CAH Productions graphic, web design and small business discussions

company information

How much does a website cost?

How much does a website cost?

This is the question everyone wants to know but are sometimes afraid to ask; or tell, depending on which side of the table you are on.

Determining the cost of a website involves several factors:

  1. The purpose of the website: On-line Brochure, E-Commerce, Gallery
  2. The needs of the company: CMS which allows you to make some of your own changes and additions or custom coding which requires a designer to make all the changes
  3. The clients budget

There are other factors and considerations that can affect the cost of a website.

Does the client require:

  • Photography services?
  • Image editing and resizing?
  • Image sliders and carousels?
  • Content writing?
  • SEO?
  • Custom designed top and side banners?
  • Social media integration?
  • Event calendar?
  • Google analytics?

All of these features will add into the total cost of your website. And depending upon the designer or developer these add-ons can have a significant impact on your final cost.  I want to take some time here to point out the difference between a web designer and a web developerA web designer creates a website for you with the overall design and aesthetics of the site being the most important aspect of the project. A web developer creates a website for you with the purpose of ensuring the best functionality and technical stability.  The designer will often use a CMS to create the website. While a developer will often create a site with custom code.  However, some designers are also capable of writing code and some developers are also capable of creating custom graphical elements for the website.  A good designer or developer will be clear about their skills and capabilities to you upfront and will bring in someone to complete parts of the project that they are not expert in;  if you, the client require this. Again, this will add to your cost.

Who should create my website?

Who you decide to hire will depend on who you feel most comfortable with, regardless of whether they are a designer or a developer.  Choose a website designer/developer that you feel you can work with and who understands you, your company and your needs. A word of caution: much of the work I do on websites is the result of businesses needing a new website because the one their neighbour, cousin, friend, employee, co-worker created for them isn’t working the way they want it to.  It’s the old adage: you get what you pay for. It might seem great at first to have cousin Joe design your company website; but when Joe isn’t listening to your ideas and your website takes 6 months to complete, consider the true cost.

  • Always hire a professional
  • Always be sure you have a contract with that professional
  • Always chose a professional that you are comfortable working with

They should be able to communicate clearly and you should be willing to make your website project a priority. This ensures the project is completed effectively and within the time originally allotted in the contract.

What does CAH Productions do differently?

Our pricing includes what some consider add-ons; check out our company features and benefits. Photography, SEO, content writing, image editing, custom designed banners, social media integration and more are all included in our website design packages.  What’s more, when you contract CAH Productions to design your website your site will be live and searchable within 24 hours of your approval of the homepage design.  We build our sites live.  Want to know more?

Contact us now: cah@cahproductions.com


Marketing Strategies in this Decade: Old is New

Chances are, when you first developed the idea of your business, you did not fully understand the scope of all that would be required to turn your tiny idea into a successful venture.  I know in my own personal experience this is true.  We tend to focus on the “feel good” aspects of being an entrepreneur; the idealization of what life will be like.  Then, when we take those first steps and persevere to move forward from there; we discover that what we are passionate about requires us to invest our entire being into it, in order to be fruitful down the line.

For me, and I would suspect for many early start business owners, one of the greatest challenges is self promotion; getting the word out about what you do, who you are, what your company believes and how your companies products and services are desirable, valueable and important to your prospective clients.

The old way of selling, well, it doesn’t work any more. We, as consumers have become well-educated about media, marketing and the ploys often used to convince us to open our wallets and buy the service or product being peddled.  While being consumer-savvy is great for the consumer because it minimizes how often we make a bad purchase; this environment of the educated consumer can be difficult for most business owners to achieve marketing success.  Mass marketing strategies that once brought in measurable success, such as mass-flyer distribution, huge billboard campaigns, TV commercials, radio commercials, promotional events like tent sales and seasonal sales all bring in minimal success in this day and age.  Consumers are very good at; and in fact have been conditioned, to ignore the dozen or so flyers in the mailbox,  TV, radio and billboard ads.

So whats left? How do we get the consumer to listen and pay attention once again??

What has been working for me, and for some of my peers, is the old school method of creating relationships with prospective clients.  Meeting in person. Shaking hands. Having conversations, both business and non-business conversations.  Reveal your reasons why you do what you do to these new acquaintances.  Find out what motivates them. Why did they decide to start their business? What excites them?  What do they dislike?

