You Want the Good News First?

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.

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Our New Facelift (and Domain!)

January 9, 1999: The face lift which began over the Christmas holidays has continued in earnest during the first week of the new year. We’ve moved things around just a bit (Special Requests can now be found on this page, instead of off the main menu) and added still more surprises for you.

Perhaps the biggest new surprise is our Poetry Greeting Cards section. If you do nothing else during your visit today (shame on you), you need to check this one out. There are now 28 million consumer PC’s connected to the Internet, a full one-third of all homes in the United States. We think the rest will join us soon just so they can find these unique greeting cards (hey, hyperbole is an established poetic device, right?).

The other really big news is something you won’t even see (if we did everything right). Passions in Poetry has grown so large, so quickly, that we now have our own server and our own Internet address. We think will be the happening place in 1999. Don’t worry; all your old bookmarks and favorites will still work. And all the menu options at the old site will bring you to the new one. But the old Passions site won’t be updated after today, so be sure to flag this page as one of your favorites.

I hope you like all the changes. And, of course, I again want to thank all of my new-found friends that have taken the time to write with both glowing compliments and worthwhile ideas. By all means, keep those ideas coming and I’ll keep adding new sections. We’re just getting started. Oh, and if you keep the compliments coming, that’ll be okay, too.

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What’s New?

December 31, 1998: Happy New Year! If you haven’t noticed yet, we’ve had something of a face lift over the Holidays. While you were shopping and drinking eggnog, I was slaving over the keyboard (okay, and drinking a bit of eggnog, too). Some of the changes are cosmetic, like slightly changing our colors and formatting the screens so our 640×480 visitors can see everything. (And, those changes, not incidentally took the longest.) But we’ve also added four new sections to the web site (including this one), and the excitement level around here is pretty high. I think I now have some very small idea of the pain and pleasure a woman goes through when she gives birth. To quadruplets…

This page, Passionate News, is where we’ll be posting the latest gossip. It’s also where you’ll find our Poem Of The Day and have the opportunity to sign up for our soon-to-be newsletter.

Our Special Requests section is for, uh, special requests. Visitors will find a form where they can ask our resident and visiting poets to write a verse on a specific topic for them. The poets, of course, will find new inspiration.

The Poetry Market is still a bit under construction, but we’re going to be posting guidelines and addresses where our poets can send their wonderful works and, maybe, make a couple bucks in the process.

And finally, in our Classical Poems section, you’ll find 75 of the greatest poets of all time, with close to one thousand of the best-ever poems ever penned by mortal man (and woman, of course).

New Feature Department We think all of the poems at Passions in Poetry are very special ones. But some, it seems, are more appropriate for mailing to special friends. They just seem to have a Universal message that our Visitors want to share. To make it easier to find those poems, we’re now marking them within their individual sections.

Look for the Blue Star to find our most popular poems for sending to a friend. A Red Star indicates the poem also has a Greeting Card designed for it. And a Gold Star points the way to one of our Ten Most Popular poems.

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