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Growing a tradional business and reaching the very top of Google search engine rankings.

Harpenden Website Design - Phil Holt and Kev Holt - Holts Logs

Logging-on For New Business

The website for Harpenden timber and forestry business, Phil Holt & Son, is one of our most prized websites; this case study is a fine example of what can happen when we're given the free scope to deliver a set of real business objectives.

In early Spring 2012, Kev Holt (Phil's son) called Sub@omic from the middle of a field somewhere in the heart of Devon. Kev's patience had finally left him after being stretched to its limits by BT's web design call centre. Kev felt he could no longer develop and launch the website he needed based upon phone calls to an offshore facility; he needed someone local to talk to, face-to-face.

So, in the middle of a ploughed field with a shaky mobile signal, Kev Googled web design harpenden clicked though-to our website and was so impressed with how quick to load the website was that he called us straight away having just looked at one page. We arranged a meeting for when Kev returned from Devon and was back at Holts' timber yard in Harpenden.

Phil Holt & Son's business is a traditional timber merchant and, back in 2012, delivered firewood throughout the Winter months to homes and businesses across Harpenden and St Albans. The business plan was to use the website to find enough new business online to fill-in some delivery gaps and keep one member of staff focused upon the log delivery business.

Successful business growth

Little did Phil, Kev or, for that matter, Sub@omic realise that this website would successfully grow their business to the point that the only way to manage demand would be: to change their delivery schedule; to re-invest in new logging plant; to increase price; to buy new delivery vehicles and to innovate a new range of firewood products.

What began as a plan to have a one page website that was able to process orders for firewood log deliveries soon evolved as the objectives of the website became clear. Phil has been in the firewood business all his life and knew that things were changing. Phil understood that, although his present Customers would be content to continue ordering logs by phone and email, his new business would be found online and painted a picture that his new Customers would be placing orders for logs on their mobiles, returning from work on the train.

SEO management strategy

What quickly became apparent from this considered and vivid picture was that the website needed more content than just the initial page and so Sub@omic proposed an SEO strategy for securing #1 Google visibility. Today, the website's organic search visibility is capable of a 20% clickthrough rate from Google and SEO accounts for 85% of the website traffic source of which, three-quarters are new visitors. The website has secured for itself what's referred to in The Art of Search® as a superabundance of strength and the Harpenden log business holds an average of 267 #1 ranks on Google's search engine results pages across the 469 search terms tracked.

I bet we're the only Customer of yours who hates their website being so good; orders are flying in and we're flat out already!Phil Holt - 26th September 2016

As significant as the contribution of SEO is, that's not the end of the story. As the online business has grown, so too has Phil's confidence in the ability of the website to do even more. One of the compelling business cases is the reduction in phone calls the business now has to field; when Customers from Harpenden and St Albans used to telephone their orders through, How big is a load of logs? was a continually recurring question and one that took time to explain. However, through the simple addition of a photo on the website that shows Holts' Land Rovers hauling the 3 different sizes of log deliveries, these types of calls have all but stopped.

Maintaining a superabundance of strength

Never one to rest on his laurels, Phil Holt continues to drive the website ahead and in 2016 commissioned video shot from a drone to offer his Customers new and old more information about the traditional methods of firewood production which the Harpenden timber yard employs in the production of quality logs.

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Sub@omic is an independent web consultancy developing cognitive designer websites, based in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK