Transitioning from Angry Ant Web in 2023

This one’s all about my transition and how I migrated to the new brand along with my customers to what is today Get Leads AU for all Wagga Business Owners needing website management and hosting. To be clear Angry Ant still exists and is not replaced by Get Leads although we offer many of the same services.

On the 1st Oct 2023 I sold the business name Angry Ant Web to my partner of 16 years. It was a hard decision, but in the 16 years I built hundreds of sites for local Wagga businesses and had alot of fun.

In this article, I will talk about my journey and my success over that period with Angry Ant. I’ll mention some of my favourite customers, a big focus on the technology that ran our websites as the tech geek of the partnership and much more about the web development and web design processes what worked and what didn’t work. At the end of any chapter, I think it’s super important to look back and figure out what you learnt and what you can apply to make new customers even more successful.

Marketing Background

Where the Angry Ant name came from

In 2007 I started Angry Ant with my business partner while we both worked at Kapooka full-time. It was his idea to start a business that we could do on the side out of hours in order to make some extra cash. We eventually came up with the name Angry Ant Web simply because we thought it would be first in the phone book and any other listings and directories.

Although I’d worked in Web for many years, even for an agency in Sydney in 2001 it seemed like a great idea to get back into it and utilise a symbiotic relationship that would flourish over the years. I had skills in Web Development and he had some good skills in Web Design and so we ran the business in partnership while we both worked at Defence.

Angry Ant Web Early Years 2007 – 2010

I built a content management system (CMS) initially in ColdFusion, which is a language still in use today. I was working with the Adobe based language on a daily basis at Defence and with experience right back to 2000 I felt at home here and could do custom work. We built sites for Steel Supplies, for Coolamon Steel and for Riverina Imports all Wagga business websites our stength was local and being able to custom work. This was all before any mobile responsive requirements where relevant.

Around 2010 – 2012

In this period we moved to a backend system called Drupal, I’d used for several church websites I’d built and learnt quickly that using an Open Source system that was “built for you” and had thousands of developers was going to be far better than building our own. We also jumped into the Magento space and built a few eCommerce stores and even partnered with a larger agency Koowii in Sydney back then which became Nerdster acquired by Crazy’s parent company. Around 2011-2012 my partner moved from a full-time job at Defence to a full-time job teaching web design. This was good for both of us and for the business that had back then only a few websites per year.

Angry Ant 2014-2018

By 2015 we picked up a large project with Charles Sturt University under the Angry Ant banner and built a website for a multi million dollar Dung Beetle species project involving tracking species throughout Australia. I took leave from Defence in order to work on this project and my business partner eventually went full time leaving his teaching job. Things were slowly picking up and we were doing around 10 projects per year. I was pretty particular when it came to growing numbers counting our projects and income on a post year basis to see how we were going. What grew the business more than cold emails or cold phone calls was local connections.

We had trust with our customers because we had a face-to-face presence that they could call or ask questions and they knew we’d pickup the phone and call them by name. Angry Ant Web focused though on a diverse project base and would take anything we could. We worked with builders, plumbers, electricians, solicitors, and accountants. We worked with retail and wholesale manufacturing and online sales utilising Shopify. We even used the DIY platform Squarespace for some websites where budget was a constraint. I will never again build a new site on this platform under Get Leads but can see how it sucks in those who want to save money and do things themselves.

The most precious thing I learnt from these years was how important relationship and trust were with my Wagga website customers. I also learnt when your gut tells you shouldn’t do a project it’s usually right. Yes, I had some large projects in the eCommerce area that just didn’t work out. This was mainly due to there being far too many customisations in the original website structure and outsourcing the work while maintaining full transparency to the customer on this.

In 2018 – 2021 part time Angry Ant

Between 2018 and 2021 I reduced my days at Defence from 5 to 4 and then to 3. I enjoyed building websites for customers and solving their marketing problems through online solutions. The main thing I enjoyed the most was taking a website design and working through the development and the final content process. During this time I also joined a premium US based Agency support group (yep, support group). From this, I became far more aware of the importance of the discovery and messaging processes and how it wasn’t just a designer’s responsibility to solve problems with visual concepts but it was just as important if not more so for everyone to be involved throughout the process and for “everyone” to feel a sense of ownership on the project work they worked on and took responsibility over. An initial keyword discovery and messaging workshop became part of my SOPs for all new clients in the business I knew I’d eventually move to in 2023. Get Leads AU is that business.

