liquidfish current https://liquid.fish/current en-US daily 1 Instafamous - 5 Tips to Grow Your Instagram Following https://liquid.fish/current/instafamous-5-tips-to-grow-your-instagram-following Thu, 07 Jun 18 16:04:36 -0500 I started a personal project where I create a new logo every day to post on my artist Instagram account. Since I started sharing my work, I have learned what works and what doesn't when it comes to increasing an account following. These are 5 tips that can be useful to grow your Instagram following.

 

1. Consistency is Key

Instagram is a highly competitive environment where thousands of new posts are made each day. Posting consistently increases your chances of getting noticed by potential followers because the more posts you have out there, the more chances you get for profile visits.

While posting consistently is important, you have to make sure each post has value and can stand out from the rest in some way. Yet each new post must also fit well into your profile feed. Good posts invite users to explore a profile in more detail, and that is where the decision to follow or not is made. It’s important to have a consistent theme so that your followers, and potential followers, will know what kind of content to expect from you. 

 

2. Improve Your Hashtag Game

Hashtags are more important on Instagram than on any other social network. If it weren't for hashtags, a profile would be virtually undiscoverable. Providing relevant content and posting consistently is not enough if your posts don’t get to the eyes of the right people. While using hashtags like #picoftheday can get you many instant likes and follows, your posts will probably only be findable in the hashtag feed for a few minutes before they get lost in a pile of new posts. 

Using hashtags relevant to your content ensures that the right people will see your content. Try to find hashtags that have been used around 10,000 - 80,000 times. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post or comment. I like to add my hashtags in the comment section to keep my captions clean. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple lists on hand of quality hashtags to use with each post. Adding a location to your posts also creates better results. 

It is important to mention that “curators,” a new category of Instagram profiles, have become increasingly popular. These are accounts that do not create any content, but simply have you use their hashtag in your posts. They then repost or share the best posts under their hashtag. This is a great way to get your profile noticed and to start building your following.

 

3. Study Your Audience & Analytics

There isn't an absolute best time to post on Instagram for everyone, this is why it’s important to use the analytics tool to your advantage. Monitoring your posts helps you to be more efficient. After I started posting regularly, I found out that I get the best results when I post around midnight, which is apparently when most of my audience checks Instagram. Seeing how your posts perform is an important tool to understanding what will do the best in the future.

 

4. Build Community & Stay Connected

Having great content can sometimes be irrelevant if you don't build a community and connect with others. I started by commenting on posts I thought were great and followed profiles that I liked. Doing simple things like replying to comments or answering private messages creates an online presence for you that your followers can interact with. I have found that Stories are a great way to share and stay connected. They have recently become even better with the inclusion of polls and slider bars, as well as the ability to include hashtags in your story. This allows people who may not be following you, but who are following those hashtags to be able to see your story. 

Your content is what makes people follow you, but the way you behave online and interact with your followers is what makes them stay. 

 

5. Stay Up to Date with Features & Trends

Instagram is constantly changing and adding new features. For example, hashtags used to rule Instagram, but I have recently seen stories being used with greater success now that you can highlight them in your profile. 
Staying aware of these changes and using them to your advantage helps you stay on top of your game. 

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The Evolution of Process https://liquid.fish/current/the-evolution-of-process Thu, 24 May 18 09:36:17 -0500 I’ve been at liquidfish for over three years now, and a lot has changed within the company, including our process for approaching projects. When I first started, a process was in place, but I noticed an immediate need to document and formalize it.

I am a visual learner, so developing something tangible that we would be able to reference when needed was important. The process would inherently include aspects from each department, so we worked as team to put together a four-step process: Discovery, Content, Design and Development. It was a great first step toward a streamlined process and served us well for a while.

After about a year, we recognized that we needed to expand on our process to help alleviate issues and further support our clients. So at that time, it went from a four-step process to a six-step process. We added in time for Site Mapping and Quality Assurance/Testing: two areas I can’t imagine doing a project without.

Fast forward two more years and we have now developed our process even further to include eight steps. Yes, I know eight may seem like a lot, but it has allowed liquidfish to excel in our craft in many ways. We are paying attention to the small details and creating internal and external flow of communication better than we ever have before. When we all adhere to the process, we can keep each other accountable every step of the way, which in turn gives our clients a better end-product. 

Of course there are situations that arise and things that have to change, but when they do, liquidfish is able to be nimble and flexible, paying attention to the client’s needs while still using our streamlined process as a guide to help us stay on track. We not only want to customize your website and digital marketing needs, we also want your entire experience with us to be custom and unique. 

