Big, fat lessons on rebuilding your blog

Ian Lurie
  1. Let someone else do it. And stay out of their way.
  2. There is always a way to export/import your content. Don’t believe someone if they say “You’ll have to cut and paste it.”
  3. Analytics should work from day 1 (mine did).
  4. Trade three useless graphical features for one good typographical element. You’ll win every time.
  5. Make sure you’ve got your site set up for the social graph protocol.
  6. If you’re changing the design, don’t mess with the structure. Do that later on.
  7. Don’t frak with the code until the site’s done. Your designer may hate you if you do.
  8. Don’t compromise on readability. It’s why folks are there, really.
  9. Your readers are pretty tolerant, actually. If stuff breaks, they’ll tell you. Pay them back by fixing it right away.
  10. Focus on your writing. Don’t start tweaking things on your own. Let the designer handle it.

By the way, the Conversation Marketing relaunch went beautifully. I followed all of these rules. Most of the time.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. It can be very tempting to start to do things yourself, if you start to design, develop, and change things – you will see a lot of your time being sucked, and before you know it, nothing major productive that has been done.
    Do what you do best, and get someone else to do the rest.

  2. I do like the redesign alot. Very easy on the eyes….I just miss one thing…
    Where’s the Ian photo?
    It’s like Where’s Waldo…I keep looking everywhere for his picture, I just can’t find him!
    Nicely done on the redesign : )

    1. I just hate seeing photos of myself, anywhere. Maybe if I someday have massive plastic surgery and come back looking like George Clooney.

  3. nice, redesign.
    I disagree. I think it is good to play with code yourself. I can’t hire a designer for my site just yet, but I know enough to mess around with the style sheet and add elements to my theme that weren’t in the original design. Just have to make sure you can back up everything before you make changes.
    As Wasim said, doing the development stuff can suck up your time. I think you have to restrict yourself and only work on the simple tweaks that will add to your blog. You don’t need to do a redesign, but you can learn how to change the link colors.

    1. Hi Susan – yeah, you have a good point. I learned to do all the coding BEFORE I turned it over to someone else. That really makes a difference, because I know what can and can’t be done. Learn first, then delegate.
      Hmmmm. That’s a good blog post…

  4. This is a timely post. I’ve tried to redesign my site myself. Crashed it once and had to redo it. Now I’ve stopped while I figure out what I want a designer to do.
    Your new design is very nice.

  5. Great advice and it’s right on time for me. I am looking to reconfigure a site that I thought I was building to convert new clients, but I realized I was too involved in the redesign and not involved enough in the content overhaul.
    I’d love to see your suggestions on how to tighten up a blog that has shifted in focus. If you start out blogging about your favorite bars but then you decide it’s smarter to review beers because it gets you free beer to try, what’s the best way to archive irrelevant posts or optimize old posts without losing credibility with your readers and/or search engines?

  6. Another one would be don’t panic if your traffic falls off a cliff as it will more than likely come back pretty quickly. Can be horrible when you put your lovely new design up to see the traffic vanish but stay calm would be the advice!

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