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Once Upon a Time…a Business Web Nightmare

Once Upon a Time is an ABC show, a guilty pleasure really, that I readily admit I enjoy.

It just makes me smile. I like fairy tales and I find its unique approach to telling the story of Snow White, Cinderella, the Evil Queen and Prince Charming fun and a great escape. I have wanted to tell my story for awhile now.  I guess it is the promise of a happy ending that keeps me watching the show and inspired me to write this blog

My tale is familiar to many small business owners especially those of us with a tight budget.  I admit, it sounds very self serving.  And it does have a happy ending.  It is not a fairy tale but it can become a nightmare. It did with me.

Like every entrepreneur who has the guts to start a business, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. It was one thing to have to learn about my business…that is a given. But I did not want to have to know about the web design and internet marketing business too. Face it.

Businesses have to get found by their customers and the customer is looking for them online. How do you get found online without spending every last dollar? Every business needs a website, not every business can afford to spend a fortune on one. I am convinced that most businesses don’t need to spend a fortune, but more on that later…

As a small business owner I am a self motivated creature and used to doing things myself. I did what many of us do, I saw the ads for the “free” and “cheap” websites, signed up and built one myself. It required many hours on end learning the advertised, “easy to use” template and when I finally finished, I had no idea how my choices for words, pictures, lay out and “keywords” would work.

It looked “pretty” to me, so on I went, confident that I now had a website. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and even though the free software was usable, promised results and looked “pretty”  it simply was inadequate for creating anything more than a online version of a brochure. It did nothing but sit there and the only one who could “find me online” was ….me. I was lost in the scary forest of lost revenue, no customers and no hope for a search engine optimized rescue.

Not long afterward, my partners and I decided to go into a new venture and that meant, uh oh! a new website. This time, like it or not, I decided to pay a professional to do what I could not do and did not have time to learn, build a website.

We did our do diligence, interviewed designers, checked prices, asked a lot of questions and chose a company we thought would do a great job. As a matter of fact, we believed that we had really found our Prince, a partner in our future business endeavors. Our chosen web company promised quick results and a quick turnaround. We gave them all a lot of “gold” and off we went, this time into the dark forest of confusion, disconnect and web speak.

The Prince (whose name now brings a curse when said allowed in our office) asked us for some mysterious substance called, “content”. We asked, “Where do we acquire such a substance?” And the Prince replied, “you must produce it yourself!” For four months of slowly returned phone calls and often unanswered emails, we struggled to produce this mysterious “content”. The Prince talked time and again about the importance of a ominous creature called “a blog” and kept speaking of a ravenous beast he called “social media”. He spoke of the importance of keeping your website fresh with more “content” to rise in the inexplicable “search engines”. We did not understand why these things were important. “Not to worry”, he said. “We can handle that for you”….for a lot more gold. Finally our website was completed. At least we thought it looked “pretty”! But no one found it online. It too was lost, deep, deep in the dark forest. We were out of gold and out of luck.

Sound familiar? I hear the tale over and over again. The problem, I believe is not that web companies are actually evil. The problem is they are web companies, not business owners. Their interest in making the business owner happy with a “pretty” site is not necessarily in line with the business owner’s need for getting results. Business owners and web companies don’t speak the same language.

This brings us to the happy ending. In our quest for a solution and more knowledge we partnered with a great team. Our partners are located in beautiful Austin Texas. They make it easy for our customers to get the results they need, they may even whistle while they work! We make it affordable without upfront fees. We offer reasonable monthly payments instead.  We help our customers by explaining what the mysterious “content” is. Or if needed, we will write it for you. We can take the fear out of updating your site. We can update it for you or teach you how to do it yourself.

We will explain how blogging builds your rankings in the search engines. We will encourage you to blog or write blogs for you when you don’t have the time.  We will promote your blogs too on our sites. We can tame the beast known as “social media” and help you get out of the forest once and for all…and you can finally Get Found Online.

We built the company we wanted to hire. Here’s to a happy ending!

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