I have a confession to make.
10 minutes ago I had never heard the term “guest blogger.” A week ago, I really wasn’t sure what Twitter is. Three weeks ago I was wallowing in shameful ignorance: I had no clue what favicon meant. Meta keywords – er, no. SEO – let me guess…um…“Sell everything online”? Nope – never heard of that either.
Blogging sites like BlogEngage?
You’re kidding, right?
So what happened in the last 21 days to reform me? What monumental event occurred that changed me into a – well, a Tweeting/Friending/Blogging/favicon-loving machine?
A friend of mine – a website designer/marketing whiz – told me, as only a good friend can: “Your website sucks. I’m embarrassed to send people to look at it.”
And then she created a new site for me. And a marketing plan. And told me to get my ass in gear.
For those of you who haven’t met Gale, she can be pretty scary. I recently was permitted to make small changes and updates to the new site myself. Not 30 minutes ago I got an email from her “ripping me a new one,” as we used to say on Wall Street, because my two entries in the new recipe blog didn’t match exactly. I didn’t capitalize all the letters in both titles, for a start, which is a capital offense. (A capital offense! Get it? Who’s funnier than me?!) And even worse, I didn’t use a caption box under the photo of my Asian peanut chicken dish, as I had under my shepherd’s pie. HORRORS. I hid under my desk for awhile and only dared come back up after she’d accepted my apology which went something like, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I swear on my sons that I’ll never do it again!”
I have spent hours and hours these last three weeks learning how the Internet can be more to me than a place to read science articles (well…while I’m confessing, I may as well lay my soul bare), play Words With Friends, and buy things from Amazon. The Internet can be my friend.
I’m very good at a lot of things – but not so good at others. The two things I always considered rock bottom were my handyman skills and my knowledge of marketing. The first I can get away with because God invented the Yellow Pages. However, the second is ruining my life. Ok, that’s an exaggeration for dramatic effect, but honestly, it is hurting me, hurting my business, hurting those who are sick and in pain and can’t find me because Google doesn’t know I exist. So the time has come for me to get with the program.
I now have a new website that is visually appealing, easily navigated, and actually tells people who I am and what I do. It tells people how I can help them. It has a backend, page titles, page descriptions, meta keywords, favicons, footer codes, header codes, Share buttons, Like buttons, Tweet buttons, BlogEngage button (ok…a little brown-nosing there),a Facebook news feed (OMG – how cool is THAT?!), and of course, a searchable/archive-able blog. Two blogs, actually. Because one just wasn’t enough for The Blog Queen.
And now that I’m on the subject of blogs…I originally started blogging as a mistake. Well, that is, I didn’t know I was blogging really. Several years ago, I gave a talk at a conference about a fairly funky yet wonderful treatment for autoimmune illnesses, helminthic therapy, and managed to pretty well freak out the entire audience when I explained that helminths are parasites, in the same family as tape worms…and that like the Internet and Gale, certain helminths can be our friends. (I’m a hoot at dinner parties ‘cause there’s nothing like hearing about my trip to Tijuana – with parents, sons and doctor in tow – to get us all infected with hookworm, when you’re trying to eat your vermicelli. (My younger son named his Ponchito, Burrito and Jose. That always has ‘em rolling in the aisles.)) As you might imagine, people were shocked and horrified (much like many of you may have been when you read the first paragraph of this post.) Afterwards, many came up to me and asked me to write about how my family was faring with their new little buddies. And so I started what has morphed over the years into Gut Reactions. (It was bound to happen. There are few things I like more than writing because I amuse myself endlessly. Now I have a valid excuse: “This is WORK, people! I’m MARKETING!”)
Scary Gale told me to spend time today reading about blogging. I do as I’m told, since she is Scary Gale, and read a bunch of articles. (I’m just glad that Brian of BlogEngage won’t hate me as a blogger. (http://www.blogengage.com/blogger/five-reasons-i-hate-you-as-a-blogger/)) I’m a natural blogger: I’m already a super tidy person (in spite of my missing caption in my new blog), hate clutter, messes, dirt, being bored, and bad grammar (damn that Ivy League education!) I’ve learned a staggering amount – and hope to continue to improve and hone my skills going forward. (That was for you, Gale.)
So, as I sit here now and work on this post, I realize that I am a woman transformed. Well, at least a woman in the midst of a transformation. This morning I did not know what a Gravatar was. I didn’t know what the term backlink meant. Now I do. All this means one thing: you can teach an old dog (although WAY younger than Michelle Pfeiffer) new tricks.
Yesterday I hung a towel rack by myself.