Creating a Seamless Digital Experience: The Importance of Web Copy, Design, and Development

The Importance of a Cohesive Website and Benefits of Using a Single Agency


Creating a website that is both visually stunning and functional requires a complex process involving several components. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a detailed overview of those components—website copy, web design, and web development—and how they together in harmony to create a seamless digital experience for your website users. We will also share some insider knowledge on why it is advantageous to have all three components handled by a single agency. Let’s dive in.


Website Copy


Website copy is the written content that appears on a website, including the homepage, about us page, product descriptions, and blog posts. The copy’s primary goal is to communicate the brand’s message and inform visitors about the products or services offered.


High-quality website copy is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps to establish the website’s credibility and authority. Secondly, it can improve search engine optimization (SEO) by incorporating relevant keywords and phrases. SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher a website ranks, the more likely users are to click on it and visit the site.


Website copy also plays a crucial role in the conversion rate of a website. A conversion is a desired action taken by a visitor, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. Well-written website copy can help persuade visitors to take the desired action, leading to higher conversion rates and increased revenue.


Web Design


Web design is the process of creating the look and feel of a website. It involves the use of colors, typography, images, and other visual elements to make a website visually appealing and easy to navigate. The design of a website also has a significant impact on the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).


UI refers to how users interact with a website, including how they navigate it and how easy it is to use. A well-designed UI should be intuitive and easy to navigate, allowing visitors to find the information they need quickly and easily. The UI should also be consistent across the website, with a clear visual hierarchy and consistent design elements.


UX refers to the overall user experience of a website. A good web design takes into account both UI and UX to create a seamless user experience that encourages visitors to stay on the website and engage with the content. A website with a good UX is more likely to keep visitors on the site for longer, reducing bounce rates and increasing the chances of conversion.


Web Development


Web development involves the coding and programming that goes into creating a website. It includes everything from writing the HTML and CSS code to developing the website’s functionality and features. A web developer’s job is to make sure that the website is functioning correctly and is optimized for speed, security, and scalability.


There are several aspects of web development to consider, including front-end development and back-end development. Front-end development involves creating the visible parts of a website that users interact with, such as buttons, menus, and forms. Back-end development involves creating the behind-the-scenes functionality of a website, such as server-side scripting and database integration.


Why Have All Three Done by a Single Agency?


While it’s possible to have different agencies (or yourself) handle each aspect of a website’s creation, there are several advantages to having all three handled by a single agency.


Firstly, a single agency can handle all aspects of the website to ensure that all components work together seamlessly. This leads to a more effective website and a better user experience.


Secondly, a single agency can ensure that the website is optimized for SEO, UI, UX, and cybersecurity. With a thorough understanding of all three aspects of website development, a single agency can create a website that is both visually appealing and user-friendly while also being secure and optimized for search engines.


Finally, having all three components handled by a single agency can save time and money. Rather than coordinating with multiple agencies, the client can work with a single agency that has a deep understanding of their brand and goals. This can lead to a more efficient development process and a website that better meets the client’s needs.


Another benefit of working with a single agency is that it allows for more effective collaboration between the website copywriter, web designer, and web developer. By working closely together, they can ensure that the website’s copy, design, and functionality all work together to create a cohesive and effective website.


Furthermore, a single agency can provide ongoing support and maintenance for the website. This includes updating content, making changes to the design or functionality, ensuring the site is secure, and addressing any technical issues that arise. By having a single point of contact, clients can quickly and easily address any issues that arise and ensure that their website is always up-to-date and functioning correctly.




Creating a successful website involves several components, including website copy, web design, and web development. Each of these components plays a crucial role in creating a website that is both visually appealing and functional.


While it is possible to have different agencies handle each aspect of website development, there are several advantages to having all three handled by a single agency. By working closely together, the website copywriter, web designer, and web developer can create a website that is optimized for SEO, UI, UX, and cybersecurity while also being visually appealing and user-friendly.


Ultimately, working with a single agency can lead to a more efficient development process, a website that better meets the client’s needs, and ongoing support and maintenance to ensure the website remains up-to-date and functioning correctly.


If you’re looking for an agency that can handle all of your website needs, contact us. Fortress can help turn your big ideas into even bigger results.


6 Things Every Business Should Know About SEO

Boost Your Online Visibility with Expert SEO Strategies and Tools

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex and ever-evolving field that is crucial for businesses looking to improve their online visibility and attract more customers. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the basics of SEO, including keywords, crawling and indexing, structured data, and local SEO. We’ll also provide an overview of some popular SEO tools and best practices for improving your website’s SEO.


Keywords: The Building Blocks of SEO


Keywords are the foundation of SEO. These are the words and phrases that users type into search engines to find what they’re looking for. To improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to identify the keywords that are relevant to your products or services and optimize your website content accordingly. This involves using keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, headings, and throughout the content.


However, it’s important not to overuse keywords (known as keyword stuffing) as this can result in penalties from search engines. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that naturally incorporates relevant keywords. Additionally, you should perform keyword research to identify which keywords are most relevant to your business and which have the highest search volume.


