Experience can be your worst enemy

J. Paul Getty once said, “In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” This is especially true when it comes to the wild and wonderful world wide web!

The other day, I was on the phone with a client when he told me, “I get complimented all the time on how “ahead of the curve” I am with my blog. Truth be told, I’m just following your lead. ”

I’d like to say that I was a blog pioneer, but I wasn’t. In December of 1994, I purchased a home computer and within 8 weeks had taught myself HTML, the “language” of the web. I began posting pages and it wasn’t long before foreword thinking business owners in the community heard that I could make web pages and before you knew it, my hobby became my “business”. (A shift I would later refer to as a “perfectly enjoyable hobby gone horribly awry!”)

So while I can honestly say that I was a “web pioneer” I wish I could say that I “saw” the explosive growth of blogging coming and leapt to the head of that parade

I didn’t.

I was literally FORCED into blogging when I hired a client of mine to help me “remove the blocks” and get my first book published. Because of his vision, I moved beyond my comfort zone and into the new age of Web 2.0.

In times of rapid change, experience can be your worst enemy.

Last year (December 2006) I published my first book, Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results. Unfortunately, I began writing the book more than a year earlier in March 2005. By March 2006, I began to recognize that the book was NEVER going to happen if I didn’t clear some “emotional clutter” that kept getting in my way. I hired one of my clients at the time to help guide me.

I chose to hire a long time coaching client to get me moving forward on my book project. During one of our sessions, Ernie suggested that I launch a blog to help build “buzz” for the book.

My response: “UGH! Blogs are for people who DO NOT KNOW how to code in HTML!

However, he was relentless (that’s what a coach is supposed to do) and wouldn’t let me off the hook. Despite the fact that I had a perfectly good HTML web site waiting to promote my book (Find My Niche.com), I followed Ernie’s advice (for which I was paying) and I purchased a domain name and launched Beyond Niche Marketing to promote my book.

I continued to write articles and build links to the HTML web site for the book as I posted blog entries on my blog. Remember, at the time I didn’t “believe” in blogs. I was pretty sure that most of the “hype” around them was, well…. just that… hype. So, I spent the next few months giving less than equal attention to my blog and my HTML web site. I focused most of my energy on building links and writing keyword dense articles for the HTML web site.

It took my new blog 9 months to emerge from the Google Sandbox, which fortunately just happened to be just a month after my book was published. When it emerged, my blog was ranked #9 in Google for the keyword term “niche marketing guru”. WOW! That got my attention!

Last June (2007) after 5 months of the blog being included in Google’s index, I analyzed the log files for the HTML site and the blog site and was STUNNED at what I saw. The blog site gets 10X+ the number of unique visitors the HTML site gets.


Not only did I get MORE visitors….those visitors also tend to return time and time again. Maybe there was some truth behind the “hype” after all!

So I began doing some analysis. The reasons the blog site is SO much more popular than the HTML site include:

  • It’s so easy to add a post (a.k.a. FRESH CONTENT) that I do it more often there than I do the HTML site.

  • More content = more opportunities to appear in searches

  • Blogs make it easy to trade links with other blog site owners (increasing PR and authority of the site).

  • The plug ins available through Word Press make the site very attractive to the search engines.

The thing is, looking back the development/promotion of HTML site, I worked HARD to get the PR up to 3. HARD! Meanwhile, the rise of the blog site to a PR 4 was positively EFFORTLESS in comparison.

Thus my “conversion” from an HTML web developer to a blog FANATIC.

“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”

I’ve tried carrying my “message” about blogs to other web developers with whom I’ve worked and have been met with overwhelming resistance. This is probably why the J. Paul Getty quote caught my eye the other day. I too was resistant to change…. and in this case, my extensive experience was in a position to be my worst enemy.

Don’t let experience be your worst enemy!