The brain trust who is guiding me through finding a web designer/developer (and I can not thank them enough for dealing with my surly self and doing all this) has provided me with an update that I asked them to write to share with you all:
A quick status update on the website for you and for everyone at Balloon Juice:
We all know that Balloon Juice isn’t the typical website that might have a blog as a small part of the website. The BJ blog is the website, along with some niceties like the lexicon, access to the BJ store, etc. You know, all the stuff that makes it feel like home. As we look for the right fit with potential developers, we are ruling out the ones who have the kind of cookie cutter approach to web development that might work quite well for individuals or companies selling widgets or services, but isn’t at all what we need for Balloon Juice.
We have made it clear that we’re not looking for a redesign or a new look for the current blog; we are looking for a rebuild of the site from the ground up with the same functionality we have, or used to have. With the balloon man banner, of course! Once the site has been rebuilt, all comments from the beginning of time will be imported into the rebuilt site. There will be a big focus on testing before rollout. And site security.
The goal is a reliable site with a reliable commenting system that works consistently and well—on both mobile devices and desktops—and is also speedy, responsive, and aesthetically pleasing, with the features that are important for the commenters. It’s our understanding from John that there will be ads, but not the show-stopping, “the site is so slow that it makes you want to blow your brains out” variety.
At least for this round, the site will focus on speed, functionality and stability, not bells and whistles. Those can be added later, as needed. We will return to nym and email address permanence, and we hope to include the ability to preview comments before posting.
Earlier this week, we had a very productive conversation with a potential developer who clearly understands what Balloon Juice is, supports the goals of the rebuild, and seems to check all the boxes in terms of expertise. We are quite excited about possibilities there!
We are awaiting an estimate from him, and we have calls scheduled with two more developers this week. By the end of next week, we hope to have rough estimates from anyone else who appears to be a good fit on all fronts.
The rebuild won’t be cheap—nearly every developer we spoke with thought the project would take about 80-100 hours. It should be worth it, though.
We wonder if there might be interest in a special thread—maybe a live Q & A related to the new website? (Not intended as a “tell us what features you want for the site” thread, as the plan for the initial rebuild is pretty well set at this point.) Sunday afternoon seems to work well for the author chats, so if there is interest, we could do that from 1:00–3:00 Eastern on Sunday, Jan 27.
WateGirl, Steeplejack and Bella Q
This is not as easy as you think because people are super experienced at building websites for small businesses, but not blogs for a bunch of blowhards like us.