For those who want to learn about or review our process in depth, please feel free to call or email us. We will be happy to share our experiences and how we approach our work. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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Magic: The... Programming? https://liquid.fish/current/magic-the-programming Wed, 25 Apr 18 14:35:08 -0500 “Magic: the Gathering” is a very popular game, boasted as the most played trading card game in the world. You might be thinking to yourself: “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be about developmental practices?” I’m glad you asked, voice in my head. 

“Magic: the Gathering” is a trading card game in which players will purchase packs of cards, build decks, and play them against one another. Each player starts with 20 life, and the goal of the game is to bring the opponent down to 0 life. The way each deck does this is different, but most of the time, it involves some form of attacking with creatures to deal damage to the opposing player. Once one player has been reduced to 0 life, the other player is declared the winner.

This may not sound anything like development, but the proof is in the pudding, er, programming. The similarities come not in the end result, but in the journey itself. The five colors of mana, or sources, Magic has to pull from are: White, Blue, Black, Red, and Green. Likewise, there are multiple languages that can be used in programming: Javascript, PHP, C#, Ruby, SQL. Also, each color has elements that are similar to each other: creatures, sorceries, enchantments, etc, similar to how each language has data types, syntax, and native functions. The key to being any good at either thing is to learn what to build with and why. What’s the most efficient way to bring my opponent to 0 life? How can I most effectively build a splash page? 

Further similarities begin to reveal themselves as you delve deeper. Archetypes in “Magic: the Gathering” can be compared to how each language has a specific purpose. The most common archetypes of Magic are: Aggro, or aggressive play styles that involve playing lots of small creatures and attacking with them; Control, defensive play styles that focus on keeping the opponent from getting too far ahead until they can win; and Combo, unique play styles that revolve around playing a few specific cards to do something that no other deck can beat. 

Similarly, front-end development focuses on user experience and interface design, like what needs to stands out and what looks best. Back-end Development focuses on data and page manipulation. You would never use PHP or RUBY to run a client-side function, any more than you would use client-side javascript to access data from the database. 

The parallels don’t end there, but this blog does. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at how the magic of development can be related to the magic of, well, Magic. That’s all we have today, so untap, upkeep, draw, Fireball you for 20, game

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March Madness https://liquid.fish/current/march-madness Thu, 29 Mar 18 13:33:46 -0500 Ahh March… flowers blooming, grass greening, air warming, people pretending to know about college basketball (Cody), people losing money on college basketball (Cody). 

Basketball is indeed on the forefront of everyone’s minds right now due to March Madness (I’m a Loyola Chicago alum and we’re in the Final Four – GO RAMBLERS!!!), so it seemed to us that the only appropriate thing to write about is how basketball is similar to our lives here at liquidfish. You may not think there are many parallels to the high energy, fast-paced, highly skilled sport and web design/digital marketing, but you’d be wrong. 

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEE!

1. Communication is Key.

A basketball game where the teammates don’t communicate with one another would be chaos. Try passing a ball to a person who doesn’t know it’s coming – it probably won’t be caught. 

Communication is important for so many reasons. Not only does it give you a chance to know what your teammates are planning on doing, but it also allows for input from others on those plans. The point guard might think it’s a good idea for them to take it all the way in for a layup every time. But if the rest of the team hears that idea, the team may chime in with a “hey, maybe you could pass it instead.” 

At liquidfish, this kind of input from the rest of the team is absolutely invaluable. Collaboration is one of our core values, and we live by it. At pretty much any point during the day you can find people in each others offices, talking through ideas and working out problems. It is this kind of communication, collaboration, and sharing of ideas that makes us sure we are providing our clients with the best ideas and solutions. 

2. Know the Play.

It’s essential that you have at least a couple plays ready to go for a basketball game, and that the whole team knows them inside and out before you start. If there was no playbook, nobody would know what to do. There would be too many options, and one of two things would likely happen: a) Everyone would try to to do everything. Or b) Everyone would just stand there. Either way, it would be a mess. 

At liquidfish, we have our own version of a playbook. We’ve established a framework to help guide our internal processes for projects, from start to finish. Each teammate knows who’s doing the tip-off, who to pass it to from there, when to take the ball and dribble on their own, and when to finally shoot. Those may not be the actual terms we use for the different steps in our process (although now I’m thinking we should change them), but you get the idea. We have a plan for each step of the project, and sticking to that plan (maybe with some improv here and there when necessary) helps us stay on track so we can come out the other side with a W. 

