Building a Website is Like Building a Guitar

by Robert McCourty

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 15),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


I recently had the pleasure of being a guest speaker at a rather prestigious Guitar Festival in Healdsburg California. The event is held once every two years and some of the world's best custom acoustic instrument builders show their wares. I also play guitar so attending was a double treat. Weeks before arriving I took the opportunity to review each builders web site with the intention of providing free critiques as to the "Search Engine Friendliness" of their respective sites and to provide these distinguished artisans with several tips and guidelines to help them market their products via the Internet.

Imagine my surprise upon discovering that out of one hundred exhibiting builders, only three, yes three, (and one honorable mention) had enough pertinent data within the source code of their pages to ensure relevant placement within the search engines.

I'm pleased the workshop was a success but it was still alarming to find this collection of very industry specific, high-end, professional luthiers, so out of touch with what it takes to get a web site attracting relevant traffic. Thus actively helping them to market their products.

I then realized why this phenomena occurs and why it seems to be so widespread. Highly skilled, creative, people want to concentrate on improving their craft, not learning HTML and Search Engine Optimization.

They realize of course the importance of an Internet presence and the value it provides as a marketing tool but when they attempt to switch skill sets and dabble in the art of web site design and SEO they more often than not, end up doing themselves more harm than good.

Internet Marketing and Promotion is every bit as complex and intricate as building a guitar. First you have the selection of materials, each with it's own unique properties. You also have many different components. Constant attention to detail is required during the construction process and you have to use very exact scientific principles and mathematical formulas to "fine tune" the entire process before it's ready to be assembled with the special glue that holds it all together. Also like a guitar, once construction is complete you have two choices. Hang it on a wall somewhere or play the instrument. Web sites which are wall-hangers will never fully open up to their potential. Web sites (and guitars) which are played, tend to improve over time. So tune up that web site instrument of yours or if you can't find the time, I strongly suggest you hand it over to someone like us who will play it for all it's worth. Isn't that why you built it in the first place? You can read my seminar notes from the Healdsburg Guitar Festival *Link No Longer Valid.

Other articles from this issue:
- Site Administrator's Corner
- SSH or Telnet?
- The Tortoise or The Hare?

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