Introducing Our New Brand, Fortress Consulting Group Interactive



Fortress Consulting Group is proud to announce a new addition to our family, Fortress Interactive!

Fortress Consulting Group brings innovative digital media and creative advertising together to produce powerful results for our clients. We tailor our web services to grow our clients’ businesses and provide them with a professional web presence that gets quality traffic and engagement from consumers. Our services really help develop businesses and we love taking on new clients. But as Fortress Consulting Group has grown, we’ve taken on bigger projects and felt we were missing out on helping clients who have smaller budgets and need just the essentials of a web package. Thus, Fortress Interactive was born.

Fortress Interactive provides businesses with an all-in-one package for web services at an affordable monthly price. We provide everything you need to get started on the web to develop your business and enhance your web presence. Clients will get a fully custom website and the high quality service that they have expected from Fortress Consulting Group, but on a smaller scale at a low monthly price. This is our way of providing Fortress services to help put entrepreneurs, proprietors and small businesses on the map.

Fortress Interactive’s services include:

Website Design & Development – First impressions matter and we help you stand out from the crowd. We build a brand new custom website for your company that is never from a template. Your website is the digital face of your company and people are judging you based on it.

Responsive Website Optimization – Your customers are mobile, and you’re losing out if your website isn’t responsive. We create websites that look and function optimally on any device.

SEO (On Page Setup) ­– Since 61% of global internet users research products online, we set up your website to help you get more views and ultimately more business.

Content Writing – Never worry about writer’s block again. We help you write the content for your site based on data of what people are searching for. The end result is increased web traffic and engagement.

Social Media Setup & Support – Because 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business, we set up your social media so you can exhibit your services and reach millions on the social platform.

Web Hosting – We provide secure web hosting and maintenance to ensure your site is safe and up to date.

Blogging – We get it, you’re busy. Most business owners don’t have time to blog each month so we take care of this for you by utilizing our content writers who will research and come up with original content for you. Since 46% of people read blogs more than once a day, we write original blog posts so you can be a worthy competitor in the online content world.

Monthly Website Edits – We take the hassle out of keeping your site updated. We provide monthly website revisions so your content is fresh and current, all at no additional charge.

We understand that every client has different needs and a lot of websites are built or redesigned based on budget restrictions. Fortress Interactive’s web package is a great fit for businesses that need a high quality and effective website, along with all of the other essentials that go along with a site, at a fraction of the cost. For any needs that go above and beyond the Fortress Interactive package, we can provide through Fortress Consulting Group.

We’re excited to have created a brand that we feel reflects us as a whole and captures our energy and passion to serve our clients from large to small. We look forward to assisting clients of all sizes and needs to strengthen their online presence and, ultimately, their business.

For more information about Fortress Interactive, email us at, call us at 312.988.0185 or fill out our form here. And don’t forget to find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn!


*Marketing statistics based on Hubspot data.


6 Ways Your Website Is Driving Visitors Away



Your website launched and has been up and running for a while now. When checking your website stats, you realize people leave your site just as quickly as they arrive. What’s the problem? Below are six rhyming reasons (to help serve your memory) why your site may be driving visitors away.

Unresponsive sites bite. 

People are accessing the internet on their mobile devices more than they are on their laptops and desktops. It’s important to have a responsive website that resizes itself on other devices such as smartphones and tablets. Otherwise your website will appear tiny on smartphones, and visitors won’t go to the trouble of resizing your site to a readable size to view your content.

If the design is bad, visitors will get mad. 

Large blocks of text are difficult to read and exhaust eye muscles. Break them down into smaller paragraphs, include images when appropriate and be aware of the word choice you use to describe your business and the services you provide to customers. You want to use understandable terminology instead of complex jargon. If you use a large color palette on your website, especially artificial bright ones or colors that make the text hard to read, reconsider your choice since it can be unpleasing to the eye.

Bad navigation equals abdication.

Make sure to create a path or process you want visitors to take when they make their way around your website. If visitors don’t know where to go when looking for your products or services, they will most likely hit the close button instead of the contact button. Categorizing your products and services into groups will help users find what they are looking for and having CTAs under them will direct users to make a purchase.

If your site is slow, it’s a blow. 

You’ve probably heard of the three second rule in regards to sports or dropped food, right? The same rule applies to website loading times. If your website doesn’t load in less than three seconds, studies have shown visitors are more likely to leave your site. Too many images, rich content (like videos) or sites that aren’t optimized for performance can add to slow loading times.

Broken links simply stink. 

If your site doesn’t function properly and includes outdated content, it will drive visitors away. Test every link on your website to make sure they work and are connected to related information and sites. And make sure the related content is current.

If contact info is hard to find, you’re in a bind. 

