Founder of 3 major internet brands and hundreds of projects/failures spanning enterprise SEO, digital marketing, saas, ecommerce, managed services, telecom, etc. Presently managing SEO for dozens of brands you know.
SEO is what's enabled me to be a repeat, full-time entrepreneur.
My agency (northcutt.com) has helped dozens land countless, hypercompetitive 2 and 3-word rankings in national and international arenas.
I've fact-checked every ranking factor:
And written the most thorough, gritty marketing checklists online:
I've launched very profitable businesses in several industries and made multiple successful exits. My experience is in building brands from $0 to $5 million in revenue, 0 to 25 full-time employees. This means pivoting from successful creator to operator and powering past that growth hump where most brands fail. Happy to share my framework, lessons, and network.
Do inbound marketing.
Or, outbound/direct marketing.
Those are basically your options. :)
Since your question is so broad, it's tough to be more helpful than that. But as square one, I'd define a narrower beachhead market. Web design, development, and SEO are huge disciplines, each with many smaller disciplines beneath them, and quirks for various markets beneath that.
Currently, based on searching LinkedIn for companies that also offer that stuff independent of geography, you have 10's of millions of competitors. By refining to be more niche, you could easily lower that to 10's, which is usually a great, early move for any business. It can always grow more broad later.
Have you seen The Social Network? :)
I've seen maybe a dozen companies with many partners utterly melt-down. One of which I was a part of.
This is something you'll largely need to answer for yourself. Everybody thinks their situation is different, but where partners are concerned, greed always seems to rear its ugly head somewhere, in some way you never expected.
My advice is to have a strong operating agreement, that nails down what to do if somebody goes and blows all the company's money at the club or other (soundingly insane, but) real things that happen. Also, the more obvious stuff that's usually covered by your attorney and a boilerplate doc - tie-breaking votes, voting when someone's unavailable, etc.
I've been doing SEO for nearly 20 years now (about as long as that's possible), built 3 of my own successful businesses from it, and run a 12-member agency in Chicago these days.
Here's my take.
You mentioned a lot of great tools there, but keep two things in mind.
- These tools tend to overlap like crazy, but they're all mediocre at just about all but one thing. That's if you're lucky.
- Having a system to use a tool is infinitely more valuable than the tool itself. Tools alone are worthless.
This said, here's a basic SEO tech stack that I'd consider:
- Ahrefs: they have the largest backlink database and a great web interface. Though, they also have the worst API by a lot (Majestic wins that).
- SEMrush: they have the best scrape database of Google search results.
- Screaming Frog: the best tool that I've seen to crawl your own site (by far). Somewhat of a learning curve, but pays dividends once you get good with it.
- Moz: Mostly just for their keyword explorer, which is quite good. Tracking MozCast is nice too, though that's free.
- BuzzStream: The most impressive outreach CRM that I've encountered.
- Linkdex: for really intense per-keyword proposals.
That's a strong core and how to use it.
Best of luck.
Had a great call with Corey. He provided very useful information and insights into my project, including the introduction of new options that I hadn't even thought of. Definitely feel like I've got a better understanding of my situation as I move forward.
Corey is a great person to work with. He's very professional and quick with his ideas. Highly recommended as a client and as a person. i would always have time to work with him!!
Northcutt Consulting provides exemplary service and immediate results.
Corey and I have had a close professional relationship from his time at Ubiquity. We at phpFox always got a quick response from him and his team, and he was always so pleasant to work with. He's well-informed within his field and cares for those with which he interacts.
Corey is one of the smartest and most insightful people I have met in my ten years in the web hosting industry. He is one of the first people I turn to for advice.
Corey was always a pleasure to work with. I was always impressed by his technical knowledge and ease of communication which made him a true asset to his vendors, clients and colleagues alike.
Corey is a customer driven individual, who represents his customers with respect and dignity. He understands what they are looking for and finds a way to bring that to them. Had an excellent experience working with Corey and would work with him in a heartbeat in the future.
Nothing but good words!
In all the years I have worked with Corey he has always proven to be an expert in his field, delivering on time and often going the extra mile to make sure the outcome is what the client expects.
We had worked with Ubiquity for years and saw them grow substantially. As with any growing company there were growing pains, but Corey was always good to deal with, level headed, and honest. He was a major part in building a great organization that cared for its customers and was a pleasure to work with. Overall, a great guy who obviously knows his stuff, has passion for what he does, and is easy to get along with.
I have had the pleasure of working with Corey for a number of years, specifically in the data center and managed hosting vertical, and report only positive experiences. Within just a few months of working together Corey became our "go-to" partner and subject matter expert for Chicago based projects. Corey offers an unparalleled knowledge of the Chicago IT landscape and for this reason remains a major asset to my book of business. If you are looking for someone who is customer facing while also technically competent, Corey is your man.
Was a great person to work with. Knew his stuff and always made sure things were done quickly and correctly. Overall one of the best people I have ever worked for.