Category Archives: Web Design

How Westward Strategy Builds Client Trust

By | Client Successes, Portfolio, Search Engine Marketing, seo, Strategic Planning, Web Design, Westward Strategy, What Are People Saying | No Comments

You can advertise in many ways, from web based to print to word of mouth, but how do you actually get customers and build a clientele? How are your marketing strategies working for you? Do you constantly have to followup to get clients?

Here are just some ways that Westward Strategy Builds Client Trust

1: Testimonials
Westward Strategy encourages all prospective clients to call our current and past clients for a testimonial of our work. You can ask questions that we may be impartial to answer. We also feature testimonials on our website and our brochures.

2: Knowledge
We continue to stay educated in all of our online marketing services. We also continue to only work with professional contractors who are proven in their field of expertise.

3: Examples of Our Web Design and Internet Marketing Work
We show all prospects our portfolio and are happy to show examples of our work or situations that we have been in to be sure to put the prospects mind at ease of what we have experienced.

4: Passion
We believe that passion plays a key part in client trust. We love what we do and believe that a client will feel more comfortable working with a business who has fun.

5: Telling the Truth
We always tell a prospective client the truth – maybe to often. If we can’t do the job, we don’t take it. We believe that it’s better to be able to deliver the BEST JOB rather than a subpar job.

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Contact Westward Strategy & Design Group, LLC.
If you are interested in the services we offer, please contact us at (775) 626-8330.

The Questions You Should Ask a Prospective Web Design Agency

By | Business Intelligence, Definitions, Portfolio, Strategic Planning, Tips and Tricks, Web Design, Westward Strategy | No Comments

After having met with several discruntled and frankly over promised and under delivered small businesses, I thought it would be best to re-distribute a helpful post from 2007 that still holds extreme value during these slower economic times: Top 10 Questions You Should Ask a Prospective Web Design Agency.

1 ) How long have you been in business?

Think about what type of company you are comfortable working with before you meet with them. If they give an answer outside of your comfort level tell them immediately. Some businesses don’t mind working with startups or individuals with lesser experience if the price is right. Everyone has to start somewhere, but if this is a risk you are not willing to take just tell the designer upfront.

2 ) Can I see examples of your work?

This is a must have for any designer or web agency. Make sure they have actual websites you can review on your own computer at any time you want. Avoid designers that only show you their work in a PowerPoint presentation or only on their computer.

3 ) Do you have testimonials from other clients?

Good designers and companies will happily provide a list of satisfied clients, both past and present. We even make them publicly available on our website.

4 ) What is the experience level of your team?

While almost every company has a few noobs (pronounced newbies) there should be some senior members on the team. Again, this is a comfort level thing on your part. Don’t get caught up in sales pitches and listen to your instincts here.

5 ) What programming languages and development tools do you use?

Even though you may not care about the answer to this question, it is important information for you to know. At the very least they should be able to hand code html. Other acceptable languages are PHP, ASP, XHTML, CSS, AJAX and javascript.

For development tools look for names such as Adobe or Macromedia (although Adobe now owns Macromedia).

6 ) What is your process for designing and developing a website?

A well outlined plan or process ensures you and your vendor know each other’s respective roles in the design and development of your website. It also will help you gauge their level of experience. Beware of companies that don’t have a plan!

7 ) What is the change process after the website is finished?

At some point your website, no matter how great it is, will need some changes or updates made. Find out what the process is for having these changes made. One way to avoid having to work with your vendor for content updates is to see if they will implement a content management system on your website.

8 ) Do you provide hosting?

Ask very specific questions about where the site will be hosted. If you need to, review our August 2007 post: Protect Your Website and Domain!

9 ) What other service solutions can you provide?

You never know what other services they may be able to provide unless you ask. It is often easier on you and can build a stronger brand identity if one company or designer can handle multiple aspects of your marketing. Ask them about direct marketing, email marketing, and natural search optimization services.

10) Who owns the website in the end?

There is only one acceptable answer here. No matter what, the client owns the website including all graphics and content. The only exception is if your website uses a content management system. Often the CMS is outlined in your contract with the vendor as belonging to the vendor as their intellectual property.

Humboldt County, Nevada – Job Search Website Now Available

By | Client Successes, Portfolio, Strategic Planning, Web Design, Westward Strategy | One Comment

The Humboldt Development Authority has recently launched a new website service to help local businesses find employees. WinnemuccaWorks.com – A free service that lets all local employers create an account and then post job openings.

“We think this new site will be a state-of-the-art platform for getting employer’s and job seekers together. One of the largest challenges we face in growing the local economy has been the difficulty that our businesses have had finding the employees that they need. This new site will potentially allow us to have a global scope in our recruiting efforts. The site will be a resource 24/7, every day of the year, and have a reach that traditional advertising and job fairs simply do not provide.” – HDA Board Chairman Pat Gray

Why Should a Humboldt County-Nevada, Employer Sign-Up and Use the Job Posting Tool – WinnemuccaWorks.Com?

  • It is a free service.
  • It will give an employer the ability to advertise for employees 24 hours per day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.
  • This method of advertising can reach not only a local audience, but across the entire globe.
  • Should help to attract more tech savy candidates, something every business needs these days in nearly every job position.
  • Postings can be displayed when you want, for just as long as you need them. When not in use they can be archived, then retrieved, updated and reused.
  • Using the most up-to-date search engine optimization technology, WinnemuccaWorks will continue to refine the content and update the site to maximize its rankings on Google, and all the major search engines.
  • This is a case of us all being stronger if we work together. The more content we have, and the more postings that are made, the more powerful and effective the site becomes in attracting workers searching the internet for Nevada jobs.
  • There are many, many job search sites out there, but what will set us apart is that this site will only post jobs for local employers. People looking for jobs in Northern Nevada will find us, and not have to sort though a pile of listings concerning work at home schemes, and jobs that are located elsewhere.

The site was the brain child of the HDA’s Workforce Attraction and Development Committee, and has been designed and created by Westward Strategy of Sparks, Nevada. The funding for WinnemuccaWorks.Com was provided by the Humboldt Development Authority along with a grant from the Nevada Commission on Economic Development.

If you have any question about the site or how to use it, call Bill Sims, Coordinator, Humboldt Development Authority, at (775) 623-1064 or use the “Contact Us” form at www.winnemuccaworks.com

Also featured in the THE HUMBOLDT SUN: July 18-21, 2008
Volume 39, Issue 58. Read the Full Article Local Employment Website Now Avaialble

Humboldt Sun Newspaper

Featured in the Las Vegas Review Journal

Web Design Firm Offers Help to Small Companies

By | Business Intelligence, Client Successes, Portfolio, Web Design, Westward Strategy, What Are People Saying | One Comment

By Marian Bond • business@rgj.com
RGJ Business Section: July 22, 2008

After being a Web design developer for a local company, Kristy Crabtree decided to open her own company. Westward Strategy & Design Group was established to offer professional services to the small companies that might not want to invest large sums of money to get onto the Internet to promote their services or products.

“I had worked my way up in 13 years with my employer, from an apprentice to director of professional services, and I was managing 12 to 15 technical and creative designers,” Crabtree said. “I wanted my company to be more of a boutique agency. More intimate with the customers. Because I have low overhead, I have more time to spend with my clients. I wanted to target a different audience.”

Crabtree started her company from a home office two years ago. She now shares a 2,200-square-foot building in Sparks with ACS Business Insurance Services. Crabtree runs her office with one full-time employee, three technical contractors and herself.

“The technical people do the heavy program duties, set up shopping carts. Things like that,” Crabtree said.

Her customers range from sole proprietors to companies with 15 to 20 employees. “I don’t go after the larger clients. There is a place for them. I did not believe anybody was facilitating the niche market I want,” she said.

Crabtree says that a new customer coming to her needs to understand who his or her audience is. Clients also need to have goals and objectives they want to sell or the service or product they are offering. She stressed that so much is happening on the Web these days that anyone in business needs to have a presence or they will miss out on clients.

Another plus to having a Web site, according to Crabtree, is that analytical reports can be produced to show activity on the site. This type of tracking helps with marketing goals. Her company will produce monthly or quarterly reports as required.

“The typical site will have a home page that tells about the company or information about the team that works with the product or services,” Crabtree said. She also likes to set up a news page that tells more about the company. The Web site will be set up to provide fresh information.

She also advises each company to have its own domain name and to maintain ownership.

Clients interested in art or photography can get stock photos on Web sites. “They are very reasonable in price. If you search long enough online, as we do, you know which photos have not been used,”

She said that her assistant, Chris Gandolfo, a professional photographer, will also do photos.

In planning for a Web site, the company has to decide if it wants to reach a local area or a global audience.

Crabtree said she often has companies with existing sites come for a redesign.

“We first ask if they have any analytical tools to get information as to how a Web site is performing. We find out if anybody has been going to the site. We like to sit back for about a month so we can get information. We will create basically how I would plan to help fix (the site). We don’t want their money to go down the drain. We’re a small business, too. We understand money is important to everybody.”

Crabtree said she is always eager to accommodate the customer’s needs. Her company can set up a Web site in just a short time, but generally takes about two months to finish a detailed product.

