At Home Restoration: a very cool WordPress site for a very hip guy. And a monster conversion rate to boot.

wordpress websites

At Home Restoration owner and Expert Finisher Jon Dominguez has a unique passion for refinishing and restoring antiques, furniture, interior wood trim, and cabinetry. But he is unlike most tradesman you might bring into your home. Jon is an artist in the true sense of the word. His mission is to create beauty where none exists. His medium just happens to be wood. His results are impressive, his pricing is reasonable. He loves his work so much, he might even do it for free.

Free, really? As Seth Godin puts it,

“Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.”

And that’s precisely what Jon brings to the table. Like me, he consistently over delivers when it comes to quality, whether the client appreciates it or not. That’s why it was a rare pleasure to create a branded wordpress website for this interesting character. Jon is also a very talented musician and songwriter, BTW. Fun to be around, no doubt.

About the site, it converts at a very impressive rate, probably higher than 10%. Just a guess. But the site competes very well organically for terms like ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis,’ ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis mn,’ ‘wood refinishing minneapolis,’ and many other localized terms that put his site #1 on Google.

Unimax LineOne: a focused new direction using WordPress as a micro-site.

telecom wordpress website

I’ve had a long-standing relationship with the good folks at Unimax going back at least five years. The telecommunications software marketer has traditionally sold it’s flagship product, 2nd Nature, to enterprise companies with thousands of employees. Suffice to say, 2nd Nature is a big ticket item, with a long sales cycle.

Instead of depending on sales for the flagship product, Unimax tried a different approach. They created products designed products with specific features aimed at solving specific problems, at a much more attractive pricepoint. LIneOne is a such a product. To take LineOne to market, Unimax needed a simple solution for both branding and marketing. And WordPress was the solution.

Instead of creating complete new websites to promote the new product, we created a simple microsite off the main domain, http://unimax.com/lineone/. This way, they could have a complete site, while continuing to build on the primary domain. For lead generation purposes, they use the site primarily as a landing page for email marketing, webinars, and other communications done with partners. Seems to be gaining traction, as I see a steady stream of leads on a daily basis.

Facebook firestorm creates instant traffic for new Eagan, MN yogo studio.

In this day and age, builders of WordPress Websites like us are often tasked with creating Facebook Fan Pages. It’s just part of the deal. But being a fan page admin, it can be kind of be a pain when your page attracts new followers like the folks at Sparrow Studios in Eagan, MN.

We built this sleek, stylish WordPress website for owners Erin Zosel (2nd cousin) and Brigitta Sharpe back in Early August with the goal of opening the Yoga and Fitness studio in the south suburbs. With the growth of Yoga and fitness, and what promises to be a growing economy (knock wood), Sparrow Studios seems poised for success. With Both Erin and Brig having huge Facebook Friend lists, acquiring 400 fans to their page was a slam dunk, and and should bode well for their new business. So when the site and fan page launched, I began receiving dozens of notifications daily of folks liking the page, and showing enthusiasm for the new fitness venture. Which was awesome, BTW, but a little surprising.

A great lesson for anyone starting a business these days: build a following withing your closest group of friends, who’ll gladly spread the word for you.

Daily Mortgage Report: automated blogging makes for awesome lead generation.

How YouthHockeyHub.com attracted over 12,000 visitors in its first 30 days.

search engine traffic success

In late October, it was nothing more than a pipedream. Today, YouthHockeyHub.com is a thriving new blog/website claiming over 12,000 engaged visitors during its first month of operation.

When someone starts a new blog or website, the goal is usually to generate a high volume of engaged visitors. So, if one generated over 12,000 in the first 30 days, it’s safe to say that would qualify as a rocking success. That’s precisely what has happened with YouthHockeyHub.com.

And it didn’t happen by accident.

So what is YouthHockeyHub, and why the sudden success? The site is a joint-venture between ZoselCo (Scott Zosel) and Multiply Communications (Tony Zosel, aka Tony Scott). Yes, my brother and I, both being youth sports enthusiasts, took a hard look at the marketplace for youth sports and saw some exciting opportunities looming. Our idea was to create a blog-style website covering Minnesota youth hockey, complete with feature stories and editorials. The primary drawing card would be weekly team rankings for both boys and girls hockey ages 9-14. Our long-term goal is to monetize the site via affiliate programs and advertising revenue.

