Web Editor: Alan Eggleston

Editor in Geek?
By Alan Eggleston

Do you have to be a geek to be a good web editor? I don’t think it’s in the job description, and in many cases it’s probably more important to be a good editor than to be a good geek, but it was being good at being a geek that got me a shot at working on the Web. So I’m going to say, if you want to be a Web editor, you should consider whether you’re also a geek.

I’ve been a web editor since 1995, when my supervisor at the corporate publications office realized I was a geek playing around on the Internet and asked me to tackle the company’s first website. I then found myself advising the company’s affiliates on their websites, and when the company put together a department for global online communications, I became its web editor. A year later, I was invited to join a new e-commerce team as web editor to help develop a new online model for the company. In 2001, a week and a half before 9/11, I left the corporate world and became a freelance web editor, which I continue doing to this day. I love editing and as a geek, I love Web editing.

Not all web editors need to be geeks, but as web editor it helps to have played around with various browsers, html editors and WYSIWYG programs, content management systems, CSS attributes, and mobile apps. It’s also useful to be familiar with Web design concepts, mobile conversion, and know the difference between jpgs, gifs, and tiffs, and be able to work with Web video and audio. While you’re at it, it will help your cause to know about search engine optimization (SEO) and site analytics, although not absolutely necessary. All this you may learn through experience, although much of it you can learn through Internet searches. I was fortunate enough to be curious and learn it on my own – a sure sign of being a geek.

My next article: Why SEO Matters

As a web editor with a lot of experience in search engine optimization, I’ve noticed it’s an area a lot of other web editors don’t understand. I recently ran a series on my own blog on SEO Basics for Web Editors, and I hope to bring some of that knowledge to your aid in this blog as well. Up next in my first article will be, “Why SEO Matters.” Join me!

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