How to throw an Ultimate Backyard Barbecue Party for your friends and loved ones!!!

Host an Ultimate Backyard Barbecue Party

Enjoy the summer and have fun with friends, and fill up on food and drinks in your backyard. Plan a backyard party where you can soak up the sun, enjoy food and drinks. Throw an Ultimate barbecue Party for your friends and loved ones.

Backyard barbecue grill

Hosting a Backyard Barbecue Party

A backyard Barbecue is the perfect way to bring friends and family together for a warm-weather gathering. A combination of relaxation, food, and fun is the perfect recipe for an enjoyable backyard experience. Hosting a backyard bbq party based on a different theme can be fun and entertaining for guests. With elements such as comfortable patio furniture and entertaining yard games, you can turn your backyard BBQ from just a meal with friends into a real party.

Comfortable patio furniture for backyard barbecue party

Barbecue party allows you the freedom to invite more people than you could normally fit around your dining room table. Designate a few seating areas around the yard. Provide a few options and encourage people to choose their own spot to mingle, that’s what a BBQ is all about!

If you are throwing your BBQ party in an outdoor kitchen setting, outdoor bar stools are great for providing additional seating. Benches are also really practical at outdoor parties. That’s because there’s plenty of space out there and it’s easy for everyone to move around and to get to their spot at the table without having to disturb the others.

The easiest option is to press dining chairs into service, along with any drum stools or poufs. If you’re keeping things casual, you can spread pretty quilts on the ground and let people gather picnic-style. Renting can be another surprisingly cheap way to go.

Barbecue decoration

Barbecue decoration can be based on season, holiday or party theme. Choose a theme for special occasions, like a birthday, or to break the ice and put everyone in a festive mood. Proper lighting in outdoors is important. You don’t want guests to be in dark. Decorate with Christmas lights to make it feel homely and create a magical atmosphere.

Test out your Barbecue grill well in advance.  Make sure it’s clean and in working order to prevent a last minute cooking dilemma. When the party starts, you want to be sure the grill, gear and food are all working together and ready for the party.

A simple BBQ tool set will provide everything you need to flip burgers, grill vegetables, and serve up tasty goodies to your guests. The more you prepare in advance, the less time you’ll spend running around during the party and missing opportunities to social with your guests.  A party should be about everyone enjoying themselves, include the host.

Give guests something to mingle over by setting up a self-serve drink table or refreshment station. For drinks, use a mini fridge or beverage cooler stocked with ice to keep them chilled and easy to access. Beer is always a common drink in barbecue party but Mojitos spiked with white rum and served over ice are fresh, zesty and the perfect cocktail centrepiece for any garden party.

Another great option is wine, it’s perfect for pairing with food and there’s something to make everyone happy. Cut and prep fresh fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge until guests arrive. Burgers and dogs are so obvious. Mix it up with chicken, meat kebabs. For veggies, try grilled corn and roasted potato nuggets. Everyone loves desserts. Ice-cream, cookies or cake makes an excellent dessert.

Backyard Fire Pit

A backyard fire pit is ideal, so if you have the space, go for it. Use an established pit or ring for safety and some basic concrete pavers underneath the pit if you’re setting it on something flammable. If you don’t have one, you can use a kettle grill to build a small, safe wood fire, or you can always make one.

Fire pit with s’mores is simple and a huge hit for any barbecue party. For those who prefer to relax and socialise, light up a fire pit and set out ingredients for s’mores. Safe place to sit next to fire pit and enjoying music, drinks and food is the best way to do a backyard bbq party.

Firepit for barbecue

Recreational Activities

After everyone has finished eating, keep the party going with some backyard recreation. Set up fun backyard games with a bocce ball set or bean bag toss. If you have a pool, liven things up with water games like pool volleyball or cannonball contests, or simply throw in some pool floats for lounging. Because every activity is better with music, use outdoor speakers to play your favourite tunes.

Portable wireless speakers let you bring music to any part of the yard and control them from a smartphone. Set the volume to be loud enough that folks can hear it and recognise the songs the already know, but not loud enough that anyone has to speak up to overcome it. Waterproof Bluetooth speakers are perfect poolside options that won’t mind getting splashed.

So the grown-ups can kick back with the drinks, have some diversions for the kids. Use plenty of blowing bubbles, perhaps a sprinkler or a Slip ’n Slide, and beach balls. You can also buy a few inexpensive disposable cameras and let kids serve as official event photographers. Let the kids make the season’s hottest accessory and perfect for keeping little hands busy.

Go for the outdoor movie. It’s reminiscent of a trip to the drive-in, or a movies in the park on a picnic blanket. Use the projector and screen combo to do something interactive. Play some video games. It’s a great way to get folks that don’t know each other to connect. If you choose the game wisely, create an opportunity for anyone to participate.

