I have a confession for you today: I originally didn’t plan on having a website for The Blog Dept. In fact, I didn’t plan for its existence whatsoever. I wanted to create social media templates, media kits, and maybe some other blog-related graphic templates down the road – and maintaining another website in addition to my lifestyle blog wasn’t part of that equation.
Plans change. The vision has to change with it. And so we roll.
Why I Decided on a Web Presence
I started thinking about what I would call my business and from there it just sort of spiraled out of control. I knew what I needed in order to truly be a successful business and one thing lead to the next: Business name, social media accounts, logos, branding, and finally a website. Crap… I need a website.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing I love more than a fresh WordPress install… *sniff sniff* Ugh I love it. But really – was I about to make a whole website for this? Was I seriously going to maintain a second blog? Yes, I just said blog. I knew that the best way to get people here meant that I had to give them something in exchange for their time.
That meant supplying valuable information. I’m talking stuff people in my target audience (bloggers, business owners, & creatives) actually care about.
And so next thing I knew, I was researching domains and social media accounts until I landed on the perfect name to encompass everything that I wanted to do. There was very little investment on my part since I already maintain a hosting package that allows an unlimited number of websites. And so, I went for it!
I Started a Blog
I’m a blogger first – always. I’ve been blogging for over 10 years now, so it feels more natural to me to just set websites up as blogs – focusing specifically on the content as the ‘end game’ rather than enticing visitors to poke around the rest of my website or to check out my shop. So that’s what I did. I used one of the (one too many) themes that I own to set up a space and began posting content.
I wasn’t sure that I was interested in selling my products from my own website. Handling your own eCommerce is a big step and a huge responsibility. Instead, I started selling my digital goods on Creative Market and Etsy.
And that’s how it was for… oh about 6 weeks. That’s when I went viral and I realized that what I had, just a blog and outbound links to my products… just wasn’t enough. I was embarrassed that my website didn’t really do a good job of showcasing my services or what I can do. Worse, it pointed away from my content!
That’s when I decided that I needed to transform my web presence from just a blog, to fully-functioning website. I realized that I missed out on a lot of opportunity. They came for the content, but I had nothing else to show them. And so, that spike in traffic came and went.
Starting from Scratch
After an unfortunate set of events that lead to me parting ways with a developer friend of mine (they just didn’t have the time to dedicate to my project), I ultimately decided to purchase a new WordPress theme and customize it, rather than have a website built.
I found myself look a theme shop called Hello You Designs and ultimately, I purchased a theme from there.
I can’t tell you the number of hours I have spent putting together this website. I’ve lost sleep over it… possibly a little bit of my sanity even. At one point, I had been at my desk so long, I couldn’t remember when I had slept last and if I should just take a nap or actually go to bed. Oops.
I had to consult Jennifer from Hello You Designs multiple times while I customized my theme – not because of anything to do with her work, but because my coding knowledge has its limitations. She was amazing. Even in the middle of her very busy personal life, she took the time out to help me – more than she she have. Really, top notch customer service – easily the best I’ve ever received from a WordPress theme designer.
Ultimately, I’m really glad that I went this direction. I feel like I made the right choice for by business in the long term by putting forth the extra effort.
Why You Need to Transition
I have every base covered on this website now. It shows a portfolio of some of my design work, showcases a shop of some of available products, lists the services I offer and how to hire me, and offers a blog full of valuable information for the audience I want to attract. It’s a full and complete website now.
If you are going to offer services or are attempting to market a brand, you need to just accept right now that you not only need a website, but you need one that actually functions like one. Don’t get me wrong – blogging is totally where it’s at! But a full-scale website that allows your target audience to look around and see what it is that you do is key.
Imagine you came here to read a blog post (like this one!) and you otherwise knew nothing about me – you didn’t know that I am a graphic designer or that I sell anything. You wouldn’t think to go running to see if I’m on Creative Market. I might very well have a potential customer and lose them – all because I didn’t bother to make life easy on them and show them everything in one neat package with a big, shiny bow. That’s why you need to make the transition from having just a blog, to launching a full-scale website for your business.
Answer True These Questions 2:
1. Do you have a website yet for your business?
2. Do you use your website for blogging at all?