Great Expectations

by GruffyGoat Team written on
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The thing about any relationship, whether friendship, romantic, or business, is that we all come in with our own expectations. And it seems that as humans, we have a hard time communicating those expectations to each other. Maybe it’s because we don’t understand what they are ourselves, or we just expect people to read our minds. 

Even in our business, creating websites, we run into this and like any relationship, uncommunicated expectations can create tension. We try to define our expectations in our proposal for every project and talk about them on a kick-off call but there are several things that tend to be misunderstood.


A theme is like a blueprint for your house. Picking your theme is like picking the location of the walls and windows of your home. They are (mostly) permanent. The “customization” of your theme is adding branding, colors, fonts, etc. Most themes have a lot of options for the layout of those walls and windows, but you need to choose within those options available in the theme. The biggest misunderstanding of expectations when it comes to a theme is the level of customization available and just like building a house, if you want to “upgrade” your options, there will be extra costs incurred.

Rounds of Revisions

Most of our projects have a restriction on the number of edits clients are allowed. And confusion comes into play on not only what a “round” is, but also what counts as an “edit” or “revision.” The idea behind a round of edits is that once we send you something to review, either a single page or multiple on your site, you get a chance to review what we sent. This review needs to be exhaustive. Spend time, marinate, get everyone that is allowed an opinion involved, and make a list. Once that list is complete. That is your round. We will then complete your edits, if possible, and then you will get a chance to look again. Ideally, this last round (if you have 2 total) is a minimal list.


I mentioned edits or revisions above but wanted to spend more time on what is an edit. Technically, an edit is a change. But, the level of change can be drastically different. And some edits are within the scope and some are not. For a theme, once you pick a theme you are limited to what is in that theme unless specified otherwise in your scope of work. So, an appropriate edit would be to change the color of that button, switch out this image, change this content, replace this section layout with this other section from the theme. There are others but that is a start. Now, for a custom design, there is less restriction in some ways BUT once a design is approved, any changes to that design might incur an extra cost. We try to be as clear and communicative as possible around those. Changes that are almost always out of scope when not in the original proposal are custom forms, adding plug-ins, additional integrations, extra pages, and custom functionality.

Final Content

This kind of plays off of the above with rounds of edits but it is worth segmenting out. Changing out content counts as an edit. Whether it is ALL of your content or just a sentence. We usually ask for FINAL content before we even begin designs or building out your site. We simply cannot build anything without knowing what we are building for or around. Any time we try to begin without final content it actually leads to more rework even though it may feel like we’re gaining time by getting started sooner. It actually adds time later on. We are mostly asking for text although final images are also great. We can use placeholder images, but just remember that changing images needs to be accounted for in a round of edits.

To close, we experience a level of unrealistic expectations. We understand that our clients do not build websites – that’s why you work with us! But like any service provider, we outline what is included in each project. If you add to that, it can add an additional cost. If you have questions about what each line item includes, just ask! We may expect you to know and we could be wrong – and vice versa! More questions can only provide more clarity.

Developing a Camel

by GruffyGoat Team written on
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I’m a big fan of the show Parks and Recreation. First, because it’s hilarious. Second, it addresses a lot of work-related issues that we, at GruffyGoat, deal with every day. For instance, there is one episode where the Parks Department has to design a mural for city hall. The whole team gets involved and they all come up with separate ideas for the mural and then try to force it all together into one piece. The product of this is what one of the characters calls a “camel.” He goes on to say “a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.”

We have talked about this idea of design by committee in some of our other blog posts, but I’m going to elaborate on the topic a bit and give a couple of reasons why it isn’t a good idea. Or why, if you need to have a committee, that committee needs to meet and be on the same page prior to the project beginning and not at the end.


One of the biggest requests from clients we receive regarding their websites is that it gets launched as soon as possible. For the most part, we can achieve that goal and we do. However, there is one thing that always delays our project launches. “Sorry for the delay in response, we just sent the site over for review from our account team. They haven’t seen it yet and have some thoughts on what needs to happen with it.” This especially causes a delay when we have already run through our two rounds of revisions without the “higher ups” even seeing the site. 

We run a tight ship here at GruffyGoat. Our process is quick and getting quicker as we grow and learn, but we can’t account for clients spending a week debating internally the order of the menu or color on the button on the contact form. Now don’t get me wrong, we wholeheartedly want your company to be happy with their website and we will work on it until you are, but sometimes clients get caught up in the small details and forget the big goal of having a new website up and running on a good profitable timeline.


