Wouldn’t it be great to know if anybody calls your business after visiting your website?

Wouldn’t it be great to know if anybody calls your business after visiting your website?

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]You’re working to grow your business.  People visit your website, they look around, they are impressed, they pick up the phone and call you. Wonderful.  But here is the problem:  you don’t know that their website visit DROVE their call.  So you don’t know if your website is being effective or not.  It makes it hard to assess how much to invest in your web presence over other tools OR whether changes you’ve made are working to drive business.

When you have ecommerce its easier.  Someone visits your website, adds a widget to a cart and pays online; we can track that visitor all the way back to how they found your website and the path they took when they got to your site and finally made a purchase.

[blockquote type=”left”]How to track a website lead if the lead calls your phone after visiting your website[/blockquote]

Maybe you are asking, “Say how did you hear about us?” But YOU don’t always answer the phone, the phone answering person does. You could ask them to survey customers a bit and maybe you do this.  After a few months you ask the phone answering person(s) “So, how many folks who call us found us on the internet and called from our website?” and you get an answer like “Oh, a few.” or “Lots!” What’s a lot anyway?

Phone call tracking to the rescue

You have options. yes you do. i can help. Here’s how. There’s a FREE way and a PAY way. As with anything you get what you pay for, but free just might be fine for you. In fact, I recommend starting with the free version just to see if you’re getting ANY leads from your website via telephone and to get your feet wet with call tracking.

What is call tracking?

In its most basic form call tracking records information about an incoming phone call. Note that it doesn’t record the call conversation.

How does call tracking work?

Call tracking works by generating new phone numbers on your website per visitor, then directing those numbers back to your business line.  Its transparent to the caller and your business, but allows for direct tracking of information.

Not too many details please

Righto, I won’t bog you down with details. Here’s the skinny of what you need to know about call tracking and how to get started.[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”paperclip”]It’s important to know that when someone dials a call tracking phone number it redirects to your regular business phone number. You just go about your business as you normally do.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”paperclip”]If you’re paying for online advertising and you are a service professional you should be using call tracking.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”paperclip”]Free call tracking is provided by Google Voice and simply tracks that someone did call you.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”paperclip”]Pay call tracking starts at about $30 per month and do some of that analytics that you get from ecommerce tracking for things like keywords searched, what ad was clicked, or the path taken through your website.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Cheap Website – It Can Be Done – Sometimes

Cheap Website – It Can Be Done – Sometimes

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][text_output]How can I get a cheap website? If you’re a small business owner you may have never said it out loud but you thought it. You may have even searched Google. There you are in your home office late at night trying to find ways to save money and the idea of investing in your internet presence sounds like throwing money out the window. Of course you’re not thinking straight right now but no one is going to convince you otherwise while you’re in this state of mind.

So there you go searching for help. You don’t search for affordable website or cost effective website, you search for cheap website. The search results are a dizzying array of offers. I actually know what I’m looking at and I was overwhelmed with all the cheap website offers returned in a search for “cheap website”.

If you don’t know already, I’m a professional marketer, brand, website builder person. I see business owners trying to balance the cost vs. value of websites and marketing in general. But…[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ class=”mvs mbs”]You Can Have a Cheap Website[/custom_headline][text_output]Cheap Website

I just finished my first SquareSpace website for a contracted client BRADA Manufacturing who is a client of R&B IT Solutions. They were the perfect case for a SquareSpace website builder website and you might be too. In the case of BRADA MFG they had a WordPress website that was hacked. So they wanted out. I explained that WordPress isn’t the problem. WordPress websites usually get hacked because of weak passwords, outdated versions of WordPress or Plugins. But that didn’t matter to BRADA.

Being hacked is not why BRADA is the perfect client for SquareSpace website builder. There were perfect because some of the reasons listed below fit them. Check out the list. It might be right for you.[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]Although my client is a manufacturer Squarespace says they cater to portfolio sites like photographers, and restaurants, musicians and wedding / occasions.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]Squarespace is for you if you want something attractive and simple. For many, this is just fine especially if you’re a set it and forget it type. You’ll never be bothered with upgrading and all that.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]You don’t need anything “special”. Squarespace has photo galleries but only three options. There’s no membership, or private areas or download tools or just about anything you might need besides a basic website.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]If you sell online it works but its limited and if you sell a lot they take a lot.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]Search Engine Optimization. If you need to work on your SEO Squarespace is “good” a solid “B+” I’m told. Still it won’t compete against hard working Search Engine Optimization.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][text_output]Yes, you can have a very nice and attractive Cheap Website. I’ve seen it happen. If you’re a business owner I don’t recommend you go at this by yourself. I would still use a professional, like me for example.

