This case provides a good example of how function is more important than appearance. Interestingly, a website can look amazing but, from a technical standpoint, assuming the goal of the site is to draw traffic, can actually be made poorly. A particular professional lighting client sought our services because their site wasn’t receiving traffic. Search engines were not returning the site in results, even when searching for professional lighting. Curiously, we reviewed their site.
The company had hired a graphic designer to build the site, and visually it was very beautiful. The designer creatively used Flash technology which can produce a great appearance but because of this the site was not viewable on most mobile applications. More importantly, the site had no search engine optimization – meaning it was not coded in a manner that allowed it to be found by search engines. With certain mega companies, like LucasArts for example, focusing on a visually impressive appearance is fine for impressing visitors, especially in a niche-field like entertainment. But, although their customers know them by name and most likely know their address, they certainly ensure that engines searching for content their site contains return it in results. For most companies, the goal of their site is to let people know about their business. They want their site to inform people who are unaware of their business that they exist and show them what they offer.
This company owns a store in which they sell professional lighting. They sought our services in drawing web traffic to their site. They explained that all of their customers came from word-of-mouth advertising. Some customers would tell friends or family about their store, but other than that they were unable to expand. Their prices were better than larger outlets, so they were sure they could be doing greater business if people were aware of them. We analyzed their site and determined there was no search engine optimization – people searching for lighting would not be able to find their store when searching for lighting products online. Also, the excessive flash content was limiting the ability of people on mobile devices to view the site. Many searches are done on mobile devices so it is important to avoid limiting how many people can potentially view a site.
Our solution was to create an online showroom on their website. Their store contains over 10,000 separate items. By listing all of the unique items they offer displayed individually search engines will display their site whenever people search for any of their specific items. Typically, most people tend to search for very specific items. For example, a person is more likely to search for “track-lighting” rather than a vague term like “lighting”. Often, people will search for something even more specific like “buy monorail lighting system in Santa Barbara”. We conduct a large amount of research to determine how many separate unique searches are done each month for the same or similar things. For any given product, service, or subject, there can be hundreds or thousands of variations on searches for something like lighting. Eventually most possible variations will be searched. The closer the content of a website matches search terms the higher a search engine like Google will display the website in its results. So if a store sells a “monorail cable lighting system” then they should list it specifically so that when a person does eventually search for “monorail cable lighting system” the store’s online showroom will be found.
We took the concept of exact specification as far as possible by building separate pages for different categories of lighting and then displaying individual products within categories. This will allow for more vague searches like “Indoor lighting”, “Outdoor lighting” or “LED lighting” to display the site. Also searches for the specific products within each category will of course display the site in search engine results. We started them off by adding thirty products for them to initially display in their online showroom. We suggested they add one product per day because search engines like Google also tend to rank recently updated sites higher in their results so they will receive more traffic.
Now, people can find their store by searching for the specific items they sell, view the items in their online showroom, and then visit the store to buy the items. This client has reported highly increased web-traffic and sales since hiring us to build their site using “Total Control”. Our content management system allows them to monitor their web-traffic which is significantly larger than their previous site and they are completely satisfied with their experience. Accomplishing the client’s goal also gives us great satisfaction.
Written by: James Nisky