Days Since Launch
B/A Florist is a small, family-owned business in the heart of East Lansing, Michigan. Founded in 1979 by Barbara Ann, the shop quickly rose to make a name for themselves in the floral industry and has since become a favorite among the locals. When Barbara’s daughter, Laurie Van Ark, took over the shop about three years ago, Laurie knew she needed to find a good web designer to get their current website up to speed with modern times. Laurie found that working with her current webmaster was highly inconvenient because the flower industry is always changing, and having to contact the webmaster for every little change – often not hearing back quickly – was frustrating and counterproductive to the business. As a result, the website was outdated and web orders were few and far between. Search Engine Optimization techniques were virtually non-existent nor did the business have fundamental web exposure from avenues such as Google Business and Microsoft Bing Business accounts. Most importantly, the old site was unsecured and at a high risk for security vulnerabilities.
On a limited budget, Laurie struggled to find a web development company that would take the time to listen to her specific needs and provide the caliber of website she was looking for. Laurie needed a website that had a modern layout, was easy to navigate on all devices, and would bring web orders pouring in. Laurie also needed a website that she and her staff could easily make changes to themselves without having to wait on a third party.
Finding a web development company to do this proved more difficult than expected. Many companies she interviewed told her it couldn’t be done or would be a much higher cost than her budget allowed. As a result, it took Laurie three years to find someone to take on her extensive web development project.
When someone recommended Smart Tech Studios to Mrs. Van Ark, she was skeptical that she could afford their services, or that they would take the time to listen to her, but she scheduled a free consultation anyway. During the meeting with the web development team, they listened carefully to the business goals Mrs. Van Ark laid out and what she visualized for the ideal B/A Florist website. Smart Tech Studios analyzed and assessed the current issues and offered a comprehensive plan to reach Laurie’s goals while remaining under budget. This plan included scrapping the current website in its entirety and building on a sustainable Content Management System. In the end, WordPress became the platform of choice.
Since its launch, the website brings in more business in a day than the old website brought in a week. The boost in business has led Laurie to hire three new staff members to keep up with the orders flowing in. They have had to make changes to the current infrastructure of their business to keep up with the website, including installing high-speed internet, and have asked Smart Tech Studios to facilitate and install a new Point-of-Sale system that will seamlessly integrate with their website. We’ve also developed a training plan that gives our clients the opportunity to make changes and updates to their own website. With this training, Laurie and her staff are able to easily log into the back end of the website to make changes to products, prices, generate reports and more. A large portion of B/A Florist’s revenue comes from weddings and events. Before the launch of their new website, these leads would come via word-of-mouth or walk-ins. Not once in the last 20 years did one wedding or event lead come from their old website. Understanding that weddings and events are a large part of a florist’s business, Smart Tech Studios took great care in developing and optimizing the website for weddings and large events, by doing comprehensive market research and utilizing SEO tools. Since the launch of the B/A Florist website, multiple wedding inquiries have been placed through the website’s Wedding Information page, using a quick and convenient call-to-action form. Now Laurie is working with several brides that found her through the BA Florist website, and is well on her way to planning 6 weddings since the launch of her new website 90 days ago.
In The Client’s Words
I cannot thank you enough for our new website! It is EXACTLY what I was hoping for and so much more. You have propelled B/A Florist into the world of mainstream web business and in such a short time. Our new website is already out performing our old one by a LONG shot. We are getting in the same amount of web business in one day now that we used to get in one week! Not only that, you have found a brand new outlet for the event side of my business. Until now, I have never had events/ weddings come in through our website. That is amazing to me. The best part is that I am SO excited to see what the next couple of months bring, if we have already improved this much in such a short time.
I wish more companies would take Edward’s approach and SHOW their customers how they plan on improving my business rather than all the other companies I interviewed who would tell me to trust them. If anything, he underestimated the growth his improvements would bring to my business. I could not be happier.
