Thursday, July 15, 2010

Perseverance

I’m hearing this refrain in my head … think of ‘I’ve been working on the railroad …”

We’ve been working on the website
All the live long day
We’ve been working on the website
Cuz we need to make our pay!
Can’t you hear the errors screaming
This is never gonna work!
Can’t we make it really easy?
Come on, Try Again

Come on Try Again
Come on Try Again
Come on Try Again, Again, Again

Well – you get the idea!

We are determined to re-develop our website using the new exciting web tools available for the Wordpress platform.  One main reason is that we want to have a really easy forum to use for our members.  We have a member forum now – but only a couple dozen of our 700 members use it because it’s difficult. We believe that interaction with our members is so important.  And, if the system is really easy, we’ll be able to add new videos and other content easily too – making it more valuable.  I learned long ago that a business cannot rest on its laurels.  I don’t care how good your product or service is, a business needs constant attention and innovation to stay alive and prospering.  And nowhere is this more true than on the Web!

In case anyone is interested in the details, we are building our new website using 4 primary pieces:

  1. Wordpress platform
  2. Wishlist Member plugin for Wordpress
  3. Suffusion theme for Wordpress
  4. Simple Press Forum plugin for Wordpress

These four pieces are all built to work together, but still – they are from 4 different developers and each is a complex system in it’s own right.  Imagine taking 4 big jigsaw puzzles and trying to make one picture out of them.  Just when we get 2 pieces to work together right, an error pops up from one of the other pieces.  And, most of the time we really don’t know which piece is causing an error – it can take a full day or even a week to troubleshoot any one error.  Then, we get everything working and one of the pieces comes out with a new version!  I feel like we’re playing ‘Whack-a-Mole’!

We’ve actually been working on this since last November – but we’re just now getting really serious.  We had wanted to announce the new site on July 1 – exactly 2 years from when our first membership site started.  That didn’t happen, but we’re hoping for August 1 now.  It will still be www.GeeksOnTour.com – that will just point to different places behind the scenes.

There have been more than a couple times this week that I’ve wanted to give up, say that our site is fine just the way it is!    But Jim wouldn’t let me!  He’s read enough about membership sites on the web and what the new tools offer that he’s getting more determined than me to make this happen.  As is often the case in our relationship … I get something started, but he makes sure it gets finished!  We’re a great team that way.  And, Jim has taken on the task of making the new forum work the way we want.  My job is to make the video delivery as smooth as possible.  And, the payment process needs to be smooth as well … if we could do this all for free, it would be a lot easier to put it together!  But, if we could do it all for free – then we wouldn’t need to do it at all!

Perseverence is the key!  And, I gotta say,when we struggled for two days with a particular problem … it felt soo good when we solved it! 

Our Picasa eBook is our first test of the capabilities on the new site. 

eBookPicasa

The eBook is an example of what Wordpress, and Wishlist Member allows us to do … we are able to put links in the eBook to the tutorial videos. Your $10 purchase, not only buys you the eBook, but also a special limited membership that allows access to those specific videos.  Really cool.  A video book if you will.  As long as you’re connected to the Internet, you can read the book and, at specified places, click a link to watch a video that shows you how to do what you just read in the book!

Ok, enough yakking … gotta get back to work.

I’ve been working on the website … all the live long day …

 

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