Riding the Wave

.htaccess made easy

Compared to some of the big players out there on the internet, we here at Perishable Press run a relatively small website. We began this project in September of 2005 with nothing but a domain name and a pocketful of inspiration. During the first several months of development, our traffic statistics looked something like: one unique visitor and 10,000 hits (i.e., nobody but us). And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, everything changed..

Hello Google

Well, that went on for the first few months of 2006, and then something miraculous happened — we were linked to by another site and subsequently indexed by Google, and then Yahoo, and soon thereafter MSN. Within several weeks after being picked up by the search engines, our page rank was like 1 or 2 and our traffic was something like: 30 unique visitors and 1,000 hits (i.e., we were finishing up site development as more people began visiting).

Well, the next several months into 2006 — like, say, from around April to July — Perishable Press continued to produce content, articles, themes, scripts, and all sorts of links everywhere. We were making more noise and several more sites linked to us. Traffic began to increase into the 100’s, 200’s, and eventually leveled off around 300 unique visitors per day (with like 3000 hits due to continued site development, etc.). Things were officially up and running..

Zero to Hero

The next several months were fairly routine, creating content, enhancing the site, developing themes, etc. We enjoy our relatively low profile within the blogging community — serving searching netizens fresh content, tips and tricks is our specialty. In fact, one of our articles from way back in January, Stupid .htaccess Tricks, was slowly becoming one of our more popular resources.

Then, on November 22, 2006 @ 10:51 am, something unexpected happened — a very popular website discovered our Stupid htaccess article and blogged about it. Then suddenly, BAM! — the traffic hit — a relative flood of unique visitors dropping by to check things out. Fortunately, as the wave of traffic began rolling in, I was online, paying attention, and quick with the screenshots..

Wavelike Traffic

For the next several days, over Thanksgiving weekend, I was captivated by the power of the World Wide Web. Within hours I watched as that initial web link continued to multiply, increasing traffic almost tenfold overnight. I am blessed to have been a witness to the incredibly rapid process whereby a virtual network of links is able to launch a virtually unknown site onto the front pages of social popularity sites such as Digg, del.icio.us, and Tailrank, just to name a few.

Needless to say, we learned a great deal about the way in which the internet operates. Anything can happen, and very quickly. The process was wavelike — traffic ramped up to a maximum value, held at that volume for around two days, and then ramped back down to a level that remains higher today than it was before all of the chaos. Indeed, even today — almost two months later — we enjoy an increased volume of visitors thanks to that single link from a popular blog. Hopefully, we will be able to pass along the favor someday..

Proof Pudding

In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of screenshots captured throughout the Thanksgiving-weekend .htaccess traffic wave: