One way a blog like this helps when designing a new Web 2.0 site is continuity of discussion. I’m working on this project primarily as a one-person show. I have some great backup in the programmers we have working for us at Connors back at the office, and I have my long-time partner in crime who helped with previous incarnations of the system. But this blog constitutes a real-time, ongoing discussion with myself, and lets me pick up where I left off smoothly.
There was an article I read a few months ago about productivity in programmers. I forget exactly where, but I think it was when I was researching agile methodologies, and the author made the point that a single programmer with a clear vision of what he/she is trying to do can be something like 1000% more effective than a programmer working on a team. That is, one motivated programmer using agile development methodologies can do 10x more work than a counterpart working as part of a team where project management software, bureaucracy and meetings constantly corrode the hours spent to work accomplished ratio. It wasn’t Paul Graham who write this, but somehow I associate the concept with him, based on how it jived with the many articles I’ve read on his site. If I find the actual reference, I’ll post the link.
The purpose of the blog posts in the morning is like winding the catapult. I should have clarity on the rest of the day. Yesterday, I made the HitTail site live. I essentially made the decision to develop this live online in stealth mode. This has the SEO advantage of letting the clock start ticking as soon as possible to let the domain age as far as the engines are concerned. The latest Google wisdom following the Jagger update is that a domain should be about a year old to overcome a negative weighting penalty. Most spam sites are newly registered domains. There’s some uncertainty about when the clock starts ticking—whether it’s when the domain is registered or when Google discovers it for the first time.
GoogleBot is unlikely to discover the site until at lest one inbound link is established to it. But several PCs I use have the Google Toolbar with privacy turned off, so Google will know about the existence of these pages very soon (if not already). But I want this site to chronicle a complete and accurate history of the birth of a Web 2.0 site from an SEO point of view. So, today’s priority is to put the systems in place to track spider visits.
These spider monitoring systems also starts a more advanced process of what this site is all about—collecting data that becomes intelligence that becomes action. HitTail is not going to advocate spider-watching, because that is a misappropriation of valuable time from the average marketing department’s point of view. I’m doing it because it’s of interest for this particular site. When was the first visit by GoogleBot? Which pages has it picked up? How much time went by before the first Google search hit occurred? Yes, this might be of casual interest to marketing departments that have too much time on their hands. But HitTail focuses on “what hits occurred recently” and “how can we use that to make more hits occur soon?” Much of the peripheral and pedantic details will be thrown in the trash to make the overall system more focused and efficient.