A little over 11 years ago, I picked up my first client as a web designer/consultant.
It was my brother, Minh Pham.
At the time, he needed a website to house his Professional Speaker material. We didn’t even get a domain. It was on tripod.com. For those of you that remember and wonders if it is still around, I just checked – it is.
Later, we registered phamtasticspeakers.com. It was the first site I created using Dreamweaver – Macromedia Dreamweaver 2.0.
Over the next 3 years, my brother’s business went from speaking to real estate mentoring. Thus, his web properties changed as well.
Enter Guarantee Profits.
The then, just getting into Graphics Design and buddy of mine, Hai Vuong, designed the logo and the first pass at the User Interface. I was still using tables to layout the HTML.
I maintained and updated GPdotCom on a regular basis and watched a brochure website grow into an interactive site where GP’s students would have, among other things, access to a controlled document library. I wrote all the code using Allaire’s ColdFusion, referencing a book that I still have – ColdFusion 4.0, signed by Ben Forta!
As more and more content were added to the site, I had to visit content and structure. Back then, there was no word to describe that. Today, it is known as Information Architecture.
The site went under 3 UI refreshes. The last one in 2008 (gp 4.0). Click on the thumbnail below for a larger image.
This UI was short lived because my brother discovered wikinomics. Like every other person in the world, he threw around Web 2.0 and wanted to change every aspect about his online properties. It made sense because I was in a position where I couldn’t expedite change requests as I once did. In 2009, in a solemn tone, I have to say, “gp 5.0 was done using google sites.”
Why? Because I didn’t want to manage it anymore. I had too many things on my plate and the days of a webmaster had long gone. I told my brother that I would set up his google sites, manage the DNS so that mail and other apps still worked and I handed it over to him.
To be honest, he did a good job. Nothing broke and he worked with other business associates to populate content and maintain the site. The drawback, it went from being a forerunner in the real estate mentoring sites to an eyesore.
I will refer this as the dark ages of GPdotCom. In the year and a half where I didn’t maintain the site, Minh and I did a lot of experimenting with social sites and cloud computing services.
I sent him an email 2 weeks ago:
guaranteeprofits.com is hosted on crystaltech. at the same time, when you go to guaranteeprofits.com, you are not going to pages on crystaltech, you are going to pages on google sites. the domain itself is still registered in godaddy (i’m pretty sure we moved it from dotster). so right now, the domain points to google sites/docs and not to crystaltech.
we haven’t canceled cystaltech because there are sites and subsites and directories we’ve built and links out there in cyberspace that sitll point to it. plus, there is an important ‘redirect’ file that points people to various sites and pages.
this is why i asked you to create that content inventory document of where everything is and how they interact with each other.
we’ve had some time experiment with these wikinomics-referenced sites and technology, i think it is time to clean it all up and have something with clarity and uniformity.
this is what i propose. scrap everything and build from scratch, even down to the hosting company.
Your content inventory
website/blog: merged into one and using wordpress
social sites: we’ll put flares (flares are buttons that waiters at tgifridays wear on their suspenders) of your social sites on the website.
for 3 weeks now, i’ve been learning everything i can about wordpress and how it can leveraged to bring all of these social technologies together.
take a look at this page: http://www.tompham.com
at the bottom of the left column, you have a few things, veiw/download my resume off of box.net, you can “like” it to your face book and there is a nifty sharing widget
over on the right, i’m showing my tweets and i have an rss feed that searches twitter for anything with #ux (user experience) in it.
let’s overhaul it and clean up guaranteeprofits and bring it back to its former glory. also some of the pages, esp testimonials are long and slow. using the new wordpress format, we can create an entry for each testimonial and give it a category, then at the top of your site, people can view by categories and see all testimonials. possibilities are limitless.
Can you believe it took him a week to pull the trigger because he didn’t want to switch to a cheaper hosting company? In the end, I just said, trust me and don’t question my genius.
4 days after I got the login info from Dreamhost, Guaranteeprofits.com is LIVE! The site is leaps and bounds above anything I’ve ever produced.
Wikinomics was right. I tapped into everyone else’s resources. WordPress 100% open source. Even down to the theme of Guarantee Profits. I only had to do minimal changes to widgets and images. Everything else was just a matter of migrating.
Take a look: http://www.guaranteeprofits.com