When Web Developers Build Their Own Website...Without a BlogOne year ago my business launched a rebranded website.

The design had a very specific purpose: to intrigue the marketing and/or content agencies to do business with us.

It needed to be memorable and to briefly explain the type of work we perform for agencies.

We did not design it with SEO in mind or with any inbound marketing.

We expect that most people who visit our site are already pretty far down the sales funnel, somewhere between the evaluation and deciding phase.

Our initial website goals were:

  • Create a visually interesting site that would stand out to agency creatives
  • Establish a pricing range for potential customers
  • Answer the most obvious questions about doing business with us
  • Demonstrate WordPress skills to show capabilities beyond implementing a template

But none of these goals demands a blog.

Wait, You’re Building a Website Without a Blog?

We’re firm believers in blogging—if it supports your marketing plan and your website goals.

We began blogging back in the early 2000s before we even had our website, MantyWeb.

But when we did a rebrand, our entire marketing plan was set to revolve around referral marketing and relationship marketing.

More than 90 percent of the work we’ve done in the past five years was directly from introductions, referrals, or in-person networking.

And with agencies, that seemed to be what worked best for us.

It made more sense to spend time answering questions on social media or attending networking events vs. spending a lot of time writing blog posts.

New Market Expansion

And then things began to happen which led us to expand our target market.

When we started the business nine years ago, our primary market was small businesses.

We love the idea of helping mom and pop grow, but we weren’t able to do this and make a profit.

So, we moved on to working with agencies. We love that work.

But in the past few years of doing almost exclusively subcontracted work for agencies, we miss working directly with end-clients and having projects we could really “own.”

And we want to figure out a way to work profitably with businesses who aren’t large enough to hire an agency yet.

Adding small businesses to our target market requires us to do a couple of things.

We need to redefine small business to include “small” but not “micro” businesses.

These are businesses that have to be incredibly effective and efficient in their digital marketing with little to no marketing budget.

We must create processes that allow us to do work that lives up to our standards, but that we can replicate more efficiently than custom work.

And we need to rework our marketing plan.

So, we began with re-evaluating our marketing tactics.

Yes, referrals still made sense. And yes, we would still be doing networking.

But now we had to revisit SEO and inbound marketing.

And blogging.

Setting New Goals

We knew that visitors drawn to blogging content through organic SEO were likely to be strangers.

Unlike the rest of the site, we expect they’re at the awareness stage of the sales funnel.

So, we set new goals specifically related to the blog. Ones which reflect the more “getting to know you” nature of the top of the sales funnel.

Our blog goals are:

  • Improve SEO
  • Answer often-asked questions (from agencies and small businesses)
  • Demonstrate to small business owners that we’re also business owners and understand the realities of running a small business
  • Introduce our team’s personality
  • Highlight other companies we partner with
  • Engage in conversations with potential customers

New Design Approach

When we did the rebrand, we didn’t add a blog to the site, and we didn’t even include a blog in our designs.

So, as we were evaluating new goals, we were also thinking about the design approach for our blog—something that made sense for the site but serves the specific market and goals we had for the blog.

We love our website.

But the design was done explicitly for people who work in agencies, who see websites often and enjoy seeing something new and different.

For the blog, we had a more straightforward design in mind.

Visitors must be able to easily find what they’re looking for without having to think too hard about consuming the content.

We are doing these two things to support our goals:

  1. Spotlighting our team members and involving more of them in writing so agency partners and potential small business clients to get to know our team through their blog posts.
  2. Spotlighting other companies who are our partners. We have a narrow range of services and love to pull others into projects when it’s something we don’t offer. So we’re highlighting our partners more than they might be in a standard blog post design.

Still a Work in Progress

Our blog is still evolving. And about once a week, we tweak something.

As a web development company, we have the luxury of a “work in progress” website, which is great because I am not an ideal web development client.

I have 15 new ideas every time we make any change to the website—some in direct contradiction to changes we may have just made.

Because the blog is brand new, we don’t yet have a lot of analytics and feedback.

But once we do, it’ll help us make fact-based decisions about whether the current design is succeeding, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on that.

If you do visit our website, be sure to give us your feedback.

We’d love to hear what you think about when planning your blog.

Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash

Jill Manty

Jill Manty is co-owner of MantyWeb, a web development and technology company, and her main job is building relationships. Whether it's as part of the business development cycle or managing a project, her job is to understand how the clients work, so doing business with MantyWeb is the best and easiest part of their day. As a mother of six, Jill is uniquely qualified to build relationships and manage human and operational resources.

View all posts by Jill Manty