I would like to take a moment to speak to you on the value of paying attention. Chalk It Up Signs has existed on the interwebs for over ten years now. That history carries weight in cyberspace. It means that if you search chalkboard menus and signs on Google (the search engine that most of us use), you will find us at the top of the heap. That is a good thing for a business that relies solely on the internet for marketing. We want our business to be at the top of the heap.
Our original website was lovely but slow and clunky if a potential customer was using a handheld device. So we began building a new website to meet the changing times. We hired WordPress guru, George Plumley, to help us create a website that would showcase our hand drawn, custom designed chalkboard menus and signs and that would make Google happy.
George was an amazing coaching wizard. He is now an official memeber of the CIUS Team. His t-shirt is in the mail. Let me tell you, I was in school. Totally outside of my element…I like to colour, garden, read books, dangle my toes in the ocean. I. Have. Never. Been. Computer. Literate. Ever. George was able to connect so many dots for me regarding how the internet works and how to use it to our advantage. I am so glad we had his help…Thank you George! I knew our old website worked, I knew people who entered a search for chalkboard menus and signs into google would find us listed first and things were good. We just wanted to do a little tweak, right?
And this is where the lesson lies. Back in February, Google announced that they were going to change their search algorithms to make it easier for users to find and read content on mobile devices. Articles were written all over the blogoshpere and in mainstream media. The International Business Times published an article titled Website Owners Brace For ‘Mobilegeddon’ As Search Giant Prepares Mobile Tweaks. We knew this shift was coming and that motivated us to make the changes to Chalk It Up’s site. What we did not grasp was the concrete date of the algorithm switch on Tuesday, April 21, 2015.
We changed our website a few days late. We were not paying attention. And our historical, solid Google ranking for chalkboard menus and signs was gone. Obliterated. We literally dropped off the map. For several days, my husband and partner in Chalk It Up, Dave, was checking things obsessively, minute by minute, wondering where we had disapeared to. We panicked. If George had had a “Bat Phone”, man, we would have been Commisioner Gordoning the hell out of that phone. Turns out, Google’s search goes on a cycle and we had just missed the cycle by not launching our new, mobile app friendly website a few days earlier.
Businesses cannot afford NOT to pay attention to technology any longer. Our studio has been so busy and the chalk dust has been flying, but then we had dead air when Google decided our website did not fit the bill for its new algorithm. No one wants dead air. Google found us on the next search cycle and pushed us back to the top of chalkboard menus and signs. And we all breathed a little more easily.
Dave got so mad at Google that we now also use the search engine Duck Duck Go. They don’t have all the bells and whistles that Google does, but they did not drop our website and they don’t have paid advertisement. We still use Google a lot, but appreciate having a choice.
We love making our hand drawn, custom art chalkboard menus and signs. We love the creative immediacy and fun that we get to have with our work. We love the incredible clients we have the opportunity to work for. It is a real gift and we know it. What we now also know is that we cannot rest easy and let technology sweep past us like a surface wave. It may seem small and inconsequential on the surface, but deep below, changes are rolling and rolling big and hard.
Until next time,
Mel and the CIUS gang (that means you too, George – gracias amigo!)