Thursday 13 Sep 2007
Greetings from inside the SEOigloo!
This week, we launched a website we’d design for a local Bay Area client – Ledson Homes. It’s just a simple little site, with the potential to do some excellent local growing over time. Ledson Homes is an amazing business. Rather than putting up cookie cutter subdivisions of endless, matching brown and grey houses (the bane of my neck of the woods), owner Steve Ledson designs and develops small neighborhoods of houses as they might have been built a hundred years ago. Each house is unique, with stunning attention paid to fine craftsmanship. You’d think you were looking at a Queen Anne Victorian when you step inside a Ledson-built home.
This company certainly qualifies as a local business, providing local housing. Their site can evolve from a brochure-like informational property into a valuable resource for local information, real estate information, tourism, local history, architectural tips, historical buildings. They can register with Yahoo and Google’s local business centers, other local directories and niche sites…really, there are almost limitless possibilities.
I was thinking today about how much I enjoy the opportunity of developing websites and doing SEO for local businesses. There is an odd paradox in the IT world I puzzle over from time to time. I’m only 34 years old, but in my lifetime, I watched the older generation of skilled American IT workers lose their jobs and homes when the companies they had loyally served downsized and outsourced to foreign countries. This trend, and the advent of the Internet, has created a new spirit of entrepreneurship in the IT community. We don’t want to work for 10, 20, 30 years for a harried boss who doesn’t respect us and is going to fire us when he’s instructed to by his overlords. We don’t want to be sent upon our merry way without having accrued the old-fashioned perks of seniority, a retirement package or any of the goods of respect that used to be held out as incentives to loyal workers. So many of us have gone into business for ourselves, and have discovered that even the grind of 16 hour days and no set ‘weekends’ beats the heck out of office labor that may terminate at any moment.
Yet, for the most part, the structure of working for someone else’s economy remains with us. Most of our valued clients are out of state – not local. Though the money we earn from this does contribute to the local economy when we go food shopping or buy clothing at a neighborhood store, the end product of what we’ve developed for the client generally goes to contribute to the national or global Internet economy – not the local one. This is what makes it awfully nice when we take on Bay Area clients who are offering local goods or services. A home purchased from a company like Ledson Homes means that the new homeowner will not only be supporting a local developer, and all of his craftsmen, contractors and office workers, but also that the homeowner will be working, living and shopping here in the SF Bay Area.
The Internet has created strange new distances and dealings, both between human beings and in the business world. Once upon a time, I’d grow apples and give them to you in return for you shoeing my horse which I bought down the road from a farmer who also helped me plant my apple orchard. Now, an inventor in Vermont pays me, a California web designer, to build his site so that he can sell his weather monitoring systems to people in Spain. The circle has gotten so wide and…virtual. But when I design a website for a gourmet olive grower in Marin, California so that he can provide relishes to local restaurants where local people go to dinner, I get a unique sense of satisfaction from the contract.
Of course, I’ll be telling him to get Yelp reviews and to get into Google maps, and make every possible use he can of the national and global Internet, but in the midst of all these big dealings, both I and the client can enjoy a special feeling of hometown pride, knowing we are doing something that will be of service to our neighbors.