I write more today than ever before, but rarely on this blog. The irony is that most of the skills I acquired over the years of blogging and “playing” with technology came from writing here. I need an outlet to share some of the work experiences that really aren’t appropriate for the official TechWhirl blog. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that my personal journal is the right place.
Connie and I have owned TechWhirl.Com (nee Techwr-l.com) for a full six months yesterday. In that time we’ve rolled out two site redesigns, with the last one moving the site off of the dreaded Drupal to the much friendlier confines of WordPress. We’ve changed the name and started building a team of writers around us. It’s been exciting and fun to see this venture start to mature.
It’s probably not worth showing the interim design so here are the sites side-by-side
The Site We Purchased
Our Latest Design
Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing the new site is doing far better with search engines. Hopefully later today I can make some progress in sunsetting the old techwr-l.com domain, which like a bad monster from a 50’s horror movie keeps reappearing prominently in Google searches.
Drupal vs. WordPress
I know there’s a lot of people out there who love Drupal. I, for one, am not part of that crowd. It’s an awful platform which makes things harder than it should. WordPress, when pushed, also has some problems but nothing like Drupal. From my research, it appears that the developer and designer communities are slowly moving toward WordPress as well.
The Special Writers Unit
I’m not going to go into how our team of writers got the SWU name. You can read about it on our main blog – here. It’s more important for me to share that while I am very confident on the overall long term prospects for success with TechWhirl (low costs, relatively easy to manage, few if any direct competitors) neither Connie, nor I , really knew if anyone other than us would be interested in working on articles. We have been pleasantly surprised.
Our publishing schedule, which is slowing evolving, reflects our initial approach on publishing content. We created a schedule which allowed us to create something “new” each day but Thursday and the weekends. A new article on Monday, new poll question on Tuesday, a “classic” article on Thursday (read: old content that hadn’t made it to the site earlier), nothing on Thursday and then a summary of the week’s activities on Friday. Our site numbers on the weekend look like lower Manhattan in the evening so we didn’t see the point in publishing new stuff then.
The easy to remember and relatively easy publishing schedule helped us start creating a rhythm for work and kept the site content fresh, or at least, fresher than it had been before. This approach worked pretty well until we a) started getting tired of writing something each and every week b) started running out of ideas. So, we decided we needed people
We are merely in the middle of our plans and roadmap for 2011-2012. The ink on the new site isn’t dry and we’re moving on to our next site, which is an online job board for technical communicators. We’re about 40% through development and should have our first version for testing out by the end of this week. We’ll test it and release it in the next couple weeks. Everything will be free for the first few months so there’s no issues if things happen to have issues.
I have to say that I’m not longer bored and I’m interested, which for me are two very, very important things. It’s been a wilder ride than I would have imagined but good.