However, you can’t just throw the site up and expect over 12,000 to beat a path to your door. If you want to generate big traffic numbers right out of the gate, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

In a nutshell, here is our formula for success:

  1. Find a large under-served market —  After exploring the marketplace for youth hockey, we saw that mnhockeyhub.com claimed some 70,000 visitors at its peak in March last year (see graphic below). This level of traffic volume will support several players. We wanted to be one of them.
  2. Find a marked loaded with engaged customers — Simply put, youth hockey parents and coaches are insanely engaged, and will spend big bucks at the drop of a hat (sticks, skates, ice time et al). If your ultimate goal is monetization, your market must have this essential characteristic.
  3. Connect with key influencers one-by-one — One of the chief reasons to offer weekly rankings was to attract visitors interested in seeing how their kids’ teams were doing. However, to offer rankings, we needed coaches and parents who would login to the site and rank teams in their division. Recruiting them meant finding them through their local hockey association website, individually emailing each one of them, and inviting them to become a ranker. To get the job done, we simply paid high school kids to plow through this tedious task. Once we had over 100 rankers in the fold, things became viral, as they invited many others and traffic really grew. One-on-one emails were critical; email blasting would have been futile.
  4. Work the forums — Like I said, youth hockey followers are insanely engaged. There are a couple key youth hockey forums where hundreds of key influencers congregate daily to discuss a variety of topics, including team rankings. Over half our traffic comes from one forum, and will likely continue if we participate. We also have a forum on our site where participation is growing daily.
  5. Contacting key influencers = exponential visits — Because we already have a personal dialogue with parents and coaches, it’s easy to create stories about the teams they’re connected with. And whenever we do this, traffic usually comes back tenfold. Let’s say we run a story on a Squirt A tournament preview, we’ll send a email notice alerting this particular group of 12-15 parents. This generates 300-400 visits.

 

 

CIMA Entertainment: awesome referral from Shi-Shu Style.

Big thanks to entrepreneur Tamre Sutphen, owner of  baby blanket maven Shi-Shu Style. She hooked us up with her buddy Ric Flores from Cima Entertainment Marketing who specializes in the sales and development of strategic marketing, sponsorship, and advertising opportunities. They are experts in designing, packaging, and selling unique advertising and promotional opportunities.

Built a very simple and straight-forward wordpress site that tells their story and hosts all of their case studies. Fun to work with.

St. Luke’s of the Mountains: stylish wordpress site on a shoestring budget.

It’s true. With awesome template options available like those offered by Studiopress, it’s really quite simple to offer an organization like St. Lukes, an elegantly presented website with a ton of very useful functionality. Clearly, the day has come when internet design is more about aesthetic challenges than those that are technical in nature.

St. Lukes, a small California Episcopal Church, no has a great website they can use to easily communicate with members, connect with Facebook and Twitter, and update with ease. The site can grow as the community does, and if they get tired of its look, well they can hire us, or anyone for that matter, to redesign it.

You don't mess with the Chief Alchemist.

The world of organizational development is serious business. As a Chief Alchemist, Laura Delavie works with America’s corporate leaders and teams to help them improve their ability to deliver sustainable growth. No small feat. By moving people to think and act differently, she helps her clients develop strategies, lead change, improve communication, increase organizational effectiveness and drive innovative efforts forward.

And that’s just before 9 am.

Zosel&Co helped Ms. Delavie create her first wordpress site so she can spread the word about her organizational leadership consulting organization. Playing the on “alchemy” theme that reflects change and transformation, the ALCEMIS goal is to help leaders build on the values of authenticity, leadership, creativity, risk-taking, value and innovation. But sometimes this serious endeavor means fun and games, like LEGO® Serious Play™. Check our her site for more information.

Attorney Donna Roback: a credibility stake in the ground.

Veteran Attorney Donna Roback was recently asked by a colleague for the address of her website so he could get a bit more information on her background, credentials, etc. When the colleague learned that Ms. Roback did not have a website in this day and age, he issued the challenge…’you need to get a website up right away. Astonished and possibly even a bit embarrassed, Ms. Roback turned to Zosel&Co for help. We quickly got her up and running with an elegantly branded WordPress website that she can manage herself, all in about three weeks. Ms. Roback is now the proud owner of a site that tells her story with technological flair.

TJ Conley: a WordPress natural.

tj conley employment blog website

As simple as we think WordPress is, often times it takes a bit of training for some folks to really understand how to use this intuitive blogging and content management system. Not so for Employment Attorney TJ Conley. We designed and developed this simple WordPress website in less than a week, and had him up and blogging in record time.