The Journey to the Perfect Website

If you're thinking about building a website, get ready for a mental overload. First, you have to decide whether you’re going to build it yourself, or get someone to do it for you. Then, you have to find someone that can take the project on. At that point, you have to decide what kind of website you want built.

There are literally, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of “website developers” out there in the world today, and they will present you with a plethora of options. 

So, how do you make decisions regarding your new site? Here’s a SyncDS cheat sheet.

To Build, or To Let Someone Build

If You Build It

You have full control. You have no middle man to execute changes. You’re working on your timeline, not competing with other outside projects. You’ll get to learn a new skill. You must now take time out from your business to build. There are endless choices in technology. You won’t be able to keep up. Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts will surely be negligible. 

If Someone Else Builds It

You can run your business while the site is being built. You’ll have a wealth of knowledge working for you. You’re paying for results, which means you’ll get them. Your site will [should] be optimized for SEO. An organized workflow, and trackable results.

Now, let’s assume, someone else builds it:

Who Will Build Your Site?

Someone You Know

Examples: Uncle, Friend, Cousin, Nephew, Employee, etc. They will be fitting your site into their daily lives. This is likely someone at a small scale operation with limited resources. You’re probably looking at mixing business and pleasure at this point, which you have to take into consideration. This is almost always, you’re cheaper option.

Someone You Don’t

Examples: Agency, Firm, Web Designer by-trade, etc. You’ll be presented with a proposal, and given options. There will be a structured timeline for completion. All of the latest trends and tech will be taken into consideration. This will cost a bit more, but you’re likely to get a greater deal of satisfaction.

What Kind of Site Should I Get?

Your Options

Examples: Custom, Template, Custom Code, Animation, Graphical, etc. TIP: You probably won’t know what your web dev contact is talking about. Instead of jargon, think about your commitment to long-term online strategy. Most analysts say a website should cost around 2% of your gross annual profit, if your business makes less than $5-million, per year. That’s a part of your overall suggested 7 - 8% marketing spend. You may be scared of the word template. In the 90′s, it suggested that someone was buying a design that would not be reserved exclusively for your site. Essentially, you could end having a site that looks just like your competitors. Today, templates are starting points to get the project launched quickly. If you have a limited budget, ask to start there.Websites have come a long way. Every quote should contain a CMS system (a way you can make small edits), design, options to add 3rd party video, content drafting, and a responsive site (no matter what screen size someone is on, the site is designed for them to view it).

Don’t Get Caught in the Hype

It’s easy to get lost in the words of a developer, but tell them to stop, and consider your industry, your budget, and your timeline. Even if you’re taking percentages into account, you should never spend less than $1000 on a website, before hosting. You want to motivate developers to do a great job for you.

Now, what does a good job look like?

These are just some examples of quality websites that incorporate the latest trends, and that you can get done within that budget outlined above. Of course, it’s but 5 examples amongst thousands.

I hope this has helped you make a decision. If you need help with your website, let’s talk.

The Pros vs The Fair-Weather Agencies


The Pros vs The Fair-Weather Agencies


So, you're thinking of having a website developed, potentially get onto social media, and you're looking for information about this thing you keep hearing about; SEO. The next step is to meet with "pros" about how you can implement these changes in your business. So, you take some meetings. Perhaps you Google "digital marketing agency" or you go old school and ask around. Eventually you get a list of 3 to 5 agencies and freelancers you'd like to meet with. Now what?

We have come up with a list of 5 things you should pay attention to when taking meetings with agencies and freelancers. These are important, because they will weed out the pros from the fair-weather marketers.


01. Websites: Show Me Some Samples

Whomever you are talking to should be able to show you samples of desktop and mobile sites on the spot. Ask for 5 samples of various designs. Those designs should include; informational, graphical, advanced coding, mobile adaptation, and eCommerce. Now perhaps you're wondering why you'd want to see all 5 samples when you don't need a few of them. This is a sure shot way to see how experienced the website developer is. If they have samples of all 5 chances are they have the experience necessary to move forward.

02. SEO

Here is where a lot of agencies and freelancers can prove their honesty. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It's the art and science of ranking high on search engines like Google. When you meet with someone about SEO you should ask them a few key questions:

  • Who have you worked with, and can you show me their rankings?
  • How do you charge? TIP: SEO should not be charged monthly. Any SEO company in 2018 and beyond that knows what they are doing should charge based on the goals and tasks regardless of how long they take. Don't get trapped into monthly SEO charges.
  • What is the most powerful tool in your SEO toolkit? Sync's is the execution of connecting through .EDU sites.

03. Ads

Many of the most popular platforms have become pay-to-play environments. Any online strategy needs to involve an ads campaign. Be weary of anyone that says otherwise. There are exceptions with small tasks but if your strategy is broad then ads need to be a part of the plan. Make sure you are billed directly for your ads. This way you can guarantee that the marketer is not taking points on your ads that you haven't agreed to. Here's another great test for your marketer. Ask for an honest assessment of when you can expect to see results from ads campaigns. TIP: It won't be right away. The marketer needs to do several tests to figure out optimal ad output. Without those tests you WILL spend money unnecessarily.


04. Social Media Networks

Social Media Management or SMM is a juggernaut job. A total strategy involves content, ads, multimedia, network growth, interaction management, and analytics. Once again, ask for samples. There should be 5 to 8 samples given for various networks. Ask what the goals for each network is, and which you should be involved in. Find out exact parameters for each of the tasks and also ask why. Lastly, you need to find out how the SMM strategies will fit seamlessly with your existing offline measures.


05. Analytics/Reporting

Take a look at the reporting structure of the marketer. Ask for custom elements if something is important to you. Also, establish frequency. Reporting more than once per month is likely ineffective and micro-managing, but any less than once per month and you'll be in danger of not understanding where you sit with your efforts.