Serving Oakville, Burlington, and Milton

Hwy52 Digital's Blog Page

Updates from Hwy52 Digital as well as important industry information to help your digital marketing effort.

Covid-19 Update


I hope everyone is keeping safe and taking the recommended steps to stay healthy during this Covid-19 outbreak.

I want to let you know that we have heard from our major suppliers and they have told us that they are committed to doing what is necessary to keep their employees safe while at the same time maintaining the services that are so important to our technology stack.

Due to the nature of our work, our ability to provide you with services has not been impacted at this point. We want you to know we are ready to work with you, and to support you through this very disruptive period.

One of the keys to managing through this will be to stay closer than ever to your customers. Your important customer communications can be made via one or more channels including notices on your website, bulk email, social media, video chat or direct mail. Please let us know as soon as possible how we can assist with your important messaging.

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How to Write a Press Release for Beginners

Over the years we have been called upon to write press releases as part of our customers digital marketing strategies. Although the reasons for sending out press releases may have changed, the basics of how to write a press release has not. So, in the spirt of sharing, here is some some information you might find useful on how to write an effective press release for beginners.

First of all, let's get straight what a press release is and is not. A press release is a short article written in a factual way. It is not a sales letter or an advertisement. Its main purpose is to promote your product, company, or event to the media in order to gain publicity. A well written press release can make a reporter's job easier by providing the basics for a news story, but a poorly written one will be discarded.

The most important thing to remember about a press release is that it must be "newsworthy". Newsworthy basically means something that is interesting enough to be, well, news!  The five main criteria used to determine whether an item is newsworthy are its timeliness (is it current?), significance, location (how local is it?), prominence, and human interest value. For example, a men's clothing store giving Tie-tying tips to dads for Father's day is news (timeliness, human interest), but having a Father's Day sale is not. Remember, it has to be interesting to those in the media and to your audience, not just to you.

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About Us / Our Services

About Us / Our Services

For many small business owners, sorting out fact from fiction regarding how to use the internet to grow their business can be a real challenge. There is an overabundance of information on the topic and answers are often hard to come by or overly technical. Does internet marketing really work? Where do I host my website? What about security? What is SEO? How does it all work anyway?

At Hwy52 Digital we have been helping businesses in Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and throughout Ontario get found online and stay ahead of the competition since 2008. Whether you have a new business or want to grow an existing business, we provide the essential services you need to create and maintain a highly effective web presence.

With your input Hwy52 Digital will create a great looking website for your business, and when you are ready, a custom digital marketing campaign to target potential customers on both the web and social media. We also provide website maintenance and updates, regular backups, as well as web hosting and email setup. The experts at Hwy52 Digital will manage the entire process and take care of all the technical details so you can focus on what you do best.

Website Development & Hosting

Today's websites are best designed using an approach known as responsive web design (RWD). RWD is a term that refers to websites that can be viewed optimally across a range of devices - mobile phone, tablet, desktop etc. We design and build "responsive" websites for many types of small businesses and can also provide graphic design and copywriting services if needed. Of course, we also provide hosting services for your website on our state-of-the-art servers that are all located in Canada.

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We are now Hwy52 Digital!

We are now Hwy52 Digital!

Earlier this month we changed our name to Hwy52 Digital. We made this change to more accurately position our business within the category of "Digital Marketing Agency".

Digital marketing is sometimes referred to as web marketing, online marketing or internet marketing. It is really the umbrella term that we feel best fits the range of services we have been providing that include: web development, social media management, pay per click management (AdWords, Facebook etc) and SEO services.

Just our name has changed. Our focus continues to be in providing small to medium sized "local" businesses a range of affordable digital solutions that get measurable results. Please call me if you have any questions.

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How to Generate SSH Keys & Connect to your VPS with PuTTY

This is a a bit (ok more than a bit) geeky but I wanted to share my notes on how to SSH to a remote server using PuTTY and public key authentication. People seem to have a lot of trouble with this - mostly with the dredded "server refused our key" error. There are several ways to set up PuTTY to use public key authentication. The method below has worked successfully for me many times -  mostly connecting to our CentOS VPS. I am sharing with you assuming you already have some basic Linux command line knowledge, you know what PuTTY is and that you understand you are using these instructions at your own risk.

  • ssh to server via PuTTY using your user name and password. The user name should be the same user you will be logging in as via PuTTY. I do not recommend using root. You should be in your home directory if not :
    cd ~
  • mkdir ~/.ssh
    chmod 700 ~/.ssh
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In addition to providing web hosting services we also provide email hosting services - both as part of our web hosting packages and as a stand alone service.

