Our Favorite Chrome Extensions

We don’t exclusively use Chrome, but when we do, we get down with a lot of plugins. Check out our list of favorites and let us know what Chrome plugins* you’ve been obsessed with lately:

For Developers:

Var-Masterpiece – This makes checking for bugs a heck of a lot easier– unreadable var dumps are finally legible.

Full Page Screen Capture – It’s hard to say how often we use this screen capture app, but it’s probably collectively over 5 million times a day. At least.

SEO Stats  – This plugin gives us at-a-glance SEO stats, so we can double check our progress, review new websites, and make sure all of our SEO is right where it needs to be.

For Writers:

Typewriter  – This typewriter app isn’t really useful. We don’t really need it, but we find ourselves typing on it for fun anyway.

Grammar Check com  – We have some grammar lovers on the team, and while many of them can spot a comma splice from a mile away, we still think it fun to check their copy every once in a while.

Ask Jelly – What are people searching for? What’s the best drone on the market? How many times a day do people check their email? Jelly has user-based answers for all your outlandish questions.

For Fun

Mustache Everyone – There is no real reason to ever use this, and there’s no real reason to ever stop.

LibDoge  – So much wow with this plugin!

*These plugins are also available on other browsers

How to Use Long Tail Keywords Properly


We’ve heard it all. Long tail. Short tail. Phrases. Keywords. But we kept our cool and we’ve got it all under control. If you’ve been waiting for a definitive guide on all things long tail and all things keyword, look no further. We’ve got your tail covered.

Let’s break it down in some laymen’s terms. Because we hate marketing jargon. A long tail keyword is not something you pin on the donkey. It’s not something you wear on the back of your head. And it’s not something you should be scared of. All it is is a longer search term that you can use to reach customers. So what does that mean exactly?

When you search for something online, sometimes you use single keywords. Like “shoes.” But more often than not, you want something specific, right? You want pink ballet shoes from Rocketdog like the ones you had in high school. Cool. So you probably search a variety of long tail keywords (aka phrases). You might look up “Rocketdog ballet shoes” or “pink ballet shoes” or even “Pink Rocketdog ballet shoes” or perhaps” Pink Rocketdog ballet shoes 2006.” You’ll probably get a bunch of cool information that meets your needs. Or, if there aren’t any Rocketdog ballet shoes from 2006 floating around online, you might find some other cool, more recent Rocketdog ballet shoes. 

What’s the point?

So now that we know what it is, we need to talk about why the heck someone would use a long tail keyword. It’s pretty straightforward. Long tail keywords are more specific, so you can reach more people. And, not only that, but you can reach people who are looking for your exact product. The trick is to make sure your long tail keyword appears in your metadata and on the page you’re hoping to rank for. According to Yoast, an SEO marketing and educational company, “The longer and more specific the search terms are, the higher the chances of conversion are (Yoast). 

Now you don’t have to go crazy and write weirdly specific keywords like “size 8 camo ballet shoes for little princesses” or something, but you should use longer keywords whenever you’re coming up with a marketing strategy. When you are looking for a design studio in Wichita, for example, you might type in “Wichita website design,” (or if you’re really in a hurry, “wichita website design” (no caps).You wouldn’t usually type in something generic like “web design,” but you might. More likely than not, you’ll look for something specific — either based on local results or based on some specific element that you need, like “reasonably priced website design,” or something. Google (or whatever search engine you’re using) will do the work to find relevant search results.

That’s why you want to include longer keywords. The more focused you can be, the more likely you’ll show up when people search for specific words. Long tail keywords are used everywhere. On home pages, landing pages, and even blogs. You can pretty much use a long tail keyword in any place that you’d use a regular one. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about when you should use a long tail keyword vs. when you should use a single keyword, so it’s best to use your judgement and make sure that you only use the keywords when they’re actually relevant. Don’t put “website design wichita” on a page that talks about stationery design.

