I started working with the web, six years ago. I was working for a telecom agency and we paid for a company website. My business partner and I were both new to the technology and chose a template-based site. We knew we wanted a presence on the web, so we talked to different people to find out how to make it so potential customers could find our business.
One of our business partners recommended a firm to help us with Search Engine Optimization. That company worked on our site and fixed the metadata and title tags. We were paying them $200 a month for their service.
Even though we were paying this company to help us, I didn’t want to rely too heavily on their service. I understood how important the web was going to be and wanted to learn all I could about the technology. I joined an internet marketing group on Meetup and started attending their monthly meetings. That’s where I met Radar Roy. Roy was a retired cop who sold radar detectors online. He had a website when websites were relatively new and was approached by a company that claimed that they could make his site number one on Google for $10,000.
Roy gambled and paid the $10,000 and sure enough the company came through. Roy’s site was number one and his sales went through the roof. Trouble was, the company Roy hired employed black hat SEO practices. To give you an idea what I mean by black hat, they did things like place a ton of keywords in a white font in the white spaces on Roy’s website. Site visitors couldn’t see the words but the Google spiders could and after some initial success, Google delisted Roy’s site. Roy’s site went from number one in Google to impossible to find. He went from more sales than he could manage to no sales, overnight.
Roy had to start over but he understood the web’s potential. Roy learned everything he could about SEO and applied those principles to a new site. He had three of the top seven Google listings for radar detectors when he sold his business for seven figures, a few years later.
That’s about the time Roy started his own SEO company and created his Meetup group. One of the services Roy offered was a weeklong course on SEO. I signed up. One of the course’s exercises was evaluating each attendee’s website. When it was my turn, Roy put my company’s website up on the video screen. The first words out of Roy’s mouth were: “You have Flash on your home page. Google can’t see past Flash.”
So there we were paying a company $200 a month to optimize our site and either they didn’t know Flash would dwarf their efforts or bother to inform us that there was something fundamentally wrong with our site.
After that experience, I took a course on WordPress, the website content management system. I continued to attend Roy’s monthly seminars and studied up on web principles. I ended up building CarrierBid.com and applying the principles I learned on the website.
Later on I went through an intensive online course on Local Search. I built a number of local search, lead generating websites. One site, sandiegocommerciallandscaping.com shows up high in the rankings and produces a regular stream of leads for the landscaper I work with. I also built a site for an auto mechanic in Wayne, PA that’s still on the first page of Google even though we stopped working together and nothing’s been added to the site in year or so.
What’s my point? I’ve actually completed three separate training programs and I’m SEO certified. I’ve also made a living from the sales leads I’ve produced. But there are no requirements or certifications necessary to call yourself a “Web Developer”, “SEO Consultant” or “Social Media Expert.”
I’ve been to networking meetings and met internet marketing “experts.” When I returned to my office and looked up their websites and social media, I saw photos that hadn’t been formatted correctly, web pages still under construction and amateur and cookie cutter websites.
If you’re a business owner it’s critical to possess or have someone on staff that possesses some level of understanding of internet technology. Without that knowledge, the possibility of finding value on the web is minimal. Most likely, you’ll get ripped off by unqualified web developers and internet marketers; you’ll sour on the web, avoid it and miss out on its power. Even if you find a qualified provider, your expectations might be askew and you’ll stop projects before they pay off.
Affordable-Webtraffic offers affordable web strategies that produce results. We also offer technology consultation services. We can evaluate your current web entities and strategies or help you evaluate responses to a technology RFP. You don’t have to go at it alone. Let Affordable-Webtraffic guide you though the web jungle.