(Translate this site)

Search this site

Search the bookstore

First aid for broken links

Low Cost Web Site Authoring Log (archives)

Sponser this page

This page last updated on or about 7-20-05

CLICK HERE for Help with creating your own web site

CLICK HERE for Handy Tools and Guides for Webmasters


Site map

Latest site updates

Site web log(s)

Site author

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Below follows a partial log of my personal experience in authoring this and related web sites, as well as still earlier network-related publishing in general. I also maintain the page How small-time web sites can make it financially on the web. I don't include the names of certain companies so that I won't accidentally break various contract terms I may have with them now or in the future (sorry!). Due to the chronological nature of this log, certain embedded web links and documented costs/prices for wares discussed may be out-of-date by the time some readers find this piece. This is Real World usage rather than a syrupy evangelistic exercise, so you'll find both good and bad things about authoring web sites here. END NOTES.

Back to the VERY LATEST Web Site Authoring Log...

Web Site Authoring Log Archives Table of Contents

5-24-02: Substantial revamps underway across the board

Although delayed by a router problem, I finally managed to get a load of automatic redirects to my jrmooneyham.com domain from my five AOL domains implemented in the past week.

I've also got a new page color format and cross-linking arrangement I'm applying widely over the site, which I hope will make it easier on the eyes as well as more functional and reliable for users.

Besides the redirects, I also uploaded some up-to-date jrmooneyham.com site maps, and vastly improved web services pages to my various AOL domains.

I've begun readying the text of my Pathfinder application to be published as a standalone book too. Basically this will be an I Ching book with my own brand of interpretations. I plan to publish it as a print-on-demand book or e-book, available for sale either online or through various brick and mortar extablishments. I'll promote and market the book on my web site(s). Selling your own unique content this way may be considerably more profitable than merely getting sales commissions on the sales of other folks' products and services.

I may also design my own cover for the book. However, I'm unsure for now just how fast I'll be able to roll out this new line of items (I've got quite a few potential books I could do this way).

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-14-02: Yay! I've completed 99% of the footnote re-formatting on jrmooneyham.com!

I say 99% because there may still be a page or two which has escaped me. But I'm keeping my eye out for them.

The newly reformatted pages may take a while to be posted to my secondary domain, for a variety of reasons. Among other things, I'm still contemplating the best way to implement the whole cross-linking arrangement between domains.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-14-02: Ancient pre-web FLUX content recovered in virtual archaeological dig!

I don't think I announced it anywhere when I recently posted some archival material from the pre-web, Apple/Mac/HyperCard-based FLUX magazine onto the site. The index to this material can be found here. Sorry, only certain portions of the old content are available online at this time.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-14-02: Maximizing site reliability and ease of discovery for visitors

I really, really dislike it when my site(s) go down and nobody can access them. That's why I've essentially got two major domains now, with two separate hosts (so far as I can tell), for redundancy. I sort of have them cross-linked as well with each their own 'web services' page, which allows users to get a custom Google listing of all or most of the pages of both major domains, thereby hopefully allowing users to access the pages from a 'live' domain if/when the other is 'dead'. Another bonus of this method is users can access Google's cache of both domains too this way. Of course if both domains are down, then only a services page on a user's local hard drive or on a third or fourth domain could help. For that reason I'm adding instructions on my services page to users who want to make a local copy for that purpose.

Of course, besides the advantage of 'routing around domain outages' having a second domain offers, there's also the benefits of additional storage space overall for your site(s), plus the possibility of having an older and newer set of pages people can peruse (for a predictions site like mine that's sort of handy for those who want to check my accuracy via hindsight; I actually get requests for this very feature from time to time). Another advantage of this system, at least for folks like me with many darn long pages, is that you can allow better indexing of your content in various search engines. How? Well, some pages qualify for two wholly different but decent titles, like "How to Live Well on Very, Very Little", or "Living Well Within Our Memes". With two different domains, in theory I can have one sporting one title and one the other. But the real benefit may come from keywords and content descriptions in the headers of the pages. For large pages like many of mine, I often cannot fully describe their contents in just one page's worth of header information. This is because apparently most search engines ignore more than 25 keywords there. Inevitably I must leave out some great keywords, etc. Which means not everyone who should will find a given page.

But if you have the gist of the same page on two different domains, one can have 25 different keywords from the other, thereby better classifying the page in the engines for visitors.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-14-02: Local search considerations

I'm bumping up against the freebie ceiling on my local site search engine. I already set the prefs to avoid indexing pages on my site which were trivial in nature. But now I know for sure some of my non-trivial pages are being ignored because of the limit. I'll have to either pony up some money to start paying for this service in an upgrade, or begin prioritizing which pages among even my significant content do not get indexed. Luckily Google might still index those pages my local engine doesn't. But visitors would expect a local engine to know more about its own site than Google, right? Right! So this wouldn't exactly be the optimal way to run a web site.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-14-02: Some guidelines for getting linked on other sites

#1: You gotta have the content-- or at least a decent weblog of your own to point to. A weblog can consist of nothing more than timely links that you believe are worthwhile. The keyword here is timely. Many URLS (especially news) go bad within just one to several days. So you'd need a fairly streamlined process to gather, write about, and post such links.

#2: Update as regularly as you can on a practical basis. Frequent updates encourage visitors to return again and again, can increase your word of mouth/news group promotion, and may entice some search engines like Google to start checking your site on as frequent as a daily basis(!) [I base this on observations of Google apparently doing that on a few weblogs I paid close attention to over a period of time).

#3: Add your URL to Google and other search engines/directories as early as you possibly can. One reason not to wait is because it may take a month or more for the site to actually appear in the engine database or directory, after submitting it. Make sure your domain is active, up, and running when you submit it. Also make sure you've got at least a skeletal index.html page posted there, with a bit of content and embedded meta tags suitable to that content (to see an example of meta tags view the source of this web page; you'll find the meta tags near the top). You should be able to find several web sites online that'll explain meta tags and their proper use to you.

#4: Having your own domain name increases your credibility and chances of getting linked. Don't forget to create an "index.html" page on your site-- for that's where links consisting just of your naked domain name (like jrmooneyham.com) will go by default. Naked domain name URLs are the preferred links among a large number of webmasters, for various reasons (including less chance of broken links over time).

#5: Write to other site owners in attempts to persuade them to link to you. Today it'd probably be best to focus on the growing body of weblogs. Avoid writing to big name celebrities or nationally syndicated journalists, or high profile chief executives and others like that (even if they do have weblogs)-- those messages will usually be a waste of time. They may never even reach the intended person, but only someone on staff, or worse yet, get automatically trashed by an overzealous spam filter. And even if they get through, they'll just be one of hundreds of emails that person sees every day, which will tend to de-value it in their eyes, and make it easy to overlook even if it contained the cure to cancer inside. Instead, look for lesser known sites and folks to write to. Look for logs which either focus on a theme similar to your site, or at least sometimes links to such items. Look for logs which were recently updated, and appear to be being updated frequently. Logs which have been around a while are better than brand new ones, as they may already be indexed by the major search engines.

If you have a suitable and relevant place to put on your site a link to the site you're emailing about linking to you, you should definitely do this, and mention it in the message. This practice is somewhat akin to reciprocal linking. However, pure reciprocal linking may involve linking between sites for no reason whatsoever except to increase the search engine rankings (and so traffic) of both sites-- regardless of the value or relevance of either of the two sites to the other. Thus, I personally do not subscribe to pure reciprocal linking, but rather only to mutual linking when the case for same can be truly justified from more than just engine ranking and traffic benefits.

