June 1, 2011

What's all this, then?

In 2001 I formed an "S" Corporation (meaning it had one stockholder, officer, etc. - me)  called Step Into Places, Inc. and launched 2 web sties - StepIntoHistory.com and StepIntoPlaces.com.  Eventually, they grew to almost 9000 content-heavy pages, and at their peak were averaging about 40,0000 views a month each. However, even at their peak they never generated enough income to do more than pay their monthly and most of their annual expenses (web hosting, domain registration, on-site search, calendar service, etc.) This year I had to disband the corporation at the advice of my accountant, because they were not earning enough income to avoid IRS eventual scrutiny.

Although both sites are still up and running, I honestly have to admit that keeping up with the mountain of information I assembled had become extremely difficult after I ran out of "living" money and had to go back to work full time several years ago and nearly impossible over the last three years as a series of family and health related issues consumed most of my free time.

Probably the final straw was this year when,  for once, I had the county fair information overwhelmingly completed and ready to post in February and the latest upgrade to Access simply would not allow me to generate the reports in the format I have been using and posting for the last 8 years.

Between the change in legal status, the need to get the work process under control, and the outdated and outmoded technology and design features of the sites, I have decided on a complete overhaul of both sites with newer and more advanced technology (e.g.: there never were any "live" data links on the sites -- every list and piece of information was either typed in by hand or generated as a text report by Access and imported and tweaked by hand )

Additionally, what content to include needs to be re-evaluated, almost all the existing affiliate links need to be removed and replaced, and a few things I've always wanted to do (maps, maps, maps) have now become affordable and (comparatively) easy to implement.

This all won't be quick, and it won't be easy.  Mostly, this blog is a way to get me back in the habit of  spending "face time" with the computer on a daily basis.  Along the way, for those who may be interested, I'll be posting musings about how the sites were started, what they were intended to achieve, thoughts about history, travel, research, technology, books, advertising, and whatever else comes to mind.  There will be lots of comments about HTML5, CSS3, design software, databases, browsers, and how any one person can possibly get a grip on all this stuff.

Who might read this?  I don't know.  Hopefully, those interested in the fate of the sites, those who might be interested in how sites are put together, those of a certain age who sometimes feel overwhelmed by the turn-on-a-dime nature of information technology (what a quaint term), those interested in history, museums, parks, travel, the state of the web, the uses of information, and even, maybe, some with useful suggestions about how to proceed, will take a few moments to browse through these comments.

The clock on the screen tells me I've been at this for about 45 minutes.  Issue one is already apparent - time management.  The goal is no more than 30 minutes a day on this blog.  More tomorrow.

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