A Website and a Wedding: Beginning of a New Era

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Holy Crap! It’s nearly March. My daughter is getting married in three weeks, no, make that two and a half. End of an era, beginning of a new one.

    Since the middle of December I’ve been holed up in my hideaway in the mountains working on my website, McMan’s Depression and Bipolar Web. I have literally shelved all my other projects and my social life to get it done. Several days ago, I held my breath as I uploaded my new website. End of an era, beginning of a new one.

    A lot has changed since I started my website back at the end of 2000. This was the golden age of the passionate amateur. We did the best we could using FrontPage and whatever off-the-rack help we could get from places like Geocities. Even the professionally-designed corporate sites were decidedly homespun and quirky in appearance.
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    It was a brave new world. With nothing more than a small box and a dial-up connection an unemployable hermit like myself could become a publisher. People were desperate for information and to connect with each other. They didn’t care if they had to go blind reading dark purple type on a dark purple background to get it.

    Gradually, things changed. Reader expectations went up. They wanted better content, better presented. A lot of us learned as we went along. We picked up new web skills. We remodeled our sites, added new features and services. But the do-it-your-selfers found it hard to thrive in this environment. One by one, they started closing down. The corporates started taking over.

    The amateurs still had a place to go. They could write blogs. They could find refuge in places like MySpace. But no new faces were staking out territory in the land of www.

    Some of us still hung on. Deborah Gray who blogs here at MyDepressionConnect is one of them. Her Wing of Madness site keeps getting better with age. But by 2005 my priorities had changed. My email newsletter was my calling card. I was writing here at BipolarConnect. I had a book coming out. I did whatever I needed to do to keep my website ticking over. The site still attracted lots of visitors and was receiving high honors, but it had stopped moving forward and its lack of momentum showed.

    Unless I made some radical course corrections very quickly, I realized, my days as a website publisher were numbered. It was late November. My conference season was over. No travel till March. My long-distance girlfriend just dumped me. Definitely no travel. Time to take stock.

    I fired Bill Gates and hired Steve Jobs. New desktop and laptop. I invested in Dreamweaver and started learning CSS stylesheets. Then I dived - or is it dove? - into 300 articles representing eight years of my writing. Half of what was there had to go, but which half?

    The effort took way longer than I planned. Once a computer program realizes it’s me at the keyboard, it will throw at me every bug known to humankind and unkind. A page that looked great in Firefox looked like the Unabomber had struck in IE. Simply mistyping a small piece of code would result in days of frustration. On and on it went. Thankfully, I only decompensated five times.

  • Last week I uploaded the new version of my site, only to discover IE refused to parse the code for my navigation bar. Two hundred pages with no navigation! Why me, God? I put in a quick fix, then set to work on sanding and polishing.
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    As of late last night, I am proud to day, I am finished with Phase One. I am officially into a new era. There will be Phase Two and Phase Three, but not for awhile. Next week, I am off to New Zealand for my daughter’s wedding. This is one new era I’m really looking forward to celebrating.

    Check out my new site at www.mcmanweb.com.
Published On: February 27, 2008