Author Archives: Sam @ theBrewRoom

About Sam @ theBrewRoom

Sam Insalaco is the owner/operator of theBrewRoom, LLC. Founder of Yeah! Buffalo Find out more here:

Buffalo Shopify Website Development

Shopify Website Design & Development:

theBREWROOM recently launched a new Shopify website for This website presents their products with striking photography and a clean and simple site design.

Some key project features:

  1. Custom product photography
  2. Price breaks on product quantities
  3. Shopify customization
Nectar Ninja

Nectar Ninja – instant website notifications

Pixel code:

Instantly add notifications, alerts and polls to your website!

Have you ever had a situation where you wanted to instantly display something on your website so that people knew it immediately? Like, maybe you’re at an event, or going to an event and want to quickly let people know. Or, maybe you want to display a site-wide message letting people know that you just updated something, or are offering something new. Or, maybe you just want a message that shows up to all of your users, asking them to sign up for your free mailing list. Well, there’s a REALLY easy way to do that now. And, it’s as simple as sending a tweet via your twitter account (what else would you send a tweet from?).

Nectar NinjaNectar Ninja makes it really easy to display a message on your website. All it takes is a small snippet of code added to the <head> of your site, and from there, you can tweet messages to display live on the site. You can even add a quick user poll to ask users a question. There are several examples of how to use it on the Nectar Ninja website. Check out their tips section.

Here’s an example of a message that we wanted to be displayed on Yeah! Buffalo.
Nectar Ninja on Yeah! Buffalo

The user hovers over the button and a Read More link appears.

This is a really simple, and cool way to instantly add a message for your users on your website. Let us know if you try it out, and what you like about it. We’d be interested in hearing how others are using the tool.

This post is so short because this tool is that easy! We hope you like the tip.

If you have any questions, or things that you’d like us to look into for you, let us know! – send us a message

email marketing

Don’t do these 4 things when sending marketing emails

I don’t know about you, but I am on more email marketing lists than I remember signing up for. If I find the guy that sold his list… anyway! I wanted to just drop a quick few notes of advice when it comes to sending out emails on behalf of your organization.

  1. Don’t be too wordy. Today, nobody wants to read a long email – especially not a long marketing email – that goes on and on about the service or event that you’re trying to sell them. Just give them some enticing details and send them over to your website using some very clear calls-to-action (links) to the page on your website where they can learn more.
  2. Do not use comic sans as the main font in your newsletter. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t use a font that they use in comic books. If you like the font, use it in your signature at the end of the email, or somewhere less pronounced. Pick a clean, easy to read font that is a web-safe font.
  3. Don’t just send your emails out via Outlook, or any way directly from your email program on your computer. Why, you ask? Because permission marketing is smart. You give your audience the choice of whether they want to receive your messages. When you use a program like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, etc… they have built in controls that allow people to say whether or not they want to continue to receive your emails (unsubscribe buttons). These are important. And maybe for a reason you haven’t thought about. When someone gets an email directly from you, that is obviously just a mass-email that you’re sending out to everyone in your address book, there’s a good chance a few of them are going to want to STOP receiving those emails from you. Maybe it’s an old customer who no longer does business with you. Maybe it’s a failed prospect. Or, maybe it’s even a former coworker that doesn’t really want to hear from you anymore. Let’s face it, this stuff happens. Well, how are they going to let you know that they want to stop receiving those emails. Here’s some scenarios:
    1. Scenario 1: They receive your email and then email you back and say “Please stop sending me these emails, thanks.” – that’s fine, and nice enough of them, but you’d put them in a weird/uncomfortable place. They are put in the spot where they need to tell YOU to stop. Not where they are given the power to choose, without having to contact you directly. You know what I mean? Don’t put people in the uncomfortable position of having to ask you directly to stop emailing them.
    2. Scenario 2: They really don’t want to talk to you, or email you, so they click the Mark as Spam button on their email program. Uh oh! What? You’re a spammer now? Yes, you are. You’re emailing people without their permission. So, people are going to mark you as spam. When that happens, you get flagged. And if you get flagged enough, you’re going to get blocked from sending ANY emails. Yes, that means you can’t even send your coworkers photos of your cat because your ENTIRE domain is blocked and listed as spam. Yeah, you don’t want that. So don’t send emails from Outlook, gmail, whatever. Set up an account with an email marketing system like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor (my two favorites) and use their professional services for sending out your marketing emails. If you need help setting this up, let me know.
  4. Use high quality graphics, and make them the right size – but don’t make your entire email an image. Don’t leave it up to the user’s screen or the email program to display the images in the email the way that you want them to be displayed. If your graphics are too big, or too small, then you’re putting at risk the level of professionalism that you’re hoping to show when you’re sending your email. And please, whatever you do, do NOT stretch an image (distorting it) just to make it fit the open space within your email.  If an image needs to be 600px wide by 250px high, then resize and crop it down to that. Don’t take a 2000px wide by 1000px high image, stick it in there and expect it to fill the space correctly. The ratio is not the same, and it will either look distorted (depending on how you put it in there), or it will be too tall for the space, and possibly push some things out of place. Even worse, don’t take an image that is already smaller than the area you want to fill and make it stretch. It’s going to look terrible, trust me.If you make the entire email an image, then only some of the people who get the email will even see it. Some email systems block embedded images entirely within emails. This happens often at offices and inside corporations who take hacking and virus checking pretty seriously. Gmail even does this by default. Use images to support the text in the email. Yeah, I know that an image can look prettier, but what’s the point of pretty, if not that many people are even going to see it? And ALWAYS include the text version of the email message when you create it in your email marketing system. Then those of your subscribers who have chosen to receive the text version will actually see something. MailChimp has some great resources on email design best practices. You should read them.

