Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Website Development
The website technology supporting Philadelphia Reflections is PHP, MySQL and DHTML. The web hosting service is Internet Planners.

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Website Statistics

This collection of articles documents some of our experiences and we hope that people surfing the web looking for solutions to problems we've encountered will benefit.

The primary purpose of this website is to deliver high quality content on the subjects of Philadelphia, Philadelphia History, medicine, medical economics and other subjects of interest to its author, Dr. George R. Fisher.

However, early in 2006 the site was attacked by spammers who broke in using security holes in the previous implementation of PHP. In the subsequent reconstruction of the site, there's been an opportunity to try out lots of new technology and techniques, some of which are detailed here.

Today's Philadelphia Reflections was born in June 2006. It had a prior incarnation but it was hacked by Nigerian spammers who took it over and turned it into an email factory.

We scrubbed everything down and rebuilt from scratch, implementing as many PHP and MySQL security features as we could find.

We have done all of the standard things to improve our search engine standings but we are really at a loss to explain the inflection points that can be seen in the graphs.

  • We make an effort to produce clean XHTML 1.1 or HTML 4.01 depending on the user's browser, for both the tags and content.
  • We have keywords, description and other relevant meta tags for every page.
  • The content is rich, varied, relevant and frequently updated.
  • The website structure is simple with complete linkages between pages.
  • A current Google sitemap is maintained programatically along with robots.txt, RSS, ATOM and a few other more obscure syndication file types.
  • Both the sitemaps, etc. and the URLs themselves have been submitted to the search engines.
  • We use static URLs, translated by the Apache mod_rewrite function into dynamic.
  • These and other techniques we've picked up along the way are described in the topic "Website Development"

Our home page has a Google Page Rank of 5/10 and the pages vary as follows (as of December 2008):

  • No Info 36%
  • 0    2%
  • 1   28%
  • 2   23%
  • 3    9%
  • 4    1%
  • 5    1%

Google Images is by far the largest source of referrals but we also have many visitors who come to us via the search engines and who like what they see and come back; we would like to express our appreciation to all of our visitors.

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The dips in the Unique Visitors graph were the result of problems with our ISP ... once they were simply off the air and twice they made software changes without notification or testing.

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Originally published: Thursday, May 29, 2008; most-recently modified: Thursday, August 20, 2020


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