A couple of weeks ago I came home from giving a presentation, only to learn that the speaker for another organization whose board I'm on had to cancel because of a family emergency. I was the one who'd gotten the speaker, so I said I'd step up and give a presentation on web optimization. They all accepted, so now I had two days to put something together.

Paleontology / Gemology / Geology
Creative Commons License Peter Kaminski
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What did I know about web optimization? Well, actually, I've learned a lot. I now have my own web portal page called Services and Stuff, which lists professional services on one side and products on the other side of the main page, all checked out by myself, as well as the page having ads from nationally known companies that people can visit and purchase products online from, at discount rates. Anyway, I bought the domain name last year, and hadn't done anything with it, but around July I thought it was time to do something with it.

So, I started putting it together, then wondered how I was going to advertise it. I decided that rather than purchasing a list of email addresses online, I would try going the web optimization route first, which means trying to make my website more relevant online through search engines such as Google and Yahoo and webpage validity services such as Alexa. Anyway, through my efforts, I got my S&S page (my shortening of the name of Services and Stuff) to rise in the rankings from over 5 million to around 678,000 in a few months; that's out of over an estimated 66 million pages worldwide.

Anyway, it took me 7 hours to put the whole thing together, because I wanted some relevance to the topic, but I didn't get to rehearse at all. As a professional speaker, that's tantamount to being sacrilegious, but what could I do? However, this was one time I figured I knew the topic very well, since I was talking about my own efforts, and I also had to think about the process as I was putting it together.

Long story short, the next morning I went in, gave the presentation, and the group was impressed. I didn't stumble, probably based on both training and because I knew the topic, and I was able to answer every single question that came my way. From that day, I've now started a new business, as I have three clients already who have hired me for web optimization, and there's a possibility that I might be doing some other things related to this topic.

What makes an expert? Well, being able to teach others something helps. Being able to convince someone else that you know what you're talking about is another. And being confident in your abilities is the third. Now, how far will I go with it all? I'm not sure, but it certainly feels better having people think positively of me in a new field than thinking I'm just a hack at it; that can only help me in my other fields.