Digital.com Authors

Adam Baird
Generic Profile Image Adam is a WordPress developer with a decade of experience building and managing WordPress websites. His clients include some of the biggest names in online marketing.
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Adam Michael Wood
Adam Michael Wood Headshot

Getting to Know Adam

Adam is a technical writer specializing in developer documentation and tutorials. In addition to his writing here, he has authored engineering guides and developer documentation at startups and major tech companies in Silicon Valley. Adam currently works in Developer Relations on the Google Brain team.

Before becoming a full-time writer, he managed software development — designing cloud-based applications that connected legacy industry systems to the modern web. Prior to that, he was a web designer and WordPress developer.

Adam can code in Python, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, and Bash — but he only likes one of those languages. He also knows HTML inside and out, but would rather write in Markdown.

Our Interview with Adam

We asked Adam burning questions about coding, life, writing, and how he got started in web development. Read on to learn more.

How did you get into technology and web development?

Reluctantly. My dad is an engineer. He tried to get me to learn a little programming as a kid, but it didn't take. My interests were music and theater, and that's what I went to college for.

A few years after school, unemployed and a little desperate, I got into sales. Sales led to marketing. Marketing led to an interest in social media (very new at the time) and web design. I tried hard to do WYSIWYG design and no-coding-needed design, but I kept hitting their limits.

So I had to start learning — first HTML, then CSS, a little JavaScript, just enough PHP. I tried Ruby (because Rails is cool), but Python turned me into a programmer.

Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?

If I lived up to my own ideals, I would use GNU/Linux.

For a lot of practical purposes, I use a Mac and run Ubuntu on a Virtual Machine when I need it. I do most of my work in tools where the platform doesn't matter — a code editor, a web browser, a Bash terminal.

I don't use Windows if I can help it, but mostly because most of my preferred tools assume a Unix-like environment.

Do you own any websites?

Yes, but I neglect them too much. I have a personal blog, which I also use to keep my online portfolio and resume.

I have a blog focused on tech writing, which I should really add to.

I have one on church music and liturgy, another one on church music and liturgy, and finally one on theology.

My personal blog was my attempt to consolidate my different online presences, but I continue to be ambivalent about whether or not all my interests really belong on the same website.

What hosting companies have you used?

When I got started in web development, Bluehost had the most popular WordPress-focused shared hosting plan. I've had Bluehost accounts forever, and have never had a bad experience with them. (Also, I think they have great customer service.)

A few years ago I realized that keeping domain names with my hosting company wasn't the best idea, so now my (too many) domain names are mostly registered with NameSilo.

I've experimented with several other consumer-grade hosting companies, or worked with them for client projects, so I can say that I also like Digital Ocean, HostGator, and SiteGround.

If I was still doing heavy-duty WordPress development, I would be using Pantheon or WPEngine. More recently, I've switched to building static sites with Jekyll or Nikola, and hosting them for free with GitHub.

How'd you get into technical writing?

I had a pretty normal 9-5(ish) job managing software development in Texas. But then we moved to California so my wife could go to seminary. She takes classes during the day, and we have two kids — so I needed something that was more flexible.

I started writing for Digital and discovered that writing about technology was a thing that people did for a living. (Amazing!) For almost two years I wrote exclusively for Digital, and have since branched out to write for other websites as well as tech companies here in the Bay Area.

Are you working on any cool projects?

I am building a Python framework for music theory, notation, and analysis.

The basic idea is to build up primitive musical concepts in a Pythonic way so that you can treat them intelligently as numbers, text, or parsable code.

That would (in theory) let you do things like musical analysis, machine learning, and natural language processing. (It's... early still.)

Favorite code editor?

Emacs.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Babylon 5. But also Star Trek.

Elsewhere on the Web

Adam can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Brenda Barron
Brenda Barron Headshot Brenda is a WordPress enthusiast and owner of the Digital Inkwell content agency based on California.
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Brian Wu
Brian Wu Headshot

Getting to Know Brian

Brian is a writer with specialties in technology and medicine. He has a PhD in integrative biology and disease and an MD with a focus on holistic treatment. Somehow, he also manages to fit in work as an actor. Brian lives in southern California.

Brian received his BS in Physiology and Neurobiology from the University of Maryland. After that, he moved to southern California where he worked as a freelance writer and actor while he continued his education at the Keck School of Medicine and the University of Southern California. He received a PhD in Integrative Biology and Disease, having done work on exercise physiology and rehabilitation. In 2017, he received his MD, where he focused on holistic care and treatment.

