Staff photo by Connor
NEW ULM — One local man is looking to provide affordable website development and advertising to small businesses.
Foresee Studios opened its doors in January as a fully functional business to provide New Ulm companies with a local, affordable option for managing their online presence.
“Your website for a small business is everything, it is just as important as the building you sit in,” owner Adam Towles said. “It is the first thing 90 percent of people find. I do not think you should have to break the bank to get something good.”
Towles will build and host websites, design and manage social media pages, create ads and provide search engine optimization (SEO) to make businesses easier to find.
Foresee’s mission is to provide the easiest experience for a customer. In some cases, Towles runs a company’s social media pages along with designing ads for them.
“I want someone to be able to come in and say ‘here is what I need and I do not want to have to know anything technical,’” Towles said. “Take that pain out of it.”
Being local is another advantage for Towles. It means he can sit down face-to-face with a business owner or meet them at their work to learn how best to present them online.
“The key to understanding how to promote a business is understanding what they are and what they want to do,” Towles said.
One growing service for Foresee is SEO, which is how a website lands on the first page of search engines like Google.
Towles presents it as almost simple. A website needs to have the keywords and content that its customers can search.
“There is no black magic. It is just that good content delivered properly will eventually do well,” Towles said.
One trick for SEO Towles shared is called backlinking. A backlink is when a website or social media page links to an outside resource, such as another website.
Backlinks are taken into account by search engines like Google to decide how high a website lands in search results, Towles said.
Unfortunately, backlinking can be abused. Some companies sell networks that can give websites numerous backlinks.
While abusing the backlinking process can be profitable, Google and other search engines can eventually identify a culprit and that profitability flatlines, Towles said.
While he prefers more organic ways, a company can simply purchase the top slots on Google for a time.
This option, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), is one of the most effective ways to get to the front page but can break the bank.
“I try to make it so people do not have to do that because that is very expensive, but it is always an option if someone needs to be the first search tomorrow,” Towles said.
Towles grew up in New Ulm and studied at South Central College. There he stumbled upon web design and marketing by accident.
“I hate to say it, but I just needed an elective and I tried a few different things and the web programming class was by far the hardest class I have ever taken, but it was awesome,” Towles said. “I just fell in love immediately.”
After graduating he wanted to wed his two areas of study together, but had to wait as he worked through various jobs.
While working for Kemske, Towles started Foresee as a limited liability company in 2008 and began subcontracting it for Kemske.
He decided to move to it full-time last year. So far, Towles’ portfolio has grown to include multiple well-known local companies including State Street Theater Company, the New Ulm Area Foundation, Plaza Garibaldi and more.
The name, Foresee, is a play on Towles’ work to stay ahead of online trends.
“That is kind of what I like to do, try to stay ahead of the curve,” Towles said. “Not what is popular, but what will be, for things like online trends and social media.”
Currently located on Minnesota Street, Foresee will be moving to 1227 N. Broadway St. on March 1.
To contact Foresee call (507) 276-7752, email [email protected] or visit foreseestudios.com.
Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at [email protected]