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Building Blocks

Jul 15, 2009 12:00 PM, By Don Kreski

Creating a new website for AV TechSource.

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Step three: Build content

As we began to outline content for the new site, we planned the pages and navigation we would need, planned custom photography to show the company’s technicians at work, started writing copy for the site, and started to define the graphic look for the new pages.

Navigation came from the list of services we were promoting, but it was determined in part by our budget and the number of pages we could afford. Copy came directly out of the goals we defined, our conversations, and my own experience in the AV industry. The photo shoot came from a need to show (as well as tell) how AV TechSource is unique. We agreed that I would shoot images of company personnel at a job site, both of technicians at work and of a finished AV system at that site. I was also able to gather project photos from one of the company’s customers, Bluewater Technologies, and supplement the custom photography with a couple of vendor and stock photos.

Once we had the photos and copy, one of my graphic artists, Sharon Ferdinand, worked up three home page designs, and the principals came back with what they liked and disliked about each. Based on their feedback, Sharon worked up a final home page design. Once that was accepted, she started on inside page designs based on the home page.

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Step four: Search-engine optimization

Once we had copy but before we started on the graphic design, our search-engine consultant—Tim Grant, owner and president of lunavista communications in Chicago—worked up a keyword analysis, a recommendation report suggesting changes to our navigation and copy, and metatags and alt tags for each page.

For the keyword analysis, Grant and I worked up a preliminary list of words and phrases describing the work AV TechSource does. Then he ran each of these terms through an online keyword tool, which helped him determine what terms web users actually use in searching for these services, as opposed to what we thought they might use. Once he had a list of priority terms, he suggested which terms we might target for each page, as well as specific changes to the copy I had written. (More on search-engine optimization.)

Grant also suggested changes to our navigation and page plan. For example, since control-system programming was a priority in our marketing effort, he advised us to make it a first-level page in the navigation so that the search engines would perceive its importance to the company. He also proposed we add pages for AMX, Crestron, Tandberg, and Polycom services, since each of these brands is frequently searched for by name.

It’s not so neat and tidy

In outlining this process, I have to admit that these steps were not as simple or as separate as I’m making them appear. In fact, we went through the entire process at least twice: once as I outlined a general design and budget for the new site, and a second time as we filled in the outline, created content, did the search-engine optimization analysis, and finalized the copy and design. The process is not unlike building an AV system, where you might create a design spec and initial drawings, then go back and do much more detailed engineering once you have the job. If you’re careful in the planning phases, website programming, like an AV install, should be a straightforward process.

“It’s funny, because I’ve experienced all of this before,” Harling says. “I look back at my days at Midwest Visual, when I was the sole video technician and the sole Apple computer technician, then grew into the manager and added more and more people. We’re doing the same thing now at AV TechSource. The website is progressing nicely. I like what we have so far, and I expect it to help us take another step forward.”

It’s a little early to say how successful the new website will be in bringing in business. You can view the results of this project at

Don Kreski is a marketing consultant who works exclusively in the AV industry. You can reach him at

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