I have a love/hate relationship with writing. It’s been that way for as long as I can remember. I’d likely attribute the rift in the relationship to my perfectionist tendencies — which make it difficult to not turn an email into a novella-like project, much less embark on a simple blogging venture.
My relationship status with writing has both rendered me incapable of responding to certain text messages for days on end and plopped me in a fruitful career managing content for the web. After much internal debate and planning, I downed an espresso and decided to take the plunge: blogging for my personal brand.
Enter AlexandraLeslie.com — the brainchild of a Melancholy/Choleric with an aptitude for what I’ll call creatively educational writing. Here, I’ll discuss what interests me, what I’m witnessing in my industries of focus, and what I think fellow web-visiting humans should know about. Oh, and there will most definitely be photos and videos featuring my fur friends.
Talk of All Things Internet Technology
I work for a tech startup, and I have the pleasure of speaking with the CEOs, CTOs, and product leads from some of the most innovative companies around the world. I’ve interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Yoast (royalty in the WordPress world), open-source project leaders from Debian, FreeBSD, and Linux, the founding team members from more hosting companies than I can count, and the Principle Architect for MaxCDN — and that’s just rattling off a few examples off the top of my head. Seriously, it’s been awesome.
These conversations have no-doubt set fuel to the fire that is my interest in technology’s future. When you get to pick the brains of the people who brought us Microsoft, Symantec, and some of the world’s first website template concepts, your curiosity can only stir and fester until you’re left with oh so many probing questions:
- Do I, personally, really truly need website encryption? Why are we all being lumped together? I don’t feel special.
- With projects aimed at letting artificial intelligence (AI) take over website building, are we humans becoming obsolete?
- Is anyone actually working in an office anymore? The mobility technology gives us has allowed the best tech companies to attract top talent by letting them work from anywhere. What does this mean for the fate of office spaces?
- Should I be scared of the cloud or kissing the air it metaphorically resides in? WHICH IS IT, PEOPLE?!
- Net neutrality… Can we talk about that calmly or should we skip to a safer subject matter?
- What percentage of the day do you think the average Google employee spends mocking us peasants who are desperately trying to win their sick, sick game and beat the ranking system? I tried Binging it. No consensus.
- Do the industries with high depression rates know about company pets? This really should be a formalized thing.
Now, I don’t know when or if we’ll get to every A for that list of Qs, but I’m sure game to try.
Spotlights on Philanthropic Work
Now, on to my passion #2: Charitable contributions and philanthropic causes that propel our society forward are super important to me. You’ll see this nonprofit obsession echoed throughout my site, but, in case you missed it, I’m a court-certified advocate for children in ongoing dependency court cases (Court-Appointed Special Advocates/CASA or Guardian ad Litem/GAL). I also have poured my heart into Dance Marathon at the University of Florida as a student and active alumna, and I was an advisor to the Founder of the Red Shoe Society for the Gainesville, Florida chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Red Shoe Societies are scattered throughout the nation, and each one is a group of passionate young professionals hell-bent on raising awareness and funds for their local House. I could talk about these organizations ad nauseum, but I also love, love, love GRACE Marketplace, Society of Women Engineers, Palmer Home for Children, and the ASPCA.
I believe amazing things happen at “the intersection of philanthropy and technology.” Evidence of this is seen in the correlation between thriving tech startups and their impactful corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Tech icons (Google, Microsoft, AT&T, etc.) continue to rise to the top of the lists denoting the most charitably generous organizations. But it’s not just about the capital the company has to give. I think it’s the creativity. I’ve interviewed modest startup founders who have concocted plans to reserve basic customer support job openings for homeless veterans in their community. Numerous brands offer charitable giving or matching programs as a company perk. I even heard of one startup that hosted a holiday party where each karaoke act would award $100 to the singer’s charity of choice.
Then there are the companies dedicated to setting charities up for success. Blackbaud, for example, connects not-for-profit organizations with software and services to further their missions. Not everyone has to be a Blackbaud, but the incremental impacts of our efforts combined are incredible. In a small effort to reward and encourage these ripples of change, I’ll be allocating a portion of my blogging resources to highlighting both companies that are kicking ass and taking names in terms of philanthropic contributions, as well as charitable causes worthy of our attention.
Friendly Advice for Friends I’ve Yet to Meet
Want opinions? I’ve got ’em! I can offer my two cents on virtually anything — with or without the experience and/or research to back it up. Something you might find a little more useful, however, would be my advice on some of the fields I’ve become submerged in.
My intent won’t be to rewrite every how-to guide written about website development, search optimization, keyword research, or brand building — as I’ve likely already word-vomited about the subject elsewhere on the internets. I don’t have a keyword agenda, just an itch to fill in the gaps. I’ll pick up where popular blogs leave off, and I’ll address any questions that pop up when reading online guides that seem to have the subject matter covered. Consider me the teacher’s aid for the professor-level URLs topping search results.
Areas of specialty in which I might “fill in some gaps” include, but are not limited to:
- Keyword research
- Content quality
- On-page vs. technical SEO
- Popular but poorly answered WordPress questions
- Website builder and CMS theme manipulation
- Affiliate marketing, conversion funnels, and calls to action
- Brand development and consistency
- Website security, performance, and scaling challenges
- Freelancing, side hustles, and starting and growing a reseller business
I mentioned I won’t be regurgitating answers already available on the web — reasons being there’s a good chance either I wrote them or I know the person who did, and there will be no toe stomping here. However, I’m more than happy to direct you toward the existing content resources based on what I believe to be the best answer to your question. Read: Click links! If someone’s already put in the effort to answer your question, and they nailed it, they deserve the kudos.
And My Cat, Zumba, Will Assist
I know what you’re thinking: For someone who started this post saying she was iffy about writing, you sure type a lot.
Guilty as charged — when writing and I are in one of our strong patches, we’re unstoppable. And that’s how we wound up committing to this laundry list of meaty topics outlined in this post. Fortunately, though, we have our trusty sidekick to entertain when the subjects are dry and engage when readers are about to bounce. If you haven’t already, meet Zumba. She is my rambunctious calico and right-hand companion. I adopted her when my former roommate brought her home and told me she was mine. And I’m forever grateful.
Zumba knows I work best when challenged — so she is committed to adorably stretching herself over my arms whenever my fingers are ferociously dancing across the keyboard of my MacBook Air. She keeps me on a routine by awakening me with the song of her people each morning. We never skip breakfast. She’s my sounding board when my CSS isn’t doing what I want it to be doing, and she’s always ready to lend a helping paw. Her passions include soccer-style dribbling her toy mouse across the den, break-dancing per the orchestration of her feather stick, and cuddling at the end (or start) of a long day. She’s rather photogenic, so don’t be surprised if she’s featured somewhat obnoxiously throughout my blog copy.
That’s all I know. In the words of Tiger, TTFN — Ta Ta for Now!