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Best of the Web nominees

Rochester Business Journal
March 6, 2015

See correction below.

Banking and Financial Services

bonadio.com
Bonadio & Co. LLP

Website went live: April 4, 1997
Last major overhaul: June 1, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 26,432
Cost to create: About $30,000
Cost to maintain annually: About $12,000
Developed: Externally, by Archer Communications
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Rebecca Povio
Biggest return on your Web investment: Externally, we have happier visitors who can find our services and our people more easily. Internally, we can now far better accommodate the web-communication needs of our growing firm.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Our biggest changes were in layout, navigation and content. We categorized our services into four major groups for easier navigation, we created friendly icons to represent 13 major industries served by the firm, and we greatly improved the written content of the site so that it’s much more engaging and readable.
Major changes planned for 2015: We plan to add downloadable PDFs of our many brochures and sell sheets, and we will post customer-story videos on our service pages.
Site owner: Bonadio & Co. LLP

brightonsecurities.com
Brighton Securities Corp.

Website went live: Sept. 19, 2000
Last major overhaul: Nov. 28, 2013
Average number of page views per month: 7,318
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by RNY Day LLC
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmasters: Christina Gregory, marketing coordinator, and Joseph Sweeney, IT coordinator
Biggest return on your Web investment: In conjunction with our corporate rebranding, overall firm brand awareness has been the biggest return on the website development investment.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We updated images and links on the main website carousel throughout the year. The First Clearing account access tab, which leads to the client log-in page, was added for convenient client access.
Major changes planned for 2015: NA
Site owner: Brighton Securities Corp.

thorleywm.com
Thorley Wealth Management Inc.

Website went live: February 2013
Last major overhaul: June 2014
Average number of page views per month: 941
Cost to create: $6,738
Cost to maintain annually: $1,000
Developed: Externally, by Katy Kuczek at Aurora Design and Ronald Roberts at RCR Communications
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Denise Werner
Biggest return on your Web investment: NA
Big changes to the site in 2014: A redesign to become more personalized and user-friendly
Major changes planned for 2015: Ongoing financial market updates and current events
Site owner: Thorley Wealth Management Inc.

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

Business and Professional Services

bryantdesignstudios.com
Bryant Design Studios

Website went live: Aug. 1, 2011
Last major overhaul: Jan. 1, 2013
Average number of page views per month: 150
Cost to create: $6,500
Cost to maintain annually: $100
Developed: Externally, by DigUDesign and Bryant Design Studios collaborative
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Five
Internal company webmaster: Michael Bryant
Biggest return on your Web investment: Push of company brand perception and generation of new clients.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Our portfolio is continuously evolving.
Major changes planned for 2015: Our About and Testimonial page will shift a bit as we grow.
Site owner: Bryant Design Studios

ip.com
IP.com I LLC

Website went live: Sept. 8, 2000
Last major overhaul: Sept. 21, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 52,905
Cost to create: We did almost all of the work internally. However, we did hire a consultant to assist, which cost $3,600 total.
Cost to maintain annually: $239.40 for hosting by Dreamhost
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Seven
Internal company webmaster: Caitlyn Tuzzolino
Biggest return on your Web investment: IP.com’s biggest return on our new website has been the amount of inbound leads that we have been receiving. We didn’t receive any with our old website, but now, people are downloading white papers and other documents on a daily basis. We also produce email blasts that drive people to our website for a particular campaign, and we have great results whenever we do that.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Our site changed drastically in 2014. If you were able to look at the website on Sept. 20, 2014, and then on Sept. 21, 2014, you would not even know it was the same company. We updated our logo, colors, content, graphics, layout and everything in between—a complete rebranding. We created a video, white papers, an e-book and call-to-action buttons on every page. The biggest change is that our site is now easier to navigate and understand; before, it was a disaster.
Major changes planned for 2015: This year we plan to produce quarterly webinars and videos and then upload them to our website under Resources. We also would like to create a Google AdWords campaign with landing pages that are very specific and drive visitors to take action about whatever it is we are promoting or teaching.
Site owner: IP.com I LLC

pharos.com
Pharos Systems International Inc.

Website went live: 1996
Last major overhaul: September 2014
Average number of page views per month: 20,000
Cost to create: $80,000
Cost to maintain annually: $20,000
Developed: Externally, by DigU Design in close partnership and direction from internal people
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Brandon Heffernan
Biggest return on your Web investment: The strong alignment of our brand identity with our public-facing persona, and we now have a strong link between our corporate website and our customer and partner community.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The previous design was text-heavy and used a rather dated aesthetic that did not communicate what makes us different in our industry. The new design and language convey our brand image and create a more engaging experience.
Major changes planned for 2015: We will continue to add new content and engagement features and possibly an e-commerce component for our new cloud platform.
Site owner: Pharos Systems International Inc.

