Ryan Hanley

author, speaker, marketing geek

Tinkering and the Death of Content Creation

death of content creation

I do DIY web design (do-it-yourself for all you non-Internet lingo peeps)

death of content creation“Doing” web design yourself when you’re not qualified to design a website, in most cases is not a good idea and always costs you more in time than it would have in money to pay a real designer.

So you have to love it…  at least if you want your site to look good you have to love it.

Because if you don’t love it and you don’t know what you’re doing…

…designing your website is going to take a long time, you’re going to get very frustrated and you’re never going to be satisfied.

So you’re going to tinker.

Little changes…

Big changes…

SEO changes…

Plugin changes…

You’re going to read every

Then you’re going to implement every

  • strategy and,
  • tip and,
  • trick and,
  • tactic

…and you’re going to tinker.

What’s wrong with Tinkering?

Nothing really… there’s nothing “wrong” with tinkering.  Platforms such as Elegant Themes and Genesis from Studiopress and their stable of child themes (I use eleven40 on this site) make designing your own blog/website drag-and-drop easy.

Add a couple plugins, change a few pieces of CSS and you’ve got your very own original-ish looking blog.

If you’re up to the challenge of DIY web design more power to you…

…there’s definitely a sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished.

But is accomplishment our goal?

When you logged into your website today to tinker with a few of the settings was Accomplishment what you were after?

Did you say, “I’m going to tinker with my website for an hour or two in hopes of feeling some accomplishment today?!”


You didn’t…

You logged into your website and tinkered around for a couple hours because you thought that somehow in the magical land of the Internet the changes you made would get more people to:

  • Like your Facebook page
  • Comment on your blog posts
  • Sign-up for your newsletter

…dare I say, buy something from you?!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, other than the bare essentials of respectable blog design, none of the little tinkering does CRAP for your success Online.



What gives me the right to say this?

You are looking at the 7th iteration of www.RyanHanley.com since 2009.

That is a ludicrous amount of tinkering.

Tinkering Killed My Content Creation

So if all our little tinkering has ZERO affect on the success we achieve marketing our business Online…

…what should we be doing?

Content Creation!

You had to see that coming.  Content… Content… Content… Content creation (in most business cases) is paramount to success Online.

Think of all the amazing content I HAVEN’T been able to create yet because of the tinkering I’ve done on this blog.

I mean seriously… seven iterations… I just got a little sick thinking about it.

Disclaimer: Any level of expertise I may possess in the world of digital, social and Internet marketing is in large part a result of my tinkering… So it wasn’t a complete waste of time.  This little rant I’m on is more of a “Don’t make the same mistakes I did” rather than a “I’m so upset with myself I’m going to run head first into a wall.” 

But like a true American with Irish heritage from the Winterlands of Upstate New York…

Do I learn?


So today, after two weeks of grinding, I soft-launched the 3rd version (since February 2011) of The Murray Group’s website (my NY insurance agency).

ny insurance agency

Tinkering takes away from what’s important… Creating content.

If you’re interested in learning about why I designed the site the way I did, especially if you work in the insurance industry Click Here.  I’ve switched from Genesis to Thesis for The Murray Group website.

There are definitely reasons that I decided to make the changes that I did to the Murray Group website.  Most of those reasons have to do with SEO and conversions.

Even though SEO is a keystone in generating new web traffic, if the content isn’t there to search engine optimize, I can meta-tag till I’m blue in the face, no one is going to convert into a new lead.

…and that’s why we’re on the Internet in the first place as businesses, right?

To generate new leads?

New business?

To make money?!

The Rub

So here’s the little nugget of wisdom I’d like you take away from this post…

It took me over 20 hours to build the new Murray Group website… and I love it.  It’s the Tips no doubt.

The time I spent redesigning the Murray Group website is time I lost creating valuable content.  Good idea? Bad idea? We’ll see in time, but shit, I can generate a lot of revenue with 20 hours of content creation.

But I probably could have paid someone $1,000 – $1,500 to design the website the way I did, spent those 20 hours creating content that drive traffic to our website that would generate much more than $1,500.

I write content for this blog every week because I want you be successful.

So please heed my advice…

  • Buy a quality WordPress theme like Genesis or Thesis or,
  • Let a professional design your website then,
  • Don’t tinker needlessly and,
  • Create a shit ton more content than you currently have today.