However, there's a catch-22 here. Namely, many site authors will likely do best by highly specializing in the type of content they post on-site. But such specialization can make it very very difficult to find a relevant place to include even links to very valuable other sites, for any reason-- as their theme will simply often be beyond the scope of your own site, and really be out of place there.

To solve this problem you may periodically post your referrer logs for your visitors to peruse. This list will automatically (or semi-automatically) provide back-links to any and all sites which actually sent visitors to your own site in the latest documented period. Be sure not to mislead your visitors as to the nature of the referral log, and you'll have successfully arranged a form of 'reciprocal linking' that it'd be hard for anyone to argue against.

#6: Don't spam. As much as possible, write unique messages to each and ever recipient you might contact via email. Also, don't write unless you have something significant to say or point to. Even better is to write to someone who publically requested feedback on a subject to which your site is relevant. Try to avoid using email subject titles which look like spam subject titles (this can be harder than you might expect, as spam subjects are continuously trying to sound like real message subjects. DOH!)

Note that such single email sending probably will not get you as many positive results as actual spamming would-- but spam is not nice, and could also damage your long term credibility with lots of webmasters and potential visitors. I've never used the spam method myself, and don't see any conditions which would prompt such mailings.

Now there's the legitimate mechanism of folks voluntarily subscribing to an email list where you'd periodically send them something like an email newsletter-- this is a perfectly fine thing to do, and probably one of the better entrepreneurial and publishing tools available. I intend to set one up myself at some point.

#7: Don't allow yourself to get too easily discouraged. There'll always be plenty of good reasons for folks not to post your link, or sometimes even respond to your email at all. On rare occasion you may even get a nasty reply in return. But this is all normal. Part of what it means to be a well-adjusted adult is to be sufficiently thick-skinned so that accidental or unreasonable 'small potato' insults or injuries do not have a significant effect upon your well being.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-7-02: Beware of invisible text in your HTML editing windows

Folks, you might want to keep an eye out for this problem on your own sites, as it could cause you to completely innocently infringe on someone else's copyright.

The problem is invisible text inside HTML editing windows. I currently use PageSpinner 2.1 on the Mac, and while revamping my footnote formatting I started noticing errant text I'd never seen before in my pages. Just a bit here and a bit there, but they were obviously out of place and not meant to be there. They were sometimes bits of my own writing, but other times bits from others. Fortunately most of what I came upon so far was just 'boilerplate' material like "this site best viewed by Netscape x.x" or whatever, left over from copying/pasting text to note the original source of various news/report items. But apparently some of this stuff never became visible to me until after I invoked the Edit menu's 'restyle text' command in PageSpinner's windows. Until then it was wholly invisible, due sometimes I suppose to the original text from the source being formated in a white font over a dark background. This may also help explain why some of my source text over the years would seem to mysteriously lose some critical info details like dates, author names, etc., causing me extra headaches trying to track down the info again later.

Of course, I'd noted long ago that copying/pasting a Slash dot article for research purposes left you with a whited out (invisible) article title. But I didn't realize the problem was much more widespread in my editing windows.

I'm not sure at this moment if this errant text has been showing up in my posted web pages online-- I've never noticed it if it has. And none of my readers have commented on it happening. But logic would seem to dictate that it did. And if so, this could leave a person open to claims of copyright infringement in a worst case scenario. Yikes!

So folks, do whatever you can to make such invisible text show up in your editing windows so you can delete it. Otherwise it might cause you all sorts of headaches.

I guess while I'm on the subject I'll mention some related glitches. Restyling my HTML text in my editing windows sometimes kills some of my live URLs there, by inserting an unwanted line break (or removing a space?) between the "A" and "HREF" in the URL HTML. The dead URLs won't be apparent in Internet Explorer 5 on the Mac. But they will most certainly be dead after you post them online and see them in IE 6 on a PC. DOH! Seeing them online is one way to find the dead links. While editing in PageSpinner, the only way is to notice the "A" of an "A HREF..." being the last character on a line in your page, with the "HREF" being the first characters on the next line.

Also, it seems either PageSpinner or the Mac OS sometimes subtlely changes my HTML editing or general text/font preferences on its own, leading to other subtle problems in editing. I don't think this one is related to the invisible text problem, but being an ex-programmer I've seen crazier things than that occur. So who knows?

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-3-02: Updates on site revenue enhancements and traffic building progress; more affiliate applications; some juggling of pages

I applied to several more companies to be an affiliate and got accepted at all but one. The rejection came from the only site among this group that I had previously applied to and been rejected from. Based on their polite rejection note, I think I understand why I was rejected both times now. It apparently wasn't because I lacked my own domain name the first time, but because in both instances the nature of my site sort of conflicted with the company's business in a legal way. You see, the business was an online stock broker of sorts, and my "speculative" future timeline would likely blow a few legal gaskets for the firm with the SEC or some other watchdog agency I suppose. Well, que sera sera.

I've already installed two of the new links I gained with my applications. Two others still remain to be done. I've also done quite a bit of sprucing up in regards to a couple of older associations related to my store pages.

I've added a custom Google search link to my web services page which allows folks to access Google's cache of the jrmooneyham.com site as well as my secondary site now. I uploaded this update to my secondary site too, so that now, technically, each site can allow users to access the other via Google's cache, if no other method is available at the time.

The reason I didn't do this earlier is because Google didn't consistently show any results at all for jrmooneyham.com for a while; then it would show only a handful of pages for a week or two. But finally it's been a couple weeks now that the entire site has been showing up in Google's results. Yay!

How's the various web site affiliate-based revenue enhancers doing? The donation system has proven itself to work alright-- but it's very, very sensitive to traffic. It needs a LOT of traffic to really work well, apparently. At my present traffic level it sort of sputters to life occasionally in-between lengthy periods of utter inactivity. I'm basing my estimate of its performance not just on my own experience but that reported by others on the web, too.

Sales of computer-related gear are what's been doing the best for me so far. Of course, that's somewhat to be expected from what I'd read a couple years back about what sold well on the web, from the very beginning. Plus, my site has a lot of computer-type info on it to draw in such potential buyers.

But are the revenues of these sales (plus the donations) significant to my bottomline yet? Well, you couldn't live just off them alone (or even ten times their present amount), but they're enough to help out in some small ways. And every little bit helps!

Keep in mind several of my 'enhancers' haven't really been fully implemented for very long yet. One of them in particular has required a lot more work than I expected. But hopefully that work will start paying off soon. And, as I said before, I have two new ones I haven't got online at all yet.

In general, although I can sure use whatever extra money they might generate in the future, at this early stage I'm fairly happy with how things are going about the implementations; how they're fitting with my site in general, and the sorts of companies and products I'm getting the opportunity to present to my site visitors.

I've placed a redirect page on my secondary site, in place of the original "store" front page. The redirect automatically refreshes itself by transporting the visitor to my jrmooneyham.com store page. It also provides a user-clickable link if the refresh mechanism doesn't work for some reason.

Making my store pages exist only on jrmooneyham.com and not my secondary or tertiary sites will make them unavailable whenever my domain goes down. But it'll also make it easier for me to update and maintain the pages, plus minimize any possible contractual glitches with my various associations, affiliations, and non-primary hosts.

It can be quite an effort to apply to be an affiliate. But it seems to get a bit easier the more you do it. It also helps to have real traffic statistics derived from your own domain name to supply on forms (this increases your confidence, if nothing else). The worst part of the application process has to be reading the sometimes horrendously long contract agreements, which seem always to be typed in this itty-bitty font that you can't adjust the size of in your browser. You also seem to encounter various glitches if you try to become an affiliate of more than one company. Basically you end up having to create a different user name and password for just about every single account you get. Maybe afterwards you can do something to consolidate these accounts-- but at the beginning you gotta create a slew of different ones. Otherwise you run into stop sign after stop sign in the form of the databases telling you someone else already has that username (it's you, of course) and you MUST choose a different name. And no, there's no rule anywhere prohibiting you from becoming an affiliate of more than one company (at least that I've seen so far). It's just that the back end systems aren't set up to handle this in the application stage. I've seen many clues that they can handle consolidation of multiple accounts after your application(s) have been accepted, but I haven't had time to pursue that option yet.

Oh yes. I think I forgot to mention earlier in this log that I also signed up at a reviews site to review products and get paid a small royalty for what traffic my reviews generated. This was maybe several years ago. I wrote a few reviews for the site, and got some traffic alright. But turned out the only traffic which generated fees was traffic from other offical site members I believe, NOT the much larger number of random folks which came streaming in from the web to read the articles-- which cut your fees dramatically from what they could have been. Plus, pretty soon after I joined up the company also cut the size of the fees themselves. And finally quit paying them altogether I believe, if I recall correctly from the postings of other members on the web.

I accumulated a small amount of financial credit on the site, but never enough to be worth 'cashing in'. That was another thing. You had to go some extra steps to convert your fees to actual payments, unlike the present day affiliate systems on the web.

But I'd realized early on I wasn't going to make it as a reviewer anyway, based on the items I did generate for the site. Even if the payment situation had been great, I would have fell off that wagon anyway, as in-depth product and book and movie reviews really aren't my thing. However, I couldn't know this for sure until I'd tried it for a while at that site.

Another time I got a part-time job offer writing a rumor column for a Mac-centric network of web sites. The editors had liked the speculation I was doing in Newz&Viewz at the time (that was generating quite respectable traffic too by the way), and hoped to add me to their content stable. I declined their offer, partly because I thought they weren't offering enough money, plus I didn't want to be harnessed like a horse into a regular writing schedule for a ruthlessly consistent product.

But mainly, I also knew the rumor pool for Apple Computer and the Mac was drying up and dying right quick at that time. I'd already been doing my best to peer far, far ahead of the pack for quite some time by that period, and what I saw ahead for Apple at that moment was not going to present much of any opportunity for anybody in the Apple speculation business, pretty darn soon, and for a long, long time after that.

And I was right, as the intervening years have proven to my satisfaction.

I'll try to rectify the omission of these items and their proper dates from this log if I can pin them down later.

Regarding footnote updates, I've managed to do a 'stage one' reformat of maybe two thirds of the footnotes on my jrmooneyham.com hosted site. But by golly it's been a strenuous undertaking. One that has very little fun about it. But it must be done as a prelude to publishing some of the site in a print-on-demand hard copy book format, which I can then sell through both physical and online bookstores.

Lastly, you might be wondering how the job of redirecting traffic to my new domain is going. Well, according to my site stats, my site (which only went 'live' in mid-February) got a minute amount of visits during February. That tiny traffic was just me, verifying several stages of page uploads and updates. During the month of March, my visitor traffic went up twelve-fold from the February numbers. In April, visits roughly doubled compared to March. Keep in mind you can take these numbers and compare them to the timing of the changes I was making to all my sites (which I logged in items below), to learn more about how and why things happened.

I just remembered something else. I learned a few new tips about keywords and other HTML items from a web site designed to help you build traffic a while back, and have been applying this info in a keyword revamp of every page I was already re-doing footnote-wise. It'll likely take a month or more for any effect on overall traffic due to these changes to become noticeable. I'll try to look up the name of the web site and post it here later (I believe it may already be somewhere in my Real Money page).

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

4-19-02: An uploading glitch and the graphics problem

It's turning out to be much easier and faster to upload files to my new jrmooneyham.com domain, than any of my previous hosts. It was slightly more difficult to set up, and there was that denial of service attack-- but since then it's been pretty nifty.

Yesterday though I had the first case of a glitch like I've sometimes experienced with other hosts. Namely, when I was verifying the page uploads by downloading each one afterwards, I found a single page that seemingly only half had been wrote to my host servers. I reloaded a couple times to confirm the problem.

I tried uploading it again. Same problem. Now there's at least a couple things that can cause this. One on my end and one on the other. So I attended to both and tried again. I completely deleted the problem file on the far end before uploading it again. Sometimes it seems you get a corrupted file or something and must utterly delete it to get a good one to 'stick'. On my end I deleted my browser's history file and cached files. Sometimes you must do that to make sure you're really getting a fresh download of a page, it seems.

After all this, things seemed right again.

I'm maybe halfway through redoing my footnotes on my site. It's very menial labor. Advice: Always do such stuff correctly the first time to avoid having to go back and re-do it like this.

AGH! I've realized I'm also going to have to redo the URLs embedded in some of my graphics. AGH again! It wouldn't be so bad if all our Macs hadn't lost their graphics capabilities. Macs used to be THE graphics machines. Now it's worse than pulling teeth to get even the simplest graphics out of them-- unless maybe you spend a gazillion dollars on high end apps (and I'm not sure that would work either). It seems like when Jobs returned to Apple the first thing he did was ruin ClarisWorks (now known as AppleWorks). The old CW was a real workhorse, and almost never crashed. The new AW seems to crash if you even start thinking about doing a picture in it. And of course, my OS 9 iMac takes forever to re-boot after every crash. And yeah, we did end up buying some other graphics apps (or getting them bundled with various other purchases), but none of those work either. Some never did work well, and others seemed to rapidly deteriorate over time. I tried deleting preferences and things like that to fix them, but it didn't help. Re-installing the OS and apps? Yeah, stuff like that sometimes helps for a little while-- but after doing that about 600 times you decide it's not worth it anymore.

My site would have lots more graphics if I had a decent graphics app. I've already started looking for something to put on my PC along these lines. I'm fed up with the Mac problems. I look forward to the day I can retire my OS 9 iMac. I originally planned to upgrade it to OS X for greater reliability and other advantages, but now we have X on two other Macs here, and it seems not much more reliable than our OS 9 Macs. It's freezing up once or twice a week so far. The first thing the manual says to do is unplug your USB devices and plug them in again. EGADS! Looks like the USB ports are going to be worn out on these babies quick!

X is also taking so long to be debugged, get its awful interface fixed, and get a full rodeo of apps that I'm afraid I won't live long enough to see X become useful.

But anyway, if anyone has some recommendations for decent graphics apps for PCs, I'd like to hear them. I need stuff that's easy to use, with the lowest learning curve possible (for time and annoyance reasons). It needs to input/output a variety of file types, but especially internet graphic types. I'd like to have apps with both paint and draw capabilities, and photo-editing. I'd really like to have a great, easy to use 3D modeler too, which could produce realistic-looking spacecraft, people, buildings, and terrain, with a minimum of difficulty and rendering time (hopefully the renderer could do clothing too-- DUH! What use are renderers that don't do clothes?). I'd like these apps to be stable and cheap too. Yep. Tall order. Wonder how many months or years it'll take me to find such beasts?

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

4-10-02: Spiffed up translation option notification

Notice the little flag icons near the top of this page, calling attention to the translation option? I have them on my serv.html page too. These icons help get across the message that various language translations are available, whether a vistor can read my English written site or not, on first arrival.

The icons came from www.iconarchive.com, and were free for all to use last time I checked. Thanks Leo!

You might also note that it doesn't cost anything to have translation services for your site, if you do it like I do. In the first option I offer up a custom Google search that lists as complete a set of my pages as possible for the reader-- because Google likely offers a translation option for them too, there. After that, I offer several other translation alternatives.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

4-9-02: My new domain shows up pretty much in its entirety in Google

I don't know if it's going to stay there or not-- one or two pages from it made brief and very temporary shows in Google the past week or so, before disappearing again.

I noticed that Google seems to be paying lots of attention to recent updates of all web pages it spiders, as well as to certain weblogs on the net, like abuddhas memes and Unknown News. Google seems to be spidering certain weblogs and adding the updates to their engine on a daily basis(!)-- at least sometimes. Maybe Google is classifying some weblogs the same as news sources like the New York Times or something, now?

It appears lots of pages from my old revamped domains have now shown up in Google again as well. Unfortunately, some pretty significant pages seem to be missing in one or more of my AOL hosted domains. Hopefully it's just a momentary glitch in AOL's servers (AOL has had lots of those the past several years).

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

3-19-02: My new domain's still not in Google, but I log some progress none-the-less

Well, jrmooneyham.com still isn't cataloged in Google yet-- though my page stats seem to show Google bots (and a few other search engine bots) crawling over it a few times.

Luckily I'm getting some help from other web masters like abuddhas memes and others who are linking to my new domain much more quickly than I expected.

Turns out installing some updated redirects on my AOL domains was a pretty good thing to do-- those pages still get more visitors than I expected, primarily because they've been around so long and managed to get into lots more search engines, directories, and third party sites than my newer URLs, because of a massive manual effort I did some years back to get those old URLs added anywhere and everywhere I could. Now, if I don't blow it, I might enjoy a pretty good link momentum effect from that ancient history.

I've still got lots more work to do on getting my site to pay its own way. I'm sure lots of other folks out there are looking for ways to make their sites self-sustaining (or better), as well. This type of info seems to be rare on the web.

I believe a few general principles we should all keep in mind are:

(1): Make it as easy for folks to send you money as possible, and make the procedure and its entrance ways as obvious as you can.

(2): Create as many different avenues for folks to benefit you as you can. Offer for sale a variety of products and services relevant to your content. Accept tips or donations from folks who may not wish to puchase anything. Sell appropriate advertising on your site. Openly welcome contributions to content or enhancements to your content from others, where you can avoid infringing on their rights or them on yours (for example I recently linked from within 2184-2272 to a site where some fun fantasy graphics for starships can be found). Make your site serve partly as a resume to get work from possible employers.

(3): When you enter into affiliate agreements, try to get into those where you get the largest possible commission on every sale. This strategy is not only best for times of relatively low traffic (which is the usual case for most sites), but will definitely help roll in the bucks if your site ever hits the big time visit-wise.

Note that one implication here is that you should deal in potentially big-ticket items wherever possible, like computers, autos, real estate, auctions-- at least where your commission is a percentage of the sale (and the products/services look appropriate for your site). Big ticket items will tend to also be the best payers even of flat fees (since the fees will tend to be larger than the percentage cuts of small ticket items). But if you only make a few sales of big ticket merchandise, flat fees will be far less desirable than percentage commissions.

(4): Try to know who you're basically partnering with in business. That is, try to become affiliates with only well-established and reputable businesses that you yourself believe in and use, wherever possible. If you do that, there should be less chance of you or your site visitors being blindsided by adverse circumstances of various sorts.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

3-6-02: My Newz&Viewz weblog is reborn

Though the main weblog will now be updated at a different URL from the original, the original URL from 1995 still works, and offers visitors access to the rejuvenated log via just one extra click.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

3-4-02: Lots of action on the web site front

I've upgraded my original free site to paid status, in order to triple my bandwidth and get rid of the banner ads and pop ups there. I needed the bandwidth because my free site has been pegging out at the 1 GB per month allotment and being temporarily shut down for two or more hours at a time. Fortunately the upgrade was workng within two hours of me using my credit card for it. Unfortunately my web site disk space was reduced by half by the move. That was OK though, since I was only using maybe 10 MB of the previously available 50 anyway.

The free site is apparently taking advantage of some folks upgrading their accounts to 'downgrade' their disk space allotment, in order to get their overall business into a more consistent status. You see, this free host site in years past boosted members' disk space up to 50 MB when they were in hot competition with lots of other free hosts. And so lots of their users filled their sites up to this 50 MB limit with graphics or whatever. But later the dot com crash came, and free host compeition pretty much evaporated, ad profits plummeted, and the costs of business rose. So this free host cut back on how much disk space new free subscribers could get, to maybe 20 or 25 MB. But they had to 'grandfather' old time users like me with the 50 MB limit, because it would have been a lot of trouble and bad press to do otherwise. But hey, when us old codgers finally ante up for more bandwidth or disk space or to remove the ads, they can change the terms as they see fit. Of course, in my case those particular factors were no big deal.

I need my originally free site to remain online and viable to help redirect traffic to jrmooneyham.com, hopefully for anywhere from a year to several. I also want it available as a backup site for when the other may be down, perhaps even indefinitely. I just hope it wasn't down when Google bots came around to check it last-- for that would make it fall out of the engine's index in the next refresh (YIKES!).

I came across an interesting article about how a certain church organization has blasted their way to the top of Google search results by buying lots of domain names and cross-linking them all to one another. This exploits Google's ranking system to make all those sites tend to bubble to the top in results for various keywords and phrases.

This made me realize that I've sort of done this myself, though only sporadically and accidentally, as a result of moving my web site and needing straddling transition pages and redirect pages afterwards, as well as coping with disk space shortages in various directories early on. In my earliest web days I gradually spun up effectively five different AOL sites due to using the site options of all five of the AOL IDs a subscriber gets. Later when I began moving to my first free site I began linking to it from all these five AOL sites at random. These links, plus a massive effort I put into getting both the AOL sites and the new free site into various search engines and directories, ended up helping my Google ranking for some keyword searches.

Now I'm needing all the help I can get to get jrmooneyham.com listed in Google and elsewhere, and from what I've read the fastest way these days is not by adding the URL via submission forms, but by making it easy to find for search bots within pages already existing in the engine indexes. Which means revamping my AOL sites was suddenly a top priority.

I first had to create a comprehensive map of all my existing pages across all 5 of my AOL domains. This was highly inconvenient, since you can't copy and paste the directories or save them as text from AOL 4.x in Mac OS 9-- just one of many excellent reasons for any serious web author to use different tools than these. I was forced to snail write down all the lists(!) Can you believe that, in 2002 USA?

I also had to visit all these pages and jot down some notes about what they were in this map, so I could better figure out what to do with them.

As you'd expect, there's lots of junk and debris there from my switchover to the free site years ago. A real mess. But quite a few of these pages are inside Google already, and thus bursting with potential for helping get my jrmooneyham.com domain into the engine, as well as decently ranked.

Once I made the master site map, I split it up into sub-maps for each AOL site and uploaded them. As I get the time I'll likely rejuvenate some of the pages on all these AOL sites which have been languishing in limbo for so long. I just hadn't realized their value before.

I also created and uploaded an entirely new web site to my second free host. Turns out they have some bugs in their file uploading software or web page management, or else creating the pages on a Mac and uploading them via PC is something the site doesn't like much. Because I had several annoying glitches in the files after posting, which necessitated more work and reposting. Hopefully I've got them straightened out now. The new site has pretty big pop up ads, but I'm primarily figuring on using it regularly accessing my own news pages (personal web surfing and research), which should relieve my other sites of that particular bandwidth, leaving more for my visitors. This will also help remove my own surfing effects from the statistics for jrmooneyham.com. The stats are a common benefit to paid host sites, which let you see which pages are being visited most often, and where your visitors are coming from, in terms of previous sites and countries.