CULTURAL


eastmanhouse.org
George Eastman House

Website went live: 1995 (to the best of our knowledge)
Last major overhaul: The most recent overhaul to Eastman House’s site is happening right now. Sections of our current site are around 10 years old, and we’ve reached a point where we have completely outgrown our current web platform. In January 2015, we completed our first phase of the overhaul with the launch of the museum’s Technicolor Centennial Celebration website at eastmanhouse.org/technicolor100. Built using the content management system Drupal, the site sets the standard for our new web presence with interactive components, responsive layout and clean, contemporary, photo-rich design to complement our world-class collections. The full overhaul of the website is slated to be completed in summer 2015.
Average number of page views per month: 150,000
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: One full time, three part time
Internal company webmaster: Marc Blumenfeld
Biggest return on your Web investment: Investment in building our online content and digital marketing channels. Our blog, social media channels and email marketing efforts allow us to engage audiences beyond 900 East Ave. Combining these efforts with investment in a new website in 2015, our ultimate goal is to continue to increase the reach of our channels and drive traffic to exciting, new content like Technicolor100.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Technicolor100
Major changes planned for 2015: Total overhaul of the website design and structure, built in a new content management system (Drupal).
Site owner: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film

pushtheatre.org
PUSH Physical Theatre Inc.

Website went live: 2004
Last major overhaul: September 2014
Average number of page views per month: 3,200
Cost to create: $2,500
Cost to maintain annually: $400
Developed: Externally, by Jeremy Dzeidzic
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Avi Pryntz-Nadworny
Biggest return on your Web investment: NA
Big changes to the site in 2014: Simplicity and usability
Major changes planned for 2015: None
Site owner: PUSH Physical Theatre Inc.

wxxi.org
WXXI Public Broadcasting Council

Website went live: 1996
Last major overhaul: 2009
Average number of page views per month: 235,000
Cost to create: Used Open Source CMS (Drupal) and in-house staff to develop
Cost to maintain annually: Cost of in-house staff
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two developers, many content contributors
Internal company webmaster: Andrew Wheeland
Biggest return on your Web investment: Providing a portal to highly valued media services when and where the audience wants them, supplemented with information and resources to support their use
Big changes to the site in 2014: Featured additional sections such as Move to Include, American Graduate and new program pages; improved navigation and usability; increased availability of daily podcasts, new playlists, improved schedules and new streaming services.
Major changes planned for 2015: CMS upgrade and ongoing development to adjust to audience access and feature needs
Site owner: WXXI Public Broadcasting Council

EDUCATION


encompassresources.org
EnCompass: Resources
for Learning

Website went live: NA
Last major overhaul: May 2012
Average number of page views per month: NA
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: $600 in annual hosting and support and maintenance costs
Developed: Externally, originally by Catalog and Commerce and SixteenTon; now maintained by EagleDream Technologies
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Four active users and one administrator
Internal company webmaster: Ryan Fraser
Biggest return on your Web investment: NA
Big changes to the site in 2014: The website is now maintained by a new hosting provider.
Major changes planned for 2015: Content and organizational modifications to highlight programmatic results
Site owner: EnCompass: Resources for Learning

logicaloperations.com
Logical Operations Inc.

Website went live: April 2012
Last major overhaul: August 2014
Average number of page views per month: 50,000+
Cost to create: $45,800
Cost to maintain annually: $600 (hosting)—virtually no other maintenance costs
Developed: Externally, by Dumbwaiter Design
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Brittany Ross
Biggest return on your Web investment: Better positioning among Fortune 500 tech companies
Big changes to the site in 2014: Our previous site was visually safe, and the messaging was confused and overwhelming. This new site simplifies what we do for the user and offers an exploratory and innovative experience for larger organizations we seek to do business with.
Major changes planned for 2015: Additional marketing microsites to accompany the branding of this current site
Site owner: Logical Operations Inc.

naz.edu
Nazareth College

Website went live: October 1997
Last major overhaul: March 2014
Average number of page views per month: 543,265
Cost to create: NA—created using internal resources
Cost to maintain annually: NA—maintained internally by Nazareth’s web team
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Twelve. Our entire marketing and communications team contributes to the content and constant development of the website (nine employees) plus our three web developers.
Internal company webmasters: David Lafferty, senior web developer
Biggest return on your Web investment: An increase in engagement with prospective students. An increase (up more than 400 percent) in graduate inquiries from the website.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The site is now responsive, which is very important for our audience, which is very reliant on their mobile phones. We transitioned into a new CMS to give a better editing experience to our editors. We created a new online version of our alumni magazine, Connections, as part of the redesign. We updated our user interface and information architecture to improve usability.
Major changes planned for 2015: We are continuously curating content for our website specific to our academic areas and we continue to move pages into our new CMS. We are looking at expanding our online map.
Site owner: Nazareth College

GOVERNMENT & COMMUNITY

cgr.org
CGR Inc.