Crawling and Indexing: How Search Engines Find Your Site


Search engines use crawlers (also known as spiders or bots) to find and index web pages. Crawling is the process of following links on a website to find new pages to add to the search engine’s index. Indexing involves adding web pages to the search engine’s database so that they can be displayed in search results.


To ensure that search engines can find and index your website, make sure it’s easy to navigate and has clear links between pages. Submitting a sitemap to search engines can also help them to find your site more easily. Additionally, you can use tools like Google Search Console to monitor how search engines are crawling and indexing your website and identify any issues that need to be addressed.


Structured Data: Enhancing Your Search Results


Structured data is a way of providing additional information about your website’s content to search engines. This can include things like product information, reviews, and event details. By adding structured data to your site, you can help search engines display rich snippets in search results, which can improve click-through rates and drive more traffic to your site.


There are several types of structured data markup, including, which is supported by most major search engines. Additionally, you can use tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to generate structured data markup for your site, even if you don’t have any coding experience.


Local SEO: Targeting Local Customers


If your business has a physical location, it’s essential to optimize for local SEO. This involves ensuring that your business information is consistent and up-to-date across all online directories, such as Google My Business and Yelp. Local SEO also involves creating location-specific content and targeting local keywords to help your business rank in local search results.


Additionally, you can encourage your customers to leave reviews on online directories, as this can improve your business’s visibility and credibility. You should also ensure that your website is mobile-friendly, as many local searches are performed on mobile devices.


Popular SEO Tools: Making SEO Easier


There is a range of popular SEO tools available that can help businesses to analyze their website’s performance and identify areas for improvement. These include tools for keyword research, on-page optimization, link building, and analytics. Some of the most popular SEO tools include Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and Google Analytics.


Keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you to identify the most relevant keywords for your business, as well as analyze your competitors’ keywords. On-page optimization tools like Moz can help you to analyze your website’s content and identify areas where you can improve your keyword usage and overall SEO. Link-building tools like Ahrefs can help you to identify high-quality backlink opportunities and monitor your link profile. And analytics tools like Google Analytics can help you to track your website’s performance, including traffic sources, bounce rate, and conversion rate.


Best Practices for Improving Your Website’s SEO


In addition to the specific tactics we’ve covered, there are several best practices that businesses can follow to improve their website’s SEO:


  • Create high-quality, engaging content that’s relevant to your audience and incorporates relevant keywords.


  • Ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast page load speed.


  • Use descriptive, keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions to improve click-through rates from search results.


  • Optimize your images with descriptive file names and alt text.


  • Use internal linking to help search engines understand the structure of your website.


  • Encourage high-quality backlinks from reputable websites.


  • Monitor your website’s performance regularly and make adjustments as needed.


By following these best practices and implementing the specific tactics we’ve covered, businesses can improve their website’s SEO and attract more customers from search engines.




SEO is always changing, but by focusing on the basics of keywords, crawling and indexing, structured data, and local SEO, businesses can improve their website’s visibility and attract more customers. Additionally, by using popular SEO tools and following best practices for on-page optimization and content creation, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and succeed in the digital marketplace.


If you need assistance with your SEO efforts, hire the experts. Fortress can help you push your website to the top of Google. You can also explore our other capabilities which include branding, web design, web development, and marketing.



Related Articles:

Boost Your Website’s Success with UX and UI Testing

Tips for Improving SEO, Accessibility, and Customer Conversions


User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) testing are critical aspects of website development that cannot be overlooked. UX refers to the overall experience a user has while interacting with a website, while UI focuses on the visual aspects of the website. UX and UI testing ensure that the website is easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and functional. 


In this article, we will discuss what UX and UI mean, the importance of UX and UI testing,  how a website benefits from this testing, popular tools for UX and UI testing, and basic ways you can test your website yourself. We will also explain how UX and UI testing can improve Google SEO, customer conversions, and accessibility.


What Are UX and UI?


UX and UI are two different concepts that work together to create an excellent user experience on a website. 


UX, which stands for User Experience, refers to the overall experience a user has while interacting with a website. It includes how easy it is to navigate the website, how quickly it loads, and how well the content is organized. 


UI, which stands for User Interface, focuses on the visual aspects of the website, such as the layout, design, and functionality.


Importance of UX and UI Testing


UX and UI testing play a crucial role in website development. By conducting UX and UI testing, website developers can ensure that their website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and functional. It can also help developers identify and resolve any issues with the website before it goes live. In other words, UX and UI testing avoids using real customers as your website’s “guinea pigs” or test subjects.


By improving the overall user experience, UX and UI testing can help increase customer satisfaction, which can lead to higher customer conversions and ultimately increase revenue.


Benefits of UX and UI Testing


A website that has undergone UX and UI testing has several advantages over a website that has not. 


Firstly, it makes the website more user-friendly. Users are more likely to spend more time on a website that is easy to navigate and understand. This can lead to higher engagement, more customer conversions, and an increase in revenue.


Secondly, it improves the website’s visual appeal. A visually appealing website can make a significant impact on a user’s first impression. A well-designed website can convey trustworthiness and professionalism, which can increase the chances of the user returning to the website in the future.


Lastly, it ensures that the website is functional. By conducting UX and UI testing, developers can identify and fix any issues with the website before it goes live. This can save time and money by preventing the need for costly repairs after the website is launched.


