For previous installments please see the tWtG topic.
Kate got back in touch with the first company she'd asked about search engines. The managing director, Hugh, replied with the following:
Good to hear from you again. Can you come and meet us at our offices? We're in a converted barn outside of Willowvale. It would be useful if you prepared a list of what you want to achieve with the website.
Kate organised a morning off work and drove the 15 miles out of Aylesbury to find the Willowvale barns. Hugh's company, Willowvale Interactive Media Partners, was a 3-man company based in a long barn with one room. One of Hugh's colleagues made coffee and they sat down to discuss the "Smiths fine cheeses" site.
Kate started to explain how they had contracted a search engine company to look after their "internet ranking", and that this company charged a fee every month, but Hugh interrupted to ask what the purpose of the website was.
"It's to bring in more business."
"Can you explain about what kind of customers you'd like to attract?"
"Anyone that buys cheese."
"Including people who buy cheddar at the big supermarket?"
"Yes, if we can change their habits."
"Do you want them to come to the shop, or are you interested in selling over the internet?"
"Shop at first - we don't want to invest too much until we can see what the website can do."
Hugh understood Kate's caution, but advised against trying to attract everyone to the shop. He introduced the idea of putting the shop on the "tourist map". Kate was very responsive to the idea, and they discussed a few new pages the website could have, in order to connect with Aylesbury-related searches.
Hugh also explained that changes at Google were shaking up the search engine optimisation world, preventing optimisers from improving a website's rank entirely through linking, and placing more emphasis on content.
They got onto technical details. Hugh asked how the content was updated. In fact, Kate's brother Harry had built the site with Dreamweaver, and it wasn't easy for Kate to update, so they agreed that Hugh would change the website to use a content management system.
A week or so later, it was all set up, and Kate was able to add a couple of new pages designed at attracting tourists to "Aylesbury's famous cheese shop".
John was still not convinced.