So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Wanted: More Readers Or More Runners?

“You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.” - Scott Adams (Creator of "Dilbert")

My wife & I were chatting over dinner & a beer after last night's track workout; I had divided my attention between Facebook posts, GPS data & (naturally!) Travel Channel's "Man v. Food," but I knew listening to her would increase the degree of domestic tranquility. And if I have not learned anything in nearly seven years of marriage, I know domestic tranquility is a very good thing.

Suzanne received an article on search engine optimization, or SEO, from a friend in her professional field. For populations (I also am one) not involved with the "modern" internet, SEO appears to be the process which makes a particular web site, business page, or blog come up closer to the top of the list when using a search engine like Bing, Google, or Yahoo. My 22-year-old nephew once told me about the same stuff, but it's difficult for an old guy like me to listen to someone who (at the time) looked exactly like Justin Bieber. But I'm starting to digress.

Suzanne started to describe to me some of the things SEO experts would recommend I should or could do to draw more traffic to my blog. "Well, they recommend you have a catchy title."

I think I have that one down already; besides, it's a little too late to rename it. To me, the musings of a running coach about technique, gear, life, & the occasional minutiae of run training, all based on the rhetorical preface, "If I Were Your Coach..." is brilliant. I don't write like I possess an all-encompassing body of knowledge, as some of my friends & many of my detractors would be quick to point out. What I do write is more of an "if I were in your situation" kind of advice. If you sat with me at the local bagel shop on a Saturday morning after track workouts & heard the questions I used to hear all of the time, you'd understand the title.

"Your post titles, written material, & topic labels need to be provocative. In your case, I would maybe use labels like: 'i want to run faster,' or maybe title one of your posts 'Fifty Ways To Meet Smoking Hot Runner Dudes/Babes,'" she said.

I referred back to a recent post & read her the labels I commonly use, which seemed more realistic to me. At this point it was high time for bed, at least for her. I stayed up for another five minutes to see how close Adam Richman could come to tossing his cookies in an Italian food eating challenge. It's starting to feel more like pro wrestling, less like combat between man & food...especially after I didn't see his name & accomplishment of downing 15-dozen oysters posted at Acme Oyster Bar when I was there last month.

Suzanne was on my computer this morning, & typed "I want to run faster" in the search engine. I know, because some "Send Me A Check For 150 Dollars And I Will Send You My Sure-Fire Satisfaction, Personal Bests, Smoking Hot Runner Dudes/Babes In 90 Days Guaranteed Or Your Monkey Back Running Plan (a tip of the running cap to CAPT Dave Bondura for his "Monkey Back" guarantee)" website was still sitting up on my laptop as I was running out the front door, late (as usual) for work.

I guess if my livelihood was like that of my friend Pat McCrann, & I needed to get eyes on my thoughts, hearts/minds/checkbooks/credit cards & PayPal pointed my general direction so I could pay the mortgage/car loan/utilities/pediatrician/grocery bill, then I'd be a little more gung-ho about SEO. For a guy like me who "just happens" to be a coach, my mission is to get more readers & more runners...a few at a time. It's better than wringing my hands trying to solve world hunger or boil the ocean.

Perhaps some day I'll make a living out of being a coach. Right now it makes the real employment tolerable; it's easier to step into the office in the morning when I know what is on the agenda at the end of the day. Many times that's what REALLY gets me out of bed.

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