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tiffany

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Last post: May 12, 2017

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

By tiffany on  May 12, 2017

It's what everyone wants to know. But you're not going to be happy with our answer: It depends.

There is a ton of variation in the industry, with website costs ranging from a free Weebly site to the estimated $2,142 million price tag for the healthcare.gov site. Because of this, sticker shock is a common occurrence between agencies and clients.

When you receive a quote for a new site, it's important to consider the factors that contribute to the bottom line. If your business is comparing quotes from a few agencies, think about the following six factors and how they could impact your project—and your business—along the way.

6 Factors That Impact The Cost of a Web Project

1. Expertise

This is "the big one." It's extremely important because it's the least tangible factor and it impacts every other item on this list. An agency has a plethora of knowledge at its disposal thanks to designers, developers, and digital marketers.

These experts stay on the cutting edge of their field, which helps them offer the best solutions for your business goals. Staying on top of industry trends and best practices means time spent researching and constantly learning. Aztek has been in business for over 20 years and has accumulated vast amounts of experience in working with clients on web design, development, and digital marketing projects. That kind of expertise isn't free.

2. Project Team

Most projects need (at least) a designer, a developer, a content strategist, and a technical SEO specialist. These folks collaborate both internally and with you to offer the best, customized solution. It takes time to meet, discuss, understand, plan, and implement a solution so that you get the best results.

3. Content

It's just some words, right? Churning out content can seem easy at first. People shoot off 140 characters on Twitter in seconds. But it can be difficult to understand the complexities that go into writing high-quality content for your target audience.

This is where a content strategist comes in. A content strategist seeks to understand the target audience and business goals. This is helpful to establish the website's organization, navigation, and content, which then goes into content creation. This also means researching and spending time to provide the best solution.

After strategy comes actual content creation. This alone is a very time-consuming task and one that can often be left to the last minute when it is on your plate. Having a copywriter take this on can be immensely helpful. They will work with you to make sure the overall voice and tone is coming through, but they will carry the actual bulk of the work (and help keep you on track with your timeline).

4. Hosting

There are a lot of companies that offer hosting—specifically, cheap hosting. Hosting with the same agency who built your website has a lot of benefits. If there is ever an issue with the server (hopefully never), you and your familiar agency team can work to resolve the issue. When you use one of the cheap hosting providers, you can spend valuable days chasing down the appropriate support personnel and still never get a satisfactory resolution, causing you to lose potential leads. When the site needs updates, it is much easier if the agency has access to the source code, and are working in their own development and production environments.

5. Post Project/Launch Support

Making the website easy to edit should be a priority for digital agencies. This gives you the ability to update content and images, while the agency focuses on more complex design and development tasks. Think about if you have questions after the project, do you know who to call? And will a real person who knows about your project answer the phone?

Unfortunately, no CMS bestows magic powers that turn a novice user into a veteran web developer or designer. We take time to train our clients on the content management system (CMS) for their new site, as well as answer any questions along they way. But, there will be times an update or new feature for your website requires the expertise of the agency project team, and that will likely require a new statement of work.

6. Digital Marketing

Technically, this one could happen while the project is in process and after the project is complete. But especially once your project is done, you'll want to shout it to the world (and the Google bots of course).

Often clients don't have the time or the expertise to do this part of the project themselves. Maintaining your digital presence and ensuring your new site is meeting business goals is a full-time job-- one that requires multiple people to ensure it's working properly.

Digital marketing teams can include a combination of search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), marketing automation, on-going content development, and analytics reporting experts. With that in mind, it may make sense to partner with an agency to make sure your business is getting the most out of your new website.

We hope this helps to clarify some of the factors that go into figuring out the cost of the project, and give more insight into why numbers vary from company to company.

Thinking about starting a website project?

Find out more on our services or learn about our web assessment option.

Should You Create a Branded YouTube Channel For Your Business?

By tiffany on  April 24, 2017

If you’re only using YouTube as a place to watch funny cat videos or find the latest underground band, you’re missing out on its benefits as a powerful business tool to enhance your brand and strengthen your social outreach.

There are tons of resources available about YouTube and how to use it to maximize your brand. But we wanted to share a quick and dirty snapshot about one specific aspect—the benefits of brand channels. 

First, the basics 

If you’re still wondering “Why YouTube?” check out these stats:

Youtube statistics infographic

 

Now That We Have Your Attention...

YouTube offers three types of channels:

  • User: Most basic type, Analytics are provided for the videos, customization is limited to background colors and images.
  • Branded: Offers capabilities to create a more customized experience for users than the basic user channel.
  • Custom Branded Channels: This creates a site-like interface, but unless you have the budget of a Fortune 500 company it’s probably not happening.