Website went live: 1996
Last major overhaul: 2014
Average number of page views per month: 19,000
Cost to create: $20,000
Cost to maintain annually: $1,500
Developed: Externally, by Dunn & Rice, Must Be Online
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Katherine Bell
Biggest return on your Web investment: Repositioning and refreshing of the CGR brand to coincide with our 100th anniversary, and a more powerful database for sharing our work
Big changes to the site in 2014: Improved user experience and incorporated responsive design for all platforms
Major changes planned for 2015: Continue expansion of reports.cgr.org.
Site owner: Center for Governmental Research Inc.

gateslibrary.org
Gates Public Library

Website went live: 1998
Last major overhaul: Summer 2014
Average number of page views per month: 10,000
Cost to create: $8,000
Cost to maintain annually: $360 for hosting
Developed: Externally, by Makeway
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Eight
Internal company webmaster: Greg Benoit, library director
Biggest return on your Web investment: Our educational program attendance rose 54 percent in 2014, due in part to our new website and branding. As libraries incorporate more digital media into their collections, our website must look every bit as professional and polished as commercial heavyweights like Amazon.com.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Previously, our website was an outdated, hand-coded HTML site that took days to update and required us to pay monthly maintenance fees to a webmaster. In 2014 we worked with Makeway to create a professional and modern website with a content management system that is easy to use. The new website has enabled us to publish updates instantly and bring all maintenance in-house. It features our e-book, streaming movie and downloadable audiobook collections more prominently than the old website. We now have a mobile-formatted version of the website.
Major changes planned for 2015: We plan on making minor changes to the design based on user feedback.
Site owner: Gates Public Library

myRTS.com
Regional Transit Service Inc.

Website went live: Aug. 19, 2014
Last major overhaul: Aug. 19, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 282,000
Cost to create: $75,000
Cost to maintain annually: $3,000
Developed: Designed externally by Antithesis Advertising
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: One web developer, four to five others who develop and update content
Internal company webmaster: Jon Pelland
Biggest return on your Web investment: Optimizing the website for mobile use has enhanced our customers’ experience to access information quickly and efficiently; a large percentage of our customers are using a mobile device to access myRTS.com.
Big changes to the site in 2014: While our legal name is Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA), most people know us better as Regional Transit Service (RTS). So we decided to make things easier: our official name across all eight counties we serve—Monroe, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne and Wyoming—is now RTS. Our new brand shined through our new website when it launched in August 2014. It has a fresh new look and it is a lot easier to use. Customers can easily find the best route to work, check out travel options for special events and even get real-time arrival information for their favorite bus stop.
Major changes planned for 2015: Enhance the bus-pass purchasing experience for our customers and make
enhancements based upon insights gathered through Google Analytics to improve our customers’ experience.
Site owner: Regional Transit Service Inc.

HEALTH CARE

bio-optronics.com
Bio-Optronics Inc.

Website went live: 2005
Last major overhaul: Aug. 15, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 10,300
Cost to create: $10,000
Cost to maintain annually: $600
Developed: Externally, by Phu Concepts Inc.
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Kyle Ricketts
Biggest return on your Web investment: Increased conversion rates, blog visits
Big changes to the site in 2014: Branding and layout
Major changes planned for 2015: Additional tracking, SEO enhancements, functionality that allows users to better subscribe to our blog
Site owner: Bio-Optronics Inc.

coopervision.com
CooperVision Inc.

Website went live: NA
Last major overhaul: April 2014
Average number of page views per month: 487,000
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: Roughly $50,000
Developed: Externally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmasters: NA
Biggest return on your Web investment: NA
Big changes to the site in 2014: Mobile-responsive design
Major changes planned for 2015: NA
Site owner: CooperVision Inc.

urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester
Medical Center

Website went live: The University of Rochester Medical Center site went live about 17 years ago.
Last major overhaul: In November 2014 we launched a new urmc.rochester.edu site. This represented a milestone for us since we have been moving content into a new Content Management System called Kentico. There are about 50,000 pages on our website and we are still in the final steps of content migration. The new site has been designed to be responsive, which means that the Kentico web pages are easily viewable on all size devices.
Average number of page views per month: 2,509,577
Cost to create: All the work to revamp the website has been done internally in Web Services. Principally the work was done by our web design and development team with support from our application development team. It is difficult to put a price on the revamp since staff also worked on other projects.
Cost to maintain annually: Our web design and development team is composed of a web designer, two web developers, two web developers that specialize in quality assurance and training plus web development and two people dedicated to specific clinical and research departments.
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: That’s difficult to answer since the URMC site uses a distributed model to generate content and make editorial changes. There are approximately 400 individuals in URMC that have been trained by web services to use our Content Management System.
Internal company webmasters: The web design and development team is managed by Owen Zacharias.
Biggest return on your Web investment: One of the biggest returns is the development and management of an application that dynamically “on the fly” creates physician and faculty profiles. The profile pages saw 1,973,033 page views in 2014, and we’ll be revamping our profile pages in 2015 to be more contemporary. The second investment that has proven valuable has been the purchase of health encyclopedia content. Our team can customize the content to reflect our physicians’ practice requirements. Another valuable investment has been building our public relations tool (which is being revamped now) that enables the PR staff to direct press releases to multiple web pages plus other functionality. Overall our focus has been to harness technology to optimally manage the URMC website.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Since late 2012 we have been moving the URMC site into Kentico, which enables responsive design (viewable on devices of all sizes). That’s been a huge push knowing that users are relying more on mobile devices each year. The site was redesigned to reflect navigation changes that support each of our critical audiences: patient care, research, education and community. The new design is more contemporary and will continue to change over time.
Major changes planned for 2015: We continue to focus on ever-changing audience requirements. In the upcoming year there are several applications that require rebuilding to be responsive. We will continue to launch new modules for system access (for example, new nesting calendar, registration and payment mechanism). Our team has been actively working on Lean projects that positively impact the patient experience and improve internal productivity.
Site owner: University of Rochester

HUMAN SERVICES

lifespan-roch.org
Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc.

Website went live: Late 1990s
Last major overhaul: Fall 2014
Average number of page views per month: 9,215
Cost to create: $14,000
Cost to maintain annually: Approximately $1,000
Developed: Externally, by Dixon Schwabl
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Mary Rose McBride
Biggest return on your Web investment: Opportunity to have older adults and caregivers view and register online for classes and the ability to accept donations and payments.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We have an all-new platform, a completely new navigation scheme and all new pictures. Our new site is vibrant, appealing-looking and functional for both visitors and the webmaster.
Major changes planned for 2015: We may add some functionality in terms of HIPAA compliant forms and a password-protected area for volunteers.
Site owner: Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc.

villaofhope.org
Villa of Hope

Website went live: 2006
Last major overhaul: April 23, 2013
Average number of page views per month: 11,000
Cost to create: $30,000
Cost to maintain annually: $30,000
Developed: Externally, by Innovative Solutions and Dixon Schwabl
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Five
Internal company webmaster: Natalie Anderson
Biggest return on your Web investment: The Careers section of our new website sees some of the highest traffic, which is invaluable to us. Recruiting quality staff is critical to the success of our organization.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We developed a client success stories page with individual modules, and we added an interactive campus map, a campus tour and an events calendar.
Major changes planned for 2015: We plan to continue developing the campus tour by adding images of additional buildings (internal and external), and we also plan to expand our newly created press release/press room page.
Site owner: Villa of Hope

wilsonfdn.org
Wilson Foundation

Website went live: 2003
Last major overhaul: 2014
Average number of page views per month: 775
Cost to create: $44,000
Cost to maintain annually: $160
Developed: Externally, by Minerva Design
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: One
Internal company webmaster: Megan Bell
Biggest return on your Web investment: More traffic and user friendliness
Big changes to the site in 2014: It is a brand-new site. The old site was as basic as could be. The new site is mobile-ready and has infinite scroll and a clear message.
Major changes planned for 2015: None
Site owner: Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Foundation

LEGAL SERVICES

boylancode.com
Boylan Code LLP

Website went live: 1994
Last major overhaul: Feb. 25, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 2,111
Cost to create: $10,000 (includes graphic design, copywriting and site programming)
Cost to maintain annually: Less than $500
Developed: Externally, by 4th Jump Website Development
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: One
Internal company webmaster: Michael Dorritie
Biggest return on your Web investment: We have seen a significant increase in traffic to the site but, more importantly, those visitors are staying longer and visiting more pages than before. Our website is now a true extension of our overall brand and works seamlessly with our print collaterals and digital and print advertising.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We completely changed the design, structure and content layout of our site to make it more user-friendly and to better align with our brand. In particular, we organized our site around our four main types of clients: businesses, financial institutions, municipalities and individuals.
Major changes planned for 2015: In 2015, we will be adding new client stories and video to the site and launching a mobile version to further enhance accessibility for users.
Site owner: Boylan Code LLP

