Happy Birthday to us
A year ago this morning, I was on a porch along mid-coast Maine celebrating the launch of ProTradeCraft.com—a technical resource for builders, remodelers, and trade contractors, built for a phone. I was sitting on a porch in Maine because I had complete confidence in my team that the site would go live smoothly. And it did.
We built ProTradeCraft the way a house is built: after you sheathe the subfloor, you walk on it. If it squeaks, you fix it. We built the framework in real time as we developed the articles, videos, and animation pages. Features were added when we saw that we needed them, not if we thought that it *might* be nice to have.
When it was time to ‘flip the switch,’ there were no surprises—ProTradeCraft kept on working
It’s like when you place that last piece of crown molding in a room. You have scribed, shaped, and test fit the piece, and as you walk to the ladder, the homeowner whispers over you shoulder “the moment of truth...” Huh? Of course the piece fits—it fit nicely when you took it back to the saw station five minutes ago to clean up the profile. Now it fits even better.
Launching ProTradeCraft was the end of a sprint and the beginning of a marathon. The sprint was to build a big enough ‘archive’ of content so that we could launch a technical website—and have it feel like there was a ‘there’ there. The team included a long list of close friends who are building industry experts and practitioners.
The marathon is to develop useful, interesting, and important information as videos, articles, and animated detail drawings. Daily. For the rest of our lives.
Our biggest accomplishment of the first year is that we have built something that you like
We think this because of two things:
1. You say nice things to us.
We must be doing something right because most of the comments on ProTradeCraft are thankful, constructive, or supportive. Sometimes it seems hard to believe that a website will have constructive comments. Thank you for upping the comments game in the world wide web.
But we do not just want you to like us and be nice. We want you to feel like we have got your back for difficult building info. That is why we are happy about the next item.
2. You spend a lot of time with the stuff we publish.
Videos are watched in full, articles are read in full, photo collections are looked at over and over. You spend up to 15 minutes on some of the long technical articles. That is a lot for a web based magazine.
Here’s what you’ve looked at the most over the course of the last year—
- The Best Way to Frame: Less Wood, More Thought
- Hanging Drywall Like This Can Make a House More Energy Efficient
- The Parthenon's Construction and Design as Revealed in the Rubble
- What Could Cause THOUSANDS of Drywall Screw Pops?
- Kitchen Exhaust Best Practices
- Latino Lock sets and Other Interesting Door Hardware
- How to Cut Holes in Drywall for Electrical Boxes
- Custom White Oak Kitchen Worth Writing Home About
- When Drip Edge Becomes A Double Agent
- Three Ways to Wire a Panasonic WhisperGreen Select Exhaust Fan
- Architectural Subterfuge: The (not so) Secret Side of Hidden Doors
- Robotic Bricklayer
- Kickout Flashing That Won't Leak
- Four Deck Foundation Tips
- Tile Waterproofing for Cement Backer Board
- Keep Water Out of Walls With Kickout Flashing
- Stabilizing a Sagging Foundation
- How to Replace A Floor Joist—#TheHardWay
- How to Insulate Old Masonry Buildings Without Causing Water Problems
- How to Bend a Window Casing w/ a Built-in J-Channel
Interestingly enough, two of these are sponsor content pieces: #10 and #20. One thing we hoped was that the content provided by sponsors, like Panasonic and Tapco Tools, would be good enough for you to like.
Because we think good content is better than pop-up ads. Looks like you agree.
We deliver these articles, videos, and animations to you primarily through our PunchList newsletter, which goes out to about 50,000 building pros every Tuesday and Saturday.
Our Goals for Year Two
More audience participation
- Send us rough clips—We know you all have phones in your pocket and we know that you know how to use them. Shoot video clips of your projects and send them to us like Chris Whalen, Matt Jackson, and MARK IV Builders did. We can splice the clips into videos.
- Post finished videos—if you are already a good video editor, you can post your finished videos to ProTradeCraft like Paul Ricalde, Niles Erikson, and New Ministries Construction does.
- Guest blog—if you’ve got a blog and you want to spread the word, you are in luck. Post to ProTradeCraft as a guest, like Myron Ferguson, Sean Lintow, and Todd Hawkins.
Spread the word
We do not want to sit in our little corner of the web, we want to be available wherever you go on you phone. If you like what we do, you can help two ways:
1. Share ProTradeCraft articles through your social feeds.
- From here to your Facebook
- From our Facebook to your Facebook
- Follow, heart, and retweet us
- Follow, forward, and favorite on Instagram
(We have links to our social sites at the bottom of every page).
2. Forward the PunchList newsletter to a dozen people that you know would like the information that we provide.
One reason we built ProTradeCraft was to help get training information to the people who are doing the work, because we know that there is a dearth of skilled labor. If you want to improve the skills and potential of your crew, share the PunchList with them and encourage them to read it.
Thanks for a great first year,
Dan Morrison, Technical Editor