2013 in Review: Healthcare .gov

In an industry that changes as often as ours, it's easy to lose sight of just how much has happened in such a short period of time. Fortunately, with the help of our good buddy Dan Hanson (the Great Lakes Geek), Dave and I had the opportunity to sit back and reflect on many of the major web-related stories from 2013. Throughout the process, we share our insights about how you can learn from these stories to better promote your business online.

Up first (and please remember we're talking about websites, not politics): What went wrong with the initial launch of Healthcare.gov.

We'll be posting these videos regularly over the next couple of weeks, so make sure to check back often!


Aztek: The Awkward Teen Years.

Awkward teenanger. Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres/2825489719/

Remember those early teenage years? Your voice cracking at inopportune moments, acne, braces, the usual host of things that makes being a teenager difficult. Well, at 16 years old, Aztek is going through some of those same changes (metaphorically speaking). We're maturing, but not without a few awkward moments. More...

5 Stages of Website Grief

"This website is brand new. How could you be telling me that my website is ineffective after all the time and money I just poured into it?”

This is a common reaction after businesses have a professional, thorough evaluation of their current website done. Even brand new sites can do a really poor job of attracting, engaging and educating visitors. More...

Why You Need to Add Responsive Web Design to Your Holiday Wishlist

"City sidewalks, Busy sidewalks, Dressed in holiday style, in the air there's a feeling of Christmas"

Santa smartphone

Since Bing Crosby crooned this classic holiday anthem, the consumer shopping experience has seen some dramatic changes. Online shopping has grown as the preferred method of those who wish to avoid the hustle, bustle and frustration of the holiday crowds while still taking advantage of great holiday deals.

Responsive Design: Improve Your Website User Experience Anywhere

Driving these online purchases is responsive design, which means a website proactively adjusts or "responds" to the device that is accessing it. A responsive site is one site, not a separate mobile and desktop version, meaning you make changes one time and in one place and your site is automatically updated for any device. More...

4 Ways Paid Ads Help Your Organic Content Marketing Strategy


“Why should I do pay-per-click advertising if I’m already ranking well organically?”

I commonly hear this question from companies and while it’s a valid question, the answer has a few layers to consider. Ultimately, if your business’ goal is to generate more sales online, you need to implement a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy alongside an organically effective content program. More...

14 Design Resources We are Thankful For

What is the design team thankful for?

The best thing about Thanksgiving dinner is the variety of food on the table. From sweet potato casserole, to cranberries to a deep fried turkey, everyone always has a favorite dish. It is no different here at Aztek. While each designer is different, all of us have resources that make our jobs a little easier or give us that extra boost of inspiration to help us produce websites that attract users and give them an experience that helps you accomplish your business objectives.

I asked the team here at Aztek to share some of their “go-to “ resources: More...

7.5 Content Marketing Resources We are Thankful For

A common Thanksgiving tradition in my house is for everyone to go around the table and have each person share one thing that they are most thankful for. While we didn’t go around the lunch table here at Aztek, all the teams agreed we have much to be thankful for professionally.More...

Content Management Systems: Which One is Just Right for Your Business?


When preparing for a redesign of your website, one must-have deserving of some special attention is your content management system. A content management system enables you to publish, edit and modify content on your website as frequently as needed. These changes could be posts to your blog, company news, product pages or any other areas of your site that need fresh, valuable content added. The ideal CMS lets you manage your website the way you want without including costly features you don’t need.

Selecting the best fitting solution for your CMS is vital to managing an effective website.  The CMS selection process may be reminiscent of Goldilocks taste-testing the right porridge to steal from three unsuspecting bears in that some will be too bland, some too much and a few will fit your needs just right. More...

Stop trying to get everything above the fold. Seriously.

This cat does not fit in this jar.

"You can't put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound sack" as they say (only the way I learned it, it wasn't sugar in the sack). Yet, over and over we see organizations fruitlessly trying to get every single message from every conceivable‎ internal stakeholder crammed into their homepages. Once they're all smushed in like an electronic clown car and the site launches, the client is right back in the same boat of wondering why they have an ineffective website with lousy bounce and conversion rates.

In feedback meetings you'll hear things like: "If people have to scroll, they'll never see this," "I don't want people to miss this," "These business units ALL need to be very prominent," "make everything stand out more," and so on, and so on. This logic is inherently flawed. Just because something is "above the fold" and on the homepage doesn't mean it will be seen or understood by the user. And if everything is bold, nothing is bold.

That's called the "Signal to Noise Ratio". Consider this statement from Web Syle Guide, which pretty well sums up my point:

"...The restricted space of the screen. Even with today’s larger monitors, the web page is a small space, especially when you have a lot to pack in, as on home pages. Crowding inevitably increases visual noise because it increases accidental associations among page elements and reduces the white space so crucial to visual organization."

To demonstrate this, humor me by answering a few rhetorical questions. More...

6 Ways to Beat Zombie Content

If there is one thing I have learned from watching the Walking Dead is that zombies should be killed quickly and you can never have too many precautions in place to protect yourself. Once they invade, they infect others and pretty soon, the whole place is filled with lifeless, stumbling beings looking to make you their next meal.

This same process happens when you reuse old or self-serving content to reach out to new leads. Don't see the connection? Grab your machete and stay with me. More...


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.