making your site secure. Once you have followed the corrective steps and notified Google, it will review your site and determine whether to place it back among the search-engine listings.

5. Your Search Engine Traffic Has Dramatically Slowed

If nothing has changed with your on-site factors, you want to scrutinize your search traffic closely. In order to function as an ecommerce business owner, you need to utilize a web analytics package such as Google Analytics. For starters, assess your overall visitors over an extended time-period. Is your traffic consistent or abruptly declining? Review your traffic sources report. Compare a time period before the order meltdown and afterward to see what sources of traffic have dried up. Perhaps all your Google organic traffic has disappeared overnight. If so, you want to utilized Google Webmaster Tools to determine whether Google sees a new issue with your site. Evaluate your top referrers. Have any of your important referrers disappeared? Typically one lost referrer won’t take you down, but if you have been receiving a large volume of affiliate traffic and the network has a problem, you could suffer because of it.

  • Actions: If you have a serious traffic dip, determine the leakage and work with the source (whether it is Google, an affiliate network, or a paid advertising account) to get your site back on track.

6. Your Site Redesign Has Hurt Traffic and Conversions

Your cool, sexy site redesign might look awesome, but it can also have negative consequences for your site traffic. Some of the key culprits are:

(a) Moving to a system that has completely different URLs than your previous site without correctly redirecting them;
(b) Your new site is very difficult for search engines to index;
(c) Your new site has some sort of coding anomaly or error that the search engines do not like. This could include site speed, which is more of a factor than it has been in the past. A slow loading site could be a detriment.

  • Actions: If you cannot immediately identify the issue with your new site design, enlist the help of an expert to assess it and offer suggestions. As with several of the other issues, Google Webmaster Tools is your friend. The diagnostic tools will tell you if you have blatant issues with your site and page structure, as Google sees it.


A defined review process – particularly after making site changes – can go a long way toward avoiding situations that will hurt your business. If find your ecommerce business in trouble, site testing and statistics review should give you the insights you need to rebuild sales.

Free online marketing classes

Inbound Marketing University has some great free classes for business owners wanting to know more about marketing their business on the internet. You can stream them free over the web or download them all to watch offline. There is even an exam at the end if you wish to get certified but you dont have to complete it. Watch the classes to increase your awareness of the various strategies your website will need to be sucessful. Indeed unless you have a large marketing budget it will be up to you to put some of these strategies into place and refine over time.

Am I marketing my product differently based on unique audiences?

Am I creating valuable content for my site?

Am I blogging effectively?

Am I converting enough of my visitors to customers?
These questions and more are be answered in the 17 free hour long classes each covering a particular aspect of online marketing.

Well worth a look to glean some tips from seasoned professionals

We have a number of copies of the accompanying ebook “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media)” to give away to interested clients.

Get in contact with your Project Manager today.

AWStats Explained

Unique Visitors – These are the total number of visits by a unique IP address. This can be a bit misleading because dial-up visitors get a new IP each time they log on so you can have the same person visit different times and give a unique hit.

Number of Visits – The number of visits are the total number of visits by all visitors over a given period of time. If I visit your site and then come back 4 more time you should see one Unique visit and 5 visits from me.

Pages – This is the total number of pages viewed by visitors. This does not include images, java script or CSS and the like. Just HTML and CGI type files.

Hits – This is every file requested by the visitor. This includes pages and images together. If you have a page with 2 images calling a java script file the page will generate a total of 4 hits. The most common referenced stat used and one that is virtually meaningless (and useless). The more appropriate numbers to consider are both ‘number of visitors’ and ‘unique visitors’ (see above).

Bandwidth – The total number of bytes downloaded. If you have a page that has 50 KB of text, 2 images at 24 and 32 KB then each visitor to that page will take 106 KB of your bandwidth. AWStats then gives you this information for the year so far as well as a 30 and 7 day perspective. Finally it gives it to you by the hour.

Next is Visitors Domains/Countries (Top 25)*. This shows you what countries your visitors are coming from, starting with the most and working its way down.

* All categories with a Top 10 or 25 have a link to the right of the category that can give you an entire list if there are more than 10 or 25.

Following this is the Hosts Top 25. This gives you a breakdown of the top individual visitors to your site.

Next is a popular category, Robots/Spider Top 25 visits. Here is a great way to see when your favorite search engine has last visited your site as well as how many hits it has made (again, ‘hit’ can be misleading here). Although not as popular of a category, the Visits Duration is an important one. Here you can tell how long visitors are staying on your site.

Are a vast majority leaving in the first 30 seconds? Maybe it’s time to rethink your sites design or content. Files/Type lets you see what files are generating the most hits.

Top 25 Pages – URL gives you the most visited pages on your site. Top 10 Operating Systems shows what Operating Systems your visitors are using in order of popularity.

Next is Top 10 Browsers. Like the OS category above, this shows what browsers your visitors are using in order of popularity.

Connect to Site From is a multi-part category.

It starts with Direct Address/Bookmark. This is the number of visitors that either know the name of your site or have it bookmarked.

Links from a newsgroup is just that.

Links from an Internet Search Engine gives us a listing of the number of visitors coming from a search engine.

Links from Other Web Pages shows what pages your visitors are coming from. This does not mean there is a link to your site on the listed page; it just registers where the visitor was coming from. Links from an Internal Page is self explanatory and Unknown is just that, not known.

Next we have our top 10 key phrases and top 25 key words used to find our site.

The last two are Miscellaneous and HTTP Error codes. These give miscellaneous information and what HTTP codes are given to your visitors.

To view your stats simply goto:

Use your FTP account* username & password for access.

*This would of been supplied to you via email when you first setup your hosting acount with us.

Nextwave HostManager (Cpanel)

HostManger is a fully featured web-based control panel that allows you to manage your domain through a web interface. The idea is to transfer as much of the control and responsibility of managing your web site to you. You have the ability to manage all aspects of e-mail, files, backup, FTP, CGI scripts, and web site statistics.

If you have not yet recieved your login for HostManager and currently host your website with us, please contact us today!