Contact information should be easily accessible and found frequently throughout your site. If visitors are finding it difficult to get in touch with you, they’ll simply go onto the next website. Include a phone number, email address and location to build up your business’s credibility with visitors and to show you want them to reach out to you for any questions or concerns.

There are several other website aspects that can drive visitors away such as loud automated music, unsecure pages, pop-up windows or flashing banners and a lack of social media presence, but the above six are the ones we find most irritating and least user-friendly. Although your website is about your business, the purpose of your site is to educate visitors about your business. The goal of any website should be to provide visitors with the best user experience and least amount of disruptions. By avoiding these website mistakes, you’re on your way to having a more visited and user-friendly site.

Web Builder vs Web Designer/Developer



If you’re looking to create a website for your personal or professional life, you know there are several options out there to build your site. But building websites usually comes down to two categories: working with web builders or working with web designers and developers. But what’s the difference between two?

Web builders, or online content management systems, are inexpensive tools that build websites without having to edit any coding manually. Users don’t need to have any special programming skills and can use these tools to build their sites themselves. Web builders have several different types of templates, drag and drop features to load content and editing capabilities to change colors, images and text. The advantages of web builders include not having to purchase, install or update any type of software on your computer, having both web building and hosting services offered by the same provider, and being able to work on your site from anywhere without knowing how to code. Sound too good to be true? It is. Although the advantages can cover the basics (and at a cheap price), there is truth to the saying, “You get what you pay for.”

For starters, lots of other businesses and competitors could be using the same template you’re using which means your site won’t stand out as much. On the same note, you’re very limited in how much you can customize your site with cookie cutter templates so your brand might not be reflected as well as it could be. Other issues more on the technical side include some templates not being search engine friendly or not working on all browsers, which can be bad for business. Although it may be a cheaper option than working with web designers and developers, what you see with web builders is what you get. No more, no less.

On the other hand, web designers and developers create the visual layout and functions of a website on a customized level. Designers focus on the artistic side of the site (visual) and developers focus on the way the site works (functionality). It’s essentially two jobs that are usually performed by two different people, but there are some individuals who have both skillsets. Although working with web designers and developers can be time consuming and pricey, you get what you pay for (but this time in a good way).

Designers and developers are able to create unique designs and features that accurately represent your company’s brand and are hard to come by in web builder templates. When working with web designers and developers, the sky is the limit with whatever specifications or requirements customers have about the look and operation of their site. Web developers build customized sites to achieve the best user experience possible, to be search engine friendly and work across all browser types. In essence, you get a functional website that looks like no other. You aren’t limited in flexibility, structure and changes to your site. If you ever need web support for any issues you may come across, the designers and developers you worked with are real people who will be there for you.

Although web builders may sound like a good option because they serve basic website needs at a cheap price, a custom designed website is the better option in the long run because they create established brands. Customized sites guarantee user friendliness, search engine optimization and most importantly align online and offline branding needs, which makes for a good overall website and branding experience.

What Colors Should I Use For My Website



Web design is a crucial part of the website creation process. With the rise of mobile and tablet devices accessing the internet more than laptops and desktops, having a responsive web design that is resizable and optimal is a must these days. But as business owners focus on having mobile-friendly websites, advanced web-browsing capabilities and touchscreen navigation, some web design basics can fall in the cracks. Color is a prime example. In order to create an ideal company website, color must be taken into consideration because it influences the tone, environment and overall brand identity of a company.

Color is tricky. It has a huge impact on our emotions and attitudes. Studies have shown that color influences product assessments and purchases, so keep in mind the colors you choose to represent your website affect your potential customers. Your type of business, target audience and the overall tone you want to portray will determine your website’s color palette.

Colors generally have a certain connotation associated with them. For example, red is a very intense color and can imply a variety of emotions from warning to passion. Black is another intense color with a wide range of meanings from elegance to mystery to death. Orange and yellow generally suggest energy and fun, while green suggests more natural and earthy tones. White is generally associated with light and purity, and blue implies several feelings including trust, sincerity and health. Blue tends to be a favorite among both men and women, and several websites serving all types of industries tend to use blue in their color palette because people generally respond well to it.

Picking the best color palette for your company’s website is ultimately up to you, but there are a few general rules to consider when choosing:

Use natural colors

Using primary and natural colors will be more pleasing to the eye. Synthetic and unnatural shades like lime green, hot pink or bright blue, for example, will fatigue the eye.

Choose colors that make your content readable against the background

You want the content on your website to be clear and easy to read. If you have white text, for example, black, dark blue or gray are effective background colors that will make the content legible.

Use your color palette regularly throughout the site

Color consistency reinforces your brand’s identity, makes your product more memorable and generally produces an enjoyable experience to the consumer (assuming a moderate number of eye pleasing colors are chosen).

Choosing a color palette for your website is important in order to effectively communicate your brand’s message. Be sure to think about what you want your brand to say to consumers and have the colors on your website reflect that message.

