The Perks Of Using Cheap Online Providers
As small business owners, we are always looking to save costs where we can. It’s a good habit to review your expenditure, especially on your direct debit subscriptions and those goods or services you use all the time.
Just before Christmas last year, we managed to cut our phone bill in half just because we happened to stumble across an exclusive special online. That means half the phone bill for the next two years and a little bit of a pat on the back for securing such a bargain.
A problem can arise when we start trying to save on cost where a lower fee can actually mean a lower quality of service. While you might have saved yourself a few dollars initially, the long-term cost may well outweigh those.
One of the most frequent times we come across this issue is when we see businesses and companies wanting to refresh or rebrand themselves. That is until you start to quantify the actual costs involved and for many, the idea soon goes out the window. Rebranding an established business is not a simple task and if you want to do it right, you’ll need to invest in and commit to the process. Just a quick product plug here, our Business Startup Package is perfect for those looking to rebrand professionally, but that’s not why we’re here today.
Today I want to touch on a real-life example of what can happen when high rebranding costs, meet the desire to save.
Using online juggernauts
I’m part of a lot of Facebook™ groups where small business owners mingle. I often see recommendation requests for logo designers, printers and other service providers that support your marketing initiatives.
More often than not you’ll see at least some small business owners recommending online juggernauts where you can get your printing done by a $2billion turnover company or have your logo designed by some underpaid freelance designer in India, Pakistan or the Philippines.
The problem, particularly with the latter, arises when you need additional help or a bit of aftercare. If you’re paying somebody to create a logo (a big part of your brand) for you, then at the very least you should be delivered a company style guide that includes the fonts and the colour codes that were used to create it. You absolutely must also get a vector file of your logo because a .jpeg or .png file might be great for you to use on your Facebook™ page but it is utterly useless when it comes to printing anything larger than a business card.
As far as we’re concerned at 3am Ideas, if you don’t have a vector file of your logo, you don’t really have a logo.
We recently designed a website for a local Perth small business that had gotten their logo done online. For brand consistency, we often like to use at least one font that was used within your branding or logo and use it as part of your website. It makes it look neat, consistent and just nice. The problem here was, the client wasn’t provided with a style guide, nor any information on what fonts were used. The designer had gone MIA after delivery of the logo, so while they did have a vector file they had no way of ever fully knowing what their branding was made up of. It’s impossible for them to ever fully understand their own brand. Their business is booming and as they continue to grow they’ll have virtually no other option than to pay somebody to redesign the logo and to deliver a complete branding package.
Already we can see that a saving of a few hundred dollars has chipped away at the integrity and consistency of a brand.
But it get’s worse……so much worse.
Bad SEO Can Result In Real Damage To Your Business
As we all know, you can’t please every client and as I’ve said above, review your expenses regularly. In the case that we’re talking about today, a client’s website needed a comprehensive overhaul and serious addition to their content. Being an established business, additional costs came into the equation that wasn’t expected by the client.
So they did what anybody would have done, they got a second opinion. As it turns out this second opinion was a freelancer operating under a @hotmail.com address, probably provided a cheaper rate than we ever could have, likely played into a bit of the client’s confirmation bias and so the job went to the other provider. No big deal.
To set the stage, this client had a fully operational website, Google Ads™ and Facebook™ Ads running and without a word of communication, the client decided to have their site redone and immediately taken live by this freelancer. Great start!
When the entire site structure was changed, the ads came to a grinding halt, the leads stopped flowing and the client got upset at us that the ads were “no longer working”.
Organic search engine traffic and Google rankings disappeared immediately as the originally ranked pages no longer existed. Overall you could call that a disaster.
The Damage Analysed – Search Engine Optimisation
Social media marketers and SEO’s alike would be pulling out their hair at this point.
If you’re not familiar with the technicalities of either field, we’re here to analyse and explain this now.
Let’s start with the damage done to the client’s search engine optimisation and subsequently the Google ranking.
When Google ranks your website, it actually ranks each page individually. as the search engine would much rather send traffic to “www.yourwebsite.com.au/a-service” than to just “www.yourwebsite.com.au”. This is because the search engine loves specificity. Sending a customer to a service or product page that matches the visitor’s search query, is a much more specific destination than just a generic homepage that could be covering a whole range of other services as well.
One of the surefire ways we rank web pages higher is to create credible backlinks from other websites back to a particular page on the client site. These share link authority and website credibility back to your pages. If you have a web page with 100 links pointing to it, Google would deem that a far more credible page than if there were no links pointing to it. As such, Google will most likely rank the 100 backlink site higher than the one without. Imagine you’re writing an article on small business and somebody like Forbes links to you. That’s hot stuff!
