With the launch of our new website, I am taking the opportunity to launch this blog as well. My plan is to address topics related to my life here at BlueBolt, including: life inside a web development and design agency, small business ownership, client relationships, digital marketing, the DotNetNuke content management system (CMS), and whatever else strikes my fancy.
First, a brief history. BlueBolt Solutions began its life in the spring of 2005 when I joined forces with Dave and Chris Risner, two brothers that I had become close friends with when I moved to Chicago in 1999 (I’m originally from Michigan). We’ve tried a number of things over the years, but one constant has been that we have focused on building great web site for our clients, and in all cases we have provided content management tools that allow our clients to perform routine content updates. In other words, we have sought to “empower” our clients, which is the theme, if you will, of the latest iteration of our site.
From the beginning we have always preached that web sites should be constantly updated. Not only does this serve to make a company’s site more useful to its audience, it is also a critical part of any SEO strategy. In order to enable (or “empower”) our clients to constantly generate content, we have always provided content management tools so that our clients could add and update their site content without having to call (and pay) us to do so. In the early days of our business, a CMS was often not something that our clients requested when they asked us to build a new site … but we gave them one anyway because it was “the right thing to do.”
As such, it was critical that we select an open-source CMS platform because our clients weren’t necessarily going to be eager to pay for something that they didn’t even know they needed. Enter DotNetNuke (DNN), which was at version 3.x at the time we began to deploy it. There were a number of reasons we settled on DNN back in 2005: it was open-source and thus, free, it had an very active community providing support, it had a uniquely vibrant marketplace of 3rd-party vendors supplying add-on modules, skins, and services, and having originated inside the walls of Microsoft, the platform continued to benefit from a tight relationship with its one-time sponsor. Over the years, we have established partnerships with other CMS vendors (notably, Bridgeline’s iApps suite), but our use of DNN has remained constant and our relationship with community has grown over time. DNN remains the cornerstone of our strategy of client empowerment.
In the fall of 2009, we launched our PackFlash brand of DotNetNuke modules and skins. With the dawn of 2012, this collection of modules has been refined to become the suite of tools we call “Constellation,” which offers a set of content management tools that we believe are truly unique in the world of DNN. Again, the point of this effort is to offer a set of tools that enable clients to easily deploy a variety of content to their web sites, and Constellation allows them to do this and to then expose and create relationships between the content in a variety of ways.
So to summarize, for the past 7 years BlueBolt has focused on providing solutions that give our clients increasing control over the deployment of content on their websites. The point of all this, and what we have preached to our clients, is that they should use this power to be constantly adding and updating content on their website to serve the end-goal of improving their SEO and boost their marketing efforts. For example, a regularly updated blog makes both Google and readers happy and both will reward the blog with visits.
Looking ahead to 2012, we seek to go beyond offering a toolset that can enable content publishing and actually provide services related to the creation and deployment of content, and most importantly, measuring the effectiveness of the content in furthering lead generation efforts. As we evaluate the best ways to offer such services, I’ll use this blog to outline our thinking and talk about our new service offerings.
Happy New Year!