After the Barbecue wrap up any leftover perishable food right away and store them in the fridge. If there’s enough to go around, give some leftovers to your guests to take home. After all the food preparation, include a bit of sampling along the way. Have others enjoy the menu for a few days after the event instead of having them in refrigerator to potentially go to waste. Throw away the trash and clean and disinfect tables and chairs. Hang on to any unused utensils and save them for your next remarkable backyard barbecue.

Questions? Contact us.

Successful mental health app must include deep links

deep linking, mental health app

Why create a mental health app?

I decided to write this article on why I became interested in creating my own mental health app and my journey on what it entails to have a successful app including the concept of mobile app deep linking. As a mental health therapist for the past 15 years, I have mastered and trained with some of the best clinicians in behavioral health.
I always look for additional  ways to educate my clients in order to create change  by using  different mediums such as art therapy, music or sandtray therapy . Then one day a few years ago,  I came across an app that teaches how to decrease anxiety, or “self-help anxiety management”. I thought that it was an amazing idea and started to use it right away.  I then realized that this app has its drawbacks.
I had difficulty accessing  the coping skill without going first to the homepage then finding the link to the coping skill then clicking on it.  It was time consuming and frustrating; especially when the internet is down or working really slow.

Understanding Deep Links

I was venting to my 14 years old daughter about this issue, she responded that this app is missing deep app linking.  I suddenly became aware of my lack of knowledge and old age.   You may be wondering what is deep linking and why does it matter? The best way I can explain it that it provides the ability for any type of user to  share a link directly to the product bypassing its homepage.

Problems related to not having deep links

Let’s say you have a website that provides all of your basic information but also offer specific therapeutic skills, your client or user could click on the skill and it will directly lead them to that exact spot of your website.For some reason, I identified mobile app deep linking with the image of Spiral Jetty, one singular link can take you deep into the center of the Jetty. Here is a great article to read for additional information; deep linking article.

Limitations with deep links

Another issue arose such as only being able to use this app on an I phone or provide IOS app deep linking.  Thus, I could not suggest this app for clients who had an android phone or only have android app deep linking capabilities. I began searching for additional apps or tools to provide to my clients. It became confusing and frustrating to search for various apps that allow both deep linking android app and app deep linking IOS. I  quickly realized that these apps had issues and was not always easy to use; which again can cause frustrations for my clients.

An idea was formed

I decided to create my own app by soliciting my 14 years old daughter as my partner in order to create both google app deep linking and deep linking website to app. I already had my own website about my practice. Why is this a brilliant idea? It sets me apart from other mental health therapists by creating a competitive advantage. As you may know ,we tend to work with very impatient clients who want results right away, if you direct them to your website and they cannot find your skill immediately, it will cause more pain for them  and  you may possibly lose this client due to their frustration and impatience.  
Another possibility is that they will become distrustful of you and will most likely not use the skill. The reality is that the majority of clients hate doing homework or actually make the necessary changes in their lives.  In order to simplify this process and increase the likelihood of clients using the counseling tools,  I would highly recommend creating a self-help app that connects to your website and ensuring that you have the ability to have deep linking mobile app set up. More importantly, there is an increased number of people who are getting more comfortable in using apps. It is essential now to have therapy apps established with your business website.  It is also getting easier and more effective to use apps, thanks to Google.

In 2012, Google + was able to create a platform that led IOS and Android apps to be able to share and open each other deep links.  This tool will then allow any type of user to share links to their friends without worrying if they have the IOS or Android apps.  Here is another great article on google platform and deep linking. This is great news for anyone interested in creating their own mental health therapy apps. Here are some examples of popular interest amongst our clients and apps users based on a recent survey delivered at my outpatient clinic: online therapy free, therapy online, meditation apps for anxiety, mental health facts, mental illness or online advice.

As mental health therapists in private practice, you must set yourself apart from the thousands of other therapists. By creating your own app that is linked with your website, it does set you apart and again gives you that competitive edge. Before embarking on the creation of your own app, ensure that your mobile app deep links are working effectively! Just think of the Spiral jetty! Or your app will miserably fail.

The importance of SEO Planning

A guide to SEO Planning

Planning

To make a strong SEO strategy it takes a lot of effort. One of the most important aspects of SEO is SEO Planning.  Planning ensures you have an effective method of reaching your target audience. It also influences the best web traffic. Companies would be wise to develop a strong game plan and road map for their website development. Moz.com outlines an 8 step process for proper planning that will help guide companies on who are trying to improve their web presence.

