inbound_website_marketing

6 Steps to Creating a Successful Inbound Website.

Tips from Web Development Experts

Inbound websites are the way of future marketing. Analytics surf your content for your businesses interests and funnel specific ads relative to those interests directly to your customers. It’s called Inbound Marketing. Instead of outbound marketing, that of casting a wide net, this method focuses on the conversion of a specific target audience.

Outbound marketing is becoming more ineffective as customers are showing signs of ‘banner blindness’. They want to know why the product is good for them, specifically. There are a number of things to consider to make your website an inbound traffic lane. 

Your Website Sells

Whether it’s blogs, education, a portfolio, or physical products, your website is your first line of sales. Your sales team should be referencing your webpage daily for leads. Your webpage should strive to sell your product for you so that by the time a customer talks to a sales rep, the sale has already been made. 

Your Website is all about the Customer 

Customers want to know they can trust in their time and energy investment. To accomplish this you need to provide valuable content–answer questions, provide education, be up-front, honest, and direct. 

Customers want clear, concise information to get them straight to the point. The best way to deliver that information is video. Customers want to connect and relate to others. They want normal people to review the product and explain to them, specifically, why that product is going to improve their lives. 

Website SEO

You need to be findable on search engines, and that means understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and formatting. You need to consider how your website functions and make it an appealing search result for the analytics. This has a great deal to do with dwell time (how much time a customer is on your page), content freshness (updates of what is on the page as well as how it is presented), website load speed (refresh rates), mobile access (computer to ‘phone conversation), and SSL Certification (the security of your website). 

Experience-Driven Websites

The business needs to express consideration for the customer experience. Your customer wants a personalized experience where information is clear and straightforward. Here questions can be answered quickly and easily, purchasing is a streamlined process, and the service is friendly and approachable. 

Website Conversion Rate 

Conversion rate is that of taking the unknown viewer and turning them into a known repeat customer which can be accomplished by adding a self-selection tool, such as a form, quiz, or chatbot on your website. This process will direct the customer to the desired information without forcing them to hunt through your content, generating data for the analytics to show that your site is providing value. 

Your Business Website  

At the end of the day, the biggest key to website success is you, the business owner. You need to be able to access and use your website with ease: to update content, track analytics, review sales, and provide excellent customer service.

Agency Partner can help you get there by building you a website with these points in mind. We’ll also include an easy to use content management system (CMS), ensuring that the back end work of maintaining and updating your website is a breeze. 

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android_vs_ios

The Difference Between Android and iOS App Development

Tips from Web Development Experts

Two of the biggest brands, Apple with iOS and Google with Android, are consistently upgrading and reaching new levels within the tech world. Whether they’re improving phone features or fixing bugs, the value by which these companies operate is obvious–to improve the end-user experience.  

To keep users happy, certain aspects of the app development process need to be taken into account. Especially if developers intend to see a return on investment. Essentials such as programming languages, design principles, time constraints, budget, user spending, and location all need to be considered. 

Programming Languages 

The tools used to create an app need to be taken into account. Those with expertise in Java or Kotlin will find Android a viable choice for the development phase, as iOS apps are coded in Swift. When it comes to the building sites, or the Integrative Development Environments (IDE), Studio and Xcode cater to Android and iOS app design respectively. 

Design Principles 

Aesthetics play a crucial role in the success of an app. Visual elements have powerful impacts on users and their concentration or distraction levels. When these elements fit in with the intent of the application, users are inclined to continue using it, based on the ease and enjoyment it provides.

Costing Variations

If you are creating your own app, rather than hiring a specialist, there are no initial costs during the design and development phases. However, publishing your app on the Android and iOS stores will cost a small sum of money. Android has a one time fee of $25 USD, while Apple charges $99 USD annually.

App Store Verification 

App Developers need to be aware of the potential damage that they could do to a brand if their product is not perfect. Android app creators need to be vigilant about potential bugs and errors within their designs, as the screening process prior to launch is carried out by a bot.

Unfortunately, bots are not perfect just yet, which sometimes leads to applications being launched onto stores with minor faults–users are very quick to criticize any faults or bugs that are found. Apple’s verification can take up to three weeks to complete as it undergoes in-house expert scrutiny which makes it possible for rejection. 

Monetizing Applications

As a developer, armed with the knowledge that out of the two audience options, Android users are less likely to pay for apps, there is the chance to capitalize through in-app, optional purchases and the implementation of advertisement banners.

Android And iOS App Development

Developing an app for iOS may seem like a quicker process than doing so for Android, as the developer would only need to consider the Apple product lines released within 5 to 6 years. Whereas, when developing a mobile app for Android it must work on a wider variety of phones and tablets, which use varying Android operating systems. This explains why the app launches and updates are released earlier in iOS.

