Don’t hire another agency until you read this.

Marketing Agencies: Their perceived value VS. their delivered value

Many large marketing and design agencies aren’t actually looking out for your best interests. They may buy you coffee, or even wine, and then sit you down in an insanely comfy leather chair so they can seduce you into signing a contract with them.

What they won’t tout about in their fancy conference room, is that they really use cookie cutter website templates, reuse media and content on their clients’ marketing materials, split their jobs up among multiple departments, and sometimes even contract out your project to third parties. This creates a prolonged completion date, unclear communication, too many layers of bureaucracy to wrap your head around.

How can I make sense of this?

Lisa, who will be our example, runs a small rescue shelter for animals in Phoenix. She needs her website redesigned and regularly maintained. Let’s assume Lisa has already picked out her top two competitors and will be price hunting between them.

The first company has a staff of around 35 people, and can handle any job of any size. They have quoted a one-month completion date and have presented a competitive price.

The second company, which is run by only a handful of people, can finish her project within two weeks and will cost her about about half the price of an agency competitor. So, is bigger really better? How is a smaller company able to complete her project more quickly? What are the pros and cons to examine, in order to make the most educated decisions for her business?

The larger agency requires more overhead to operate. They need more business coming in, in order to stay profitable, which means entertaining a sea of clients that can’t possibly receive the attention they deserve. Juggling too many projects all at once, creates a lengthy, convoluted process.

In comparison, the smaller company, which is run remotely and has minimal overhead, has a more focused team. They are not only able complete your project faster, they are able to give your business the time and attention it deserves. This means your project sees less hands, instead of getting tossed around between too many.

Bytesize Media delivers more value than they are paid for.

We save business owners time and money, while providing them peace-of-mind. Our clients know they are getting the development they paid for. Because we are a small, tight-knit business, we are able to deliver more value to you with less of a burden on your wallet. We combine competitive pricing, personal service, and a unique approach to every client.

We provide quality websites and marketing materials at a fraction of the cost compared to our competition. We are able to save our clients money by having a small team with very low overhead. This also allows for crystal clear communication between our clients and our team. It is easier for us to keep our clients up to date, because we communicate exactly where we are throughout each step of the way. Clients can literally check items off their list as they are being completed. We hear stories of desperation and delayed projects all too often, and many of them didn’t understand who they were doing business with until it was too late. If you find yourself asking…

Is it finished yet? Have there been hang-ups? Which outlet do I call to speak to a real human being, without getting transferred off to another neglected voicemail? Why can’t I get anyone to respond to my emails or return my calls in a reasonable manner?

…then its time to start doing business with us.

Do you really want to be asking yourself these questions after you’ve trusted your business and its image to irresponsible design agencies?

We didn’t think so. Call us.

What Every Client Should Know About Web Plagiarism

Plagiarism happens far more often than most people realize. It is a dirty tool that only serves to help web design agencies cut corners and maximize their profits by sequentially deceiving their clients and saving time on content creation. It is the Swiss Army knife for design firms who wish to slide by and get paid for work that they didn’t do, by advertising a false reputation for quick turn-around times and client satisfaction.

Plagiarism happens often, and it’s not always prominent.

Let’s take a look at a scenario that we’ve seen occur far too often in the design world: You seek out a web design agency that advertises turn-around times that are far faster than any of their competitors. The agency delivers a tempting quote on a well-designed website for your business, and promises to include freshly written content for every page. To you, this might seem like a great deal, but is it too good to be true?

Once the agency has completed the site, you will most likely feel proud about how well-designed the site is, how content-rich the pages are, and how expediently your project was completed. But there’s one problem… while you peruse your new website, you recognize a block of content that looks far too familiar.

We’re not talking about images.

Recognizable stock photos are always a possibility, as images can be purchased, resold, and manipulated, but the real problem is written plagiarism. Plagiarism is far more detrimental than the reuse of any generic stock photo and has many repercussions that can hurt your business.

When you pull up a competitor’s website and find the exact same written content on almost all of their pages, you wouldn’t be able to shake the notion that you’d been taken advantage of; that you were the fool, for trusting in an agency who had duplicated another business’s content and redistributed it to save time.

Not only did you receive recycled content and material, you paid full price for it. You weren’t informed and were not aware of this practice when you made a choice to do business with this company. They lied by omission, and withheld the truth about their business practices. Nothing about this is a moral way to treat a client, or conduct one’s business.

What are the repercussions?

Now, you’re over budget and starting from square one. You’ve potentially damaged your integrity from your customers’ perspective, and even worse, you’ve probably been bumped down on your Google search ranking because they too, will have realized you had plagiarized content on your website. Despite the fact that you were deceived by an agency, the responsibility still falls on you; your business accepts all the risk, and the losses are numerous.

What options do you have now?

Well, a few really. You can ask the company to rewrite their plagiarized content, or you can find an alternative content writer to rework the content. You could also report to institutions like the Better Business Bureau, or even pursue legal action against the agency, but nothing is going to make up for the way you were treated. Even though these options are available, and more, you are still going to spend money to move forward.

Our recommendations

When trusting a company whose profession is to build and refine your business, you should be hyper-vigilant to become familiar with who they are and how they conduct business. Always ask for samples of previous work, keep anti-plagiarism tools at your disposal, and never hesitate to voice your questions and concerns, or even request references from past clients. Most of all, realize that you are in charge of your business. Do your research and be sure you know the person (or company) you’re getting into bed with. After all, you are putting into their hands, your business: your baby, your dream, your future.