The second free site will host some of my oldest content, and relieve that bandwidth too for my other sites. Lastly, by making sure to link to all my other sites from this one, it should eventually help my engine rankings overall, as well as speed the inclusion of jrmooneyham.com into the various engine indexes.

OK. Let's revisit the score card. I now have three paid host sites (which may count for seven in some ways, due to the five AOL sub-sites) and one free host site. One of the paid host sites is jrmooneyham.com, another was originally a free host site I began years ago, and the third is the AOL group of sites. I already paid ahead a full year for the jrmooneyham.com site, so no monthly bills for that at the moment. The AOL site is costing me about $10 a month and may jump to $15 soon (but I may be able to knock it back down to $10 again by adjusting some preferences), and my previously free site which I've begun paying for is costing me $5 a month.

My ISP bill is wholly separate from these.

So my total web site costs for as many as seven sites right now is running around $15 a month-- or $20 if you add in the effective monthly hosting costs of jrmooneyham.com too. Or $22 if you also factor in the monthly cost for my domain name. If I end up paying an extra $5 a month to AOL that puts me at $27 a month. Add in my broadband ISP access and it goes up to about $67 a month.

Hmm. Seven web sites and broadband access for $67 a month. These days I believe lots of folks are spending that much just to get 200 satellite TV channels they can only watch on one or two TVs, and no internet at all.

SITE REDUNDANCY UPDATE: Well, I've now added a special 'web services' page to each and every different site/domain I possess. My first postings of this were a bit inconsistent, but I quickly improved the strategy and execution. Once these service pages are fully implemented across all sites they should allow a user of any site to conveniently access the best available Google cache of the site content even if up to six of the seven sites are down simultaneously. Yeah!

These local site service pages pointing to the Google cache are fully implemented at my new free site and jrmooneyham.com. They are partially implemented on my five AOL sites and the old free site I recently began paying for. Over time full implementation should take place on the latter sites too. Integrating these local service pages is sort of tricky. Heck, managing seven different sites at all is tricky, I guess! I'm having to start maintaining the different sites in different folders, like the "AOL branch" folder. END UPDATE.

PAID HOST UPDATE: Things have improved markedly in the past week or so, but uploading files still doesn't go as quickly or smoothly as they did before the DoS attacks. But I have been pleasantly surprised at how my jrmooneyham.com host conveniently posts the latest situation updates on their site so that users need not actually log into the help desk for many matters. They've also posted helpful tweaks to the FTP client software, and concisely explained alternative methods of uploading files when the primary means doesn't work for some reason. So far I've not logged into the help desk at all, or activated many other various service and support measures available from the host; I haven't needed them. END UPDATE.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-27-02: A frustrating week

jrmooneyham.com seems to be running fine for end users now (though there's still problems in uploading for me). Unfortunately, jrmooneyham.com isn't yet listed in any search engines or directories, so it pretty much doesn't yet exist in internet terms.

I added its URL to both Google and Alta Vista around 2-26-- but it could be weeks or months before it's crawled by the engines. So it'll be a while before such listings can take pressure off my free site.

Maybe a faster way to get crawled and listed is to link to it from my existing AOL and free host site.

I've also got other good reasons to link to it from existing sites. Namely, the bandwidth spike in visits that's taking my free site down almost continuously the past week. By replacing certain pages getting the most hits with pages linking exclusively to jrmooneyham.com, I should be able to take a good chunk of the load off my free site, and stop or reduce the outages caused there by excessive bandwidth consumption.

If successful, these moves could also help redirect my site visitors to my new site without them even noticing the change-- and minimize their inconvenience stemming from my free site outages as well.

So I visited my old banner exchange/page visit counter site, got a list of the worst hit pages, and replaced those on both my free site and my AOL site. Note that several important pages on my AOL site already pointed a lot to my free host site-- so having them point now to jrmooneyham.com should redirect some traffic.

I also changed my search engine account to only refer to jrmooneyham.com pages in its results now rather than my free host site. That should relieve my free host from some bandwidth drains as well.

Other measures included I myself changing my home page preference from a free site page to a jrmooneyham.com page (my 'What's new' page that I routinely use daily for news reading). I also sent email to friends and family about the site switch (many of them use my portal page as a home page or favorite).

Some annoyances in all this is that I couldn't do a complete verification that I successfully updated all the pages I meant to on my free site and AOL site. I confirmed the updates in the directories of both, but that doesn't always reflect reality. To really confirm things you need to access the page on the web like the average visitor, and see if the whole thing loads without errors. I've routinely verified all page updates this way for years, and seen many site authors who didn't be severely embaressed or lose lots of visitors for days or weeks because of updates they didn't realize were flawed.

But this time I was stymied in doing such confirmations. For one thing, my AOL site suffers from itty bitty tiny disk space issues for each directory-- like 2 MB for each screen name. I used all five of my screen names for years for disk space, until I finally filled up all 10 MB. This directory scheme caused me lots of annoyances and unnecessary complexity in page addresses and updates. The eventual move to my free host with 50 MB was a huge relief in that aspect. My free host also offered a much easier and more convenient interface to upload files than AOL too.

Anyway, one legacy from those cramped AOL directories is that it's more difficult to confirm updates. I have to manually type in each and every super long URL for each page, and do much of it from memory, as I have maintained no formal record of what page exists where (over the years I've been too busy and have made too many changes to my AOL directories to keep such formal track of them; plus, AOL even makes it near impossible to save your individual directory lists to disk too, at least in all the AOL clients I've ever used, on both PC and Mac).\

So I just manually checked the most critical pages via URL typing, and relied on the directory listings for the rest of my verification. Did I mention I was also exhausted at that time, after the end of a loonnnng day switching my web sites over?

But since the night of 2-25 when I updated my AOL pages, my AOL site seems to have been going down sporadically. I've seen AOL's member web pages act this way before, but it's especially annoying now, when I'm trying to use those pages to manage bandwidth spikes and switch over to a new domain with as little inconvenience to my visitors as possible. So two days later I still can't do a full confirmation that I successfully updated my AOL pages.

I've been unable to fully confirm some of my free site page updates too. Largely because of the persistent outages from my bandwidth spike there, but also from my concerns about adding to the spike by doing such downloads. I tried to go in from the 'backside' and check them from within my uploading account there, but apparently it too counts in the bandwidth spike and is inaccessible as well so far as downloading is concerned (during an administrative outage).

Another element that may be going on here is my free host site is simply putting the squeeze on authors like me to buy extra bandwidth from them. I.e., they're putting on the brakes much more often and easily than they ever did in the past. From all the stats I'm aware of, my recent visitor spike isn't nearly as big as some I've had in the past-- and my free host didn't shut me down then.

Of course, the dot com bust and decline in internet ads may be forcing them to do this. But heck, I already own two paid sites (jrmooneyham.com and my AOL site), so why would I want to put money into a site that's supposed to be free anyway?

Of course, I like my free site, prefer some free long term back up capacity to jrmooneyham.com, and am doing my best to survive its outages without breaking their terms of service or abandoning it altogether.

There's also certain search engine matters to consider. My AOL and free site pages are and have been embedded in pretty much all the major engines and directories for quite some time now. It may be getting harder to get listed there these days than it was in the past. And the more different listings you have, the more traffic you get, and the higher your sites may reach in search engine results rankings. All this makes for greater revenue potential of your works, among other things.

