R.Squared started way back in 1999 by me, Randal Rust, as side-business and has grown steadily over the years. I grew up in the Springfield, Ohio area, close to Urbana, where I was surrounded by farmers and other self-employed people that owned their own businesses and had an entrepreneurial spirit. Although farming wasn’t for me — I wanted to be a professional baseball player — I knew more about it than I thought, especially the work ethic and problem-solving mentality. I knew there was a real possibility that I would have my own business someday, and when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it.
The First Website
The first client was a small environmental engineering firm in Cincinnati by the name of SRW Environmental Services. I designed covers for their proposals. They really liked the work. Soon, they asked if I could help upgrade their website. We met, we talked, and then I built my first commercial website. To this day, I specialize in working with engineers and businesses with a similar mindset.
Involvement in Web Standards
Soon after, I became involved in the Web Standards Project, a group that was committed to pushing website designer and developers to follow the standards and specifications that were published by the World Wide Webs Consortium. Through that group and another one in Central Ohio, I made a name for myself as an expert in web standards and, eventually, website accessibility compliance.
Compliance with Government Regulations
My understanding and expertise of Federal and State regulations that applied the Americans with Disabilities Act and other rules to websites and applications led me to projects with the Ohio Historical Society. They hired me to work on several websites they produced, including Ohio History Central, which was one of the first online digital encyclopedias.
Online Digital Encyclopedias
Ohio History Central was an interesting project — and pivotal project — for many reasons. First, it began my involvement in the design and development of online encyclopedias. To date, I’ve built more of them than any other company, and I’ve worked with organizations throughout the United States. Second, it led to the development of the Encyclopedia Content Management System (eCMS). eCMS is a content management system that I built from the ground up. Finally, I met Harry Searles. Harry was the head of the Media Department at the Historical Society, and he brought me in to help with accessibility compliance. Today, Harry works for R.Squared and produces the articles on American History Central and Ohio Civil War Central.
Although eCMS has been used to build nearly 10 large-scale encyclopedias, I took the core of it and made modifications so that it could be used for different business, including real estate agents, developers, lawyers and school districts.
Always Learning and Adapting to New Trends and Technologies
Back then, today’s popular content management systems — WordPress, Joomla and Drupal — were not nearly as robust as they are now, and they were difficult to use. My system provided customers with an easier, streamlined system.
I’m always tracking trends and anticipating where the future will go, especially with website technology. Over time, it became very clear that WordPress was going to be a system I would need to switch to. I stopped using my content management system and started using WordPress for all of the sites I build, including the encyclopedias. The new encyclopedia systems is called eCMS WordPress, or eCMS WP.
Search Engine Optimization
Around the time I started working with the Ohio Historical Society, I became interested in a concept called Search Engine Optimization. It was fairly easy for me to understand and implement, because of my background in advertising and copywriting (I graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a BS in Advertising). This led me to write pay-per-click ads and managing campaigns on Google, Bing, and Facebook.
I have many skills and I work with a diverse group of customers, but I enjoy working with organizations that:
- Know they need to do a better job communicating their message to their customers, and realize they need help doing it.
- Understand the value of a long-term relationship with a marketing company they can trust.
- Realize their marketing efforts needs to grow and adapt with their organization — and their customers.
Projects with a Purpose
While other companies are more interested in winning awards, I enjoy helping organizations solve problems through technology and marketing. I want to work on interesting projects that help repair shops grow their customer base and non-profits increase membership. I’m not interested in reinventing the wheel because that ends in websites that are difficult to navigate and use. I don’t want to build websites or solutions that confuse customers or keep them from their purpose. Customers want information on-demand, or they want to complete a task quickly. Don’t do things that get in the way and frustrate them.
I’m interested in working with organizations for the long-term, helping them grow and making sure they get a return on their investment. I’m interested in working on projects that increase my knowledge and my team’s knowledge. You might think your project isn’t exciting, but I might. So don’t hesitate. Give me a call, send an email or chat today.