If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you will know that I’ve been having some MAJOR issues with our COTCOVERS.com site and how it’s listed on search engines.

When we re-made the site to add online purchases and clean up the layout, we inadvertently messed up some code that, in effect, caused search engines to miss our description.

And while we still had the #1 listing on engines like Google, there was only a link showing www.cotcovers.com and no description to help visitors know what we were selling.

In effect, our listing looked like this:

Cot Covers 

Instead of:

Cot Covers | Mortuary First Call Stretcher Covers | Quilted With…
To see 15+ styles of beautiful, quilted cot covers, designed to fit your cot or a dressing table during ID viewing, click the link above.

And what was happening was that people looked right past our prime real estate and clicked on our competitors’ sites, because ours didn’t look like a Google or Yahoo! listing.

I spent weeks agonizing over what was wrong.  I spent $30 on a Godaddy.com tool to help with search engine optimization.  I called everyone I know.  And I got nowhere.

Then I looked over the site, perused every page of the WordPress.com software – I use it to host the eCommerce blog theme that powers our Cotcovers.com website – and found the one section that was set to “hide site from search engines.”  Why that choice was checked off is a mystery, especially considering that we get so many of our first-time orders from funeral directors who search the Internet for “cot covers” or “quilted cot covers.”

I made the change before leaving on vacation (9/6 – 9/13) and promptly forgot about it.

Then, I got an email from an excited friend who noticed that Google, after five days, had re-indexed the site and found the description.

Is it any coincidence that we’ve had five new orders since the change?

Truth is, we’ve done a PILE OF WORK the last few years to teach people that our cot covers are a better alternative to the cordura or fake fur stuff that they usually buy.  We’ve added great features to our covers and watched as the competition copied our innovations.  We’ve run ads, published articles, spoken at conferences, exhibited a trade shows far and wide.

We’ve done all the important legwork, and to have orders drop off because of a stupid website issue was REALLY, REALLY scary!

So I’m glad we’re fixed.  And I’m really glad that so many funeral directors have experienced the awesomeness of our cot covers that they are talking about them to their friends and the industry is starting to buzz about our quilted covers.  It’s a great feeling to know that creating a good product, getting important feedback to make it better, building relationships and providing the industry’s best customer service have combined to make us so successful.

Still, we couldn’t do it without our awesome client firms.  You know, the ones who take a chance on our small company and buy one of our covers.  We know our stuff isn’t cheap – although we’re usually cheaper than the plain-color ones from Ferno – so we appreciate when funeral directors call back to order more.  That’s just about the highest compliment we ever get, and we’re getting it on a weekly basis these days.

I’ve never been afraid to talk about how much we sell, how often we sell it and how successful or unsuccessful we are at trade shows and with advertising.  And I’m not worried about telling you that our August 2009 was 1/4 our sales of August 2008.  Fortunately, because of the computer fix, our September 2009 is on track to be about 125% of our September 2008 sales.

Even considering the current economy, our numbers through July were up 10% over last year for the same period.  And even considering August’s numbers, we’re still up 7% on the year and I expect to finish December neck-and-neck with the amazing 2008 numbers.

Now, if I can just get our new uniform store (www.eliteuniformstore.com) to start cranking out the sales, we’ll be in great shape!