Over the next two articles I’m going to answer questions that I receive about AntiAgingWorld. Today we’ll focus on how we started, how we write and choose the topics we do, and how we picked the name for the website.
How Did the Website Start?
“Can you write one article a week?”, I was asked. “Yes, I can write one article a week”, was my reply. “Well, that’s all we need from you. We do the rest.” I was then informed about the potential income an authority website could generate. That was pretty much the core of the sales pitch I received to start a website. (One article a week is what most search engines look for to consider a website “active”. To better appreciate the income potential of a website click here and watch video at very bottom.)
Owning and building a website was never on my bucket list. It just happened. And, if you saw my verbal SAT score you would say no way is this guy ever going to write anything. I scored a whopping 420 on that all important test. Not only was my performance below average for college-bound students, but below average for non-college bound students as well. Go-figure. It wasn’t a fluke score. I had a similar score on the PSAT and performed just as poorly on the ACT English component.
Yet, I’m actually proud of that score because I’ve done much inspite of it. It highlights the limits of standardized testing – and I use it as a motivational tool for myself and others. I like proving people wrong (in this case the educators who design such tests). I could never figure out those questions like “apathy” is to “encouragement” as “kangaroo” is to …. ? The word I would choose never seemed to be an option. Hahaha! I am an out-of-the-box type thinker which does not play well when it comes to such questions.
But, I’ve always appreciated a great speech and have had an interest in quotes since I was a boy. In fact, I have several books of quotes. And, I’ve tried to improve my skills by actually reading them and by implementing tips from speech writers. One of my favorite quotes is “Some men see things as they are and ask ‘why’. I dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not’.” It ties back to the out-of-the-box mentality. I first read that quote when I was 10 and it’s a story onto itself that I’ll weave into some other article.
You know Michael Jordan was cut from his freshman basketball team and Einstein flunked math somewhere along the line. So I figure I’m in good company. Recently, someone described me as being a juggernaut when it comes to writing articles (he meant prolific by that). I like that – Juggernaut Joe. But, now that you know this site is brought to you by a literary idiot perhaps this will be your last time to the site.
The point is – I’m probably the last person one might expect to write articles and manage a website. You just find a way around those obstacles that you may confront if you really want something.
Right Place at the Right Time
Building a website happened by being at the right place at the right time. And, it almost didn’t happen, too. Here’s the story.
In 2010 I attended a Business and Franchise Expo in Dallas looking for a family based business opportunity. While I think a college education is important I don’t see it as the “meal ticket” it once was and wanted a family oriented business opportunity that we might involve our kids in (10 and 12 at the time) as a back-up plan for them.
Though it was pretty simple, I almost never heard the sales pitch. As I walking down one aisle at the Expo I saw what was obviously some website based venture. Based on my initial quick glance it did not look terribly appealing and I continued to walk. But, as I was passing the booth the representative asked me, “What are you looking for?” I responded, “Something simple”, not breaking stride and kept walking. He then said, “Give me five minutes”, and I said, “I don’t think so” and continued to walk towards the next set of booths. He then said, “Oh, come on, what do you have to lose?” I said, “OK, five minutes.” Well, five minutes turned into 30 minutes, and as they say the rest is history.
I did quite a bit of patient education writing during my Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Hughston Orthopaedic Clinic (1989-90) and discovered that I really enjoyed it and felt I was pretty good at taking complex medical issues and explaining them in simple ways. I think my own verbal limitations have helped me see things in simpler terms and communicate ideas in ways the “average” patient understands.
The Hughtston Orthopaedic Clinic had two publications – one for the general public and other for referring physicians, and I wrote articles for both. I also served as a fellow representative on the editorial board for its Hughtson Health Alert, a quarterly newsletter that is still published. The first issue was published in 1989 and you can still access all issues and even see the articles I wrote in 1990 and later.
Working on the newsletter was one of those opportunities you do not expecting it to prepare you for something bigger down the road, but that’s exactly what that experience did for me. It’s what Steve Jobs calls “connecting the dots”. And, it’s an example of what Maria Montessori meant when she said, “The preparations for life are indirect”.
I pitched the idea about a website to my practice partner at the time, Paul Thompson, MD, and two months after attending the Expo we inked an agreement to build a website and 33 days after signing the agreement 44 articles were ready for the official launch of AntiAgingWorld. One day I wrote six articles – not sure how I did it, or why I did it (I didn’t say the articles were good, haha!). Well, I do know why I did it. I was anxious to get the website in motion – hard to launch a site with a few articles – so a critial mass of content is needed covering all the topics relevant to the site.