The end goal is to have the app available on both platforms., however, which can be costly to implement in the beginning. As is evident, when narrowed down to the skeleton, deciding between Android or iOS development systems is not an easy feat, however, the answer lies in the specs as well as the developer’s resources and intent.

With the help of our in-house experts, Agency Partner can assist with the design and development phases of both iOS and Android systems, curating your ideas and transforming them into innovative applications. From mobile versions of websites, restaurant applications, and games, Agency Partner can help you launch your app with ease.

We even provide industry-leading support post-launch, with a team of digital marketers who will make sure that your app is well-received by your target market.

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “The Difference Between Android and iOS App Development” instead.

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custom_web_application

99 Problems But Custom Application Development Isn’t One

Tips from App Development Experts

Creating a custom application is no small feat and it sounds pretty terrifying to most people, especially if you have no experience. If you happen to need a complex custom application with several integrations to power its features and functionalities, you should opt to hire a professional to take care of the design and development for you.

At a super high level, here is a look at some of the components that go into this effort. 

5 Things to Consider:

1. Choose a Hosting Platform 

A web host is a location where you decide to set up shop for your custom application. It is your landlord to whom you pay rent to house all of your digital content. Each page within your application is a room with its own set of amenities and décor such as the images you display on the walls.

As you can imagine, some applications will have more detail than others depending on the level of attention given to keeping it clean and orderly.

Just like any lease contract, you will want to do your homework when choosing a provider to host your custom app. Read all the terms and conditions and be sure to consider scalability. 

2. Choose a Brand and Domain Name 

A domain name or URL is your location’s home address. A website will typically serve as the front door to your web application — once you’re there, you step right into the app after successfully logging in.

In cases where you are building a custom app for mobile, whether it by for iOS, Android, or a Hybrid app, your website serves to direct people to the app store for downloads and updates.

3. Map It Out 

This step is a process of strategically mapping out the type of furniture and décor that will go in each room. As stated above, each page of your app is its own “room” and each will serve a specific purpose. Your Home Page, or Landing Page, will serve as your front door — the first visual people see upon arriving at your site.

Some people display big beautiful photos on their front door to entice people to enter while others may post their store hours and the services they provide and call it a day. 

Before you start designing or building rooms, you should have a clear strategy for the furniture and décor (i.e. content) that those pages will contain. Whatever you do, at each step, be sure to put yourself in the customer or users’ shoes when making decisions.

4. Design Your Custom Application

The design step is easily the most complicated step for most people because it is the first technical step of building a custom app. People often hire a professional UI/UX designer. UI designers are experts at designing the User Interface, which is what app users interact with at face level. The UI is what you see.

Additionally, a UX designer is someone who is an expert at User Experience design. These designers are a little more technical in nature and they aim to bridge the gap between the User Interface, the end users’ wants and needs, and how all that pertains to the overall business goal of the application. 

5. Keep Up With Maintenance 

Once you are up and running, you will want to ensure everything stays running smoothly and in working order.

You’ll most likely need a maintenance repair person. If a light bulb goes out or the air conditioner breaks, who is meant to repair it? As often as not, hosting providers will offer this as an additional service or as part of a package deal. So it’s worth having a look at the ones that do — especially if you are not very tech-savvy.

As you can see, building a basic application can be simple if you want a simple app for your business. However, the more complexities you add to your application, the more you’ll have to consider as it pertains to scalability, design, and development needs.

Choosing the right web host platform for your business app can be a daunting first step. Although no two applications are the same, all great apps have one thing in common – a plan from start to finish and an ability to consistently improve. You could go it alone, but with Agency Partner, we’ll help you get past any learning curves to ensure that your project creates the most immediate value for your stakeholders.

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “99 Problems But Custom Application Development Isn’t One” instead.

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website_design_steps

5 Steps to Build a Website

Tips from Web Design Experts

Creating a website is no small feat and it sounds pretty terrifying to most people, especially if you have no experience. If you happen to need a complex website you could opt to Hire a Professional to take care of it for you; however, for a basic site, you may be able to DIY with a few simple steps, and not too many tools.

Here are five simple steps to get you started:

1. Choose a Hosting Platform 

A web host is a location where you decide to set up shop. It is your landlord to whom you pay rent to house all your digital content.

Each web page is a room with its own set of amenities and decor such as the images you display on the walls. As you can imagine some websites will have more detail than others depending on the level of attention given to keeping it clean and orderly.

Just like any lease contract, you will want to do your homework when choosing a provider to host your website. Read all the terms and conditions.

2. Choose a Domain Name 

A domain name or URL is your location’s home address. What’s cool about building a website is that you get to personalize it and choose your street name. You will want to put some thought into this as this is how people will remember how to find you on the web.

You will want to decide if you want a .com Address or one of the many other options. There is a fee to register a domain name and often you can find web hosting providers that will include a domain name registration as part of a Package Deal, which helps to streamline the process.

3. Map It Out 

This step is primarily strategically mapping out the type of furniture and decor that will go in each room. As stated above, each page is its own room and will serve a specific purpose. Your Home Page, or Landing Page, will serve as your front door–the first visual people see upon arriving at your site.

Some people display big beautiful photos on their front door to entice people to enter while others may post their store hours and the services they provide and call it a day. 

Before you start designing or building rooms, you should have a clear strategy for the furniture and decor (i.e. content) that those pages will contain.

4. Design Your Website

The design step is easily the most complicated step for most people because it is the first technical step of building a website. People often hire a professional even for the most basic websites at this phase after realizing, during the intense learning curve, how much work it can be.

There are, of course, cost-effective options when you Build a Website, but it would serve you well to learn some basic coding. That said, there are web hosting platforms that provide an easier approach to this phase with more drag-and-drop design options.

5. Keep Up With Maintenance 

Once you are up and running and opened your doors for business, you will want to ensure everything stays running smoothly and in working order. You’ll most likely need a maintenance repair person. If a light bulb goes out or the air conditioner breaks, who is meant to repair it?

As often as not, web hosting providers will offer this as an additional service or as part of a package deal. So it’s worth having a look at the ones that do–especially if you are not very tech-savvy.

As you can see, building a basic website can be simple if you want a simple website. However, the more complexities you add to your home, the more work it requires. It can be the difference between a tiny minimalist home in the country to a big house atop a mountain. Both are fully functional and operational, yet one has more bells and whistles to implement and maintain.  

Choosing the right Web Host Platform for your business can be a daunting first step. Although no two sites are the same, all great sites have one thing in common – a plan from start to finish. You could go it alone, but with Agency Partner Interactive, we’ll help you get started on the right foot and build a website that is best suited for you.

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch ” 5 Steps to Building a Website” instead.

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website_design_basics

Web Design Basics to Improve your Foot Traffic

Tips from Web Design Experts

 

7 Web Design Basics to Consider When Making Your Website the Best it Can Be

Web design is fundamentally the same as print design. You’re aiming for something that grabs attention, catches the eye and flows smoothly. The web design basics are the elements of contrasting color, font styles, layout, and borders. All of this is what inspires a customer to explore your site and invest in your content. 

Web Design Move-ability

Move-ability, or flow, is the design and navigation of your site. A crucial part of web design is concise web pages that are not too long with grammatical perfection and working links. That’s your message. We need to access your message with ease.

Web Design Page Layout

How is your foot traffic going to view this page? On a computer? A phone? A projector? Responsive Web Design (RWD) will Change the Perspective of your Web Page to device-appropriate dimensions so that no matter the platform, your website remains understandable and accessible. 
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is an accessible design option that will make creating web design layout a breeze. You can pick from templates or design from scratch. The benefits of CSS is that not only are the options vast, but they will impact every page of your site, saving both time and money as you implement updates to your design. 

Web Design Basics: Cursive Versus Print

Font style is a major component of web design. We already know that print is typically easier to read and understand than cursive. Where wanting to stand out is excellent, some fonts out there come across with the wrong voice or attitude. Aim for a font that reflects the Content of your work. 

Pastels or High Contrast in Web Design

The color Design of your site should reflect the nature of the content being sold. Consider your color wheel when you’re tweaking this Web Design. If I’m selling a yoga blog with classes, I’m going pastels. If I’m selling the Waldorf Astoria, it’s all non-gloss ivory and gold filigree. 

A Web Design Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In web design, an appropriate picture can convey what too many words will make confusing. Studies have shown that people have an incredibly short attention span. Ensuring that your website features short content with visuals to get the message across will be a better grab than a block of text that the customer has to scroll through endlessly. 

Got the Map to This Web Design?

Navigation is one of the most important aspects of your web design. Links, subheaders, and menus should be visible, accessible and, of course, working. Try to make your pages loop back to each other instead of sending your foot traffic, offsite unless you absolutely have to. You want your foot traffic to engage with your site as long as Possible.

Agency Partner Web Design Software

Picking the right software for your web design can be a trying and annoying experience as so much information out there can be mean trail, error, and loss of time and money. With Agency Partner we’ll help you get on track to get your site up and running with concise information and clear web design. 

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch ” Web Design Basics to Improve your Foot Traffic” instead.

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A Webbed World: Design VS Development - API

A Webbed World: Design VS Development

Design VS Development 
Tips from Web Design and Development Experts

To accurately define the terms, Web Design & Development, the latter first needs to be divided into two components, front-end, and back-end. Each of these plays a purposeful role in the creation, execution, and receptivity of a website. 

Web Design VS Web Development

There is a fusion occurring in the web world. Developers and designers are often mistaken and casually interchanged when discussed. However, their CV’s boast skill sets that differ from the other. Job postings may also get them confused, especially as developers and designers are expanding their knowledge into each other’s fields.

While this gives them both more possibilities and understanding of a broader scope of web work, the two pools are flowing into one, and the water appears murky with confusion. These definitions, in layered order, should add a drop of clarity. 

Back-end Web Development

These developers have in-depth knowledge of how to work with the website’s core. Their focus is on how the site works, and they power it with programs like Java, PHP, Python, Net, Ruby, and more. It is also necessary for them to have a foundational knowledge of both HTML and CSS.

Their ability to communicate with the server is conducted through coded programming languages, which allows them to cultivate the external layout via the website’s back-end. Speed, responsiveness, and efficacy are all essential characteristics of a website, and as administrators of the unseen, the purpose of a back-end developer lies in foundation laying. 

Front-end Web Development 

With languages consisting of HTML, CSS, and Javascript, a front-end Web Developer’s task is to focus on the client’s perspective and build on what the back-end developer has put in place. They’ll fill in details such as drop-down menus, fonts, and sliders. When it comes to being aesthetically-minded, the front-end is the intermediate step between basic development and design.

They’re required to ensure a site or application’s attractiveness, ease of use, and SEO Ability, while a web designer plays purely with the user’s perspective. They employ a form of localization to ensure that the site platform translates across all web and browsing devices and ensure no errors or coding bugs exist. 

Web Design 

Web designers are the visual promoters and creatives of the web world who bring sites and applications to life. Their keen eyes and site-mapping expertise enables them to take an application or website and connect all its aspects for an attractive, harmonious feel and user experience.

They work their magic with balancing proportions of color, weight, texture, complexity, and other creative elements. Additionally, to make sure that the qualities don’t underwhelm or overstimulate the viewer to distraction, they determine the content that is spotlight-worthy.

Designers establish consistency and aesthetic balance for overall site acceptance and enjoyment. Their go-to tools are Adobe Photoshop, Sketch or Illustrator. It is also essential for Web Designers to have HTML, CSS, and Javascript dexterity

Back-end, front-end web developers, and web designers each cater to an aspect of the website and application process. It is clear that there are overlaps. While having broad knowledge is empowering, focusing your skills and experience into the skill set of one title is potent. 

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “Design VS Development” instead.

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Dazzling by Design: The Web Design Process - API

Dazzling by Design: The Web Design Process

The Web Design Process in 2020
Tips from Web Design Experts

At our digital agency, we would like to believe that nothing happens by accident. Legendary doesn’t happen by birth and great doesn’t just come from good. Sure, some things happen by chance, but great web design is a very intentional, considerate effort. It requires a mixture of experience, artistry, a business case, and a good process

The unveiling of a new website for a client is almost always a moment for congratulations and celebration — but the weeks leading up to that event are methodical and fairly linear. Similar to a basketball player such as the late Kobe Bryant, leading up to the big game, a great deal of planning and practice goes into being ready for showtime. Without adequate preparation, there is no way to know if the site is ready for high volumes of traffic, form submissions, calls from customers, and more.  

To get to the point where a website can be deemed a brilliant, new piece of coded architecture, a coordinated effort among a project team of web designers, business analysts, and website developers is a must.

As a web design agency, we have been doing this for over 10 years, completed over 1200 digital projects, and we know that a successful website comes from a combination of excellent team players, trustworthy business data, considerate business analysis, and a touch of digital artistry.

So how does success become a reality — what goes into the Web Design Process?

Kobe Bryant Quote - No Excuses

The Web Design Process is An Intentional, Linear Process

The steps of the website design and development process are:

  1. Project Discovery Session
  2. Project Planning
  3. Design Phase
  4. Development Phase
  5. User Acceptance Testing and Launch
  6. Website Maintenance (routine)

Step 1: Information Gathering and Discovery

The first part of the web design process is arguably the most important. A friend of ours is famous for saying “measure twice, cut once.” In the web discovery phase, this is where you work to ensure alignment among all stakeholders. The stakeholders for your website project may include the technical project team, business users, customers, and others that count on your website to be a successful, functional business tool.

Whether you are building a custom site, a WordPress site, or a Magento or e-commerce site, make sure to include your digital marketer in this planning effort. A website is a huge part of digital marketing. Without considering the needs and expectations of customers, your market, and even the competition, there is no context for your site.

Without context, your site lacks focus and purpose.

Step 2: Planning Your Website Project

Understanding the objectives of the new website is key. Following your project discovery phase, the project team is able to identify and plan for specific resources that will need to be called upon to address your website’s unique requirements.

By working with you to fully analyze the business goals, objectives, and considerations that were previously discussed, you are now able to set a project timeline. At a high level, this timeline will set expectations for how the project will advance moving forward. This should include a full understanding of milestones, deliverables, and a reiteration of payment schedules.

Step 3: Web Design – A Pixel Perfect User Interface (UI)

This design phase is a fun one because this is where you get to see your great ideas come to life in a more tangible way. In Step 3 your web design will work to create an impactful User Interface that is focused on facilitating a high quality, frictionless User Experience.

So while things are still light and without any code, you have an opportunity to focus on creating a fantastic web experience that is most likely to result in high conversions. Depending on your site’s purpose, your marketing team may tend to measure conversions as form submissions, product purchases, or phone calls.

Some things that come to play in this process are graphic design, user experience (UX), user interface (UI) design, sitemaps, page layouts, and wireframes.

Here is where the fun of throwing creativity into the ring happens — a knockout between Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock, in terms of concept, color, and web design process. Once the ideas have settled and the business logic takes over, style tiles prove to be a great method of ensuring consistency throughout the site. To wrap up the design phase, your project team will look to you for final approval before advancing to the development stage.

Step 4: Web Development and Integrations

This is where things get real. The nuts and bolts of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) coding mesh together here, raising the site from being just a static design to being a functional web page.

In this process, code is written to bring your design concepts and mock-ups to life. This is where you see the power of your color palettes, visuals and content come into play as a marketing tool. During the development phase, your marketing team should have ample time to focus on content creation and a full on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy for the new site. 

As a note of advice, you should ensure that there is a road map for onward travel. After all, this site should not be considered a static project and a true website should always be a work in progress; to maintain your site’s health, it will need constant updates and adjustments to meet ongoing browser, device, security, and user needs. Similar to the latest software update that your smartphone mandated, your website requires at least that same frequency of attention (at a bare minimum).

Finally, once your software developers have finished programming your site, it is time to seek final approval before moving on to testing, delivery, and upload.

Step 5: Testing and Delivery

This is the final dress rehearsal before your site launches. All of the pieces of the coding will need a run-through, any link issues ironed out, and final tweaks made so that it is pixel perfect, and ready for the opening night. In this effort, make certain that every button clicks and functions as expected. Also be sure that the site is tested on mobile devices, desktop computers, and even big screens. In 2020, your site should be mobile optimized and responsive. 

‘Creating a buzz’ might seem counter-intuitive for a website but consider fine-tuning your up-to-the-minute keyword and SEO Strategy to be exactly this. Make certain that research and place your meta titles, meta tags, and meta descriptions on each webpage. Also, consider placing a Google Analytics tracking code so that you have a basic understanding of site traffic and user behavior. If your website is your company’s primary source of revenue, you might also consider adding some sort of heat mapping analytics tool and leveraging insights that come from Google Search Console. 

Once your site has been fully tested, make sure everyone who is involved in the web design process understands how the whole site runs. And then you are ready… give your software developer or project manager a final approval and then your site is as good as live! 

Step 6: Web Maintenance 

Another essential part of this process is understanding that it will never be finished. As time moves on there will be a million little ways to tweak the setup, ensuring that it continues to be a market-leading website, rather than an old hat that has fallen off the shelf. Routine site speed optimizations are necessary and recurring site updates should be performed to be viewed favorably by search engines and your site’s users. 

In order to keep the site fresh and enticing, keep on top of content, global color and image trends, as well as developments in your field. Most companies will create a monthly budget for website maintenance in order to keep overhead investments predictable and under control. Think of this as a visit to the Web Mechanic – a regular checkup to keep things running smoothly and routine adjustments will help avoid a major accident and drastic overhaul in the future.

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “Dazzling by Design: The Web Design Process” instead.

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SEO Budget Calculator - Agency Partner Interactive

SEO Calculator: How Much Should Your Business Budget for SEO

How To Create a Budget For SEO
Tips from SEO Marketing Experts

One thing we hear all the time is: How much should I budget for SEO Marketing Services

As digital marketers, we hear that question and our brains start to think about everything from potential website performance needs, competitor research, on-page SEO needs, link-building strategies and tactics, and consideration for your specific business goals. 

Those are just a few things we think about. Other questions may include:

  • How long has your web domain been around? What about other websites that compete for the same keywords?
  • How much organic traffic are we currently seeing in Google Analytics and what are the referral sources?
  • What does the Google Search Console say of keywords resulting in impressions and clicks to your site?
  • Is your website currently holding a first page rank for any relevant search terms either locally or nationally?
  • How healthy is your backlink profile relative to the top ranked sites?
  • Are we competing with big brands, local businesses, or personalities?
  • How often do your biggest competitors publish blogs, news articles, and/or new web pages?
  • Can the business support a SEO campaign right now? …or do immediate needs require that this budget be allocated toward a more immediate, albeit less permanent marketing tactic?

