I have decided to begin my new blog with a series called, “Confessions of a Web Professional”. In this series, I will discuss my life as a web professional, how I became obsessed with search engine optimization and how working in the field of higher education has transformed my life.
I hope you find these posts entertaining. I would love to hear about your introduction to the World Wide Web and your thoughts on the Digital Marketing industry. It would really mean a lot to me if you shared this post. Let’s keep the conversation going, drop a comment below.
Part 1 – The Information Super Highway
I am in my 25th year as a Web professional and over the years I have worn many hats. But for the majority of my career, my official my title has been Webmaster. Those of us in the industry know this is a catch-all title. I am not complaining, I have been given the opportunity to learn a tremendous amount of information which has propelled my career into all sorts of amazing directions.
Today, however, I want to start from the beginning. When did I first discover the internet? What compelled me to start a career in the internet business? How did I decide to learn HTML?
Let’s go back to 1994, the year I discovered the “Information Highway”.
The Information Highway
I first became aware of the internet during the 1994 Winter Olympics. This was the year we all watched the Nancy Kerrigan, Tonya Harding controversy.
Our eyes and ears were tuned in to Olympic coverage each night during which each host plugged the “Information Highway” or the “Information Superhighway”. I remember vividly every single night saying “What the heck is the “Information Highway”?
When we finally did get logged in, I was fascinated! How did all that information get tucked into a little box sitting on my desk? Who put it there? Would it stay there forever?
To connect to the internet in 1994, you would first need an AOL disk offering a free trial with X amount of free hours. In the mid-’90s, AOL blanketed the U.S.A. with free disks. Free offers showed up everywhere including your mailbox, Wal-Mark, Blockbuster, and even cereal boxes.
In just a matter of a few months, AOL was known by everyone…everywhere.
After a few months of insane, constant learning, I was hooked on building web pages. I learned HTML by scratch, using my favorite book, “Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML in a Week”. Which I did.
SEO in 1995
Working for Ballistic ActionNet was my first job as a Web Designer. I worked with Ballistic for about 5 years, made wonderful friends and built hundreds of websites. We were at the dawn of the internet. There were no classes you could take, no degrees or certifications on web design and sometimes we made up our own rules.
Steve, Tim and I quickly figured out a search engine optimization technique that allowed the pages we designed for our clients to pull up at the very top of Google. How? You may have heard of this crazy SEO keyword stuffing technique, but we thought we invented it! And for a little while, we got away with it. Keywords at the bottom of each page, hidden by setting the words as the same color of the page.
Our pages were popular, easy to build and easy to maintain. It didn’t take long for business in our area to realize they needed to hop on board.
Sometimes, you find yourself in the right place at the right time. You may not realize it at the time, but looking back, it stares you right in the face.
I have great memories of those early days and I am amazed at how far things have come. Digital Marketing, SEO and Content Marketing were not terms in the ’90’s. And we never could have imagined how Social Media would change the game in the 2000’s.
I look forward to the next chapter in my life and I invite you will come along on the ride with me!
Robinette Kelly is in her 25th year as a web professional and digital marketer. She worked as Lead Web Designer for Ballistic ActionNet prior to her 18 years as Webmaster for The University of Texas at Tyler. Robin has a strong understanding of higher education and working with small businesses and is a highly skilled SEO marketer and content writer.