Tinkering will be the death of your content creation. 

Thank you and Good Luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

P.S. If you’re looking for Digital or Social Media Marketing Speaker learned his craft in a real business for your next conference or event Click Here.


About Ryan Hanley

I help make sales easy through content marketing. My work as a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and Amazon bestseller author will help your business establish authority, attract an audience and grow revenue. Hire me to speak at your next event or grab a copy of my new book, Content Warfare.

  • Pingback: Forget Social Media and Create Valuable Online Content()

  • http://www.andrewstark.com Andrew Stark

    Hi Ryan,

    To me it’s the chicken & egg scenario.

    If you spend all your time on great content, but the design and formatting of your site suck, then people won’t want to spend the time reading yellow text on a black background with multiple flashing banners going off that lead to sites with no relevance to your content.

    Similarly if the layout looks amazing, but the writing is full of spelling mistakes and is all filler they will also move on to another part of the internet.

    So write great content on a simply designed site, and you’ve hit a home run.


    p.s. Will have to check out your podcasts via the mobile app you talk about.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      I couldn’t agree with you enough… That’s why I always recommend the Genesis Framework (http://s7108.p20.sites.pressdns.com/Genesis) for any would be blogger that doesn’t want to be a web designer. Simple clean and easy…

      Sticher is a great app for listening to podcast…

      All the best


  • http://www.probloggingsuccess.com/ Jane

    Oh yes Ryan, I had been there, tweaking my sites endlessly without creating any content for my blog. Yes I indeed feel guilty about wasting those hours.

    But again as you say, I’ve earned skills while I was pondering over my site – and now I offer design tweaks and Thesis Theme Customization as a service on my blog. I feel so confident about learning something on my own.

    But still…. I have missed creating so much content :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      What’s excellent is that you have harnessed the skills you learned tinkering and turned them into revenue generators. Too many people never monetize the skills they learn tinkering so the Tinkering is wasted.


      Ryan H.

  • http://www.khabarspot.com Ashish Joshi

    thnxx for clearing the doubt of many new bloggers like me. but I think tinkering might be useful also sometime, we can tinker but at the same time should stick to the basics. what say????

  • http://www.purrfectmoments.com Sheila Bergquist

    Amen! We probably all waste way too much time tinkering because we think we always have to improve the looks of our sites. Content is the important thing and thanks for reminding me of this!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Thanks for stopping by Sheila! I couldn’t agree with you more!

      Ryan H.

  • http://inspiretothrive.com Lisa

    I could really relate to this post Ryan and I have several sites and I don’t always get to keep up the blogs weekly. I force myself if it’s 10 days without one. Content is really key. And tinkering usually takes a lot longer than you think or anticipate. Minutes turn to hours and hours into days.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      That is very true, one simple little “fix” can end up taking hours to complete and now you’ve lost valuable time that could have been spent creating something to help you (client) sell more.



  • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


    Over the last three years what I’ve come to realize is that in the world of Web Design 9 times out of 10 less, much less, is more.

    Thanks for the article share.


  • http://wealthyturtle.com Mike Collins

    Excellent point! It is easy to waste away hours trying to make your blog look “perfect” but in the end it’s the content that’s going to determine whether you are a success or a failure.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Always Mike… Content is whole deal.

      Thanks dude.


  • Brent Kelly

    I guess I won’t tinker today:). Great information and so true. I think a big reason many of us tinker with websites is that creating good content is the hard part. If we tinker it feels like we are accomplishing something. Creating great content takes hard work. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      You hit the issue right on the head. Tinkering is easy and feels like you’re getting work done, but in reality all you’re doing is wasting time.

      All the best buddy.


  • Pingback: BizSugar.com()

  • http://www.trishjones.com Trish Jones

    Ryan, so very well said! I too am so guilty of this and part of what I do for a living is build WordPress sites.

    It’s the tinkering that takes up the time but like you, it’s taken me years of learning and so God help those who don’t know what they’re doing, but still feel the need to tinker!

    I hear you loud and clear, content, Content, CONTENT!!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      I just think of all the wasted hours I’ve spent Tinkering… and all the content I could have created in that time.

      Thanks Trish!!


Connect on social.