I started my Web page in 1997. I bought my first domain name, Wilstar.net, in 1998. A year or so later, Wilstar.com became available so I bought it as well, which had been my original first choice. Wilstar is a very old nickname of mine, dating back to the mid-1980s when I taught in Lake County, Indiana. My students gave it to me but no one could explain exactly why.
My first Web site consisted mainly of random links that I found interesting. It also included information about me and my family as well as some holiday information. I started with a Christmas page, which included MIDI Christmas songs and some history. I quickly expanded it to include the history and customs of nine holidays. I recently took a look back at my original home page via the Internet Wayback Machine, courtesy of archive.org. It was kind of cheesy by today's standards.
In the early 2000s I started to monetize my site with ValueClick ads. It was pretty holidaycentric by then. I had added three additional holidays, but my MIDI page was still my favorite. By 2005 I had discovered Google AdSense, which started making me more money than ValueClick. By 2006, it had actually become a small business and a decent source of extra income. People were flocking to my holiday pages in droves. I remember a few times just sitting in front of my my computer, clicking the "Reload" button on my old Netscape browser just to watch the counter increase. During the peak Christmas season one year it was going up by 10 or 15 page views every few of seconds.
But after the recession of 2008-09 visitors were becoming more scarce and profits started declining. So I pondered the notion of selling my site. I turned down a couple of low-ball offers during the year's between 2010 and 2012, but this past week I received an offer (again, rather low) that I decided to pursue with a counteroffer. It didn't take us much time to agree on a fair price, so the bottom line is, Wilstar.com and Wilstar.net and their content no longer belong to me.
I spent the last 15 years writing original content for Wilstar.com and I've spent many hours designing the site. I will miss doing that. I will also miss the steady flow of income it generated. But like everything else, the Web is changing and I decided to jump off and try something new.
I still have three other Web sites, including this blog. I have a site devoted to science subjects targeted to middle-school students, OurSciencePage.com. I have my Low Carb Pavilion site at LowCarbPavilion.com, which I've run for the past 12 years or more. And I just acquired a new domain name just for my personal and family use. So I'm definitely not out of the Web business. But my main site is now not under my control and I will miss tinkering with it. You can still visit it under its new ownership, though, at Wilstar.com.