How to Change Your Website from a Library to a Bookstore: The Website Makeover Inspired by @amyafrica and #blogchat

Amy Africa

The question,” Is your site a library or a bookstore?” has been haunting me for weeks.

I suspect that it is one of those things that just popped into Amy Africa’s head and she tweeted it on impulse. The transfer from her thought to my mind has been keeping me awake at night.

I wondered if Amy would consider my website a library, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted it to be perceived as a bookstore. After all, I was a professional consultant, well trained in the “clients come from referrals, not advertising” mindset. To shift from “I’ll post a few links to my playbooks” to a full court press was a huge jump that I wasn’t ready to take.

Our website originally looked like this:

WEC Original

The first changes were painful baby steps. The newsletter subscription request was expanded and a promotion (ouch, am I really saying that?) for a customer retention checkup was added. We created a button to schedule a free initial consultation and added links to our recent blog posts.

WEC Before

Our subscriptions went up, blog traffic increased, and there was immediate interest in the checkup. It turned out that some of my current clients didn’t know that we offered that service. Who knew?

Even with the changes, library vs. bookstore kept creeping into my thoughts.

I looked at Amy’s website and had immediate withdrawal symptoms. It seemed too promotional for a conservative consultant like me. I went back to my site said, “job well done” and ignored those haunting thoughts.

Then Mack Collier (@mackcollier) decided to invite Amy to lead #blogchat on Sunday night. I was caught between wanting to hear what Amy had to say and the fear that she would push me forward.

I have a deep seated respect for Amy because she validates every thing she recommends. I also consider her a friend. I spent the week before #blogchat requesting (insisting?) that my followers and clients participate because I knew the value of Amy’s information.

The conversation continued long after the session ended. Then the unimaginable happened. Amy called my website a library. She was blatant about it.

Amy Library

My haunting became a full fledged nightmare.

It was the call to the action I had been resisting. We help our clients move forward in this fast paced technology based business environment. We show them how to blend channels, departments, and divisions into a seamless shopping experience. Some come willingly. Others resist the process. I completely understand the latter group now.

After considerable thought, I asked, “What should our website do?” The answer – Introduce us to prospects, provide resources for our clients, and generate revenue from our playbooks. We’re not there, but we moved closer yesterday.

If our website isn’t serving its purpose, why would we continue to invest the resources required in maintaining it?

The changes were simple. We updated and multiplied our newsletter subscription requests per Amy’s recommendation. We also presented the customer retention checkup in two formats and added our telephone number at the top. I have always advocated having contact information on every web page. Amy recommends it in multiple locations.

Will the new look make a difference? It’s too early to tell. We’ll be monitoring it carefully and provide an update later. We’ll also be adding new features and revising the content. We tweaked our blog, too. It is also a work in progress. I’m grateful to Mack for having Amy on #blogchat and Amy for sharing her knowledge.

WEC After

If you have comments about our changes, please let us know. If you don’t want them public, email me at If you’ve experienced a makeover or in the process, please share with us. We’d love to hear your story.

And, if you need to convert your website from a library to a bookstore, give Amy a call.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kelly Queijo

    The changes you made to your web site gave it a new energy and excitement! I hope you get the results you seek. #Blogchat seems to have inspired many of us to take a new look at our sites. Congrats on being able to make changes so quickly.

    .-= Kelly Queijo´s last blog ..How I Survived Blogchat with Amy Africa =-.

  • Debra Ellis

    Thank you, Kelly. I look forward to seeing the changes on your site.

  • Lois Geller

    #Blogchat was really a great learning experience for me. We design and build websites, and ours looks like nothing at all.
    Well, with all of my new learning from the brilliant Ms Africa (my friend) and Mack Collier…the elves in my office are working on a makeover.
    I hope it works out as well as yours, Debra!

  • Debra Ellis

    Lois, it’s the classic case of the shoemaker’s children being without shoes. Sometimes we get so caught up in helping our clients we forget to take care of ourselves. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product for your website. You know that Amy will stay on this don’t you? You better get cracking.

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