Let’s look at a real-world example using Moz’s keyword tool:Keyword Explorer - ShoesA look at how Rocketdog ballerina shoes performs on Moz 

Something like “shoes,” get a ton of searches, but there’s also a ton of competition. Something more specific, like “rocketdog ballerina shoes,” has much less difficulty, which means larger opportunity. And we all know what that means: more chances of getting discovered.

So now that we know why it’s better to use long tail keywords, let’s talk a bit about how to find the perfect keywords.

Cool Programs We Like

Moz Keyword Explorer – This is cool because it lets us search for keywords and check out the competition. The goal is to find keywords that have low competition and high search volume. Moz makes it pretty easy to find the best keywords, and it’s pretty much the first step in any keyword plan. 

Answer the Public – Answer the Public lets you see what people are searching for. We like this tool because it lets us get some ideas for keywords that we probably wouldn’t have thought of.

Hittail – Hittail is cool because they analyze your website and provide personalized keywords to match your goals. You can try this one out for free, which is awesome, and we even got some cool keyword ideas for our own site.

Google Trends – This lets you see the trends near you and discover what people are searching for. To get the most out of Google Trends, type in the search term or category and Google Trends will show you the region where people usually search for. Look for related queries. 

Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence – This makes it easy to expand upon your keyword list while integrating it with Excel. We think this is cool because it makes it easy for us to organize and export our lists.

Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand – Wordtracker is pretty much exactly what it sounds like– you can find and track keywords based on performance. Unfortunately, you can only use it for a certain amount of time for free, but it’s great while it lasts. 

What Happens if We Don’t Use Long Tail Keywords

Well, that’s sort of a two-fold question. Nothing really happens. What we mean is, nothing good really happens. Long tail keywords make it easier for people who want to find you to find you. It’s pretty much all it’s used for. It allows someone to look for something specific and find exactly what they need. Without long tail keywords, customers will have to look a little harder to find your products or service. 

Searches are only getting more specific. You can now search for stuff with Siri; you can ask questions and Google will track and respond based on your previous searches. You can link up questions. You can search and find specific answers easier. Search engines are evolving, so it’s a good idea to stay up to date with some important movements. 

Beware of the Overly Specific

Okay, we feel sort of rude right now. We just talked about all the reasons you should use long tail keywords, but we don’t want to frighten you into becoming overly specific. Let us explain. Like we said, long tail keywords are cool. And if you can find the keywords that people are actually searching for, that will help your rankings. But don’t get too weird. If you’re selling textbooks, don’t use seriously specific keywords. Say things like “The 16th Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style for sale.” Don’t say, “Check out this book, which has an orange cover with gold embellishment – The Chicago Manual of Style – full of grammar tips about the Oxford comma, the dreaded comma splice, and anecdotal grammar information for you!” That’s not a phrase. That’s a freaking monstrosity.

When in doubt, use common sense (along with the tools above) to find the best long tail keywords for each page.

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day was founded in the 1800s, and we’re happy to carry on the tradition of celebrating the achievements of American workers…by relaxing! We’ll probably be listening to some new music, catching up with our families (or our favorite TV shows), and hanging with some friends. We will be out of the office on Monday, September 5th, but we’ll be back at it on Tuesday, September 6.

Wit or Grit in Application Development


Application developers are the people who take complex problems and fix them using web-based tools. That’s a fancy way of saying that they make cool stuff online. They can create applications to predict your risk of a heart attack they can create ways for you too look up skylines across the world and they can help you create easy infographics.

We’ve seen this idea discussed before. It’s sort of like the chicken or the egg thing. What’s more important in app development? Wit? Or grit? We’re going to break it down, but we’re talking about web-based apps, which means applications built for the web. There are also native apps, which are built specifically for whatever program they’re on (iPhone/Android, etc.)