While these questions are fairly common, the answers to them will vary significantly from one business website to another. Competitiveness and your desire to dominate will factor into what your monthly SEO budget should look like. To generalize, most SEO experts will charge a monthly recurring investment of $3,000 to $10,000+ per month. A national or international SEO budget should never be less than $5000 per month and it is possible to kick-off a local SEO campaign in the $500 to $2500 range. Again, depending on competitiveness, your budget will vary significantly. 

To learn more about where that money goes, some things to watch out for when selecting a SEO partner, and when you can expect some ROI from SEO, keep on reading!

What to Expect From An Appropriate SEO Budget

Notably, the value from search engine optimization compounds over time… So unlike PPC on Google Ads, SEO is not how you make a quick buck. SEO is how you build wealth through a business website. 

SEO, when content driven, ensures that whenever someone is searching for answers to any question that is relevant to your business, your brand is front and center every time. Businesses love SEO because of how the economics of it play out relative to other sales and marketing activities. If you consider an investment over 12 months, notice how the monthly expense stays mostly flat in the graph below. Also take note of what the additional revenue line is doing… strong revenue growth.
how long does SEO take
In this example, we are looking at a Texas based, B2B medical supplies company with a monthly SEO budget of $8,500. At the 7th month of this campaign, things started to get exciting because this company’s website began to rank on Page 1 of Google for some its most commercially valuable keywords. At the close of the year and following a 12 month SEO investment of $102,000, this family business counted just under $1 million in additional revenue and a massive ROI. The break-down is as follows:

  • Total SEO Budget: $102,000
  • Total New Revenue: $992,742
  • 12 month SEO ROI: $890,742

Unlike this company’s SEO campaign, if you look at their Google Ads marketing performance, new revenue is positively correlated to their monthly ad budget. So as logic would have it, more budget equates to more revenue just as less budget equates to less sales. In this case, the client was competing in a market with a fairly expensive cost per click and PPC was never their most desired source of new business. PPC helped them serve some immediate needs while they worked to establish their SEO game.

Google Ads Campaign Over Time

To reiterate, this is a big reason that business owners love the economics of an expertly crafted SEO campaign versus other marketing channels. SEO is part of a long-term, industry dominating digital marketing strategy. A basic SEO campaign typically takes anywhere from 8 to 16 months before a mostly static, consistent monthly investment begins to generate a noticeable ROI. For some industries and markets, ROI may even feel exponential once your average page rank starts gaining in position.

Ways to Allocate Your SEO Marketing Budget

There are different ways to allocate your SEO budget and get the work done. You may consider augmenting your existing marketing team to fill any gaps in expertise, hiring an outside agency that happens to be an expert, or you may try the DIY route. Generally speaking, these are the various ways to allocate your SEO marketing dollars:

  • Hiring an in-house SEO team of 4 to 8 people
    • Your SEO team should consist of:
      • SEO Strategist/Manager
      • SEO Writer with relevant industry experience
      • Content Editor
      • Web Developer and Designer
      • SEO/Marketing Analytics Expert
      • Marketing Project Manager
  • Hiring a team of SEO freelancers with a budget $70 to $190 per hour, per person
  • Hiring an in-house marketing manager that can manage a team of SEO freelancers.
    • Depending on experience, expect to budget anywhere from $50,000 to $125,000 per year for this person.
      • Don’t forget to add the cost of your freelancers to this
  • Hiring a SEO agency at $90 to $250 per hour depending on the agency’s bill rate

Small consultancies and startups may easily feel overwhelmed by all of this and most will never have a starting SEO budget of $8500 per month…. but the fact is that there is a way to start small and grow your SEO strength in an effective, strategic way. Many small to medium sized companies, including law firms and health practices, tend to hire marketing agencies because they are able to gain access to certified, experienced experts that would otherwise be out of reach. Most agencies will offer a full suite, white glove service that functions much like an outside marketing and technology department. Enterprises will almost always utilize their in-house teams for SEO however it is common for them to hire agencies for occasional marketing tests or simply to get some fresh ideas on the whiteboard.

Across all budgets, the common key to success is a commitment to consistent, scheduled content production over an indefinite period of time.

Why $100 Per Month Is NOT The Real Cost of Cheap SEO

There is such a thing as “cheap” or bad SEO… Bad SEO is exactly what it sounds like. It’s wholly inadequate and far too many companies fall into this trap. A lot of this stems down to the fact that less than half of small businesses have a SEO budget of any kind. Of the businesses that do have a SEO budget, a survey indicates that 71% of small businesses budget for only $1 to $99 per month for their SEO. I mean… you get what pay for. $99 is literally nothing and you will almost certainly measure some negative ROI from this.

