Yellow Pages – Red Face

Yellow Pages and Web DesignToday saw the end of something that has bugged me for a whole year – our Yellow Pages contract. Wow, that’s an expensive, useless heap of nothing for a webdesign company.

After two years of growing the company, mainly by word-of-mouth, this time last year I decided that we might be able to expand our local customer base by advertising in the Yellow Pages. I was wrong – embarrasingly so. We have had precisely five calls. None of those people were doing anything more than trying to find out general pricing.

To be honest, I should have been smarter after seeing that the “webdesign” category contained only half-a-dozen listings. I can see how the Yellow Pages might be useful for plumbers, electricians, taxis and pizza restauraunts, but I wonder when the last company found a webdesign firm through the Yellow Pages? Around 2005 probably.

I think our poor returns from the Yellow Pages can be explained not only by the popularity of onlice search, but also by the fragmentation of the webdesign business. Is it possible for a company to make it as “A Website Company any more? Does every web firm need to specialize in order to survive? I believe so. Here at Alledia, around 90% of our customers are looking for a Joomla or Drupal website and the all find us online. The number of people who call the office looking for “A Website” falls every year. Nowadays, even many technological novices know enough about websites to know what niche they’re looking for.

So what do you think?

  • Is print advertising dead for web development companies?
  • Have you had any success with the Yellow Pages?
  • Can web companies still survive as generalists?

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