I hope you found this helpful. Let me know if you need help with your email marketing campaigns. I’d be happen to take a look at what you’re doing now and suggest ways we can work together to make it better. If you’re doing any of the things I mention above, stop. You’ll thank me later.

TeuxDeux – Finally, a To-Do List App That I Use!

I have to admit, I’m not exactly the most organized person on the planet. I work from multiple computers, in multiple locations, take notes on scrap paper, in a binder notebook, on my iPhone, on my iPad, and who knows were else some of these notes that I could have sworn that I wrote down disappeared to! Well, I have been looking for a solution to this issue. It’s a big issue for me, too. Running a business, having a family, starting a local blog, shooting photos with my wife and just day to day tasks and responsibilities is a lot to keep track of. I really thought that writing it all in a notebook was the answer for me. But, I often found myself out, without my notebook around, with a need to make a note of something that I needed to check on or someone that I needed to contact about something, so I would make a note somewhere else. Now I have notes all over the place!

Well, my problem is official solved!

I recently discovered TeuxDeux. And I am so glad that I did! TeuxDeux is a very cleanly designed, simple to use, and cross platform application that I now put all of my notes into. That’s because it’s on my computer (via any browser), plus it has a nice iPhone and iPad. Let’s face it, chances are, I have one of those things with me when I’m anywhere.

Top 5 things I love about TeuxDeux:

  1. Keep it simple: TeuxDeux makes is simple to keep everything that I need to do, no matter who or what it’s for, all in one place.
  2. Task rollover: You can assign a task to today, or a day in the future. If you don’t complete the task on that day, TeuxDeux will automatically move the task to the next day! No more tasks being left behind. If you don’t complete all of your tasks for today, when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll find that the tasks are now all moved over! This is probably my favorite thing about it.
  3. Task formatting: You can include links in your tasks to save you time from having to look up a website. You can also make words bold or italic
  4. List organization: You can create additional lists of tasks that don’t necessarily have dates tied to them, but just need to be noted and eventually done. You have full control over what you call these separate lists.
  5. Accessibility: I can access my TeuxDeux list from anywhere, at any time!


If you’re like me, and have a lot of balls up in the air, then you might want to give TeuxDeux a try. It has a 30 day free trial, and then it’s very affordable once your trial expires. It has definitely helped me to get better organized, and get more done – which to me is exactly what I needed. So, thank you to TeuxDeux! Keep up the good work!

