Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Shopping for a website is like buying a vehicle

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

There are so many variables that go into pricing a website and let’s face it web producers all need the same basic information, copy and pictures to develop a design prior to programming; but the difference in producers is their ability to develop a site architectured specifically to gain the widest appeal for the client’s audience.

So what does it cost?  That is the question Blue Olive gets asked on at least a weekly basis and that depends on what you can and will do for yourself, and how much you want done for you.  Here are 10 basic questions to consider and that should be asked/answered to give you an accurate price:

1. Do you want a customized design or will a design template do?

2. Do you already have photography, if not then will you be satisfied with stock photography or will you need a photo shoot?

3. Is the copy already written and grammatically correct, if not will you need a copy writer to research and write your copy from scratch or will you be providing some draft copy for them to re-write?

4. Do you know how many pages you anticipate the finished site to be?

5. How often will the copy and pictures on your site need to be updated? If more than yearly, you may need/want a content management application or are you willing to learn some basic HTML coding?

6. Do you want your site to be found by search engines?  If so you will need to have Meta words and analytics (preferably Google, Yahoo, and Bing) embedded in your source code and will need a monthly budget for optimization updates. You will also need to develop a list of potential keywords words or word strings that people would use to search and find your site?

7. What are the goals for your site? To be an electronic brochure or do you want it to be an interactive experience? Is it to attract new visitors/customers or will it be for existing customers already familiar with your products/services or does it need to attract both? Do you want/expect to be on Page 1 of searches?

8. Will you want to gather visitor contact information so you can reach back with emails later?

9. Will you sell products/services on the site?

10. Do you already own a URL address and where will the site be hosted?

While these aren’t the only questions you will need to answer, they provide a good start in making an educated decision before selecting the best interactive team to meet your web needs.

And, since a blog of mine wouldn’t be finished without an analogy, think about your web budget like shopping for or replacing a vehicle. Why do you need a vehicle? To transport people and cargo from one place to another? Why do you need a website? To transport information about products and services you provide?

While a compact car is less expensive than a transport truck, and a Saturn, Honda, and Toyota are generally less expensive than a Cadillac or a Range Rover, many buyers of web services don’t understand the web end product like they do a vehicle and unfortunately you just can’t make a Schwinn bicycle work when you really need a Cheverolet Suburban.  Think of the frustration you will feel when you can’t transport your kids to school or take your family on vacation.

So, beware… sometimes you get what you pay for, but did you really know what you were buying?

Dr. Google, can you direct me to Main Street?

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

Let’s face it, there is no main street on the world wide web.  In offline business you pay top dollar for a good location in an effort that everyday traffic will see your business, remember your business, and will shop with your business when they need or want your product or service. That’s not to say dollars aren’t spent on advertising and marketing, but certainly the cost of a good location and good signage should offer some relief to the marketing budget. 

Offline businesses that opt to own or lease space in a more remote area must spend more dollars in marketing and advertising so potential customers are aware they exist.  It’s truly a trade off.  And while there is no LOCATION advantage on the web, there is an ADDRESS advantage, but let’s face it by now there are NO short, easy, one-word URL names available, unless you want to spend big bucks buying a name from an address name “hi-jacker”.  So what’s a new business (or older, established one that didn’t buy a name years ago) to do? 

They must advertise and market their online business.  Driving potential customers to their online website is where the whole wide world is heading on the World Wide Web.

Page 1 – that’s every client that walks through my doors #1 goal and objective for their website and/or web business.  Getting there is time consuming and staying there is not inexpensive. Currently Google, the #1 search engine of choice as I write this blog,  states plain and clear in their own documentation that it can take anywhere from a year or more to get to Page 1.  Now keep in mind as you are working to get to Page 1 so are hundreds of thousands of other websites; so even when you get there you can’t be complacent.  You must continually work on your site to stay on Page 1.  Why, because Google says so and so do most of the other search engines, like Yahoo, and Bing.  They mostly recognize websites that are well maintained and have “fresh content” – that’s not to say a weed or two (old articles) doesn’t creep into the search, but they generally try to keep Page 1 offerings with the sites they deem are following their rules.

Lots of companies offer assistance for getting and staying on Page 1. Beware!!! Not all companies’ offerings are alike.  Be sure you know what you are buying or better yet, what you want, as services from provider to provider will vary dramatically.  Like … hamburgers. Yes I just said hamburgers.  You can buy a $1.00 hamburger from McDonald’s, a $7.50 hamburger from Chili’s, a $12.00 hamburger from Marriott Hotel & Spa’s restaurant 360, a $30 hamburger in New York City and most of you have a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in your home town or city that will have a great, juicy, delicious burger for around $5.00.  Each burger is palatable and priced right for its intended audience – however they really can’t be compared nor would you expect or demand the Marriott to match McDonald’s price just because they are right down the street from one another or because they are both hamburgers and should therefore be the same no matter who is cooking/serving them.

I like to think of our agency and interactive capabilities as equal to the hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  Most people don’t know we’re here but we have a very tasty product and those that dine with us, are provided a good product they enjoy, they are well taken care of and each meal is cooked to order – and while we aren’t located on Main Street some of our clients are ranked on Page 1.

So why do companies try to compare/judge advertising agencies in that type of side-by-side fashion? All marketing firms aren’t alike like all hamburgers aren’t alike. Bigger isn’t always better & cheaper is never best.

Raising Clients

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

This past week my oldest child turned 13.  While I was recovering from the realization of now being a parent to a teenager I also began reflecting back on bringing him home from the hospital and the new feelings of being a first time parent; that feeling of responsibility was overwhelming. As I watch him today, I am quite proud of the young man he has become and though I have made many mistakes as a parent to him, those initial feelings of insecurity have been replaced with pride each and every time someone shares with me how respectful, well mannered, and “a great kid” he is and I know that my husband and I must be doing something right.

My parenting style is not to everyone’s taste, I am strict, direct, set high expectations, yet not unrealistic, and as a working mom I am not available for every milestone or achievement, so when I am with my children I try to be extremely nurturing and focused to make up for all the time I’m away.  As I considered my parenting style it became quiet obvious to me that my professional style was parallel – and that not only was I raising 3 children, I am and have been raising dozens of client over the past 13 years as well.

As a small marketing and interactive firm, we don’t get Fortune 500 companies calling us to participate in an upcoming agency review. In fact, it is a rare occasion that we get an opportunity to work with a well seasoned company with a dedicated full-time vice-president of marketing or even a director of marketing who understands the agency’s role as a support to their goals and objectives. Most of our clients are newcomers to the advertising, marketing, and interactive arena and we spend much of the first year or two in a teaching mode.  While they aren’t in an infant stage, as they aren’t completely dependent on us, they are more in a toddler stage.  Our clients can do a few things for themselves, but are easily distracted and easily upset when we say “no” to some of the things they want, and like many toddlers even after being told “no” they will attempt to do it themselves and later understand the consequences. Unfortunately just like toddlers, those lessons learned don’t usually apply to new wants and wishes.

While I do miss the days before I became a parent and business owner, when I was living in Atlanta and later in Nashville, working for large agencies in production and account management and some of my clients were, Marriott Hotels, Swiss Hotel, BellSouth, The Home Depot, Turner Communications, Cox Communications, Northside Hospital, Northside Realty, Opryland Hotel, Baptist Hospital,  just to name a few, I take great pride in seeing my “toddler” clients grow and am glad to see many of them, just as I am personally glad to see my son, reach ”early adulthood” where they appreciate Blue Olive’s rolling and guidance in helping them reach their goals of brand recognition and revenue growth.