You have a business to run. Unless you don’t have any customers or money you’ve got nothing else to do, go at it.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Post on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and more. All in one step!

Post on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and more. All in one step!

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column fade_animation_offset=”45px” width=”1/1″][text_output]If you are like me, you spend a lot of time crafting the perfect post for your website, Facebook, Twitter, email to a client, whatever. Or if you’re not like me you just whip it out because you’re good at it. For me, content takes a while to get it right.

Finally you or your writer are done with the press release, product description, recipe, job posting, portfolio addition, new campaign or offer. What do you do now? You probably add it to your website and manually go to several different social networks and share / write again, and again. Now what took a real long time is taking even longer. (more…)

Please Use a Password Manager

Please Use a Password Manager

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]In the last 10 years whenever I’ve had the ear of a young person I always asked that they protect their identity. This was way before all the Facebook problems they now encounter. I was referring to their personal information. Well it’s not just for kids anymore. I’m concerned for all of you now.

I could go on about the dangers out there, why you need to do this, a bunch of stats to scare you, and review of different products but I know you’re busy so I’ll cut to the chase.

Yes you need a password manager

With that out of the way which one should you get?[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″]

[pricing_table_column interval=”One Time” title=”1Password” price=”50 desktop, $18 for OS” currency=”$”]1pw

Easier to use

Syncs across all your devices

Costly to startup with no free version

A ‘Family Pack’ to reduce costs[gap size=”1.313em”]

1Password Website [/pricing_table_column][pricing_table_column interval=”Yearly” title=”Dashlane” price=”30 and a FREE version” currency=”$”]dl

Can be a bit intrusive for folks

Not quite as easy to use

FREE version can get you up and running now[gap size=”1.313em”]

Dashlane Website [/pricing_table_column]

[/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]

Which password manager do I use?

I use 1Password because it’s been around a long time and there weren’t any good alternatives. When I help someone with their computer I start them out with Dashlane because it’s free and I want them to have something.

Noteworthy

Both these apps offer lots more like auto filling and storage of credit cards, addresses, all sorts of notes and the like.

EVERYONE finds password managers to be a pain in the butt. You will too. Stick with it. Ask me to help you set it up and figure it out.

The big stumbling blocks for folks when using password managers

  • They don’t get the concept of letting the app choose a ridiculously complex password for all your websites. Go ahead and set it up for 16 character passwords. You don’t care how complex they are because you only have to remember one password to get the app running.
  • When invoking the password manager they don’t always get the right info in the right field. This is because not all websites set up their password fields in the same way so the password manager gets confused and you have to copy and paste sometimes.

All of these stumbling blocks are better than having your information stolen.

Do you really want to do your own research? Here are a few reviews.

Which password manager should you use – 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass?

The Best Way to Manage All Your Passwords

Painful decision Dashlane or 1Password[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Protect Your Brand with Service Marks

Protect Your Brand with Service Marks

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Yupper, Walmart service marked the word ALWAYS. I would argue its not defendable but they’re gonna do it anyway just to let competitors know they’re ready for a fight if they try to infringe. Be tough, be like Walmart.

OK folks. As much as I would like to believe that you are reading this post because you searched the internet and found me, its more likely I suggested you read this article and that’s how you got here.

I was listening to you talk about all the effort you put in to your product/service/thingy. You told me after tons of brainstorming you developed something great and your clients’ love it. Then the jerk down the street just ripped it off and tacked in on to their product, service or thingy within a few days of you releasing it to the world and within a few minutes of the copycat finding out about it. GRRRRRRRRR!

It took you days, even weeks, to iron all the details out and within a few hours that jerk is offering the same thing as you. Now you’re mad as hell and don’t know what to do about it.