3. There’s No “i” in Team.

The age-old saying still applies here – you have to work together to be successful. As mentioned in the last point, every person on a team trying to do it all is not ideal, they’d be stepping on each others’ toes and exhausting themselves for nothing. 

In basketball and marketing, every player has their own position in which they are experts, and each position is vital to the overall success of the team. Maybe you’re great at graphic design, but you’re not so hot at communicating with clients. That’s okay, let your outgoing teammate talk to those clients for you. Don’t waste your time and energy on something another person can do better. You have to trust your teammates to use their talents to do their part. Then all you have to do is worry about your own job, and everything runs smoothly. 

4. You Gotta Put in the Work.

Champions aren’t made overnight. And neither are websites or campaigns.

Even though the final product may come out looking like it was effortless, you know that wasn’t the case. Not just anyone can produce the quality of work we do here at liquidfish, and it’s no walk in the park. It’s the above and beyond work we put in each day – the late nights at the office, the lunches spent at desks, the big ideas we take to fruition – that makes us and our work stand out in the end. 

5. It’s All About the Follow Through.

Keep a floppy wrist and your fingers pointed at the hoop after the ball has left your hands. Wait, no, that’s just basketball. 

The follow through is just as important at liquidfish as it is in basketball. Keeping in contact with clients and making sure they are happy after the site has launched or the social media campaign has ended, is so important. Of course, we want to make sure the site stays working and that they are continually happy with our services. Beyond that, we want to stay on high alert for things that can be even better. 

Staying in contact with clients is also a great way to grow both your personal and business networks, you never know when you might need some of their services too!

6. Stay hydrated.

Hydrate or die.

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Black Walnut OKC | Branding and Naming Project https://liquid.fish/current/black-walnut-okc-branding-and-naming-project Thu, 15 Mar 18 10:02:44 -0500 Local restauranteur and chef Andrew Black presented the liquidfish team with the unique challenge of branding a triplicate of restaurants in the heart of Deep Deuce, an up-and-coming district in downtown Oklahoma City. While two of the three restaurants already had names, the real challenge came in creating a name for the third space to match his culinary vision and also capture elements of the area's history and location.

Creative Director Christopher Lee lead his three-man design team through a series of meetings and critiques starting, with most importantly, research. According to chef Andrew, the history of the restaurant space itself is rather intriguing. Previously a residential property where two homes once stood, the now-torn-down houses were repurposed to comprise the restaurant's home-like façade. The menu would be designed to match the oh-so-homie vibe inspired by tastes from chef Andrew's global culinary experiences. After a few days of research and sketching, the designers came together to review and discuss alongside liquidfish copywriter and digital strategist, Christina Lindsey. 

"No one person actually hit the nail on the head singlehandedly, but once we took time to collaborate and bring our individual interpretations and perspectives together, things just sort of fell into place and the name and brand took shape," said Lindsey. 

Located at the corner of NE 2nd Street and Walnut Avenue, the middleman to this trio of taste would become Black Walnut. 

"Sometimes the most obvious solutions are the best," said Lee. 

Partly named for the owner himself and partly by its streetside designation, this simple and straightforward solution was a winner in the eyes of the client.

The nameless space now had a name and was in need of a brand. With each designer bringing their individual styles to the table, the design team met a week or so later to review and make decisions about the branding. New to the liquidfish team, but a veteran in my field, I crafted what chef Andrew would later choose as the final logo for Black Walnut. The logo is a culmination of all of the information gathered throughout the process, and then some. Knowledge is key. The final design was exactly what I wanted it to be; abstract in nature yet clean and crisp.

The abstract walnut features one line down the center encompassed by two additional lines that create the walnut-like shape. At first glance, it's just a walnut, but once you dive further into the story and representation, it becomes so much more. The central vertical line represents Black Walnut's physical place in the center of this culinary trio, as well as its future as a place of intersection within in the community, where different groups come together over great food and drinks. 

"A storyteller in his own way, Chef Andrew was thrilled with the end result, and so were we," says Lee.

The branding didn't just result in another happy liquidfish client, it also took home a Gold award at this year's Oklahoma ADDY Awards.

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Making Waves at the ADDYs 2018 https://liquid.fish/current/making-waves-at-the-addys-2018 Wed, 28 Feb 18 16:45:36 -0600 The 2018 ADDYs were a success! liquidfish was proud to attend this event, as we are every year, and love seeing that creativity is thriving in our state. True to our company's culture, we enjoy the opportunity to spend an evening together as a team and socialize with others in our field.

