We’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with the launch of the redesigned US-Ireland Alliance website. The US-Ireland Alliance is a vibrant organization dedicated to strengthening connections between the United States and Ireland.

The site, like the Alliance itself, shatters the quaint, stereotypical view of Ireland (think shamrocks and leprechauns) and reveals the country’s dynamic arts, business, and political spheres. The new site highlights the Alliance’s work to build strong relationships between American and Irish luminaries, and to further the relationship between the two countries through programs like the esteemed George J. Mitchell Scholarship.

In addition to a new look, the site also got a technical overhaul thanks to Zeus, CDG’s content management system CMS. The new CMS allows the team at the US-Ireland Alliance more ease and flexibility in updating and maintaining their site’s rapidly changing and time-sensitive content. 

To ensure that the new site attracts the wide audience it deserves, CDG also executed a comprehensive search engine optimization (SEO) process and implemented a social media strategy to better engage users across Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and other channels.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, check out the US-Ireland Alliance website and find out how much the organization has to offer. Better yet, become a member! Even if you’re not Irish by blood, you can be Irish by association, right?

 And if you need a little magic worked on your site, contact CDG.

CDG Interactive's Zeus Content Management system's simple, user-friendly interface makes it easy to add or remove content, modify navigation, upload files, format copy, and more Raise your hand if you have a love-hate relationship with content management systems! For mid-sized companies especially, choosing a CMS can make you feel like Goldilocks; too complex, too simple, not flexible enough, too flexible, etc.

CDG decided there had to be a better way. Recently, we introduced Zeus CMS, a content management system that gives you the control, flexibility, and functionality you need.

To date, Zeus has been successfully deployed for multi-national companies like Mondial Assistance as well as mid-sized organizations. What makes Zeus so appealing? Here are a few highlights:

Continue reading "Seize the Power! Meet Zeus Content Management System" »

Lights, Camera, Matthew!

CDG's Creative Director Matthew Snyder appeared on News Channel 8 in Washington, DC to talk about that retail phenomenon we all know and love, Cyber Monday. Among the topics Matthew touched on was the growing role of social media during the frenzied holiday shopping season. As we often advise clients at CDG, social media can be a great way to attract consumers and gain their loyalty. But to be truly effective, you need to have a plan.

Fortunately, CDG is launching a new group exclusively for social media marketers. PowerUp Social will help you get the most out of social media during the holiday season and beyond. Join the beta group today and start whipping your social media strategy into shape.

In the meantime, check out the clip above to see Matthew's entire Cyber Monday interview.

Google - not just for searching anymore

Google sites account for 6.4% of all global internet trafic according to Arbor Networks.  Most interestingly, traffic to Google sites is growing considerably faster than overall Internet volume - largely due to YouTube's growth.

Most engaged audience

According to the latest numbers from comScore, Russians are the most involved in social networks compared to other nationalities. In August, 74.5% of Russian internet users visited at least one social networking site. I was in Russia in August and every cafe and restaurant (even nice ones) offers free WiFi which helps considerably.

Farewell Sony Walkman

We knew this day would come, but now that it's here... Sony has ceased production of the Walkman - the portable cassette player that first let us know that we wanted to be plugged into music as we walked around. Now what will I do with that Miami Vice soundtrack cassette?

Keeping up with new technology

The Washington Post asks: How much social networking is enough? When do you say "I'm good with what I'm doing."

Most annoying smartphone habits

CNN lists the most annoying smartphone habits. Of other people of course... we never do any of these ourselves. Really.

Google 411

If you've been using the free Google 411 (1-800-GOOG-411) service, you'll have to get used to one of the newer options because Google is shutting it down as of November 12. You can download the Google App for your smartphone or send a text message with the name and location of the business to 466453 ("GOOGLE") to receive a text message back with the phone number.

Social search

Bing & Facebook - together at last?  Now when you search for something on Bing you'll see your friends' faces next to web pages they've liked. Controls and opt out options are under Instant Personalization.

Budget time

Now is the time that everyone starts talking budgets for next year. If you need to defend your marketing budget, take a book at TopRank's post on how to keep the CEO on track with your marketing budget for next year.

Where's your video?

YouTube remains the number 1 online video destination according to the latest report from comScore. The new battle is for number 2. In September, Yahoo captured the number 2 spot from Facebook, while Microsoft jumped 3 spots to come in 4th with 45.5 million viewers.

To increase circulation

Even the New York Times knows that to increase your circulation you run cat pictures.

We’ve got an exciting project in the works at CDG; one that took some of us (though, sadly, not yours truly) all the way to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

Our creative department is working with an Apple engineering team to create an iAd for a major US company. (I’d be more specific, but then I’d have to kill you.) President Scott Adams, Creative Director Matthew Snyder, Art Director Jeff Walter, and Project Manager Kelly McNamara spent much of last week meeting with the Apple team and working on the iAd development.

