Oh my, can you believe that this website is celebrating its 20 year anniversary this month??
In 1997 I started my studies at university and got access to the internet on the campus. Being already a fan of Disney’s cartoon movie and Lewis Carroll’s books, I searched the web for more information about them. But I only found fragmented info.
I wanted to try my hand at building my own website, so I gave it a shot. In those days, Microsoft Frontpage was all the rage. Google was unknown; we all used Altavista to find webpages and we viewed them in the Netscape browser. My first website was very similar to most of the other personal websites in that time: it had frames, white letters on black backgrounds, animated gifs (burning torches and rainbow colored lines) and a Nedstat counter. 🙂
The site was mostly about me and my interests. And as Alice in Wonderland was one of those interests, I dedicated a page to it.
I never thought much of it, but to my surprise people appeared to be interested in that section of the site! After a while I decided to expand it and focus my whole site on the subject of Alice. After all, if there wasn’t a place online yet where you could find all things Alice, I might as well make it!
And so it started. Not yet knowing the difference between a site and a homepage, I called it “Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland Homepage”.
The content of the site grew each year and the design of the site has underwent several changes. In 2002 I got my own domain name and transfered the website from my personal university domain to www.alice-in-wonderland.net. The name changed from “Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland Homepage” to “Lenny’s Alice in Wonderland site” and eventually became just “Alice-in-wonderland.net”.
In the beginning I did everything myself and I manually wrote the code, of which I learned a lot! Then I started using third party tools, like a bulletin board (which was later replaced by a forum).
I became an Amazon affiliate in 1999, and after several years I wanted to transform my pages with plain links to a real shop. I asked a friend to build it for me, but it was hard to keep up with all the changes at Amazon and the shop became too buggy and difficult to maintain. Eventually I decided that I needed to professionalize and also had to admit that my skills were not in webdesign.
So in 2015 I finally started making use of a CMS to maintain the website, mainly because I found a plugin for my Amazon affiliate shop that worked with WordPress. I asked an ex-colleague to create the new design and make the site mobile friendly as well. This is the version that you are currently seeing.
When I started my first site in 1997 I never would have guessed that it would still exist 20 years later, albeit in a completely different version!
The site has had its peak moments, like in 2010 when Tim Burton and Disney released their live action movie, and there also have been times where traffic was not really high. Currently I’m struggling with several technical problems, which prevent me from maintaining the shop section as well as I would like. But I’m proud that I still have an average of 65.000 visits each month, even though the Alice craze has faded by now.
I will be happy to keep supplying all of you with information about the Alice books in the future as well! Maybe the site won’t last another 20 years, but who knows…
Is there anything you would like so see added to or changed on this site? Let me know in the comments!