A Tale of Two Websites

It was the best of sites; it was the worst of sites.

Imagine two websites in the same line of business in the same geographic area and representing companies of similar size.  Both companies recognize that they are the chief competitor of the other.  Both companies want to increase revenue by getting new clients and both have decided to achieve that goal by launching a website to make themselves easier to find by new customers.

This is where the similarities end.  Company A has decided to hire a web development company to build and launch the website.  Company A has invested thousands of dollars in their new website and their online marketing strategy.  This process has taken several months and is still ongoing.  Company A can expect to pay monthly fees for the foreseeable future even with little or no immediate return on that investment.

Company B has opted for more of a “time-to-market” approach.  They realized they can use one of the many web hosting services that provide tools to build nice-looking websites that do not require web developers and months of work to launch.  They build it themselves and save the expense of web developers.

Company B launches their site two months ahead of Company A.  Company B’s website is now available for those searching for Company B’s products and services.  Company B has modified their letterhead and business cards to include the website address.  Company B has also produced shirts and caps with the new website address to be worn by staff and also to be used as freebies for customers, potential and real, to get the word out about their new website.  Company B offers Company B frisbees with their logo and website address on them to the first 500 visitors to the site who complete the contact form.  The free frisbees are gone within the first week.  Company B sees the new website’s traffic increase little by little each week.

Some of that traffic to the new Company B website has generated new leads from the contact form, some of which have converted into sales.  The plan is working for Company B and Company A has not yet even launched their website.

Fortunately for Company B, the cost of the promotional items like Company B t-shirts, hats, and frisbees has been covered by the few initial sales generated by the website.  The website project has broken even early on and what remains is all profit.  Company B proclaims their web project an unmitigated success.   And all this time, Company A has nothing to show for their investment of time, energy, and dollars.

Company finally A launches their new website two full months after Company B.  Their website stands out and does not appear to have the “prefab” look of Company B’s site.  Company B’s management thinks that Company A has wasted time and money because Company B has attracted new customers early on after launching their website.  Company A is two months late and Company B is making money.

Company A looks at their site and at Company B’s.  To anyone who looked, even the people from Company B, it is clear that Company A has a much more attractive and compelling website.  The management at Company A are proud of their new website.

Company A has the foresight to understand that an attractive website is not the end of the marketing campaign; it is the beginning.  They see that having an attractive and compelling website is of no value if nobody visits it.  Now they begin the second phase of their online strategy; search engine optimization or SEO.

In its simplest description, SEO is the process of making a website show up in search engine result pages.  Company A searches for its services.  Not by the name “Company A” but rather, by the nature of their goods and services.  They dig in 10 pages and their website does not appear on any of them.  They see this and while they might be discouraged by it, they are not.  Why not?  Because what is more important right now to Company A is not what is found in the search results; it is what is not found in the search results.  Just like Company A, there is no mention of Company B in the search results either.

Company A embarks on a search engine optimization campaign to make their site appear in Google, preferably on the first page.  But how to do that?  It is a big world and a big internet and there is only one page 1.  SEO is a careful process that convinces Google and other search engines that one site should be ranked as more relevant than other for particular keywords.  Company A engages the services of an SEO company to promote their website.

Company A’s search engine optimization team performs an analysis of the new website and makes some changes to make it more search engine friendly.  They adjust tags, titles, and content to make sure it is clear to Google what the site is about.

Of course, a website can say it is about anything but that doesn’t mean Google will believe it and put it on page 1.  Google will give a higher rank to those websites that have other sites, especially business-relevant sites linking back to it.  Google will also give a higher rank to sites which are mobile-friendly meaning they render well on mobile devices.  There are many factors that go into Google’s proprietary algorithm for ranking websites on their search engine result pages.

Company A has made a good choice of web developer and SEO service firms.  After a few months, their site begins to appear in the Google results.  Each month they get closer to page 1.  They start getting more calls and inquiries by email from website visitors.

In month 6, Company A is consistently on page 1 for many keywords.  They are getting more contacts from new customers in a week than Company B has gotten in total since they launched their site.  Company A has also found another benefit.  While Company B’s reach has extended in an around their local geography, Company A is being found by potential customers from all over the country.  Company A’s approach with a carefully designed website and an ongoing SEO campaign have increased sales dramatically.  Company A wasn’t looking just to cover the cost of their online marketing program.  They were looking to revolutionize their business… and they did!

Can a new website and online marketing program change your business?  Be like Company A and contact Landau Consulting to learn how we can help you revolutionize your business.