Today marks a big work anniversary for me. I registered the domain myFavoriteMarketer.com 20 years ago today on August 24, 2001.

(For four years prior to this, I’d promoted my copywriting and marketing business with subdomain websites at meaford.com and BMTS, building up my HTML familiarity in the process. But this was my first “real” domain.)

If one measure of a trustworthy service provider is longevity and consistency, I think it’s worth noting. Though being recognized by local business groups for customer service also carries some weight.

To mark the occasion, I’m taking a little browse down memory lane, courtesy of archive.org and old files residing on my hard drive.

Early days

Meaford was a little slow to get online. By 1995, I’d written copy for Toronto Dominion Bank’s first website, even though I hadn’t been able to browse the Internet myself. But based on my archives, it looks like we got hooked up circa 1995-1996. I remember attempting to download the Netscape browser on my rudimentary dial-up modem, and waiting most of the day for the 1MB file.

This masterpiece is one of the first iterations of my online presence. It dates from early 1997.

And then there was the cool printable desk calendar (with tip!)

By early 2001, things had evolved a little. Up to and including this iteration, these sites were straight HTML: every page and article was created separately in “hypertext markup language”.

JVM “group” was the somewhat pretentious moniker that Jocelyn Watt and I came up with to maintain continuity from my old “branding”, yet still apply: Joce Vic Marketing Group. I’d begun to position us as “information marketing specialists” – well before the term “content marketing” surfaced.

I even had a cool effect to promote it using borrowed JavaScript, which I believe I originally got from Steve Briggs, Owen Sound Optometrist, who made some neat stuff for me for another client’s website back in June of ’98.

Hover on “What is it?”, and you got the def.

Here’s the hover on “Show me how it works”, which was linked to a portfolio page.

myFavoriteMarketer.com

It was time to get a real domain.

In 2000, I’d began exploring PHP and mySQL to create dynamic websites using databases – initially as a way to serve weekly how-to articles to hardware store and building supply dealers who subscribed to my “DIY WebTips” service. (I already had some self-taught experience with dBASE, customizing subscription management software for Cameron’s Foodservice Reporter, where I was originally hired to write copy and do layout.)

These web development tools, which would become the foundation of the WordPress content management system (officially launched May 27, 2003), opened up a lot of possibilities you didn’t have with straight HTML.

December 1, 2002 (a year after launch). Now the articles were no longer created on separate pages, but stored in a database, and could be called up wherever you wanted to highlight them.

Not sure what I was thinking with that green??? And “best viewed in Internet Explorer”? I’d moved beyond Netscape, anyway.

Using PHP/mySQL we could even schedule articles. Woohoo!

I guess I really liked that desk calendar.

November, 2006. A little spruced up and brighter. Some of this copy remains on my main page today. For this version, I’d introduced randomly rotating testimonials, which I continue to use today. At the time, it seemed no one else had twigged to this concept, though now it’s widespread and available in various WordPress plugins.

WordPress

I’d dabbled with WordPress and created a theme for a client. I figured it was time to put it to work for myself. In October 2012, I made the move to WordPress. Nine years later, I haven’t looked back.

The “retro” slides:

This latest version launched in early 2019 and was meant to be a quick overhaul, with more to be done. But my clients’ sites take priority, so it has languished a little. Stay tuned!

And thanks for joining the tour!