January 20, 1999: I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is only a minor setback, a temporary one, and the good news more than compensates for it.
The bad news is that Excite just dropped the old Passions web site from its listing (as of yesterday). This wasn’t an unexpected surprise, and was actually one of the many reasons we recently moved to our own domain. You see, Excite seems to have this thing against subpages (any page not directly off a main URL), and every time it reindexes its database, Excite purges subpages from the search listings. Our old site, of course, was such a subpage and every reference to Passions was a victim of their latest purge. Ouch.
I noticed the purge almost immediately, because traffic at Passions took a real nosedive. For those who don’t know it, Excite is one of the most popular search engines on the Net, especially since it’s the hidden engine behind both AOL’s and Netscape’s search engine. We have been getting a lot of traffic from Excite. Up until yesterday, if you search for almost any kind of poetry at all on one of Excite’s many alter egos, Passions in Poetry would probably be listed on the first page of results. Sometimes, we were listed more than once. People, in other words, were finding it very easy to find us. We still have a very good ranking on many of the other search engines, and we’re still getting good traffic. Just not as good.
But this is a temporary setback, because the new URL has already been submitted to Excite and, though it’ll take about two weeks, I fully expect we’ll get just as good a ranking this time as we did with the old site. Who knows? Maybe even better.
And that brings us to the good news.
Yesterday, I received email that Passions in Poetry would be listed in the Yahoo! directory within the next few days. As if you didn’t already know it, Yahoo! is the most popular site on the Internet, with estimates that 47 percent of the people who log on will go straight to the Yahoo! directory. Yahoo! is also very selective who they list, and it’s a really tremendous compliment to be included. Especially so quickly. The compliment really goes to you folks, all those who have written with such great ideas and such wonderful support. Hey, we must be doing something right!
Just Between You and Me
Designing and maintaining a rapidly growing web site is a lot of fun, but the truth is we’d much rather write poetry than HTML code. And now we can! Behind the obvious design changes, behind the new sections we’ve added, and behind the unbelievable number of pages posted in little more than a week, lies an incredible little secret.
Almost this entire web site, well over a thousand pages, was generated by a computer program. For a behind-the-scenes look at how Passions in Poetry has evolved, please read the story called How Athena Learned to Program.