What Monty Python Can Teach You About Web Marketing

The other day, I was thinking about a conversation I had with one of our newer web marketing clients. I was disappointed because the client wanted to stop their web marketing efforts...just as the site was about to start generating serious revenue.

Then, and maybe because the dark humor of Monty Python always cheers me up,  I started thinking about a scene from The Holy Grail. Specifically, this one:

Note: This video is slightly NSFW. If you have YouTube safety mode on, you can change your safety mode settings by following these instructions

If you choose not to watch, here's some background: The movie takes place during the reign of King Arthur. The scene involves a son carrying his older (but still fully alive) father over his shoulder as the town Dead Collector walks by collecting bodies during the latest plague. The son convinces the Dead Collector to "get rid" of the father, even though the father feels fine and wants to live.


6 Tips for First-Time Conference Presenters

“So just make it up!”

That’s the advice it seemed everyone had for me as I approached my first conference presentation at Stir Trek (a one-day conference focused on software development and new technologies) and had to turn a 15-second abstract into a one-hour talk. 

To be fair to “everyone,” I was giving a talk on using improv skills to improve communication, and I have a performance background in improvisation, so it wasn’t just being cruel. However, after the thirteenth person, the cleverness rubbed off.



Speed is Perception: Why Your Website Speed Matters

Last week the Aztek team attended the Stir Trek conference in Columbus, Ohio. Among the many great talks Chris Love’s “10 Things to Make Your Site Faster” presentation stuck out and got us thinking we should share a few of the ideas we use when designing websites and applications. 

So, Why Does Speed Matter?

Image of a blurred train speeding by. Learn more about how you can increase site speed in this post.


Stir Trek 2015- Ultron Edition Recap

It’s true— there was a private screening of the new Avengers movie on opening night. But we went to Columbus to hang out in movie theaters for an even more compelling reason, our second year at Stir Trek! 

Stir Trek is a one-day conference in Columbus, Ohio focused on teaching software developers the best in new technologies, techniques, and tools. Last year we came back with tons of inspirational ideas and helpful tips. And this year didn’t disappoint. 

TL;DR: Another year of great sessions, but one of our favorites was by our colleague, Mike Hagesfeld, about how improv comedy can improve your communication skills and help your career.


Swag bag arrived for next week! #swag #stirtrek

A photo posted by Dustin Graves (@digraves) on Apr 22, 2015 at 9:01am PDT

Some of Our Favorite Sessions

Or get all the slides and code examples from Github.


You Need a Mobile-Friendly Site. Seriously.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few years, you probably already knew that more and more people are browsing the web from smartphones and tablets. What you may not have realized is that mobile internet usage - both in terms of total users and time spent -  now exceeds PC internet usage.

So it comes as no surprise that Google recently announced that mobile-friendly websites will get a rankings boost for searches on mobile devices starting on April 21, 2015.

Home sweet home.

How Does this Impact My Business?


How to Give Design Assets To Your Web Designer

If you ever hire a web designer (firm or freelancer), you will need to give them the image and graphic assets to use in your design. And if you are not a designer yourself, you may be a little unsure about what formats and sizes to give them. Here're a few simple guidelines to help you give them what they need.


Our favorite ideas from "Agile Explained" with LeanDog

Our team had the recent good fortune to attend "Agile Explained" on the very cool boat/office of the good folks @LeanDog

The two-day course is a fire-hose of information about the agile process and will leave you exhausted with your head spinning; but in the best way possible. Our team left positively buzzing with all the ideas we want to learn more about and implement into our own workflow.


How to Set Smart Goals for Your Website

Problem: Vague or Generic Goals

Many of the organizations I talk with on a daily basis say they want to “improve things.” Of course. That’s always the goal.

But how exactly do you plan to "improve things?" Do you have measurable attributes associated with your improvements? And how does the Web play into those goals? In order for goals to be meaningful, they should include what specifically needs to be done and in what amount of time.

Solution: SMART Goals

I know, I know. You’ve probably heard this term before. And for many of you this isn't going to be anything earth shattering. However, this is one of those things that everyone knows about but is rarely implemented.

What are SMART Goals?


What Are Personas?

This is part one of a three-part blog series on personas. In this post you’ll learn more about what personas are. In parts two and three you’ll learn ways to develop them and how to use them throughout a web project.

You Don’t Matter

It’s true. We like you, but we don’t care about you. We care about the people who are using your website, purchasing your products, and calling your help line. These are the people who help you achieve your business goals, and we want to get to know them better.

Photos of users

Maybe you’ve heard your web team refer to these people as your “users” or “visitors." Companies will spend time researching, interviewing, and collecting data on these people to find out how they behave on the web. The qualities, characteristics, goals, and behaviors of these groups of people will become the basis for your personas.


The Myth of the "Big Reveal"

TL;DR: Nobody is waiting with baited breath for the redesign of your corporate website, so don't let minor features delay the launch.

Image of Willy Wonka saying I don't care

For months, you and your team have toiled. You've planned, brainstormed, created, revised, tested, argued, tested, stressed, maybe even cried. The project is close, but there are still a few items on the list. Just a few more features, layout tweaks, and it will be perfect. Crowds will gather at their screens, gasping in amazement at this wondrous new corporate website. Or not. More likely not.

Don't hold your breath waiting for theirs to be taken away.

Why? Because nobody cares about your new website except you. And why don't they care? Because people are busy. Their time is valuable and you've never given them a reason to care before. Let's face it. Your site is not a major Internet destination. Your users are not hitting refresh, desperately waiting for something new to appear (unless you work at Facebook - in which case, forget I said anything).



Who are these guys anyway?

Aztek is a web design, web application development, web marketing, and hosting firm in Cleveland Ohio. We’ve been around for more than 16 years, and we’ve worked with more than 600 clients. Aztek is not affiliated with the unfortunate car of the same name, nor are we descended from a fifteenth century Mesoamerican civilization. At least, not that we know of.