Though it's difficult to pick out trends in the stats I've seen so far, it seems that a hefty fraction of my visitor spike is coming from overseas. I say this mostly because of the timing of the visits. Many are in the dead of night in USA time, suggesting visits from the other side of the world. But there's maybe just as much happening during the middle of the day US time as well-- so my native hemisphere is visiting too. I still haven't been able to determine any particular source of the rush of new visits, like a new link on a particular site. It may well be that there's a new link on a high profile site somewhere that won't be listed in Google for another 30-90 days, plus some recent changes in my page keywords or titles have caused them to rise nearer the top in some Google search engine results pages. The stats seem to suggest both these may be happening at once, as there's multiple entry points into my site pegging out. Since uploading the redirect pages to jrmooneyham.com from my AOL and free site, jrmooneyham.com is getting some visits too, and starting to produce a wealth of new and different stats for me to examine. jrmooneyham.com's stats of course won't be a comprehensive info source until after the site's fully listed in the search engines and directories, but I'm still glad to get the new data it's producing.

One curious matter is that my incoming email hasn't increased with the new traffic. This seems strange, based on my previous experience.

Oh yes; one other thing: My site did get mentioned on slash dot maybe a few days before the spike began. However, it was only mentioned several messages down in the feedback section to an article describing a wholly different timeline from mine, and the famed 'slash-dot' traffic effect didn't seem to occur, at least immediately. And as that story plus its feedback quickly rolled into oblivion on the dynamic slash dot web site, it seems unlikely that's the source of the spike-- at least directly. Also note that the multiple entry points for the spike as well-- only two of these possible entry points were listed in the story. Of course, I guess I should recheck the date of that story's appearance to see how it synchronizes with the present and on-going spike...

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-24-02: I sign up to create another web site on a different free host

This is mostly because of my frustration recently with my current free host and other web matters. Plus, I figure I could create a site offering the oldest items from my magazine and thereby offload them from my main site. This would free up my premium disk space while also increasing the chances that visitors could access at least some of my content when my other sites are down or overloaded. There's also the fact that such multiple sites pointing to one another helps all of them rise nearer the top in certain search engine results pages.

If I also put my what's new and news pages on this free site (pages I visit a lot), that'll reduce the bandwidth drain on my other sites while helping keep this free site active enough so the host doesn't pull its plug.

Of course, there's a downside to accessing these pages from the free site. Because whatever pages you personally access on a regular basis can help you monitor the reliability and security of the site hosting them. Give you a good idea of outage durations and frequency, etc. Of course, there's also third party services available to alert you and log site outages for you...Maybe I'll look into them.

I'll have to start building the new site pretty quickly or lose the space (in three weeks).

I noticed in the terms of this free host I'm much more restricted in how I may get the site to the self-sustaining stage, money-wise-- I pretty much have to become affiliates of only the free host's preferred partners, rather than picking my own. My other free site had much better terms at last check.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-22-02: jrmooneyham.com is live again

It's running much more slowly than it originally did, but at least it's up. Hopefully my paid host will be fully recovered from the DOS attack in a few days.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-21-02: jrmooneyham.com goes dead; Contingency planning

Actually, it went dead the day before this. My new paid host is apparently suffering a second day of 'denial-of-service' attacks. These sort of attacks typically come from hundreds or thousands of PCs randomly distributed about a nation or world, which have been infiltrated by software that, upon command from its malevolent master(s), suddenly begins sucking hard on the servers of a particular person or organization, downloading everything possible from those servers, as fast as possible, and repeating the process endlessly, over and over again. This uses up all the power of the servers as they try to respond to the requests, thereby making nothing available for legitimate human users to download.

These attacks have gotten so bad lately that they're at times driving some companies out of business. I hope my paid host is able to withstand it. I just recently found them, and would hate to lose them so quickly.

To make matters worse, a visit to my freely hosted site today says it's down too, because my site has become popular enough to exceed its bandwidth limits. This never happened to me before. I checked all the usual suspects' news sites, including newsgroups, to see if I'd been 'slash-dotted', but found no hint of what place was driving all that new traffic my way.

As I write this I wonder if my free host is not simply having internal problems of some sort (all hosts, both free and paid, have troubles at one time or another; the best you can do is have hosts with a very low frequency of such problems). I'm wondering because a couple hours ago I did a Google search for sites with the same host as I and every one of them I checked-- including mine at the time-- came up as unreachable on the net at all, with not even a courtesy message from my host. But a bit later such sites were reachable again, while mine was still showing the bandwidth exceeded message. Then, a bit later, my site was up once again, with a weird message from my free host saying that their bandwidth busting message was just a weird blip of some sort. So who knows what's going on there?

Anyway, it seems like an amazing coincidence that two wholly unrelated hosts (so far as I know anyway) that just happen to host me are down on the same day. Heck, my jrmooneyham.com site isn't even available on Google or known to anyone but close family on this date, as I've not announced it, added its URL to search engines, posted this log page, or linked to it from any site yet (since I'm still building it). So it's practically impossible for it to get more than a handful of visits on its own (and all these pretty much have to be from me, or a family member, or my paid host's employees).

My AOL site is still up though.

Hmmm. So what would be the best way for me to maximize site accessibility and reliability for visitors, while minimizing work and costs for myself?

Well, my jrmooneyham.com site should suffer much less of a bandwidth spike vulnerability than my free host site (under normal conditions). I have no idea how much bandwidth my AOL site might withstand.

External links to my site may point roughly equally to both my free site and AOL sites at this time.

I need to check my various agreement terms to see how many different domains I'm allowed to run my 'for-profit' links from. But if those pose no problem, maybe the ideal route would be to simply upload the same pages to all three domains, with all internal links pointing to my jrmooneyham.com site. That way all external links remain open, and most of the potential bandwidth load will be placed squarely onto my jrmooneyham.com site, relieving my free and AOL sites from the burden. Over time, updated external links should migrate to jrmooneyham.com. I'd adjust my internal search engine to only return results from jrmooneyham.com, too.

SIDE NOTE: My AOL site technically can't host a complete version of my site, due to insufficient disk space. But it can hold the most important 80% or so. END NOTE.

Of course, just to be on the safe side, I might make sure a few critical pages like my Store page are located nowhere else but on my main site.

But what about days like today, when both my free site and jrmooneyham.com sites are down for whatever reasons? Well, my AOL site will still be up, so long as I continue paying my monthly AOL fees. But its internal links will all be broken, since they lead to the dead sites. Thus, a visitor might click through from an external link to see the table of contents page or some other particular page, but then get a 'page not found' error or worse when they try to drill deeper into the site.

Of course, if my site(s) are in Google, perhaps every page can be accessed from Google's cached storage, if need be. I'd just need to point this out on whatever page a user did get access to, and maybe provide a custom Google search link to help them gather an index to the cache.

For visitor convenience reasons it'd be nice to provide this service from every single page on all my sites. For personal maintenance reasons it'd be nice to modularize this service into a single page posted on all sites, and linked internally to its unique host site. Hmmm. This would mean of course insuring that the only difference between pages on AOL and those of other sites was this one particular link.

I'd also like an automatic backlink to all external sites which link to a page of any of my sites. Setting this up would take some trial and error on Google of course.

I guess I'll set up a 'web services' page offering an internal search of my jrmooneyham.com site, language translations of the site, backlinks to external sites linking to mine, and a notice of and short cut to Google's cached version of my site(s), for those times when the site(s) themselves are experiencing difficulties.