Unfortunately, you can cause yourself real damage when you change about your website and these precious backlinks now point to pages that no longer exist. You’ve virtually just trashed all the SEO work and your Google ranking for that particular page. There are things we can do as SEOs to ensure you don’t lose your SERP ranking but you need to know what you’re doing and it needs to be done at the time of redevelopment.
The Damage Analysed – Advertising
If you’ve got advertising campaigns set up and running, it’s probably a clever idea to temporarily pause these if you’re changing your entire website and in particular the page that the ads are pointing to.
Facebook™ and Google™ will continue to run your adverts, whether your landing page is working or not. Luckily, Google™ does turn them off after a while but the social media platform couldn’t care less. Your money will continue to be spent.
If you’ve got ads set up for $50/day, you’ll continue to be charged that amount until you do something about it. Have a chat to your website developer or digital marketing agency before you make big changes like that. As digital marketers, it is our job to help you grow your business. If gross errors like this occur, it stuffs up our work as well. We need to know.
In our scenario, the client’s advertising was running for two full days before we were informed that our ads “weren’t working anymore”. Naturally, we stopped them at this point but the budget had already been spent for the last two days, and any clicks they attracted ended up on a dead page, so those people weren’t going to convert.
Unfortunately, changing your landing page with Facebook’s™ advertising platform also causes the adverts to go back into something we know as the “learning stage”, where your ads are not optimised and Facebook needs to rediscover the audience that is most likely to net you profitable results. This learning process can take days to complete, all the while you’re driving up your cost per acquired lead.
The Damage Analysed – Website Traffic
The grand finale of this entire debacle was ultimately the cost to the client. With these changes both the website traffic and subsequent leads that the client was generating, were lost instantly.
Sure, they may have saved themselves a thousand or so dollars in website redevelopment costs but with the advertising coming to a halt, search engine rankings completely tanked, and with all backlinks now broken you can imagine what the website traffic did. Would it not have been better to spend that extra money and still have your flow of new customers coming in? More customers tend to fix most problems for business owners.
To make it really clear though below is a graph of what happened when this cheap provider took over and how it impacted the client. No need to point to the day it happened.
The most unfortunate thing is that there has been no recovery to this website’s traffic since. The client might have a brand new website, but nobody is going to it.
We informed the client this would happen, what they needed to get their website developer to do to ensure this was avoided but because we were the bearer of bad news, were put to blame and it seems we have now lost the client forever.
Now that we’ve established that there is definitely a wrong way of going about a website redesign or rebrand, it would be negligent of us not to share with you the tips and tricks to ensure your website rebranding doesn’t damage your SEO.
There are two magic things that needed to be implemented to fix this entire debacle.
Firstly, the magic of communication. If there had been more transparency in the process, even with the other provider doing the site, we could have helped the client to make sure this didn’t happen. Sure, we would have loved to have done the site, but we love it more for our clients to succeed and grow. Advertising campaigns could have been paused prior to the redesign, set up for the new site, and immediately launched again with the correct settings.
Secondly, and more technical, are what we call 301 redirects. These are permanent instructions to tell web browsers and search engines alike that PAGE XY is now actually called PAGE YX and can be found over here.
This allows us to transfer any backlinks, Google ranking and SEO juice over to your new pages, essentially saving any SEO work you have ever done. This would also temporarily fix the broken pages when it came to the advertising as visitors would automatically be redirected to the working page.
If you’re looking at rebranding your small business, or simply want to talk to somebody about your small business marketing, simply get in touch. It hurts us when we see things going so wrong, and we’d love to help to avoid this for other business owners in the future.
If there’s anything that we covered today that’s a bit confusing to you, or you want just a little bit more insight, hit us up on our social media channels, PM us, DM us, tag us, message us, whatever your thing is, we’re there.
You can also always book in a free initial consultation with us to give you a bit of guidance and a second pair of eyes on your business marketing.
Also, check out our small business marketing page for more useful blogs and services we thought might be of interest.
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About 3am Ideas
We are Australia’s digital marketing agency for small businesses and startups. We provide an ROI driven service to our clients. We are especially dedicated to our Business Startup, Social Media Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation packages.
We always aim to work intimately with our clients because collaboration guarantees best results. From startups with big ideas or established small & medium sized businesses wanting to take the next step. Gain control over your online presence.