Author Archive Apex Digital Media

ByApex Digital Media

YouTube Goes Premium

Recently YouTube announced it would be phasing out the sale of YouTube inventory on the DoubleClick exchange. This obviously makes a lot of 3rd party media dealers upset but they are doing it for a good reason.

As someone who has spent the majority of his career in digital helping content creators earn what they deserve this makes a lot of sense to me and here’s why.

When you run on exchanges there are all kinds of 3rd and 4th parties in the mix. This always negates quality due to lack of control. As a brand, YouTube is aiming for TV Budgets which are quickly moving to digital outlets. Having complete control of their platform and who’s buying what makes sense when you are moving to a more brand dollar driven system. The current ad spend for TV is around 70 billion dollars, so that’s a pretty big pie and even just having a small slice is incredibly profitable. Smart businesses are preparing for the massive movement of these dollars from standard television to digital outlets (which to be fair started a long time ago.)

Google, has more than 1 billion unique video views a month and people are uploading over 300 hours of video every minute. So not only does YouTube have the ability to track users habits and viewing rates, drop offs, etc. they also have the largest pool of available content AND the largest audience. It only makes sense to leverage an audience like that in order to sell targeted brand advertising.

Essentially what’s happening is that YouTube is becoming a “premium” advertising destination for digital video. This could mean a few different things to a few different types of businesses.

First – any of the media buying firms using exchanges will be hurt by this. If you’re a company who’s a middle man for YouTube via AdX or DoubleClick exchange you’re losing that source of inventory. Luckily there are a lot of new sources of digital video popping up so these firms won’t be completely left out in the cold.

Next – content creators. This is actually great news for YouTube filmmakers. If you have a large audience and are putting out interesting video that drives views you should see an increase in your earnings as more brand dollars begin to flow into YouTube. Higher CPM’s should also result from the lack of 3rd party players in the system and a more exclusive environment. So it’s really great for the content creators that use YouTube as it should mean increased revenue.

Finally – advertisers. Advertisers are now going to have a premium environment to buy targeted video impressions. If you’re Nike and you want to buy ads on sports content you can microtarget right down to the age demo and gender. Nike buys a lot of media that targets high school age demographics so they can buy into local high school athletics channels and other youth sports outlets.

All in all, this is the type of publisher centric move that drives media prices up for the content creators and gets them more high level and respectable brand advertising – which in some cases, if you’re not a complete cynic – can complement a well put together video production.

source: http://adexchanger.com/digital-tv/how-youtube-became-googles-inroad-to-big-brand-budgets/

ByApex Digital Media

AdWords Management – Improve Landing Page Quality Score

If you know anything about adwords management, you know that in order to boost your quality score you need to do things like use smaller ad groups, small batches of keywords, keyword heavy copy, etc. But what do you do when your landing page is the problem? Here are a few of your options…

Improving Your Landing Page For Effective AdWords Management

Quality score seems complicated but it’s actually very simple. It’s a rating based on relevance. How relevant are your keywords, ads, copy and landing page? Do they all tie together? Would a user who searched your keyword and clicked on your ad be happy with the page they landed on? These are all the factors that together make up a quality score. You can win this game by being simple, straightforward and honest about what you are trying to sell. In SEO this is fairly common knowledge but it gets lost in the PPC world due to the fact you are buying. Still, as a buyer you want to pay the best price possible for your clicks and a high quality score will help decrease the amount you pay per click.

If you’re using WordPress you can be guided through a lot of this by simply using the Yoast plugin and following their instructions to get your post a green light. However, even in using Yoast it’s good to understand why they are asking you to do the things you’re doing. The following is a great primer for that.

Make Your Landing Pages As Specific as Possible

The more specific you can make your landing pages the better. As an example say you are an online store that sells fishing and hunting equipment. Rather than bidding for fishing & hunting searches in the same ad group you would want to separate these into separate ad groups each with separate landing pages that contain keywords specific to the items you’re selling. That’s not to say you can’t run a campaign that has a combined fishing & hunting theme and be effective, you can. The likelihood of you paying more per click than you would had you separated them is high though. Google likes relevance and anything that aids in a positive user experience.

