May Pages viewed by viewer type

Our HTML 5 viewer has only just launched and already it represents 14% of all browser pages viewed during the month of May!

May Page views

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The debate rages on – HTML 5 or Native App?

HTML 5 or Native Apps: Which is best for me? The debate has been raging on ever since the iPad was first introduced in April 2010 and Steve Jobs declared that Flash was dead.  We’ve been blogging a lot this … Continue reading

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Native Apps “Versus” HTML5 (Part 2)

What are the pros and cons of using either environment for tablet and smartphone publishing?

By John Parsons

In Part 1, I explored some of the strengths and weaknesses of using native apps for content publishing. The browser approach has a different impact, but neither “side” is categorically better or worse for publishing professionals.

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Zoom in on….Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center

Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager at BlueToad.

When you think of a publication, what comes to mind? Most will think of your favorite magazine, but did you know that many businesses and not-for-profits use newsletters to communicate their message?

Today we’re zooming in on Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, a non-profit organization in Brandon, Florida.  BSAC uses a digital newsletter to further their mission:  to impact lives daily through superior educational and athletic programming that enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being.

We recently had an opportunity to catch up with their Executive Director, Chuck Burgess, Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 3.16.02 PMand chat with him about what BSAC is doing with their digital edition.

Chuck, tell us a little bit about your publication and who the audience is:

Our publication is our printed newsletter, and our audience is vast – it ranges from children ages 5-18, volunteers, existing and potential donors, and our general community as well. We use it to raise awareness, educate, entertain, enrich, and uphold the center’s mission.

 I understand that you have a printed newsletter as well. What made you decide to add a digital newsletter?

Well, supplementing our printed newsletter with a digital edition for us was like upgrading your Hyundai to a Cadillac. It opened up a whole new world for us in terms of readership. When we just had our printed newsletter, we didn’t have much traction, and we were limited with what we could do. Creating a digital version of the newsletter allows us to capture the reader’s attention by including things such as sound, videos, and even ads to create a real interactive experience. It’s almost like creating a new website every time a new issue comes out, only on a smaller scale.

How do you promote your publication?

 We have an email list, so we use email marketing to distribute each new issue that comes out. It’s easy to do, and we’ve found that it works for us – out of over 2000 members that receive the newsletter, we’re getting about a 67% open rate on average.

We also leverage Twitter and Facebook. On Facebook we have several different pages set up, and each is tailored to a demographic. For example, we have a page dedicated to our swim team, and another dedicated to the center itself where you can ‘like’ the page to receive general updates.

 What does your audience have to say? Do they like your digital newsletter?

The feedback we receive is consistently positive. Before, not everyone knew about our newsletter, whereas now people look forward to receiving the digital version and ask us, ‘When’s the newsletter coming out?’ Even the kids get into it!

It’s been a lot of fun for our team as well; we now have departments that can’t wait to contribute an article to the newsletter because they like to see it come to life. The format’s just really engaging.

 As you already know, content publishers will probably read this and look for tips and such to help them on their journey into the digital world. So before time is up, do you have any tips or lessons you’ve learned from your foray into digital that you wouldn’t mind sharing with others?

 In this day and age, I don’t know why you wouldn’t venture into the digital world – especially in the non-profit arena. It just doesn’t make sense not to. It adds a spark to your company – it’s a fun way to celebrate what you do and allows for more depth to what you’re communicating.

The digital format is a great idea for a non-profit organization. It really allows you to upgrade your information and increase exposure in the community.

The analytics really help us a lot, too – you can see where people are clicking in the newsletter, so you see which areas get the most interest.  This is helpful for us when we plan fundraisers especially, because we know where to position the information.

Another tip is to just have fun with it! Our team has a lot of fun putting it together and coming up with ideas for articles. It brings out the creative side in each of us. If you have fun with it, it’ll translate to engaging content that people will want to read.

 For more information on the Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, visit

 To check out their latest issue, click on the cover image below. 

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 3.11.29 PM





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Native Apps “Versus” HTML5 (Part 1)

What are the pros and cons of using either environment for tablet APP-HTML5and smartphone publishing?

By John Parsons

Many pixels have been spilled (including a few by this writer) over the strategic pros and cons of native apps and browser-based, HTML5 content for publishing. In fact, there is no “war”—no clear either/or distinction—between these two approaches. However, there are basic advantages and disadvantages to each, which content publishers should consider as they plan their long term mobile strategy.

Continue reading

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And Now We Are 6

This month – April of 2013 – marks our 6th anniversary as a company. For those of you who work at long, established companies, “6” might seem like a small candle on a birthday cake. But for a technology company – 6 is HUGE!  We’ve come a long way in our 6 years and we’re so grateful for our customers, partners, and the great employees that make up our BlueToad family.

One of our core values is “We Are A Family”.  Family means strong relationships and trust. When we treat our employees like family, we know they will never want to let each other and our customers down.

One Friday, we donned our best BlueToad blue and white for a group THANK YOU card photo to commemorate the occasion.  At least, that was the intention.  One accidental slip on the camera trigger snapped the photo in stop motion instead. With a little creativity, sweat, and some magic from the lily pad…a video version was born.

So to thank you for 6 great years and many more to come, we give you “The BlueToad Shake”.

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Spotlight on….Andrew Valente, BlueToad Systems Engineer

This is the second in a series of Employee Spotlight Interviews, where we select an employee to highlight on our blog.  Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager here at BlueToad.

Andrew, what exactly does a Systems Engineer do at BlueToad?

I work closely with our development team, manage quality assurance with our desktop viewer and mobile apps, and handle IT inquiries.

 BlueToad Systems Engineer,  Andrew Valente

BlueToad Systems Engineer, Andrew Valente

How long have you been with BlueToad?

I’ve been with the Toad for almost 2 years – my anniversary is in August. Best two years of my life!

What would you say is the best-kept secret about your role? Something that you do here at BlueToad that people would be surprised to know?

They’d probably be surprised to know that I have some input on what features get added to our apps and desktop viewers.

What do you find most gratifying about your job?

It’s a neat feeling knowing that my input impacts the reader experience!

Who do you get mistaken for on a regular basis?

Ever since I’ve let my hair grow out I’m often asked, “Has anyone told you that you look like John Lennon?”

 (Which, by the way, is an honor because he’s my favorite Beatle!)

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?                                                      

It wasn’t given to me in person, however, I read this on a business blog once  and really liked it:
“The most useful advice I have ever been given, and would give, is that nothing comes easy. There really is no substitute for hard work, long hours, and constant devotion.”

I live by this statement!

 Believe it or not….

When I was 16 I taught Microsoft Office and Adobe suites to students of my grandparent’s Business, Computer Arts and Sciences Academy, in Stuart, Florida. This is where my love for anything computer related was born.

 If you were a superhero, who would you be and why?
My mother. She supported all my crazy ideas growing up and gave me the confidence to never be scared to try new things and instilled in me a great work ethic. She is truly a superhero!



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