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UNITED TAPS

1-888-210-1075

rod@unitedtaps.com


Rod Howell

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UNITED TAPS TIMELINE / STORY


2005


May-Dec, 2005: FAILURE - I video about 280 different tap steps as well as a short combination for each one. Streaming video doesn’t really exist in usable form yet (no youtube) so I edit each video and put each one in 3 different quality/sizes. So that’s about 1620 separate video files. My hard drive crashes and I LOSE ALL THE VIDEOS. Yes all of them. What about back-up - well I thought I had backed them up but I had only created a shortcut to the files. I had to re-edit ALL the videos!


December, 2005:  The unitedtaps.com website is launched!


2006

May 18th, 2006:  SUCCESS - United Taps begins branching out to collaborate with Drew Tyler Bell on a new show called "Garage Tap!" at garagetap.com  (no longer up, but you can still find the shows on youtube).


Some Time in 2006: SUCCESS - I offer sales of my first album, No Rest, through unitedtaps.com


...time drifts by......


2008

April 2008: MAJOR SUCCESS - I refilm all the steps on my site (but not the mini combinations). At least as many as I can remember. About 280 steps in all. This time I break them down (Why didn’t I do that the first time?). It took about 6 hours of non-stop filming in a hot garage. I also put them in flash format (like youtube videos) so all you have to do is hit play instead of downloading a file.  It sounds silly now but it was a big deal at the time.


Nov 27, 2008: SUCCESS - Virtually all of the video dictionary steps have been uploaded now. I have redesigned the site with a new logo and a new look.


Dec 31, 2008: SUCCESS - I added a tap dance syllabus in video format covering all the steps in my tap dance video dictionary. I added an iPod Video download of my entire syllabus/dictionary. I added my new album ACTION. I also added a new tap forum and discussion board.


2009

Jan 24, 2009: SUCCESS - I have done a complete redesign, again, after seeing tapper Michelle Dorrance’s web page. (Good page and good tapper. I just felt my site looked outdated, so I revamped it.)


Feb 27, 2009: SUCCESS - I have made an individual page for each of my steps in the tap dance dictionary. Two reasons; First, I read google likes big sites and gives them higher rankings (true or not? Who knows?). Second, I figured this way I’d get the revenue for the ads on the video page instead of giving it to revver (which is now out of business).


Feb 27, 2009: SUCCESS - I have set up the music section now so you can hear each song individually before you buy, and now you can buy by the song instead of just by the album.


March 15th, 2009: FAILURE - So offering songs for sale on an individual basis has severely reduced my music sales. Thus I am returning to offering my music as albums only. Sorry!


May 16th, 2009: SUCCESS - I have finally videoed a new routine for sale called Djemborita (pronouced jem-boar-eetah).


May 26th, 2009: SUCCESS - I have posted a brand new beginner, intermediate, and finally, advanced class! I have been wanting to do this for a while. These will be the first of a complete series for each level.


July 26th, 2009: SUCCESS - I have produced a beginner level practice pack and posted it for sale.


August 2009: FAILURE - My wife has joined my team and we have been through copious versions of website redesigns. At one point we thought we had settled on a design. We went ahead and began changing pages. After 50+ pages, we changed our mind on the design and ended up back at square one!


September 5th, 2009: SUCCESS - We have decided on the new look (so we think!) for the website, and have begun the process of updating each page, one at a time. Talk about a slow process!


September 2009: FAILURE - After settling on a look and converting every single page, I change my mind again and create a new look and have to change all 300+ pages!


September/October 2009: FAILURE - I try to create a technical help section with instructional videos. I use an old windows machine and the videos turn out poorly.


October 2009: FAILURE - I switch over to a new payment transaction company and my first sale doesn't work! Turns out there is a file limit hidden in fine print on a DIFFERENT page than the one I signed up on.


October 2009: SUCCESS - I finally get the instructional videos to work (running windows on my Mac), and I get the payment system working as well.


November 2009: FAILURE/SUCCESS? - I got some new software (Freeway Pro) which will give me more freedom than iWeb and will create faster loading pages as well. Could I just copy and paste the pages from iWeb to Freeway? Of course not. And in the process I'm doing another redesign. I may seem crazy constantly redesigning, but every time I do it the site gets better in some way. The new improvements will be well worth it. I'm hoping to be done with redesigns for a while after this one.


December 20th, 2009: SUCCESS - The redesign is done. I have to make tapdancelessons.com match the new look here at unitedtaps.com now.


2010

Early 2010 SUCCESS - tapdancelessons.com is redesigned to match the look of United Taps.


Early 2010 FAILURE - I decide to replace my halogen lighting I use for filming for 3 reasons: 1) the lights are hot, 2) they use a lot of electricity, 3) they trip my circuit breaker. I replace them with compact florescent bulbs. The compact fluorescents aren't bright enough and the video turns out dark and grainy.


Early 2010 - FAILURE - I add more compact fluorescent and part of the video turns out to be washed out. I'm having a lot of trouble getting these lights right.


Early 2010 - FAILURE -I accidentally break the mirrors I use for filming and have to replace them with plexi-glass mirrors. The plexi glass mirrors warp their reflections despite mounting them to a flat board. I end up having to buy new glass mirrors.


April 2010 - FAILURE - I order a test poster with my logo on it for the set. It turns out great so I order a second to match it. The second one arrives and does not match due to an upload error on my part so I have to buy yet another one to match the original.


April 2010 - SUCCESS - I finally have all the needed pieces to assemble my new film set - my new glass mirrors are mounted to a wood backboard, my new sound absorption sheets are mounted in a wood frame and mounted to the wall, my new posters are mounted on the back "fake" walls, new baseboard is added to the back "fake" walls and additional sound absorption sheets are hung off camera to further reduce echo. I'm still considering buying higher-end mics for the cameras but I want to see how they sound with the new sound absorption materials first.


April 17th, 2010 SUCCESS - I freshen up the website design with a new menu and title bar and create a new format for purchases. I have an official seller's permit and can now sell physical media such as cd's and dvd's.


May 9th, 2010 - FAILURE - Because I'm now offering DVD's and am now splitting downloads into either Mac or Windows and I'm offering HD, the purchase options for my customers have gotten ridiculous. I have made several charts to make it easy to figure out what to order, but none have been good enough yet.


June 2010 - SUCCESS - I end up redesigning the site again. Graphically it's as cohesive as it's ever been. I've added several new pages as well. I have filmed and edited the first 4 beginner lessons in HD.


2011

February 22nd 2011 - SUCCESS - I have switched to a new transaction company and they are working well after a rocky start.


March 2011 - Failure/Success - I basically finished a complete redesign only to change design directions at the very end. For the redesign I also restructured so I have broken all the sub-sections of United Taps into separate but tightly linked sites. This allows each site to prosper on it's own and makes it more focused for targeting search engines. I will also be devoting 2 days a week exclusively to United Taps starting summer 2011. This is a big change because up to now all of this has been done in my spare time.


May 2011 - Failure - I did another redesign but decided to change directions before launching it.  back to the drawing board…


May 2011 - Success - I pass 1 million cumulative views on Youtube!


May 2011 - Success - I finish and launch the new redesign.


2012


Jan 2012 - Success - My music is now available through Google Play Store.


Jan 2012 - Success - New DVD cover design (thanks Ryan Lohoff).


April 2012 - Success - New tablet version of the website is launched.


April 2012 - Success - My Beginner Lessons series is available.


July 2012 - Success - I now have a real mailing list via MailChimp.


Aug 2012 - My new albums are available in iTunes and Amazon.


Oct 2012 - Success - One of my new songs "Hats Off" hits #142 on iTunes instrumental charts!


2013

Feb 2013 - Success - We now offer videos in MP4 format instead of MOV


March 2013 - Success - I install new floor with stick on vinyl tile on top.


May 2013 - Success/MASSIVE FAILURE - I begin filming my new tap dictionary and practice exercises - for massive failure see March 2014 below.


July 2013 - Success - New web design.


Aug 2013 - Success/Failure - I launch a Tap dance app on Android.  Later I kill the app because it's not capable enough.


Sept 2013 - Failure - Apple rejects my tap app twice.  I decide to go back to the drawing board and start over at another time.


Sept 2013 - Failure - I try creating a tap dictionary app.  I'm not successful.


2014

Mar 2014 - Success - All of our content (except dictionary and practice exercises) includes Vimeo streaming now.


Mar 2014 - Massive Failure - I make countless mistakes filming the new dictionary and practice exercises.  At least 50% of all the videos need to be refilmed (that's about 315 videos!).


Oct 2014 - Success - The new dictionary and practice exercises finally launch.


2015

Feb 2015 - Success - We launch our intermediate tap lesson series.


March 2015 - We cease to offer self hosted streaming and WMV versions of videos.


July 2015 - Success - We release our first piece of choreography to a “popular” song (just meaning we didn’t write it) “Take the A Train”. The music is not included in the choreography but the concept works and people like it.

Aug-Dec 2015 - Success - We release more choreography to “popular” music.


2016

June 2016 - Success - We launch the first 6 lessons of our intermediate-advanced tap lesson series.


Sept 2016 - Success - A huge redesign for the entire site is complete!


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