Keyword Repetition

For relevance your landing page should repeat keywords you are targeting. To return to the fishing / hunting example again. If I’m running a campaign for fishing gear I may have an ad group with keywords like “buy fishing poles,” “bait & tackle,” “fishing equipment,” etc. I would then create ads that match these searches “buy fishing poles 15% off” and run these ads to a landing page I created specifically for a sale on fishing poles that repeats my keywords in a natural and fluid way. So maybe there’s text on the page that says “we have the best prices on bait & tackle, fishing equipment and gear. Right now you can buy fishing poles 15% off!” – as you can see this text repeats several of the above mentioned keywords and will help with landing page relevance.

Header Tags

In keeping with our theme here, your header tags should also repeat your keywords. After the introductory text there will be a heading that reads “Buy Fishing Poles 15% Off” with all of your sale itmes underneath it. Then maybe a bit further down the page there’s another heading that reads “Bait & Tackle” – “Related Items” “More Fishing Gear” etc. For best practices you’re going to want to have only 1 H1 tag and then a variety of other header tags (H2, H3, etc.).

Alt-Tags for Images

Since a search engine doesn’t read an image it’s good to tag them with alt=”description”. This is a pretty basic and standard thing in the web design world but less likely to be considered in AdWords Management. To hammer it into your head – repeat your keywords in the alt tag wherever possible. Seeing a theme here? Good… that’s how you win the relevance game. Repeating your keywords everywhere you possibly can on your landing page.

Meta Data

What should you do in your meta tags? REPEAT YOUR KEYWORDS! See kids, it’s really simple. The process of optimizing your landing page for quality score breaks down to finding relevant keywords to bid on and then repeating those keywords anywhere you can in your ad copy and on your landing page. Meta data is no different. Try to narrow everything you’re selling down as much as possible so you can tag it with very specific meta data and repeat your keywords.

Page Load Time

Page load time is the one aspect of landing page optimization that does not involve repeating your keywords. Anything you can do to make the user experience better is going to help. Think of it like this – If you’re Google or Bing or Yahoo you’re a search engine who wants to keep users coming back. If you’re serving them pages that load slowly or time out the chances are good users are going to stop searching there. For this reason it only makes sense that you optimize your pages for load time.

All in all if you follow the mantras of “be specific” and “repeat your keywords” you can drastically improve your quality score and garner better click through rates and lower costs per click.

Best of luck!

ByApex Digital Media

Social Media Marketing – Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms online and one that can be extremely effective in drawing a great audience for your brand or business. Effective social media marketing is really about finding and engaging a relevant audience where they already exist and with over 300 million users (2), Instagram has a fairly large user base to draw from. Maintaining a business presence on Instagram provides for a lot of opportunity since it is a visual platform. Brands who are great with visuals or businesses who sell visually attractive products are instantly at an advantage in this environment. A recent example of great branding at work would be the “Imagine Ice Cream” ad that Ben & Jerry’s ran (pictured below). It’s a simple, clever image that ended up going viral. (4)

ben-and-jerrys-instagram

Instagram Marketing by Ben & Jerry’s

Even technology companies like HootSuite (an all in one social management platform for those who don’t know) can see the writing on the wall. They recently updated their platform to include a more robust suite of Instagram management tools. As Jimmy Duvall, VP of product was recently quoted in AdExchanger  – “One of the things we’re definitely seeing is this massive shift toward imagery and video, which is why we prioritized Instagram.”(1) Salesforce also recently announced the addition of several new analytics and advertising features to their platform designed specifically for Instagram. So as you can see there is plenty of real world evidence that Instagram has become a serious tool for digital and social media marketing.

What to Expect from Social Media Marketing on Instagram

The young, Facebook owned platform recently up it’s advertising API. What does this mean for people who aren’t coders? It means that the ability to advertise on the platform is going to be incredibly seamless and a lot of existing digital and social media marketing companies are going to be offering that service as a result. So as a brand or a business paid advertising will definitely an option and the market will be competitive.

Let’s say you’re a young business who doesn’t have the advertising budget to spend big on Instagram advertising, that’s still no reason to neglect building a presence on the platform. Unlike Pinterest (which we will cover in more depth later) Instagram does not allow you to link your images back to your website. For this reason a lot of companies are confused as to what value the platform offers them and it’s simple… visual advertising, branding, awareness, customer loyalty.

I like to use the example of billboards – while there are now digitally rotating billboards, they haven’t received much of an upgrade beyond that. Billboards still exist because they are still effective. Think of your business Instagram account as a blank digital billboard that you can fill with branded imagery to create interest and awareness about your business. It’s that simple. The Ben & Jerry’s ad pictured above doesn’t have a “BUY NOW” link that allows users to click through instantly purchase ice cream, but it’s an incredibly effective none the less.