Setting up and managing an email client can be a challenge, especially as more and more customers need to check their email on multiple devices (mobile, tablet, desktop etc.). One area of confusion I often see involving email configuration has to do with what email retrieval connection protocol to use - POP or IMAP.

There is no single answer as to whether you should configure your mail client to connect using POP or IMAP. Everyone works differently and there is no single solution that will work for everyone. This post is not meant to be a comprehensive tutorial on internet email but is written as an introduction to the POP and IMAP protocols with the goal of helping you to better understand and configure your email across multiple mail clients.

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Notes from Google Engage Toronto - Why Search Matters

I attended an event in Toronto recently that was hosted by Google Canada to kick start the recently launched "Google Engage for Agencies" program. The Engage for Agencies program is new and its purpose is to provide training and support for agencies (like us) that help businesses with their AdWords efforts.

The event was first class and featured a keynote presentation by Chris O'Neil, director of Google Canada, as well as presentations, training and Q & A by other "Googlers" from the AdWords division.

Here is some information from the event you might find interesting.

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What Are Backlinks and Why Do I Need Them?

If you have been learning about Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you may have come across the term "Backlink". For those of you who have not, you may be wondering what exactly is a backlink, anyway, and why do you need them?

A Backlink, also known as an inbound link, is simply a link from another website to yours. Backlinks are important for SEO because search engines like Google and Bing use them to help rank websites in their search results. Backlinks are something like votes from the web - the more "votes" (backlinks) a site or page has, the more authority it is considered to have by the search engines. There are many other factors that are used, but backlinks are one of the most important. Basically, if you want to show up high in the search results, it is good to have a lot of backlinks.

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RSS Explained

For those of you unfamiliar with RSS you no doubt will have seen the standard RSS button RSS Icon on web sites and wondered what is was. RSS is essentially an internet web feed format designed to share web content such as blogs, news, audio, video and a variety of other on-line content. RSS mostly stands for "Really Simple Syndication" but is sometimes referred to as "Rich Site Summary". In this article I would like to take a closer look at RSS, what it does, and how it can help your business.

The typical internet user may have several sites or more that they frequent for their content. They may visit Yahoo News, CNN and The Wall Street Journal for current events. They may also visit several entertainment or personal interest sites like PGA.COM or MLB.COM in addition to trade related sites like This ad hock method of information retrieval is very inefficient and can be quite time consuming.

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Easy Way to Get Your Business Noticed on the Web

If you have a small business, and haven't signed up at Google's Local Business Center* yet, you really need to do it! Local search has become the hot search space, and if you ever want to get noticed in Google's "7-Pack" (The 7 business listings that appear beside the map at the top of a search results page), then you need to get started. You can sign up even if you don't have a web site!

You can find it through Google Maps (, just follow the link that says "Put your business on Google Maps". This will take you to the Local Business Center. If you already have a Google Account, just sign in with your email and password, or you can use your Adwords login and password. If not, sign up for a new account with Google.

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Top 10 Dot CA Business Domain Name Sales

Here are some of the top selling .ca business-oriented domain names of the past year, including the top two which sold in January of 2010:

  • - $34,000 USD
  • - $25,000 USD
  • - $30,000 CAD
  • - $29,000 CAD
  • - $19,950 USD
  • - $18,900 USD
  • - $14,200 USD
  • - $8,000 USD
  • - $8,000 CAD
  • - $8,000 CAD
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Do You Have an SEO Strategy?

Every day in North America more individuals than you may realize use the major internet search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) to search for products and services that you sell and provide. Chances are that if you are not on the first or second search results page for your keywords or phrases you are not going to get that call.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a term that refers to the art and science of getting people to find your website on the internet. It's a bit of a misnomer actually as you do not "optimize" the search engines but rather you optimize your web site to be found and to rank high on the search engines.

I can say from my own observation that SEO is a science that it not fully exploited in the majority of businesses. Most likely do not have an SEO strategy and have not given this subject the priority it deserves. Consequently, there is a real opportunity for businesses that develop appropriate strategies to lead in this area.

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What's in a (Canadian Domain) Name?

Like many of you I no longer use the yellow pages to look for products and services but instead rely on the major search engines Google, Bing and Yahoo. When I need a product or service for either personal or business use I simply enter the keyword or phrase in to my favourite search engine and based on the search results I will decide how to proceed. Getting your business to rank high on natural search results pages is important but just as important is whether a potential customer will click through to your site or to your competitors site.

There are many reasons why people choose one business over another when both rank high on search engines but I want to discuss only one for now  - your domain name type.

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