I own and operate a website called Destination4x4.com. I started the website about two years ago with the primary goal of keeping my website skill set at a cutting edge of website development. My past projects include a lot of LAMP based database driven content and custom built shopping carts. During my time doing web development it became easy to fall upon past skills, knowledge bases and technology, however the results continued to be profitable. Several years ago, my career path was changed rather dramatically.
I lost a job of 15 years which I loved, and found myself looking for work for the fist time in over a decade. Fortunately, my job search did not last long and I found myself working in the Gaming Industry here in Nevada. As new opportunities presented themselves, I was quick to prove my worth and began to flourish in my new job. However, I could tell that my old skill sets were being diminished as time went on. As much as I love my new job, it is not a creative endeavor.
To address my own personal needs I decided to start Destination4x4.com. The site combines several personal points of interest: off road and back country driving, 4x4s, camping, hiking, photography, exploration, history and website technology. The primary purpose to personal continuing education, but as an additional side effect, the problem solving and research that I already conduct for my own trips, now has an outlet and can be branded to a property that I own.
My goal was to build a cool, dynamic site and utilize tools to improve the site and continually grow the brand. I had to desire to deploy another WordPress site, and then rely on WordPress plugins to get the feature I wanted. That would have been easier I am sure but I would not have learned as much. I want to exploit all of the new social media tools to help make the site more dynamic, and generate traffic. Most important, I wanted to give mysql and users the ability to record their trips, campgrounds and points of interest using Google maps technology.
The design process was and still is rather free form. Since this is a home brew project, and I am doing the work, I have not undergone a typical design process. Rather, I am building and designing as I go. This is not to be misunderstood as being haphazard, or arbitrary, but rather I choose to constantly improve and polish the website rather than to completely design the site, and roll out. An example is that I initially chose to build an sign up process, and then months later I made to choice to implement a Facebook sign up procedure.
As I continue to develop the site, I will continue to post updates about issues, solutions, etc…