Right before Christmas I received a very interesting call. At first the call made me uncomfortable, but as the conversation progressed it made me hopeful that I had found my next client, and that they really needed RLC Design. The business owner has learned in no uncertain terms why SEO failure can lead to business failure. They’ve experienced it first hand.
“You website design guys…..”
2 days before Christmas I answered my phone. The number shown on my screen was unknown to me. A Phoenix area phone number. So I picked up with my standard greeting. “Rich Charpentier.”
The phone was silent for a moment, and then finally the caller asked, “Do you do website design?” I answered in the affirmative and the caller then said, “You website design guys…..you just don’t know what you get with you guys. Are you any good at this?”
Our call continued. The caller, John, was beyond frustrated. To be honest he was downright pissed off. He talked about his previous designer, about hidden costs, about issues with his site, and more. The “F Bombs” were flying from him. He was feeling some major pain about his website, and a redesign that happened over two years ago. The pain he was feeling was real, and as we talked I started gathering information from him.
While we talked I looked up his website, and then I looked up some traffic information on him. The cursing, the anger, and the frustration with “web developers” became clear to me when I checked out his traffic patterns over the past few years. See, John had been building a successful website that drove traffic to his business. It was still growing, but the future looked bright! In 2012 he hired a fly by night website design team to modernize his site, and that is when his online presence fell off the rails.
The “design company” built a pretty and mobile friendly site. Unfortunately they didn’t know anything about SEO, and they destroyed John’s online presence. Their SEO failure impacted John’s business almost immediately, but John didn’t realize what the core cause of the issue was.
SEO failure can harm your business
Initially John worked with an old school web developer in 2010. They had a plan that they worked on together to get John’s tour business off the ground online. And the work paid off. In 2011 traffic started growing. And in 2012 John’s old web developer closed his business. John felt he needed a developer around to continue the growth, and found a design team that quickly destroyed all of John’s hard work. The phone stopped ringing, reservations stopped coming in from his website, and he watched business taper off.
So, why wait 3 years to reach out for a new development group? Well, after spending tens of thousands of dollars on website design / designers and having such a major fail, I totally understand the frustration and hesitation. The new site that was created for him in 2012 is pretty to look at. It’s mobile friendly. And it lacks any meaningful content that would help drive search engines to visit it. The SEO on the site is a total failure, and the way visitors are directed on the site isn’t straightforward. A complete design failure beyond something pretty to look at.
Building beyond a pretty site
So many people forget why they’re building a website. Designers, bad ones, pay more attention to the aesthetics than the content. Creating a beautifully gift wrapped box isn’t going to make a child at happy when they open it and find it empty. There has to be content! People go on to the Internet to find information! When they go to John’s website they are visiting it to setup a tour in Arizona. They are not going to the site to look at the fancy design, slick columns, and pretty parallax sliders and slide shows. All of those design components are necessary at some level, but the most important part of the website is the CONTENT!
One of my first questions to John while we were talking was about his old site which had clearly started performing. I asked, “Did the new designers give you a backup of your old website?” The answer was no……..
Be suspicious if…..
RLC Design creates custom written proposals for each client after we’ve taken the time to understand your issues. After we’ve agreed on a service level we send a detailed contract listing dates and time that we’ll be doing work. We stick to our contracts and always fulfill what we’ve offered to do. And if your website consultants don’t offer a contract or written terms……Run, don’t walk!
“Design companies” that don’t offer contracts, written terms of service, etc., are not going to help you. In fact, fly by night groups can damage your online presence. And in the case of John’s site, their SEO failure has cost him thousands of tourists a year.
**Note: We’re in talks with John now, and we’ll be inking a contract soon. And when we do that we’ll share the re-development story here. Until we have the contract signed we’re leaving his business name out of this article. 🙂