We built this company on SEO

Over the past 10 years the steps to business success has completely changed. A business can now acquire new leads and clients without even leaving their house, at least that’s what I did.

When I started my freelancing career I never really had an idea on how to run a business, I never really approached thinkLuke.com as a business at the start. Sure I registered an ABN and registered a domain name, but thats not very official – anyone can do that. I never really thought about a marketing plan, I never really understood why companies even needed to market offline – that stems from my jaded view on commercialism.

All I did was set out to rank well in a google search for 1 keyword – “website design sunshine coast”, and that was all I needed.

How my business succeeded with 1 marketing strategy – SEO

Yep, I really did build this company on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), much like Jefferson Airplane built a city on rock and roll.

Let’s be clear, I did think about how to get new clients but my thought lasted around 3secs during a web code binge developing my first thinkLuke website when I started freelancing on the Sunshine Coast. I knew I wanted to be on the first page of google for “website design Sunshine Coast“, not “web design Sunshine Coast”, it had to be “website” as according to my research in 2009 that keyword phrase had the same search traffic with slightly less competition – meaning it’ll be easier to rank for.

My messy plan for freelance success

My steps were as follows:

  1. Work for an agency to save money and learn processes
  2. Acquire client/s while working full time
  3. Quit my web agency job
  4. Start freelancing
  5. Get more clients &
  6. See where it takes me

After University I worked for a web company and learnt a lot about processes, SEO and planning. During my time here I actively sort out other jobs whether they were freelance or part time I applied, if I was successful I’d asked if the job could be preformed from home. Luckily I landed a continuous job with almost guaranteed 20hr/week of design work. The Stage was set.

I saved $4000 working for an agency on a yearly salary of $40,000 over 6 months (easy!) and the most money I had ever had in my life.

I quit my agency job and launched my freelance website within 2 weeks of non-stop designing and coding, along with my ‘ad hok’ SEO implementation which I learnt mostly online and while working for another website design agency on the Sunshine Coast. In fact if it wasn’t for the said company my SEO efforts may have been useless, so thank you. You can achieve a lot when you are really determined and I was.

My SEO strategy for “website design Sunshine Coast”

Simple, I created several pages making sure the URL, Meta Description, Title, H1’s etc all had my keyword phrase. From here I set about creating an online presence for my website, which involved creating a bunch of social media profiles and the usual stuff any web guy would suggest.

Then I built my back links, mainly from Web Design CSS Galleries – you can pay an Indian employee twenty bucks and they’ll submit your website link, along with a screen shot and description to over 50 website’s. These websites are basically showcases of website design, like a gallery for other designer’s to get inspiration. I managed to get a heap of back links.

Within 2 weeks my website on the first page of google for “website design sunshine coast” – I was pumped. And then the inquiries slowly started to trickle into my inbox.

thinkLuke website design Business Built on SEO

The results of my SEO efforts

As you can see the traffic spike to almost 2000 visitors in 1 day, which was all un-targeted traffic from the back link strategy. While this generated absolutely no leads it did boost my Domain Authority giving thinkluke.com a pagerank 3 within a few months – which helped with my website ranking for other keywords and boosting my ranking for “website design sunshine coast”.

Some of my biggest clients have come from that keyword alone, I know for a fact when a company is looking to hire a web design company they’ll google “web(site) design Sunshine Coast” and open the first 6-8 links and send out their brief for tender.

SEO is the single most important aspect of my thinkLuke website business, without it I’d be out of business, that’s why it is so important to stay on top, well at least until recently.

Lately my strategy has changed as I have less need for new clients, as I’m working for several clients on an ongoing basis, however I always welcome new projects. I’m also juggling several other online projects that require a great deal of time.

Along the way I acquired quite a few jobs from word of mouth – which in a services industry as a sole trader is the 2nd most important aspect to actually running a successful business.

Over the 5 or so years of running thinkLuke I’ve consistently turned over profit, generally double the income of a med-level website designer at an agency on the Sunshine Coast while I used to charge almost half the price of other companies. The main thing for me was, I always had full control of the projects. That is why I started freelancing in the first place, so I could determine everything – to create better work.

One Comment

  • Reply
    Samara Kerr
    June 19, 2014

    Luke I really like this post about using SEO as a freelancer! I’m on the Sunshine Coast too, it’d be great to catch up sometime!

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