The great content renovation (is it your turn?)

September 15, 2020

I grew up in a constant state of home renovation.

When I was 2, my Dad built a pergola (or was it a balcony?) at the back of our tall and skinny inner west Sydney home. Toddler Sarah spent her time in a playpen, balanced on the new beams, looking a storey down into the garden (I’ve seen photos, it was safer than it sounds).

At 3, we moved to a 1920s farmhouse (just before a flood and a crash in the wool market. I am told it was not ideal). It had a mix of floral and shag carpet. Embossed wallpaper. Rooms painted blue. Pink. Purple. Some with spots.

When a brown snake opened the door into the family room by the kitchen, it was time for a change.

We lived without a roof on the bathroom for a while. Built an internal laundry. Spent some time on cold cement floors, saving up for carpet. We started to move through the house. I loved pulling off wallpaper as Mum steamed it. Behind it were sheathes of old newspapers, and I wanted to read every single one. I’m pretty sure I cried taking away the rubbish in a wheelbarrow.

As I finished up primary school, we went again, pushing the house further south. Finally, my room wasn’t connected to my brother’s.

The door that had always separated us had no handle and would lock shut on anyone in his room. If that happened (which it did, a lot, “by accident”) occupants of the room would have to climb out the window and return to the door with an adult and a butterknife.

I was consulted on the design features and chose the colours. I had Dad build me a bookshelf into the old window space. I like change, but not enough to get rid of the original windowsill, where I’d sit on Christmas eve looking for Santa.

Over 30 years, carpet has needed replacing. Rooms repainting. Power points rewiring.

And, thanks to a massive storm that ripped off roofs and flooded rooms, my parents are about to go again.

(Let it be known that this timing does not work for me as they are currently no help in MY home renos, and we all know that their lives should revolve around me.)


Why share this epic tale?

Our farmhouse?

It’s like your website. Never done. Always evolving to meet changing needs.

Sometimes stuff breaks, and needs fixing.

Sometimes you just need a little more space.

Sometimes, your stuff outgrows the technology the house was built with (just compare the number of powerpoints required 30 years ago to today).

Sometimes, the space you had doesn’t work how it once did.

And so, some advice

If you’re starting out, think about what you need now. Don’t just know that you can grow, but plan to grow. Write your list of ‘must haves’ for now, and for later. The list will change, but the structure will better support your growth.

If you have a site that doesn’t feel like you anymore, take a serious look and ask what it needs. A repaint, or a full rebuild? Or just a few structural adjustments here and there. In some cases, a splash of paint will do. But more often than not, if you don’t address structural issues, you’ll cost yourself more (in time, lost opportunity and actual dollars) in the long run.

If you’ve grown too much...maybe it’s time to downsize, or re-organise. Websites have this terrible habit of growing, unchecked. “We need a page for this. It’s just one. It won’t hurt anything.” < but one becomes two, then three, then more. And all of a sudden you have something you can’t update and maintain without a major project. You lose content, and your audience gets lost in their journey.

If this is you, you’re a content hoarder, and honestly it might be easier just to come in with a bulldozer, knock the place down, and start again. If you catch it early enough? Call in a content Marie Kondo* to help you get back on track.

*It me. I am content Marie Kondo. But louder. Maybe I'm content The Home Edit. But with less rainbows.

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