Its also likely you don’t have a ton of time or money to protect yourself from this sort of stuff and on top of it you may not really have any legal recourse. But you might. I’ll bet you don’t even have enough time to even read this post. I really don’t have enough time to write it, but I’m just as pissed off as you so I’m doing it for all of us.

“Raising awareness is your most practical path to stop the copycat.  If you do not take action, people may begin to think that YOU are the copycat.” We don’t want that. Nobody wants that except the copycats. ((HARRIETE ESTEL BERMAN))

Regardless, let’s keep this post a secret and those jerks won’t know the truth and are scared off by you implementing this little secret to protect your creativity and hard work from the evil concept thieves.

In short: add a Service Mark to all your creative taglines, slogans, catch phrases and even service offerings. Yup, just add “SM” at the end of it all.

Below are examples, definitions and rules regarding service marks I culled from the web. If you do spend the time to read them you’ll see large grey legal areas exist. Don’t let it bother you. Just move ahead with steps below to protect yourself.

The steps:

Note: I’m going to use the term tagline to represent any and everything we’re talking about. So if it’s a slogan or service or whatever, I’m calling it a tagline. 

[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check”]It’s unlikely you already have an SM attached to your tagline at this time.  So go find the oldest vendor receipt or anything that will validate the earliest date the tagline was published. Just know where those documents are in case you need them someday.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check”]Before the next printing, modify your tagline so it is a bit more protectable. Example: instead of “Made with Love” change it to“[your thing] made with love SM”. Get it published/printed.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check”]Create a Cease and Desist form and send it to all the jerks you can find. Have your lawyer send them out for you OR allow you to send them on his/her behalf; it’s more powerful. The letters are attached, one would be from you the other would be from your lawyer. They are both are the same in essence.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check”]Have fun and sleep well knowing you’re trying to protect your assets and the jerks are probably now not sleeping well.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][vc_row_inner no_margin=”true” padding_top=”10px” padding_bottom=”10px” border=”none” bg_color=”#afd65c” class=”phl center-text”][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][text_output]

Download the Desist Letters…

[ddownload id=”3553″ text=”Desist Letter NOT from a Lawyer” style=”button” color=”grey”] [ddownload id=”3550″ text=”Desist Letter from a Lawyer” style=”button” color=”grey”][/text_output][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][text_output]


Some research

I culled and highlighted juicy bits.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Service+Mark

The service mark is also available in unicode as symbol U+2120; it displays on Unicode-capable browsers as ℠.

The HTML entity is ℠

If you don’t know what that is just have your web folks take care of it.

The rights to a service mark may be acquired in two ways. First, a business can register the mark with the government. Most service marks are eligible for registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Several state governments have separate registration requirements. Once a service mark has been registered, the law typically affords protection to the first mark filed with the government. Second, a business may acquire rights to a service mark through public use. However, a mark must be held out to the public regularly and continuously before it will receive legal protection. Sporadic or irregular use of a service mark will not insulate it from infringement.

To receive protection, a service mark must also be unique, unusual, or distinctive. Common, ordinary, and generic marks rarely qualify for protection. For example, a professional association of physicians could never acquire exclusive rights to register a service mark under the name “Health Care Services.” Such a mark does little to distinguish the services provided by the business and tells consumers nothing about the health Care practitioners involved. The law would give full legal protection to these same doctors, however, if they applied for a mark under the name “Snap and Jerk Chiropractic Services.”

Once a business has established a vested right in a service mark, the law forbids other businesses from advertising their services with deceptively similar marks. Service mark infringement occurs when a particular mark is easily confused with other marks already established in the same trade and geographic market. Greater latitude is given when businesses that share similar marks are in unrelated fields or offer services in different consumer markets. For example, a court would be more inclined to allow two businesses to share the same mark when one business provides pest control services in urban areas, while the other provides film developing services in rural areas.

http://www.how-to-branding.com/Trademark-Logo.html

[highlight color=”black”]Registration of your name or [service] mark is not required. You can establish rights based on legitimate use of the [tagline/phrase], name or logo.[/highlight]

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-slogan-be-trademark.html

Informational Matter Slogans and other terms that are considered to be merely informational in nature, or to be common laudatory phrases or statements that would ordinarily be used in business or in the particular trade or industry, are not registrable …

It’s on these basis, for example, that the slogan THINK GREEN was rejected as a trademark because it was merely a statement of environmental awareness. The slogan, HAIR COLOR SO NATURAL ONLY HER HAIRDRESSER KNOWS FOR SURE was registered because consumers associated the slogan with a particular product. The only way to overcome this objection is to show that consumers associate the slogan with your products or services.

Typically, a slogan cannot be protected under copyright law as copyright does not protect short phrases. A short phrase can be protected in conjunction with an illustration or it may be protected in some cases, if it is taken from a larger well-known work, such as taking a line from a movie.

http://www.embassylawgroup.com/?q=node/39 (this website is no longer active)

[highlight color=”black”]Regarding how to safeguard a catchphrase, slogan or tagline with a trademark or service mark, technically, you do not have to register anything with the government, but only have to be able to show a legitimate use of the mark in order to establish rights to it. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to use the “TM” or “SM” designation to alert the public to your claim, which may be done without any kind of filing or registration.[/highlight]

http://www.galvanilegal.com/can-a-slogan-be-a-trademark

“Use of a designation or slogan to convey advertising or promotional information, rather than to identify and indicate the source of the services, is not service mark use.”

http://www.ivanhoffman.com/slogans.html

…[highlight color=”black”]protecting slogans is often a very difficult proposition.  However, from the marketing as well as the legal standpoint, the more that such slogans are used in tight connection to a product or service, the more weight such use may carry over time in terms of the trademark registration process.[/highlight]  The user of the slogan should keep detailed records and notes as well as copies of all uses of the slogan in order to document claims of “secondary meaning,” both for purposes of federal registration as well as its claims under unfair competition and common law trademark laws.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How do I get on the first page in a Google search result?

How do I get on the first page in a Google search result?

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]If anyone answers you with a “yes guaranteed” they are being deceptive. No one can guarantee first page results for anything accept your domain name and that has limited value. Or they can guarantee it but its probably very expensive to get it done and therefore completely cost prohibitive and not practical.

The smart-ass answer you’ll get from smart-ass web jerks like me is “for what keyword? It’s actually a legitimate question that needs some explaining. You’ll likely get frustrated with the smart-ass web guy because no explanation will be given. Or, you do get an explanation of how to get your website to be on the first page of Google search results, but it’s so complicated and long-winded, your head spins. If you get the long answer our head should spin; it’s actually quite hard and time consuming. I suggest you leave it to a professional. So let me give some straight talk that is as simple and easy as on you as possible; at least you’ll understand what’s happening when you hire a web Search Engine Optimization professional.

I believe the best way to help you understand is through examples.

Lets start with that jerk’s statement “for what keywords”? Let’s suppose you have a flower shop in Los Angeles. To give you good examples I’ve got to use real companies. I’ve picked Boulevard Florist http://www.boulevardflst.com/. I have no idea if this company has done anything to move themselves up in Google.[/text_output][image type=”thumbnail” float=”left” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3940″ title=”Click to see a large view of this Google Search” lightbox_caption=”I searched for “boulevard florist los angeles”. Of course they’ll come up first.” style=”width: 350px;” link=”true” class=”boulevard-florist”][text_output]Yes, Boulevard Florist is on the first page in search results on Google. I’ll prove it. Click the screen capture to the left. There it is first in Google search results. But wait, what did I search for? Well I searched for “boulevard florist los angeles”. Of course they’ll come up first. Frankly, it should. This kind of search result has limited value to a company. The value is someone already knows and is looking for a company and searches for the company name. They want to call or get the street address or heard about the company some other way, and this search is great for that.

This is where the “for what keywords” question has value. This company and most companies want NEW customers.

