A 10 Year Reflection

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A 10 Year Reflection

As our company continues to responsibly grow year over year, its fun to reflect on the past 10 years of growth and compare it to how life was like in 2009 regarding website design, best practices for digital marketing, and growing a web design business from the ground up.

Roughly 10 years ago, I was just getting started with slowly building a web design business. Those days were pretty hectic, as growing a side gig while working 40 hours a week was anything but glamourous. Almost every week night, weekends and occasional phone calls while at my day job (which I’m not proud of that sneaky part, looking back) all contributed to the slow but steady growth needed to sprout a new business into something sustainable for the long haul.

In 2012, I officially jumped ship from my day job to pursue Thrive full time with my wife. I remember the conversation we had in the parking lot of a local frozen yogurt shop, where she convinced me to quit my job and make the leap. I was the hesitant one, always raised with a “what if” mentality, which most people carry around with them. But she convinced me that the “what if you don’t” highly outweighed the negative, and the next day I officially put my 2 weeks notice in.

I’ve never been one to take irrational risks, and have always opted to side with “safe” decisions when it comes to risk. Although, 10 years later, I’ve learned that making risks is 100% a necessity if you want to pursue bigger and better things. It’s ok to be cautious, we call these “calculated risks,” risks that are highly measured and researched for a probable outcome that is positive if followed through. We’ve made plenty of calculated risks over the past 10 years, most of which have proven to be successful, a few not so much as well.

Where Web Design Was in 2009

Something fun to do is sit back and compare the website standards of 2009 to 2019. Many who work in the field of online marketing understand that 10 years in this world is the equivalent to 50 years when it comes to most other industries. Technology is constantly changing, and it’s up to us digital marketers to stay on top of best practices in order to stay relevant, as well as to continue to add value to the services we offer to our clients.

A few “Where we were in 2009” facts:

  1. In 2009, responsive web design was just a twinkle in someone’s eye.
    Why? Well, the smartphone was an infant, which means that mobile searches were simply not a priority for people, or online marketers for that matter.
  2. WordPress was gaining popularity, but wasn’t nearly as mainstream as it is today.
    Back in 2009, we were still coding most of our sites in HTML, and CMS sites were just getting a grip on the market. And as scary as this sounds, I was still using tables too, I know…*bows head in shame.*
  3. Facebook was around, but Instagram wasn’t, or at least anything significant enough to pay attention to yet.
  4. SEO existed, but the algorithms for ranking a website were much different.
    I vividly remember designing websites with the full intention to literally write a novel on the home page, packing in keywords here and there, and so on.

Fast-forward to 2019

Today the industry has dramatically changed from 2019. The world revolves around mobile devices and search, social media couldn’t be a bigger influencer of traffic, and SEO remains an evolving stronghold of Google.

For us, today Thrive is a 9-person well-oiled machine. Since joining with my business partner Aaron in 2015, we have grown each year, not only with personnel, but with welcoming many new clients, and continue to aim for the same sustainable growth year after year.

It’s really fun to reminisce on the past 10 years, as well as to look forward to so many great opportunities we have ahead!

Until next time,
Josh Olswanger


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