Examples of Wit & Grit in Applications

Application development isn’t really like other fields. It’s the type of work where you have to use both intuition and whimsy— where wit and grit come together to create something well…a little bit magical and a little bit freaking awesome and a whole lotta bit functional. When you use a web app and don’t notice you’re using one, that’s a good example of killer application development. When you use a web app and it makes things a bit easier for you, that’s also an awesome example of app development.

We were checking out some apps recently, and we came across Whichbook. Whichbook was started by Opening the Book in order to serve a specific goal. They did something simple, yet endlessly powerful: they saw a need (people weren’t reading enough because they didn’t know what to read) and they created a simple solution (make it possible for people to find books to read based on categories).

And that got us thinking about our own designs. We make a lot of web applications for businesses, and while they aren’t always whimsical or silly, they do mix intuition (wit) with hard work (grit) so that we can create a useable and helpful experience…and cut down on time spent working. Obviously!

We believe that a good application isn’t only about providing a helpful resource to users, it’s about creating delight, and that’s exactly what these web apps do.

Case Study: Wit and Grit in Entermotion’s App Development

When we connected with Ready Roofer, a Kansas-based roofing company, they told us a few key elements of their goals: they needed a web application that would manage their call center; they needed a way to share information securely across departments; and they needed the application to be intuitive enough so they could train warranty specialists on how to use it.

Let’s look at the nerdy details of what they needed:

  • Ready Roofer needed a way for call center employees to click on a PO Request, a Request Estimate, and Warranty Service.
  • Ready Roofer needed a way to push new requests to the next people in line so the process could remain open and clear.
  • Ready Roofer needed a way to keep track of requests on a server and to hide those requests behind a login

Along the way, we discovered some new bits of information that they’d need to incorporate:

  • They’d need a way for the manager to easily access all inquiries by job number
  • They’d need all updated warranty information to appear in a main dashboard so it could be accessed with ease
  • They’d need a way to mitigate pauses or hold ups within the call center process

Our first steps in developing this app were entirely grit based. We looked at the information and we created a wireframe to walk us through the process. Once we created the wireframe, we had a whole new set of questions: would people notified be able to create new job entries? Would the employees involved vary from job to job or would they be the same throughout the process? How would the flow be best organized? Does Ready Roofer have a specific way they envision this all moving? Which processes require multi-step verification?

Like most applications, some info was uncovered over time: we needed a way to make time entries editable from the admin; we needed to implement auth/admin access based on login information; we needed to assign color-specific labels to emails that got sent out; we wanted to make it easy for the founder to skim through calls, requests, and updates easily, so we created a call log that could manage all information easily.

Smashing Magazine talks about “knowing your users,” and, in this case, our users were the clients of our client. We always focus on the end-goal in application development, and we always ask ourselves what we need to do to ensure the application has a smooth user interface.

Sometimes, that doesn’t always go along with what our clients initially envisioned. Sometimes it means going to our clients and saying “hey, I know you didn’t ask for this, but we were thinking of….” Usually it works. That’s wit. 

Grit: What We Applied

Whenever we make apps, we use our experience to develop solutions that make sense. We don’t list too many controls on the screen at once, we don’t provide blank inputs when a dropdown box is needed; and we incorporate controls that make the most sense for that specific issue. Application development is fluid and applications work best when they’re developed fluidly.

Martin Fowler, an author an software development speaker once said, “Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” And we think that’s a good place to leave off for now. Because when you combine wit and grit, and develop apps for humans, you can make everyone’s day a little easier. 

Email Marketing Basics: Technical Details

Learn how to send emails to your subscribers.

If you missed Part I of email marketing basics, check it out today. 

We said it before and we’ll say it again: email marketing isn’t about selling, pushing, or screaming. It’s about connecting with your customers in a real way.  We’re here to break down some misbeliefs about email marketing to help you get the bottom of it. 

How Often 

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. 