Put yourself in the shoes of a customer. The potential new customer isn’t going to search by name of a company; they will search by product or service. The search in our case would be “flower shops”, among others but we’ll just stick to the one search term for now. Let’s try that search.[/text_output][image type=”thumbnail” float=”right” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3942″ title=”Click to see a large view of this Google Search” lightbox_caption=”I searched for “flower shops”. Trust me our test flower shop is nowhere to be found on page one or any of the first ten pages.” style=”width: 200px;” link=”true” class=”flower-shops”][text_output]Well now where is Boulevard Florist? Nowhere. This is hard and no disrespect to them. Google knows I’m in LA and is nice enough to return many LA Florists. Notice along with the LA florists, national brands and advertisers are also being returned in the search results. This is complex. Let’s refine our search. Because we want a local company.[/text_output][clear][image type=”thumbnail” float=”left” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3943″ title=”Click to see a large view of this Google Search” lightbox_caption=”I searched for “flower shops in los angeles”. These poor folks are on page six. This is hard people.” style=”width: 200px;” link=”true” class=”flower-shops-la”][text_output]Let’s search for “flower shops in los angeles” and see what we get. OK, there we are on page six of Google search results. How many of you get to page six when you search on Google? This sucks.[/text_output][clear][image type=”thumbnail” float=”right” info=”tooltip” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”3944″ title=”Click to see a large view of this Google Search” lightbox_caption=”I searched for “wholesale flowers los angeles”. Page one, finally some real results. Good for them.” style=”width: 200px;” link=”true” class=”wholesale-flowers-la”][text_output]On the website Boulevard Florists states they are a wholesaler too and quite prominently. Let’s search for “wholesale flowers los angeles”. BAM there they are on page one of Google search results. Good for them, I hope. They also state a “Retail Division” who is not really placing in Google search results. This is a very competitive keyword space and to do better in Google will take some work.

We have learned that it is very hard to compete for “competitive keywords”. It can be done. But let’s make sure we are stateing on our websites exactly what we want to be represented on Google and your website must answer the terms or keywords that searchers search for. That’s the answer. That’s how you come up first in Google search results.

Want some help with that?[/text_output][text_output][line]

Who’s the guy with the weird glasses on his head?

Hugo Gernsback, inventor, the “father of modern science fiction” and the namesake for the Hugo Award. Yes, that is a full functioning TV set he’s wearing. He invented that. OK Google?[/text_output][lightbox selector=”.boulevard-florist” opacity=”.7″ prev_scale=”0.75″ prev_opacity=”0.75″ next_scale=”0.75″ next_opacity=”0.75″ orientation=”horizontal”][lightbox selector=”.flower-shops” opacity=”.7″ prev_scale=”0.75″ prev_opacity=”0.75″ next_scale=”0.75″ next_opacity=”0.75″ orientation=”horizontal”][lightbox selector=”.flower-shops-la” opacity=”.7″ prev_scale=”0.75″ prev_opacity=”0.75″ next_scale=”0.75″ next_opacity=”0.75″ orientation=”horizontal”][lightbox selector=”.wholesale-flowers-la” opacity=”.7″ prev_scale=”0.75″ prev_opacity=”0.75″ next_scale=”0.75″ next_opacity=”0.75″ orientation=”horizontal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

What’s Your Budget?

What’s Your Budget?

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]If you’ve read any of my posts in the past you may have noticed I can be a little sarcastic. I’m going to be particularly sarcastic in this post. At least I think I am, I’m feeling sarcastic!

I am going to keep this short. For a couple reasons, mostly because all the stuff that’s already been written before. I’m not writing any of it. I am searching the Internet. I searched for about 30 minutes.

Well, it all depends. It appears there are several ways to set budgets but I think a couple are better than the others.

Most folks agree it varies by industry and business size. It is also based on how much you want to grow, and how fast.

I do like this article from www.inc.com. How to Build Your Marketing Budget ((How to Build Your Marketing Budget)) because it’s short and easy to understand. I know you’re busy.

A marketing budget typically covers costs for advertising, promotion and public relations. Each amount varies based on the size of the business, its annual sales and how much the competition is advertising. Depending on the industry, [highlight type=”standard”]marketing budgets can range from as low as 1% of sales to over 30%. New companies may spend as much as 50% of sales for introductory marketing programs in the first year[/highlight]. Smaller business may just try to match the spending of their direct competitors.((Cost of Marketing: What Is the Average Budget? | LegalZoom.))

Okay, that second quote is a little vague. However, you can see a variance and what they should be based on.

You can stop reading right after this next sentence. For every million dollars of gross sales you should spend about $100,000 a year on marketing.

More info if you would like to keep researching. I am citing three articles for this article. You can go to those websites and read all the details if you like. Or, here’s a few more tidbits from those articles.