Though there was a financial motive, the more we thought about the opportunity the more we realized that we could potentially reach and help more “patients” through the website than we can pecking away seeing a relatively small number of patients a day in the office. Patient education is the all important bridge between translating what we know into results. A website is a great eduational tool to translate that knowledge into results while reaching a larger audience that is actually interested in bettering its health (not all patients seen in the office want to get healthier). Those aspects about a website were equally important in deciding to move forward with the site.
You could say the website opportunity found me more than I found it. I was just looking for some opportunity and kept an open mind. And, opportunities that “find you” usually do so when the timing is right.
I try to be 4-5 years ahead of where I think the future is headed – but that can present challenges. Sometimes you can be too far ahead of the present that nothing can happen until others see the future too. And, to some degree the present must catch up to the future. Trying to force something to happen before it can happen doesn’t work. But, the Internet is the present and future of information, and anti-aging medicine is the future of medicine. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.
The Internet is going to revolutionize medicine further at many levels. It is empowering imdividuals to take control of their health. Individuals can now arm themselves with more information and be increasingly aware of options available to improve their health. They no longer have to simply rely on what their doctor tells them. What this and other websites currently offer is just the tip of the iceberg as to what will be possible (as long as the Internet remains free of geopolitical control).
Most physicians do not see the future of medicine. Anti-aging medicine, age mangagment medicine, and regenerative medicine are its future – at least will be a big part of it. And the Internet is one if its vehicle for change. We are excited to be on the crest of the wave on both fronts.
This website is an example of the opportunity striking at the right time – the present and future were in sync.
How Do You Choose Topics to Discuss?
There are three main ways we choose our topics.
- keyword searches
- Google alerts and trends
- anything I find interesting or important
If you want to write an article and have it found on the Internet it helps to have words in the title of the article that people are entering into search engines, and preferably exactly as they are searched. About 60% of our articles are based on keyword searches. If people are searching “resveratrol anti-aging” we write an article with those words in the title and will repeat those words throughout the article. It’s a search engine optimization technique.
We have also Google Alerts setup for each of our main navigation bars and look at Google Trends. This alerts us to articles recently written in our main topic headings and we can see what is popular and trending. About 20% to 25% of the articles are based on Google Alerts and Trends.
The rest of the articles written are based on whatever strikes my fancy. Most articles are written two to three months before they are published, though some get bumped for articles on trending topics that we publish as quickly as possible. The article, Do Sweetened Drinks Cause Depression? was written in January, 2013 but not published until June, 2014, because it kept getting knocked out of its scheduled publishing date by an article on a trending topic.
How Do You Write the Articles?
We only ask for one to two minutes of a reader’s time. That’s all it takes to read our articles that average around 500 words. Get on the site, read an article, and move on. It fits into the attention deficit world we now live in. That differentiates our articles from those you might find on WebMD which are typically much longer.
Plus, we try to be more engaging and personal with our writing compared to the more formal dry technical writing you see on other health related sites. Personally, I pretend I’m talking to a patient in the office (though with better grammar, LOL), as I write an article. Humor is a great tool in the office to better relate to patients (if done appropriately) and we try to invoke some humor in the articles when circumstances allow (though mine tends to be dry and subtle and may be missed).
Some articles take as little as hour to write, but most take about 3-5 hours including research and all the backend stuff – tagging an article, optimizing for search engines, writing a meta description and keywords, putting in links to our articles or outside sources, searching for a photograph for an article, and more. I have spent as much as an hour finding the right photograph for the article. Someday we may shoot a video of all the backend or behind the scenes stuff that goes into managing a website – it’s actually fascinating.
Paul and I are not big fans of the term “anti-aging” because we’re going to age. The term really doesn’t reflect reality and the goal of the site. The real goal that we are after is more along the lines of “live younger longer”. But, when we did our research for possible domain names we discovered that the word “anti-aging” was 17 times more popular than the next word(s) that we considered. So for search engine purposes we decided to go with “anti-aging” in the domain name.
Several domain names that we considered with “anti-aging” in them were already registered and “AntiAgingWorld” was really the best option left. Plus, we had to go with “dot net” rather than “dot com” because there already existed an “antiagingworld.com”. Also, it’s best to avoid hypens (as in “anti-agingworld”) within a domain name which is why we don’t have one.
So that’s why the site is called what it is. But, I’ve never been enamored with the name of the site.
In the next post I’ll answer questions about my favorite article, most controversial article, most humorous article, most challenging article to write, and will discuss future plans for the website. So continue your journey with AntiAgingWorld!