d4discovery.com
D4 LLC

Website went live: 1997
Last major overhaul: December 2014
Average number of page views per month: 16,000
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: $10,000
Developed: Externally, by Truth Collective. For the redesign of the branding and website, D4 enlisted Truth Collective, who brought into their collective studio Form Collective for web development and Myers Creative Imaging, a Rochester-based photography studio.
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Ashley Romano, online marketing manager
Biggest return on your Web investment: D4’s biggest return on investment with our new website is increased revenue for the company. The website was designed with lead generation in mind, and the rich content and calls to action, as well as our live chat, have generated valuable new customers and revenue.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Complete redesign in 2014. The new website features rich media including six new embedded videos highlighting D4’s service offerings, easier navigation and abundant topic-specific content. Live chat has also been added to assist customers and visitors with any immediate questions they might have. We also moved from WordPress to Craft for our CMS, which has proven to be much easier to use and maintain.
Major changes planned for 2015: Since the site was just launched in December 2014, there are not any major changes that will be made over the next year. We will continue to enhance and make tweaks to the new site, concentrating on adding content (white papers, e-books, blogs and videos) and calls to action.
Site owner: D4 LLC

lacykatzen.com
Lacy Katzen LLP

Website went live: Early 2000
Last major overhaul: December 2014
Average number of page views per month: 5,800
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by Mason Digital
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Tammy Baker
Biggest return on your Web investment: Increased visibility and enhanced branding. Lead generations have already increased as part of our investment.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Responsive design to support mobile use, cohesive messaging throughout the site, improved navigation and ease of use, improved ease of maintaining internally. New site enables us to feature practice areas within the firm.
Major changes planned for 2015: Add other featured practice areas, upgrade photos, content and introduction of our teams. We may add a blog.
Site owner: Lacy Katzen LLP

MANUFACTURING

astrapouch.com
AstraPouch Inc./
Vine Valley Ventures LLC

Website went live: June 2010
Last major overhaul: January 2014
Average number of page views per month: 1,000
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by Accelerate Media Inc.
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Eight
Internal company webmasters: Handled externally by Accelerate
Biggest return on your Web investment: Just the jump in traffic alone has been eye-opening. In October 2013, we had 524 visitors to the site. A year later we had 1,124—a 115 percent jump. Hands down, the increase in online orders is the most significant (and visible) return on our investment. The total number of orders jumped exponentially, as did the average order amount and, therefore, our total sales. But the usability of the site, combined with the improved presentation of information, has been a huge change as well. We used to get calls from confused customers on a regular basis. Now the site takes care of it for us, freeing us up for more important things.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The revamp and relaunch of the website coincided with a fairly significant expansion of our products. That expansion necessitated a better presentation of our products and a more user-friendly means of purchasing them. The hallmarks of the site update were the new product gallery and the completely reconfigured online store—achieving our objectives in every way. We plan a press release that contains more details around the site and its launch.
Major changes planned for 2015: Happily, AstraPouch continues to grow. We added even more products in 2014—both products that will help us better serve our existing clients as well as innovative new products and services that will allow us to gain access to previously untapped audiences. So, our plans for 2015 are to make sure our site is—and stays—as up-to-date and forward-looking as the company is.
Site owner: Vine Valley Ventures LLC

gleason.com
Gleason Corp.

Website went live: 1996
Last major overhaul: November 2014
Average number of page views per month: 86,000
Cost to create: $8,500 for the conversion to responsive web and home page redesign.
Cost to maintain annually: $6,000—Mainly programming changes, additions and deletions. Does not represent costs involved with content additions/changes.
Developed: Externally, by Corporate Communications
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Robert Ewanow
Biggest return on your Web investment: Improved traffic from natural search, brand equity/awareness has been improved, allowing visitors to more fully understand why Gleason is “the total gear solutions provider.”
Big changes to the site in 2014: Our switch to responsive design and deployment of a completely revamped home page. In addition, there have been numerous administrative improvements for our content management system along with enhanced reporting features.
Major changes planned for 2015: We continue to evaluate a number of potential enhancements to our site to improve both our visitor experience and our maintenance and reporting features. One of the more important projects under consideration is a revision of our customer services pages and content, as well as tighter integration with our social media activities.
Site owner: Gleason Corp.

troyerracecars.com
Troyer Race Cars

Website went live: September 2000
Last major overhaul: October 2014
Average number of page views per month: 50,000+
Cost to create: $48,400
Cost to maintain annually: $600 for hosting. Virtually no other maintenance costs.
Developed: Externally, by Dumbwaiter Design
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Max Hautaniemi
Biggest return on your Web investment: Complete product listing and functioning e-commerce
Big changes to the site in 2014: Previous site was a non-functioning, marketing-only placeholder site. This version has full e-commerce, tools for users and complete product listing with proper branding and visual design applied.
Major changes planned for 2015: Revise e-commerce usability based on user feedback and measurable metrics.
Site owner: Troyer Race Cars

MOBILE

dixonschwabl.com
Dixon/Schwabl Advertising Inc.

