Being the web based company that we are, it is important to have an awesome, fully functional and interactive website. Duh! This post is about the ridiculousness that we went through getting the new site up and running.
I’m going to try to make a 6 month long story short, but first some quick history. It all began back in 2009, when I started Precision AT. Being an athletic trainer, I had no (freakin) clue about websites. I was very fortunate to have a graphic designer-sister, who designed our logo, website and email banners. We then hired a web developer, Jen, to make everything work online. She set everything up and created a good-looking, functioning site for us. Anytime I needed an update I’d just contact her and she’d make changes! A year later, we needed a secure, online data base and a place for ATs to store info, sign contracts, and bill us for time worked, etc. Our AT Admin site, which at the time was dubbed Precision AT 2.0, was created from scratch by another developer, Jared. This custom built site provided us with the tools to make the company run way, way, way more efficiently. We no longer needed ATs to print and sign paper contracts and everything was in one place. The website became the backbone of the company and that is the history of the Good OLD Precision AT site.
As the company grew and new services were offered, we’ve needed several web updates that I’ve been unable to make myself. Often times we’d need work done fast and Jen and Jared, being freelance workers with real jobs, could not always make the changes right away. A new easy-for-me to update site was necessary. Also we felt it was time for a fresh new look with some new functionality as well. We started in April. My sister came up with a new design that I loved! I wrote all of the new content and text and we finally reached out to our developers in early June. We hoped to launch the new site early in the summer and be fully functional in time for fall scheduling. (haha) Unfortunately, our developers did not have the time to take on the new changes so I asked around and eventually hired a “technologist” from Craigslist who had an entire staff excited to be my full-time technology team. (This was early June) His rates seemed too good to be true and yup… they were. Our project was drawn out for 2 months, I was dissatisfied with his work and in late August, I scrapped the whole thing and started from scratch with my sister using a new user-friendly platform, Wix. The new goal was to launch before winter season, trouble shoot and be ready to have our clients upload their winter schedules right into the site. We worked late nights to make sure everything was just right and in the beginning of October, we paid Wix, contacted our host, 5 Dollar Host, (which ironically costs 100 times its name each year so I’m going to now refer to them as 500 dollar host) and just waited for the changes to be made. (Wix said 7 business days) On day 6, I called to make sure all would be a go. It was not. They said I needed to make changes with the host. I called the host, who said “oh no problem, we can have you live in an hour!” We were psyched! Finally! And low and behold….we launched!!! It was beautiful! We celebrated for a few minutes from our desks, clicking back and forth between the pages until we quickly realized our calendar (the appointment book) was down and it was a super busy Friday. Then it became clear that our entire AT Admin system was gone. Our contracts, invoices, everything was down. At this point, I freaked out! We had never been down like this before and we were completely helpless and at the mercy of 500 Dollar Host.
Moving the site eliminated anything that ended in “.precisionat.com”! Being a web-idiot, I just figured I could just link the “AT login” button to our pre-existing administrative site and all would be peachy, but that site was now gone. In one swoop, we wiped out our lifeline during one of the busiest weekends of the year! We had this beautifully designed website ready to go but no way to make it work. 500 Dollar Host found a temporary solution to keep us live, but the page did not appear secure at all (even though they insisted that it was). It was unacceptable and we had no choice but to revert back to the old site until everything worked properly together. Another week, countless hours on the phone, a hundred refreshed caches and a few more failed launch attempts later, they finally figured out the problem and it would take 2 more weeks and a good chunk of change for it to be resolved.
Finally, in early November, all systems were a go! After all of that time, stress and money, the launch was totally anti-climactic. Sad, huh? Who would've thought that it would take six months for us to get a new website? If you are reading this and saying, "Why are you telling us all of this?" I don't really know... I guess it's a learning experience that I thought I'd share. The small things we take for granted like websites can be really complicated to set up!
I will end this long blog like a fortune cookie: Good things come to those who wait. It was 100 times easier to update this blog on the new site. All of the aggravation was worth it and I absolutely love our new website. What do you think? Any suggestions? Be the first to comment on our new site!