I've been in the "website game" since about 1995, with my first website on my Compuserve webspace. My second website is still floating around the internet, housed on AOL's servers. I recall switching between NCSA Mosaic and NetManage's Chameleon. Each year, the web expanded, and I endeavored to keep up. Pre-Google, the game in town was Yahoo, Altavista, and the like. Staying abreast of everything took a great deal of effort, but being online, bleeding edge, has been profitable for me as a photographer. A few years ago, I was finally able to place my trust in someone to do re-do my entire site, with a critical concern being to remain in my current positions for the various search terms that were important to me. At the time, there were no effective turnkey solutions, and moreover, because of the 100+ pages of pricing and other information, only a custom solution would work for me.
Below are links to several really amazing studies and other click-able insights.
Some of these purveyors have built something, and they're being used, and they're not SEO optimized, nor really easy to use. It's like the programmer built it, sold it, and continues to sell it, without significant interest in additional revisions, with the "if it ain't broke, don't revise it..." mentality.
Yet one service - liveBooks, continues a commitment to excellence, and has now come on board as an advertiser here. I've meet with these folks over the past year on a variety of issues. At first, I was skeptical, for SEO reasons. They established, and have revised, their HTML/SEO-friendly shadow pages. They're made much of their client commitment doing everything they can to make it easy for their customers' sites to be found.
Rob Haggert, known better to most as A Photo Editor, wrote:
Livebooks: I’ve said it before, “I love livebooks.” They revolutionized the online portfolio. Big, vibrant photos and not much else. I’m not shillin’ for them at all and I can honestly say photographers have risen a notch in my book by switching to their product. Contributor Terence Patrick coined it “the black leather portfolio book of the web.” That’s how I feel about it as well. If you can’t beat it, don’t bother.Yup, and I still have some of those black leather portfolios in my office from my analog days.
Last November, during a trip to San Francisco, I stopped in to liveBooks' offices, met their team of people - your potential team of people - and talked about all things web. From SEO, to functionality, update-ability, and so forth, we covered everything.
Think that liveBooks sites can't rank on SEO? Think again. I did a little research about how well they are doing on that front. Check the following sites where liveBooks sites are ranking extremely well (click the ranking link to see the position for yourself) :
One very valuable insight is this article, from awhile ago, about search position versus click-throughs, and just how where you fall is critical. They also did an "EyeTracker study" which is absolutely worth reading, and shows just how much attention there is on the first page. It's extremely insightful.
The one - and there's only one, really - concern I hear from people who've done some of their research into website options and liveBooks - and that is one of cost. It's just over $3k for their full package. Once those people have actually completed their research, they realize that it's atleast that much for a well designed site, if not more. Further, the update-ability of their new custom site isn't easy - certainly not as easy as liveBooks. And, there's no team of people that remains, on the backend, looking for ways to improve a product you've already purchased. Many site designers have moved on to their next project, and requests for updates/fixes take a back seat.
So, please join me in welcoming liveBooks as an advertiser here.
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