The building of this site actually started well over 12 months ago and is part of a long term vision I have of providing great resources to the community. For many years I had wanted to rebuild the site using SharePoint so that I could show the world just how much you could do with it. I soon however had to make a business decision. If I was going to rebuild the site in SharePoint, then I had to massively increase my knowledge in it in order to do so OR pay someone with more knowledge than I to do it for me. Given this was a business decision, I decided that paying someone would be cheaper in the long run than trying to do it all myself.
Lesson #1 – Know your limits and don’t be afraid to pay others to do the work.
At this point I was still going to host it on SharePoint, but I realised that I needed to know more about Online Marketing – I mean what’s the point in building a great site with great information if the world does not know how to find you or the information…
So I invested in learning. In April last year I attended the first SBMU (Small Business Marketing Unleashed) conference in Houston, TX. This event was focused on how to cost effectively do Online Marketing and was aimed at Small Business – all my target audience for this site. At this event I met a number of great folks like Sage Lewis, Mack Collier, Stoney DeGeyter, Matt Bailey, Jennifer Laycock and over the course of the three days got to understand that my desire for SharePoint as a basis for my site was going to be very risky indeed. As part of the conference, Sage, Stoney and Mack literally pulled my site apart in front of an audience to show me all the things that were going to make it harder for people to find the site and the information on it. Their suggestion was to build the site in WordPress on a Linux box. NOOOOOOOOOO… I WILL NOT GO TO LINUX. They said that “sure you might get WordPress running on Windows but only a few people have done that before…”
Lesson #2 – Don’t be afraid to adjust your plan when the experts around you say you are wrong.
I then spent a bit more time over the next few months digging into WordPress and what it meant for me. I liked the look of it and played with a hosted WordPress site on wordpress.com so that I could get a feel for the potential it had to offer. I liked what I saw… a LOT! I then attended ANOTHER SBMU event in September, this time in Columbus. I went there with more knowledge than before and this time focused on Social Media marketing and how I could possibly learn about this as a way to reach people. I also met a lady called Amber Nasland – she focused on Branding and the many long discussions I had with her confirmed my own beliefs that making a consistent brand is so very important. Also as important is that Branding is NOT just about your graphical design but how customers interact with you from start to finish. Branding is everything if you want people to remember you. Once more, I learned a stack of things that I did not know. It gave me even more food for thought.
Ok – so that’s enough for today – I’ll leave the next part for a future blog post next Monday.