Graham Onak

Owner at GainTap

I’ve spent thirteen years in digital marketing, four and half as the owner of my own firm.

Before starting my firm I managed digital marketing for several small businesses and was a digital analyst in Tribune Publishing’s online advertising operations group.

We operated as an internal agency within The Tribune Company that planned and fulfilled advertising for nationwide clients across hundreds of publishing properties including The Chicago Tribune, WGN, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, KTLA and WPIX. I had the pleasure of working with hundreds of sales people, managers and VPs from the 18th floor of the iconic Tribune Tower.

The Tribune Tower before it was sold to developers and turned into luxury condos. There’s probably someone sleeping where my old desk was, much like I would do during late nights in the office.

Billy Goat Tavern 2011, I’m on the left in the navy blue t-shirt. This was one of our frequent work happy hours at The Billy Goat, a Chicago institution and watering hole for journalists and Tribune employees for decades.

Since running my firm I’ve helped 63 businesses with their online marketing, performed hundreds of website audits and worked with many talented individuals. I’ve visited clients from across the country and formed true partnerships with them in the growth of their business. It’s as humbling as it is exciting.

Dulith Herath (left), founder of Kapruka.com and Grasshoppers.lk and me (right). Dulith is an Eisenhower Fellow and chose to meet with me to discuss search engine optimization and small business marketing. Dulith’s next stop was meeting Jeff Bezos (yes, that Jeff Bezos). I made it very clear before our meeting that Jeff and I were very different. He still wanted to meet me, so I felt honored.

I’ve been interested in the technical aspect of website redesigns for years. When I was in charge of marketing at a small business years ago, we vetted a dozen agencies to find a creative partner to help us with our new website redesign project. I was responsible for making sure the creative design merged with the technical marketing of the website, mainly search engine optimization and paid search advertising. 

I developed processes and projections for how the new website would affect the company’s marketing. I built contingency plans for how we’d react in the event of an emergency. We ended up launching without any issues.

This year, that same company redesigned their website without the same attention to technical detail. Their search rankings tanked and they’ve had internal issues due to slower sales.

This reinforces why I specialized my company in helping prevent redesign issues that lead to revenue drops and recover revenue for websites affected by these issues post-launch.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue helping businesses avoid the revenue-dropping nightmare that is a failed website redesign and to help good businesses become great.