I'll need to make an independent copy of this web services page available on all sites, with each site pointing exclusively to its own copy for redundancy's sake. Otherwise all or most of my internal links could simply point to jrmooneyham.com pages. This set up should minimize my maintenance burden while maximizing user convenience and site reliability.

Now the question is, how do I display and label such a link on my pages? To be most effective it'd need to be on each and every page I publish. It would need to be near the top of each page, clearly stating its purpose.

Maybe a relatively plain box offering these four links would do the trick:


All of these links would go to the same place-- my web services page for that particular site. This would allow me to update just three pages across all my web sites to improve, change, or repair any of these services.

I could further improve the modularity of my site by grouping all or most of my revenue generation links in the Store section alone-- though in some cases this might reduce the effectiveness of those links overall.

It'll likely be at least a couple weeks before my jrmooneyham.com pages are indexed by Google. So I won't be able to do testing of custom Google searches for my services page until after that. But I'll likely put up a place holder page anyway and begin modifying all my other pages to reflect the new scheme.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-15-02: jrmooneyham.com goes live

I've already uploaded lots of pages to the new site. It's turning out to be far easier and more convenient than I expected, so far. It helps that my host offers a very well written online pdf manual to help newbies like me get started.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-14-02: I buy a year's worth of domain name and hosting services for $109.40

So far as I could tell this was one of the better deals available at the time ($25 of it was a one-time set up fee I believe). But it's pretty difficult to research this matter. Right now there's a lot of flux going on in the domain registration and hosting fields, with all sorts of potential 'Gotchas!' lurking to trap the unwary. Heck, even the extraordinarily cautious might get bitten in the current environment! Hopefully things will settle down into a more predictable pattern over coming months.

Besides the research recommended to determine registrar and host preferences, and shopping for the best bargains, there's also the matter of deciding what domain name(s) you want to buy. Yikes! That can be a toughie!

Keep in mind you want to avoid possible trademark battles with corporations and the like, but also want a name people can fairly easily remember and spell. It also needs to be something that adequately describes the content on your site. This last requirement was really tough for me, since my site covers an enormous range of subjects-- it could really use several different domain names rather than just one. But it's best to take things one step at a time.

Choosing a name is also complicated a bit by all the name prospecting which went on in past years, with people buying up every name they could possibly imagine might be wanted by someone later on. These speculators hoped to make a killing on these names at some point, and a few of them did. But the tide turned against squatters the past few years, so that rarely can they hold up anyone but small time citzens anymore-- big business and celebrities are routinely winning against them in court nowadays.

Plus, demand for names in general has lessened, with the dot com bust, and it can cost a pretty penny to pay the annual dues on dozens, hundreds, or thousands of names. So lots of the hostage names are being released back into the wild again, with each passing month.

I didn't want to use any official domain name search engine to see if certain names were available because I was afraid someone's watching those for good ideas and might snap up any particularly good ones before I could. So I just typed candidates into the URL entry box in my browser to see what was working and what wasn't. Sure, a few times you might get a false negative, but in most cases it'll probably be accurate. I tried many dozens, and was pleasantly surprised that several quite good ones were still available.

A word of advice: generate at least a couple dozen still available name alternatives to consider. Then spend a few days mulling them over-- the pros and cons of each, etc. Maybe ask friends and family their opinion of your list. Then make your choices.

I say choices, because you should arm yourself with a number one, number two, and number three choice for domain names before actually filling in a registration form. This will be helpful in case someone has beaten you to your first choice or two while you were contemplating the decision, or a name doesn't work for some other reason when you try to buy it. Having several choices should allow you to continue moving ahead almost no matter what happens in the process, rather than being stymied and maybe starting over again like many others might. Plus, you might decide later on to buy your other choices too if they are still available-- if things go well with your first purchase.

In the end, I decided for my first domain to be conservative and just go with my human name. I figured I can always buy more domains later if I want. Heck, the names available may increase substantially by the time I want another one, too (the price might go down as well).

I like my present free and paid hosts a lot-- but for redundancy's sake I'd prefer to have a different host for each different domain I buy. The downside to that is having to go through the research headaches again to find a second good host...

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-13-02: I apply to an affiliate program-- and get rejected

Possible downsides to my not owning a domain name seem to be increasing. Lots of other web site authors have told me many entities don't take you seriously unless you have your own domain. Maybe it'd be worthwhile doing an experiment to see if domain owners-- like blondes-- really do have more fun.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-12-02: I first open my Store page on my free host site

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

1-25-02: I'm adding various revenue generating links to my free host site

These links include a notice of my availability to do certain types of research work on contract.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Sometime in mid-January-02: I apply to another income-generating program-- and get accepted

It'll take a while to see how much revenue is generated via this source.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

1-11-02: I apply to an affiliate program-- and get rejected

Is it because I don't have my own domain name? Possibly.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

10-3-01: I apply to an affiliate program-- and get accepted

I will enjoy some significant earnings from this arrangement over time.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-13-01: I upload lots of redirects onto my AOL site, sending folks to my free host site

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Sometime in February or March 2001: I create a donation system on site

The donation option essentially allows folks to send me small amounts of cash electronically as gifts or tips. Such a 'tip' system for web sites will be too new and unusual a practice to generate much revenue for most site authors for years to come though. I wonder how long it took to catch on in restaurants in past centuries (or millennia)?

Web sites which get huge amounts of traffic seem to make more than a trickle of revenues from this source, despite the fairly substantial limitations on how big a donation can be given at once.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Early 2001: My web site's primary income generating channel shuts down

Bummer! This one was beyond my control. It was good while it lasted though. This channel was the one based on the number of visitors to my site. The more visitors, the more I got paid. The money ultimately came from my free host selling banner advertisements on my site.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

10-16-2000: I upload redirect pages onto my AOL site to send visitors to my freely hosted site

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-12-2000: I install the free search functionality into a few prominent pages of my free hosted site

This service will work great for years to come.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

4-11-2000: I sign up for a free web site search engine

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-7-2000: I change my preferences for ads on my free host site to embedded banners rather than pop up

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Sometime in 1999(?) or 2000(?): I sign up to generate income based on the number of visitors to my freely hosted site

I'm unsure about the date as I haven't located the original paperwork as of this writing.

This is a sweet deal while it lasts.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

4-21-98: I create a second, independent site with a free host

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

8-1-97: I switch to Jerry Aman's PageSpinner 2.0.1 for HTML editing

This is on a Mac Performa 460 at the time. I used BBEdit lite 3.5.x prior to switching to PageSpinner.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

May 1997: Around this time I'm forced to give up regularly posting to my Newz&Viewz weblog due to severe time contraints

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

11-15-96: I add my AOL timeline URL to Yahoo, Alta Vista, and other engines and directories

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

11-9-96: My web portal page is listed in the Yahoo directory

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

10-31-96: MacSurfer Headline News adds a long term link to my Newz&Viewz weblog

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

10-25-96: I remove visit counters and other items from my site

The counters easily got screwed up and reset by random factors. I'd build up thousands of hits on them and then suddenly they'd reset to zero again, for no discernible reason.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

9-25-96: I upload my entire illustrated Mac internet connection kit to my site

This was probably v2.6. Quite a few ISPs nationally and worldwide will apparently use it to connect Mac users over the next few years (some of them wrote me, and I also found references to my kit on some ISP's own web support sites at the time). Locally hardcopies will be used to connect Mac users in 13 East Tennessee counties.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

9-22-96: I make several downloadable HyperCard stacks for the Mac available from my site

The downloads include Devil's Workshop, Pathfinder, HyperSavvy, a FLUX SuperStack, and LaunchPad.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

7-15-96: I do a major overhaul of my still embryonic web site

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

5-27-96: I create my first AOL web site

I also email several web news sites about it (being selective, and only emailing those sites I believe will be interested).