Popular Tools for UX and UI Testing


Several tools are available for UX and UI testing. Some of the most popular ones include:


UserTesting: This tool allows developers to get feedback from real users on their website’s usability and functionality.


Optimizely: This tool enables developers to test different versions of their website to see which one performs best.


Hotjar: This tool provides developers with insights into how users interact with their website, including heat maps, click maps, and scroll maps.


UsabilityHub: This tool allows developers to test the usability of their website through a variety of tests, such as navigation tests and preference tests.


Basic Ways to Test Your Website Yourself


While using professional tools and teams can be helpful, there are also several ways to test your website yourself. Here are some tips to help improve your website’s UX and UI that you can use today:


Test the website’s navigation: Make sure that it is easy to find the information users are looking for and that the website’s menu is easy to navigate.


Test the website’s load time: A slow website can lead to users leaving the site before it even loads. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test the website’s load time and identify any issues.


Test the website’s design: Make sure that the website’s design is visually appealing and easy to read. Use appropriate font sizes and styles, color schemes, and layouts to ensure that the website is easy to navigate and understand. Make sure that the design is consistent across all pages of the website, and that it is optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. Additionally, an aesthetically pleasing website can also help to establish brand identity and credibility.


Test the website’s functionality: Test all of the website’s features to ensure that they are working correctly. This includes forms, links, buttons, and any other interactive elements.


Test the website’s responsiveness: Test the website’s responsiveness on different devices to ensure that it is mobile-friendly and can adapt to different screen sizes.


How UX and UI Testing Can Improve Google SEO, Customer Conversions, Accessibility, and ADA Compliance


UX and UI testing can have a significant impact on search engine optimization (SEO), customer conversions, and accessibility, which includes ADA compliance.


Google SEO: Google considers user experience when ranking websites in search results. By improving the overall user experience through UX and UI testing, website designers and developers can increase their website’s chances of ranking higher in search results.


Customer Conversions: A website that is easy to use and visually appealing can increase customer satisfaction and, in turn, lead to higher customer conversions. By conducting UX and UI testing, website developers can identify and resolve any issues that may be hindering customers from completing the desired task or making a purchase.


Accessibility and ADA Compliance: UX and UI testing can also improve the accessibility of a website. By ensuring that the website is easy to navigate and understand, developers can make it more accessible to users with disabilities. In fact, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires websites to be accessible to users with disabilities. By conducting UX and UI testing, developers can identify any accessibility issues and make the necessary changes to ensure that the website is ADA-compliant.




UX and UI testing are critical aspects of website development that should not be overlooked. By conducting UX and UI testing, website developers can ensure that their website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and functional. Additionally, UX and UI testing can improve SEO and accessibility. As a result, website developers can increase customer satisfaction, customer conversions, and revenue. 


Fortress Can Help You Design, Build, and Test Your Website


At Fortress, we have the capabilities not only to perform UX and UI testing for websites but also to build your website (or your entire brand) from the ground up. Check out our services to learn more, or start a project now and tell us what you need.


In the meantime, check out some of these related articles:

7 Crucial Website Security Measures Every Online Business Must Implement

Boost Your SEO and Customer Trust with These Website Security Best Practices


With the rise of e-commerce, it’s easier than ever to start an online business and reach customers all over the world. However, with the convenience of online business also comes the risk of cyber attacks. This is where cybersecurity comes into play. In this article, we will explore the importance of cybersecurity to online businesses and the role that SSL certificates, Shopify security apps, WordPress security plugins, web hosting, domains, employee training, and frequent security updates play in keeping your website safe from cybersecurity threats.


What Is Cybersecurity?


Firstly, let’s define what cybersecurity means. Cybersecurity refers to the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software, and data, from cyber attacks. Cyberattacks can come in many forms, including viruses, malware, phishing, and hacking. These attacks can lead to the theft of sensitive data (like identity left), financial loss, and reputational damage. As an online business owner, it’s essential to take steps to prevent these attacks from happening. Keep in mind that protecting customer data is not only important to e-commerce businesses, but a secure website is equally important to B2C websites that are used to interface with clients.


Here are 7 crucial website security measures every online business must implement:


1. Make Sure You Have SSL Certificates


One of the most important aspects of website security is the use of SSL certificates. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a protocol that encrypts data transmitted between a website and its visitors. This encryption ensures that any sensitive information, such as credit card details or personal information, cannot be intercepted by third parties. SSL certificates also provide your website with the green padlock symbol in the URL bar, which indicates to visitors that your site is secure. This can help build trust with your customers.


SSL certificates are also crucial to search engine optimization (SEO), or making your website easily discoverable online. Google has stated that SSL is a ranking factor for their search algorithm, and they have also started flagging websites that are not secure in their search results. This means that if your website does not have an SSL certificate, it may be ranked lower in search results and potential visitors may be deterred by the “not secure” warning in the URL bar. By prioritizing website security, you can improve your search engine rankings and attract more visitors to your website.