We give every client a certain number of rounds of edits, which is where the client can review the site and note anything that is not living up to their expectations. This is a great system because this allows us to develop to a certain point and then receive feedback on our work in order to continue on the project with the client’s vision in view.

However, here is where designing by committee can hurt a client. If we are working with our contact person and on a round of edits they send the site to be reviewed by another department or by their managers. This is probably the first time this new party will have seen the site, which in itself is fine, but the new party doesn’t have any background on the previous versions of the site, the previous content on the site, the limitations of the scope of the project, and the overall process and where the project is in the process.

Again, we are very willing to work with whoever you need on a project and we welcome new fresh eyes on a project, but a round of edits is not a good time to discuss a new function of your site. Our recommendation is that anyone that is allowed to have an opinion, but especially the final decision-makers, should be involved in the process from the start. But, we also recommend limiting the number of people who are given an opinion and make sure you prioritize those opinions, who has a veto and final decision power. And please make those decisions before coming to us.

Communicate internally about the needs and wants of your site before you sign our contract containing the limitations of the scope. We can gladly add functionality to your site after you launch, but it will cost you a little extra.

How to Win

Just so you all know, we love our clients. When you sign a contract with us, we want you to be so happy with your website that you tell everyone you meet about it. We want you to be proud of what you built. The goal of our projects is for you to get an affordable website quickly and efficiently. In order to do this, you need to remember these things. First, discuss all needs and all wants before starting the project. Second, not everyone needs to have a voice. Finally, the goal is getting the website up and running, so don’t get hung up on the little things.

Video Killed the Radio Star and Your Media Library

by GruffyGoat Team written on
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One issue we run into regularly at GruffyGoat is client video files. I think most people assume they can just upload .mp4 files to a WordPress site and the world will continue on its path with little to no consequences. This is not the case. I’m here to talk about solutions to this devastating issue.


What we usually tell our clients is upload everything on YouTube and we can connect the video from there. We stand by this recommendation for a couple of reasons: YouTube is familiar, FREE, owned by Google, FREE, beneficial for SEO, pretty well seamless to use and connect too, and oh yeah, FREE. However, if you want video content to come up organically in a YouTube search, you have your work cut out for you. YouTube has been called the second largest search engine on the internet, meaning YouTube has an absolute surplus of videos on all topics. Simply put, it is hard to get your video to the top without cheating the system. The other issue we have run into with YouTube is if you want a private list of videos with exclusive content to display on a members-only page, YouTube can’t do that with the traditional connection methods.

Other Video Hosting

YouTube is not the only video hosting service. If YouTube is not meeting your needs, check out Wistia, Vimeo, or DailyMotion. These are just a few options that could compete for your video hosting service. The number one complaint I can see from this list is they are all paid services. I get it, the last thing you want in this life is another bill. I get that on a very deep level but listen, you get what you pay for. The reason these are paid video hosting is due to the service you are receiving. Do some research. You won’t regret finding a tool that will take some stress and hassle off you for your business. There is merit to each of these services that separates them from the rest of the market.

Manage Your File Sizes

I’m not going to harp on this too long, but some of you have an issue with file sizes. **Side Rant** If you are uploading an image and the size is 7MB, step away from the Media Library, take a breathe, and compress the file. That will save you in the future, in more ways than you know.**End Rant** If you are uploading a single video file to your site for a cool header or something, you don’t have to create a YouTube channel to host that single soundless 45-second video. (However, that might be a good idea in some cases and we will probably recommend that to be honest.) You can upload a nicely packaged and minimized file to the back of your WordPress site. We treat this as a last case scenario because it can cause problems as a regular practice, but before we do this please send us the cleanest, smallest, most optimized file for your site. Here is a blog post from Learn G2 explaining clean video management.

In summary, videos are a great part of your website content and we welcome beautiful videography with open arms, but please be mindful of file management and please plan for video hosting of some kind whether through YouTube or some other party. There is a lot to consider for a website, but that’s why building and growing with our GruffyGoat team is a smart idea to consider. Contact us if you want to learn more.

Which Comes First? The Content or Design?

