Middle Finger

2013 Hasn’t Been a Bed of Roses

It’s 2014 and as a progressive international digital agency, we’re making a few resolutions, and keeping the bullshit predictions to a minimum.

To our loyal readers (you know who you are) who’ve been following us for the last few years, Level343 has seen many changes, and you will see new ones in 2014. For one thing, we’ve finally spent some time rethinking our approach, and of course a complete responsive redesign which is coming soon. It’s in the works as we speak.

While I’m the first to encourage companies to update and change their site periodically, sometimes we’re too busy to take on “one” more project, even if it is on our own site. But you have to take the time, especially if that’s what you offer. It’s like trying to sell cameras or phones and not showing or displaying the latest – just doesn’t make sense.

On the upside, we’re taking on more agency work, while creating memorable new partnerships and walking away from others. Partners have come and gone, but I have to tell you, it’s always nice to get a reality check and grow from those relationships, rather than suffer through agonizing emails and calls that can turn any good day into a day that SUCKED.

But just like any successful relationship, regardless of whether it’s personal or not, a company needs to grow in areas that are not quantifiable. You know there’s no ROI to speak of. It’s the kind of growth where, as a leader in our service, we have to embrace and understand the role we play with our consumers.

I believe forging new alliances internationally with some of the greatest minds in our industry globally is the best way to create a work environment that’s healthy – at least that’s what I’m doing with Level343. We’ve added an additional three languages to bring our total localization SEO efforts and services to a total of fourteen languages.  Now we offer French, Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, English, Chinese, Taiwanese, Russian, Hungarian, Czech, Japanese, Turkish and Arabic as part of our SEO audit and localization services.

Creating a brand internationally, or even nationally, is not as easy as some of you may think. It’s not just about putting a shingle on your site offering a global strategy – it’s working through the day-to-day grind of a specific project, tons of emails, managing a four-time-zone conference call, while keeping a tight production and time line. You try doing that with a client you’re trying to impress…not an easy thing, especially when you find the people you partnered with drop the ball. So let me get this out of the way “2013 hasn’t been a bed of roses”. Actually, it sucked, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 

Things we learned

Yeah, I’m proud of the network I’ve built.  As a matter of fact Doc Sheldon and I finally started Level Headed Marketing. We’ve been threatening to expand our ”people want to know” scenario into a well-respected video library.

We’ve had great guests, the likes of Ammon Johns, Bill Slawski, Shelly Kramer and Debra Mastaler to name just a few.  I’ve learned so much through our guests that I can’t wait to see who’s going to grace us with their presence in 2014.

The relationships moving forward are going to be better… much better. I can tell you without a doubt, when you work with key people that know their shit, it’s always a bonus and a win – win situation.

Another awesome connection has been working with Sante Achille who I fondly refer to as my “Professore’”.  He has brought me closer to the closeted geek side by introducing me to schema markup.  Who’d-a-thunk that I, of all people, would enjoy playing with semantic markup language? But you see it goes back to what we in the search industry love to do. Making search easier and more relevant for the clients and users that are doing the searching. I’ve always said, you don’t need to trick the search engines into finding you, just make sure your content and message is relevant, and you’re already implementing a strong SEO presence. Therefore, the lesson here is speak directly to the user, and the search engines will find you.

But let me move right along with my train of thought. I wanted to thank our readers for making the following posts such a huge success in 2013. Granted some started a barrage of negative responses, but I didn’t mind. It’s the beauty of writing your opinion on line. Not everyone is going to agree or like you.

2014 Predictions? Not

I don’t have any, nor do I want to guess. You see every day is like a new canvas, if you start making predictions, then you won’t be open to spontaneity, creative thinking, or trying something new. After all that’s what we here are Level343 do every day. When you work with a global market that includes SEO, you can’t deal with predictions. Sure you can base some of your recommendations and assessments on SEO standards, but everyone already knows about those (hopefully) and if you don’t, then catching up won’t be that hard.

Awesome Articles of 2013 From Our Back yard

But I will make one recommendation to our old and new readers. Our support and conversations will always ring true. No bullshit or fluff will be added or tolerated.

May you have an awesome year and may all your impossible dreams come true!

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9 Responses

  1. That is a very honest post and I appreciate that. I can only agree that it takes more time to set up an international brand than you might think in the beginning. I have set up my own small company globally but have really found that you need to focus on one country at the time. Each country is different and have different ways of doing business.

    1. Hey Dan, thanks for your input. I couldn’t agree with you more in regards to focus on one country at the time. It’s important to understand the cultures and localized market. For example how you approach an Italian consumer is different from say selling to a Dutch consumer. The beauty is with over 14 languages and 6 countries I think Level343 is ahead of the curve. 😉

  2. Hi Gabriella,

    I often visit your blog and generally finds useful posts which contains great insights, and experiences. I hope you continue your good work and I’m sure you’ll get huge exposure for your blog this year.

    Good Luck!! 🙂

    1. Thanks Maya, we’ve been starting a bit slow…had a death in the family, a complete site redesign, clients, and a partridge in a pear tree… 🙂 Hopefully, we’ll get back on track and continue to write valuable posts for you guys! Thanks!

  3. Hello Gabriella,

    I am completely agree with you. Creating a brand is not an easy task. You really need to work hard for that, and yeah.. strong seo strategy is a must too. Keep doing the great work.


  4. Gabriella, very thought provoking and interesting post. One point you raise as to updating your website concerns me. I have thought about doing that but is there anything to be said to having repeat visitors seeing the same site? Is familiarity trumped by modernizing or updating? Can you comment on this in more detail?

  5. Every language a channel, every channel strengthening tolerance and understanding — oh, and then there’s the sign language at the top of the post 🙂 (Irony should have it’s own punctuation mark.) Have a great 2014 Gabriella !

  6. Hi Gabriella,

    I often visit your blog and generally finds useful posts which contains great insights, and experiences. I hope you continue your good work and I’m sure you’ll get huge exposure for your blog this year.

    Good Luck!! 🙂

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