I know that many of my readers and followers are in Charlotte, but I still have a fair amount of followers, colleagues, students, and friends back in the Asheville area.
I lived in Asheville, NC from 2003 to 2007.
Here are a few interesting things about Asheville for those of you who are not real familiar with that part of North Carolina…
1. There is an old saying in Asheville, that if you don’t work for Biltmore Estate or Grove Park Inn, you don’t work! It’s not entire true. But those are the big players, for sure. Notice: Both are in the hospitality industry.
2. There are more Bed & Breakfasts and Inns in Asheville than practically anywhere else in the country. Try www.BedandBreakfast.com and you’ll see that Asheville is huge for B&B.
3. Lots of businesses want to succeed on-line in Asheville. It is a beautiful place to live and has a good amount of “culture” for a small city. Therefore, if you can start an online business anywhere in the world, many choose to do so in Asheville, NC.
4. Back in 2003, there were only a few individuals that really did SEO, PPC, etc. They were mostly freelancers. There are more now than ever, but the freelancers are still some of the best ones.
5. One of my favorite web developers is Totsie at www.Totsie.com. She is a real pleasure to work with and to be around.
6. One of my favorite online marketers that I still keep close in touch with is Fiona Dudley of www.Weaversites.com. She is a very hard worker and never charges as much as she should. (How many times have I told you that, Fiona!?!)
Given all of the above. Here are my two suggestions…
1. If you are looking for a nice place to spend a long weekend, go visit a Bed and Breakfast in Asheville, NC. Personally, I’ve worked with and enjoy the Albemarle Inn but many others are nice, too.
Last week, one of our clients that does Asheville home automation released a new website. I thought it would make for a nice example of how a few things should be done.
Most importantly, you should take a look at the writing of the website. They had a little help from some local Asheville marketing professionals, but you will note that it’s not just a bunch of technical information. It’s not just that the words just flow nicely, they speak to the target audience in a way they can easily understand.
Also, take a look at the Title tags. As most of you know, I teach classes on SEO just about every month. The one thing that seems to surprise a lot of students is that it’s not necessary to stick as many keyword phrases as possible into the title tag. It’s not worth it. Don’t bother.
Lastly, notice the ease of navigation and simplicity of the site. Usability is important. We encourage our students to keep the choices down to about 5–7 options for each page. Of course, we encourage building lots of pages. But if you have seven options which lead to seven more, you have 49 pages – and that’s only one level deep.
Now, before you start tearing this site apart with content and SEO recommendations, please note that we have barely gotten started. There’s obviously more that needs to be done.
We know that. And we’re working on it.
I just wanted to point out these few important points as examples for your site. (And in the process, give these guys a sorely needed link).
Hippo Internet Marketing was based out of Asheville from 2003 to 2007 and enjoyed working with many different clients on dozens of websites. In 2007, we moved to the Charlotte area to begin creating training on how to do SEO.
One of the things I enjoyed most about working in Asheville for so many years is the talented group of web developers I met while there…