2. Take Your Shopify Security Further


When it comes to setting up an online store, Shopify is a popular e-commerce platform that offers a range of security features. Shopify uses SSL encryption by default on all of its stores and provides PCI compliance, which ensures that your customers’ payment information is secure. However, there is more you can do to ensure a more secure web experience for your customer. Shopify also offers a range of security apps and plugins that can help you further enhance your store’s security, such as fraud prevention and two-factor authentication. 


3. Use WordPress Security Plugins


For those who prefer to use WordPress to build their online business, security plugins are essential. WordPress is one of the most popular website platforms in the world, but it’s also one of the most targeted by cybercriminals. WordPress security plugins can help protect your site from attacks by adding features such as malware scanning, login protection, and firewall protection. Some popular WordPress security plugins include Wordfence, Sucuri, and iThemes Security. By using a security plugin, you can help prevent your website from becoming a victim of cyber attacks.


4. Choose the Right Host


Web hosting is another crucial aspect of website security. Your web host is responsible for storing and delivering your website’s content, so it’s important to choose a reputable and secure hosting provider. A good web host should offer features such as SSL encryption, regular backups, and server-level security measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection. Some popular web hosts that offer these features include SiteGround, Bluehost, and WP Engine. By choosing a reliable web host, you can help protect your website from downtime, data loss, security breaches, and cyberattacks.


5. Secure Your Domain (and Similar Domains)


Your domain name also plays a role in website security. A strong domain name can help prevent cybercriminals from using similar domain names to trick your customers into visiting fraudulent websites. For example, if your website is “,” you may want to consider purchasing similar domain names such as “” or “” to prevent others from using them for malicious purposes. By owning multiple domain names, you can help protect your brand and your customers from phishing attacks.


6. Train Your Employees in Website Security


Another important aspect of website security is employee training. Human error is a common cause of security breaches, so it’s essential to educate your employees on the importance of cybersecurity and how to identify potential threats. This may involve providing training on topics such as password security, phishing, and social engineering. Training can be conducted in person by security experts, but there are also several online courses available. This article published by Comparitech lists some of the best online cybersecurity programs and courses available in 2023.


7. Always Be Updating and Checking Your Website’s Security


It’s important to remember that website security is an ongoing process. Cybercriminals are constantly developing new tactics and strategies to attack websites, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest security trends and best practices. This may involve regularly updating your software and plugins, performing security audits, and monitoring your website for suspicious activity.


Implement These Website Security Measures to Prevent Attacks and Build Trust


In conclusion, cybersecurity is essential for online businesses to protect their customers’ data and maintain a strong brand reputation. SSL certificates, Shopify security apps, WordPress security plugins, trusted web hosting, and the right domains all play a vital role in keeping your website secure. By implementing these security measures, regularly updating your software, training your employees, and staying up-to-date with the latest security trends, you can help prevent cyber attacks and build trust with your customers.

Does your business have a cybersecurity plan?



To learn more about cybersecurity, check out these other articles:

If you are looking to build a new website, or are simply interested in ensuring your current website is up-to-date on all of the best security measures, contact us. At Fortress, we have an experienced team of cybersecurity and web development experts that can protect your website and secure your business.

Reckoning With the Rise of Artificial Intelligence for Marketing

You don’t ask your employees to be something they’re not. You hire them for their personality, their strengths as it relates to their job description, and their eagerness to learn. You elevate them when they perform, and you have uncomfortable conversations when they don’t. It’s time to start treating ChatGPT and other emerging AI software the same way – with a balanced approach. 


Before we dive into the topic of artificial intelligence deeper, let’s acknowledge something: AI is incredible, and it has the potential to make massive changes to industries across the map. ChatGPT has already been used by over 100 million people worldwide. To ignore it, turn one’s nose up at it, or treat it like an unworthy gimmick would be unwise for any business.


How Fortress is Using Artificial Intelligence


We have integrated ChatGPT into our content marketing processes and we have seen results. It has allowed us to produce SEO-driven blogs and landing pages quicker – improving the google rankings for our clients, it has helped us nail down some catchy headlines for ads and social media captions, and it has even helped us troubleshoot some web development challenges. However, the common denominator no matter what project AI assists us with is that the better the prompt, the better the output. Additionally, we’ve determined that even when the prompts are strong, the raw results we see are not yet good enough to publish without reviewing and editing. Not by our standards, at least.


One thing that we have noticed over the last several months is a lot of click-seeking article headlines or short video captions talking about how ChatGPT is going to be the nail in the coffin of countless content creators and other professionals. We’ve heard how it is passing college and business school exams, how its copy is performing better than that generated by human workers, and more. 


Maybe those things are at least partially true. Who are we to say they’re not? But despite that, there is one thing that ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence will never be, and that is truly, authentically human. 


What it Means to Take a Human Approach


At Fortress Consulting we use data to make decisions, just like an AI program does. However, there will always be subtle nuances to content and design that the human eye can easily identify as inauthentic or even inaccurate. The point is this: AI generated content can be fascinating, but at the end of the day it is not the product of thinking. Rather, it a set of extremely well-informed predictions that is meant to mimic human thought. Each brand we build, website we make, logo we design, or video we produce, we take ownership of. We look at it as an art form, and one thing that is true of art is that it requires emotion and experience. Human beings experience emotion and through that process they produce art. Robots do not experience this depth of emotion nor have those necessary experiences.


