Aztek Blog
Aztek is a web design, web application development, and digital marketing agency in Cleveland, Ohio who blogs about those very same topics.

5 Expert Tips To Enhance The Effectiveness of Your Content Marketing

You guys, how are there so many smart people?

Image of group of smart people working on technology

It feels like just yesterday we were at Content Marketing World 2015 talking with experts about being honest (Doug Kessler, Insane Honesty), being authentic (Rajiv Chandrasekaran & Howard Shultz, Starbucks & Veterans), and being human (Kristina Halvorson). So how could we possibly top that?

With Legos.

And laughter.

And insight.

But most importantly (as the experts reminded us) with people, community, and quality content.

5 Tips from Content Marketing Experts

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Slowing Down In the Fast World of Content

I'm Seeing Orange!

New friends! World class speakers! All the orange food you can imagine! Content Marketing World 2016 was a whirlwind of excitement. But as the excitement winds down and I begin writing my first blog post, I keep circling back to one theme: slowing down.

Image of Content Marketing World Logo

Many marketers ignore slowing down, favoring instead to put out as much content as possible as fast as they can. But as a content strategist, slowing down spoke to me. Slowing down to focus on the point and purpose (the strategy) of the content is important. When helping clients evaluate their content and constructing a plan to move forward, it's important to make sure the focus is on the one person that matters: the user.

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Seven Tips to Help Make the Web Accessible for Everyone

As a developer, it feels like I spend more time working with forms, menus, and grids on a website than I do using them. The more time I spend working, the easier it is to get bogged down with the way things work in a certain environment.

My development environment is set up with a 1920x1080 resolution, the latest version of Windows, the latest browser updates, and a strong internet connection. It's easy to take these things for granted. However, there's another more important factor that often gets taken for granted - me.

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6 Questions About Being an Intern at Aztek

There is an idea that every student's first step to having a great career is getting an internship. But what does it mean to go from a college classroom to the real world?

Image of college student holding books. What's it like working at Aztek vs. being a college student?

At Aztek, I have been able to experience the real life of a web developer and QA tester. I've learned that there is a significant difference, but totally in a good way.

Here are six questions you might have about my internship at Aztek, and how it compares to my classroom experience.

1. How competitive is Aztek’s environment?

In my computer science classes, it seems like there is an unspoken competitiveness among my peers. There is this hidden rule that if you help another student succeed (or show them how you reached a solution) then you'll lose the position of being the best programmer in the class.

Aztek maintains the opposite mindset. Their teamwork shows through on the projects they develop and improve for each client. It's clear that working together with honest dialogue is what makes this company such a success. For example, in a design critique a developer can get feedback on their work from a cross-discipline team (web design, web development, and marketing). This feedback helps to improve their work and brings to light solutions or ideas they not have thought of.

Aztek believes in collaboration over competition.

Image of Aztek employees working together on .NET code

2. What were you concerned about before starting your internship?

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5 New Features of JavaScript (ES2015)

[Warning: technical blog ahead]
If you're not a developer, this post might be a little confusing. We share lots of technical details, but feel free to read through or send this to your favorite developer at your company.

Image of javascript. Learn more about ES2015.

ES2015 is ES6 – ES6 is ES2015

Before we get started I want to clear up any ES2015-ES6 confusion. For consistency, I’m only going to be talking about ES2015 as we go from here. It is three more keys to type, but you'll have to trust me that it makes sense. ES2015 (ECMAScript 2015) is the newest version of the ECMAScript standard, and is a significant update, the first major one since ES5 in 2009. Thankfully, the industry is moving away from an index version 6, to a year 2015, with hopes of updating the standard annually.

This update provides some cool stuff out of the box that we’ve all used in other frameworks and through design patterns. I picked out five new features that I can see being the most applicable to the everyday developer. I recommend that you start playing with these today.

1. Variety of Variables

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Behind the Scenes @Aztek: Helpful meetings and ceremonies

At Aztek, we spend most of our days building awesome, super-fast websites for our clients. But to stay at the top of our game, we have various ceremonies that enhance our skills and knowledge.

For those of you who think your web design agency simply hammers out code all day, here are few other things that your team does to bring you the best websites in C-town.

Daily Standup

Image of aztek stand up meeting a holistic web development company in Cleveland Ohio

What it is:

A short meeting (less than 10-15 minutes) to begin the day. Everyone stands in a circle let's the team know:

  • What they did yesterday
  • What they plan to accomplish today
  • What's in their way (blockers)

Standing keeps the meeting short, and we toss a ball to indicate who is speaking (if you have the ball, everyone else should be listening to you).

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Card-Based Design: A Winning Pattern

Grouping related information into a single container can be extremely useful on the web and off. Card-based design takes this simple idea and strategically applies it to the web, and particularly to mobile design.

example of card based design

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Content is King, Structure is Parliament

Okay, the web isn't a constitutional monarchy, but go with me.

Back in 1996, Bill Gates declared that "Content is King," and that's been a mainstay of web design strategy for the past two decades. However, like a king can be a tyrant and run roughshod over a country without anyone to check his power, sprawling and unstructured content can hurt your website if it doesn't have structure (and a good editor, but that's another article).

Content is King, but structure is Parliament, keeping the content in line and making sure it does what is best for your audience and your business.

“Design your system to serve your content, not the other way around.” — Jeffrey Zeldman

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Compatible Cultures - Tips to hire the right web design agency for your company

Culture is a word that is simultaneously over-used by companies (especially tech companies), and over-looked when choosing business partners (like your web design agency). Even if all other things are equal, having a compatible culture with your web agency can be the difference between the success and failure of your project.

Culture mismatches - What can go wrong?

At the beginning of a project, everything is fine...great even. You're both in that "honeymoon" phase. Everyone on both sides of the project is excited about all the new and wonderful things you are going to build together. Unless you aren't a cultural match. Then things go south pretty fast. Communication is difficult. Your processes and workflow styles don't mesh well. They just aren't "getting it" (and behind closed doors, they're saying the same thing about you). After a few weeks, the project implodes and nobody wants to finish it...at least not with each other.

Yikes. And this may have nothing to do with anyone's competence or motivation level. You're just not a good fit for one another. So how do you avoid this project destroying fate?

First off, what is "culture" exactly?

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