We are excited to welcome Rich Miller as our new Helpdesk Analyst. In this new role, Rich will combine his customer service and support skills to help TKG clients identify and resolve their technical issues.
Rich comes to TKG with over a decade of experience in IT and helpdesk support, and will utilize his industry knowledge to manage projects and provide technical support to TKG’s internal and external customers.
“Rich has been an invaluable addition to the Data Services team,” said Lucas Jackson, TKG’s Linux Administrator. “He is extremely experienced and hardworking, so we are thrilled to welcome him to the team.”
The City of Green, Ohio (CoG) identified a need to refresh and redesign their old website (http://www.cityofgreen.org) that was originally designed and hosted by TKG.
Green has changed pretty dramatically since the former site was created. It is now a bustling suburban community with more than 25,000 residents. Some small farms still dot the landscape, amid 530-acres of city-owned parkland, homes and subdivisions, office parks, businesses and recreation facilities.
Their website served the community well, but a lack of updating meant that it couldn’t be viewed on some devices, specifically mobile. More than 80% of traffic to their website were returning visitors on a weekly or monthly basis, so it was important that they have a site that could be viewed on the go.
At the same time, and most importantly, the website needed a review and restructuring of the existing content to improve relevance and improve findability (it’s a word, look it up!).
For the pivotal task of reviewing and restructuring existing content, we were introduced to Valerie Wolford, Communications Coordinator, as the lead of the project. We have worked with only a few project leads that can compare to Valerie. Her attention to detail and realistic outlook on seeing a project of this magnitude through to the end were invaluable and a joy to see in action. We know it will probably be awhile until we get the opportunity to work with Valerie again, but until then we will be looking forward to it.
Valerie lifted the heavy weight in the beginning of the project by rounding up a staggering amount of factual data from the current website. She polled and interviewed actual visitors and employees alike in an attempt to uncover the true areas to be improved. Out of this research, we determined three core objectives of this project:
Create a responsive design to quickly engage visitors by focusing content to their demographic and interest(s)
Provide CoG with a higher level of stability and content flexibility using APOXE 7, TKG’s latest content management platform
Assist CoG to improve site structure and usability
In order to facilitate the objectives, TKG employed these administrative sections behind the update of the website’s aesthetic design of 17 unique layouts:
Community Events (with community submissions)
Real Estate Listings
Image & Document Directories
This project has come to completion and, for all parties involved, it was a huge success. The City of Green, Ohio will continue to be a progressive, technology-friendly city by improving its web presence by utilizing tools such as search engine optimization, content reorganization and other continued strategies to focus the navigation, tone and user experience on the website.
TKG would like to again extend a thank you to The City of Green, Ohio for the opportunity to work on the project. Congrats on a great site!
Bonita comes to TKG after almost 15 years in the interior design industry. In her new role as Office Manager, Bonita will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the efficiency of TKG’s front-of-office operations. She will draw from her broad experience working in administration, sales and interior design to keep the TKG team in check and the office running smoothly.
Congratulations to our very own Hilary Stephens, who was recently promoted to Online Marketing Specialist.
Hilary has proven to be a valuable asset to The Karcher Group in her time here so far, and has always accepted the challenges presented to her and we’re sure she will thrive in this new role. She started at TKG in 2012 as Administrative Assistant.
As a Specialist, Hilary will now be supporting our Online Marketing Strategists on tasks such as page optimization, link building, content marketing, research and documentation.
Josh specializes in HTML5, CSS3, jQuery, SASS and responsive design. He studied web development at Stark State College and gained experience as a web developer and IT administrator while working in Akron for six years.
Josh took a break from web development and was in the Army as an Infantryman. He was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY with the 101st Airborne division for three years. Nine months of those three years were spent deployed in Afghanistan on the Pakistan border
“We do our best to produce the best sites on the web, and in order to do that we need quality front end developers. I believe we found one with the recent hiring of Josh Moyers. He is homegrown, has travelled the world serving our country, and has quite a few years of online development experience under his belt,” said David Brown, director of Client Services. “And when he wears a suit, which we normally don’t do around here, he looks like a young James Bond!”