Regional Web Developer

And then came Regional Web Developer, a brainchild of mine, in 2020. This was to network outstanding creatives in regional areas vetted to work together and specialise in what they do well and win the regional digital marketing work that should be theirs.

Through this journey I again realised designers trying to use Squarespace without the development skills needed for a scalable websites were only doing half the job. While developers building websites from design templates were also missing elements of professional design consistency, brand and the wow that often comes from something that looks outstanding for someones business.

I had others join the network during the period 2021-2023 such as Simple Pixels in Wagga and articulate Pear in Griffith. I was also able to enlist freelancers into the network but all of this was to capture the funding of government and regional projects clearly going to agencies in the cities. To be honest Angry Ant played no part in RWD other than me being one of the two 50% owner of Angry Ant Web. people part of the network didn’t join because of the association, they joined because of the goal and the journey the brand promised to take them on.

I was always quite strong with SEO, ranking Angry Ant Web business for many years in the top 3 for “Web Design Wagga” and doing ongoing backlink and performance improvements that worked against our competitors. When my partner, a designer, went full time, there was a change in the overall strategy from being web developer and design to more “marketing and branding”, a partnership I was 50% owner of but the technical director. As Seth Godin would say any partnership change in strategy should be announced and made clear before it happens.

While I understood the need to change, he went full time and desired to pursue something that would earn an income he wanted to see where branding and marketing would take him. We continued to get the right type of customers and the right type of work, which contributed just as much to me as it did him. By 2020, not bragging, I was making enough for my family and more than my part time income from Defence. It was time, but when COVID hit the benefits in having something that was a reliable source of income such as Defence was a lifeline I wasn’t willing to give up until 2022.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learnt a lot about modern day marketing and what people really want in terms of their desire to be part of a story that they need to be invited into.

I’ve learnt how an effectively designed a website not just in terms of visuals but in messaging can bring up to 800% more conversions. I became a huge StoryBrand big fan and entered their online courses and discussion groups with Business Made Simple. I joined many, many other marketing groups with other agencies here in Australia and throughout the world from Arizona to Rome I had unpaid partners to bounce my ideas and particular strategies off every week and and to guarantee success through the exptensive experience of others. All the while everyone I’d meet would tell me, “Jase, you need to get out on your own” regardless of my long-standing partnership and security, in June 2023 I announced to my partner my intent to “dissolve my partnership” Angry Ant Web which unfortunately was a bit of a hard time for both of our situations, my goal was to take over all operational aspects of the websites and clients I’d been doing since the start and put them under a separte brand that I could help them the way I wanted to without some of the frustrations that Web Designers vs. Web Develoeprs often have.

What I learnt from this was that it should have happened a long, long time ago despite others and that local people in regional Austrlia invest in relationships and trust with business partners far more than they simply do in a name.

It’s the person that they talk to regularly that also gives them the communication and service they expect and reinforces that you’re part of their story and desire their success just as much as your own that wins the day.

Post life after Angry Ant Web into Web Design & Marketing in 2024

I’ve had so much support from clients in the last few months these clients are now using Get Leads managed website services instead of Angry Ant and quite a few after the announcement lined up to get websites upgraded or rebuilt. I have work now booked out till the end of 2024.

Marketing Services:

  • Custom Web Design & Development
  • Strategy
  • Search Engin Optimisation (SEO)
  • Website Management, Security, Updates, Patches

In the last three months, I have moved Get Leads into position number 3 after 16 years of ranking Angry Ant at the same position. All without a single change to any backlinks on old websites. So what, yes, I totally agree, I’m competing for a local market and “Web Design Wagga” low monthly volume is easy compared to starting from scratch in say the Sydney market. The biggest win is that the transition for clients from Angry Ant to Get Leads has been super smooth and I’ve had the opportunity to provide them more in terms of their reporting and communication which I’d always wanted to do in the past but not been able to in a partnership.

Stay tuned, I have two other project websites that are unrelated to Regional Web Developer or Get Leads I’ll be pushing out in 2024. These are niche website design and development services that were built over the last few years and in one of the two it’s quite a large site I’m hoping will get even more traction with regional and agricultural customers.

Wagga Web Desgin

Jason Greenlees

Jason is the CEO of Regional Web Developer, one of the original founders of Angry Ant Web and a passionate WordPress educator. If you're interested in learning directly from Jason, you can book him for a one-to-one session.

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