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Today’s topic revolves around your sitemap and your website content. Your sitemap is the pages on your website and how they are organized. A great sitemap also details the user flow and how pages are linked. Content is all the text and media that will be on the site. There are two main schools of thought for web design about when content comes into play for a project. 

  1. Design first, content second.
  2. Content first, design around the content.

Guess which school of thought we fall into? If you chose #2, then you are correct. I like how Slickplan explains this:

“Great websites start with great content! Create and organize your content first so that it drives design, not the other way around… More efficiently planned content leads to less time and money spent, fewer revisions, and a reduction of coding do-overs.”

They pretty much hit the nail on the head. In our experience, beginning to build or design a website without at least rough text content leads to many more revisions down the road. In essence, we cannot design around content that we cannot see. We cannot determine the best layout for a section without knowing if we are working with a paragraph, a title plus a list, one image, or three images. We will guess based on assumptions and more than likely guess wrong. This guessing game becomes frustrating for all involved.

Some agencies work design first and it’s not wrong! It’s just not our style.

So, if you are looking to work with us, start thinking about your content before signing the dotted line, because we are going to ask you for it. If you need help with this, let us know! Our content strategy team loves to dig in with working brainstorming and planning sessions. We also have copywriters to help you put pen to paper. Let’s figure it out together!


White Label Development Services

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We’re there supporting your business and keeping your clients happy.

GruffyGoat has built a strong reputation as a designer, developer and host of affordable business websites. A large piece of our core business, however, is providing “white label” development services to our partners who want to offer similar services to their customers, too. To help make this aspect of our offering more clear, we’re going to take a deep dive into what white label services are and what they can mean for your business.

If you’re a marketing firm, creative studio, or advertising agency that offers website design and development, then you know the difficulty and expense of providing those services to your clients. Your creative staff might have the design part covered, but you still need a highly-trained team of back-end developers and support personnel to build each site’s architecture, host and maintain all client sites, and handle a never-ending stream of customer requests and changes.

It’s not easy, and for a lot of firms who want to provide these services, the expense, trouble, and added resources are often too much to justify the investment.

Partnering with GruffyGoat to sell white label development services is a great solution to this dilemma, and gives you a lot of business options without a major capital outlay. We do all the behind-the-scenes work so that your company can focus on what you do best.

What do we mean by “white label”?

The term has its origins in the old “generic” brands that emerged in the 70s and 80s as a way to cut consumer costs. Back then, you could buy products such as groceries that were literally in plain white packaging with black letters, with no images or graphic design on the packaging. The idea was that stores could offer these products—typically still made by the “big-name” manufacturers—at discount prices because the marketing expense wasn’t factored in to the cost.

These generic brands eventually evolved into the “store brands” we see on shelves today. You can buy good old Cheerios, made by General Mills, or you can buy an identical product in a plainer box with the store’s logo, often for half the price or less. Same product; completely different relationship with both the grocer and the consumer.

White label development works in a similar fashion. As one of our partner firms, you can offer full website design, development, hosting, and maintenance services to your clients—provided by the professional GruffyGoat team, but totally repackaged with your firm’s branding. 

How can GruffyGoat help you?

You can quickly and easily outsource your website design and development needs to GruffyGoat. You land the projects, you manage the client relationship, and we handle the rest. You get all the business benefits of an in-house web team without the expense and headaches.

To the end-client, GruffyGoat is invisible, but we’re there supporting your business and keeping your clients happy. This frees up your resources and lets you concentrate on building even more business. Even if you already have a development staff in place, we can supplement their efforts and handle overflow as your firm grows so that you don’t have to add expensive personnel right away.

Best of all, because we can build sites at a lower price than most in-house teams, you make more money on each project, and can continue to generate long-term recurring revenue by offering hosting and maintenance services (which we also provide).

Contact us to learn more about our white label services, and keep an eye out for part 2 of our series, in which we’ll talk about what offering white label development services entails.

White Label Development Services: Part 2

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White label design and development services are a great way for marketing and advertising agencies to offer affordable web services to your customers.

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As we discussed in our last post, white label design and development services are a great way for marketing and advertising agencies to offer affordable web services to your customers. You gain the full benefits of a team of development professionals without adding infrastructure, personnel, or other overhead to your firm’s budget. You simply contract the service, pay a nominal monthly fee depending on your needs, and then deliver a creative value-add for your clients through your firm’s branding.