3 Pieces of Content Consumers Need On Your Websites

You want your website to stand out. You want consumers to visit your site over your competitor’s. You want to grow your business.

You’re not alone.

If you own a small business and want to drive more traffic to your website, there are some things your site must include. Besides a good web design, SEO strategy and killer business name, there are three pieces of content consumers need in order to be engaged with your website. The below should be easily accessible and included on your company’s homepage.


Make it clear what services and products your company offers. You don’t have to go into the specifics on a homepage, but sharing general information about your skills and expertise will engage potential customers since that’s what they are looking to learn about. You may not want to give away everything you do on your site, but if you don’t give enough information about your services, consumers will leave your page and probably move on to your competitor. Give a clear sense of what your business does and include secondary pages with more specific information about each service.

About Us

Similar to services, telling consumers who you are and what makes you unique are important aspects of a company website. Giving your company’s personal story—how many years of experience you have in your industry, why you started the business, what you have to offer—personalizes your brand and makes it relatable to consumers. Explaining why your business stands out from other companies in your industry gives potential customers more incentive to work with you instead of your competitors. Figuring out your company’s exceptional attributes is something every business owner should think about and write down on their website.

Contact Information

This one may seem obvious, but making contact information easily accessible on a website is a big one. Don’t frustrate your potential customers by making it difficult for them to get in touch with you. If someone has an inquiry or wants to contact you to do business, you want to make your information available and easy to find. Make sure to include a phone number, email address and a physical address of your location to build credibility and trust with consumers that your business is real and legitimate.

Services, About Us and Contact Information are absolute musts on any business website. If you can make you site multi-device-friendly and easy to use on every platform, that’s even better!

Why Mobile-Friendly Websites Are A Must

If your business depends on web traffic, you need to know this: Majority of online traffic comes from mobile devices and mobile apps. That. Is. Huge. 2014 was the first time in all of internet history for this statement to be true. If that isn’t enough to upgrade your site to mobile, below are a few statistics to consider.

According to ExactTarget’s 2014 Mobile Behavior Report shared on Hubspot:

• The majority of consumers are of the opinion mobile-optimized sites run faster than non-mobile-optimized sites.

• 54% of consumers believe it is easier to find information on mobile-optimized sites.

• 37% of consumers are more likely to purchase on a mobile-optimized site.

• 27% of consumers will leave a site if it isn’t a mobile-optimized site.

If you’re still not convinced, below are a few other reasons to consider having a mobile-friendly site.

It’s what people want.

Consumers are accessing websites from their mobile devices and tablets more than they are through their laptops and desktops. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly it won’t display properly on consumers’ smartphones, which will drive away potential customers from your business. Phones have smaller screens and will often alter images and text from regular sites so make sure to have a responsive website. This means your website will resize itself for best viewing depending on the device—phone, tablet, laptop—that is trying to access your site. Be sure to also have touchscreen navigation for mobile and tablet devices.

You can (and probably will) lose business.

If the above stats aren’t proof enough, let’s look at this from a different angle. Consider your competitors. If their sites are mobilized and offer easy navigation, purchasing options and images/text that display nicely on the mobile platform, why would consumers look at your outdated site when they can surf an updated one? You want to make a consumer’s experience on your website user-friendly on a variety of devices, especially mobile. Good user experiences equals potential customers.

Google isn’t going to deal with your mobile-unfriendly website.

Google’s goal is to increase all web traffic, including mobile, and it recognizes that people don’t just surf the internet on their computers anymore. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly it can lead to unhappy user experiences, and Google doesn’t want to be a part of that. As a consequence, Google will be less inclined to display your website as a legitimate search result on mobile devices, which can be bad for your business since Google is the largest search engine in the world and more consumers are searching on mobile than ever before.

Jump on the mobile bandwagon to give your customers what they want and increase your business! If you need help mobilizing your site, contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Interview With Joel Mathew



Fortress Consulting Group President Joel Mathew always knew he wanted to start a business from a very early age. With a degree in operations management and information systems and years of advertising experience in radio and television with Comcast and CBS, Joel saw the need in the market for an agency that bridged the gap between digital and traditional media. He knew starting a firm with the technical expertise of a web services company and the creativity of an advertising agency would have a great impact on his clients.


What is your background?

“I went to school as a computer science major at Northern, and when I took my first programming class, I realized I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk coding all day. As much as I didn’t want to be a career programmer, I always valued it and this experience proved to be very useful in the early days of FCG when I had to develop some of the first projects myself. Where my passion truly lies is in creating new ideas and strategies for our clients and interacting with them on a daily basis. When I started the company, it was really the advertising and marketing side that carried us the first year. The second year was search engine optimization and other digital services. The third year it was web design and development. In our fourth year of business, it was app design. Every year we’ve gotten stronger in a new area and adapted really well to the needs of the market.”