Most often, this is due to a lack of education wherein business owners are sold by the agency with the cheapest proposal rather than the one with the highest value. This happens ALL the time. Don’t be a sucker.

Unfortunately, SEO spammers know that most business owners have no idea how SEO works.

This is why they exploit businesses every day by sending spam email with promises that you can get on Page One of Google for only $99. Because most business owners assume that SEO is a basic commodity, similar to getting gas at the pump, many opt to invest in the cheapest option. After several months, they may realize that there is “no strategy” and/or no ROI and will opt to end the campaign to either find another vendor or do nothing at all.

The way this often plays out is like this:

  • Company contacts 2 to 4 agencies for SEO quotes
  • Some agencies respond with general, templates proposals, almost immediately. Others may ask some basic business questions.
  • Company considers several proposals. Often, these are reviewed by several stakeholders that really do not understand what SEO is.
  • Company may reach out to the final 1-2 agencies with follow up questions.
  • Company opts for the cheapest or second to cheapest SEO marketing proposal.
  • Company cancels SEO arrangement after several months.
  • Either immediately or several months later, Company may opt to work with a different SEO Agency or does not invest in any SEO.

This scenario plays out daily. In the end, a lot of time has been wasted, a little money has been burned, and the business hasn’t really achieved its goals. But worse can happen….

Some of the collateral damage from cheap SEO may far outweigh any money that may have been (under) invested to begin with.

There are a ton of LinkedIn and Facebook groups for digital marketers. In some of these forums, you’ll observe extremely elementary questions from people posing as experts. Some of these questions may be so basic as: “I just scored a SEO client and he wants to rank for ‘keyword X’ so how do I do that?”
Facebook SEO Group
There are also a ton of online resources that provide free or low cost SEO tools for rookies that want to pose as SEO experts. In most cases, rookie marketers will rely on their personality and salesmanship to “score a client” and then figure out the SEO part after the sale. This is something to fear as the effects of black hat SEO may be permanent in some cases and in others, they may be very difficult to bounce back from. Things to watch out for include:

  • Utilization of link schemes such a private blog networks (PBNs)
  • Unnatural, purchased backlinks that may or may not be relevant to your industry
  • Keyword stuffing and hidden text on your web pages.
  • Zero requests for a content calendar and weekly recurring blog posts

The single most damaging thing a SEO rookie may lead you toward is a Google penalty. The effects of a penalty from Google can be absolutely devastating and you should expect a huge loss of organic search visibility, clicks to your website, and revenue. There are ways to bounce back from this, but it takes a lot of investment to do so.

DIY Stuff: Start Your SEO Budget By Collecting Some Basic Information

To truly understand where you need to go, it is important that you fully understand where you are today. There are a few ways to do this and the most simple is to ensure that your technology team has been instructed to check your website for some technical best practices. Once you have ensured that some foundational things have been fully accounted for, you also will want to glance at your competitors and see what things look like on their side of the fence. We have found that some of the most powerful SEO strategies start with a basic SWOT analysis.

Compare Your Website’s SEO Grade versus Your Competitor’s

Use comparative data to create your roadmap for success.

This is something that your in-house digital marketer should be doing already: Take 90 seconds and get your Competitive SEO Report Card score to see where you stand. When doing so, be sure to enter the domain of your single biggest competitor, and enter a super common, non-branded word that a customer would search for when looking for the product/services you sell.

  • Competitive SEO Report Card (scroll down to “Begin Your Free SEO Analysis”)

Ensure That These 3 Fundamental Elements are In Place

Does your site adequately address demands around Mobile Friendliness and Site Speed?

As a best practice, your marketing team should be demanding a routine weekly or monthly audit of your website’s mobile friendliness and site speed. Because a majority of web searches start with a mobile browser, Google wants to ensure a fantastic mobile experience in its search results. So know where you stand and ensure that your site is up to the mark by leveraging these two free tools.

Make certain that your site is defaulting to HTTPS when opening pages.

Google has adopted a strict position on information security. Whether or not a website leverages HTTP versus HTTPS is a Google ranking signal. This means that Google will view a domain that opens in HTTPS more favorably than one that opens in HTTP. To open your website securely you must have an active SSL certificate associated with your web host. To see whether or not your site has an active SSL certificate in place, simply open your website and see what the browser bar tells you. Do you see HTTP or HTTPS next to your web address?

https as a ranking signal for SEO
By leveraging HTTPS, you are telling your visitors that you value their privacy and taking a step to help prevent third parties from eavesdropping on a conversation between your website and your web visitor. This is especially important for any web forms that may ask for personal, financial, or other information. If you choose not to have your website default to loading secured HTTPS sessions, Chrome and other browsers will go so far as to inform users that your site may be compromised and unsafe to access.

SSL for SEO

So before any actual SEO work begins, consult with your technology team and ensure that you have your bases covered as things pertain to Speed, Mobile Friendliness, and Site Security.