So instead of thinking ChatGPT should replace the people on your team, think about how it can be used to replace roadblocks in the content generation process and allow you to operate more efficiently.




To close, we recommend that agencies think about ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence like an intern (and an unpaid one at that). Not that interns aren’t human (stay with me) but because interns can help your team significantly if given the right tools and oversight but wouldn’t take a full-time employee’s spot before proving themselves. To take this example further, imagine an unpaid intern writing all of your copy for your brand and for your clients’ brands. That would be a massive risk, due to the fact that they are not nearly as invested into the story of the brand as your existing team, lack proper knowledge of the brand voice, and simply have nothing to lose by delivering mediocre content. The same is true of ChatGPT in its current iteration. 


Just like anything else, you get out of AI what you put into it. Learn how to give it the prompts it needs to provide you with quality results, stay in the loop on its trends and don’t lag behind, but don’t give it the keys to your business just yet.

12 for 12

Grit is the Key

If I could list one key trait in entrepreneurs or business leaders that is the biggest indicator of their success, it would be grit. One of my favorite quotes is from Mike Tyson where he says “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” You have to keep showing up. No matter how hard it gets or how bad a day / week / month / quarter / season is. No matter how impossible things seem or how you may not have the answers, keep showing up. Another quote that I like is “startups don’t fail, the founder at some point just can’t take it anymore.” Never quit. Never settle. Never give up.


Culture First

I’m really proud of our team and culture at Fortress. It’s what I’m most proud of, more than any of the work or accolades or celebrations. It’s the people and the culture. As our clients and visitors have said, you can feel it when you walk in here and I love that. The saying is that culture eats strategy for breakfast and Fortress is a testament to that. Despite several seasons of not being overly strategic in our moves and decisions, we’ve managed to grow at an average of 50% each year for the past 12 years. I think this is due to building a culture where our team cares about the work we’re doing and the mission we’re on.


When I left the corporate world, I wanted to create a different type of organization, one that was culture and people first, that listened to the voices on our team no matter their seniority level, who cared about the whole person not just the performance of that person inside the office, who was a good steward of people’s time by not having unnecessary meetings or discussions that don’t produce action, and who were obsessed with making our clients more successful. I think this translates into our growth: our normal close ratio is around 35% but when we get people into the office first to spend time here and meet the team, that goes to 85%. Culture matters.


It’s Not About Me

Coming from the media and advertising world, I’ve noticed that there are two types of business owners: ones that want to be in front of the camera and the ones that don’t. While there’s nothing wrong with either of those, we’ve seen a lot of companies and brands become founder-centric and everything rides on that one person. Our philosophy is we > me and that includes me as the CEO and founder. I believe that we can go further together and I need great people around me to make this thing go. The CEO often gets all the praise (and also all the blame for the downside) but it takes a team to get things done. My job is to bring the best people together and empower them to do the best work they can. The results will follow. This also applies to wisdom and insight. I want to learn from the 20 year old content creator on our team and also the 60 year old business development guy and everyone in between. I don’t house all the knowledge and wisdom. Our collective experience and brainpower is far greater than a CEO trying to say smart things for a social media soundbite.


Wise Counsel

I’ve always been wired to latch on to people who are older and wiser and more experienced so that I could learn from them and shorten my own learning curve. Wherever I worked, I would try to get 5 minutes with the highest level person and ask them how they got to that seat and what it took, so I could figure out my path there. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have latched onto some great people and learned a lot from them in different seasons of life and business. I have a rule that I call the grey hair / no hair rule and it’s to find someone far ahead of you and learn whatever you can from them. Before you know it, you’ll be that guy for someone else. This has translated into working with an executive coach, joining multiple CEO councils, joining an entrepreneur cohort, and also pushing our team to find their outlets as well so we can all level up.



 In the early stages of the entrepreneurship journey, especially when you’re bootstrapping like us, there’s hardly any money for anything – including funds to pay large salaries for top talent. I’m super proud of what we’ve built with our year-round internship program and the experience we’ve been able to provide to hundreds of people. We took the best talent and best fits from this program and developed them and put them in key positions to make an impact. One monumental shift I had on hiring occurred 5 or 6 years ago where I saw a teaching on hiring “A-Players” and the difference that makes compared to companies that hire B and C tier talent. From that day, we switched our strategy from hiring anyone that wanted to work with us to hiring very slowly and methodically, making sure values and personalities lined up well, along with looking for a proven track record of success, experience, and excellence. The results have been transformational. 


Impact Over Income

A lot of organizations will use the phrase “people over profits” and we definitely focus on people and doing great work for our clients. Our focus has been doing the best work possible, telling those stories, and then having that turn into more business for us and believing that the money will come, and it has worked. Lately I’ve thought more about it. My mindset has shifted more into impact over income. How is the work that we’re doing and the relationships that we’re building and the careers we’re providing making an impact on people? We should be chasing that: making an impact on people, our community, and the world. Income is secondary to impact.


