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.
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.
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.
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.
The success Holts' Logs website enjoys is down to the business belief and knowledge Phil posesses but mostly down to the trust Phil and Kev have placed in Sub@omic. Given the bad experience that the pair endured through an operation based in a remote call centre, it might be understandable if they scaled their ambitions back. However, Phil & Kev Holt learned from the experience and realised that the only way to get a quality website was to invest and to commit to the production of a business asset that matched the high quality of the plant, tools and assets which they use throughout their business.
Having met Sub@omic, Phil and Kev quickly realised that have a one page order website wouldn't be enough, they needed to invest the time in the creation of quality website content in order to be able to generate sufficient energy to secure the #1 Google rank from which online orders would flow.
The superabundance of strength posessed by Holts' Logs website comes from two sources: 1) Phil & Kev's business experience & committment and 2) the carefully structured and insightful questions Steve Whiting posed. Steve took the time to get to understand what made the business tick, developed a content strategy and then set about generating website content by posing questions which Phil & Kev answered. These conversations were recorded, transcribed and the resulting text generated the 50 page website you may see today. (Click the hyperlink above this panel.)