Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been;
I am also call’d No-more, Too-late, Farewell;
~Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “A Superscription“
We have made the difficult decision to wind down SearchViz.
When I say this was a difficult decision, I mean it. It’s especially difficult because it’s the synthesis of a personal decision and a business decision. Demand for our services was as vigorous as ever, far more so than when we opened our doors. But our demands on each other, two partners in a small agency trying to mature into a boutique, concierge vendor that actually helped to make the Web better, were equally intense and ultimately unsustainable.
It is my great disappointment that you never heard Helen‘s voice through her typed words on these pages. You certainly saw them in the original art she produced for each of my posts and in the design she created for our site as a whole, somehow creating an elegant visual brand out of one of the worst names (SearchViz was a domain name I had bought years ago when I realized how dominant SEO was going to become; apparently I never said it aloud) in the history of business. She could have had an entire blog about markup or stylesheet disasters, or how to build a better mousetrap with Drupal, or a series of posts on why something that might look good to the casual observer was an accessibility train wreck under the hood. Or pretty much anything else that came up in our near-daily banter. So any of you who took the time to look at our site but weren’t a customer probably never met Helen. And that’s a shame.
We serendipitously become colleagues at SouthComm, working on a great team that started to unravel when our group leader resigned, and she ultimately responded to my pleading to walk away from a steady paycheck to do something audacious in a down economy. From where we sat, one would not have known there was a down economy. From day one, we had enough business and qualified leads to keep the lights on and then some. Frustratingly, we left far too many leads hanging because of our over-deliberative approach to adding capacity and preferring to offer high quality service to existing customers, even when it gnawed at our margins.
In our just over two years, though, we (mostly Helen) did some great work that deserves a little more attention, and there won’t be too many opportunities for additional celebration, so we might as well do it here:
- built Ashley Judd‘s first ever official website
- created a website for bestselling author Adam Ross who, with our help, catapulted into the top of the SERPs ahead of that CSI guy
- reinvented the online presence, front-end and back-end, for BookPage, where you should go discover your next great book
- enhanced a great collaborative project now maintained at Perkins School for the Blind called WonderBaby
- launched a completely redesigned and rebuilt Who2, one of the Web’s longest-lived sites with a blog that is and will continue to be worth your time
We worked on a number of other great projects with a group of customers that I think will be as difficult to reprise as our team at SouthComm where Helen and I met. To our customers, many of whom were with us from start to finish, I can only say thank you. It is our hope that our work created mutual and lasting value.
In parting, I will confide that Helen is the only person I would let build a website for me. I’ve never met anyone who understood the complex relationship between visual design and the Web—everything from end-user interfaces to editorial workflow to the semantic underpinnings derived from the raw markup to layered PSDs—better than she. She is also a Drupal expert. And has many other hidden talents besides. She likes to make things, and if you ever have the opportunity to have her make something for you, you should avail yourself of it. I can only hope that she doesn’t wind up too busy with whatever she does next to be available to work on my next crazy idea. If she is, then my next crazy idea will probably stall indefinitely.
For a while, anyway, you can still contact us through the website. But in the spirit of SearchViz, if you’d like to find us individually, we recommend that you just look for us.
Looking back on the early days, we never did make too much headway making it to the top of the SERPs for [nashville seo]. We got too busy with other things. And now we’ll head off to keep ourselves busy with even otherer things.