Take Control

Control How Facebook Displays Your Web Pages

Did you know that you can control how Facebook displays your web pages when they are shared on the social network? You may have found that when you post links to articles on Facebook, it sometimes pulls in an image from the post, also the title, as well as a description of the article. This is because the website is feeding Facebook with information that goes into the Facebook Open Graph Protocol. In short, this protocol is a little bit of information that lives on every page of your site that tells Facebook what the title, description, url, image, etc.. are for that particular page. Rather than making Facebook scan through the article and try to decide for itself, you can do some things to make sure that Facebook is using the information that you want it to use when the article is posted to Facebook.

If You Are Using WordPress:

If your website or blog is on WordPress, you’re life is made a lot easier if you want to control how Facebook displays your pages. Here’s what you do:

STEP 1:   Install WordPress SEO by Yoast. Yes, this is not only the best SEO plugin available for WordPress, but it also has a feature to control how your posts appear on social networks. Nice huh?

social-settingsOnce you activate the plugin, you will want to turn on the Social functionality. This is done by going into the plugin’s Social settings. Click on Social, and then check the box to Add Open Graph meta data. You might want to do the same for Twitter as well as Google+ while you’re in there.

After activating the social functionality, you will see the section (see below) on each of your posts that allows you to manage the SEO settings for that post. Click on the Social tab.

Social Media Settings - Yoast

Step 2:    Enter the Title that you want to appear when this article is posted on Facebook. Do the same for the Description of the page. You may also want to specify the photo or image that you would want to appear when you share the article on Facebook. Sometimes Facebook is smart enough to pull the featured image from the page, or another image from the page, but this is the easy way to tell Facebook which image you WANT to appear. You can choose from amongst your Media Files that you have already uploaded too.

You will notice that you can do the same for Twitter, as well as Google+ posts. If I were you, I would go ahead and set these up. Even if you don’t use those social networks, it doesn’t mean that your article won’t get posted on them. And if your article is posted, you’ll be smart to make sure that it appears the way that you want it to look.

Step 3:    Once you publish your new post, the information that you have included in the Social section of the Yoast plugin will be included on the published page. Just to make sure, you can test it out using Facebook’s Open Graph debugging tool:

Make sure that you have published the page. Facebook will not be able to scan a draft post.

Enter the URL to your article and click Debug.

You will see what Facebook sees when your article is shared.

Facebook Open Graph Debugging Tool

Each of the elements that you edited on the Yoast plugin should appear, including a thumbnail of the image that you chose.

You will also be able to see a preview of how it will look when the article is shared:


Say you made some changes to the page, and want to test it again? Once you publish your changes, click the Fetch New Scrape Information button on the debugging tool. This will clear the page from Facebook’s cache and fetch new page info. You should see your changes there now. You can also use this method to clear Facebook’s cache at any time, for any page.

Once you have it looking the way that you like, go ahead and share it on Facebook, and anywhere else you want it to be shared!

Not on WordPress?

If you’re using another system, or building your web pages from scratch, you will want to make sure that you include the Open Graph tags in your page <head> tag. You should follow the official open graph protocol instructions, which are available here.

We hope that you found this article to be helpful, and that you can get started with making your sites pages more easily shareable and attractive to users when they are shared. If you need help with any of this type of stuff, let us know. We would love to help. Thanks for reading.

pictory productions wedding videography

Pictory Productions – Pittsburgh Wedding Videographer Website Design

Pictory Productions boasts creating “Wedding Films For Fun People“.

Well, theBREWROOM wanted to make sure that the website design and development experience for Pictory was fun for them as well. After all, if they want their clients to have, shouldn’t they have fun as well? We think so.

Megan, of Pictory Productions was heavily involved with the project, and took it upon herself to jump right in and work on the content and visuals for her new website. We love this. We love (clients) people who want to be really involved with their project, and have a real passion for the learning how to do things themselves. We love to work with these kinds of people. Megan was serious about how she wanted her site to look, and that passion for the project comes through in the end result. We hope that she is as happy as we are with the outcome.

