Hi, this is John. Today we’re taking a little trip down memory lane. This is my website circa 1999. This is the first year that I had this domain. I had created most of the content over the past five years on a site that was linked to my local newspaper’s site. They stopped doing that in 1999 so I had to do something or quit, and I decided to get my own domain. That domain is poewar.com.
If you’re wondering about Poewar. That was my gaming handle for years in the eighties onward. Short for Poet Warrior. If you ever watched Apocalypse Now, Dennis Hopper referred to Kurtz as a warrior poet. I flipped it. I called myself Poet Warrior and there you go, that was the name of the site. Poewar was what I use when I gamed. When I thought of a domain, rather than do something intelligent like writing.com, I did Poewar.
This site was my first published on the domain and I believed it was hand-coded. By hand-coded I mean I found other people who were doing similar things. stole their code, repurposed it to make the look and feel the way I liked it, and published it.
Let’s try reviews and Yes! So this is a series of my book reviews. Things like the Economical guide to self-publishing. The Writer’s Book of Checklists, which is a very good book if you can find it. It is out of print. This Business of Writing, which is probably an even better book. Also out of print but if you can either of those two books I highly recommend them. World of PR, How to Make Yourself Famous, The Associated Press Style Book, I reviewed a bunch of books.
That’s what I’m using is the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. If you ever want to look at earlier versions of websites, it’s a really cool tool and I like doing it. I look at my old stuff and I also look at a lot of other old sites. I like to look up my old writing buddies from back when blogging was getting big.
This was pre-blog. The word blog, if it was out there had not actually entered my consciousness yet. It was just websites back then. I was a pretty early blogger. I probably started using WordPress in 2002. Which was when it was still in Beta.
This was hand-coded. Soon after this, I moved to Microsoft Frontpage which was their big tool at the time. I really liked that tool. I miss Microsoft FrontPage although for obvious reasons we don’t want to use it anymore. For its time it was actually a pretty good tool. A coworker’s sister, Molly Holzschlag, wrote the book on Microsoft FrontPage. She wrote a lot of books. I had a search feature. It worked reasonably well. I doubt the search feature would work on the Wayback Machine.
There’s a little bit of an introduction. I was trying to establish credibility so I said it was started back in 1994. That was when I started my first website. It was at azstartnet.com. That was the local newspaper’s site. Then a little tilde, then my handle Poewar, and that was the link that got you there.
My goal with the site was to provide good information for writers and of course a little bit of self-promotion. It’s not like I was doing it out of pure altruism. In fact I was very happy that I did HTML, it got me the job that I had when I was working on the site when which was… I was a technical writer at IBM. That lasted for about three years. I could not stand working at IBM so I moved on. It got me that job and it actually got me the next job after that which was at Intel. I put together their websites using Microsoft FrontPage actually. That was an internal site but it was for project managers and project manager training. Oh, the tools back then!
As you can see I had the employment center. This was the very beginning of when I was posting jobs. That became a huge driver for traffic on my website. At this point, traffic was probably at about 400 to 500 hits a day. maybe a little bit more maybe a little bit less but somewhere in that area. It’s hard to remember that far back.
Because I had moved this from one site to another it was already pretty popular and I probably had a little HTML forwarding thing that got them straight to this site from there. It was still building. It was big enough that I was able to publish other writers. This was an article from Jenna Glatzer. the Beginner’s Guide to Freelance Writing. I had a few of these on there. I didn’t pay a lot. I paid $25 for an article. Something like that. By internet terms, I was supposedly a high-paying gig. I had a little money at the time. IBM paid pretty well. I didn’t mind doing that and the fact that I did publish other writers was one of the reasons my site got popular because writers would come to it out of the idea that maybe they were going to sell to me.
You can feel free to email this address all you want. It’s long gone along with azstarnet.com. They’re now Tucson.com. I had a number of topics. It was a fairly extensive site and I would discuss things like software, technical writing, and such.
The FAQ center was my frequently asked questions. People would send me questions and I would answer them. I got a lot of good stories out of that. Then there would be the feature article. They would mainly be the newest articles but also anything that was popular.
The cool little rainbow effect was just an HTML effect… not an image. It was a nice little thing you could do with HTML at the time. I don’t know if that trick would still work. I liked it. It was an easy way for me to have some color in the header without putting on an image and slowing the site down. Site speed was very important back then because people were dialing in at 14.4k, 56k. It wasn’t like today. Almost everybody was still dialing into the internet. You didn’t have direct lines. You certainly didn’t have high-speed cable. For these sites, the faster you could make them, the more traffic you got so I was very straightforward with what I did.
Thanks for taking that trip with me down memory lane. I’ll take a look at the site again around 2002 and see what improved and what went downhill. Thanks for watching. If you enjoyed it please like and subscribe. I’d really appreciate it. Have a great day!