Dan Birlew

Las Vegas Web Developer, Designer, Programmer, and Author

The Promise of a Dead Website

Posted February 2nd, 2017 at 8:00am by Dan Birlew in Blog, Site. 2 Comments on The Promise of a Dead Website

July 21st, 2014. That’s the last time I updated this website.

July 15th, 2015… almost one year later. That’s the last time I updated my other website, Las Vegas Man.

I won’t make excuses. I won’t share with you sob stories of what I’ve been through over the last two years. There’s no point now, it’s too late. Today it feels like that all happened a long time ago. Life doesn’t go as planned, is all I’ll say. For a long time now, blogging hasn’t been a priority for me.

If you know anything about me, you know that for 21 years I’ve been building websites for myself, my friends, and even for paying business clients. That’s a whole lot longer than I ever wrote video game strategy guides. Following my split with publishing I focused on web development, and immediately turned it into a full time career. I moved into it with absolute glee! After 13 years as a freelancer I was ready for some kind of career advancement that wasn’t going to happen as a book author. I also wanted someone else to shell out for my healthcare, and to pay taxes like a normal person. The IRS and Social Security fuck freelancers in the ass. These last few years have been a nice break from all that.

Furthermore, I had for several years already endured what people are today referring to as #gamergate. Please don’t infer from this that I continue to dwell on the hate I received, because the things I keep with me to this day are the nice letters and emails I received over the years (some from readers as young as 8, with drawings) and the critiques and praise from my colleagues in publishing and the video game journalism industry. Because those’re the things that matter, not empty death threats from some 35 year old unwashed misfit still living in his mom’s basement. I did that job for 13 years, published 72 internationally distributed titles, and contributed what I could to the format and prestige of that industry. By the time I moved on, the move was long overdue.

The problem with going into web development in 2013 was that I’d already been a web developer for longer than I’d been a guide author. Being a book author for a very long time, that job literally went nowhere; no one promotes you to senior author or editor when you are keeping the imprint in the black by typing. Promoting an author would be “counter-revenue,” which is one of the cute little e-commerce terms I say every day. I was already a web developer and I didn’t actually want to continue being one, even just to pay bills. Sure, there was admittedly a little bit more I had to learn about development in a corporate enterprise environment… but not much more than I’d already taught myself. No, I’m the kind of guy who wants more than a job. I want a career.

I used my abundant skillset to get hired on at Caesars Entertainment; the same company that owns Caesars Palace, Harrah’s properties, Planet Hollywood Resort and a few others you may have heard of. In my first year as a web developer there, I figured out that some neglected websites (namely, their blog) could make more money with a design change and some booking widgets added. WordPress being one of my top-drawer skills, I gave the site a completely new theme, custom booking widgets, responsive content ads, etc.

Within a year of rebuilding their WordPress site, the blog made the company more than a million dollars. That’s over $910,000 more than it made the year prior. With that, I finally got what I wanted: a promotion, and a career. Now I work full time as E-commerce and Development Manager over there, measure their website speed and performance, manage projects to add features, optimize their sites, review tracking tags, increase revenue, and drive bookings.

As my life became about web development, so did this site. And so, it became pretty boring. Actually, it became extremely, especially boring, when compared to writing about video games, and zombies. But this was where my head was, at the time.

My strategy for a while was to make this site a visiting point for my clients. Yes, in my spare hours I still build websites for clients. Contact me if interested.

So I started publishing here a series of articles about coding because I figured that’s what my clients needed. But writing those dry articles is not what I do, and it’s not what I should attempt. With regards to web development I excel at coding, and in writing I excel only at describing the things that thrill me. As a result, I developed a very severe writer’s block regarding my websites, and a few years passed. I let my blogs die.

But although a few years pass, a dead website is still a website. Its continuing existence means that someone is still paying the yearly hosting bill to keep the site online, and to maintain the domain name. A website that remains online is a promise. A website that exists tells visitors that one day, this channel will resume communicating ideas. Even if that day is years away.

Therefore I’m writing here, again. About what impresses and excites me. What I get most hyper about is entertainment, television, sometimes movies, and books and technology. I also fanboy on name brand designer clothes and Las Vegas restaurants and shows, but I’m going to go back to doing that over here. To unify the voice of this blog, some of the timely or less relevant articles will be disappearing soon. There will also be a whole new look in the coming months; I’ve been building something quite awesome that I’m excited about and will demonstrate here first.

I don’t play console games anymore. The only game I’ve been playing over the last few years has been Minecraft, on PC. I know most people think it’s for 5 year olds, but most people voted a reality TV star to be President of the US. I’ll post some of my tips and creations for Minecraft here, and I’ll resume talking about TV shows and a few movies and viral internet thingies.

Lastly, this should be the last post that runs over 1000 words. Internet content today is short and concise, and I’m good with all that’s good, in the neighborhood. For the first time in years, I’m good.

2 Responses to “The Promise of a Dead Website”

  1. I didn’t read the blog before but it sounds intersting so I’ll jump on board this bandwagon.