Calibrate Brands Blog

Marketing, Creative and Branding Blog

John Middlebrook

John is a managing partner at Calibrate Brands, a creative, branding, marketing and web design agency. Previously John headed up technology and marketing services at a Baltimore agency as the Director of Client Services, working and refining the agency’s customer experience, consulting with customers on key initiatives and strategies, and assisting in expanding key technology partnerships. In his technology role he was responsible for the development of technical plans and implementation of eCommerce and B2B sites on platforms such as Magento, Bigcommerce, HubSpot COS and WordPress, to name a few. Living and breathing HubSpot, John helps with implementing the latest web techniques to help increase revenues for his clients nationwide. He holds current certifications in HubSpot, HubSpot Design, HubSpot Sales Software, Inbound Marketing and in the Growth Driven Design methodology
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Recent Posts

Benefits of the HubSpot Growth Stack

The Growing Problem of Product Creep

We’re living through a renaissance of software. For every task inside a growing company, there are dozens of tools lined up to help. Free tools from ProductHunt. Platforms to solve all our problems. From the CEO, to the marketer, to the VP of sales, we’re all trying, buying, and adding new tools to the mix.

But after a while, something starts to happen. As our list of tools grows, so does the amount of time and attention they need. The scale tips from our tools working for us, to us working for our tools. It starts as an inconvenience, but it can turn into a monster. We call it product creep.

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Topics: Branding, Marketing, Partner, Agency, Growth Stack

Top 11 tips to optimize Google Search Console

In my years of working with clients and and helping them with their SEO strategy, I am shocked how often that they miss out on the the power of the Google Search Console, or what, in my days, was called Google Webmaster Tools.

First of all, how do you find it? Personally for me I Google "Google Search Console" and the first
result is the correct URL. You can get to it by going through your Google portal but I find it difficult to find and the former is quicker for me.

Now on the tool, think of this as the rules in the playground. If you want to get along with everyone there, you need to abide by their rules. Within the console, Google will give you deep insight into how it's BOTS see (or don't see) your site. If you read every tab and follow their tips, you will increase your ability to rise to the top of the SERP, with little to no extra work.

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Topics: google, seo, webmaster tools, sitemap, google search console

Moving to HubSpot COS with Migrations Team

I've been marketing and Internet technology for many years now and my teams have completed more web migrations than I'd care to count. Some went perfect and had very little issues but some...well not so much. Recently I had the opportunity to go through a migration from WordPress to HubSpot's COS (Content Optimization System) and it was by far the easiest and least painful in my nearly 15 years of migrations.

I learned a lot with their process and I'd love to share it with you.

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Topics: Web Design, Performance Driven Web Design, Growth Driven Web Design, Agency, HubSpot, COS

Are You Using HubSpot's Most Important Features? Updated April 2018

9 Tips on the Most Under Utilized Tools in HubSpot

As part of our services, we audit HubSpot portals for potential customers several times per month and in most cases, there is a distinct pattern of areas where businesses are not getting the most out of this powerful marketing automation software. In many cases they are paying anywhere from $200-$2000/month and they are spending that kind of money, but watching leads slip by.

In this blog we touch on the top 8 areas in which we see the most under-utilization of their robust tools and we tell you how to get more from them.

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Topics: HubSpot

10 Ways To Know it's Time For a New Web Site in 2017

Every January we all rush into the gym's for our annual re-commitment to our bodies, but do we do the same thing to our web sites? From the look at the many I review, that answer is similar to what my trainer would say of my figure and that is a resounding "NO". Why not? Why do we not take care of our brands like we do other things in our lives?

It is becoming more important for businesses to not only have a website, but to have one that works as a marketing tool. In most cases, your website will be a potential customer’s first interaction with you. Your web presence has to be one that reflects accurately who you are, how you can solve their problems and provides the information they need to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. This is why you need to ensure that your website is up to par in terms of technology, usability and your competition. Does your current website meet all of these requirements? If not, it may be time for an upgrade.

Below we address some ways to know you need a new website. Do any of these apply to you?

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Topics: Web Design, Performance Driven Web Design, Growth Driven Web Design

Why Should You Partner...With a HubSpot Partner?

With a show of hands, how many of you would go to a podiatrist, when you were having chest pains? I know that is a harsh question but here is another one, less severe. Would you take your Ford to a Mercedes dealer? I'd hope you answered no to both as you chose a specialist because they know how to solve issues that affect you, your business or your ailment. Then, the icing on the cake, they know how to use all the tools necessary to achieve your perfect health. 

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Topics: Partner, Agency, HubSpot

What is a Robots.txt and Why Does it Matter?

As part of the services we offer I am often times asked to do SEO or site health audits. For me, this is like a barista making the next caramel macchiato. For marketers or business owners, they often do not fully utilize the basic and free services available to literally walk Google through your site and help you get your brand found for the products and services you offer. This blog should help to clear up confusion and give you the tools to make sure you are satisfying Google and other search engines.

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Topics: Web Design, Performance Driven Web Design, Marketing, Growth Driven Web Design

Are You Ready for Google's Mobile First?

Folks, this is not new. Google has been warning us for years and years to get mobile ready. They first hinted at their intentions of a mobile-first index about a year ago, but November 4, 2016 was the first time Google has posted details about the mobile-first index on their own blog. Is this our last warning? 

At Google, they have started testing their mobile-first index. This new index will look first at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version.

So if you have been slow in joining the mobile revolution, now is the time to take action. As mobile continues to dominate search, Google and the other search engines are going to place more and more emphasis on mobile.

Here are five steps you can take to optimize your site for Google’s mobile-first index.

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Topics: Web Design

5 Reasons to Get on HubSpot Free Today

HubSpot's VP of Product, Christopher O'Donnell just announced to the world the new and improved features of the HubSpot platform and I'd really like to dig into one of them right away.

HubSpot has made it a habit for giving away their software for many years but they just announced one of the biggest for marketers and if you are online and can cut and paste JavaScript, then you need to do this today.

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Topics: Web Design, Techy Talk, Marketing

HubSpot Announces New Features for 2017

Every year for the last four years I've attended the Inbound Conference in Boston. The most exciting part of this massive conference (16,000 here now) is the product team unveiling their long list of great new features for their clients to use within and outside their HubSpot portals.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing, HubSpot

About this Blog

The Calibrate Brands blog is a resource for marketing and branding professionals looking for place to go for news on website design, branding strategies and how to build traffic to your site.

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