While we’re not award seekers, we are very proud our work and appreciate being recognized for our creativity and innovation alongside others in our industry. Below are our award winners; we hope you take a minute or two to learn a bit more about what we do and why we love to do it. We can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

GOLD AWARDS

Titan II Energy | Interface and Navigation

Black Walnut | Logo Design

Bryson DeChambeau's Birdie Challenge | Social Media Campaign


SILVER AWARDS

Mooch | Logo Design

FLINT Events on the Patio | Social Media Campaign


BRONZE AWARDS

Oklahoma State Chamber | User Experience

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Now Loading: Your SEO Rankings https://liquid.fish/current/now-loading-your-seo-rankings Wed, 07 Feb 18 14:44:04 -0600 We recently encountered an issue with Google AdWords being rejected on an existing site. After A LOT of digging and troubleshooting, we found that speed was the issue. The site was loading at an average of 12.5 seconds, with Uptrends, and Google PageSpeed Insights ranked it at an abysmal 20/42 mobile/desktop optimization rating. We knew what we had to do, but in the process, I thought it would be awesome to get some statistics along the way:

Style sheets and JavaScript Minification

Definition: The process of removing all unnecessary characters from source code without changing its functionality (Formatting, Whitespaces, etc.)

The first step was to make sure all files were minified and any unnecessary references were removed or relocated. Smaller, minified files result in faster response times and a better UX. After a few tweaks my speed tests were the following:

Uptrends.com
Base Test: 12.5s
After Minification: 12.2s

PageSpeed Insights
Base Test: 20/42
After Minification: 31/55

Not a bad improvement…

Image compression

Definition: Type of data compression applied to digital images, to reduce their cost for storage or transmission.

Sliders are the enemy. Your typical slider has about 4-6 slides and probably has a CSS and JavaScript library. This really cool feature on almost EVERY SITE can introduce a host of problems. Each one of our images was about 290 KB. After using some of my mad Photoshop skills, I was able to get each of the files down to about 70 KB with almost no noticeable difference in image quality. 

Uptrends.com
Base Test: 12.5s
After Minification: 12.2s
After Compression: 11.5s

PageSpeed Insights
Base Test: 20/42
After Minification: 31/55
After Compression: 36/58

Still not very fast…

Lazy loading

Definition: The process of not instantiating an object until the point of request

I could’ve focused more on the front end, but I knew we weren’t proceeding by leaps and bounds. My personal philosophy is to have an interesting landing page that doesn’t do much except take you to other pages that do the work. The homepage of this site required numerous database queries and a lot of other logic. The only thing I could think to do was incorporate some lazy loading (think about Pinterest or Facebook not loading new posts/images until you scroll to the bottom). The results were astounding:

Uptrends.com
Base Test: 12.5s
After Minification: 12.2s
After Compression: 11.5s
Lazy Loading: 0.9s

PageSpeed Insights
Base Test: 20/42
After Minification: 31/55
After Compression: 36/58
Lazy Loading: 80/72

The takeaway: Incorporating one or two of these things in your site may help, but to get the best results, we need to focus on all or even more. Google announced that mobile page speeds are now a ranking factor for mobile searches so page responsiveness is more important than ever.

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liquidfish Goes to Dallas https://liquid.fish/current/liquidfish-goes-to-dallas Wed, 31 Jan 18 15:44:31 -0600 Culture is a huge part of liquidfish because it’s what makes us who we are and unique in our industry! We’re weird and quirky and wouldn’t have it any other way. Culture is part of our everyday work, and we try to build on our sense of community and camaraderie through various teambuilding activities throughout the year. This is also crucial for new hires. Since culture is such a big part of what we do, we believe it’s essential to introduce and immerse new members of our team into this important piece of our company. So, we make it a point to spend time together off the clock and out of the office.  

A few weeks ago, we took a team-building trip to Dallas. We all piled in a charter bus and set off to get to know each other better through brute strength and culinary skills. Our first exercise was axe throwing! We split up into teams and created our best axe throwing names (i.e., “Sliver Me Timber, Axeident Prone, Axel Rose, Twigger Happy). On top of being an absolute blast, it took us out of our comfort zone and introduced us to something none of us had ever done before. Needless to say, all of us learned some new badaxe skills.
 


Our second and more delicious activity was Team Building with Taste. We split into teams and competed in a mystery box dinner challenge. We rolled meatballs, fried tostadas, assembled tacos, and grilled chicken. It was fun to use skills we use in the office, like strategic planning, communication, and developing (flavors), but in a different, much tastier way!
 

