Three Years and Counting

Perishable Press is three years old! I first launched the site during August/September of 2005 using the cutting-edge B2-Evolution blogging engine. Admittedly, for the first year or so, I had no idea what I was doing, but was having a blast absorbing and applying as much design-related information as I could find.

At first, Perishable Press was nothing more than a virtual workshop, a learning tool, and a place to dump notes and ideas. I greatly enjoyed working on the site, and soon found myself hooked on standards-based web design. I began reading every web-design and development book I could get my hands on. I subscribed to all the popular web-design and blogging sites, and spent endless hours reading in-depth tutorials, tips and tricks.

Fortunately, after a few weeks of intense study, I realized that WordPress would probably be a better platform choice than B2-Evolution for customization and development purposes. After making the switch, I began designing theme after theme, studying different techniques, crafting my own solutions, and posting information for future reference.

For the next year or so while building the site, I continued to study all of the major aspects of web design:

  • Standards-based design: structure ((X)HTML), presentation (CSS), and behavior (JavaScript, Ajax, DOM)
  • Server-side scripting via PHP
  • Server mechanics and software: Apache, HTAccess, mod_rewrite, etc.
  • Site security: server-side security measures, PHP and HTAccess, WordPress plugins, anti-spam, etc.
  • Feeds and syndicated content: XML, RSS, Atom, et al
  • Database management: MySQL, SQL, phpMyAdmin, cron jobs, et al
  • Website optimization: server performance, bandwidth conservation, file compression, sprites, etc.
  • Search-engine optimization: quality content, site structure, link strategy, link equity, meta tags, nofollow, etc.
  • Plus anything else I could get my hands on, blogging, social media, mashups, etc.

With the exception of SEO, I found virtually all aspects of web design very inspiring and motivational, and applied as much of the information as possible to the growing Perishable Press site. For some reason, although I had been working on building SEO-friendly themes for the site, I never really felt it necessary to embark on any heavy “link-building” strategy. Instead, I chose to spend my time learning as much as possible and writing quality content. I guess I just assumed that traffic, visitors, and commentators would eventually arrive..

And they did, but not right away. In fact it took nearly two years before things really began to take off. After the first year or so, traffic, comments, subscribers, and requests for help slowly increased. Apparently, I was doing something right, as the links continued to come in, and the opportunities continued to arise. Then, within this past year, I have been interviewed and published. I even launched my own web and graphic design company and have been making money designing sites, plugins, graphics, icons, advertisements, and so on.

All of this may have been possible sooner if I had spent more time getting links, but I honestly doubt that I would have had the time to do everything — something would have suffered, whether design quality, writing quality, or link quality. Fortunately, by focusing on quality and consistency, the links build themselves. Unfortunately, the converse isn’t true.

Overall, I would say that this third year has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding. Having more readers is great, but then so is the pressure to deliver the quality content that has come to be expected. Likewise, more traffic means more eyeballs, but it also means more requests for help, links, favors, mentions, spam, and everything else you could imagine. Of course, it’s all part of the game, and I certainly enjoy playing.

Needless to say, here at the third anniversary of the site, I look forward to all of the challenges, drama, stress, work, and of course benefits and rewards that the next year has to bring.

It’s a wild, non-stop ride, and I thank you for being here with me ;)