There is a trap that we as digital marketers get ourselves into due to the way the industry was built, around analytics and instant gratification. As a business starting out on Instagram you’re probably not going to instantly get millions of new visitors to your website clicking over from Instagram. However, you can and should build a visible brand presence there and that will eventually begin to result in new business over time. So think of Instagram as more of a long-term brand and audience building tool rather than a source of  instant lead gen like most other social platforms. You’ll never really know how many people saw your billboard or how it affected them but it’s a safe bet that if it’s big, visible and there for a long period of time people are going to notice.


Sources

ByApex Digital Media

Digital Video Marketing on Facebook

If you do any kind of social media marketing at all you probably noticed that Facebook recently upgraded it’s video analytics. If you haven’t noticed yet you should check it out – there is now a “videos” tab in the Page Insights section, which allows publishers to better track the performance of videos on the platform, in a more accessible fashion. This is likely because Facebook is quickly becoming a destination for video. According to a recent article from TechCrunch, more and more people and brands are beginning to upload video directly to Facebook than ever before.

Why You Should Consider Digital Video Marketing on Facebook

The updgrade is probably due to Facebook’s core functionality – content sharing & discovery. Facebook users are much easier to target with relevant content due to their “likes.” this gives the platform an edge as far as engagement is concerned because they are able to serve their users video that aligns with their known interests. While YouTube also has this feature it only becomes available to them over time, after a user has been actively viewing content on their platform. Facebook on the other hand has people volunteering this information directly to them. It was no surprise that shortly after they announced the updates to their video analytics dashboard they also announced updates to their video algorithm designed to serve users more relevant content based on their interests and what is currently trending.

Heavy competition for video audiences will force both YouTube and Facebook to bring their A game

Both Facebook & YouTube have a similar sized audience and neither should be ignored when preparing a video distribution plan that requires massive reach. Things are different when you’re a smaller business on a tighter budget though. This is where the granularity of targeting that Facebook offers can be a great asset. Additionally, if you’re a small business with a captive audience on your Facebook page there’s a very good chance that engaging your users with video can help to drive more business or at the very least provide you with some visible insights on how your audience interacts with the video content that you are posting.

A lot of experts in the digital marketing world are looking at Facebook and YouTube as “going toe to toe” and competing for the largest video audience over the coming years. This kind of competition is never a bad thing though. On the contrary it usually ends up being great for marketers and people in general because it forces both companies to bring their A game. Each will have to do the best job possible keeping up with trends and optimizing the platform to user needs in order to remain competitive. Aside from the healthy competition marketers are constantly looking for new venues to reach people and now Facebook offers that.

If you’re a small business or a marketer who isn’t currently utilizing the power of digital video on Facebook now is a good time to start.

ByApex Digital Media

Why Online Businesses Use Magento (Infographic)

For today’s post I thought I’d kill 2 birds with 1 stone. We need more samples of infographics and we also want to provide as much data as possible about Magento since a lot of our clients use it… with that I bring you today’s Magento infographic.

apex-magento-infographic-8-2015

Ecommerce businesses are adopting Magento rapidly – here’s why.

ByApex Digital Media

Why Social Media Management is Important For Modern Business

The internet – love it or hate it it’s become part of our daily lives. That’s why when businesses or brands tell us they don’t have a social media presence at all we scratch our heads and vacantly stare into space in disbelief.. (not really).

What we really do is explain to them that social media is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity for you to do a better job serving your customers, it’s an opportunity to connect with new customers, to shape conversations about your business with existing customers and further define your brand. Social media management is an important process for any modern business to implement and refine… here’s why.

Rising Mobile Adoption Rates = Increased Social Media Use

With everyone now moving to mobile devices en masse, social is an even bigger means of communication. It’s a safe bet that customers who might buy your product or use your service are using social media platforms. If you’re not actively engaging these users someone else will. Any salesman will tell you “it’s a numbers game” and as a business you want to make sure your brand is exposed to as many people as possible. The more people you’re exposed to the higher the ratio of new customers you will inevitably have. If you are a small localized business social can also be your chance to speak to a national or international market. The internet enables global commerce… an effective social media management strategy can help you take advanatage of this.

In addition to “new customers” social media is also a breeding ground for relationships. You can respond instantly to customer questions or requests via Twitter & Facebook. Even if you can’t meet a customer’s needs on the spot sometimes just having that level of responsiveness can be all people need to stay loyal to a brand they love. So not only is social media great for gaining new business, it’s also great for managing and enhancing relationships with business you already have.

That said, there are also best practices or ways to think about this aspect of your business that will get you the most value for your time.

Consistency

Imagine a television station that only had 1 episode of the same show that ran on a loop all week. In the same way, a Twitter or Facebook account that only has 1 post a week is going to be about as exciting as that TV station. Regardless of the channels you engage with customers in (channels meaning platforms ie. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) you need to consistently put out content. It could be just sharing industry trends or a funny meme, it could be that you actively write your own blogs and post links to them from social. It could even be that you just post daily deals and sales – whatever the case you need to be consistently feeding content into those channels or they are not going to produce the results you need them to.

Focus – Data & Analytics

While you need to have a presence anywhere you can – you also need to focus on the channels that get the best response or drive the most results. You can use url trackers such as http://goo.gl in your social posts to see exactly where you’re getting the most and best engagement and concentrate your efforts in those places.

The web is large and chances are if you’re a business you aren’t a jack of all trades. You want to focus on your core expertise and on the channels that produce the results you desire. You’re going to have to experiment initially to find your sweet spot if you haven’t already, but when you find it – you will know it. Once you identify these opportunities you can focus more of your time on building relationships and status in these channels.

Authenticity

Be who you are in the real world… it’s that simple. From a business perspective this is easier to understand than from a personal perspective. As a person you might be trying to highlight only your best attributes to get a date but business is different. As a business you want to represent yourself as accurately as possible. Showcase with transparency the services or products you provide, who you are and what you stand for. Being authentic and owning up to errors or customer complaints on social media is a great way to quickly diffuse them and turn an irate person back into a lifelong brand advocate for your business.

The featured image attached to this post of a “Social Media Professional Halloween Costume” was included because a couple years ago a lot of business owners rightfully thought:

“social media expert? Someone who posts on Twitter & Facebook? what kind of expertise does that take?”

Times have changed. Social media is a far more prevalent and important than it was even 3 to 5 years ago. It’s no longer just Facebook and Twitter – platforms like Vine, Instagram, Pinterest and several others are growing massive audiences that can be harnessed by anyone. Due to mobile adoption rates social media is rapidly becoming a very important part of the digital economy and one that any business would be foolish to neglect.

Apex Digital Media offers social media management services because we know that a lot of times businesses simply don’t have the time in their busy schedules to address this important aspect of digital marketing. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help click here.

We hope that this article was useful and that businesses of all stripes can use the advice to help in developing effective social media management strategies.

ByApex Digital Media

What Does SEO Cost in 2015?

When we first started Apex Digital Media in Sept. of 2014 SEO was pretty much our core competency. When prospective clients would ask us “What does SEO Cost?” – before even offering a quote I would usually prime them by sending a link to this article from Search Engine Watch. The reason being is that SEO is an extremely undervalued skill and a lot of people don’t realize it.

As a business your wisest move is to hire an agency or consultant to do SEO work for you. Some people will try to do it on their own and are capable – but think about the fact that time is money and if you’re running a business you probably don’t have time to sit down and spend several hours a day doing the intensive labor it takes to be successful. Some people will opt to hire a relative or current employee who “knows a lot about SEO,” and sometimes this can also work but rarely does it deliver the level of results you will get in finding and contracting a competent SEO agency.

What Does SEO Cost On Average?

If you look at this infographic from the Search Engine Watch article you can see that average hourly rates for SEO in the United States are over $100 per hour. You will also see that rates in less developed countries like India are about 50% of that on average with some hourly rates being as low as $20 / $25 per hour. These prices are a good indicator of quality and when you hire someone for SEO it’s probably good if English is their first language. Have you ever received a spam email from an Indian or Chinese spammer? I rest my case.

aytm-seo-rates-retainer

The above image shows average retainer rates across several countries, again you’ll notice that the lower rates are usually found in countries where English might not be their first language. I say this not to slag India but because we get countless requests from “outsourcing firms” to do cheap SEO work for us. Outsourcing SEO work to an international 3rd party almost never works out. If you’re interested you can view the full range of this data here. In the meantime, let’s discuss the different methods companies might want to charge you should you hire them to work for you doing SEO.

