The Ad_Lib Blog

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The Cobbler’s Children Have New Shoes…

You probably know the little story about the cobbler who was so busy making and repairing shoes for his customers that he didn’t have time to make sure that his own children had decent shoes on their feet.

We’ve all come across someone with Cobbler’s Children Syndrome…

… the hairdresser with an awful haircut.

…the builder whose house looks like it might fall down.

…the marketing consultant with a rubbish website…

Okay, it’s time for me to admit it: I’ve been something of a cobbler for the better part of four years now.

Over this time, I’ve been fortunate to work with 100s of clients to help them improve their online presence and visibility through great website search engine optimisation and best practice digital marketing practices.

I’ve spent 1000s of hours helping them attract visitors to their websites that might not otherwise have found them, and converting business that they might not otherwise have got.

And I’ve built up something of a reputation for doing a good job of it.

They say that the first step on the road to recovery from Cobbler’s Children Syndrome is to admit you have a problem.

Well, I had.

My own website was worse than rubbish.

When we consider that the majority of B2B buyers conduct most of their research – usually without us being aware that they are – long before they think about getting in touch with a potential vendor, it’s crucial that a website delivers both on content and design. An article from earlier this year on makes the imperative for good website design and informative, relevant and fresh content crystal clear.

And in an interesting article about the ‘halo effect’, User Experience experts, Nielsen Norman Group talk about how even just one negative experience of a website’s usability can ‘tarnish’ the rest of the site in the eyes of a visitor.

Hmm, how worrying is that.

We all know the value and importance of content marketing in generating leads for our businesses, and invest lots of time, energy and money in creating great blogs, infographics, and video to drive potential customers to our websites.

But what if they get there and don’t like what they see?

What happens then?

If website traffic is the number one success metric for content marketing, then we need to make sure our house is in order before we invite visitors in!

So, if the first step on the road to recovery from Cobbler’s Children Syndrome is to admit you have a problem, then the next is to recognise the need to do something about the problem… then commit 100 per cent to doing it.

I’ve just spent the last number of weeks doing this myself.

I took time to research my options.

I spoke with a number of web designers and chose the one that demonstrated the best understanding of my needs and who went to the most trouble to demonstrate that understanding.

I spent weeks writing, refining and optimising content that I believed would clearly communicate what I do to help businesses thrive and grow.

I laboured over the detail of the user experience, the calls-to-action, the title-tags... everything. (Thanks for your patience, Brendan at

I already know that it’s been well worth it.

I hope you like my children’s new shoes.


Damian Donnelly, Ad_Man Creative Marketing Insight & Strategy, Belfast, Northern Ireland