A conversation with SUSAN O’NEIL, @WEBSITE PUBLICITY
We are delighted to have Susan O’Neil and her team at @Website Publicity renew their membership with NHBSR. They are looking forward to re-engaging with the NHBSR community, recognizing that it’s important to play a role in the larger business community. We had a nice conversation with Susan recently that we’d like to share with you. Hopefully you’ll have a chance for your own conversation sometime this year.
Susan’s story is one of the unexpected surprises that come from taking a leap of faith and making a change. In her case, she and her family left their home and community in Vermont and moved to Peterborough NH where her husband took a new job. Once her kids were settled into school, she began her own job search. Life-work balance was incredibly important and something she wanted to maintain as she moved forward.
Ultimately, the opportunity that gave her this was working for herself. She hung out her own shingle and by doing so she was able to have both control over her work environment and her time. Her goal was to create a place that was a pleasant place to work and was family-friendly. Her shingle read: O’Neil & Associates Public Relations.
Towards the end of 1997, when the web was gaining momentum a client asked Susan if she knew anything about websites. This question was the impetus for what Susan’s new direction would be—learning the tools that would help address clients' needs around publicizing their websites. Susan learned HTML, took a class on search engines, and began experimenting with words and phrases within the code on websites. Clients’ websites moved from obscurity to # 1 or 2 in Alta Vista within 24 hours. What appeared to be magic, actually was the result of a focused effort to learn new skills and putting them to the test. These efforts culminated with the creation of @Website Publicity, a highly professional company that focused on publicizing websites, not building then, through search engine optimization and public relations.
SEM and SEO. What do these mean? Everyone would like to have their websites be at the top of a Google or Yahoo search. Through Search Engine Marketing (SEM) you have two options—through paid search ads or through a focus on the quality of your website content. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s unpaid results, often referred to as “natural” results.” Through the use of keywords and search terms a website can come up higher in the results, but this takes strategic effort. SEM and SEO are just two of the things that @Website Publicity helps clients with. You can read lots about their offerings on their website.
Susan speaks more to the “why” of what they do versus the “what.” They believe that, when employees are allowed to put family first, they also take better care of their clients and co-workers. She believes transparency is critical for their team and clients. She and her team derive great satisfaction from helping their clients and they go home feeling good about what they accomplished at the end of the day.
Susan’s team and office are based in Peterborough. However, Susan recently moved her base to Manchester. Susan is involved with a number of nonprofits, including Tech Women / Tech Girls, and believes strongly in mentoring and giving back to the community.
And speaking of giving back…if you are a nonprofit you will want to stay tuned for an exciting announcement next week!