GruffyGoat provides robust white label web development services to many of our customers. This has enabled them, in turn, to add those services to their firm’s portfolio as well as generate recurring revenue through monthly maintenance and hosting fees. To their clients, GruffyGoat is invisible; to the agency, we’re behind the scenes supporting their business and keeping things running smoothly so they can focus on more important tasks.

So, What Does GruffyGoat’s White Label Service Entail?

Our sites are built on WordPress, one of the world’s best and most widely-used content management systems, with a user-friendly interface and lots of features and plugins to accommodate a vast number of configurations. We also offer a deep menu of affordable design themes bursting with style to supplement your creative team.

For a standard monthly fee*, you get…

  • Daily site backups with auto-restore points
  • Firewall and malware scanning
  • Evercache technology and CDN-ready architecture
  • SSL Certificate
  • Ongoing WordPress framework and plugin updates
  • Regular monthly uptime and update reporting
  • High-capacity bandwidth (up to 2GB) and storage (up to 1GB) per site

*Our monthly fee is based on your hosting/migration needs, ecommerce compatibility, and required plugins for your site offerings.

We also provide scalable hourly support services, as needed.

How Much Do White Label Sites Cost?

GruffyGoat’s ongoing hosting and support allows us to offer initial website builds at much lower prices. But lots of factors can contribute to the final price, including:

  • The number and complexity of any site functions
  • Total number of site pages
  • SEO requirements/plugins
  • Advanced customizations
  • Bandwidth and storage needs

Standard pricing also assumes that the client provides all logos, content, branding, etc. We can provide those elements if needed, but additional creative services add to the final cost as well.

Am I Locked Into a Long-Term Commitment?

We only require hosting with us for the duration of the build. Once the site is complete, you can move the site anywhere you want. All our hosting plans are month-to-month and you’re never locked into a long-term contract. You can check out our terms for yourself.

What About Email Services?

You can either set up email at your own company’s domain, or GruffyGoat can provide email services for an additional setup and monthly fee.

How Does the Process Work?

We typically ask for 4–6 weeks to develop a website, but we’ve found that once we establish good workflow procedures with our white label customers, our team can often build out sites within a 3–4-week timeframe (particularly when the designs stick to the Divi builder functionality). We can build sites in less time, but rush fees may apply.

  1. Once a project starts, we build the home page first and then send it to you for review. We include two rounds of revisions during this first phase. 
  2. Upon final approval of the home page, we build out the rest of the site. 
  3. When complete, we send the full site back to you for review and an additional two rounds of revisions on the new pages.
  4. Upon final approval, we launch the site and you are free to move the hosting to your preferred provider.

NOTE: Any out-of-scope design changes or revisions after we’ve received final approval on a process step may result in additional fees. 

The GruffyGoat team believes in good organization and total communication. We have a solid process in place to collect all the site assets together and keep you fully updated throughout the development process.

Contact us to learn more about our white label services. We’d love to partner with you and your team, and be a development resource as you continue to grow your business! 

Glossary of Website Terminology

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A Record
The A record is the DNS record that tells a server where to send website traffic. At GruffyGoat, when we launch a new website or take over hosting for a client, we typically have the client change their A record to point from their old hosting provider to ours. Changing the A record allows all other non-website related traffic, such as email, to remain intact and unchanged.
CSS stands for “Cascading Style Sheet”. A stylesheet is a file (or set of files) on your web server that determines what your website looks like. From font style, to colors and layout — CSS code is added to a stylesheet to define your website’s appearance.
Cache & Cookies
No, we’re not talking about ???? and ????. No doubt you’ve heard the phrase, “clear your cache!”. No matter which one you use, each browser stores temporary files (images, audio, video, stylesheet, etc.), called “cache”, in a folder to help a browser load more quickly. The process of “clearing your cache” is telling your browser to delete these temporary files so that you see the newest version of a website.

Like cache, “cookies” are used to store information related to the user, like IP address, login information, shopping cart history, etc. Typically, you do not need to delete your cookies when clearing your cache.
cPanel is short for “control panel”. This is the back end admin screen used by some hosting providers where you can make changes to things like DNS records, SSL as well as access your sites files and database. Some hosting providers, like WPEngine and Flywheel have their own admin screens for managing these items.
DNS is like a mail organizer at your home, receiving all types of mail from all different places. Your website constantly receives all kinds of “mail” in the form of web or email traffic, among other things. Each piece of traffic comes into a specific “mailbox”. DNS simply tells that mail where to go, in the form of a DNS records. Web traffic, for example is typically controlled by an A record, whereas email is controlled by MX records. The specific IP address of these DNS records tells that traffic where to go.
Design vs. Development
A website design contains all of the visual elements you see on the site. From colors and fonts to layout and site flow, all aspects of the visual presentation of the site are determined by the designer.

