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Recently I ran a little competition for a small business to win an SEO makeover.

The winner was Paper Memories. The site, managed in the UK by Sarah Morgan, sells handcrafted guest books and photo albums but is currently struggling to make its mark in the natural listings.

First impressions

After choosing Paper Memories as a winner I took a good look at the site. It was a bit, well, meh.


Current Paper Memories site

Paper Memories uses the Moonfruit platform and takes advantage of their templated, easy-to-set-up website tool. The basic package is free but you can upgrade to (and pay for) more bells and whistles.

While freebie sites like this are great when you’re starting out, they are limiting. The more templated the features, the harder it can be to fiddle, tweak and make the site your own.

A big leap of faith

So I’ve suggested to Sarah that, rather than make over the site, we trash it completely and start again!

This might sound drastic but think of it in building terms; if you have a crappy little fibro shack with bad foundations, termites, a leaking roof and poor electrics, you’re probably better off knocking it down and building a brand-new house.

Obviously, building a new site is more costly than tweaking the old one, but I’m not going to charge Sarah a penny, as I just want to create an awesome site for her. The karma Gods will reward me!

Both Sarah and I are aiming to build a site that is:

  • More professional, prettier and enticing
  • Less reliant on Adobe® Flash®
  • Easier to buy from – with some built-in ecommerce functionality

And, of course, easier to find in the natural search listings.

How did Sarah feel about trashing her site?

“I had to read your email twice before I believed your offer! I felt quite emotional because I know that this will make a huge difference to me and my business. My family and friends are all over the moon for me, they know how hard I have worked and how much I want my business to succeed. I sell my products all over the world via other sites but cannot seem to get people to buy directly from my website and I feel it is all going to change now. It is an exciting new beginning and I do not think I will EVER be able to thank you enough, never ever!”

This, of course, gives me a warm, glowy feeling in my tummy!

What next?

I’m proposing we build the new site with WordPress, mainly because I think it’s a great platform that offers lots of templated functionality, clever plugins and SEO bits and bobs. It also allows you to fiddle with the code and make the site your own.

The admin part of the site is easy to grasp which means, after a little training, Sarah can continue to maintain the site herself.
I’ll start by working up a copy deck for the site and outlining what will appear on each page.

When this is signed off we can move into design and build.

I’ll be working on the Paper Memories site over Christmas and into the New Year and will keep you posted on developments. You can also follow our progress on my Facebook page.

If you have any feedback on the current site or great ideas to share please comment below.

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