Image By: NBC

How to save $1500 on your business website

Work with people that help your business thrive

Are you struggling to find that next step to build your business? Are you finding help, but are unable to afford their prices? At Bytesize Media LLC, we specialize in marketing and development strategies for small and medium sized businesses that are more than competitive when it comes to value and price.

Do business locally, and maximize your spending

A locally owned and operated business in Arizona since 2011, we find solutions that are practical and logical. We are able to save our clients a considerable amount of hard earned money by having less overhead, handling our business personally, and being transparent with all operating costs.

Here’s a short list of services we offer:

  • Web Design
  • Print Marketing
  • Corporate Branding Materials
  • Business Cards
  • Site Maintenance
  • T-Shirt Design

We do more than what’s listed above, so if you have a question, concern, or just need someone honest to bounce ideas off of, please call or send us an email.

A fraction of the cost. A personal approach. Making your business shine in a world full of murky waters. Let us save you money, build your dream, and help you do what you do the best!

Contact us and get a discount off your first service

Call or email before October 31st 2015 and mention this post and we’ll give you 10% off your first service!!

Common Mistakes Web Designers Make When Building Sites for Clients

This article was originally posted on WPMUDEV.org, however, I found it incredibly helpful in regards to understanding common issues web designers experience and how to make sure they don’t reoccur down the line.

It was New Year’s Eve in the port of Saint-François in the Caribbean. It was hot, and the town was buzzing with preparations for the evening festivities. And I was working on finishing a WordPress site for a client.

Not a good way to be spending your time hours before the clocks chimed in the New Year.

Let’s take a step back.

How did I end up in this situation, and why wasn’t I chilling in a beach bar sipping on a Ti’ Punch while waiting for the Champagne to cool?

The truth is, I hadn’t put in the project management systems in place that would have prevented this situation.

I work at Planio, a project management tool, and I’ve talked to lots of WordPress developers on how they manage client projects using it.

Based on what I’ve learned from them, I made some critical mistakes that put me right in this unenviable position.

Let’s count down through them.

Mistake #1: Casually Agreeing to Increases in Scope

Originally, this project was a simple blog.

No big deal. I was a WordPress newbie, but I was sure that this project wouldn’t be a problem.

Then, a few weeks later the client casually suggested that the blog should be in two different languages.

I did a little research. I found a few plugins that seemed to do the job handily. So, I emailed him back enthusiastically, saying that it would be no problem.

During the first design review, he suggested that we consider a mind map for the homepage as a form of navigation on the site.

Mind maps for navigating a site was a terrible idea then. It’s still a terrible idea now.

But, always eager to get my teeth into something new, I added the job of figuring out how to build the mind map with CSS and javascript to my growing to-do list.

Scope creep had hit me with a vengeance.

And because I’d agreed to these changes in emails and conversations, I didn’t have a documented list of the changes to the project. I couldn’t show the amount of time these changes added to the project. And I wasn’t able to demonstrate the increases in cost they represented.

All I had was more work to do with the same deadline.

Mistake #2: Allowing Delays on the Client’s Side

Remember how I agreed to add another language to the site?

Well, it turned out that the client wasn’t great at translation, himself.

And it wasn’t something I was able to do, either.

But he did have a friend who was really great at French, so she was enlisted as the translator for the website copy.

And now I had to make sure that the client finished the website copy ahead of time, so I could get it to the translator to allow enough time for translation along with the usual back-and-forth.

I’d just graduated to a linguistically-challenged project manager. And I wasn’t very good at it.

The client felt that he just needed a few more days to get the copy perfect as we were pushing up towards Christmas.

I’ve since learned that it’s great to be able to show clients a Gantt chart with dependencies.

Either they deliver their part of the deal by a certain date, or you’re entitled to move your deadline forward by whatever amount of time it takes them to figure out the copy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t even know what a Gantt chart looked like at the time.

Mistake #3: Making Sure Everything is Perfect, Personally

You know the meta descriptions for each page that show up in the SERPs?

I’m the kinda guy who wants to make sure every single one of them is perfectly optimized for click-through rates.

The problem was that I was spending all my time on low leverage tasks such as optimizing on-page SEO.

I’d work full-time on my current project. When it came time to hand back my project, my pipeline of future projects was dry as a rainwater collector in the Sahara desert!

At some point, you need to start focusing on the small number of tasks that will push your business to the next level.

Finding clients willing to pay multiples of $500, for example, or introducing a retainer system to secure recurring revenue.

It’s not easy to build the skills and relationships that lead to these opportunities, but you’ll be less likely to do so if you don’t outsource or delegate the less important work.

Mistake #4: Charging a Fixed Price Without Hard Data

The worst part of my New Year’s Eve marathon coding was that I wasn’t even making a profit on the project.

My pricing was all over the place because I didn’t have a system for tracking the project and hours I spent on it.

Admittedly, charging based on your hours is not the best approach to pricing for services, because pricing should be based on the value to the customer, not the amount of time it took you.

However, tracking your time on the various work items in a project gives you insights into which elements are taking the longest. You can identify the parts that you could outsource, automate or streamline.

Build a System for Your WordPress Consultancy

The fundamental problem I was facing was that I acting like a freelancer instead of a business owner.

I didn’t have refined processes for client management, outsourcing work, and managing projects.

It certainly takes time to think about your business and build out processes for it.

At the same time, you’ll benefit from moving from a freelancer to a business that has the potential to scale beyond the 24 hours in your day.

And while I did finally finish the WordPress project before New Year struck in Guadeloupe, I could have avoided the stress with these systems.

What are you biggest mistakes building sites for clients, friends and family? Share your tales of woe in the comments below.