Cre8asiteforums: 17 Years From Club to Online Community

In the 1990’s, the wild world wide web was the stomping ground for anyone who fell in love with the possibilities the Internet provided.  The whole world was just a modem screech away.

I was one of those crazy people who wanted to learn everything possible about the world and its people.  To get on the Internet meant a long distance phone call to a town hooked into AOL.  Every minute I spent learning how to make web pages in those days racked up my phone bill, but I was in love with the gray lifeless backgrounds, tables with cell padding, AOL chat rooms and the email discussion lists I joined, and soon, moderated.  To learn everything about the world and its people meant figuring how to communicate with a keyboard.

My 286 PC grew to 386 and then 486 RAM.  I had stacks of floppy disks, with clipart and documents.  The computer was installed in the kitchen near the telephone line. Still using WordPerfect, I earned a tiny income typing for people and saving their documents on small disks.  I made my first websites in 1995, and got my first job as a webmaster in 1996.

I was also a newly divorced mother of 3 and 7 year old children, who had not worked in 3 years. The divorce was mediated.  We wrote our own divorce agreement and I typed it up for the lawyer who represented both of us.  I declined alimony and child support, moved into a small condo near my ex-husband, and we co-parented our kids so well that most people had no idea were not married.

Determined. Stubborn. Scared sometimes.  Often broke.  I couldn’t afford beds for the kids.  I went without stuff.  It was a time where few people understand why I insisted on being independent.  I kept my personal troubles as private as I could.  Meanwhile, I worked full-time to pay for daycare, and when the kids were in bed, I freelanced in SEO and taught myself how to make better websites.

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It was in those dark days of struggle that I launched the Cre8pc Website Promotion Club to teach SEO online and use my skills as an online community moderator.  I co-moderated another club for small businesses too.  It was 1998.  It would be 2 more years before I got my dream job as a User Interface Engineer with a salary that let me move forward and provide better for myself and kids.  I still freelanced in SEO and had some famous clients.  The Cre8pc club became the Cre8asite Group in Yahoo and by then Bill Slawski was a moderator there.

By the year 2002, I was cross trained in software QA testing and human factors, freelancing in SEO, and had attracted friends like Ammon Johns and Jill Whalen who, along with Bill, helped me move the Cre8asite Group to a new server, with genuine online community software.  In August 2002, Cre8asiteforums was launched with its core group of members like Adrian Lee and soon, Diane Vigil, Peter DaVanzo, Sophie Wegat, Ruud Heim, and Dave Childs.  It was the first online marketing community to discuss and teach website usability and accessibility. Jill Whalen enjoyed the experience so much she decided to start her own forums under her own brand.  For years, HighRankings Forums and Cre8asiteforums shared moderators, members and friendship.

The year 2002 was also when I was laid-off from my dream job and was picked up as a sub-contractor by AT&T Worldnet  within 6 hours of leaving the building, thanks to two of my mentors from the 1990’s who watched me grow and wanted to not only match my previous salary, but increase it.  I have been a consultant ever since.

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Cre8asiteforums was acquired by Internet Marketing Ninjas in the fall of 2012.  It joined the ranks of WebmasterWorld and SEOchat as a desired online community worthy of investment.  I was retained to continue as Administrator for Cre8asiteforums.  The community boasts members, moderators and administrators who are now famous in their industries.  We gave up Pierre Far and John Mu to Google.  Rand Fishkin, Ammon Johns, Chris Winfield, Donna Fontenot, Barry Schwartz and Miriam Ellis, to name a few, run their own companies.  Joe Dolson is my long-time mentor on accessibility and today devotes time to improving WordPress software and application development.  Some folks, like Barry Welford, Ron Carnell, Tamsin Stone, Stock Truslow and Elizabeth Able, have been steadfast supporters long past their years as moderators.  They still stop by and contribute, along with many others who have never left and continue to provide assistance to members who need it.

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Today, Cre8asiteforums is a community that manages itself, with some input from myself and my mysterious friend, “iamlost”.  I refer to the community members as “professors” and “brainaics”.  They are inquisitive, curious, love to test theories and debunk myths.  We have a private area for long-timers called LABS, the brainchild of a member, and the Rookie Room, at the suggestion of another member.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.  I wanted to meet people and learn everything I could about website design and online marketing.  After 17 years, that desire has never changed.

Take a bow Cre8asiteforums Community.  Congratulations and thank you.

 

Cre8asiteforums Staff Reunion Held

On August 11, 2015, Ammon Johns and Bill Slawski hosted a reunion on their Google Plus Bill and Ammon’s Bogus Hangout for anyone who was part of the early days of Cre8asiteforums.

Bill and Ammons HangoutAlthough launched in 1998, Cre8asiteforums stepped into the official limelight as a recognized forums when it was moved to a new server and more supportive software on August 30, 2002.  The move was encouraged by Administrators Ammon, Bill and Jill Whalen. More staff was needed and during the next decade, most of the now well-known people in the search engine marketing industry passed through Cre8asiteforums in the role of Moderator, Technical Administrator, Administrator or active participant. Archives remain available with participation from Pierre Far, John Mu, Miriam Ellis, Rand Fishkin, Ron Carnell and many more honorable mentions.