I don't buy a book to learn HTML, or buy a special GUI editor. Rather, I download a free HTML editor for the Mac (BBEdit Lite), and use trial and error with it, plus some free instructional content on the web itself, to learn the basics. Note that it's also possible to view the source of various web pages you like online to see how they do a particular trick-- once you've learned HTML, anyway.

I only learn the utter basics at this time, and over coming years will learn only a tad bit more as necessary. Only some 20% of HTML editing knowledge is really necessary to create and maintain a reasonably formatted site (in my opinion anyway). If you on occasion want to do something snazzier, whatever editing program you're using may do it for you. Of course, if you want to get into editing javascripts or flash animations, or building a site with pages generated only on demand by a database, you'll have to go much further than I will between 1996 and early 2002.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-13-96: The local ISP offers me free local access to the internet if I can show them how to connect Macintosh computers to the net

It takes me 2-3 days to research and test v1.0 of my Mac internet connection kit for the ISP. I use my AOL account to do it (at this time AOL's internet access for Macs is practically non-existent and non-functional-- though I am able to access newsgroups and bulletin boards, web pages are super slow to load and our Macs crash after every 3 to 5 pages visited via AOL).

My connection kit gets me internet access which bypasses AOL. Now I'm truly online, and able to see what all the fuss is about. Note my AOL access number was also long distance, forcing me to ration my online time there. Not so my new ISP account!

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

7-9-95: I ship Devil's Workshop v1.0: a HyperCard 'aggressive editing' stack

This stack helps supplement the free stack editing allowed by my FLUX SuperStacks and LaunchPad.

Devil's Workshop will bring in a trickle of revenue in years to come.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

By October or November 1995 (if not earlier), I've begun writing my Newz&Viewz column in FLUX magazine stacks

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

11-8-94: I ship Pathfinder HC v1.0; a HyperCard version of Pathfinder

I did this because Apple's System 7 rollout decimated Pathfinder 1.0 and 1.1 due to differences between OS 6 and OS 7, and I couldn't get Scotty to squash the remaining bugs in his C code. I also didn't have time to learn C myself, so I instead created what may be one of the most sophistocated HyperCard stacks ever scripted, for Mac OS 7.x.

If memory serves, I did not include the demo-ware transforming code in the HyperCard version of Pathfinder. As Apple will let HyperCard languish in years to come, and the Mac OS is also changed substantially over that time, Pathfinder HC 1.0 will exhibit problems in Mac OS 8 and beyond (but works great in Mac OS 7.x).

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Late 1994: I ship Vaporware 2.0; this version includes an extra, 'empty' book stack others can use to distribute their own books-in-software

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

6-2-94: I ship HyperSavvy 1.0, a tutorial stack of HyperCard scripting techniques complete with plain english instruction and fully functional, demonstrable, and accessible scripts

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

6-9-93: Pathfinder v1.1 ships

Again, this is an application written in C; this update is to address some of the bugs found when 1.0 ran in Mac OS 7. Scotty and I are exhausted with the project, and really can't muster much more effort in relation to it. Scotty's efforts fix some of the bugs which appeared with the advent of mac OS 7, but not all.

Again, revenues from the program will be disappointing.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

3-31-93: My first issue of FLUX magazine debuts in Mac HyperCard stack format

I'll publish this quarterly magazine for at least two years in Macintosh/HyperCard format, with a few issues appearing after late 1995 in Adobe Acrobat pdf format too ('FLUX Digest') near the end of that period (to make issues compatible with all computers, rather than just Macs). A great deal of the content which will be seen years later on my web site originates in this run of HyperCard based issues.

By the end of the magazine's HyperCard stack existence, the magazine stacks will become very sophistocated, capable of transforming themselves into FLUX Super Stacks with the click of a single button, and enabling users owning only the free HyperCard Player to create, script, and edit their own stacks in the environment, free of charge. An accessory LaunchPad stack aids this process.

The HyperCard-based FLUX magazine will generate some revenues in subscriptions and the like, but will never be self-sustaining. It doesn't help matters that Apple pulls the rug out from under Mac/HyperCard developers by essentially allowing HyperCard to wither on the vine in years to come.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

7-23-92: Pathfinder v1.0 ships

Pathfinder is a full-blown Macintosh application, written in C by my brother Scotty, with the interface mostly designed by me, and all the internal text used for Pathfinder's responses authored by me.

The application was developed in Mac OS 6.x, and runs wonderfully there. The bad news is compatibility with Mac OS 7 will be poor-- but we don't know that at this time.

Though Pathfinder is not a Moon shot, it's still awfully taxxing to develop, for just two guys. Plus, writing Pathfinder is how Scotty learns to program in C. Previous to this he'd programmed only in various flavors of assembly language or BASIC.

We get some revenue from the program, but not nearly as much as we'd hoped. Why not? Pick your reason:

#1: The mass user switchover from Mac OS 6 to Mac OS 7 drastically shrank our potential market, and we lacked the resources to further develop the program for OS 7.

#2: We had no money for mass promotion, marketing, advertising, or distribution efforts.

#3: There was considerable 'friction' to overcome in sales. Users had to write a physical check, address an envelope, and mail it via snail mail to us, then wait for us to send them their password the same way (maybe a week or two wait, all told). Enabling purchases via credit card over the phone or email would have helped remove such frictions, but were both unavailable to us at the time.

#4: We were ahead of our time in producing 'demo-ware' in which the full features could be unlocked with a password sent upon payment. The software could also recognize when it changed computers and reset to 'demo' mode again. Legitimate users could always open it back up again with their password. Theft was discouraged by the software prominently listing the rightful owner's name and offering a reward for info about copies being used by other than that person or their immediate family. There were lots of different possible passwords too, each based on the customer's unique name.

Pathfinder could also use the customer's name in its responses. So thieves using it would have to see it respond to someone else, and figure those responses also might not be accurate for them personally. If they changed the name from the program to their own, Pathfinder would notice and switch to demo-mode again.

Later on some larger companies would enjoy significant success with similar schemes-- but at this moment in time many shareware distrbutors wouldn't accept such software from small-timers like us.

Timing is very important in many matters. Being too early or too late with a particular innovation is almost always a bad thing. Small businesses also suffer from a lack of credibility compared with Big Business names.

Note that we developed our transforming demo-ware design to protect ourselves from rampant piracy going on at the time. In theory it worked wonderfully. But we lacked the resources to attain critical mass distribution of the product and to support it long term in the changing Mac environment at the revenue levels it produced for us.

If I recall other relevant items about this matter I'll post them here later.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

2-10-92: I ship Vaporware 1.0, a profusely illustrated book in HyperCard stack form

This book basically presents a wealth of new product and service ideas which first originated in correspondence I had with various Apple Computer executives around 1990 and later.

Web Site Authoring Log Contents

Back to the VERY LATEST Web Site Authoring Log...

The above article(s) come from and make references to a collection copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by J.R. Mooneyham (except where otherwise noted in the text). Text here explicitly authored by J.R. Mooneyham may be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes in paper and electronic form without charge if this copyright paragraph and link to jmooneyham.com or jrmooneyham.com are included.

So who is J.R. Mooneyham, and just what are his qualifications for speculating about the future of government, business, technology, and society?

You can find out by clicking here...(and also send FEEDBACK)

Back to J.R.'s WebFLUX Page

Back to J.R.'s WebWork Page (A general web index)

Site Map for the WebFLUX and WebWork pages