– Gertrude Stein, Reflection on the Atomic Bomb

Send too often, and customers will get really bored of you. Don’t send enough, and customers might forget about you. So what’s the deal? Email marketing campaigns are about reminding your customers to make moves exactly when they’re ready.  It’s not about pummeling them with annoying, over-the-top emails, it’s not about sending 10 emails a week, and it’s not about over-saturating their inbox with useless info. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about frequency, so the only true way to tell is to test it. According to Campaign Monitor,

“Test your send frequency on smaller portions of your list to measure impact. Remember, getting more opens and clicks without a change in visits or revenue might not equate to anything tangible so always test before you dive head first” (Campaign Monitor).

If you’re leading customers through a specific process, you can use some math to generate ideas. Or, you can use those programs we explored in Part I to analyze your data. But we think the best way to really figure it out is to use common sense. Would you want daily emails from a company you care about? Probably not. We don’t even like daily emails from our best friends (sorry, James!), so keep your cool and keep it cool.

Start low. Try for an email a month and see how it goes. If your customers are responding, you can increase that number and see what happens. If people are unsubscribing or not opening your emails, then you should refocus by looking at tone, length, and finally frequency. 

A Plan of Attack

According to HubSpot, you should create a hypothesis first, segment your subscribers, figure out which test metrics you want to use, create your emails, and then, after you send them out, analyze the data against your hypothesis. 

Remember that some bits of info, like open rates, aren’t really helpful because they are only considered “opened” if the images involved in the email are downloaded, and many people use image-blocking email features, so this is one metric that you can forget about that one entirely. Focus instead on more important data like conversion rate or click-through rate. 

How Much

Deciding how much text to use in promotional emails is pretty specific. HubSpot suggests you should consider the following questions:

  • Who are you sending to?
  • What are you talking about?
  • What kind of email is it?

According to The Atlantic and Boomerang, an email of 50-125 words is best. 

Like everything else in this process, it’s best to try it out and see what happens. One thing isn’t going to work for every single company, so it’s important to see what works for you and your audience. Try split-testing your emails to track customer engagement. No one’s clicking on longer emails? Chop your text in half. Check again. Is everyone responding to less text and more high-quality images? Whatever you notice, try to replicate it and check it out again later on. 

What Tone

Once you have an idea for what length you want to hit, you can start thinking about how you want to say it. Before you decide on a tone, you’ll want to consider a few questions:

  •  Who is your audience?
  • What’s your brand’s voice?
  • What’s the point of the email?
  • What type of action do you want subscribers to take?

No matter what tone you decide on, make sure you’re writing to a wide audience. No one wants to sit through a bunch of jargon and the latest version of the dictionary.

Boomerang analyzed the data and they’ve come up with some interesting email marketing tricks to keep in mind.

  • Write for a 3rd grader
  • Write with emotion
  • Keep headlines short (3-4 words)
  • Ask questions (1-3 tops)
  • Be subjective (facts are boring. Spice it up!) 

Content = Form + Function

Once you know what you want your customers to do, you can incorporate a tone that your customers will get. Selling high-fashion jewelry? A funny tone probably won’t work. Writing an informational article? Leave out the GIFs.

You know your company and your customers best, so make sure you follow brand guidelines, best practices, and use a tone that will excite your customers. Oh, and Boomerang also suggests that emails received in the morning or at lunch are more effective, so do that! Check out some examples below, and then hit the drawing board.


Email Marketing Examples

Artifact Uprising – Simple, image-based emails to generate sales.


Artifact Uprising Email Marketing Example

General Assembly – Informative email campaign to spread awareness of events and bolster following.

General Assembly - Email Marketing Example

 Uber – An event-focused email to inform customers of possible delays, changes, and event information.

Uber - Example of Informative Email Campaign

As you can see, the tone, length, and information in these emails is dependent upon very specific goals. If you know who your audience is, what you’re selling, and what your end goal is, you’ll have a good chance of creating visually appealing and compelling email marketing campaigns.

Don’t know where to start? Go back to Part I, where we explore email marketing basics including generating email lists, collecting emails, and email marketing applications.