AroundIndy.com Begins 11th Year Today
By Bob Burchfield, Editor
TEN YEARS COMPLETE! AroundIndy.com begins its 11th year of operations today, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. It’s a L-O-N-G way from the days of AOL dialup connections and “You’ve Got Mail.” So I went back and found some old screen shots (see above) to show how AroundIndy.com has changed over its first decade:
- When we first launched this Web site in February 2003, the site was built in three-column HTML tables with the Broadway and Comic Sans fonts (very popular at that time!) and those wonderfully gaudy dynamic HTML rollover buttons that did everything from display animated spinning wheels to starbursts! That was well before Web 2.0, Twitter, Facebook, and all the social media networks that are prevalent today. Took forever to load a page on a 28.8K modem connection, or so it seemed.
- I don’t know what possessed me, but in 2005 the site was converted to black text on a grey background. Go figure! I remember we launched our Blogspot blog that year, got an iPod, and installed iTunes. Maybe all that excitement compelled me to switch designs; I can’t remember. Mercifully, this design only lasted a year.
- But to go from bad to worse, in 2006 we adopted a design with white text on dark blue background. Thought it looked great. Readers reacted differently. Site traffic dropped so precipitously that this design only lasted for a few months! It’s a miracle this one didn’t kill the site completely.
- By 2009 I’d learned a lot more about HTML and CSS and designed a table-less 3-column “cherry cheesecake” design with browns and yellows and golds and dark reds that relied on CSS positioning to build the pages. I was really proud of it at the time. I thought I had mastered CSS! The pages were fast loading, very colorful, highly visual–but it turned out that they were simply too busy and cluttered. Readers openly scorned and disdained it.
- We dropped it a year later for our current design: text and images on a simple two-column CSS layout. But if you look around the site long enough, you can still find vestiges of the cherry cheesecake remaining, as we keep working earnestly to get all the pages converted to the current design!
We’ve experienced a lot in ten years, and learned a lot, too. Here’s a quick synopsis:
- Less is more.
- Bells and whistles slow down the site and drive visitors away. K-I-S-S.
- Content is still king, and always will be.
In 2012 we had over 26 million hits, compared to 11.5 million in 2011 (177,600 in 2003, by the way), received more than 180,000 e-mails in 2012, and passed 87 million hits in all. None of this would be possible without the fantastic support of our readers, supporters, and advertisers. Indianapolis has been a GREAT supportive and encouraging community with patience and perseverance in the midst of our design and development stumbles along the way.
Thank you for the first ten years! Where do we go from here? Stay tuned!