In this post I highlight the owner of Precision Pages, Matt Ostrowski, and ask him questions about the evolution of the digital world, what people should know about professional website services, and why he prefers a telecaster guitar over others while playing in his band.
You started Precision Pages 14 years ago. What was your vision for the company?
I was working for a web agency at the time and frequently saw situations in which I would have treated customers differently. It was important to me to provide transparency, fairness, and consistency to customers. This idea led to starting my own company so I could provide those things.
My background in affiliate marketing, and as a webmaster, gave me lots of experience and I knew I could be useful to businesses wanting to build and grow their websites. I like to share knowledge and be a teacher so I wanted to have that relationship with customers. Since then I have found that I really enjoy learning from my customers as well, which makes for a great business relationship.
In your opinion, what's an online technological advancement that was a game changer for websites in the last 14 years?
The rise of open source. Open source Content Management Systems just keep getting better and better. It used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get an e-commerce site going. Now it’s remarkable what you can accomplish with WordPress or Drupal today, at a reasonable cost.
Closed source made a company very dependent on one vendor, almost beholden to them. Changes and updates could be very costly. All those headaches and heavy lifting just don’t exist anymore. There is so much available out of the box for e-commerce that you can take advantage of before you have to spend a lot of money on customization.
Also, mobile technology was huge for website design. As well as high speed internet. Now most everyone has high speed internet which makes loading and viewing videos much quicker and easier. There are just so many great possibilities for websites now.
Lastly, search has become such a big part of our daily lives that it has changed the way we live, the way we find things, and thus how businesses market themselves. It’s less interruption marketing and more inbound marketing.
What do you think is an element of website design that is underrated? How about overrated?
Design itself is underrated.
Ask yourself: is the design an extension of your brand? Or are you going to go the template route? There’s validity to both approaches, but I look at the template as more of a stepping stone to figuring out who you are. That then leads to branding and a design built around your company.
Also, the organization of content is underrated. How we structure content and the elements on the webpage really needs to be deeply considered. We should be basing this on buyer personas that we develop.
Web design itself can be overrated when it comes to not focusing on the brand and content. If your content is not coming through, the design doesn’t matter.
What do you think is most misunderstood about Search Engine Optimization?
Content that you add to your site on a regular basis needs to be well thought out and have a reason behind it. You should be writing for your audience, not just meeting a quota of content because you think you need to. Basically, don’t confuse activity with something targeted that will actually get results.
A few years back, you became a partner with HubSpot, the Inbound Marketing software company, and you added Digital Marketing to Precision Pages' services. What prompted that addition?
I feel HubSpot is the best all-in-one package as it’s the easiest to use and they are constantly making the product better. One of the biggest challenges people have is that they start to work on their website and marketing, but their tools end up in silos: CRM in one place, social media in another, e-mail marketing with a separate vendor, and website design with yet another company. Having everything in one place, as you can in HubSpot, is valuable. I see HubSpot as a good overall solution for many companies.
In your experience, what do companies struggle with the most in regard to their marketing strategy?
They don’t have one! I see a lot of reactive marketing.
What is something that companies should know about website hosting?
It can really hurt or even kill your business if your website is hacked, and this can happen if your hosting is inadequate. Make sure you know if your website hosting partner is responsible for the backups and maintenance of your site. Take notice if your site is slower than it should be. This affects your customers.
Good website hosting is like buying a quality furnace. If you spend a little more and get a high-quality, reliable furnace, it will keep your house warm for a long time and you won’t need to worry about unexpected break-downs that leave your pipes frozen and burst and your basement flooded. Here's a post we wrote about business-class web hosting that covers the benefits.
What do you love about what you do?
I love being helpful. I like to understand people’s challenges and help them find solutions.
I also love working with businesses from many different areas and industries. Without this company I never would have been able to work with non-profits, small businesses, large companies–all over the country.
When you aren't glued to your screens, what do you enjoy doing?
Playing guitar in my band. I would be a professional musician if I could.
What’s your guitar of choice?
Definitely a telecaster because it’s the sound that defined country, rockabilly and a lot of classic rock & roll.