How you decide to develop these relationships is up to you and your own personal style and comfort level. For me, I select a small geographical area where there is a concentration of small business owners.  I bring my portfolio, flyers, business cards; dress professionally and carry a smile and a positive attitude.  Then I go into the businesses, seek out a decision-maker (owner, manager or reception desk). I introduce myself. Sometimes, if the person seems very friendly, I start with casual conversation before the introduction, to soften the approach.  I don’t sell anything.  I talk about their business.  Ask them questions that could lead back into what I do.  I explain why I am coming in to talk to them. (I believe that the old way of doing business; by creating relationships with your clients; is of greater value than mass-mailing or emailing flyers and promotional blurbs)  90% of the time, these prospects are very receptive to me.  Like me, they enjoy sharing their stories about their business, what they hope for and how things are going for them at the moment.  Most of all, they will share this information readily with like-minded individuals who are also small business owners.  Already, a common ground is developed as small business owners.

Of the 50 or more businesses I have visited in the past month, only 2 were completely unreceptive and would not speak with me about anything.  For these; I simply remain pleasant, friendly and polite. I offer my business card and go on my way.  For the 96% who will converse with me, I end the conversation with giving them a flyer and/or business card.  Some who want more information, I let them know I will email a quote to them within 24 hours.  I request the business card of every business I visit, so I can keep track of who I spoke with and then I move on to the next business. Currently, I have been experiencing about 10-15% return on the time and effort invested in this type of cold-calling.

It has been a very interesting and pleasurable way to spend a couple of hours each week.  Even if no business arises from a meeting right away, I still follow-up with each person I met by email.  I believe that everything you do has a greater purpose; whether that purpose is apparent from the start or not, it is never a waste of time to meet someone new.  Each of these people knows many other people.  Even if the person I speak too doesn’t need my services at the time, they may know someone who does.  And, likely each person I speak to, will share that experience with someone else.  They will share the conversation we had, thereby reinforcing the meeting in their own minds and placing the experience in the mind of the person they tell it to.

Wait one second!!  This sounds a lot like what happens on Facebook or LinkedIn or any of the other dozens of social media sites out there.  By gosh by golly!!   Is it possible that these social media sites got their ideas from the “real world”??    Hmmmmmmmm, ya think???!!?

I propose, instead of living in a “virtual social world” that business owners start once again living in the real world. Get out there.  Meet real people, in the real world and share real ideas and experiences.  Nothing, absolutely nothing can substitute the human connection that occurs when you meet someone face to face.  The outcomes may not be measurable in a google analytical way, no hit count meter, no page counts.  But the rewards of creating real relationships with real people are immeasurable and are worth their weight in gold.  Building relationships is priceless in the world of business. 

Try it.

You might even like it.


Branding Branding Branding!

What is branding and why should you care?

Branding is creating an image for your company, its products or services. The branding of your company is a reflect of you, the company owner. This is especially important for new and small business owners to understand. When you are starting up your business, you want to stand out from the crowd and you want a branding image that is easily recognizable by your customers. Good branding follows the same rules of good design;  simple design, be consistent, and make it memorable. All good designers follow these basic elements to help you to create your brand.

Key Elements to Good Branding

Simple Design

Simplicity in branding and logo design entails keeping your logo and brand name clean and simple. Real world examples are Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Apple, Nike, Levi, Tim Hortons and Ford  to name a few. All of these brands have these things in common; an incredibly simple brand/logo that is consistent across all their products and services and an image that consumers remember and associate with the company products and services!  As a new small business owner, you might think its quaint and homey to use your nephews hand drawn picture of his favourite car for the logo of your new auto service store. But does this reflect how you want your customers to see you? If your aim is to serve only your neighbourhood, family and friends then by all means, use that cute refrigerator artwork.  Branding also entails your company name. Fred’s Friendly Auto Service Centre might be a nice tagline but it’s not a name that consumers will remember consistently. Another aspect of your branding to keep in mind is to try to limit the number of colours in your logo to a maximum of three, with two being preferable. The reasons for this are again, maintaining simplicity and reducing your costs when you decide to have signs, shirts, uniforms, hats and many other advertising products printed. Silk-screeners, embroiders and sign-makers will charge you extra for the additional colours you use in your logo.

