It's been almost 11 years since I ventured into cyber space and registered donnadouglas.com as a web address. Getting that domain name was like stepping into the unknown. While I was buying an address, there were no bricks and mortar, and that's what made it such an adventure. I wrote a column or two about this experience, especially when I was contacted by Donna Douglas, the actress who wanted my .com address in exchange for an autographed photo.

I don't think so. I subsequently registered .org, .net and .ca (at $120 a pop annually). It seems so long ago... my email address was donnad@barint.on.ca... And it was all on dialup at 14,400 bps modem speed. Where is barint today? So much change!

In 2003 when I launched my Go Venture program, we registered www.goventure.ca as well, blending that address with my own to reach a total audience. We also re-did my website to reflect my business development activities as well as housing the 561 columns I've written for the Barrie Advance.

And now it's time for a new site. It's time to register .mobi (which was done about two years ago). Why? Well, that's for people accessing my site from their cell phones... a stripped down, fast-to-load site without video or pictures... .mobi is designed for handheld devices to retrieve information quickly.

Planning this site was a lot more complicated than the last. In 2000, I handed over a few testimonials, wrote some information about my work and poof! the old site was launched.

We began the planning for this new site in March. First, the videos explain various factions of my work. Then Andrew Sorlie of Sorlie Arts captured testimonials by video, and stepped into a Go Venture classroom to record one of my trainers in action.

James Henderson of Razzlewood began the coding for the site and if you don't like math, you won't like coding. He opens a document filled with my version of gobbledy-gook and inserts some symbol, and the site changes. While he was coding, Emily Boriss of Boriss Designs was crafting the look.

Am I a difficult customer? I don't know. I'm an 'older' customer so I wanted simple elegance for this site. I want people to be able to find what they're looking for without being bombarded with demands to 'look here' and 'open that' and blink!blink!blink! and I think Emily and James have achieved that. And then Josh! Well, what can I say? Josh, the twitter guy. Josh, the blog guy. Josh, the youtube guy. Josh has an overall social media plan.

"So Donna," says Josh. Have you written a few blogs? Well..... I think so, I say, hitting the send button. And now I have my daytimer coded to get me into regular blog production of meaty, useful information. And guess what? Josh is going to teach me how to upload all this to my new site. James has taught me how to add my columns and as I finish this one, I'll swoosh it on to Lori Martin at The Advance and swoosh it right on to my website.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because I'm surprised. So much more complexity than 10 years ago. So many different ways of reaching people and interacting with them. When this site went live this week, it's got something I've dreamed about for a long, long time. It's got an online directory of Go Venture businesses. You can look by category, by name, by business name and find businesses who have started well, learned how to run effectively and how to give great customer service. With one click you can send an email to a business or move over to their website.

Like the Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Bob, www.goventure.ca lets you buy locally. Do business with your neighbours.

It's also going to produce blog time for me! I'm hoping that the "Donna, do we have a plumber?" calls will be reduced as people look online for the Go Venture plumber.

Gone is the website as billboard. Here is the website as a breathing, living organism, handling my email and letting me reach all of my clients with one mouse click.

Who would have thought, back in 2000, that keeping donnadouglas.com and helping myself to a few more addresses, would matter so much today?

And so to James, Emily, Andrew, Josh I express gratitude. Resentment a bit for pushing me so hard, but gratitude for waiting for me to catch up.

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