The cost of a Web site with Westward Strategy & Design Goup runs as low as $500, but depending upon the content and intricacy can also run $10,000 or more.

Doug Kurkul, CEO of the Reno Sparks Chamber of Commerce, said that last January he entrusted Crabtree’s company to redesign the chamber web site www.renosparkschamber.org and he said he was quite satisfied with the results.

“I’ve dealt with Web designers for 13 years now,” Kurkul said. “I believe that Westward Strategy & Design is one of the best I’ve ever dealt with. They are easy to work with and they have outstanding skills on both technical and on artistic aspects of web design.”

Westward Strategy: E-marketing Enhances the Bottom Line

By | Business Intelligence, Client Successes, Email Marketing, Portfolio, Strategic Planning, Web Design, Westward Strategy, What Are People Saying | 2 Comments

Sparks Tribune – BUSINESS
Jun 12, 2008
by Jessica Garcia

It’s the axiom of the Internet versus standard paper mailing: Technology has become the predominant source of information. Can two forms of advertising and marketing co-exist?

Kristy Crabtree Westward StrategyThey can – and they should, local businesswoman Kristy Crabtree said.

But making the transition to e-marketing might just give a business the edge it needs to attract new customers as well as retain current ones, she emphasized.

Crabtree’s company, Westward Strategy and Design Group, has been busy the past few months. With the launching of six Web sites for Reno and Sparks businesses, Crabtree spends her time consulting with businesses and showing them how a Web site can enhance their services.

“We try to be a full-service for online (needs),â€Â? said Crabtree, who opened Westward, her first business, two years ago.

Crabtree, along with marketing and design specialist Chris Gandolfo, consult with their clients to understand their advertising objectives and design Web sites to target their desired demographics, increase traffic hits and optimize Internet searches so their companies are found more easily.

Web marketing, Crabtree said, offers businesses som things that traditional methods of advertising doesn’t: the ability to evaluate results and effectiveness.

Westward can report to their clients how effective their sites are through analytics, which is the tracking of information about a Web site’s user: their location, how long they spend on the site and even what they’re interested in by the pages they visit.

Such background information helps Westward and other e-marketing companies determine whether the Web site’s information is effectively helping the company achieve its goals.

“With analytics, you can see an impact has been made to the bottom line,â€Â? Gandolfo said.

E-marketing has potential for businesses of any size. Westward is now focusing on rural clients, such as businesses in Winnemucca, for whom they are now building a site similar to www.monster.com for rural employers and job seekers.

Crabtree said having a site geared specifically on the local level allows these businesses to have more control over what they’re posting.

Westward’s clientele is a variety of businesses in different industries, all with different needs. One of the six companies that recently had their Web sites launched by Westward, ACS Business Insurance Services, Inc., had its former site redone to become more user-friendly, said ACS President Andy Perwein.

“We created more of a user-friendly site that would involve interaction from a quoting perspective,â€Â? Perwein said. “Prospective clients can go in and obtain quotes for themselves and family members on medical and life insurance.â€Â?

It creates easier access for the potential client, who can then call the company to talk to an agent further about their options. Hiring Westward Strategy was a good move for ACS, he said.

“I’ve known Kristy a long time and the e-marketing side of the equation was important to be able to get more traffic driven to our site,â€Â? Perwein said.

Still, ACS will continue using its traditional mailings and print advertising to promote its services, begging the question: Will e-marketing replace traditional means of advertising?

Carol Wenzel of Nevada Presort and Mail Marketing, said she doesn’t think so.

The Sparks-based business that sorts and meters individual and mass mailings hasn’t seen a significant decrease in services due to e-marketing because some people prefer the old-fashioned method of receiving materials in their mailbox, Wenzel said.

“I think people still prefer … to look at a pretty picture of something they might need instead of getting it in their e-mail,â€Â? she said. “I personally delete it (from my e-mail) because I don’t know I need it.â€Â?

Wenzel said if there has been a decrease in advertising mailers, it’s because of the slumping economy, not necessarily because businesses are taking their marketing online.

“You never know from day to day,â€Â? she said. “It goes back and forth.â€Â?

Crabtree said e-marketing is often cheaper than mailing out postcards and purchasing advertisements in local newspapers. She said designing a site, in general, often ranges from $500 to $25,000, depending on how sophisticated and complex the clients’ needs are.

“If it’s a site for an entrepreneur or sole proprietor, it’s cheap for them,â€Â? Crabtree said. “The rest are just bells and whistles.â€Â?

Regardless of price, Crabtree said if companies want greater success at bringing in customers, e-marketing is becoming the way to go. They might do well on traditional means of advertising, but without an online presence, “you’re missing out,â€Â? she said.

