If you have read my bio page, then you already know a little bit about my bridge building experiences. But today I want to share some more behind why I created GarrettsBridges.com. The only reason I got involved in model bridge building was because of my activity in Science Olympiad. Before that, I simply had no idea that I loved building bridges. Many thanks to my mother, who pushed and prodded me in the right direction, and never failed to encourage me and listen to my ideas.
The first version of GarrettsBridges.com was hosted on Yahoo’s GeoCities. Back then, I called the site “Miniature Bridge Building.” Early on, the layout was terrible, as I used the WYSIWYG editor provided with GeoCites. This was in 2002, two years after I started building bridges. I didn’t have a lot of content, but it was a start. After that, being encouraged by family to register a domain name, I bought garrettsbridges.com on July 31, 2003. I kept the same basic layout as before, but learned and wrote the HTML myself. Also, after a brief introduction to SEO, I renamed the site to “Balsa Wood Bridge Designs.
The goal of GarrettsBridges.com shifted during this time period. I wanted to create the ultimate resource for building model bridges. I began to write pages of content on various subjects about model bridge building. Some of what I wrote was wrong, I’ll admit. I hadn’t quite had the experiences I have now, and was under a couple false impressions. The homepage of this version can still be found in the Web Archive.
Over the summer of 2004, I almost let the project drop completely, and almost didn’t renew the domain name. But I did, and in the fall started working on the website again. One of the things I did was re-visit WordTracker. And to my surprise, Balsa Wood Bridge Designs was no longer such a great phrase to be targeting. This time, I purchased a day’s use of the program to do more in-depth study and analysis. I then changed the title of the site to what it is today: Model Bridge Design.
Also during this time I began to shift my goals for the website again. I began thinking of creating an Ebook, perhaps two. The first one would cover the basics of model bridge building, while the second one would delve deeper and explore more of the “whys.”I have now finished an Ebook, called 5 Steps to Building a Model Bridge. It took me a long time to finish it probably because I was distracted by other things. I began to have more success in the Bridge Building event in Science Olympiad, and placed 4th and the State tournament that year.
Over the summer of 2004, I made various changes to the layout and design of GarrettsBridges.com. The thought behind this latest version of the website was not as much to be a complete guide, but rather to offer tips, and helpful hints. I began to realize that I would never know everything there is to know about bridge design and building, though I was learning more. I have to say that I learned more in the 2004-2005 Science Olympiad season about model bridges than ever before. As I was in the 10th grade, I was able to grasp many more concepts and ideas that I hadn’t thought about before. I was also in contact with a couple engineers who offered me helpful hints.
In the spring of 2005, I placed 2nd at the GA State Finals in the Tower Building event. That motivated me to try harder the next year, and do my best to win 1st. I have begun to expand my knowledge of other types of model bridge building to include popsicle bridges. As mentioned in a previous entry, I hope to build toothpick and a bamboo bridge before it is all said and done.
Where do you fit in? Right here. Join the community, post a comment. Tell me about what you are building. I’d love to hear from you.