I have made my living by publishing the GoNOMAD Travel website since 2005. It’s not something I fit into my life as a sideline or a hobby, it’s the main thing I do to bring bread to the table. When I bought the site in 2002, the travel articles were created by publishing static pages using Dreamweaver. Today if you talk to anyone who works on websites, they will chuckle or perhaps gasp if you tell them that in 2013 you have a 4000-page site that’s composed using this ancient 1990-era technology.
My first webmaster, Joe Obeng, was a fervent advocate of moving to a CMS. Again and again he told me that we couldn’t keep putting up individual pages and updating the entire site manually. I agreed with him but the problem was so big I couldn’t wrap my hands around it. I remember having meetings in Open Square in Holyoke in 2006 with a bright young web designer who told us it would cost about six thousand dollars. We couldn’t afford it so we muddled through a few more years. Later meetings got higher quotes, and it began to feel like it would never be done.
We had more meetings with more web automators both in the US and overseas. Time went by and we continued to publish our stories the old fashioned way. I used to compare it to using a film camera instead of digital. It looked good, it was familiar, yet it was clumsy and nobody with a site our size creates webpages that way. Then I met Rich Roth at a gathering of arts people at Greenfield’s Arts Block. Yes, he said, he could move our site to a Content Management System. Yes, he could copy it all over using software, not by hand for God’s sake. That was in May 2012.
For the past year I’ve met dozens of times with Rich and have worked very hard for what’s about to happen tonight. We hired a designer, Lynn Nichols, to help smooth the look, and enlisted many people to help us look it over. We are going to flip the switch on a new automated website created using the Joomla Content Management System. Tonight at 6 pm he flips the switch. I am beyond relief that we are about to make this big overdue move. Tonight, I hope it will all look fantastic and that our traffic continues to grow.
Fingers crossed, we move ahead.