Brad and Hilary Lauder launched the Bub Hub in 2002 when the Internet was still a new addition in most Australian homes. Over the years the couple has seen an explosion in the number of parenting sites launched on the Internet, including some fierce competition provided by large media corporations in Australia. But the Lauders have refused to sacrifice their honesty and integrity in the process of growing their website to the point where the Bub Hub consistently ranks as the number one parenting site in Australia.
The couple were inspired to start up a website shortly after the birth of their first child in March 2001. Today there are hundreds of parenting sites in Australia, but six years ago there were no resources on the Internet for new parents like the Lauders. So after some meticulous research conducted by physics graduate Hilary and Brad, the couple decided to create an online resource which would be available for new and expecting parents around the clock.
The Bub Hub was launched in March 2002 and featured a Directory of products and services available throughout Queensland. Initial feedback convinced the Lauders to expand the site to include listings of businesses, organisations and groups from around Australia. Today, the Bub Hub Directory is still the most comprehensive listing of products and services available to parents in this part of the world. Although listings in the directory are free, every submission is still human-verified to maintain the integrity of this most trusted resource.
Another popular feature of the website are the support forums. An immediate hit with mothers, the Bub Hub forums has membership exceeding 28,000 and a small army of dedicated moderators from around Australia.
In the past six years, the Bub Hub has expanded to include: tip sheets; articles; event calendars; eNewsletters; parent product reviews; free reward charts, the Jobs & Career portal; and more. Co-founder and marketing director, Brad Lauder says they are always looking at ways to improve the site and expand on existing resources for parents.
It is perhaps this ability to adapt to the changing face of Australia and the needs of their target audience, which has made the Lauders such a success on the world wide web. However, this is no overnight success story.
Co-founder and head of marketing and sales, Brad Lauder said, “It did take time. Once we launched in Qld the feedback was very positive but the revenue was not, it was not until our national launch on Australia Day 2003 that we became confident of our ability to keep the site going long term.”
In the early days of the site, Brad and Hilary were offered large sums of money by the manufacturers of baby formula for advertising space on the Bub Hub. But the couple refused to compromise their principles, choosing instead to abide by the World Health Organisation Code and not sell advertising space to milk formula producers.
Maintaining their integrity may have cost them some much needed advertising revenue intially, but Brad and Hilary have no regrets. With site traffic that currently stands at 200,000+ unique site visitors (Nielson’s NetRatings, March 2008) and a staggering 55,000,000 hits per month, the website has attracted big name advertisers, including Coles, Tommee Tippee, Big W, Bonds, Heinz, and Huggies.
Brad Lauder says promotion is a crucial factor in the success of any new business. “We distributed flyers to all the maternity hospitals and we have established a presence at the major baby and parenting trade show, the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo.”
“Some people have had a lot of success with Google Adwords. It doesn’t work for us because our website uses such broad search terms. But if your site relates to something very specific, I recommend Google’s adwords,” he said.
If you have ever tried to earn a reasonable income on the Internet, you’ll know how difficult it can be, especially in an atmosphere of increasing competition on the world wide web. In the face of such competition, the Lauders have managed to hold on to their place as the number one parenting site in the country by doing what they do best, listening to their target audience and meeting the needs of Australian parents.