Unofficially, I’ve received the Versatile Blogger Award. Or I’ve been nominated to receive it? I don’t know how it works. Really, it’s a chain letter. Recipients are supposed to write seven “interesting facts” about them. Then nominate (award?) fifteen other blogs. Well, since I was only unofficially nominated, I’m breaking the rules.
Website Awards 4Ever
Looking at this award reminded me of the first website award I ever received. In highschool I loved music. So I decided to create a lyrics website hosted by Geocities. Of course. I painstakingly wrote individual html files of lyrics for songs & albums that I liked. It was pretty subjective.
Actually, when the site began, I hosted midi files too. And for some reason I had a Stone Temple Pilots midi file auto-playing on the site. I remember being told that my site didn’t qualify for a web award because of the auto-play music. Once I took that off… winner!
The first website award that Lyrics site won was called… I have no idea. And I don’t know why website awards are still occurring almost 20 years later. Winning one mattered nothing back then and still matters little now. Although back then it was certainly less of a circle-jerk chain letter. Someone was simply telling you that they like your content and work.
It All Began on Geocities
Thinking back to that first award made me also think back on the evolution of the web as I’ve seen it. It seems like I’ve been on the Internet a very long time. I first began teaching myself HTML when I was 14 years old, in 1996. The Lyrics site began in 1997. I stopped working on it in 2004. That’s seven years.
After the first year, I moved the site off of Geocities and onto FTP space provided by our local ISP provider. Back when Internet and Cable were not tied together. Our ISP offered a limited amount of web space with every account. At first, every time you uploaded a file, you had to send an email with the subject “Update” before it would be fully published. After a month of me sending hundreds of these emails, they finally changed their policy.
Surprisingly, this Lyrics site was pretty popular. I remember receiving numerous emails a day requesting songs. Or general emails from people who liked the same music. This was before SEO and social media. The Internet was much less organized. I am still currently in contact with people I met through the site.
And Then The Blogging Begins
In 2000, I started a blog on the Blogger platform. Before Google owned them. It was a two-person blog, written by me and my boyfriend at the time. We took advantage of the free web hosting provided by Michigan State University to all students. This was a full-on personal blog. I have no idea why people read us. But they did. And I made a few close connections through it. Monetizing blogs wasn’t really happening then. Social Media wasn’t what it is today. MySpace was just starting. We closed the blog in 2004 after a mutual break-up.
Also in 2004, I bought my first domain name. That started it all and now I own way too many.
The Current State of Blogging
I didn’t start blogging again until 2009. In the five years between, I moved from Michigan to New Jersey. And juggled jobs a little bit to try to find a career path. Money was definitely tight. I was hired as a straight-up php web developer. I wrote php code and mssql queries all day long. These are skills I can do but don’t quite enjoy them. And they aren’t very creative.
My love for budgets began in college. Where I also had little money. I discovered The Simple Dollar and created a budget spreadsheet. I continued reading about Trent for years. But in 2009 I grew fed-up with his midwestern, family focus. By this time, installing Word Press was far less tedious that it had been years ago. So I decided to buy a domain, purchase hosting, and start a Word Press blog. I wanted to provide a financial perspective for other 20-somethings who were single/living alone or with roommates.
By this time, Twitter and social media was important. Just like my previous sites, I have made numerous connections and friendships. I’m still enjoying writing and web publishing. I like having a web development background. I still use it from time to time but thankfully it is no longer my career.
I’ve Been On The Internet Too Long
In the 17 years I have been on the Internet, I’m pretty proud of the three websites I’ve started from scratch. And now I can say that two out of three of them have received an all-important website award.