Saturday, June 1, 2013

How I Came to Understand the Difference Between REO and SEO

When I first heard the term SEO, I wondered, isn’t that a rock band from the 90’s?

A coincidence, I created my website, Essays on the Craft of Dramatic Writing, in the mid-90’s using HTML 1. I had the help and guidance of playwright and screenwriter Charles Deemer, who was early to recognize the value of the internet for writers.
Like a Duckbill Platypus, my website fit in a niche and, for me, ‘worked’ as intended, as a vehicle for me to express my thoughts on storytelling, in the same way that Duckbill Platypus’ probably talked shop about salt water crocodiles.

As I added content to my website, I got visitors from around the world, and I was happy.

By the by, I added new content to my text-heavy website, and even scattered around the latest innovation, blue bars.

A few years later, I hired a friend to create a CSS style sheet for my site (which I didn’t mistake for Credence Clearwater Revival). I wasn’t sure what CSS was, either, but I was content to just keep adding text-heavy articles.

Until my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise, was published, and a new purpose crept into my website, like a Tasmanian Devil approaching in the middle of the night. I now added promoting my book to my site, but my architecture didn’t change, I just added a few static images to go along with all that text.

Which, in evolutionary terms, takes me to about 2011, when the e-book asteroid hit Earth, and I couldn’t get my Duckbill Platypus to evolve, grow wings, and get me outta there.

Reeling from all the traditionally published burning books falling from the sky, I stumbled forward into getting my book available on Kindle, then Smashwords.
I promoted all this on my website, and like a baby Wombat emerging from its mother’s pouch, I thought I would immediately be selling thousands of inexpensive e-books and laugh, I say, laugh at my good fortune.

Without really changing a thing about my website.

Well, everyone knows what happens when a Duckbill Platypus, a Tasmanian Devil, and a Wombat walk into a bar, so I won’t bore anyone with the familiar punch line about putting the tab on someone’s bill, but I had a vague feeling that somehow my lack of sales were because my website had become an antique, and not one I could sell on Pawn Stars (#pawnstars).

Then I met John Ellis, of Portland Internet Design, who, like a Duckbill Platypus with burning wings appearing in the sky, explained to me what SEO meant, and how to use it.

So now I’m prepared to re-engineer my website from the REO era to the SEO one.

I don’t expect this to be easy, but even getting a Twinkee out of its wrapper requires a minimum of concentration and effort, so I’m on my way.

As John would say, “May the Flaming Duckbill be With Me.”

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To read some of my longer reviews of popular movies, visit my website or check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise, available on Amazon Kindle. Or, find me on Google+ and tell me what you think.