We’re taking a short break today from the stories about my life with the kids for a look at the back office, for a look at the engines behind this blog and some of the recent transformations in how it is put together and presented.
The media world is changing and digital is in. Ebooks, podcasts and videos. It’s all part of the new media, and I’m breaking out the digital recorders and video cameras and getting into the nitty gritty of HTML, metadata and SEO. I’m familiar with the terms of this digital language and I’m figuring out how they’re used. I can just about read HTML and know enough not to mess with it if in doubt.
This is a far cry from my roots as a newswire reporter and learning the trade on the run. It was a crash course on economics, finance, bonds and stocks and interest rates and yields – and how to cover it all on deadline as a reporter. These were all subjects previously foreign to this English literature major with his unfinished minor in Greek and a short-lived attempt at an art degree and even briefer foray into environmental sciences with a class on backpacking.
A novice at business reporting, certainly. But I knew how to type pretty fast and ask questions. And I learned quickly and the newswire grew. A young girl came to work and spoke about the internet.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“What!” she responded.
Well, it was 1996 and until starting at the newswire my email service was DOS-based and I’d been filing stories as a freelancer by fax straight from Word – can you still do that? – and even putting HTML headers on stories for filing by my not-so-trusty DOS system. No matter, my younger colleague showed me how to pull up a web browser and with a double click to start surfing the net.
Fast-forward through the dot-com boom and two computer crashes (my PCs) to my shift to Macintosh and fewer computer problems (they’re not perfect) and now to a wide, wide world of new ways to work as a journalist that is becoming more the job of a content producer, filing podcasts, stories and videos not just by email but over secured networks.
It’s a digital world and good content is chief. But how to let the cyber-world know it’s out there? SEO is one way. Search engine optimization. I’ve learned a bit about it over the past few months, along with “alt” tags, keywords, metadata, permalinks, plugins, widgets and social media. Earlier this year, this blog won a prize at the 2010 WordCount Blogathon. The prize was an SEO review of Pine Tree Paradise by Spork Marketing, a Denver company specializing in search engine marketing and search engine optimization. Jason Lancaster, its founder, pointed out a bucketful of things to do in his review – you can read it by clicking here – to attract more traffic when people type any words related to my blog and posts into Bing, Google or Yahoo.
In the process, I redesigned the site with new colors and an about section. Other things are in store, including a gallery of all my kids’ great artwork.
And a book.
Well, not yet. But just maybe. It would be an optimum result of my SEO effort and writing the stories about my kids’ antics and my dismay at the stuff they get up to. So stay clicked in – or searched in – and I’ll keep on the hunt for a publisher because it’s good to dream big.