Who is the Fortress team?

“We’ve had some good growth over the past few years and that’s all due to the team that we have in place. I’m really proud of the people I work with, and I’m inspired daily by their creativity and perseverance through any problem. I really wanted to create a team atmosphere where each person is accountable and valued, and I feel like we’ve done a good job establishing that. I love the competitive nature of sports, and I take that same approach with work where we’re all on a team together striving for a common goal that’s achieved by hard work and passion.”


What are Fortress’ specialties?

“We love the clients that come to us with an idea but aren’t sure how to execute it. One example that I love to showcase that really tells a good story of what we do is one of our real estate clients. This client came to us with an idea for creating an upscale real estate brand in Chicago that would help generate more leads, put him on the map, and help sell more property. We started off creating the company name and doing all of the branding work. From there we built a really beautiful, engaging website where we then did SEO on. Within 4 months, we had him on page 1 in Google and, within the first year and a half, he sold more than 4 million dollars in property through leads coming from his site. This started off as just an idea, evolved into more and more responsibility for us, and ultimately new ways to help grow a business. We love the partnerships that start off as one seemingly simple task and then grow into larger projects that include services on both the advertising / marketing end and also the digital side of our company. Ultimately, our specialty is in building brands for our clients through our diverse areas of expertise.”


How is Fortress funded?

“When I started the business, I challenged myself to not put a dollar of my own money into it and not accept any outside funding. I wanted it to grow on it’s own organically from the very first project. I wanted everything to be generated by the company and stay in the company. That’s why we try to keep our overhead as low as possible—we don’t have too much expense other than office, payroll and marketing, and everything we do goes back into the business.”


What are Fortress’ goals?

“I want Fortress to be known for doing amazing work with amazing people all over the world.”


Where does the name “Fortress” come from? 

“The Fortress name came from a verse in the Bible that I like a lot. It’s from Psalms 62:6 and it says ‘God is our rock and our fortress. I will never be shaken.’ This verse means a lot to me in that I’m not doing this alone or for myself. I feel that the Fortress name really represents strength and stability and the values that our company stands on.”


What lessons have you learned from starting your own company?

“It’s hard to just say one, but there is something that stands out. Every day is a learning process and that is an exciting thing about being an entrepreneur and running a company. Even when you feel like you’ve figured something out or you’ve had a good week or month or quarter or year, there’s always some curve ball you’re trying to work through. But the biggest lesson I learned from very early on is to respect and appreciate money. Working for someone else or working for a big corporation and getting paid every two weeks, you just take it for granted. You think it’s this never ending fountain of funds, and you can go out and do whatever you want because you know you’ll get more money in two weeks. Starting a business showed me just how hard it is to make money and not take it for granted. At the same time though, I don’t put making money as the number one goal. The goal is to do great work for our clients and money is just a byproduct of doing great work that you love.”


Any advice for future entrepreneurs? 

“I still consider myself new after four years in business, but my advice would be to just do it. Jump into it. Put your all into it and don’t half ass it. Because you will surprise yourself—how resilient you are and what you are capable of. Don’t worry about five years from now or 10 years from now. You don’t have to have it all figured out right now, but you do have to get started.”

Showcasing Images On Your Homepage

So you want to display a striking image on your company’s homepage that really catches the viewer’s attention, but don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with the basics.

First and foremost:

Size matters.

If having images on your website—especially your homepage where first impressions truly count—is important to you then make sure the photos aren’t too small that you can’t see them, or too big that you have to scroll down the page to view them. Large background photos are a nice visual experience if they’re done right, but generally you want the whole image to fit on the screen without scrolling so as not to disrupt eye movement.

Always aim high.

Make sure all images, especially logos, are high resolution photos. Humans are naturally visual beings—show them what your company has to offer through rich, crisp photos that get the message across as clearly as text would. Linking images on your homepage to additional works or different websites (partner companies, for example) is a plus. Note: Always link your logo on other pages back to your homepage.

Last but not least:

A is for appropriate.

Make sure the images on your site are relevant. Everyone likes pictures of flowers and sunsets, but unless you own a gardening company or a beach resort, don’t use them simply because they look “nice.” The photos you use should be as specific as possible to reflect what your business does or what it is trying to accomplish.

Let’s say you own a roofing business in Chicago and have the skyline as an image on your homepage. Yes, it would be eye-catching, but it wouldn’t reflect who your business is or what it does. On the other hand, having a photo of your employees working on a roofing project would. Focus the images you use and, if possible, personalize them. Viewers are looking for companies that brand themselves in a unique way.

The basics are obvious, but they can be put on the backburner in the excitement of creating a website. By applying these simple suggestions to your homepage (and any page using images for that matter), you’re on your way to creating a visually-friendly website!



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