October 2013 Update: Broderick Perkins, the owner of DeadlineNews.com, was a client who became a friend. This month, I had to post this sad announcement to the header of the website we built together:
Broderick Perkins, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the San Jose Mercury News, contacted me earlier in 2011 to accomplish his long-held dream: an online news outlet for his stories (and eventually, those of other writers) on every aspect of the local and national real estate industry.
Broderick was quite technically adept and had exacting specifications for how he wanted his news site to appear and present information, so I was able to collaborate closely with him, literally “shoulder to shoulder” in several visits I made to his office. He had already selected a WordPress theme tailored to news agencies, but wanted precise customization of almost every aspect of the design, down to the leading between lines for different areas on the page. (He did come from a long career in newspapers, after all.) We even designed the DeadlineNew.Com logo interactively.
Broderick had previously published 700 articles to a Blogger.com blog, many with internal formatting which needed to be transcribed. I imported these articles into the new site, cleaned up the formatting and developed semi-automated procedures for assigning new taxonomy structures (WordPress categories and tags) which did not map exactly to the 500+ different “labels” that had been assigned in the Blogger.com blog (and subsequently needed to be deleted from the WordPress taxonomy). Stories in different topic areas had sidebar content (including third-party ads) specifically tailored for relevancy to the topic areas.
Ad revenue on this highly trafficked site provided a significant income stream for Broderick. Once I set up stubs throughout the site for third-party ad servers, Broderick performed the ongoing ad management. Likewise, Broderick composed, edited and posted all of his own articles. Shortly after launch, other writers were brought on board as contributing authors in selected topic areas.
To facilitate syndication to other publishing outlets, I customized RSS feeds to Broderick’s specifications.
Since the site had close to 800 pages, with multiple authors contributing, and an advertising cash flow upon which my client depended, I researched and recommended VaultPress as a continuous backup and site restoration service. When Broderick inadvertently nuked the entire site, VaultPress restored it in about an hour.
The incident even garnered an mention in the VaultPress blog:
Sunday March 11th, 2012 was like any other Sunday. Broderick Perkins was working on his website, DeadlineNews.Com.
Then, disaster struck—Broderick’s sticky mouse button hit a ‘Reset Theme’ button in his WordPress admin area and, poof! Months of extensive theme redesign work vanished.
Broderick commented, “VaultPress restored months of lost work from my backup files while I was taking a walk. I’m serious. The restoration was as instant as my goof.”
Special thanks to Ned Buratovich, Broderick’s web designer, who initially convinced Broderick to buy a VaultPress subscription for DeadlineNews.com.
Few web design projects have been as rewarding to me as this collaboration with Broderick. Here’s what he had to say about it:
Screenshots of page layouts
(Since the site is no longer online.)