The client, a financial advisor, had a contract with a company that provides web sites for financial planners. He’d signed up for the base package which included web site hosting, email accounts, stock quotes, financial calculators, seven pages, and a document repository page for $800 a year.
I performed an evaluation of this service for the client and found that the two year old web site was only receiving about two visitors a day. This was partly due to the lack of optimization of the pages, but also to the limitations in the web site template. The content rich site had the bulk of the content stored in PDF files instead of HTML web content. The content of the PDF files, informational articles written by the client, could not be indexed by search engines. The template also separated the home page into different blocks which made it cluttered and unreadable.
In addition, the client had signed up for a local search engine optimization package from the same vendor at $600 per year, starting about 7 months prior to my evaluation. This service was supposed to optimize local search from Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Yet, the web site visits remained static during the period at about 2 visitors a day. This package also required that the hosting company be the sole on-line advertiser for the client in the United States.
So, the client’s total annual cost for the web site rose to $1,400 a year.
Since my client’s goals were to increase traffic and search engine rankings, my recommendations were to move away from the current provider when the contract ends to a new hosting provider for about $300 a year. Of course, he’d have to create a new web site, too. Due to the large volume of informational articles on the web site, I recommended building the new site using the open source WordPress content management system for an estimated $2,000-$3,000.
The new site would be designed with search engine optimization in mind and allow the client to have as many static pages as he wants as well as the ability to add informational articles as blog posts. Because WordPress uses blog technology, all content is accessible via RSS feeds and is indexed by search engines. It is also easy for web site owners to add or modify content by themselves.
So, the bottom line is $1,100 annual savings for the client. With those savings the recommended new web site project will pay for itself in 2-3 years.
Is it time to evaluate your web site, your on-line advertising costs, and your hosting agreements? I suggest you do this periodically to see if you can improve your web site, increase your return on investment, and save money at the same time.