Website went live: May 2001
Last major overhaul: June 20, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 8,500
Cost to create: $70,000
Cost to maintain annually: $35,000
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: 11
Internal company webmaster: Will Browar, senior web developer and designer
Biggest return on your Web investment: We have seen an increase in employee morale, new business opportunities and prospective employee applications.
Big changes to the site in 2014: In 2014, we decided to completely redesign and rebuild the structure of our website. The fresh, mobile-friendly design is easier to navigate, and we’re able to keep content relevant with a new content management system.
Major changes planned for 2015: We plan to continually enhance the website performance, update our client work, expand services we provide and use the website as a new business tool throughout the year.
Site owner: Dixon Schwabl Inc.

museumofplay.org
The Strong Museum

Website went live: 1998
Last major overhaul: June 25, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 207,494
Cost to create: Approximately $6,000
Cost to maintain annually: The Strong’s website is managed, developed and hosted in-house. Total cost to maintain is $0.
Developed: Internally, with design consultation from Zimmet Group
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Nine
Internal company webmaster: Daniel Resch
Biggest return on your Web investment: The biggest return on investment is the content management system, which streamlines workflow for six content creators and keeps the website up-to-date across desktop, tablet and mobile platforms. News and events are easily updated on a regular and frequent basis. Content is updated in one location and responsively displays for mobile and tablet devices—a growing segment that now exceeds 40 percent of all visits to museumofplay.org. The implementation of the content management system allows staff to manage an online press room that has proven essential in keeping local, regional and national press up to date with museum activities and making information and digital assets readily available. Mobile-ready online forms with secure payment processing make it easy for the Strong’s audiences to renew and purchase memberships and donate online. Online forms also facilitate requests for school lesson bookings and appointments with the Strong’s research libraries, saving time and providing accurate information for museum call center staff. Further, the museum has seen strong growth in sign-ups to its three e-newsletters and its social media platforms, allowing ongoing communication with its constituencies.
Big changes to the site in 2014: With its redesign in 2014, the Strong introduced responsive design with vibrant graphics, and a new content hierarchy that provides online users with a full picture of the many ways in which the museum studies, interprets and explores play. The homepage appeals to diverse audiences including families, educators, donors, collectors, scholars, researchers and media, and information is prioritized in a way that is attractive and easy for each audience segment to engage in further exploration. Responsive technology ensures a consistent experience for all museum website visitors.
Major changes planned for 2015: The Strong plans to expand its e-commerce ticketing system in 2015 to include single-ticket admission and special event sales. The museum also plans to launch additional educational and interactive historical timelines that illuminate its collections. Updated b-roll and expanded use of video segments are planned for exhibit and press room pages.
Site owner: The Strong Museum

simon.rochester.edu
Simon Business School

Website went live: November 1999
Last major overhaul: Dec. 15, 2014
Average number of page views per month: 212,787
Cost to create: NA (created in-house)
Cost to maintain annually: The entire website is managed in-house. Simon does use a partner agency for the use of the content management system (Barkley REI). This cost is $20,000 a year.
Developed: Internally
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: One designer/programmer/strategy and 20 content contributors/strategy
Internal company webmaster: Denton Brown
Biggest return on your Web investment: Brand awareness, visitor engagement and dramatically improved analytics. Mobile traffic to the site more than doubled over the last year and we are seeing that number go higher in recent weeks (48 percent in January).
Big changes to the site in 2014: The Simon website strategy took a different approach to content delivery through design and technology. While the site has been responsive and had a mobile presence since 2012, the layout of the site has changed to a parallel design on all screen sizes, stepping outside of traditional higher-education design. The site was designed to guide the first-time visitor through the site yet still be flexible enough for the returning user to find things quickly on all devices.
The Simon website also focused on centralized content for site-wide distribution (rotating banners, profiles, videos, news and events). This allowed easier management and better use of non-technical resources. The site was also automated to include social media open graph tags.
The site migrated successfully to Google Universal Analytics. Doing so allowed for the implementation of Google Tag Manager, which again allows for the centralization of content. The Tag Management system is being used for centralized management of tracking and conversion pixels.
Major changes planned for 2015: Implement a targeted content system to deliver messages to users based on what page(s) they visited last and/or what part of the world they are from. Engage visitors by adding polls to the site that will deliver a custom response based on their answer. Add a social media commenting system to invite visitors to interact on the page rather than fill out a form. Ongoing short video additions to the site that engage all audiences from prospective students to alumni.
Site owner: William E. Simon School of Business

REAL ESTATE AND CONSTRUCTION

firlitdesign.com
Firlit Landscape Design Inc.

Website went live: 2004
Last major overhaul: 2012
Average number of page views per month: NA
Cost to create: $2,500
Cost to maintain annually: $300 to 400
Developed: Website design by Sukhenko Graphic Design; website development by Robert Kostin and currently Al Presher with Stratejus
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Al Presher at Stratejus
Biggest return on your Web investment: More name recognition and new client leads. Also, in a business where our work is very visual, the website is a platform for us to show clients a photographic portfolio of the work that we do.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Updated some portfolio photos
Major changes planned for 2015: It is ironic that we were nominated for this award because we are currently in the process of updating the website. (In fact, we may be temporarily down during this awards process.) We are working on giving a little facelift to some of the pages, making the website responsive and integrating links to our social media.
Site owner: Firlit Landscape Design Inc.

franklillandson.com
Frank Lill & Son Inc.