The Losses Should Hurt More Than the Wins Feel Good

This was a part of my training manual when I was working in advertising for CBS and I didn’t really understand it at the time. I loved the high of closing new deals and brushed off the ones that we didn’t win. Now with my own company, winning is the expectation. It feels good when we do, but it’s onto the next one and we put our head down and keep going. The losses started hurting more because we were putting everything on the line and missing out on an opportunity had real impact and sometimes consequences. The losses started to sting more but we quickly shifted our thinking to view losses as learning lessons. What could we have done better? What didn’t resonate? Was it pricing, experience, personality, timing, or something else? We began asking prospective clients that didn’t select us for some of their reasoning so that we could make note of it and get better.  



Lately I’ve been fascinated by stoicism’s teachings and philosophies. Moderation and reservation, remaining even keel, not getting too high on the highs or low on the lows. I’ve always applied this and think it’s a necessity at the top. Your people are looking up to you and observing how you navigate tricky situations, much like a passenger on a flight looking at a flight attendant staying calm during turbulence. I remember the first 7 figure client that we signed and how I ducked out of a team meeting to take the call to find out if we won it or not. Everyone knew what the call was for and when I got back to the meeting it was like the music stopped and everyone turned to look at me. I told them that we won it, and the team was ecstatic and wanted to pop champagne (which we do a decent amount of here at Fortress), but I didn’t want to get too high on that and wanted to wait for the project to officially kick off before I got too excited. The flip side of that was when things were rocky with one of our biggest clients. Don’t freak out, don’t react emotionally, don’t say or do things you’ll regret, think of all options and next steps on what you can do to get it back right and then go from there. It worked and all ended up being okay.


Hustle Culture Doesn’t Last – Be the Lion

“Rise and grind” is the business version of “live, laugh, love.”

 It’s a phrase that’s lost its meaning and is beaten to death ad nauseam. It’s so easy to get into this trap of working more hours and believing that it equates to productivity and revenue. You absolutely have to do the work and put in the hours – this is undeniable. But it’s what you do with those hours that means more. I’ve actually been trying to reprogram this in my own mind and work with my exec coach this year. 

My parents came here from India with nothing and worked multiple jobs to set my sister and I up for success in America. This ingrained in me a deep sense and appreciation for hard work and sacrifice, and I always equated more hours = more output. This mentality burns most people out. Instead, be like the lion. The lion is the king of the jungle but is an animal that sprints and works hard in focused spurts, and then rests and recharges. I’ve pushed some of our workhorses at Fortress to be more like the lion and I’m still working on that part myself – focusing on intentional rest in order to go further. Some days it’s okay to leave the office before the sun goes down.


Focus & Shiny Penny Syndrome

It’s so easy to chase shiny objects. My wife did an amazing job of keeping me focused for many years. I’d uncover or be offered a seat in some venture or opportunity and be excited about it. She would always say “focus on Fortress first.” I hated hearing it at the time, but it was exactly what was needed. It helped me keep building the foundations here so we could accelerate in a major way years later. It’s easy to think you’re a badass entrepreneur and that everything you touch turns to gold and that you could become a serial entrepreneur because you are running one business well. Success in one doesn’t always translate into success in all. I own a lot of percentages of worthless companies. Focusing on Fortress and putting it first above all other ventures has allowed us to win and now gives me the opportunity to bring in other businesses and ventures into our ecosystem in multiple ways including our Accelerator in a more meaningful and strategic way.


Cut Things Out / Go Slow to go Fast

In the early days of Fortress, I had to cut ties with many people, places, and things so I could focus on what I was building. It really became a function of time. There was no time to waste. It sounds painful but it wasn’t. I thought it would be tougher to not go and hang out with my friends that were going out every weekend and doing the same things, but it really didn’t change anything in my life; if anything it made life better. This also applies to skeptics in your own family that you still love but need to tune out because they think you’re crazy and should play it safe instead


Get Uncomfortable

The best for last. This one is huge for me. Everyone is chasing comfort in life but that’s not where most growth happens. As business grows and stability and comfort increase, you have to seek out discomfort. The internet is full of ideas on this – some good, most of them bad. “Do these 47 things for 6 months and become unrecognizable” is the kind of clickbait that I often get in my feed these days. 

Cold showers, waking up earlier, hard workouts, strict diets, fasting, reading a ton etc. But there is merit to pushing your limits in all areas of life – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I love the concept of suffering now or suffering later. At some point in life, the work needs to be done. It’s either going to be on your terms now or on someone else’s later. Do the hard work and get uncomfortable. Great things will follow.

Are the “Keys to Success” Really Opening Doors for Your Brand?

All brands want to grab people’s attention. But getting noticed is only step one. When you harness someone’s attention, what will you do with it?


Don’t get me wrong, building brand recognition is no small task. But the path is established. Consult any marketing blog and you’ll find the same cookie-cutter “keys to success” listed —beautiful design, a functional website, social media marketing, and so on.


That is the what, not the how or the why. Any brand can follow a proven marketing formula, but few will actually get the results they want. 


The real keys to success are authenticity, storytelling, and consistency. A successful brand is one that is intentional in each element – from color to word choice to imagery. These decisions are not random—each must say something.


Let’s break these down, starting with authenticity.