What Does SEO Cost? – Payment Models

Digital agencies charge in a variety of different ways. If you’re in the market for a company to do SEO for you it’s good to understand payment structure so that you can work to find a company that meets your budgetary needs.

  • Monthly Retainer: This is the most popular method of payment for businesses because it provides the best value. Rather than being billed by the hour you will usually get a lot more for your money by paying a monthly retainer. Deliverables for an agreement of this nature would include regular analytics reports, keyword research, Social Media and off-site SEO, directory listings, etc.
    AVERAGE COST: $750 – $5,000 per month – most business on average will pay around $2,000 – $2500 per month.
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  • Fixed Price Services: Some agencies may provide particular services for a fixed rate. An example of this might be an on-site audit or single landing page optimization rates.
    AVERAGE COST: This is going to vary depending on the size and scope of the individual service some examples might be: SEO copywriting ($0.15-$0.50/word) – Site Content Audit ($500-$7,500) – Link Profile Audit ($500-$7,500) – Social Media Site Setup ($500-$3,000).
     
  • Project-based pricing: In this case a business will do an audit (usually free) and then come to you with a proposal for an entire project. Usually this is going to start in the $5 – $10k range depending on the scope and last for 3 – 6 months.
    AVERAGE COST: A wide range here anywhere from around $1000 to $50,000 is on the table. If you are a small business with a 10 – 15 page site, $1000 makes sense – if you are a massive e-commerce presence with hundreds of thousands of pages, it’s going to cost a lot more.
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  • Hourly consulting: Just like it sounds, typical hourly, invoiced consulting. It is a basic hourly fee in exchange for services and information.
    AVERAGE COST: SEO agencies and individual consultants usually charge between $100 and $300 per hour.

What to Watch Out For

  • People Who Guarantee the #1 Spot on Google: While this is not impossible it can take a lot of time and investment. No true professional SEO will ever say “I’ll get you to the number one slot on Google” anyone that makes that claim can’t be taken seriously.
  • Prices that are “too good to be true”: We run into this a lot, companies can be so cautious and stingy with their money that they will pay a subpar SEO a low price. Eventually they realized they wasted their money and end up paying someone else AGAIN to do it right.
  • Link Building Services: This is called “black hat SEO” and no longer works. These types of companies made a killing back in 2007 – unfortunately for them that was a long time ago.

Finally, to quote Search Engine Watch: “As you begin shopping for SEO agencies and making your decision, be mindful of the following points”:

SEO takes time and you aren’t likely going to see results for at least 90 days. For this reason a package that gives you the best price over a long period of time is going to be the most effective for your needs. SEO is a long-term investment and the most enduring SEO results come from a long-term relationship. If you’re looking for instant sales or traffic you will want to spend on Pay Per Click which is a whole other ball of wax!

SEO is constantly changing and your rankings will fluctuate: New sites spring up every day, Google is constantly altering it’s algorithm to prevent cheating and provide for a better user experience. With all these and many other factors at play realize that nothing will ever be set in stone. It takes constant monitoring and effort to maintain great organic rankings.

If you’re in the market remember that SEO shouldn’t about shopping around for the lowest prices. It’s about finding the finest agency you can. Look for an SEO agency with good case studies that clearly defines its deliverables, and takes the time to educate you on what it’s doing and why. Unless people are able to find you online what’s the point of being there?

To learn more about how Apex Digital Media can help you with your SEO needs click here.


(data sourced from http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2267471/how-much-should-you-spend-on-seo-services)

ByApex Digital Media

How Much Does a WordPress Site Cost?

One of the most frequent questions business contacts will ask us is – “how much does a wordpress site cost?” – to be 100% honest there is no straight answer. WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) that is extremely versatile. It can do just about everything but most importantly it allows people with zero knowledge of web design the ability to create content online.

Some businesses need to sell products – WordPress has a deep ecommerce integration through WooCommerce. Some websites need to be able to allow new users to create and manage their own accounts – WordPress has a built in solution for handling this, etc. etc. A typical WordPress site at it’s core, domain, hosting, software installation can be fairly cheap. Good domain, good host and you’re looking at $300 a year if you can install, set up and customize the site yourself. Those are just basic costs – but when you need custom apps, design adjustments, etc. that’s when the costs begin to increase. Building a wordpress site isn’t much different than coding a site by hand. The core elements are there for you to use and a designer / developer can take those elements and shape them to a customer’s needs – in much the same way the basic HTML or CSS elements are there for a coder to use. WordPress is simply another platform, or vessel for design.