More information about Reno Web Design and Marketing
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Photo by: Tribune/Debra Reid – Kristy Crabtree of Westward Strategy and Design Group poses with her photo of balloons at the Sparks Marina during Star Spangled Sparks.

Top 10 Rankings in under 2 weeks with 1 link

By | Client Successes, Natural Search Engine Optimization, seo, Web Design, Westward Strategy | 2 Comments

Be sure to read the Update when you finish with this article.

You may have read Kristy’s post a couple weeks ago about launching a new website for Creating Effective Organizations, Inc..

That project started as a redesign of the client’s website but was shifted to developing a brand new web presence based on a brand new company name and identity. Of course with this large shift in focus also came a brand spanking new web address – creatingeffectiveorganizations.com.

During development the url sat there with one image on it – the logo, and a little of text about what was going to be uncovered very shortly. We kept it bland because we had yet to target the content and pick our keywords. Behind the scenes it was anything but calm. We were deep into design and development, all the while working closely with the copywriter to launch a search engine optimized website one day one. An incredible amount of time had gone into keyword research and discovery before developing section and then page specific content around these chosen phrases.

On the development side it was business as usual – a table-less layout with structured markup utilizing appropriate headings, paragraphs, lists, etcetera. Presentation is handled by 4 (yes FOUR!) separate stylesheets to deliver attention-grabbing web design based on where the user is within the website. Interactive goodies include a slick UI for the free assessments as well as a custom content management system (CMS) on the back end.

For all of our search engine optimization preparedness, we launched the site with a global meta description and title. Figuring the client would have full control of these items down to the page level from within the CMS and they could update post launch in an effort to reduce development cost – the global data is still in place. We also had burned through our budget for link building and other online marketing initiatives, so it was going to be up to the client (with some consulting from us) to manage these items.

So, we launched the site with the hopes to train the client on the CMS within the first week. It didn’t happen. Due to conflicting schedules we completed training last Thursday – virtually two full weeks after launch.

So what does all of this have to do with the title of this post?

I checked the positioning of the website on Friday. Two weeks after the launch of a brand new website and with just one link from our blog, they have top ten rankings in Google for two phrases they were targeting with their old website that never cracked the top 100. They also have a top 20 ranking for another phrase and a sweet number 1 spot for a fourth term. The rankings break down as follows:

  • ceo skills development program – #1
  • skill development – #5
  • leadership skills development – #9
  • ceo lack of leadership – #11

Of course everyone is ecstatic, but we also realize we have a long, llloooonnnggg way to go! I will be monitoring traffic and rankings in the near future to make sure this was not a fluke thing and that we maintain these while building additional results.

Westward Strategy Launches 2 Northern Nevada Business Websites

By | Client Successes, Portfolio, Uncategorized, Web Design, Westward Strategy | 2 Comments

Creating Effective Organizations, Inc. of Reno Nevada, recently launched their new business website www.creatingeffectiveorganizations.com. CEO takes your business to the next level specializing in consulting, leadership development, executive coaching and customized training. Take advantage of one of their 5 FREE online assessments specifically for: Corporations, Leadership, Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs, Sales Professionals and Individuals.

Creating Effective Organziations, Inc Launches New Website

Ionic Water Technologies, Inc. of Reno Nevada, recently launched the first phase of their new business site www.iwtechnologies.com. IWT’s unique suite of products includes the patented Rotating Cylinder Treatment Systemâ„¢ (RCTSâ„¢), extensive expertise in sulfate reduction bioreactor construction and most recently, the application of Permanganate Passivation.

Ionic Water Technologies, Inc Launches New Website

IWC Website Recognized…Again!

By | Client Successes, Web Design, Westward Strategy, What Are People Saying | 2 Comments

Boy was I surprised to pull up my unmatched style feed today and see Integrated Wealth Counselors right there! The site has managed to make it to quite a few CSS galleries, but this one is a big one. Anyone who calls themselves a designer knows (or at least should know) about unmatched style. It is an incredible, and often times inspirational, resource for web designers. So, to see one of our sites front and center on their site makes us blush just a little bit!

Congratulations to IWC and thanks to unmatched style!

Integrated Wealth Counselors Recognized Among 35 Corporate Websites

By | Client Successes, Web Design, Westward Strategy, What Are People Saying | 5 Comments

It’s not every day a website you’re responsible for gets shown alongside IBM, Blackberry, Citrix and others. However, Integrated Wealth Counselors has been showcased as an exemplary corporate website for its quality web design alongside some of these behemoths of the corporate world.

35 Professional Looking Corporate Websites