What was the scope of their involvement?
Before jumping into website design, we first met with an associate of Tiny Frog called Wolfhound Interactive. Brian [Founder and CEO] at Wolfhound Interactive is an expert in understanding what people are looking for when coming to a website, so they helped us determine what should be on the site and how it should flow before they started discussing the website design or web proposal. Their statistics-based approach really impressed me.
The site is built on a WordPress platform that's been customized, which was suitable for us since we would be doing a lot of the updating ourselves. It needed to be very user-friendly because I’m not a technology expert, and I'm primarily responsible for the content of the site.
There were about 4 layers of the company that we worked with. Tiny Frog’s CEO, Mikel, acted as our principal. Wolfhound’s services were a value added to the Tiny Frog contract. Brian worked on the visitor models and got us thinking through what should be where on the site. Natalie [Web Designer, Tiny Frog] handled the actual website design and worked on each page with me. Also, Tiny Frog had a whole separate department for the production phase, which included Chris [Hosting Manager/WP Trainer] and Inga [Lead Development Coordinator]. They were fantastic as well.
We went through the pre-website design discussion first to find out what really needed to be included. We had several levels of approval because we needed to make the Ken Blanchard Companies’ executives comfortable with the whole idea of having another website with the name Ken Blanchard on it. We didn't want the sites to compete; we wanted them to be in alignment.
Once we finished those discussions, we went into the design and wireframe phase. We had plenty of opportunities to ask questions at that point before too much work was done. It was a very deliberate, thought-out process, which helped us maximize the results of our spending.
Tiny Frog designed a logo that was complementary to but distinct from the Ken Blanchard Companies logo. They created visitor models at the Wolfhound Interactive phase. Once we did the wireframes, then they did the actual design of specific pages—a custom home page and 3 custom design pages.
The site contains content for a backlist of the 60 books. It introduces Ken as an author and catalogs all of his books into several different categories. We have “Managing Self,” “Managing Another,” “Managing Teams,” “Managing Organizations,” and “Growing Spiritually.” Within each category, you can search by book. Then, you can view details about the book and author, videos, reviews and press coverage, social media graphics, webinars, and “Buy Now” buttons that link to third-party sellers. It's really quite extensive. There's also a menu that deals with Ken's speaking career and a link to our nonprofit institute. We also have a blog on the site with contact information and newsletter signups.
How did you come to work with Tiny Frog?
I described the job to a few different website developers. Not only did Tiny Frog have a competitive bid, but their reviews and references were way above other companies, so I was very influenced by that. When I met with them, I was very impressed with their personalities—easy going, quick learning, highly intelligent. The team understood what we needed and had a deep experience that really impressed me.
How much have you invested with Tiny Frog?
It's quite incredible. You would expect a website of this size to cost tens of thousands of dollars, but we spent less than $10,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
We reached out to Tiny Frog in January of 2016 and did a final agreement in March of 2016. We developed the site throughout last year. A lot of the time was taken up on our end, gathering all the data that we needed, but they were very timely.
The site launched in May of 2017 to coincide with the publication of Ken's new book. For the most part, the project is completed. Tiny Frog is still available to answer our questions, but the transition has been a very easy process. We will go back to them as the website develops to add features and customize a few pages, but we certainly have everything that we need at this point.