Over the Christmas break I finally decided to trash he rather stagnant blog over at stephenpratley.com instead turning it into a ‘personal portal’ of sorts that reflects the wider range of activities I get up to at work and beyond.

Since introducing an ecommerce blog on my agency’s site at ShineMarketing.com, my own blog had stagnated a bit and needed a new angle.

The problem is also one of ‘personal branding’ which has become more of an issue since social media exploded over the last few years. Some people know me as the MD of Shine Marketing, some as an ecommerce consultant, some people know me through affiliate marketing, some people know me as a rower-turned-cyclist.

Few are interested in all these hats.

I have a small number of quite obsessive interests, with outlets for each

1) Building and promoting retail ecommerce businesses
This is now taken care of by writing the blog at Shine Marketing which is aimed very much at ecommerce managers looking to learn some of the tips I’ve picked up in building and managing ecommerce businesses since 2000.

2) Cycling
I don’t really write a lot about this as, it’s a relatively new past time and my performance has yet to catch up with the hours I put in to it. Random posts pop up on my Twitter feed, cycle routes from MapMyRide occasionaly end up on my Tumblr blog, and I have started creating a cycle reviews site to write about the endless stream of kit that makes its way across Hampton Wick High Street from Sigma Cycles to my office.

3) Running an ecommerce agency
Taking up nearly every hour of my days, yet getting little airtime on what goes on behind our shiny red front door, this is what I’ve decided to use this blogger account for.

It’s somewhat different from item (1) as it’s not about ecommerce itself, but the challenges of running a business that can meet the increasing expectations and many new entrants into the ecommerce marketplace.

Although sometimes inspired by rants (like this morning’s little spat with a cowboy SEO firm) I don’t want this to degenerate into the sort of content found on Clients From Hell. That would be too easy, and doesn’t help anyone.

Instead it’s inspired more by Jonathan Briggs, professor of ecommerce at Kingston University whos’ post “Lets Start Client School” set me thinking that there are few places where clients can find out about the mystique of what goes on behind an ecommerce agency’s doors, why apparently similar sites can differ in cost by millions, why performance related deals may not be the attractive proposition they seem, and other issues that our trade press are badly placed to discuss, and agency chiefs are rarely honest about discussing in public.

Hopefully others will join in and contribute, all I ask is that they do so in a similar vein to the GetSatisfaction pact which I wholeheartedly endorse as a model for good service.

I’ve a long list of ideas, but if you’re struggling with an ecommerce business, I’m open to any suggestions.