It’s interesting to have the opportunity to see the inner workings of a small company like TKG from more than one perspective. When I joined the group almost 2 years ago as an Account Coordinator, then Account Manager, I saw a lot of things – many of them from the perspective of the client.
Recently I took on the role of Director of Client Services. My new job is to manage our Online Marketing & Web Development teams’ resources to keep hundreds of clients moving in a positive direction. It’s been a role that’s been hard to fill at TKG in the past, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.
What a different viewpoint this is! As an Account Manager, all that mattered was delivering what we promised and keeping my clients happy. TKG has always strived to deliver excellent customer service, and I knew what that meant when I was managing client accounts. It meant understanding the client’s goals or requests, reaching out to the team and understanding what it will take to deliver, then asking them to execute upon approval. Pretty simple right?
The view from the Client Services Director’s seat is quite different. I now see just how many requests we get on a daily basis, both large and small. They also come from dozens of external and many internal clients. It’s a real challenge to work with my team to find a way to keep all of these clients happy.
Every client, large or small, feels like they are our only client. I believe they deserve to feel that way.
I’m now working with a great team of people to find that balance between the right number of clients, and the right communication system to allow us to do just that. Make every client feel as if they are our only client.
We’re excited to officially announce the promotions of two TKGers, Patrick Willoughby and David Brown.
After 10+ years of service at TKG and increasing responsibility, Patrick Willoughby has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. In his new role, he oversees day-to-day operations here at TKG, which includes all of us staff, finance issues, as well as managing any building issues (we’ve been known to have one or two).
David Brown, who joined TKG in 2011 as an account coordinator (and was quickly promoted to account manager) has been promoted to Director of Client Services. He now oversees all web development and marketing staff and ensures projects are delivered on time and within budget parameters. No pressure or anything, Dave!
Or at least we hope so. In May I talked about the importance of client relationships, including our take here at TKG. This month I’m touching on our other “people relationships” here at TKG that matter: our people.
Employees are more likely to enjoy coming to work with people they like and respect. Quality goes up. Efficiency goes up. Overall enjoyment goes up. Not a bad situation all around, if you ask me. As a business, you create a name for yourself as a place people want to work: “Oh man, that place is so cool, I’d love to work there!” Etc, etc.
It’s the easy stuff that can get lost that often means the most. Taking time to have a quick discussion, asking how the weekend was (and mean it), putting on a company grill out or participating in it (these pics are from a May cookout here), getting smaller groups of employees together for lunch, beer after work, etc. These are things we try to make part of our culture here at TKG.
Last month we did a top 5 Characteristics of a Great Client relationship. This month, we have an installment of a great employee relationship:
Communication – don’t keep secrets. Be up front and clear/transparent in your discussions with the team. Even the hard stuff.
Trust – do the employees trust the company? That the company will make good decisions always with the team in mind.
Engagement – Is the company going to the team for input regularly? What challenges are there? Feedback?
Action – if the team is engaged, are they acting on the needs of the clients/business? Reversely, if they company tells the team they are going to do something, the company needs to deliver.
Growth – is the company challenging the employees, encouraging and supporting them to grow?
Who wouldn’t want to work somewhere other people only *wish* they could work? We feel strongly here at TKG that it’s our people who make the difference. We want this to be a place that people want to work and others wish they could. Don’t you want that for your business, too?
If you follow TKG on social media or here on the blog, you know that we just wrapped up our 5th season of Breakfast Bootcamp.
Well, we were supposed to wrap it up, anyway. It’s still happening!
By special request, we tacked on a bonus session on Google Analytics: How to Make Sense of Your Stats for Thursday, July 25th. That session filled up in three days. Apparently people want to really want to make sense of stats!
