Well, we finally did it and moved our office. Our old building served us well from 2009 until late 2017. It was a good unit and we had some great memories there, but in the end it came down to the building we were leasing was being torn down to make way for a Whole Foods.
With the help of a realtor, we managed to find a beautiful office in Boynton Beach for almost 2x the square feet we had before at a much more competitive rate. Our old office had lots of issues, mainly the layout. Almost 20% of the office was “zero space” taken up by a large bathroom and over-sized snack area / network closet resulting in a lot of that space being underutilized.
We are really going to miss our old office at 900 Linton, we had a lot of memories there and will never forget where we started this journey.
Photos of Our New Office
2017 Year in Review
2017 overall was a great year for Elite Strategies. There were many struggles and many triumphs.
One of the biggest issue our company faced as well as our industry was the prevalence of “SEO scam call centers” particularly in South Florida. These call centers employ hundreds of people per room and call small businesses selling shoddy SEO packages. It is sad, because these businesses end up screwing over mom and pop companies and agencies like ours end up wearing a black eye. I’ve been tracking these call centers since 2014 if you want to learn more about them check out my personal blog.
As with many industries, the SEO industry has seen a lot of consolidation. Over the years we’ve received a number of offers from larger entities for partnerships, acquisitions or investments which is an excellent sign we are on the right track. In the end most of them require contracts we were unwilling to sign or would require us to compromise our vision (selling small SEO “packages” e.g.) With that, we just aren’t interested in taking on investors or doing an acquisition. We’re fine where we are at.
Switching our phone system from a local small business to Comcast is something I truly regret. It saved a small % of money but the problems we’ve had with our phones, the lack of customer support and the lack of basic features just doesn’t make sense. It also goes against our “use local businesses” philosophy when working with vendors.
As CEO I’d like to say that our core team is one of the smartest, most talented, gifted, and dedicated teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. We’ve had some new members join our team as well this year that are fitting right in with our system. Coming into work every day is a great feeling knowing we have such a tight knit group of
One of our biggest successes of 2017 was the mass adoption of our “on page SEO guide.” Originally published as a paperback book, this guide started getting shared on social media and getting tons of backlinks from all over the world. We are now ranking on p1 for “on page SEO” one of the most coveted keywords in the SEO industry and we did it all through organic SEO. We contribute to our guide multiple times per week and are always adding new things or removing stale information.
Our website traffic has increased 50% overall for the year! We attribute this to the fact that we’ve been writing content on a weekly basis for the past 7+ years and take an active role on social media and online forums. Our website serves as a resource for people looking to learn about SEO and a way for new customers to find our company.
2018 #EliteSquad Goals
In 2017 Elite Strategies has donated both money and time to several charities we stand behind. We’ve been blessed with a successful company and are happy to be able to give back to non-profits and organizations that are truly committed to helping people (and animals) transparent with their financials.
We’ve never been one to hold formal training sessions but I would like to focus more on in-house training on a 1 to 1 basis. We have so many talented people here with a wide range of skill sets, this year I’d like to focus on “training each other” at least 1x per week for an hour here and there. We all learn from each other on a daily basis, but this year would like to extend some of the knowledge we’ve learned and pass it onto our fellow comrades.
Blogging and Social
Blogging is one of the best ways for us to connect with our audience and our customers. I also want to invite more of our staff to start blogging for our company website. Blogging is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a business owner and want to find more ways to promote our blog without sacrificing quality. We receive emails every single day from people wanting to contribute to our blog, but at this time aren’t taking on guest posts.
While we’ve done a great job on the blogging, content curation and creation end of things, we need to do a better job on the social media side of things for Elite Strategies own social network accounts. Particularly Facebook, Twitter, and etc.
Increase Green Initiative
In the past we’ve taken part in SWA cleanups and started a recycling initiative within our office. I’d like to personally thank Gina Coviello from our team for being so dedicated to the Earth. Our new office has cardboard recycling but it does not have plastic or aluminum recylcing so we will continue to take our recyclables to the dump ourselves.
