There’s a common saying in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) circles along the lines of:

It takes 10,000 times more time/money/effort to acquire a new customer than it takes to retain an existing customer.

Evidence of this is commonplace; introductory offers, improved interest rates, free Parker pen and pencil gift set and enticements for new customers for which existing customers are ineligible.

Now I occasionally claim that I am writing this blog purely for me, myself and I. What I mean by that is that I tend to write what I want when I want and don’t feel pressured to produce content on a regular ongoing basis. However, that’s not entirely true; if it was I could equally well write this stream of consciousness into a A5 notebook locked in my top drawer where no-one would ever see it.

Let’s be honest - people are blogging to get noticed and everyone likes feedback (even if it’s negative feedback) and it’s fantastic if, just occasionally, someone says ‘God - that post about LinkedIn and pole dancing made me laugh’.

A recent comment by Bill (which I will reproduce here) rather took me by surprise and made me pause for thought

I like your blog, but just one thing about it frustrates me - you “tag” posts, but I can’t seem to find an index of these tags. (?) For example, I like to read your comments on emacs - but without such an index, I am forced to use Google to search your site.

Now here was a potential customer (an interested like-minded reader or even hopefully, that rare animal, a brand new subscriber) for my business (my humble blog) and what was I doing to welcome him, to encourage him, to help him find his way around my blog ? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

After giving this some thought, I decided to take prompt and decisive action:

Many thanks for popping by and bothering to leave some constructive criticism about the lack of decent navigation options on this blog. There’s a couple of reasons for this:

  1. I recently moved this blog to Drupal 7 and I didn’t actually know how to add tag clouds, archive pages, previous/next post, related posts or search functionality.

  2. In the past, I have played with all of the above on both WordPress and Habari in an effort to keep casual readers lingering for longer and my gut feeling was that none of these additions made a blind bit of difference to Pages/Visit and merely cluttered up the blog.

However, prompted by your comment, I have now added ‘Tags’ together with a search box on the sidebar and an ‘Archives’ tab allowing you to browse by year or month.

Unfortunately, I never heard from the mysterious Bill ever again. A cautionary tale and a valuable lesson in CRM for all small-time bloggers.