So, now we’re doing a BONUS BONUS (double bonus? Bonus-squared?) Google Analytics session on August 8th. This is the same session as the one on July 25th, so please only register for one session!
We fully expect this one to fill up, too, so register soon.
Here’s what our own Google Analytics-certified Leanne Wicks plans to cover:
Introduction to Google Analytics
Understanding Traffic/Types of Traffic
Understanding Which Reports are Key
How to properly set up Google Analytics on your site
How to Use Filters
Setting Up Goals
Google Analytics: How to Make Sense of Your Stats
Thursday, August 8, 2013
8 AM -9:30 AM
5590 Lauby Road Suite 8
North Canton, OH 44720
Well, that’s not exactly what I’m going to write about, but it’s close. I was recently playing golf with Jon Dulac, and he suggested that I write a post about 10 things I’d do differently if I were starting TKG now. It’s not hard to come up with things I could have done better, but if I covered 10 things it’d be a really long post. So, here are 5 things I would change about how we built this business if I had it to go over again. These aren’t in any particular order, nor are they necessarily the 5 biggest things.
1. Emotional Decision Making I didn’t realize it until the last few years, but Todd Whetstone came in and helped us see that we made a lot of decisions based on emotional rather than business reasons. It wasn’t intentional, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. We did however do a lot of things in the business and for people in the business when they “needed help”. Todd helped us understand that focusing on doing what is objectively right for the entire business is ultimately what is right for all of the people inside the business. That doesn’t mean we won’t help a team member out of a jam from time to time, however, it does mean that we must scrub every decision we make against the business goals and make sure we don’t get off track.
2. Debt I am not a fan of debt. I never have been. Boy did I justify using it to keep things moving forward in tough times. I am an optimist, so I never thought twice about taking a little financial risk here and there to grow the business. In hindsight, I would avoid debt at every opportunity. It is incredibly expensive and can give you the opportunity to overlook other bad business decisions. We are now on a path to being debt free.
3. Recurring Revenue Our business has always had a few sources of recurring revenue. Web hosting and our web marketing work have both been recurring streams for over 14 years.They have contributed to our sustainability and continues to be a big part of the reason we have been around long enough to watch dozens of competitors come and go. But a true focus with the goal of recurring revenue making up a certain percentage of our total revenue has really smoothed things out for us.
4. Online Marketing Service Expansion For over 10 years our online marketing services were fairly limited to SEO & other very similar tactics. We felt that by sticking to that one service we were staying true to our principles and not “taking the easy way out” with things like Email and PPC. We now have better perspective. Our client’s usually aren’t too concerned with the tactics we use. Rather they are concerned that we leverage our experience to wisely invest their resources whether it be in SEO, PPC, social, etc. to grow their business. That’s what they care about. A couple years ago we started expanding our services to include these other tactics. We still do a ton of SEO, and leverage the principles we’ve learned over the years, but we don’t limit the tools in our toolbox. Given the chance to start over, I would add these services as quickly as we could professionally execute them.
5. Golf Yeah this one is a little self serving – I like to play golf. About 5 years ago I had a friend and a client introduce me to the impact that golf can have on business development. We’ve all heard that a lot of business is done on the golf course, but how many of us really practice it? Not many. The fact is that if used the right way, it truly does have a substantial impact. It’s one of our primary means of new business development. It’s certainly a huge time commitment and a bit of a financial commitment. For our business, both of those have been paid back many times over. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to get to know the people we are doing business with and to really understand the core goals they have in mind. If I had it to do over again, I’d pick up golf right away rather than selling the hard way for 10 years first.
There are many other things I would likely do differently. That’s the beauty of hindsight, right? The good news, however is that we’re here, 15 years into this business, being given the opportunity to look back. More importantly, we have the opportunity to look forward and continue to evolve our business into something that kicks ass for our clients and our team.