Consumers are adept at spotting phony brand messaging. It’s why a lot of brands fail – because they can never nail down their true identity. If your tone is edgy and snarky, own that; if you are more community-oriented, friendly and warm, own that too. Whatever kind of brand you are, if you stick to it, you’ll eventually establish the base you’re looking for. According to’s findings, 88% of consumers want to support authentic brands


Don’t know where you stand? Fortress can help with that too. Through our “Brandstorm” process, a comprehensive brand development playbook, we have experience building brands from the ground up. Yours could be next.




Storytelling is absolutely essential to opening doors for your brand. Consumers want to know what your motivations are, where those motivations come from, and why they should lead them to utilize your services or buy your products. There is a fine line to walk here, because doing too much talking about your own brand without an application of why that should matter to the consumer, you will risk the story falling flat. Focus on the consumer’s problems and why you’re best positioned to solve them, don’t just vapidly talk about your brand. 


As an example of how storytelling can make a difference in branding, look at Fortress’ work with nationally-renowned civil rights law firm, Action Injury Law Group. Led by Andrew M. Stroth, this Chicago-based firm addresses instances of police brutality against minority communities. 


Action Injury did not need help building a reputation, but their goal was to acquire more clients and turn their tragedies into justice. We built a website that featured case studies of how they have helped people in the past, and outlined both visually and in writing how they plan to continue doing so in the future. 


Take a look at the full case study here. 




Consistency and authenticity work together to achieve the same goal of elevating your brand’s reach, and in turn, its bottom line. According to Marq’s 2021 report, consistent branding can increase revenue by an average of 33%. 


Consistency can mean many different things, but consistency of messaging is the most crucial. In 2022, social media is the most important place for consistency in brand messaging. Find a rhythm of how often you want to appear, plan out what type of content you want to post and pay attention to what’s working. What type of posts are getting the most engagement and generating the most conversions? Having the answers to those kinds of questions will go a long way. Social media leaves room for experimentation – no doubt – but it must be well thought out if you want it to move the needle. 


At Fortress Consulting, we build brands by telling their story in every detail. This personal touch combined with over a decade of success in web design, web development, and digital marketing helps us transform our clients’ brands, and also their lives.


That is our mission. What’s yours?


BeReal: Is There Marketing Potential?

Let’s be honest, social media has gotten pretty fake and curated strictly for algorithms and likes these days. However, BeReal, with its simplified layout and unique premise, might be the solution many are looking for.


BeReal is quickly gaining traction with Gen Z, but its staying power is unclear. Even though it was founded in 2019, 75% of the app’s downloads have come in 2022, signaling that existing platforms might be growing stale with the younger demographic, or at the very least, that demand for new ideas is high. The concept combines aspects of Snapchat and Instagram, but this platform is unique for a few reasons. First, you may only post once every 24 hours and it must be within a two-minute window upon receiving a notification. Secondly, posts from your friends are locked until you yourself post. This is clearly different from other platforms where you could create an account and post as frequently or infrequently as you please, can use photo filters liberally, and can “like” others’ content. Additionally, where TikTok and Instagram have become increasingly optimized for video content, BeReal is strictly photos.


At Fortress, we like to stay up to date on social media trends as they relate to marketing, and the emergence of BeReal begs the question: is there room for brands and digital marketers to use BeReal, or should they stick to more traditional and proven platforms? A few members of our marketing team answered this question along with their general thoughts on the app:


Tiffany Mullins – Senior Content Strategist


“I feel like it’s a counterproductive way to showcase real lives. When we are having fun and living in the moment, a phone notification telling you to ‘be real’ accomplishes just the opposite. Right now, I don’t see BeReal being useful in marketing. Usually, when brands hop on apps like this, it comes across as forced and ingenuine. I do see potential with influencers using BeReal to boost their personal brands by building a more intimate relationship with their follower base, but for advertisers like us, BeReal does not align with our goals, at least in its current iteration.”


Anthony Sprunk – Content Creator



“I think it can be both genuine and fake depending on the user. It becomes more staged when people wait to post their BeReals late – until they’re doing something “cool” – which is something I’ve seen quite a bit using the app myself. As for marketing, I have seen some funny TikToks and tweets about the app, but I have yet to see brands using it as an online marketing tool. I’m just not sure it’s the right app for marketing content.”




Leo Koenig – Content Writer


“I don’t use BeReal personally, but I tend to think it is not going to last like other social media apps have. I’ve heard some complaints about the BeReal app itself being glitchy or slow, which is fixable, but also may have turned people off from the start, making it hard to win them back over. However, I do think there is potential for certain brands to build a following on BeReal by posting “behind the scenes” content from employees. This will work best for restaurants and smaller businesses where the average employee is relatable to the masses. This may be hard to accomplish, as service workers are often the ones with the least amount of time on their hands to be posting online during their shifts, but it is not impossible. I think we need to give the app a bit more time before we write it off entirely from a marketing standpoint. After all, if we think back to the early days of Instagram, the potential for marketing was quite limited, but that has since changed dramatically.

