Your Website Should Always Be The Center of Your Universe


The parable of the wise and foolish builder:

The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn’t fall, for it was founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of mine, and doesn’t do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. Matthew 7:24-27

Respected colleague and good friend Lee Odden tweeted this week:

I’m a huge fan of Dennis as well, but I had to take exception to the notion that marketers should somehow abandon their sites and simply work through third party sites to engage and convert customers. I disagreed and Dennis calmed me down…

Whew. I believe this tweet all came down to perception and context. As a business buyer or consumer, of course my website has never been the center of their universe. But it is the center of my universe. The fact is that your perspective customers have a life on the web that may or may not include engagement with your brand. That makes your job difficult since it requires that you find them, figure out what interests them, and engage them in a manner that brings them to you.

Mack Collier recently shared:

I’m in total agreement. Businesses and consumers alike are seeking out fresh, relevant, entertaining, and informative content more than ever before. This publication continues to grow its reach and engagement… and I wrote a single blog post in the last two weeks! Why? Because readers see that I’m both passionate, knowledgeable, and trusted. Unlike a clickbait Facebook Ad, I’ve built a reputation with you – my readers – and you continue to share and react.

If you’re not getting the results that you’re seeking from the center of your universe, I’d encourage you to listen to a recent Side Hustle Show: SEO for Bloggers: The Simple Way to Get More Free Traffic from Google. Matt Giovanisci shares the secret that I’ve been shouting about for years… produce better content than your competitors and you’ll win search and social. While that’s marked as simple, it does take a ton of work to produce the best articles on the web. But it’s rarely impossible!

Your Universe or Theirs?

Are you able to freely contact perspective buyers that have shown interest in your products and services where you are marketing to them?

If you’re utilizing Facebook Ads or other platforms where you don’t have an email address, ability to directly message, or a phone number… you don’t have that prospect. They’re outside of your universe. A follower on Facebook isn’t your prospect, it’s Facebook’s prospect. In order to speak to them, you have to pay a fee to Facebook. And, Facebook not only restricts how you might speak to them, when you might speak to them, and dictates the price to speak to them… they can also remove the ability altogether. The Facebook house is built on sand.

That, of course, doesn’t preclude that I fully leverage Facebook as a marketing channel. I do. However, my expectation for success and a return on investment is that I drive that consumer or perspective buyer to my site where I can capture their contact information, continue the dialogue, or even have them convert… away from Facebook. When I have their contact information is when they’re an actual prospect.

Outside of these resources owning your prospect, there’s another limitation. When you run out of money, you run out of leads. When I invest in incredible content on my site, I continue to drive leads. In fact, the article I wrote on How an API works is over a decade old and still drives a thousand visits a month! Why? I provide great detail and even a third-party video that helps to explain the concept.

Your Homework

Here’s some homework for you… use a tool like Semrush and identify an article on a competitor site that’s ranking well or one on your own site that isn’t ranking well. What can you do to improve it? Are there images, a diagram, or a video you can add to explain it better? Are there primary or secondary data available on the web that supports your explanation or theory?

Challenge yourself to write an amazing article… almost a mini-book. Include a background, sections with headers, and illustrate your article better than any of the competitors. At the end of the article, include a great call-to-action that entices the reader to discuss the issue with you further or to promote your products or services. Now republish the article with today’s date on it. Promote the article every month via social channels… and watch it blossom.



  1. 1

    Hi Doug– given that Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are both showing on their properties, but still link to the canonical, how does affect your perception that websites should be the center of your universe?

    Might there be a scenario where marketers have a canonical content repository that lives across multiple channels, of which the website, email engine, Facebook, app, and other channels are just distribution points?

    Could we decouple the “website” into a Content Management System, CRM, CDN, marketing automation system, and other plug-ins that comprise the whole?

    What if you are a chain of furniture stores and you drive most of your traffic from Maps, Facebook, magazines, TV ads, click to call, and so forth straight into your stores? This is what we’ve tested with the #1 furniture store on the planet, and the ROI is better than sending them to the website.”

    My take is that the idea of a “website” isn’t so clear anymore, since there are so many integrations and repositories of data.

    How do we adapt or keep a website-centric, Earth is the center of the solar system view?

    • 2

      Hi Tanner,

      It’s a solid question. I hope I didn’t misrepresent my opinion on this. I’ll take your example, for instance. If I’m a furniture store and drive most of my traffic from maps, Facebook, magazines, TV ads, click-to-call, etc… I have to realize that I’m dependent on those resources moving forward. If I bet the farm on Facebook, they could just as easily pull the rug out from me in an update. If it’s TV advertising, the station may get sold and rates may explode.

      My point is to leverage everywhere you find prospects, but don’t ever become dependent on a third party that you can’t run your business without. I hope that helps!

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