Posts Tagged Web development

Web design search volume in decline

As the recession hit, most web design companies were busier than they had ever been before. There seemed to be a sudden rush of businesses trying to get online. In the majority of cases it was a knee-jerk reaction to prop up their falling incomes. During the latter half of 2009, this sudden rush seemed to have abated. There are many stories flying around that some of the major web design companies in Ireland are hanging on by the skin of their teeth and offering well below cost websites in order to generate some sort of cash flow.

Although they say that 99% of all statistics are made up, it’s still worth looking at some… :)

Google Trends is a great tool for researching keyphrase search popularity over a number of years of traffic on Google. So I used this tool to run a few searches on terms relating to web design to see if it could paint any sort of picture of what the state of the web design is in.

Web Design Search Stats - Google Trends

As you can see from above graph, the search term “web design” has been on a massive decline since the recording of the statistics began. Interestingly, if you take a close look at the latter quarter of 2009, you can also see a steady decline in searches for “web design”.

December is generally a slow time for new business in web design terms, so there are no surprises when you see the massive dips in searches across all years. Also quite interesting, is the steady performance of the term “website design”. In fact, there’s possibly a slight growth in searches for this term throughout 2009.

Does this mean that the web design industry has finally entered the recession with everyone else?

Only time will tell I guess…

Looking at the other side of our business; online marketing, it appears to be performing quite well. There is an obvious increase in searches for “SEO” – everyone seems to know what it is now or at least know someone that fancies themselves as one. There is a decline in searches for “Internet Marketing” though, maybe a phrase that has been lost to the popularity of “SEO”.

Although it’s hard to see from this graph, there has been a surge in searches for “Social Media Marketing“, which started showing up on the radar in 2007. No surprises there, since it’s the latest and greatest buzz word on the planet!

Online Marketing Search Trends

We’ll never get a true picture of the web design or online marketing industry from statistics like this. For example, the searches for “SEO” are being diluted by people trying to figure out how to market their own websites rather than actually looking for those services. None-the-less it’s interesting reading for anyone in or trying to get into this industry.

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Athlone Web Design Company


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Regardless of what business you are in, there’s always someone willing to go the extra mile to lower the tone, quality and image of the industry.  None more so than the web industry.  Spamming the Internet is easier than any other form of marketing – it’s free, easy and only takes a short amount of time.

Fortunately, most professional web design companies, don’t lower themselves to these tactics because they either don’t need to or prefer to distance themselves from such tactics to avoid damaging their brand. None-the-less, there is always one shady company hanging around the corner waiting for an opportunity to pounce. It really irks me to see companies pass themselves off as being “professional web design companies”, when they resort to these spamming tactics.

Let’s face it, using the word “Professional” is probably one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book. It says it as it is. Just because these companies offer a lower quality of work does not mean they are not professional in other ways, therefore, it’s hardly false advertising. The bit that gets me is when they try to pass themselves off as being as good as the next or largest web development company in the country. The simple fact is that those regarded as the best among their peers have never resorted to such tactics to get where they are today. has been flooded with spam since it went free (until the 18th of December) and in every category, there is a web design company offering cheap and nasty web solutions. Why Unnamed Web Design (company) think that posting adverts with pictures of kittens, puppies motorbikes and even wads of cash will help make anyone decide to use them is beyond me. But to think that they call themselves professional when they need to resort to tactics like this is just well beyond belief.


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Dear whoever you are….

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For the last few months, I’ve had someone email me through the contact form on our company website. They went to a lot of trouble, since there’s a captcha response on the form too.

I’ve a feeling it’s the same person that badgered me over a year ago for a post I made about their business tactics. More here –

So since you are too afraid to leave your real email address, I thought I might as well post my responses to your queries here and then maybe you’ll stop with the silly emails….


Dear whoever you are,

  1. Our reasons for using Adwords is not because business is bad. It’s simply another way of promoting our business. How could we possibly sell this service if we ourselves don’t realise it’s value too.
  2. Yes, I have more time on my hands over the last week or so and have had more time to write some articles on my blog. Again, this is nothing to do with a downturn in business, it’s called good time management and delegation :)
  3. And no, there is no sign of us going bust yet (fingers crossed it stays that way). We’re busier than we have ever been and this year looks like it will be our best ever. Luckily for us, the downturn hasn’t affected our business yet. But in fairness we spread our wings and don’t rely solely on the web development and online marketing industry for our business to sustain.

I’d love to talk to you about my business all day. I’m very proud of it. So if you would even like to meet for a coffee some day and talk about our business, why not send me an email and we can arrange a good time to meet. :)

Yours sincerely,
Tom Doyle


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Moderation at

I frequent the web forum, offering my advice on many topics from web design, web development, online marketing and even business management.

I don’t know about you, but my idea of a forum is a place where people from any walk of life can come on offer their advice, opinion or ask a question on any topic that the forum discusses. A good forum for me is where you can voice your opinion freely and unless you are completely rude, ignorant or offensive you should have no issues voicing your opinion.

I’ve only ever had one issue with in the past, where a question I asked was near instantly closed. After much deliberation with the moderator involved, I completely understood his position. My post was a legal question and they simply didn’t want to be seen as giving inaccurate information on a legal scenario. I didn’t agree with it, since it was a forum, but I completely understood the position he took.

Yesterday though, just showed me how ridiculous it gets when you have people with an ounce of power (moderators) for the first time in their lives, let it quickly go to their heads.

The title of the thread in question yesterday was “ &” (Thread in full – click here) and the rest of the post went like this:

Any suggestions as who to use in hosting a new website?
Pros/Cons? Narrowed it down to these two –


There were a few responses, most of them avoided the original question, which was “who to use in hosting a new website” and went on to recommend hosting companies which the original poster hadn’t asked about.

Since I’ve basically used all of certainly the main hosting companies over the years I’ve been doing this and having used both Blacknight and Letshost – I voiced my opinion with a simple yet accurate quote:

“Blacknight – without a shadow of a doubt. Premium quality service.”

I completely addressed the original poster’s question; who to use; and for what reason.

ClubMan, a moderator at sent me a private message and removed my post.

Let’s make it clear, above my posts there were people recommending Hosting365 who did not have any relation to this post other than that they are a hosting company in Ireland. Clubman removed my post and replaced it with:

“I am closing this thread because it is being exploited by people recommending service providers in which they have some vested interest.”

OK fair enough, we have done work for Blacknight in the past, but in reality, we are a bigger client of Blacknight’s than they are of ours. So I don’t see how I had a vested interest in this post. it was an honest opinion based on the years and many hosting companies I’ve used over the years.

But the big question remains… why didn’t he remove those posts that recommended Hosting365? At the end of the day, they had nothing to do with the original thread.

So was it because have a vested interest in Hosting365? Like, that’s where there website is hosted at the end of the day.

Bottom line is – I have no problem with posts being removed if there are people with a vested interest upping their business, but I believe if they stop one person, they should block them all. Maybe ClubMan didn’t have the b*lls to do this?


I just got a response from ClubMan….

Your company’s relationship(s) with Blacknight means that you have a vested interest which you did not divulge. This is a breach of the posting guidelines. End of story.

Ok so what he’s saying is that I can’t post a comment on any topic relating to anything to do with hosting unless I divulge in all cases that I have worked with Hosting365, Host Ireland, LetsHost, WebWorld, Blacknight…. etc etc ……

I don’t have a vested interest in any of these companies… I wish I did.

What a ridiculous response.

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