New smallbusiness.com

Learning by Doing Always Beats Talking About Theory

We just flipped the switch on SmallBusiness.com’s first major technical and design upgrade since launching its daily-content Main Page section last November. (We call the new section, the “flow” side, to balance with the “know” side of the site, the 29,000 page SmallBusiness.com WIKI.)

The design changes are various, depending on what size screen you’re viewing it. However, the technical changes are all about increasing the speed of the site. And they worked. So long, little engine that could, but we know there are plenty of bugs that will show up.

When my business partner at Hammock Inc., John Lavey, and I decided to launch this part of SmallBusiness.com (the “flow” side), one of the reasons was to have a project that we weren’t creating/managing for a client that could serve as an in-house development “learning lab” for recurring content sites that are designed first for small screens but work well on larger screens. (In the past, we’ve worked in reverse.)

While I love that we have large clients (believe me, it’s a great thing), they often have their IT assets focused on things other than figuring out how to push the edges of responsive design. And, because our work is focused on content that changes daily, the typical kinds of web design challenges we face are more like large media sites than “digital marketing” corporate sites.

As a “project,” not a business (yet), we’ve already been able to take what we’re learning on the “flow side” of SmallBusiness.com and apply it to work that we had no idea it would be related to. (The same thing happened with the wiki side of the site.)

I’m constantly amazed how things that don’t seem to be connected, suddenly are.

I’m also constantly amazed  how “not knowing what you don’t know” leads you to do things that might not work, but provide you insight into what might.

Learning new things everyday is a great high.