In addition to the “percentage of sales” method mentioned above here are a few more ways marketing budgets take shape.

Blank Slate: Just add it all up and pay for it. Who does this anymore?

Competitor Matching: Nothing wrong with this, especially if it works for you.

How Much Do We Have?: Sometimes we have to work this way because cash is limited or a budget was handed to us from someone else. Please be realistic and honest with your vendors. It will be to your advantage.((5 Guidelines for Establishing Your Marketing Budget – Maricich. links to a PDF.))[/text_output][accordion][accordion_item title=”Photo Credits”]Let’s commission this artist on your next project. See the photo here.[/accordion_item][/accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Can anyone tell me how much a website costs?

Can anyone tell me how much a website costs?

[vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Please pay attention to the date of this post. Because I WILL GIVE ACTUAL NUMBERS. If this post is old when you read it, take it in to consideration.

I’m basing this on my personal experience in the web design business since 1994. These are what I would call “RURAL PRICING” opposed to “URBAN PRICING”. URBAN defined as Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA, SF, Cupertino, etc. Better talent, higher cost of living, up to double these prices for URBAN.

I didn’t do any serious research. I didn’t look up things in the trade journals I subscribe to either. I just wrote.

First This post is for the small business owner or department manager who needs an understanding of website costs. You’re not going to get all the answers you need from reading this but it will help a great deal. You will see a price table further down the page. A seasoned web professional will immediately see these prices are for the sole proprietor up to [extra href=”#” title=”Define: Small Business” target=”blank” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=”The U.S. Small Business Administration defines “small business” according to a set of standards based on industry. | Manufacturing and mining <= 500 employees | Wholesale trade <= 100 employees | Retail and service <= $6 million average annual revenue | General and heavy construction <= $28.5 million average annual revenue | Special trade contractors <= $12 million average annual revenue |  Agriculture <= $0.75 million average annual revenue”] small business [/extra] websites.

How much does a new car cost?

You go first. How would you answer this question with a dollar amount? With a bit of reflection you might say cars cost from $12,000 to $200,000. Realizing this answer is not much help to narrow it down. Cars average $18,000 to $50,000. Most fall in to this price range. Most people buy from this price range. Other price ranges exists at $50-80, $80-125, etc. but they are smaller markets. Well thank you, that narrows it down a bit better.

We all understand car prices and how to purchase one a bit better than website design and build prices. Websites have unique factors to consider compared to purchasing a car. What I mean by that statement is that in order to comfortably afford a $75,000 car, assumptions of your income and the ability to afford the car, etc. are clarified by you and the car sales person within a few minutes.

Herein lies a problem that the auto industry has an easier time with. Cars are categorized, priced and marketed in generally neat groups that we all understand. After all they are a physical object; you can kick the tires. When shopping you know ahead of time the price range of cars. If you don’t know for sure, you ask and research for an hour or so. If you need help a car salesperson might ask you what you want to pay per month and show you what is available.

Adding and removing options from the car modify the price in a predictable way. But look at the website options to be considered below. How do you monetize that? In short, with effort. The best way is to start with a budget. Website are like cars in that there are certain things a car must and should have. After that, add specialization like 4WD to your car or an Email Marketing System to your website project or a sports transmission or staff training. Just like a car you can get these options at different quality and price ranges. But you probably would know the difference between an 4WD Subaru and a 4WD BMW just by sitting in the cars. When sitting in the BMW you might say “Yep! regardless if I buy it or not, I can feel why this BMW cost $35,000 more than the Subaru.” BMW just spent more time on the research, design, component quality, and build. Both have 4WD, Both are good cars at good value. Ah VALUE. The BMW might also be priced even higher because BMW feels they have VALUE. Ya, this is called Value Based Pricing. Will that happen when shopping for a website vendor? Let’s hope so. This is NOT a commodity.

How much does a website cost?

[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-square-o”]I have to make an assumption list, that you:[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”] have your brand, identity and position all finished and performing well out there the market.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]have a quality and digital: photo, PDF, MSDS, spreadsheet, text file of every service, product, employee, customer, event, award, press release, license. It’s all inventoried and ready to go up on the website.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]have skilled and trained staff who also have the time to publish and manage all the above stuff.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]have strategies, marketing and launch campaigns ready to go for AR, AP, HR, Sales, Support.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][text_output]All the things on the assumption list  are figured out, done, ready to go. We just need the website. Oh! OK, here we go. That’s a great base that we’ll start from with real numbers.

Here are your website design quotes…

[/text_output]

[pricing_table_column title=”Agency 1″ currency=”$” price=”3-15K” interval=”Launch Cost”][icon name=”check” class=””] Website Design


[icon name=”check” class=””] Production & Build


[icon name=”check” class=””] Content Management


[icon name=”check” class=””] Hosting


[icon name=”check” class=””] SSL, etc.[/pricing_table_column][pricing_table_column title=”Agency 2″ currency=”$” price=”15-30K” interval=”Launch Cost”][icon name=”check” class=””] Website Design


[icon name=”check” class=””] Production & Build


[icon name=”check” class=””] Content Management


[icon name=”check” class=””] Hosting


[icon name=”check” class=””] SSL, etc.[/pricing_table_column][pricing_table_column title=”Agency 3″ currency=”$” price=”30-45K” interval=”Launch Cost”][icon name=”check” class=””] Website Design


[icon name=”check” class=””] Production & Build


[icon name=”check” class=””] Content Management


[icon name=”check” class=””] Hosting


[icon name=”check” class=””] SSL, etc.[/pricing_table_column]

[text_output]

Sleazy_Used_Car_Salesman_Marketing_Copywriting_GuaranteedHow did that happen?

[highlight color=”black”]Did you get estimates for a Hyundai, Subaru, and BMW? Maybe. Or is someone ripping you off? Maybe. Are one of the quotes value based? Maybe.[/highlight]

[clear]What do you think?

Are these numbers ridiculously low, high, or too big a range? What are you getting for your money anyway? If the assumption list is accurate your getting website design, production, SSL and a CMS. Maybe some training, hosting and so on.

Its likely A moderate amount to NONE of these things are included:[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Consulting[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Writing, image editing, content inventory[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Ecommerce[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Search Engine Optimization[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Video, animation[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][text_output]

How to Price Your Website Project

On the web front pricing is not so easy, is it? Buyers don’t know how to shop or what they’re buying in this arena. Website agencies can appear to be [extra href=”#” title=”Define: Carpetbagger” target=”blank” info=”popover” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=”In United States history, a carpetbagger was a Northerner (Yankee) who moved to the South after the U.S. Civil War, especially during the Reconstruction era (1865-1877), in order to profit from the instability and power vacuum that existed at this time.”] carpetbagger[/extra]. Design is subjective. Trust is an issue. I hear ya.

  1. Find people you trust, trust them. Do what they recommend.
  2. Protect yourself. Establish and share the budget and timeline with your agency.
  3. I understand the concern of telling a sales person your budget and get sold a $20K website for $25K. Find people you trust.
  4. Start with “I need this, this and this. What do you think of that, what do you recommend and can I get it for $XXX?”
    A reputable person will reply…

[container]

  • Yes, and it will include this and this. You could get it for less $, take away this or do it this way. For more $ consider adding this or doing it this way and getting this benefit.
  • No, because of this. Consider this instead.
  • No, but maybe you could try doing this or asking these folks.

[/container]

If your assumption list isn’t like the one above. I’m sure it isn’t, nobody has their stuff together that well.

[/text_output][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]You may have to have to trust your agency even more because their quote will include research. The research will actually determine what the solution will be and how much it will finally cost. Sorry. Stay away from too much custom programming if you can.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Make sure your web development team understands what the business objective is for the project. This helps corral the deliverables because they may have to be quoted in general terms at the start of a project.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Be realistic. You’re not going to get a website that does everything Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, IBM, Walmart websites do for $40K. Those websites cost $40K a week just to keep them running.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]You may have to have to trust your agency even more because their quote will include research. The research will actually determine what the solution will be and how much it will finally cost. Sorry. Stay away from too much custom programming if you can.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Make sure your web development team understands what the business objective is for the project. This helps corral the deliverables because they may have to be quoted in general terms at the start of a project.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle-o”]Be realistic. You’re not going to get a website that does everything Amazon, Apple, Best Buy, IBM, Walmart websites do for $40K. Those websites cost $40K a week just to keep them running.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][accordion][accordion_item title=”Photo Credits”]

Artwork by nocturnalMoTH

Let’s commission this artist on your next project.

