In my last post welcoming you to the new site James asked a question in the comments.
Was curious though, as why you chose to redesign the site and move the domain, looking forward to hearing your post about everything.
Since a few other people have expressed similar interest in knowing why I moved I thought a post explaining my decision was in order. Forgive the mostly me-centric post, though hopefully there will still be some learning along the way. Ideally my experience will help you in some form.
A Little History
A few years ago a friend and myself started a web design company. Neither of us had any experience with business and while we were able to create and build websites we were somewhat clueless when it came to acquiring new clients. After a year or so we put that business to pasture. My friend decided to go on to other things and I decided to give it another go at building a web business.
For a year I mainly freelanced with most of the work being for someone I know who runs a hosting and web development business. I worked coding sites for some of his clients and also spent a good deal of time helping him build a new hosting site aimed at people like myself wanting a place to host sites for web design clients.
Somewhere along the way I picked up a few more clients and decided it was time to become a business and build a site for myself.
One thing I’ve never been good at is picking names. I don’t know why, but choosing names doesn’t come easily to me. Choosing one for my business was no exception. I wanted something generic and after a few weeks of finding every domain I thought up already owned by someone else I decided on yellowhouse.com. Once again the domain was taken, but I was getting tired of searching, tacked on the word hosting to the end, and thus a company name was born.
Am I Really A Web Host?
Adding the word hosting was against my better judgment. I never saw myself as a web host, but rather a designer/developer who happened to offer hosting services to clients. But when you have the word hosting in your domain people are going to see you as a hosting company first.
After a time I realized the domain didn’t make sense for me. I suspected some people who might have become design clients didn’t see me as a web designer and looked elsewhere. I decided to take stock of who I was as a person and where I wanted to go as a company. One afternoon while waiting for a client in a coffee shop I took out a notebook and started listing what I thought my strengths and skills were. They didn’t point to hosting.
Who Am I?
Knowing who I wasn’t was easy. Deciding who I was took a little more time and effort. At the time I was offering design and development services, seo and marketing services, and web hosting. The more I thought about it the more I started to see that my skills aligned most at the point where design and marketing meet.
My biggest strength as a web designer and developer is in building a search engine friendly website and my strongest skill as a marketer/seo was in building a search engine friendly site. Nice when that happens. While I can certainly do more, it only made sense that I should be promoting myself based on my ability to create search friendly sites than to promote myself as a webhost.
I immediately purchased a few domains I thought I might use and quickly put up one page on the vanseodesign domain, which announced something was coming and pointing people back to the yellowhousehosting site until that something was ready.
It’s Been A Long Year
That single page has been up for a long time. My original plan was to move last year, but I let one thing after another keep me from working on the new site. I did create a few designs and settled on a version similar to the one you see here now, but never got much further.
First it was client work that got in the way, then it was a bit of avoiding what looked to be a rather daunting task. Next it was a friend visiting for the summer, and in the end it became the norm not to work on the new site. As 2007 turned into 2008 I decided to make some resolutions. I’m usually not a big New Year’s resolution guy, but this year I felt like I needed them to give me back some focus that had been lost.
There are many projects I’d like to get to, but I felt moving to the new site was the most important and that many of my other ideas needed this to happen first if they were going to be successful. I resolved to focus on building the new site and moving.
Now I Feel More In Harmony With Myself
I know there are going to be some pains associated with the move to a new domain. I expect to see search traffic drop off for a few months before hopefully coming back. It looks like I may have lost some subscribers in the move and a new name does mean I’ll have to rebrand myself. I think all the pains will be worth it, though.
I now feel like this site and my business are a better reflection of who am I as a person and a business and align more closely with what I have to offer. The site, the business, and myself are now in harmony with each other. There’s still plenty of work to do, but at least now things are moving in the same direction instead of sometimes working at cross purposes.
This website isn’t finished. No website ever is. However, now ideas and projects I think will help me grow make more sense and fit better with where the site is and where I want to go.
Thanks to everyone who is still here and with me on the journey and thanks to everyone who’s helped me identify a few broken things so I can fix them. I hope I made the transition as smooth as possible.
If you have more questions about why I moved feel free to ask them in the comments below.
If you liked this post, consider buying my book Design Fundamentals