“We Think We Need a Website”
It started in March of 2014, when Don and Larry came and sat down with us at our OmniOnline office here in Regina. Till this point their business had been run with a phone. Advertising had never consisted of more than an ad here or there, a phone-book listing, and good old word of mouth. Despite having done business “the old way” for many years, they had come to recognize the importance of making the Internet work for them rather than against them. This was because they were seeing and hearing more about their competitors who were somehow reaching clients in ways they were not. They felt these competitors were doing a sub-par job, but were somehow getting more business than they were! They told us they “wanted a website” and asked us to help.
We had a great chat and were able to communicate to Don and Larry the tools we had at our disposal to help them and their business, aptly named BTUs (BedBug Thermal Ultimate Service). They were excited to get started but with so little knowledge when it came to the web, they participated at arm’s length giving us broad direction only. They wanted a website that reflected their business and the superior method by which they killed bed bugs (with heat). And they wanted some basic information about their business and about bed bugs in general – leading to their contact information, so people could call them.
They had a modest budget. They didn’t have any content written out for us ( remember Don and Larry are “old-style” businessmen). They didn’t have the need for any fancy technical tools and they wanted to focus their time on what they do best – killing bed bugs, not on learning how to use computers and entering content on websites! The plan was put in motion.
Since we knew they weren’t interested in entering or updating content we could have built a static html site. But we decided instead to build a simple website on our solid, proven platform called WordPress. We’ve been building easy-to-use business websites with WordPress since 2009 and we stand behind them.
While they wouldn’t be using their website as a content management system (CMS, a type of website that allows owners to login to the administrative area and edit or update their content easily without having to understand code), it would still allow for future growth, easy integration of plugins if they needed, and really simple content entry for either us or them, whoever would be administering it.
We mocked up something clean and simple. A no-fuss website for our no-fuss client. It had a few basic pages, from “Who We Are” to “What We Do” etc. The visual aspect was a large image at the top with a text area overlaid on top of it and some smaller thumbnails to click in order to switch the slide and update the larger picture as well as the text on the slide. Don and Larry loved the look and feel and approved the design with just a few minor tweaks to our original proposal.
We launched the website about five weeks from the date we originally spoke to them.
Business Card Websites
What we had essentially agreed to build for the guys was what we often call a business card website. There really wasn’t much functionality happening on the site and there was no plan for regularly updating or adding to the site. Essentially it was like a great big business card on the web. It had contact information and if you were looking for it, it would serve you the information nicely. But that was exactly the problem.
After starting to get indexed by Google, the site was out there on the web, but that’s it. The site was garnering about 15-20 visits per month from organic search (searching for some relevant term on Google). But overall, it was getting lost in common search results for terms like “bed bugs” or “exterminators”.
The guys soon dropped by and we discussed in further detail their goals for the website, what our options were to meet those goals as well as a realistic budget for those goals. You see BTUs did what a lot of businesses do these days – they made the mistake of thinking that a website was going to get traffic and that traffic was going to turn into revenue. But a website alone, is much like a business card pinned up on one of those “leave your business card here” type of bulletin boards (only the Internet is the biggest bulletin board the world has ever seen). Without a carefully developed plan and the resources to carry through with that plan, these business card websites are not going to increase your businesses’ revenue. Even beautifully-designed sites are just a drop in a very large bucket, bound to get lost.
We made a mistake too. We wanted to help BTUs get a website and we knew we could build something to match what they had in mind that would fall within their budget. But we didn’t dig in deep enough in our original discussions and really find out their goals and expectations and come up with a plan to meet those. We’ve learned from this mistake. In fact, we’ve seen and heard a similar story so may times, that we’ve made a commitment to our clients: We won’t build you one of these business card websites, even if you ask us nicely.
Here’s why. We know it won’t help your business in the long run. It won’t bring a return on your investment. It won’t accomplish what you think it will accomplish and so in the end, it’s a waste of our time and your money. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking through these types of situations, analyzing the data, looking at the tools available to us and the costs associated with those and we now focus on what we call Online Business Solutions. Online Business Solution websites are tailored to your business needs, your business goals and your budget. We’re far more careful to ask the kinds of questions that allow us to learn what you really want for your business when you tell us you need a website.
Our goal is to come alongside you and your business and partner with you providing solutions for your online challenges. In this way, we can repeatedly deliver on real business goals and objectives that effect your business’ bottom line. We’ve found this method to be successful for us and our clients. And that’s what we did for Don and Larry of BTUs.
Building an Online Business Solution
We sat down and revisited the project. We asked important questions about Don and Larry’s goals and we did a lot of thinking and research and planning. We eventually presented them with a report that outlined a number of strengths and weaknesses of their current website, as well as opportunities that we identified that could be taken advantage of.
We changed just about everything from the look, the functionality, the focus and even the domain name! ReginaBedBugs.com utilized a number of different tools that the original project had not and since Don and Larry were essentially relying on their new website to drive their business both in the short-term and the long-term, we added an initial 1-year SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign to their project as well as a budget and plan for a Google Adwords campaign. We looked at the most popular keywords used in their industry and targeted many of them as well as some that had been under-targeted and represented greater room for growth at a lower investment. We added content management to the project and began researching and writing blog articles for them and we also set-up some social sharing avenues ( Twitter and Google+ / Google My Business).
We set some realistic business goals so that we could define success in the same terms and we set to work to make it happen. We started the overhaul in late June of 2015 and launched the new website in early August (about 6 weeks). We’ve continued to monitor, revise, tweak, add to and report on the new website and we’re happy to say it has been an astounding success averaging around 200 visits from organic traffic alone.
BTUs was a tipping point for us here at OmniOnline. At first we proceeded with this project the way we’ve done many projects, and that was exactly what our clients were asking for. Most times we wanted to do more, we often communicated the need for more but in the end, some factor, time or budget or something else usually got in the way and we conceded to just build a business card website.
In 2016 we’re committing to you our clients and future clients as well as to ourselves that we will no longer provide you a service (even if the price is right) that we know won’t ultimately help your business in the long-term. Our experience and projects like this one, clearly demonstrate that. However. if you genuinely want to improve your online presence, if you want to grow your business and reach more people with your products or services, come have a chat with us, we’d love to hear your story, put together a detailed plan and proposal for you then partner with you going forward. We’re looking forward to what the future holds!