We ended the night out downtown, winding down after a long day. Building a strong team based on trust and communication is essential to the success of any company; luckily, there are so many new and interesting team-building activities that companies can do this while having fun and keeping things interesting.
 

 

 

 

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21 Things You May Not Know About liquidfish https://liquid.fish/current/21-things-you-may-not-know-about-liquidfish Thu, 11 Jan 18 14:17:27 -0600
  • In 2017, we worked with 161 different clients.
  • We worked in real-time messaging, push, mobile apis, flexbox, vue, webpack, npm, xamarin, hardware acceleration on front-end transitions, hung around the SPA, CQRS, MVC, .NET Core, .NET  Framework 4.6.2, redis, queues, azure, aws, EC2, RDS, NAT Gateway, Beanstalk, Custom Platforms, Security Groups, Firewalls, text messaging, algolia, push woosh, PayPal, Stripe, horizon, laravel, ADA WCAG 2.0 A AA & AAA, Hubspot, Visual Studio, PHPStorm, git, Sequel Pro, slack, MySQL, Aurora, DNN, Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, migrations, node, xdebug, mongo, utf-8, postman, paw, Creative Cloud, VirtualBox, vagrant, USAePay, Heartland, Parallels, Android, iOS, native apps, C#, PHP 7, javascript, Java, Swift, Objective-C, IIS, nginx, SQL Server, SES, wordpress, forge, bash, CORS, XSS, PCI, CSP, cloudflare and many others.
  • Originally named Red Brick Designs LLC, I rebranded the company as liquidfish in 2010 because I absolutely love the ocean and thought it was a cool and memorable name for the company.
  • In 2011, I hired our first employee; today, we have 21.
  • We have a 2 beer taps, 4 pinball machines, 2 dart boards, 1 shuffleboard table, and 1 pool table in our office!
  • At our first Addy Awards (2013), we won the "Best of Interactive" award.
  • We work with 2 of the NBA’s finest: Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.
  • Collectively, our team can speak 7 different languages.
  • Our team has 16 iPhones vs 5 Androids.
  • We built a device lab in 2015 for cross-browser/device testing that consists of a 16 device and OS combinations.
  • In 2017, we designed and developed 30 100% custom websites and applications.
  • We currently host 142 websites for clients in 18 countries and 5 continents.
  • We have an amazing saltwater aquarium.
  • I personally took 41 roundtrip flights last year for work-related travel.
  • We’ve taken 4 trips as an entire company to: 
    - Vegas (2012)
    - Denver (2013) 
    - Chicago (2015)
    - Dallas (2018)
  • Our offices are in our original location, which we’ve expanded 5 times. 
  • We put up our first outdoor sign just 4 months ago in October of 2017.
  • Our intra-company thermostat battles for heat/air are epic.
  • We live by our core values:
    - Authenticity
    - Respect
    - Craftsmanship
    - Ingenuity
    - Collaboration
  • We’ve been in OKC’s top 50 fastest growing businesses for 3 consecutive years.
  • Our vision: A nationally recognized brand comprised of passionate designers, developers, and marketers known for setting trends by merging technology and creativity.
  •  

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    End-of-Year Highlight 2017 https://liquid.fish/current/end-of-year-highlights-2017 Thu, 28 Dec 17 13:44:32 -0600 It’s always fun to look back on our year and reflect on all that happened. We’re able to see how we grew, what we learned, and how we can set goals for next year. I wanted to pull some statistics that help sum up 2017 for liquidfish and that will help spur us to be bigger and better in 2018!

    Doin’ Work

    • More than 1000 projects spanning website design, development, web updates, branding, SEO, social, newsletters, and blogs
    • Launched 18 new websites
    • Worked with more than 150 clients
    • More than 36,000 hours worked
    • Extended client base in LA, NYC, Houston, Dallas, Denver and of course OKC

    Downtime

    • 396 donuts from Brown’s Bakery 
    • 720 slices of pizza from Hideaway, Empire and the Wedge
    • 3240 cups of coffee, not including trips to Starbucks, Leaf + Bean and All About Cha
    • 365 days of construction around our office (yay, streetcar!)
    • 1 parking lot remodeled
    • 1379 games of pinball

    Growing Our Fish Family

    • 7 new employees
    • 2 marriages
    • 2 engagements
    • 2 babies

    We have achieved so much this year as a company, and we couldn’t do it without our amazing clients. Thank you for challenging and inspiring us to work harder and dream bigger!

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