Website went live: 2000
Last major overhaul: First quarter 2015
Average number of page views per month: 3,200
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by A2Z Enhanced Digital Solutions
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Four
Internal company webmaster: Luke Lill
Biggest return on your Web investment: When we set out to update our website, our primary goal was to create a site that accurately showcased Frank Lill & Son Inc.’s extensive experience and long history of successful projects. We had this particular goal in mind mostly because we are a company that travels to all corners of United States and Canada, and as such, we sometimes find ourselves in new areas with new clients who may be unfamiliar with us. We found that the first thing these new clients did in this situation was to go to our website to familiarize themselves with our project experience. With this in mind, we wanted a site that provided a wealth of information to these future potential clients. We wanted our site to open new doors for us and help make potential clients become comfortable with the idea of using Frank Lill & Son Inc. as their contractor. Based on the extensive positive feedback we have received, I truly believe we accomplished this goal. Though this return on our investment is hard to quantify, I can say without a doubt that this site has helped to get us to the table on numerous large contracts.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The website went through a complete overhaul in 2014. We essentially scrapped the existing site and started from scratch, rebuilding the website from the ground up. We totally revamped the site’s look, layout and navigation. We upped the number of web pages from around 15 to almost 200 pages, adding pages for all of the markets and services we provide. Most importantly, we added a project gallery with individual web pages for approximately 100 of our best past and current jobs. In addition to the new pages and project gallery, we increased the total number of photos on the site from around 20 to between 300 and 400 pictures across the site. Finally, we launched an all-new mobile component to our website, which provides clients with quick and easy access to the basic information many mobile users often seek, including prominently displaying our basic company information, phone number and office locations.
Major changes planned for 2015: Over the next year we intend to continue to update and tweak the site as needed. We will continue to provide updates to the company news section as well as update our active projects with current photographs of field construction. We also will be using Google Analytics to better understand and evaluate how traffic is being funneled to our site, particularly traffic we get through search engines. We intend to use this data to make small adjustments to site wording in order to better optimize our site’s search engine standings and help guide our users to the correct landing pages.
Site owner: Frank Lill & Son Inc.

norbutconstruction.com
Norbut Renovations

Website went live: February 2005
Last major overhaul: January 2014
Average number of page views per month: 300 to 400
Cost to create: The creation of the new website was a significant investment, in terms of money as well as time. But it was an expense we budgeted for and a project we undertook strategically, knowing the long-term advantages it would afford us.
Cost to maintain annually: $5,000 to $7,000
Developed: Externally, by Accelerate Media Inc.
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Handled externally by Accelerate
Internal company webmaster: Handled externally by Accelerate
Biggest return on your Web investment: The purpose of the site redesign was to better attract our specific target audience and to better communicate to them our company’s key differentiators. Every element we added, updated or removed served that purpose in its own way, and all came together to create a more strategically focused conversion funnel, leading to more qualified leads and a higher lead conversion.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The biggest changes to the site were the additions we made as part of the overall redesign. High-quality, professional photography showcases our successes. Expertly produced testimonial video lets prospective clients hear directly from our satisfied customers and offers social proof/trust signals. Refined messaging better describes our process and benefits of working with us. Redesigned gallery highlights the kinds of projects at which we excel and that we are seeking. Strategically created project pages enhance SEO and help attract audiences in specific geographic/demographic targets.
Major changes planned for 2015: We will continue our SEO, PPC and CRO efforts, making whatever alterations are necessary to keep the leads and conversions strong.
Site owner: Design Builders of Monroe County LLC

RETAIL

cornellsjewelers.com
Cornell’s Jewelers

Website went live: 1999
Last major overhaul: December 2013
Average number of page views per month: 17,526
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by Gemfind
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Kara Carnahan
Biggest return on your Web investment: Our biggest return on website investment is growing the number of visitors to our site and generating traffic by continuing to optimize and update our site.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We were able to successfully integrate our point of sales system to our website so our online inventory reflects our current on-hand inventory in store.
Major changes planned for 2015: Implementing and using a blog—among other online opportunities—to create more online interaction, informative content and resources for the users. We want to be able to translate the exceptional experience our clients receive in store into website content.
Site owner: David Cornell & Co. Inc.

hedonistchocolates.com
Hedonist Artisan Chocolates LLC

Website went live: 2007
Last major overhaul: 2013
Average number of page views per month: 1,500
Cost to create: $10,000
Cost to maintain annually: $3,000 to $5,000 a year
Developed: Externally, by Zahra Langford
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Hawa Ibrahim
Biggest return on your Web investment: Hard to tell
Big changes to the site in 2014: The addition of our blog, Chocolate Talk.
Major changes planned for 2015: Additional products with their history and theme changes
Site owner: Hedonist Artisan Chocolates LLC

sailorbags.com
SailorBags.com

Website went live: 2002
Last major overhaul: November 2014
Average number of page views per month: Approximately 25,000
Cost to create: Approximately $15,000
Cost to maintain annually: Approximately $6,000
Developed: Internally and externally, by Phu Concepts. Internal work included image and video production, copy, some functionality planning and updates. Phu Concepts handled overall design, graphics, and all coding and development.
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Three
Internal company webmaster: Anne Zimmer
Biggest return on your Web investment: Continued double-digit sales growth and improved margins as direct/e-commerce becomes a bigger component of overall sales. Also increased repeat business as we are able to maintain much more direct contact and interaction with end users.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Complete overhaul with new front-end design, robust new e-commerce platform, and many more tools and features designed to improve the visitor/shopping experience. Most exciting is our interactive personalization tool, which allows customers to customize their bags and see what the finished product will look like in real time, before completing their orders. As a result, the majority of our online orders now come through with personalization added. We’ve also added an exciting monthly online sweepstakes in which visitors have a chance to win any SailorBags product they want. This was immediately and dramatically successful as an engagement tool. In just the first two months of the program, our customer mailing list has grown by 50 percent. 
Major changes planned for 2015: Many, including more product views and suggested add-on items, much more video content, customer reviews and product ratings, additional ordering options (PayPal, international shipping), and much more—we are just getting started.
Site owner: Victor Fulfillment LLC, dba SailorBags

TOURISM/HOSPITALITY

blackbuttondistilling.com
Black Button Distilling

Website went live: October 2013
Last major overhaul: This is our original website.
Average number of page views per month: 2,000
Cost to create: $12,000
Cost to maintain annually: $5,000
Developed: Externally, by Clark CSM
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Two
Internal company webmaster: Zach Cedruly
Biggest return on your Web investment: Connecting consumers with our brand.
Big changes to the site in 2014: We added a press section and blog.
Major changes planned for 2015: We are rolling out 20 videos.
Site owner: 24 line LLC

bullyhillvineyards.com
Bully Hill Vineyards

Website went live: September 2002
Last major overhaul: April 2014
Average number of page views per month: 40,000
Cost to create: $49,500
Cost to maintain annually: $600/year for hosting. Virtually no other maintenance costs.
Developed: Externally, by Dumbwaiter Design
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: Four
Internal company webmaster: Darrell Buckley
Biggest return on your Web investment: More visitors to Bully Hill’s physical location.
Big changes to the site in 2014: Was a marketing-only site. Now it is a tool for customers and visitors with e-commerce.
Major changes planned for 2015: Add wine purchasing and distribution to the e-commerce solution.
Site owner: Bully Hill Vineyards

nyapplecountry.com
The New York Apple Association

Website went live: Spring 1997
Last major overhaul: July 2014
Average number of page views per month: 34,300
Cost to create: NA
Cost to maintain annually: NA
Developed: Externally, by Mason Digital/Mason Marketing
Number of people inside the organization who work on the site: The NYAA’s public relations director serves as point person for the site, making updates as needed and making changes at staff request, and ensuring that those changes are in keeping with NYAA’s mission, vision, brand and policies.
Internal company webmaster: From a brand and communications standpoint, NYAA’s PR director is our webmaster. From a technical standpoint, our client team at Mason Digital is our webmaster. We work closely together.
Biggest return on your Web investment: Our website’s greatest ROI is in the form of enhanced brand identity and organizational image, with consumers as well as our own industry members. Our site is not intended to generate financial ROI.
Big changes to the site in 2014: The most significant changes achieved by our 2014 site redesign were in appearance and ease of use. The new site is better organized to meet consumers’ needs based on analytics, and it is significantly easier to navigate to the content they want the most. For example, we added an interactive locator map to help site visitors find apple and/or cider vendors near them, along with a searchable recipe database. Its graphic design refresh brought a clean, modern, friendly and approachable look and feel to a consumer-oriented site.
Major changes planned for 2015: We don’t plan major changes to this site over the next year, though we are planning site enrichment: even more of the content consumers want and a kids’ section are planned. We are working on an overhaul of the sister site NYCider.com to bring it in line with  nyapplecountry.com, to help promote the burgeoning cider industry in New York.
Site owner:  The New York Apple Association

3/6/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.

Correction
An article in the Best of the Web special section of the March 6 issue contained two incorrect websites. JMS Capital Management Inc. is www.jms-cm.com, and the New York Apple Association is nyapplecountry.com.

3/13/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.




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