Website Facts:

  • Built on WordPress
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Video integration

jeremy hazelton website

The Personal Blog of Jeremy Hazelton

Not only do we have the pleasure of being able to work on the website for Jeremy, but we also call him a friend. This guy has a real passion and gift for what he does, and when he speaks, that is obvious. We hope that you read his blog, and we hope that you reach out to him to learn more about what he is working on in the City of Buffalo.

jeremy blog facebook post

We’re really looking forward to great things to come from Jeremy. Especially the book that he will be writing soon. Go check out his website, and let him and us know what you think.

Website Facts:

  • Build on WordPress, using Genesis Framework
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Integrated email newsletter management

Tag Friends on Facebook Page Photos

If you reading this, then you are probably like me, and thousands of other people, and you have found yourself frustrated because you can’t tag your friends or page followers in photos that you post on your Facebook Page. Feels good to not feel alone huh? Anyway… Please note, this is not your personal Facebook profile that we are talking about here. I’m talking about the Facebook Page that you have for your business or brand.

Ok, so you’re posting a new update, and you’ve uploaded the image. Now, you have written something witty to go long with the image and you want to tag your friend, or a follower of your Facebook Page. You click Tag Photo, and you don’t get a single person that you know in the list! What the ?!? How frustrating!??!?!?

Well, it’s actually pretty simple. Go ahead and create the post. Don’t panic. Once it is up, click on the image itself. This will bring up the lightbox or “theater” view of the photo:

Tag Facebook Photo on Facebook Page

Now, look at the URL in your browser window. It will look something like this:
Delete everything after the “?”.
So, it would now look like:
Hit enter, and you will see the old Facebook image page. Click Tag Photo and BAM! There you are! There are actual people that you! Yep. It’s that easy!
Tag Your Friends on Facebook Page Photo


I hope you found this helpful. If you did, please share it with some friends, because chances are they’re having the same problem that you’re having. And friends help other friends, right?

Social Media Marketing

How To: Simple Social Media Posting

This is going to be a quick and painless posting about the simplest things to do when you are posting on social media for your business.

Here are some quick how-to pointers:

  1. Don’t post as your personal account.
  2. – If you are posting for your business, then you should be using your business’ social media account. You can always share your business posting via your personal account once you put it up on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  3. Use an image in your post.
  4. – People are more likely to see and engage with your posting if it includes an image. Embed the image right in the post, or make sure that your website is set up to display the images from the page when a page is shared on social media. If you don’t know how to do that, let us know.

  5. Include a link to the content that you want to promote.
  6. – If you’re promoting a product, piece of content or something else that you talk about on your website, link to the actual page of content. You ultimately want to drive people to your website, right?

  7. Use no more than three #hashtags in your post.
  8. – Don’t clutter things up. Use up to 3 appropriate and meaningful hashtags in your posts, should you have the character limit space to do so.

  9. Don’t tag yourself in the post.
  10. – You are already posting the social media update, so people will already see that it’s from you. You don’t need to tag yourself in the post.

    Like I said, these are just some simple tips to get you started posting the right way. If you want more help with your social media marketing, let us know.

    Do you have more simple suggestions for people? If so, post them below!

Pittsburgh Photographer - Steven Dray Images

Photographer Website – Steven Dray Images

Artists are fun people to work with. They know what they want something to look like, and they always want it to look great. Well, we’re happy to partner with people and businesses like that. We like to show off some good work over here. Steven Dray needed to take his photography business’ website to the next level to match the quality of work that he was doing for his clients. We think that we helped him accomplish that goal.

Here is what Steven has to say about it:

theBREWROOM was a dream to work with! I absolutely love my website. As an artist/photographer I was looking for something really creative to display my work and theBREWROOM knocked it out of the park. I have been getting tons of new business through my website since its launch. I am constantly complimented by other photographers and people in my industry on how beautiful my website is. I highly recommend choosing the theBREWROOM to take your website, SEO and business to the next level.
-Steve of Steven Dray Images

What do you think?