While Cre8asiteforums was and continues as one of the smaller online forums, it was the first to introduce holistic practices for website design and online marketing.  Usability and accessibility were shunned by the SEO industry as a non-essential part of website ownership, but Cre8asiteforums held fast to the notion that users will remain on an ugly website no matter how many SEO tricks are thrown at it.

Online communities in the 1990’s were how people learned what they needed to know.  They preceded books and online courses, blogs and articles.  The better mentors were those who tested theories, software and practices to be sure they truly worked before being promoted.  The willingness to fight back against the charlatans and stand up to potentially harmful tools was Ammon Johns’ legacy as the “Black Knight”.  Active in many communities, he joined Cre8asiteforums to help create its foundation as a reputable community.

Bill Slawski, aka “braggadocio”, had established himself as the patient, long-winded wisdom teacher who when asked a question, proceeded to create a virtual lecture hall where his way of describing difficult concepts were a cherished favorite among the community.  The success of the forums led to Jill Whalen’s desire to launch her own HighRankings forum. It attracted Diane Vigil, from Jim’s World, who after he passed away, arrived to Cre8asiteforums to bring her experience and knowledge of forums management.  At one point in the early years, Technical Administrator Stock Truslow aka “Grumpus” built a directory website at Cre8asite.net intended to create, hold and maintain the abundance of accurate information culled from the forums as opposed to the growing volume of incorrect and misleading stories and articles.

Yesterday’s reunion attracted past Technical Administrators Adrian Lee and Joe Dolson, as well as past Moderators and community members who remembered the old days of Cre8asiteforums.   The discussion continued 1.5 hours beyond the live show.

You can watch the entire show here 

Discussion –  Ammon And Bill Invite Cre8Asiteforums To Hangout Show

Cre8asiteforums was acquired by Jim Boykin on October 1, 2012 and continues to be owned and maintained by Internet Marketing Ninjas.

Cre8tive View Focuses on Dr. Pete, from MOZ

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Dr. Pete

We’re thrilled to announce that this coming Friday , January 17 at 2pm EST, we are hosting another Cre8tive View show, and our guest is Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing Scientist for MOZ.com

What is a “Marketing Scientist”?  Is it really cool working for MOZ?  What are Dr. Pete’s passions these days and is he still into usability or has he found a new path?

Perhaps this is a clue!  Future SERP: A Glimpse at Google 2014 

Pete tells Kim, “A lot of my work in the past year is around where Google is headed and how the Google landscape is changing (less organic, more rich features), etc. I’m digging more lately into paid results that look organic or are embedded in the Knowledge Graph.”

We look forward to catching up with Pete, chatting about content marketing and if you know him, you know this will be a lively show!

Are you going? Visit the Event here and let us know.

Look to the Past for Lessons on Establishing Personal Brand

We enjoyed our Cre8tive View chat with Ann Smarty on establishing your personal brand online. Her suggestions were not quick fixes. They were honest and simple.

She started off by explaining how she got the name “Ann Smarty”. This is not her real name. Being from the Ukraine and establishing her online presence using the English language, she knew people would struggle with her Russian name.

It took less than 6 years before everyone would come to know and trust Ann Smarty. She’s been blogging at countless sites for years, and helping out in communities all along. The key to developing a personal brand is, said Ann, getting out there in the various online communities and joining in the discussions.

This means really honest to goodness participation where you add value to a discussion or provide accurate information in a blog post or article. It’s the way the Internet grew in the first place, before revenue generation forced a huge change in how people marketed their companies, self or careers.

If you are an individual building your personal brand, you will never spam a community, forums, or send out spammy emails. You will do these

  • Choose a name people will remember you by. For years.
  • Offer help to others and ask nothing in return.
  • Teach and provide examples that don’t promote your own site.
  • Write in a non-aggressive way.
  • Never, ever attack anyone online. It’s ugly. (Unless your brand is about being mean.)
  • Look for communities where you feel comfortable in being there.
  • Start your own community. This lets you develop your own following.

Small businesses can take the lead on offering to help their customers by writing about what they know and sharing it freely on their site. If you sell anything you make yourself, share what you know on your own site and also in communities or online groups in LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. Share. Share. Give. Give.

Reach out to authority figures too. Some of them will be too busy but others are more understanding and giving of their time. They started a zero once. Ask to interview them. Invite them teach your readers. Bring in guest bloggers with followings. Keep reaching out.

It’s easier to be yourself when the brand is you. Ann discussions the limits of corporate branding. It tends to be sterile and bought via ads. Customer service helps them too.

For your own personal style, you may have to give out more pieces of yourself than you are comfortable with. The good news is that with the right mix of generosity, sense of humor, expertise in your field or simple curiosity, you can compete with people who are spammers, rude to people, arrogant, selfish and have egos the size of Jupiter.

Your best bet to building your personal brand online is to be patient.

Watch Video

Joe Dolson Shares Website Accessibility Recommendations and WordPress Goodies

If you haven’t watched our most recent Cre8tive View, please go now and you’ll  be rewarded with new information on accessibility and WordPress plug-ins.

Joe Dolson has been a Moderator and Technical Administrator at Cre8asiteforums for many years.  His skills in WordPress plug-in development and website accessibility compliance design have made him famous.  His WP-Twitter plug-in has been installed over a million times. He has many more.

We are thrilled to share our dear friend and accessibility mentor with you.