Braden Katz started Kansas City-based Brandit three and a half years ago when he was on the client side of website design looking for a custom blog website.
“I was trying to get a basic website built, said Katz. “I had one company try to lock me into this proprietary platform. It would have been really expensive and I doubt I would have been able to get my website off of the platform.”
He realized that what the website design market lacked was a company that provided a low barrier of entry for small business, entrepreneurs and startups who needed reliable websites with pricing models they could afford and flexibility of control over the end product.
Katz had the idea to create his own website platform that runs on top of WordPress. He launched Brandit as a tech company but kept fielding questions from clients about building complete websites, front and back. He decided to reposition the platform to focus not just on the tech side of web design, but also design.
“We transitioned fully from the technology side to the complete solution within the last month,” said Katz. “At any given time, we have 5 to 10 people working on projects and we’re really trying to grow that.”
Brandit now offers their clients design, content strategy and branding through a 4-milestone process that Katz developed which works by discovering the brand position of the company, then creating complete wireframes for the entire website.
“We have a group of content strategists and designers that we work with that help us scale it out,” said Katz. “Initially, it was all about creating a technology platform with WordPress. Since then, it’s evolved into this end-to-end validated solution.”
Katz said that WordPress powers around 28% percent of all the websites on the internet but it’s kind of like the “Wild West” with millions of plugins and different themes.”
“It really depends on the freelancer or agency that you hire in terms of what you’re getting. A lot of times they build custom, hard-coded themes and you have to keep paying them [to maintain],” said Katz. “The whole idea behind our platform is to give the best technology we can and to make sure you can actually edit and own your website.”
All of Brandit’s package options are under $5000 and allow clients to fully own, manage and host their sites, should they want those options.
“The whole idea is to create this complete transparency all the way through so clients know exactly what they’re getting,” said Katz. “The level of involvement in terms of whether we do complete copywriting, content strategy, branding, design, just depends on which package they chose.”
Brandit’s fully-managed platform is not a proprietary platform, but rather it redesigns WordPress and makes it more intuitive for the user and easier to use. Brandit’s project management software is also a unique feature that they offer to clients.
“We designed project management software into our milestone process so you know exactly where you are [in the project],” said Katz. “For both the designer and on the client side, you have to make sure expectations are completely transparent––it can very easily get off track. That’s why it’s so important to have project management software which shows you exactly what you’re getting.”
Katz keeps his in-house staff lean with just himself and a lead developer. Brandit works with a network of remote copywriters, content strategists and branding experts.
Katz said that he’s trying to create the best possible product and experience for people who are going out and creating new things and creating new companies.
“The whole idea of Brandit is to lower the barrier of entry for [businesses],” said Katz. “I’m trying to apply user experience, design and product design to the entire process that you go through if you’re a startup or an entrepreneur who needs to create an effective website that converts your visitors.”
Christine McGuigan is the Managing Editor of Silicon Prairie News.