Moz.com

The Moz.com article explains the first and perhaps the most important step in SEO strategy development.  The step is  defining your target audience.  Developers and SEO teams need to know this is a SEO marketing plan. When they know they will treat it as important as other marketing plans.  When a marketer is creating content it is imperative they understand their target market. Furthermore, they should develop content that applies, it is not any different for a SEO content developer.  Many SEO experts would agree the next step in a successful plan is to perform targeted keyword discovery.

Keyword Discovery

Website optimization starts with a strong keyword discovery.  In this discovery process one can utilize Keyword planners to ensure their keywords fit their target audience. Doing so can  truly optimize website promotion.   Taking full advantage of their website keywords developers can utilize a strong plan. This plan will attract their target audience.  Bringing in the right audience will show improvement in search engine rankings.  The 8 step process for SEO strategy is a great guide for understanding a basic frame work for getting the most out of an SEO plan.   One would be wise to utilize multiple avenues to uncover the best process for developing SEO strategy.

Ultimate SEO planning Checklist

One great piece of advice the Content Marketing Institute laid out in The Ultimate SEO Checklist is that SEO and Content marketing partners need to see each other as a team not as competitors.  When developing and creating SEO strategy and SEO plans the partnership of the content marketers is essential.  If in the SEO planning a company doesn’t include the SEO team or Content Marketers they risk an unified message. Not having a unified message can fail to to capture target audiences.   Also they could miss out on perfecting their keyword optimization.  Considering the target audience and how to use keyword optimization is vital to driving web traffic.   Once the teams are working together on the SEO Plan it is time to optimize content.

Target Audiences

Optimizing content or optimizing keywords is a never ending battle and is explained by Kevin Cain in “How to Optimize Content When you Don’t Know Jack About SEO”.  Target Audiences and Keywords are moving targets.  It takes never ending SEO planning and auditing. This ensures a SEO team is producing relevant content.   Cain had the following to say about optimizing content through keyword optimization.

“At its most basic, SEO is about tinkering with your content to make it attractive to search engines. One way of doing this is by selecting the right keyword… and then using it throughout what you write.”

SEO Planning
SEO Planning

In short, SEO planning is never ending but a crucial aspect of content marketing. If a company is developing content properly they will take full advantage of keyword planning.  Additionally companies will ensure those keywords attract their target audience.  Success all comes down to SEO planning and sticking to the plan.

SEO planning issues can be summed up in a great phrase from SEOWorks.com, are you failing to plan or planning to fail?  This question helps with introspection for any company struggling with SEO planning.  Many companies think they are doing a great job with SEO planning, but it may not be the case.  Hiring a developer is not always the answer.

Can you trust your developers?

SEO developers can easily miss important issues when trying to implement an SEO plan.  Not being able to fully trust a website developer means  Danger. Companies need to know simple things to look for when auditing their website’s optimization. When Performing website audits to ensure the SEO planning is working there are tools companies may utilize. These tools give a quick view of website optimization.  One tool developers may find useful when SEO planning could be SEOquake.  SEOquake  gives quick views of website analysis, most importantly it shows weaknesses that need to be addressed. Finding the right tool can assist any SEO planning team to identify mistakes and content development errors.

SEOworks.com offers seven steps to effectively executing SEO planning strategy.  The first step they recommend in SEO planning is to have a strong initial analysis.  Additionally, one can find the other steps in the link provided.

 SEO planning consultants and Keyword Optimization:

“During an analysis… the consultant can see firsthand the strengths and weaknesses of the current technical infrastructure… What keywords have been targeted previously, the on-page content, the link building profile and competitor analysis.”

There are numerous things to look for in SEO planning.  The key is the company has to take the time to look.  SEO planning is a wise investment. In time marketing teams will come to realize this fact.

The following is about the second step of the SEO planning recommendations from SEOworks.com. It says that developers and SEO planning teams need to give their recommendation on improvement.  These recommendations suggest opportunities for improvement, for instance keyword optimization, and how to target new traffic.

SEO planning never stops

After receiving the recommendations from the developers the SEO planning team should improve keywords and implement changes on the site.  The changes implemented will be bench marked if a strong SEO plan is in place. The SEO planning team is the team to benchmarks their starting position. Bench-marking allows the team to  track their Progress. Bench-marking shows how well the changes have been impacting site traffic.  Lastly, SEO planning teams need to continually review their sites. Constant auditing ensures readiness to adapt. Teams are adapting to the ever changing demand of the consumers.  The development of an SEO plan does not mean the hard work is complete.  What this means is Development of plans indicates SEO planners are on the right track.

Did I mention, SEO never ends?

SEO planning is a never ending battle, Never neglected it!  The SEO planning team and the content marketing team Are responsible for plan fulfillment. When companies stays focused on their SEO plan they will potentially to see increase in web visibility and bottom line.

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What is Content Marketing?

 The Rundown

So you’ve got the basics of SEO down, you know all about keywords, PPC, organic search, and you may even be proficient in google AdWords. But you still aren’t getting the results you want to see with traffic on your site. While all of these aspects are important parts of SEO and online marketing, for best results it all needs to come together in what we call effective content marketing. Content marketing, sometimes referred to as inbound marketing is essentially the act of creating strong content on your site, then sharing it effectively to gain traffic to your site.

Not to be confused with digital marketing or social media marketing, it goes beyond one aspect of online presence. Content marketing helps build your online presence, personality, and brand online. All of this needs to be defined in an effective content marketing strategy, one aspect of a content marketing plan

The Details of Content Marketing

You may be thinking at this point that this is just a rehash of an online marketing or SEO plan. It’s not. Without a strong content strategy you may as well be posting your company in the yellow pages, because about the same amount of people will see it. There are entire content agencies dedicated to content advertising and creation. Combining all marketing, PR, and content together should be done to create a stronger presence and more organized strategy yes, but they are not one in the same. An article defining content marketing published on Forbes states content marketing is making your information valuable, something that people want to seek out. Think of the websites that look like they were a high school tech project, with no links, no menus, no images, etc. Those are bad examples of content marketing. Just creating a site is not enough in today’s competitive world to create an online presence. In order to make your information, and thereby your company valuable, you must have a strong content marketing platform.

The Why

Content Marketing Strategy
Content Marketing Tips

This brings us to the ultimate topic then, what is content marketing. We know the philosophy behind it now, but what does it consist of? There are more types than possible to count, which is great when working on content curation, but can be difficult to get the ball rolling. Think of it as a way to network online, what you do to network yourself in person, is what you can do to network your company online. Things like guest posts on other’s blogs, having people-preferably experts or someone related to your brand-post on your website, plug-ins, links, podcasts, are all good examples of content marketing. You are essentially looking for anything that gives your audience something to seek. Creating a podcast, or a video, or even a social media post are all effective content marketing.

The Who

Marketing social aspects of your brand is key in creating a relationship with your audience. Depending on your brand personality there are ways to do this. Let’s say for example you are trying to reach an audience of 15 year old outdoor enthusiasts. The best way to reach them is not going to be through reviews of outdoor activities nearby, it’s going to be through videos on Instagram and Facebook, memes or pictures of someone doing something entertaining in relation to the-outdoors. The key in these situations is to make sure it is also relevant to your company and brand. A strong example of content marketing can be found here, from American Express.  I know, American Express of all places? They have created a connection with their customer through this open forum. This has allowed them to reach their customer in a way that makes the customer come to them. This is what content marketing is all about.

The How

Once the lightbulb has gone off about what is content marketing, let’s discuss the how of content marketing. As previously mentioned it is again all about strategy. You can’t just start creating videos, memes, and posting on everyone’s sights, that looks desperate and disorganized. As with all strategy, the approach must answer what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Are you wanting to gain user traffic, educate those on your site about who you are, or something else entirely? The created content must geared in one general direction. The strategy can include multiple types of content marketing, in fact it should, but it must all have the same theme. This Marketing strategy should above all speak to your audience.

Content marketing is all about being creative with what you have. It allows you to really think outside the box and help develop a strong brand personality. Some ways to effectively accomplish this are with competitive analysis-where are you able to place yourself in the market that will net you the most gain. Social media research-what is already being published in your market and how can you capitalize. And as always with SEO and online marketing, keyword research and search engine search. It is imperative not to forget those are always at the forefront of effective online marketing.

It is also important to remember you know your company. Create a team to brainstorm and develop ideas of how they would want to be told about your company. Finding experts in the field and utilizing them as assets is key, and sometimes that is you. And finally, measuring engagement. All of this will be for naught if you have no way to track and determine customer engagement. Placing sharing buttons on content, curating and developing links to your site, comments in forums, are all ways to measure engagement.

The End

Where does this leave you? By now you should understand what content marketing is, and have at least a fuzzy idea of how to generate it on your site. Once you spent time developing a strategy you will be able to implement this onto your site(s). If this is to be done effectively it must be done aggressively, the company is announcing who they are, make it count. This is going to be an ever changing, dynamic part of your business. It is important to remember this is not a one-time implementation. Strategic review of what is working and what is not is important. Create a culture that is always looking for new ideas and parts of your business that your consumer would find important. Remember, always think like your consumer! If you can effectively execute this aspect of business it will open many doors for your company.