In the early 1990s we launched a new thing called a Web site at www.fdmonline.com. The developer worked on it for about a month, and delivered it to my office on a floppy disk - one floppy disk. I honestly can't remember much about the site, it had some articles on it, and a bunch of links. That was about it.
That site was upgraded in 1994 to contain a lot of past articles, and a bright idea I had called a product database. I thought that if we kept a database of all the products we ran and replicated it on the Web site, it would attract reader interest. We also added an online forum at that time, one of the first in this industry.
This was in the 1990s and the Internet was going to make print magazines obsolete. So in 1999 we launched version 3.0 of our Web site, which featured an upgraded product database. Our popular forums were upgraded, and more access to past articles was offered.
A new look
That version of the Web site has served us well for the last eight years, but it was time to move on. This month we're launching what I call version 4.0 of FDMOnline. It still has our two most popular features - the industry's most complete product database and most interesting forums - but we've added a wide range of new features. The entire site is driven by a state-of-the-art content management system, so our goal is to get as much back content into the system as possible and give it to you in a searchable, easy-to-use format. At launch we have all of 2006 and 2007 in the system, but more back issues are being added all the time.
What I'm excited about on this site is video. We've been experimenting with videos in the magazine for the past year, and now have the server capacity and resources to really display them to their full potential.
Take a look at the new site. Note how you can search past issues by topic, find years and years of Gene Wengert's popular Wood Doctor's Rx column, and customize the site to your liking. And we're far from being done. This is version 4.0, like I said. We're currently structured to make constant improvements and upgrades to the site. We have one goal, to have the leading Web site in the woodworking industry. Let us know what you think of the new site.
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