When 3-wheelers.com went live in 2000, it was a fairly small site that mainly consisted of Reliant images and had a few various 3-wheelers in the A-Z section. In 2000 the Internet was quite a different place and thankfully domain names were easier to secure and so I purchased 3-wheelers.com and 3wheelers.com. I then realised that some people may put the word three so then also purchased three-wheelers.com and then also all the .co.uk variants.
At the time most monitors had a screen resolution of 800x600 pixels and so the site was built for this. In addition the site featured frames in that the top, left and bottom frame would remain static as the body of the page changed from page to page. Here I soon found out problem number one. When you searched for a vehicle on a search engine, it would quite often just give you the link to the left frame or the body of the page. For a while a few folks thought the site was only a couple of pages as they followed a link to the body and thus there was no navigation. As I had no colour photos of any 3-wheelers apart from a Reliant, the top header was my old 1974 Reliant Robin and a 1954 Reliant Regal Mk II with myself at the wheel.
Therefore in January 2001 a new site went live, again 800x600 in resolution though this time no frames were used. The site had a navigation bar that was attached to every page. The new site now featured just over 350 pages and the Reliant Robin on the top logo was replaced by a DRK.
In 2000 and 2001 3-wheelers.com was being updated pretty much every week and was growing at quite a rate. At the time I had a 56k modem and a dial up service that was operated by the ISP “Zoom”. Launched in July 2000 I had signed up to them pretty much at the start and I received a free e-mail address with 20Mb of space. Here came problem number 2. By July 2001 3-wheelers.com had grown so much that it was using more than my bandwidth quota and when I reached the 20Mb limit, that was it. I could not upload any more updates without resizing current images and removing large files off the server.
I therefore decided to go with virtual server hosted with Easily and a new web site was created which went live in 2002. The site now returned back to a blue theme and the DRK in the logo and now been replaced by a 1934 Raleigh Safety Seven. The site continued to steam along and then came problem number 3. As it was getting so many hits it was using vast amounts of bandwidth and I was constantly purchasing more bandwidth else the site would just crash. It was starting to cost me a fortune.
It was whilst surfing the Internet in 2004 I came across oneandone who had a promotion on their business accounts and so I signed up and once the domain names were redirected, the site was moved across to oneandone - where it has remained until this day.
In 2004 the site had another makeover and as the site was now over 800 pages, it was a change that would remain until 2010. The vehicles on the main logo were now changed to a Vandenbrink Carver and a Raleigh Safety Seven. Updates to the site were now made monthly as other things in my life were also seeking my attention. That said the web site reached 1,000 pages in 2005 and by 2008 received its 1,000,000th hit.
By 2009 the site was beginning to look very dated and rather old and I would quite often get embarrassed by its design. The problem was that as it was now well over 1,000 pages with no kind of automated template, the thought of updating all the pages one by one was a daunting one. With the tenth anniversary being in 2010 I decided that the site must have a fresh look to take it into the twenty-tens and more importantly must jump up to at least 1024x764 resolution and be centered on a page as people with high resolutions were just seeing a strip of a site down the left hand side.
In January 2010 a new look went live though when I asked for constructive criticism, I got just that. The new site was just too overloaded and need to be simpler and cleaner and so in April 2010, a new version appeared with a black theme that is how the site looks today. This version also took into account the current trend of adding Facebook and Twitter icons.
Due to the vast size of 3-wheelers.com, moving over every page to the new format was going to take a long time as unlike the latest version, the old versionm was not using any kind of template and so each page had to be updated one by one. There are still parts of the site in the old design though with every update a certain number of pages are updated. The plan was to have it done by the end of 2010 though as 2012 dawns, there are still some pages that need to be modified.
The web site itself has always been created in Netobjects Fusion with the first site being in version 2 and later versions being in 3,4,5.7,8,9 with version 11 being used for the latest 2010 version of the site.
Since 2004 the search engine used in the web site has been powered by Atomz and was initially limited to 500 pages though they kindly then moved the limit to 1,000 pages free of charge. The search engine now covers every page which is fortunate as in December 2011 the web site had grown to 2,000 pages of information.
Using Google Analytics over the years, 3-wheelers.com has been viewed by someone on almost every continent in the World. It has also been used for research by organisations and authors and has been spoken about at one point or another on TV, radio, BBC DVDs, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
In 2012 the site remains personally financed and updated by one person though 2011 saw the introduction of 2 - 3 adverts to help cover all the hosting fees and domain name cost that the web site utilises. More companies do enquire about having adverts though these are often declined as one thing I dislike is a web site full of adverts and so I do not want 3-wheelers.com to have a lot of them.
Up until 2011, 3-wheelers.com had been updated at least once a month without fail, however, 2011 saw my marriage, the birth of my first son and the loss of my father and with other things impacted the web site with 2 months of no updates. In 2000 I was single and had nothing else to do though as a married man with a new son in 2011, there is always lots to do. I have vast amounts to still add to the site though unless I win the lottery (and don’t need to worry about work and paying the mortgage) updates will be a manic attempt to try and catch up and upload as much as I can. For the near future therefore the web site will continue to grow.