Without doubt, 2011 has been a momentous year for AROnline, and one that at times I thought it was never going to make it through. We had unending hosting problems – probably as a result of our increased readership and interaction – and ended up going through three hosts before being bailed out by Justin Clements at Street Safari. During these tough times, special thanks must go to Brian Gunn and Alexander Boucke, who massively helped with the database side of the operation, and valued contributors such as Mike Humble, Ian Nicholls, Steven Ward, Robert Leitch and Andrew Elphick, who provided fresh content for the site – in their own time, and for the love of the subject – to keep it ticking over, while I was buried in boring web development.
And of course, you guys for coming back and interacting with us… as without your interaction, feedback and continued reading, AROnline would be nothing!
Anyway, the hosting problem was, of course, bandwidth – and while the site was on a low-cost hosting package, we were always going to be prey to the Ts&Cs gods… we gobble bandwidth, and they complain. Anyway, that’s behind us now, after teaming up with Skelton Media, running a few ads, and paying for a proper dedicated server. So no more AROffline gags, please.
During 2011, I moved from our old HTML site and onto a WordPress-based solution, and here, Christian Skelton proved invaluable in licking the design into shape for me, turning my vision into reality. There was the small matter of copy/pasting well over 3000 pages, of course, and I’ll hold my hand up and say – that was mainly me. The natural rest I had following my shattering of five bones and dislocating another six in Romania (and sharing the driving back with equally damaged Andrew Elphick!) meant I could do a fair bit of this – between writing features for Octane. In short, it’s been emotional. And we got through it.
I’ll be taking a few days’ rest from Friday, so the updates might slow down between then and New Year (I always say that, but end up not being able to stay away!), but rest assured, everyone involved with AROnline will be working double-hard to maintain the site’s position as one of the best car sites on the Interweb.
We’ll see some extraordinarily exciting developments here in 2012 – the first of which we’ll announce in January.
Until then, thank you for making this a brilliant year, and giving your unstinting support. It’s been truly astonishing. And that leaves me simply to say – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy the break, and here’s to a calmer 2012 🙂