I got the sleazy car salesman from this website. Not sure of licensing.

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Your Brand & Your Identity Aren’t Yours

Your Brand & Your Identity Aren’t Yours

[vc_row padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none” class=”mtn”][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]Don’t be afraid to admit that at the end of the day you want money and your customer wants what you have. Because at the end of the day you want to enjoy your life (money helps) and so does your customer (your product makes life better for your customers too, right?). Of course I understand and will help you nurture and position your brand. But it’s not what you think your brand is, it’s what the rest of the world thinks of your brand that truly defines it. We can only hope we’ve convinced them.

Where does that leave your precious brand and the lovely identity you carefully positioned? UHM, possibly in the way. So when you actually do get a potential customer “on the hook” give them what they want, not what you want them to have.

I’m a man of metaphors so here we go. Whatever your business or service is it can be related to a department store. The folks are heading in the door and down the aisles to get what they want. What’s our job? Our job is to manage the process of getting the customer to the product, to the register and out the door. That’s what we want, that’s what they want.

As customers move through the store or are in the parking lot deciding if they should come in to our store or the one next to us let’s not jump in front of them and ask them to think too much about something other than what they want. We give them just enough.[/text_output][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”10px” padding_bottom=”10px” border=”top” style=”border-left: 10px solid #AFD65C;”][vc_column width=”1/1″ fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px”][container][text_output]

Customers Are Checking You Out

Are your brand and identity doing their job?

[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″]An Identity Shouldn’t:[/custom_headline][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”ban”]Be open to interpretation[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”ban”]need too much brain power to interpret and recognize[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″]An Identity Should:[/custom_headline][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”ban”]be easy in every way[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”ban”]appear recognizable[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”ban”]be a “mental passthrough”[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”ban”]slide off the tongue eloquently and therefore possibly become a real brand someday[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″]Components of an Identity:[/custom_headline][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Icon: Maybe. Ask why? Generally NO.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Typography: Can’t live without it. Make it easy to read/interpret.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Color: Sure.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Name: Of course. We must have a very good reason to name a product/service anything other than a surname or what the product actually is. Yes, if you can name your product “Food Processor” because that’s what you’re selling – awesome[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row padding_top=”10px” padding_bottom=”10px” border=”top” style=”border-left: 10px solid #AFD65C;” class=”mtl”][vc_column width=”1/1″ fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px”][container][text_output]

Hey Kid, What’s Your Name?

Your identity, even your company name should be what your customer wants it to be. Not you, not me.

[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″]Example Company Names:[/custom_headline][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Product Name: International Business Machines (IBM)[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Surname: Dyson (Chicken or vacuum’s, which came to your mind first? Isn’t this fun?)[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Color: Sure.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]Name: Of course. We must have a very good reason to name a product/service anything other than a surname or what the product actually is. Yes, if you can name your product “Food Processor” because that’s what you’re selling – awesome[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h3″]Product/Surname Company Name Mixes:[/custom_headline][icon_list][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]WalMart: These guys are doing it all with name only. And a bazillion bucks. Sure they have typography that is consistent but the color doesn’t matter to you and me. They also have an asterisk as their icon. Although this is simple and that’s good, you and I don’t need it, and wouldn’t recognize it as WalMart on its own. It’s just dangling at this point in time because some creative group believes they need one I’ll bet a nickel.[/icon_list_item][icon_list_item type=”check-circle”]ScotTrade: nice job.[/icon_list_item][/icon_list][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”10px” padding_bottom=”10px” border=”top” style=”border-left: 10px solid #AFD65C;” class=”mtl”][vc_column width=”1/1″ fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px”][container][text_output]

Case Study: Federal Express

Federal Express changed their name to FedEx because its what the customer called them. That was a gift from customers and FedEx accepted it graciously.

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Post Script

As you can see, brand and identity still belong to you but just like with children, you are the shepherd. I just wanted you to read my post so I startled you with a headline silly. Then I made you mad at me by telling you your identity has no value to get you emotionally involved.[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-keywords-for-hire”][/vc_column][/vc_row]