Be Consistent

Consistency in branding is key for global and small businesses. Once you decide on your logo, its two or three colours and your catchy and memorable company name; DON’T CHANGE IT!  Use the same branding on everything, your business cards, flyers, web site; everywhere that you want to advertise your business to your customers. Even small changes such as colour can confuse consumers and your business is no longer memorable.

For example: The Ford Oval

ford logo historyThe first Ford Oval trademark was introduced in 1907. While there have been a few small changes to the logo, essentially the Ford branding has not changed in more than  a century. Ford and its products are recognizable world-wide.

Another great example of branding consistency is Coca-Cola:

coca-cola logoFrank Mason Robinson created the CocaCola logo in 1885. Today the logo remains virtually unchanged since the inception of the brand. Another great example of a product and brand that is recognizable world-wide.

Make it Memorable

Lastly, your branding should be memorable. This quality is sure to follow if you paid attention to keeping it simple and consistent. An easy to remember company name along with a bold, simple logo that remains consistent in every bit of publication you produce for your company will work towards creating a brand that is memorable by your customers.  If you see the name Tim Hortons, immediately you think of coffee and donuts. Levis is jeans.  Ford is cars and trucks. There is no confusion and the brand becomes a part of the urban vernacular.

Final Word

So just how do you achieve all of this? As a new business owner, its hard to give up responsibilities to outside sources. Its your “baby” afterall, and as a proud parent, you want to be central to its development and growth, right?  You don’t need to give up the ownership of your ideas, but if you find yourself going round and round, spending sleepless nights and harried days thinking about your company, what to call it and what your logo should look like; why not put your trust into a graphic designer?  Present your passionate ideas and ideals for your “baby” to a designer. Then when your designer returns to you with a few ideas they created fueled by your passion, you can then move forward and onwards to more important things; like growing your business.


Consumer Demand vs Corporate Packages

Recently I have discovered that there is a hole in the media/entertainment market. Specifically, a lack of consumer choice with regards to the type of programming we can watch on our TV’s or computers.  In Canada; consumers have a choice of service providers. Each provider offers “packages” to the consumer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch every channel and every program available to me in these packages. I would suspect that 99.99% of consumers are the same in this aspect. In addition, I also suspect that the vast majority of viewers are spending less time watching TV than they did 5 or 10 or 20 years ago.  These changes, coupled with new technology that allows us to stream online content directly to our TV monitors should have spawned a new approach by the service companies. But no, from what I can tell, they are still offering the same old packages. Finding content on the internet is often limited in Canada. Surprisingly, I could not find a single site that offered a paid subscription for unlimited access to live and recorded programming. My main search was for sporting events, but I also found that regular TV series programming was also limited in what and when it could be viewed, if at all.

How about this?

Allow consumers to choose programs and channels that they want. No packages. Consumers then will pay for only the programming that is valuable to them, (which they choose to subscribe to) and not a bunch of other channels and programs that they will never use or want. And, why not enhance this even further? Offer these programs as ON Demand services, available via internet by any computer or internet connected TV or even smart phones 24/7.

For Example:

Susie Q loves to watch “How I met your Mother”, “Big Bang Theory”, the “Insider”, MTV and romantic comedy movies. But Susie works shifts and isn’t always home when her programs are running. But now; with the new “flex-watch what you love” choices by her favourite service provider, she can watch all of these programs, any time she wants “on-demand” on her TV, computer OR smart phone.  She can even login from her girlfriends home internet to watch a program during girls night. If she misses an episode, she only needs to search the online menu and find it to watch it. Whats more!! Susie only pays for the programs she has subscribed to, and she can modify her choices AT ANY TIME, without any additional fees.

Jake is a sports nut! He loves all sports but sometimes he can’t watch a game if he is busy with other things. He also loves reality programs and sci-fi horror movies. So Jake has signed up with his favourite service provider and selected the programs he wants, including access to all NHL, NFL, and NBA game broadcasts. Jake can even go to his buddies house, login to his account on his buddies internet and watch the game.  Jake only pays for the programs he has chose and can change his choices at any time.

