Can you think beyond your website?

the new blog

This weekend, you’ll see the muddling stages of the new website. It’s the first significant refresh in about five years — but it has a long ways to go to truly be more effective and valuable (and in fact, it may be less effective than the old site.)

Ugh. Here I am experiencing a marketing challenge you undoubtedly will encounter as well. You think an improvement needs to be made, and see things in dangerous isolation. ?”I need a new website,” for example, without looking at the whole picture: The why of the website, and its role in your business.

This blog has always been something of an out-of-left field part of our organization. We earn most of our revenue from advertising in regional Canadian and US construction publications (and a national online magazine in Canada). The blog, as I note in the “about” page, arose during a major business crisis in the middle of the past decade. Our clients were deserting us, and we were in a business death spiral.

I realized then that we were not delivering value to our clients, many of whom were purchasing one-time ads to support their own clients in special profile features. I knew one-time ads don’t generally provide much marketing “lift” but how could we deliver enough value that the clients would at least believe they were being treated fairly.

This blog became part of the response — originally intended as a client service tool, I would share enough useful marketing information that any of our clients could easily gain enough knowledge that they might pay consultants $500, $1,000 or $5,000 to achieve.

As things evolved, I discovered that few of our clients actually directly cared about the blog contents, but it has attracted readers from around the world. It still doesn’t earn me much money — though the associated books (even though they are now several years old), continue to generate a few hundred dollars in revenue each month. There have been some surprising spin-off results including enhanced SEO results from all of my sites and enough knowledge about Google’s ad-serving program (AdSense); that I became a help forum moderator there and now enjoy annual expense-paid trips to summits and meet-ups in California. (As a bonus from that process, I purchased some Alphabet (GOOGL) shares, and they have done well.)

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that has provided many indirect benefits, but hasn’t really achieved its original mission. And I cannot be sure that the revised version will do much better.

This leads to a tough question. What is the goal/purpose of your website? ?Is it to put a cover on your business face; or is it the powerful introductory and maintenance marketing and reputation-building tool it should be. ?If it is the latter, it needs much thought, care, and integration. It is a vital part of your lead development process; and can be an important support for your client service systems. But it cannot be seen in isolation.

It is more than design, and more than back-end technology. Since it is such an important resource, you should not leave it to junior staff, or the blind advice of a single consultant or agency where the advice may arise from only one of the site’s?dimensions (say its appearance, or its technical speed, or search engine optimized effectiveness.)

These points noted, I am not complaining nor will I bash myself too hard for failing to organize, plan, and integrate this site design with the bigger objectives. has developed an extensive collection of resources, insights, and practical tips — and even if its direct benefits have been limited, it has ultimately provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in traceable revenue and results over the past decade.

However, for your own site, this is a situation where you should probably do as I say, rather than what I do. Think carefully, research, and strategically plan your site in line with overall business objectives — you should expect a real uptick in leads and sales conversions, at lower marketing cost, if you do.

Do you have observations about how you succeeded (or if you dare, failed) with your blog site redevelopment projects. You can email for a one-on-one conversation, or if you prefer, post your comments here.

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