YouTube’s One-sheet Guide on Brand Channels [PDF] provides more detail.

Should You Set up a Brand Channel on YouTube?

You shouldn’t set up a brand channel just for the sake of setting one up. But, you should if you have a clear strategy with goals and objectives-- Oh, and some videos.

If done right, there are many benefits of setting up a branded channel. We share three of these below.

A brand channel:

1. Creates a consistent experience for customers and prospects 

Having a branded channel on YouTube allows you to customize the appearance of your page, providing a more consistent look and feel from the website to the channel by incorporating banners and background images. You'll be able to create additional tabs for custom content sections. And, a branded channel also increases opportunities for optimization efforts which can help your company become more visible.

YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. The tagging feature on YouTube allows you to tag keywords for each video, and these tags communicate to the search engines the subjects of your videos. YouTube also offers its own Analytics so you can monitor visits, best performing videos, etc.

2. Expands social outreach

YouTube integrates easily with other social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr. The links to these channels are included in the brand banner so users can easily access additional content.    

3. Cross promotes your website

YouTube videos can be embedded directly on your site, essentially hosting the video through YouTube and easing the strain on your website’s bandwidth. Using YouTube to host your videos also allows the content to be searchable on your site as well as YouTube.

Here's a great example from Sephora's YouTube channel (notice the social media icons and clearly branded banner):

Sephora is doing a great job optimizing their YouTube branded channel.

Okay already! How do I set one up?

Good news: making a branded YouTube channel is easier than you think. Here are a couple resources to help you get started:

Oh, and one last thing. Don’t forget to optimize your channel and videos for the best results!

Uncover more about your own digital presence with our assessment.

YouTube Statistics Image Credit: So Media

 

6 Essential Questions For Selecting a Website Project Manager

By tiffany on  April 24, 2017

A lot of work goes into starting a new web project. After the research, planning, and meetings; you choose an agency to work with, sign the contract, and get started.

 

A big kickoff meeting gets everyone super excited — there's hugs, high fives and you're off and running.

Professionals high-fiving around a conference table

 

But then, at some point….....chirp, chirp

cricket chirping

What happened?

One of the biggest causes of project stall is when the project lead has too many other responsibilities. This makes it difficult to devote the necessary time and attention to the website. Clients often underestimate the amount of time needed to keep the project running smoothly.

Here are some insights to help you get started on the right foot (and stay there).

6 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Project Lead

Who should you choose as your project lead? That's not for us to say, but here are some questions to help you decide who from your company would be the best for the job.

Are you the project lead? Even better! Learn how you can help make your project a success.

1. Does this person have time?

This is the most important piece to consider (that’s why we made it #1)! It sounds simple, so simple that people brush it off. By nature, a good project lead will keep your project on time. But even the most organized leads struggle when they have too many other responsibilities within their company. Make sure the person you choose has time dedicated to working on the project.

Why do they need so much time?

To make sure what gets built is best for your business and your users there may be a lot of questions throughout the process. The project lead should be readily available. They should expect to become "besties" with the project members from the agency. If they're an Agile shop you can expect frequent check-in meetings, called "sprint reviews" every couple weeks. There will also be a fair amount of time needed for the project lead to test and approve what's been presented.

2. Do you need this person to write the content?

This is a huugggeee, gigantic, super important, always underestimated task. Writing good content is time consuming. People have full-time jobs that consist of developing content strategy and writing content for their company. It is by far the most underestimated task of a project and the biggest cause of delays. If you’re expecting your project lead to write content, it should be their only job for the next few months.

Check out this content production calculator to help estimate content time needed for your project.

3. Is this person organized?

Can he or she keep track of tasks and assignments given to them throughout the project? Projects are fast paced and require feedback, testing, and frequent correspondence with the agency. It's important that this individual can keep track of what is needed from their team.

4. Will this person be able to provide timely feedback and approvals?

Sorry to sound like a broken record, but the theme of this post is time. After sprint reviews (regular meetings to review project process), feedback will be needed. Gathering feedback usually consists of testing what is presented and letting the team know of any updates or changes. The project lead may also need to collect feedback from other team members and report back. The quicker feedback and approvals are given, the quicker you can move on to the next part of your project.

5. Is this person the decision maker?

Is he or she trustworthy? Does he or she have an understanding of your audience? It’s extremely helpful if the project lead is trusted to make the decisions for the project. Sometimes there's a lot of people that need to be involved. If this is the case, then the project lead needs to have quick access to those decisions makers.

6. How web savvy is this person?

Most project leads won't have to know HTML (although it is a plus), JavaScript, or any other “techie” stuff; but they should have access to a modern browser, and have an understanding of technology and the Internet.

Consider these questions when selecting your project lead to ensure the success of your project.

Categories: Project Kickoff