29 Apr


Making it Work, Then Making it Pretty

2nd poleWe build hardworking websites that do things and make people happy.  Sure they look good, but looks are so superficial.  Pretty will only get you so far in life.  That’s why we design websites with a job in mind.  We give it direction and purpose, then make it easy on the eyes.

A website is much more like a business assistant than a digital brochure.  Your website can gain new customers, sell products, generate sales leads, recruit volunteers, receive donations, inform the public, promote your cause, and maybe even change the world.  Contact us and explore what a hard working website can do for you.

We understand that you may already have a website.  Maybe it is a little lazy.  We are good motivators.  Maybe it’s just lost and no one can find it.  SEO is the Internet equivalent of moving from the backwoods to the middle of town.   We do this too.

Our mission is to become the best decision you make this year.

29 Jul

After I had the ConwayJournal.com up and running for a while, I decided to go back in and do a little SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work to increase visitor traffic.  One of the first things that I realized was that while the site was something a lot of folks may enjoy, they had no idea that we even existed.

To further complicate the matter, they weren’t even looking for a similar item.  No one was searching for terms like “Conway SC Blogs” or “online magazine conway” or “really cool website by really cool guys about a really cool city called Conway“.  Nope, most of my traffic was coming from searches that my articles may have been related to.  Searches for “Conway Main Street”, “Conway SC Business”, “Downtown Conway, SC”, and other similar search terms were driving all of my traffic.


When I was in 4th grade werewolves were tops.  My friends and I watched the movies, read the books, drew pictures of them in class.  From our lunch table, we’d scan the cafeteria for signs of the curse.   There was a particularly furry custodian that was our prime suspect.  When it came time to do a paper in English class, my topic was werewolves.  I’m sure I got a C or D on it, like every other paper that I ever wrote in school.

I’m also sure that part of the low grade was due to my English teacher’s lack of appreciation for werewolves and little boys who behaved like them in class.  To be fair to my teachers, I wasn’t the best writer either.  In a five page paper I would use the term “werewolves” about twenty-five times.  I would say everything that needed to be said on the first page.  Then I had to figure out how to ramble on for four more pages.  It sounds like a C- method to me….

unless you’re writing for the web.

29 Jul

Advertising Online, The Basics Part 1

Last year I received a call from a Myrtle Beach fiberglass pool installer.  He had been hit especially hard by the recession and was looking for options to attract new business.  At that time he was spending about $350 each month to run two newspaper ads.  He was getting between one to four phone calls from the ad each month.  Those calls rarely amounted to a sale and his budget could not afford to run more ads.  He had heard a lot about the success others were having online and wanted to see if he had any options on such a meager budget.

Our first step was to get a basic website setup and start attracting targeted visitors ASAP.  He cut his print ad back to $250 per month and diverted $100 per month to the web campaign.  We spread the cost of the website over a 10 month period, which cost him $50 per month. The remaining $50 went to purchase ads on Google, targeting people who were searching for pools in South Carolina.  His first $50 in Google produced over 10 requests for information.  After just a three months he decided to cancel the print ads and divert another $100 to Google, and pocket the remaining $150 each month.  After 4 months he was getting about 5-10 requests for price quotes per week and was installing pools from these leads on a schedule that kept him busy.   Ultimately he was able to get 5 times more business and save 30% on his marketing by switching to the Internet.

29 Jul

What would you say if I told you that you could run a $300 ad campaign and get 300 responses?  What if you could test whether an ad campaign would be effective with as little as $50?  I know it sounds too good to be true, but that is exactly the results many people will experience with search engine advertising.  Modern online marketing has turned advertising from a mysterious art in to a scalable calculated science.  It is truly a revolution in the marketing industry.  There’s a good reason why traditional media; such as print, TV, and radio are struggling to maintain market share.  The Internet can prove its effectiveness with a statistical precision never seen before.  Traditional media salesman preach repetition, consistency, and patience.  Internet marketing preaches targeting, testing, and measurement.  I believe most small businesses in Conway, SC would be shocked by the effectiveness of well planned search engine marketing strategy.

What and Where?

There are numerous search engines on the Internet, but we will focus on the big one.  Google, Yahoo, and Bing(Microsoft) account for over 90% of all Internet search queries.  Google owns about 65% of search traffic and that is why we will focus on them for our example.  As for Yahoo 17% and Bing 11%, the basic functioning of their advertising is similar to Google, so the concepts we’ll discuss are somewhat universal.

When you search for a word or phrase in google there are two kinds of results; organic and sponsored.

Organic listings are free, they are the sites that Google determines are the most relevant to your search request.  The sponsored listings are from sites that have paid to be there.  How much it costs depends on the level competition there is for a given search term.  As a general rule, industries with competitive commissioned sales people will cost more.  Real estate and health insurance are examples of industries that have higher than average costs.

If you have the time to learn and are somewhat computer savvy, you can probably set-up and manage your own Google AdWords account.  If you’d rather outsource the management of your online advertising, I’d be happy to assist you with that process.

Stan Stephens

2ndpole.com – Internet Strategists