The Importance of Web Design is Largely Underestimated

One thing we find time and time again is that business owners will do as much as they can to get a website “on the cheap” – they will try to do it themselves in their spare time, have a grandkid or a cousin tinker with it… all the while having a subpar representation of their business visible to the world. These people will come to us and want to spend several thousand dollars a month on advertising to try and drive new business – but the advertising is sending people to a flawed website that will never result in actual business.

If you are a business owner, your website is a big investment! This is your first impression to most people who are looking for what you do online. Think about it on your own terms – if you want something you go to Google, type in “best fishing gear” and you’re going to see brands like Cabela’s and BassPro but you will also see mom and pop business in the mix with these muti-million dollar franchises. These smaller shops have one chance to gain your business and imagine if you clicked through to “Dave’s Fishing Shop” because they had a great price on some waders but their site looked like it was built in 1995… You’re going to be less likely to make a purchase there.

So… How Much Does a WordPress Site Cost?

There is no right answer here, however there are some good price ranges to consider and anyone that is way above or below these should raise concern. Someone who is too cheap is likely going to do a subpar job and then you’re just going to have to pay someone else again to do it right. Someone who is too expensive is either overcharging, outsourcing for a profit or in some cases just good enough and in enough demand to charge higher rates than their counterparts.

Typical WordPress Website

For a company just looking for a basic, 100% mobile & tablet responsive, 10 to 15 page website with a typical templated design the average cost is going to be around $2,500-$3,500. The low end would probably not include things like hosting, domain costs, email addresses, ongoing support & updates, etc.

Custom WordPress Website

This would include all of the basics from the typical set up but then add in items like a custom-built contact form, newsletter registration, hosting and domain registration costs, 5 – 10 email addresses, etc. These more customized design packages will run a bit higher in the $3,500 – $5,000 range.

eCommerce WordPress Website

eCommrece for WordPress is a bit more development heavy and as a result more costly. While plugins such as WooCommerce are available to help you will most likely still need the aid of a developer to customize them to your liking and set up payment gateways, shopping carts, etc. Other features that you will want to consider here are support (in case something you can’t fix breaks), custom landing pages for advertising campaigns, feeds for 3rd party store fronts, and anything else that helps you drive sales or new business. So how much does an eCommerce WordPress Site Cost? You’re looking at a range somewhere between $5,000-$15,000 depending on your needs.

For more information about how Apex Digital Media can help you with your design needs, click here.

ByApex Digital Media

Magento Design and Development Costs

Magento Design and Development is Expensive

e-commerce-web-designWe do a lot of design for e-commerce driven businesses. One of the things we’ve run into a lot over the past couple years is people with unfinished Magento sites who need our help to get them functioning properly.

This can be a daunting task depending on several factors including which version of Magento they have and what type of hosting solution they are using. We did a lot of research into the costs associated with building and maintaining and found this article by the good folks at Shero Designs that covers the issue with great nuance. We borrowed a few of the key points from it for our blog and we encourage you to click over to their website and read the full version of the original post if you’re seriously considering a Magento site. (We also encourage you to read this thread and as many of the responses as you have time for.)

Magento Hosting

Let’s start with the basics. You need to strongly consider your hosting before anything. We recently took on a client who does pre-sale launches that produce incredibly high traffic spikes. Initially working with this customer there were issues with his server CPU maxing out. We were forced to move him to a more robust host and they are no longer having problems. If you are using Enterprise Edition you will need a dedicated server – however, we recommend it with Community Edition as well if you are planning on serving a large, international market.

If you are a site that’s doing 30 / 50,000 uniques or more per month it’s a good idea to get a dedicated server that is not cloud based. Most people completely negate the cost of hosting when looking to build a site of this nature but it’s an important one. You should be able to find a good dedicated server for $300 – $500 a month. If you are a small store without a budget like that you can work with shared hosting to start and find a hosting company that can grow with you. A lot of companies will have basic starter packages for $10 / $20 a month and as your site begins to grow you can expand to larger packages with ease.

Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a Magento hosting company are:

  • Will you need shared hosting, dedicated or multi-server environment?
  • Where is your target market located Geographically?
  • How many unique visits / day do you expect?
  • How many concurrent Magento customers do you expect?
  • How large will your catalog be (SKU count)?
  • Will you be using the Magento Payment Bridge?
  • Will you be using a service to monitor your website’s performance (e.g Pingdom, New Relics)?
  • Will you need a content delivery network (CDN)?

Basic Magento Website – Approx. $25 – $50,000.00

This is a basic website for a business starting from scratch or moving over from a different platform. This can be done by using a pre-built template which can be purchased or comes with a basic install of Magento. Another method is by converting an Adobe Photoshop design into a Magento store. Both of these options require a good deal of time to set up, configure, customize and test which is why even at a basic level Magento sites are not cheap.

Here are some of the basic features you can expect with a basic set-up of this nature.

  • The Latest Community Magento Edition
  • Limit of about 5,000 SKU’s
  • Simple Design Implementation
  • Transactional Emails with Store Logo
  • Inventory System or POS Integration
  • Integration of Payment Processor such as Authorize.net and alternative payment methods from PayPal, Amazon, Apple Pay, etc.
  • SSL Configuration
  • Product and Category Setup and Configuration
  • Site & Database Testing
  • Basic Shipping & Tax Configuration (usually requires an extension)
  • Internal quality assurance (QA) to ensure cross-browser compatibility and functioning of all features
  • Responsive design for mobile devices

Custom Magento Website Approx. $50 – $100,000.00 (and Up)

This option is for bigger, established retailers who do most of their business online and are either moving from a different eCommerce platform or are upgrading their existing Magento websites. It provides a complete solution to online selling and with a business continuity plan in place for growth.

  • 5,000+ SKU’s
  • On-Site SEO
  • Inventory System or POS Integration
  • Multilingual Store Front
  • Advanced 301 Redirects
  • Custom Home Page Design, Check Out Page, Product Landing Page Etc
  • Custom Banner/Graphics
  • Different Pricing for Wholesale, Partners, and Retail Customers
  • One Page Checkout
  • Address Validation at Checkout
  • Advanced Reviews
  • Auto-Complete Search
  • Gift Registry
  • WordPress Blog Integration
  • Social Media Sharing Options
  • Connection With Back office Accounting Systems, Sales Force, Rewards Program, and Other
  • Affiliate Marketing Systems
  • Testing/ QA
  • Code Documentation
  • Warranty and Support
  • Data Migration
  • Advanced Shipping Configuration

Magento Enterprise Cost $100,000-$250,000 and Up

This option includes all the features from the Custom Magento website. Magento Enterprise Edition comes with the following additional features:

  • Mobile Commerce
  • Multiple Stores
  • Full Page Caching
  • Free Professional Customer Support
  • Built in Modules
  • 25,000+ SKU’s
  • Private Sales, Wholesale, Gift Registries
  • Hosted By Magento
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Targeted Promotions & Merchandising
  • Custom Coupons
  • Return Management Authorization

To find out more about how Apex Digital Media can help you with Magento Design and Development click here.

 

 

ByApex Digital Media

RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN FOR GOOGLE ADSENSE PART 2

Back in Oct of 2014 we did a post about responsive web design for Google AdSense. The post was really popular but as all things internet related do, the details and process have evolved quite a bit since Oct 2014.

With that in mind I thought I’d publish a quick update as sort of a “heads up” to bloggers & publishers who may still be struggling with this issue. It’s actually very very simple now for Google AdSense. We will cover setting it up in DFP and other ad servers in a later post but we’ll keep this post nice and simple for Google AdSense.

It took me a while to grasp this but Google’s new “Responsive” format will fit ANY ad size – including the 728×90. I mistakenly thought the responsive ad size was simply a 300×250 that would scoot over on a mobile device screen…

adsense-responsive-ad-unit

Google AdSense – Responsive Unit

I always opted for the 728×90 as my header ad, but in fact the responsive unit IS a fully responsive ad unit that when placed within a “div” tag will read the size of the space and serve ad formats that fit based on the user’s screen size. It’s pretty awesome. As an example, below are some shots of how the Apex blog looks on my desktop (Macbook Pro) and on my iphone.

Here’s the types of ads I’ll see on the desktop version of the site:

apexblog-desktop-ad

Google Responsive Ad – Desktop

And here’s how that ad unit displays on the mobile version of the site:

apexblog-adsense-mobile

Google AdSense Responsive – Mobile