Sounds cool eh? Maybe the service providers will get smart, and start giving consumers what they REALLY WANT. I mean, as far as I can tell, all the technology is in place. Its only the bureaucratic paperwork that needs to be cleared to allow for TRUE consumer choice.

What do you think??


Flash vs DHTML

As the World Wide Web matures, and its users become more internet savvy; many businesses looking for a company to build their web site often demand certain features
that they have seen or heard about as being current and cutting edge. One such feature is the implementation of flash and/or flash-based web sites.

While flash sites certainly can offer some great eye-candy to the viewer; they are not necessarily for everyone.  Advantages to using flash include; cross-browser compatibility, eye-catching, moving pictures and interesting interactivity, as well as the ability to easily  use audio and movies on your site. Flash web sites or sites that use some flash interactivity are seen as exciting, modern and cutting-edge cool and will engage the viewer longer on the site, thereby enticing them to try our a product or contact the company for more information.

However; there are also disadvantages to using Flash, and cah productions feels it is important that our customers are aware and educated about their choices for their web pages.

Flash files require longer loading times than html with dynamic page features.  According to internet world stats dot com; of the top 20 countries that use the internet; less than 7% of users world-wide are on a broadband connection. This same statistic is less than 40% in the USA and around the 30% mark for Canadian users.  This means that the majority of your viewers will have extended wait times while your web pages load, if you have incorporated a flash generated home page or other flash features on your web site.  Think of it as if they walked into your store, and saw a line up of 10 or more people at the counter. Some may wait patiently in line, others may decide to go elsewhere.

Another huge disadvantage to flash-only or flash-heavy web sites is that flash is not optimized for search engine indexing, and as a result, the content of your Flash animation is not visible for search engine spiders.  Prospective customers who are searching for you via google or bing or another popular search engine will not be able to find your web site.  This is like having a store front with a beautiful animated banner; but the banner is obscured by the trees and bushes in front of your store.

Flash requires a plug-in. In addition to many users not having broadband connection, there are just as many who have not updated their browser or plug-ins and are using older computers. These users are unwilling or often unable to upgrade and will be unable to view your amazing flash pages without the plug-in application.

Viewers will lose accessibility and usability when viewing a flash site. Font size cannot be changed and screen readers cannot read the pages. Somewhat like not having a wheelchair accessible ramp to your storefront; these customers will be unable to access your store.

Flash is unavailable on most cell phones and mobile devices. This will undoubtedly keep your mobile users from viewing your site and again restrict your viewing audience.

Flash is also more expensive to create and maintain. Changes require extensive additional flash features to be created and clients cannot freely change content in flash pages on their own.

So what is the alternative?

Web pages can be built with many interactive features; forms, drop down menus, moving pictures/special effects, video and audio and more by using alternatives to flash. Cah Productions can show you what we can do to make your pages exciting, while keeping your costs down, your viewers engaged and your web site easily accessible and discoverable by your customers.

Peruse our pages on our web site to see some of these features in action, or call or email us now for more information.

www.cahproductionz.com


Fast, Affordable, Creative, Friendly

Welcome to Cah Productions

This is the WordPress version of our site.

Cah Productions offers full media design services to enhance and compliment your business needs. From print media services to web design we can advise you on the best options to suit your needs and your budget.
Cah Productions will take your vision and transfer it to print and web advertising that is unique and professional. Our industry experience and on-going training will keep your business on the cutting-edge of what’s new  in advertising and design. We offer services for your small and large projects. Cah Productions will listen to your needs, then provide you with several options to meet those needs.
The final decision is yours.
Call or email us today to discuss your ideas and project needs.


Our Experience and Knowledge

Why cah productions??

  • 10 plus years of industry experience

  • creative ideas and solutions for all design needs

  • Lots of happy clients!!

  • cah productions uses industry-leading Adobe products to create your graphic images and web design project

  • services suited to your budget and timeline

    sound of music poster

    Event Promotion for Client


Designing Tips by cah Productions

Steps to Realizing Your Design Vision:

  1. Have a solid vision of what you want.
  2. Express your vision to a creative designer.
  3. Review several mockups your designer has created for you.
  4. Select one mockup that is closest to your vision.
  5. Suggest changes you want if required.
  6. Use your final design on various media to achieve the best impact, ie: posters, flyers and web.
gymnastics program cover

program cover for 2011 Championships