We’ve already started off on a great foot by adding a water cooler to our office. This reduces the amount of plastic water bottles we used. This will reduce the 2500 bottles of water we consumed to 0. We are also getting rid of styrofoam and paper coffee cups and using ceramic mugs which should also reduce the approximately 2500 cups of water to 0. In 2017 we recycled approximately 250 pounds of plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and electronics. We calculated this based on our weekly consumption of 1 bag of recylcing per week plus all of the other items we take to the dump. In addition, we converted all of our computer PSU’s to energy efficient supplies, reduced the number of pages we print and overall try to be good to the Earth.
Pivoting /Adding Digital PR as a Service
For the past few years our core suite of services has been SEO, social media, web development and PPC. Over the past year we’ve received an influx of people looking to get more exposure through digital PR. Our biggest obstacle is ensuring this isn’t perceived as a backlink service. Thus far we’ve serviced about 10 clients on a national scale and all of them are ecstatic about the results. We’ve built relationships with some of the top publishers on the web including national newspapers, major magazines, and high profile blogs. Of course, this doesn’t work with anyone you need to have a real company with some active founders to make it work well.
One of the biggest customer service issues we have is dealing with shoddy hosting companies. Clients that have great intentions unknowingly use services like Godaddy, Bluehost, etc get stuck with outdated equipment, loss of data and slow websites. We must continue to help our clients get their website get their websites on a modern server. We offer very reasonable hosting packages and offer full weekly backups for all websites.
Innovation, Automation, and Process
Overall the “gist” of our company has remained the same: build and optimize websites that drive targeted traffic using Google (organic & PPC) social media, and other channels.
The internet has changed and is changing, Google has changed, and continues to evolve. With that we must continue to stay connected with our industry and new technologies in order to remain competitive. Blockchain technology is finally starting to penetrate into real world applications! With that we must comitt to staying on the front lines of our industry.
In the past 2 years we’ve honed in on our process to the point where we’ve either partially or totally automated the following tasks:
- payroll (now 100% automated)
- social media (partially automated)
- new client signups / initialization
- website monitoring, uptime, and notifications
- website backup (100% automated)
- our own lead generation system
- hosting signups and billing (100% automated)
- and much more
This hasn’t reduced any staff but rather allowed them to operate more autonomously and efficiently. We also can’t and won’t ignore blockchain technology. While it still isn’t clear who the winner is going to be in terms of coins and tokens, its clear that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. With that we are going to see some really cool technologies that will effect our industry such as decentralized websites (SHIFT) and even disrupting the internet as a whole (RightMesh). Adding bitcoin / crypto as a payment option is also going to be a huge move forward for eCommerce as a whole. Businesses are always dealing with merchant issues, and consumers are always looking for ways to pay for things more securely, anonymously, faster, and with less fees. Time will tell!
Redefining Our Code
Over the years our company has grown in more ways than one. We’ve redefined who we are and what we offer. With that we must redefine our code:
Treat each other with dignity and respect.
Find new ways to define “green company” and be kind to the Earth
Always answer the phone from 9am to 5pm and return all emails within 24 hours.
Continue to be transparent about all expectations particularly new clients.
We will never, ever hold a clients website “hostage” i.e. if a client wants to move to another agency we will make our best effort to help them in a timely matter.
We do not take on jobs that are too large for our company.
We will no longer accept adult, gambling, or pharmaceutical companies or any companies that could inherently cause difficulty with AdWords or other TOS we deal with.
Rely on automation and defined processes to scale our business.
Used Loved This Year
There are way too many to name, so we’ll just list our top 15:
- Basecamp – Project management software
- Callrail – call tracking
- WordPress – website frameworks
- Photoshop – graphic design
- Filezilla – file transfer
- Wufoo – form building
- Google Keep – personal organization
- Skype – in-house communication
- Ahrefs – off-page SEO
- Amazon S3 – data backup
- WHMCS – hosting billing and organization
- Our own intranet
- much more
The Elite Strategies Intranet
Our custom intranet was originally developed in 2015 as a way for us to share links with each other. Our intranet now connects all of our employees within our office and remote workers and enables everyone to not only manage projects but stay on the same page with each other about company information, sales, social media, new SEO tools and more.
Bring it on!
To all of our customers, staff, families, followers and supporters I wish you a Happy New Years and the best of luck this year :)
Patrick Coombe, CEO
Elite Strategies LLC