Laura Van Ark
B/A Florist – Owner
The Difference a Website Can Make
Out with the old
Original BA Florist website launched in 1995
In with the new
Smart Tech Studios launched new site in September, 2015
Search Engine Optimization Methods
Do you want to track how many visitors you have? Do want to know where they come from and what they do on your site? Google Analytics is the de-facto standard for measuring visitors on your site, and much more. However, setting it up properly and utilizing all the wonderful tracking is where the power of Google Analytics lies. Imagine telling everything about your target audience. Smart Tech Studios analyzed this data weekly to reprise the content we had already written and used it to guide us as we continued to develop the sites Search Engine Optimization path.
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. But in non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS) in existence today. Smart Tech Studios builds their site so intuitive and have developed a training program that we use to personality teach our clients to be able to manage their site once we hand it over without ever the need to write any HTML or CSS code. 23% of all the website in the world use WordPress and 58.5% of all Content Management Systems.
Yoast SEO Plugin
This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere. We took this a step further on the B/A Florist site and also used the Yoast for E-Commerce plugin suite.
The developer’s thoughts..
The success of this site cannot be contributed to any one SEO tactic. It started first and foremost by carefully listening to the customer’s wants and needs. After our initial meeting, we began to analyze her local competition to see what was working for them and most importantly, what their shortcoming were in their marketing approach. The Greater Lansing Area , and the rest of the country for that matter, has an abundance of florists. This gave us the opportunity to use Google WebMaster Tools and study search habits and patterns from B/A Florist’s target audience. We not only built the website from the ground up but also her web footprint. We created Business profiles on all the major search engines, including Google, Microsoft Bing and Yahoo, but we didn’t stop there. Since B/A Florist is so close to Michigan State University we made sure B/A was in all relative directories such as Apple Maps and Google Maps. Go ahead, ask Siri how to navigate to B/A Florist anywhere in the county and she’ll lead you right to the front door. Knowing MSU students were a good portion of B/A’s target audience we wanted to tap into we developed seamless social media integration into the website. This allows the B/A Florist staff to post a blog once and push it out to all their media outlets saving time by eliminating redundant data entry and creating a consistent brand. One of the most important practices we use here at Smart Tech Studios is utilizing every aspect of the tools we implement. This allowed us to notice that 54.6% of her audience are males and the highest age range is 29.83% between the 18-24 followed by 17.96% between 25-34 while only 6.92% are age 65+. However, this doesn’t mean we need to only target a younger generation but we can take extra measure to enhance their exposure to a mature audience.
I would also like to talk about our Google Analytic approach to E-Commerce. WooCommerce, the de-facto plugin used for commerce on the web does a wonderful job of creating an intuitive web shop that anyone with any background can manage. However, we wanted to take this a step further and track a custom conversion funnel for the entire sales process. This way we can understand why someone is not completing the website sale process from start to finish, which in this case is a 7 step process. This way we know where we need to improve the site during the checkout process. This selling process tracking allows us to analyze and generate quick reports on product performance, sales performance, ROI reports on marketing campaigns and, most importantly, their conversion rate. B/A Florist takes great care on being as personable as possible and nurturing relationships with their customers but with these e-commerce analytics we can put a dollar value on each person that visits the site.
The most important technique used to increase B/A Florist SEO was making security the top priority. When you take measures to encrypt your sales process via SSL certificates this not only allows you to provide secure credit card processing directly within your website, but it protects customers information, and the search engines take notice and reward you adequately for these efforts. B/A Florist is the only local florist designer within the Greater Lansing Area that has safe and secure shopping. We take all the recommendations by Google and Microsoft seriously. Shopping on the B/A Florist website is just as safe as shopping on Amazon or moving money on your person bank account’s website.
60 days after its launch, B/A Florist estimated the site was already seeing a 500% increase in traffic. Now that we are 90 days after launch and analyzing the 40% increase in traffic in the past 30 days I say that 500% is a very modest estimate. Stay tuned for a 6 month update on how the site is performing.
It was a pleasure working with Laurie Van Ark and her staff at B/A Florist.
Edward Grubb III Smart Tech Studios Senior Web Developer/SEO Specialist