The general sentiment from our team is that in its current iteration, BeReal is ultimately not an effective tool for brands, and not accomplishing its goals for general use either. In other words, we don’t think it is not a good sign that we are so increasingly detached from reality that we need an app like BeReal to purportedly provide it for us. However, while our team at Fortress may not see BeReal as the next big thing for digital marketing, we should point out that there are some success stories for how brands have used BeReal for product placement, sales boosts and general brand awareness, and one of these is Chipotle.



Chipotle has always been quick to hop on social media trends and stay on brand while doing it. Maintaining an edgy, entertaining, and fun voice throughout their marketing, Chipotle is never afraid to take risks. So earlier this year, when BeReal began ascending, Chipotle ran an introductory ad campaign where they posted a reusable promo code, awarding the first 100 people to use it with a free entree.



It was a success. They have since built a modest but active follower base, giving them one more outlet for engagement with their target demographic.

Come back to this page for more insights into the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, and if you have a project you would like to collaborate with the Fortress team on, get in touch today.

Chicago DNA: How Our Work Mirrors Our City’s Values

Being a Chicago-based agency is about much more than where our office is physically located. It’s an acknowledgement of our hard work, hospitality, and humility, values that are shared by Chicago as a community. Our work has always mirrored these traits we share with Chicago, and our recent projects are no exception. 


Kam Buckner for Mayor


Chicago is a city where everyone has a story. That’s why we fit right in, because we understand the importance of storytelling in digital marketing. Take the Kam Buckner for Mayor project for example. Prior to our work with Kam–which consisted of building a website, a launch video, social media marketing, and more–we had never worked on a political campaign as an agency. But we saw how committed Kam Buckner is to making a difference in the city we love as much as he does. So, we put that mutual passion to work and told the story of Kam’s Chicago roots and his track record of fighting for Chicagoans. Take a look at the launch video here:




EverThrive Illinois


Another recent campaign we worked on was for EverThrive Illinois. EverThrive is an organization dedicated to reducing maternal mortality in African-American communities in Chicago. African-American mothers in our city are at a dramatically increased risk of dying during or shortly after pregnancy. We are honored to be a part of raising awareness about this issue through a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Our efforts included branding, web design, and video production. Here is a look at the video we produced for EverThrive that focuses on their “The Gathering” initiative, a support community for expecting mothers: 




Walner Law


Another example is our client Walner Law who has committed to serving the city in the legal space. A staple of Chicago personal injury law since 1973, this firm needed help building their online presence to match their real-life legacy. Walner has won hundreds of millions of dollars for their clients who have been injured unjustly, and we’ve assisted them on several fronts over the years. These projects have consisted of social media marketing, a brand-new website, podcast production more recently, and many more marketing, branding, and web development efforts in-between. Walner and Fortress are a true, mutually beneficial partnership of companies who are proud to represent Chicago. Check out an episode of the Words With Walner podcast. Filmed inside Fortress’ studio, this episode discusses how Chicagoans can get help if they are in a truck accident:



We’re also proud to say that like Chicago, we are not a monolith at Fortress. The diverse perspectives we bring to the table at each client kickoff meeting and at every stage of a project are what makes us unique. With this strong in-house diversity, we are at our best when we are together; in sync with our surroundings and aligned on the tasks at hand. That’s the reason we haven’t bought into the work-from-home revolution, because we see our office space as a home in itself. It’s a home for collaboration and honest conversation, both internally and with our clients. 


Chicagoans know our city isn’t perfect. It can be unforgiving, and it has a way of humbling you. Our industry is the same way. But it’s that humility that keeps us going. And rather than pretend everything is perfect, Chicagoans like us get up early, go to work, and hustle every day to see things through and deliver. In our case, that means changing our clients’ lives by transforming their brands.

Fortress – Behind the Name

[Written from the perspective of Joel Mathew.]

Strength. Safety. Stability. 

Fortress embodies all of those and more. 

Our rock solid foundation is built on genuine relationships, consistency, and respect for our company and clients. We are a family. We are a team

I built this company after experiencing a discouraging work environment, a dog-eat-dog world where my colleagues and employers were focused on money alone. After witnessing a toxic atmosphere where creativity is stifled and voices go unheard, I knew I needed to make a change. And when I couldn’t find anything better in the corporate world, I decided to build my own business with its own culture.

Here at Fortress, we do the opposite. We steer clear of that culture, eliminate that selfish environment, and replace it with something stronger. Our company name is a symbolic representation of that. We are a fortified place, a stronghold, and a place of comfort and peace for both our team and clients. We dedicate our time and energy to building genuine relationships and treating people with the respect they deserve. 

We respect, care, and love our people. For that reason, the words employer and employee are rarely used here. You will only hear us use one word: team.

When people hear the name Fortress, we want this same sense of respect, comfort, and security to be felt. I want them to trust who their dollars are going to – people who are client-success obsessed, who possess unmatched energy and passion, who operate differently and authentically, who value integrity, rest, and generosity. 

Because of this mindset and attitude, we have built a strong foundation that cannot be shaken. After starting out with nothing, carving a path for ourselves, and fighting through the pandemic, we are stable amidst chaos. 

With our core values at the heart of all our work, we will always be a fortress for our team and our clients.

Joel Mathew | CEO & Founder

“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Psalms 62:6



Fill out the form, tell us about your project, and we'll reach out to you.