Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.
We wanted to assess what the requirements for driving traffic to the site would be and do whatever needed to be done for this purpose. I initially contacted WebpageFX for SEO [search engine optimization] management. One of the first things that impressed me about their company was the degree of effort put into analyzing our website as well as those of our competitors, and figuring out what our needs would be. While SEO management would be something to take into account in the end, they thought that, if I invested in it right now, I would be disappointed. Given the nature of my business, they thought that I would not see a serious return on investment for at least 18 months. I was impressed by their willingness to steer me away from what would have been a ticket item.
They offered us numerous other options. Being a small company, out budget is limited, a fact of which WebpageFX was fully aware. I could have hired them to make changes for us to the website but, not only was that not the best direction for us financially but, given the nature of our business – namely writing people's web copy – we tend to be fastidious about our language. It was preferable for WebpageFX to let us know what we needed and let us write the material. They did write our ads for us. We started out with a Google AdWords campaign, and their handling of it was phenomenal. We did run into a problem in the sense that Google AdWords was blocking us. WebpageFX pursued it and found that Google was concerned about us being a paper mill. Once the site was reviewed by a human being, they discovered that we placed disclaimers, explicitly stating that we didn't engage in such activities. When it comes to academic work, we offer editing and coaching, but nothing that would be considered academically unethical. WebpageFX rolled with the punches when Google threw us for a loop.
We thought that we were moving forward, but still found ourselves up against the wall. Google stated that they were not advertising any sites offering academic editing. I was crestfallen, not knowing what we were going to do. While WebpageFX continue to pursue the problem until this day, they led us in a couple of different directions. They started a Bing pay-per-click campaign that didn't produce the kind of results I was hoping for, but they also created a targeted Facebook campaign that now seems to be the best direction.
In the middle of this, we also talked about the fact that, because we have a young website, we have a concern about its domain credibility. In order to boost that score, we're now in the process of creating a link-building campaign. WebpageFX has a couple of different ways of approaching this in their plan, but they were also willing to create a custom-designed link building campaign just for us. We haven't engaged in this, but it's something that enters into our discussions, and I envision it happening within the next couple of months [summer of 2016].
How did you come to work with WebpageFX?
The people on our team write for a couple of companies that offer SEO management. I originally thought that we'd be using one of those, but we also asked for some recommendations and made online searches, looking at reviews. WebpageFX kept coming up at the top of different lists, so much so that I became concerned that they wouldn't take us on, given our size. Fortunately, that wasn't the case.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
We paid an initial $1,000 setup fee, which they more than earned. The amount of background work and competitive analysis were impressive.
Initially, they wanted us to sign a 12-month contract by which we would pay them a retainer for our pay-per-click campaign of $325 per month, on top of our ad spend. This was a new step for us, and I was uncomfortable with making a 12-month commitment, but they had no problem in turning it into a six-month contract. Our ad spend is $1,000 per month on pay-per-click campaigns.
What is the status of this engagement?
We haven't been working with WebpageFX for a long time. I reached out to their company in late January 2016. They did an analysis of our site, and we began building our campaign at the middle of February. The initial plan was to launch the campaign at the beginning of March. We were held back by a couple of issues that we were trying to tweak. The campaign has only been live for less than a month so far.