Slicksurface recently launched a new website for Partners With Parents Tutoring Service, located in New York City. This site was a particularly interesting project for a number of reasons.
Jesse Gerber, co-founder of Partners With Parents is a neighbor and good friend. He was initially resistant to a redesign partly due to the cost of the redesign and implementation and partly due to a certain level of fear of how a new website might change the nature of his business. The focus of his fear was the possibility of an overwhelming number of inquiries without the necessary support or conversion to real customers. After much conversation, we began the redesign process over the summer.
We decided to go with a WordPress-driven website, which would give the company the flexibility to change the content on their own, without them needing to come back to us every time they wanted to update a page, or add new information.
Partners With Parents has been in business for over a decade. They specialize in custom private tutoring, with the tutors preparing lessons suited to the each individual's needs and educational environment. They have also had much success in test preparation, like the SAT, Regents, AP tests, GRE, MCAT, LSAT and others. Additionally they have extensive experience in homeschooling children with special needs and unique situations.
I took this opportunity to begin a program of my own, an internship program for my web design students. A talented student, Nusrat Bintun, was Slicksurface's first intern. She showed great initiative, and where she lacked in skill and experience, she made up for with enthusiasm and consistency. She was particularly involved with helping to develop the illustrations used on the site. By the end, she gained additional skills in photoshop and illustrator, plus received insight in working with a real client.
An interesting thing to note about this redesign is that it promised to be easy to improve the performance of the site. The previous designer had very little experience creating real professional websites. So instead of designing the pages so that the images were images, and the text was html, he made the text into images as well. There was basically no text anywhere on the site for the search engines to index.
Two weeks following the launch, we were fully indexed by Google. We were not indexed by the other search engines, but we knew that would come in time. Partners With Parents immediately ranked for "New York City tutoring" and "NYC tutoring" falling on page 4 and 3 respectively. We now are guiding them in content development to rank for other relevant search terms like "New York City homeschooling" and "test prep".
Although the site has been indexed fully, the traffic hasn't increased by leaps and bounds in the first month following launch. In studying Google trends, "New York City tutoring" does not have enough data to even warrant a chart. "NYC tutoring" ranks very well with a Brooklyn audience, although "Brooklyn tutoring" does not have enough data to warrant a chart. For just "tutoring" or "tutoring service", the New York audience is in the top 10.
After we have ranked for the key search terms, the next goal is to work towards getting PartnersWithParents.com to show up on the first page for them.
Partners With Parents is looking to build a community among parents, educators, support professionals, and themselves. They decided that one way they would do this is to regularly write posts on everything including articles about education and parenting, family challenges and things to do in New York City, and parents and children dealing with stress and anxiety.
Finally, we also implemented Feedburner on this site. Because we used blog software to run it, the site inherently has a feed. We've taken advantage of this by inviting users to subscribe to regular updates of the site. Whenever a new blog post is written, those who have subscribed will receive emails automatically of the full blog posts. An inexpensive feature that keeps people reminded of the company's services and expertise.