ScottGingrich Welcome back! We’ve been talking to Scott Gingrich. Scott owns Piggybank Technology, a web design and marketing firm devoted to delighting their customers with marketing websites that deliver measureable results. In Part One of this interview, we discussed why a blog is the other website you’ll ever need.

Linda: Do you have any cautionary tales about the mechanics of setting up a blog?

Scott: Many. Here are two.

    1. We had one client who came to us about 4 months after they launched a simple WordPress site with an off-the-shelf template. Their plan had been to start simple and grow the site over time, which is a perfectly valid approach. However, now they wanted to do things with the site that would be really over-reaching what WordPress can do well. They incurred a substantial cost to remake their site with Joomla.Lesson: Understand the vision for what you want your website to be over the next couple of years and make sure the platform you choose handles that two-year vision, not just what you want to get started with.
  • A client with a very popular blogsite had been hacked and there was malicious code throughout his articles and elsewhere. He had never thought twice about securing his WordPress site or keeping it updated. It was a very laborious and expensive exercise to rescue his site.

Lesson: You may be able to install WordPress in a couple of minutes, but without securing it you may be looking at some extra costs and time down the road.

Linda: What advice do you have for someone who has an existing website and wants to add or transition to a blog?

Scott: We’re doing a lot more website conversions these days. Generally, it’s relatively easy to take an established website and put in a content management system such as Joomla.

We prefer to convert the whole site to be run on a Content Management System like WordPress or Joomla instead of tacking on a blog page to the site. Here’s why:

  • Once someone realizes the power in being able to add and edit pages themselves, they’ll want to do that for all pages of their website.
  • We can integrate the blog content into the rest of site, making it more dynamic and interactive (for example, by displaying the most recent blog posts in the sidebar of other pages).
  • You’ll get a consistent visitor experience across all sections of the website, which is better for the marketing flow of the site.

Linda: What are the pros and cons of having your blog integrated into your site versus on a separate site?

Scott: This is a big debate. I don’t think there’s one right answer that covers all cases. For most of my clients it comes down to one question: Can you afford to properly set-up and maintain two sites? The answer for most small businesses is NO.

Yes, it’s quick and easy to setup a blogsite. However, to set it up so that it converts visitors into leads (not just followers) is another story…a story that becomes trickier if we need to get visitors to a second site!

As I answer this, I am in the midst of planning a separate blogging site to act as a lead generator for our business and to expand our business model into new revenue streams. In doing this planning, we have considerations such as:

  • Building in lead capture devices (like email opt-ins and Facebook “likes”)
  • Keeping the brand consistent with our main site
  • Developing the “voice” for the new site

If you can handle doing two sites well, great. For most local small businesses, maintaining one is more than enough of a challenge!

Linda: Thanks again to Scott Gingrich, and his wife and co-owner Jennifer Gingrich. I really value the connection we’ve made since I moved to Barrie in September 2010. You do great work in helping local business owners set up a website right the first time, or rescuing them from situations where they had a bad start.