If you are starting from scratch and have never optimized your site for speed, security, and mobility, expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $3000 for the first effort.

Once you have covered those three essentials, you are almost ready to call in your SEO experts. Be sure to discuss maintenance of these items with your technology team and inquire about a monthly and annual budget for this routine work effort. Once you get past the first big optimization, your monthly maintenance budget should be fairly minuscule. If you have any questions about that, please feel free to contact us directly by clicking here: Ask Us About Speed, Security, or Mobile Friendliness.

Have a Clear Understanding of Your Business Goals

Now that we have accounted for the basic technological leg work that goes into creating a solid SEO foundation, we can start building. But just what exactly are we needing to build? To answer this question, start by writing down what your business goals and objectives are.

  • On paper, define what sort of ROI you expect and need from your SEO campaign. Is it leads, sales, retention?
  • Discuss your goals with other stakeholders and create a realistic, “rigidly flexible” SEO budget as a conversation starter.

Put On Your “Spy vs. Spy” Hat

In a nutshell, it is time to compare your website against your industry’s top ranking sites. This helps you understand what tactics your biggest competitors are employing. In many ways, it should be your goal to match, and then one up whatever it is they are doing. To put this as simply as possible, do the following:

  • Compare your blog versus their’s — how regularly do they publish new content?
    • Does their content add value?
    • What is the approximate word count of their average post?
  • Does your competitor seem to leverage press releases?
  • Are there any special sections on their site like FAQs or location specific landing pages?
  • Does their site have a landing page that is uniquely tailored to each product/service line?

Take note of your findings and be prepared to discuss all of this information with your internal stakeholders. Also, be ready to share this with your agency partner and know that the more candid you are, the more able your SEO expert will be to devise a competition crushing strategy.

Sum It All Up And Share Your New SEO Budget

By now, you know that you need to allocate some of your marketing budget to the following, tangible deliverables:

  • Site Speed Optimization performed by your web team
  • Mobile Friendliness update performed by your web team
  • SSL certificate performed by your web team

At a range of $300 to $3000 for this first overhaul, these are fairly inexpensive optimizations. Once you’re past the first optimization, you should make a plan to revisit these items at least once a month.

With the foundational tech needs accounted for, you also know that you need to allocate part of your monthly SEO budget toward:

  • On-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team
  • Off-page optimization performed by your digital marketing team

Expect to pay your in-house team or agency partner anywhere from $1500 to $2500 per month for really good, US based SEO optimization. This should include the cost of monthly analytics and reporting, keyword targeting, strategy, and updates to your meta-titles, tags, and descriptions. Also, know that this alone is not enough to help you grow and dominate your market.

The next big variable, and often the most costly, is the key ingredient that actually helps you retain your favorable position and rank for new, relevant keywords:

  • Weekly, recurring SEO Content production performed by your digital marketing team

To determine what your content needs are, this is where you refer back to your marketing intelligence. If your competitor is posting a new blog every day at 500 words each, at a bare minimum you should be doing that as well. It is best to curate a writer that is a subject matter expert on your topic or at least familiar with your industry.

To help you do the math on this one, assume that your content will cost anywhere from $0.15 to $0.50 per word. The range is fairly expansive because some writers are much more valuable than others. If your subject matter requires unique expertise, it is possible to pay as much as $1 per word though this is rare.

Know that the Perfect SEO Strategy may or may not conform to your early budget expectations. If in fact your site requires a lot more investment than anticipated, discuss what can be done to stretch every investment dollar and whether or not some tactics may be phased into your SEO campaign over time.

As a Leader, Educate Yourself and Make an Informed Decision

Combined with our own data, this information has been aggregated by surveying top SEO agencies and world renowned SEO authorities.  If you’re looking to firmly control your market and aggressively grow your market share, a content driven, expertly crafted SEO strategy may be for you. As long as you understand that this is not about making a quick buck, with some patience and equal commitment to a full campaign, SEO can be one of your most reliable performers when it comes to lead generation.

Additionally, good SEO tends to positively impact your other marketing channels so don’t take this budget decision lightly. For example, if you are running a Google Ads campaign, it will lower your cost per click by improving your Google relevancy score. This means that for the same PPC budget, you end up winning more clicks and impressions.

Also, good SEO allows you to build a valuable content library that will establish your brand as a thought leader. This content helps your customers make purchase decisions and it gives your sales team a more valuable reason for reaching out to sales prospects. No one likes the “check-in” or “follow-up” email so lead with value and share a new blog with your prospect.

To get your search engine optimization game on track, contact the Digital Marketing Experts at Agency Partner today. 

Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “How to Create a Budget For SEO” instead.

Using the power of Artificial Intelligence, we turned this blog into a video for you. Check it out below!