As you may know, the iAd is a new kid on the iPhone OS 4 block, and it represents an innovative new approach to virtual advertising. When Steve Jobs introduced the iAd back in the spring, he said Apple is striving to “change the quality of advertising” on the iPhone. Specifically, iAds are designed to merge the interactivity of online advertising with the emotion of television/video advertising.

It’s a tall order, but it’s also an amazing opportunity for advertisers. Nike, Disney, and the NFL are a few of the big dogs who have tried to capitalize on the iAd platform, and now we’re up to bat.

We can’t get into too many specifics about our iAd yet (see CIA-like disclaimer above), but once it’s live, you’ll be the first to know.

In the meantime, we’ll tide you over with a few "Inside Apple" photos shot by Scott Adams.

What must a brand do?

Branding Strategy Insider gives us a Top 10 list for what brands must do to be successful.

Are you ready?

Top Rank offers a check list to help you evaluate the social media readiness of your company and leadership.

What's new?

Having trouble keeping up with the latest and greatest from Google? Check out Google New. You can sort by product or area of interest or see everything that the Google developers have been rolling out.

How did you want to pay for that?

Facebook hopes that their new virtual payment system - Credits - will become an option as common as PayPal. (Didn't Star Trek used to talk about credits?)

The impossible dream

One app to rule them all? That's the dream of a European project that would allow an application to work on any platform - a web-ready television, vehicle, or mobile device.

This is a guest post by CDG's UI Developer, Ivan Wilson.

It's back-to-school time, so here’s a pop quiz on today’s new buzz word: HTML5.

  1. What is it?
  2. Should I care?
  3. Should I worry?

Answers: 1) see below, 2) yes, 3) not yet but soon enough

So, now that you’ve taken the quiz, may I suggest a textbook? Specifically, HTML5 for Web Designers by Jeremy Keith.

Now, I’ve known about HTML5 for a while (and some of the preliminary work around it). But when I heard about this book, I was curious how much more information could I gleam from its pages about HTML5. Judging by the title, I thought that it would be just an introductory text for web designers (not necessarily for experienced web developers).

But, I took a chance. I ordered a copy and waited. And the package arrived.

And when I first opened the box and held the book, the first thing that popped into my head was "Wow, this is a pamphlet!"

OK, not a pamphlet but a brief, concise book (under 100 pages).

However, from the very first page, it was evident that conciseness is the intent of the author. What Jeremy Keith does, with good effect, is to give the reader a brief synposis about HTML5, bypassing W3C language. (Alert: W3C documents are so precise, they could turn a cake recipe into a DVD instruction manual.)

Of course, he starts off by answering what HTML5 is and is not--not a new version, but a much-needed upgrade for building future web applications. This means it not only adds/removes features, but also adds more semantic meanings attached to the current set of tags (important for Internet devices like mobile phone or screen readers.)

For the remainder of the book, Keith highlights some important features and gives bits of advice for the newly introduced. The best thing is that he engages the reader enough to encourage further study in HTML5, which is not easy. This book could have easily become just another five pound dictionary. Of course, he remarks that there are others more experienced with this and points to some online resources. (As I am writing this, a number of new HTML5 books have popped up in the stores.)

In the end, the author does what he planned out to do – give a nice gentle push in the right direction towards HTML5.

Now, if you don’t mind. I have a list of HTML5 books to read.

Google Earth strikes again

A very well preserved impact crater is found in the remote Egyptian desert. The team initially spotted the crater on photos taken by Google Earth. This follows on other scientific discoveries including dinosaur fields and lost cities in the Amazon.

Paying for social media

How many of us would pay for Twitter? Survey says none apparently. Entrepreneurs beware - users don't want to pay for what they are used to getting for free.

A paperless world?

On the heels of the news that Amazon is now selling more ebooks than physical books, Amazon introduces a new, sleeker Kindle. The WiFi only version is $139 and the 3G plus WiFi is $189.

At only 6" diagonal, the new Kindle is smaller than the Kindle DX  - that's smaller than a standard paperback and designed to fit in a coat pocket or purse.

Your 15 minutes

Andy Warhol said that we'd all be famous for 15 minutes. Now YouTube has increased the video time limit so you can have your 15 minutes.


It's not what you said

Amber Naslund nails the difference between disagreeing and being disagreeable. Are you adding to the discourse?

The end of reinvention?

The New York Times asks if the web means the end of forgetting and the ability to re-invent our selves? Or are our pasts forever on display?

Personalized magazines

Flipboard just might be the app that makes me buy an iPad.

Facebook says thanks

See Facebook's thank you message from employees as they reach 500 million active users. And the Guardian provides an interactive map of where all those users live. I was surprised by Sweden and Chile

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