A developer is someone who can take a designer’s vision for a website and make it function correctly on the back end. A developer’s role brings the designer’s vision to life, through interactivity and integration.
A domain is like the physical address of your house. To get to your house, you have to know your address. For a website, this is your URL, your www, the address you put in your browser to get to your website. Domains are purchased via a registrar, like GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.
GoDaddy sucks. From the quality of their products and services to their support — they’re terrible from top to bottom. Avoid them like the plague. The only thing you should ever use GoDaddy for is registering your domains, and even then, support another company because… GoDaddy sucks. Did we have to put this in our glossary? No. Do they deserve this amount of shade? Absolutely.
Hosting is like a house – it’s where your website lives on the internet. Everything inside the “house” is your website – its design, layout & functionality. When you “migrate” a site, in essence, you’re moving out and moving in to a different house/hosting provider. Just like a house, some hosting providers are way nicer than others. WPEngine is a house in the Hamptons, GoDaddy is a cardboard box in Harlem (in our opinion, of course).
An iFrame is a method where you can load an external source inside of a page/post. The content/data isn’t living directly on the site but is pulled in through a “frame” to display it. A good example of this is a YouTube video embed or Google Map embed — these are iFrames used to display content that lives on another server to your website.
MX Record
MX is the DNS record that tells the server where to send email traffic. Each email provider (like GSuite, Outlook365, etc.) has their own set of MX records. By adding the providers MX records to your DNS settings, you are letting your server know where all email traffic needs to be routed to.
Like geese flying south for the winter, “migration” for a website is moving its physical location from one hosting provider to another. There are many different ways to migrate a site, from manually exporting the files and database from one to the other or automated ways, using a plugin. If you’re on a crappy host, like GoDaddy for example, you should definitely consider migrating your site to a more reliable hosting provider. The process may seem daunting, but we can help!
A website mockup is a high definition iteration of how a website will look, prior to moving into the development stage. Mockups combine the structure and layout generated during the wireframe stage with the colors/styles created in the style tile phase to present a client with what their website will look like. Depending on the size/scope of a website project, some designers/developers skip the mockup or wireframe stage and move directly into development. There’s no right or wrong way to proceed as long as client approval is received throughout the process.
A nameserver is a special type of server that houses all DNS records for a domain. By default, when you purchase a domain, your website is automatically assigned the nameserver of that registar. So if you’ve purchased your domain at GoDaddy but want to host your website somewhere else (which you should definitely do!), you can change the nameserver of your domain to point to your new hosting provider. You can also use a service like Cloudflare to manage your DNS settings. Simply put, the nameserver’s job is to house all DNS records for a website.
A registrar a bit like a landlord – it’s where go to purchase and lease your domain name. Typical registrars are GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc. You can also purchase additional services through registrars, such as hosting and email. However, you do not have to host any services through your registrar if you don’t want to. These can all be hosted elsewhere.
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. This is a process of enhancing your website to get website visitors to your site through search engine results.
SSL is like the fence surrounding your home, protecting it from intruders. For a website, SSL is the technology that establishes a secure/encrypted link between a web server and a users browser. SSL ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private.
A server (or web server) is like the neighborhood where you live. For a website, it’s the physical/virtual place where it resides. The main job of a web server is to display website content through storing, processing and delivering websites to users through a browser. Server space is leased through hosting providers, like WPEngine, Bluehost, Siteground, etc.
Theme / Template
A theme is a set of prebuilt templates used to define the look and feel of your website. Themes come in all shapes and sizes and also contain different levels of functionality; from flashy animations to full eCommerce themes. Themes are a great way to jumpstart a website project.
For a website, a wireframe is very similar to a blueprint for a house. They provide an overview of a website’s page structure, layout, user flow, and experience. Wireframes can differ in complexity – from hand-drawn on a napkin to presented in a prototyping tool like XD or Sketch. The wireframing process allows a client to agree on the overall site flow and how the content will be presented prior to moving into full design mockup or development of the site.