Currently, Brian is a Psychiatry Resident at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. But he still does some writing through his company Awesome Writer where he specializes in health, lifestyle, science, technology, finance, and business.

Our Interview with Brian

Here are some questions we asked Brian about his diverse interests.

How did you become involved in so many things?

Do you mean, "Can't you make your mind up?!" The thought occurs to me from time to time too. But really, I see them as all part of the same thing. It's all about communication and the power of stories.

How does medicine fit into the power of stories?

Perhaps an example will help. When I was in the fifth grade, I came up with the idea for Health Stories for Kids. One of the stories is called "Body Wars," which personifies the immune system and how the body fights disease.

How else does that work?

Well, I'm very interested in child psychiatry. Obviously, stories are important to that. And in a general sense, stories are important for people to understand their diseases.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars.

Other than Digital.com, who have you written for?

Let's see: The Los Angeles Times, The Motley Fool, Lifehack, eHow, and lots more.

Windows, Mac, GNU/Linux?

Windows.

Elsewhere on the Web

Brian can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Bronwynne Powell
bronwynne powell Bronwynne Powell is a freelance writer with an interest in how technology is changing how we communicate. A keen storyteller and newsroom veteran, she works with entrepreneurs to find ways to better connect with customers on social media.

Who Is Bronwynne?

Bronwynne is a journalist turned content strategist. With more than 15 years of industry experience, she is passionate about writing digital content people want to read. As an online writer and content specialist, Bronwynne uses research, storytelling, and data to create content that connects amazing businesses with their dream customers. Her mission is to understand her audience so she can share stories they truly care about. Bronwynne is happiest when wrangling commas, parsing through social media analytics, and experimenting with new content formats. When she's not writing, she's reading mystery thrillers, trying to start a yoga habit, or listening to supernatural podcasts. You can find her trawling subreddits about the zombie apocalypse. Bronwynne lives in Cape Town with her husband and two children.

Interview with Bronwynne

We asked Bronwynne a few questions about her work and life because she's interesting and because we're curious.

Which resources on Digital.com do you find the most helpful?

Digital's library of hosting reviews is among the best on the internet. Whenever I've needed to choose a hosting company, Digital was my first choice. And I'm not just saying this because I worked on some of those reviews, seriously! The work is comprehensive, objective, and most of the time, it even includes some of the writer’s or editor's own experiences with the company.

What advice would you give to would-be freelancers?

No matter how busy you get, don't neglect things like improving your skills and promoting your services. Try to set up a daily or weekly slot for professional development and marketing. And put the same effort into these personal projects that you put into your client work.

One piece of advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs?

When you're running your business, you do a little bit of everything. That's to be expected. But, not everything on your to-do list is equally as important. One of my favorite books is The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. I'd encourage any business owner to do a study of their goals and priorities. Chances are you'll easily find tasks you can delegate or drop. Next, place your focus on the activities that will set you on the path to achieving success in business, and life.

How do you maintain a positive work-life balance?

I don’t! This is a work in progress. Right now, I'm trying to focus on work when I'm at work and family when I'm with family. Most of the problems come from trying to divide my attention. My mission is to be fully present at all times. You can say hello to Bronwynne on:
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Claire Broadley
Claire Broadley headshot Claire is the owner of Red Robot Media, a UK-based content agency. When not running her small business, she produces electronic music and experiments with her smart home technology.
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Conor Sheils
Conor Sheils headshot A former journalist and life-long geek, Conor eats, breathes and sleeps technology. When he's not editing or writing Conor is usually found traveling the world or studying full-stack web development.
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Dale Cudmore
Dale Cudmore headshot A successful online entrepreneur, Dale focuses on actionable marketing strategies and tactics that help small businesses reach more customers and grow revenue.
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Dana Prince
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Getting to Know Dana

Dana is a freelance writer and marketing consultant working out of Ontario, Canada.

Her background is in sales, project execution, and relationship management.

Dana is a writer, online media consultant, and internet marketer. She says, "I'm building an online empire -- one keystroke at a time."

Over the past decade, she has written for a broad collection of clients. In addition to Digital.com, Dana has clients in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, Mauritius, and elsewhere.

Elsewhere on the Web

Dana can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Danielle Antosz
Danielle Antosz headshot Danielle Antosz is a writer and editor specializing in digital marketing. Her work has been published on leading industry sites, including ClearVoice, Search Engine Journal, and CopyPress.
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David Delony
David Delony headshot

Getting to Know David

David Delony is a freelance writer and technology enthusiast based in the Pacific Northwest. He combines his love of both technology and words in his career as a freelance writer. He's covered everything from networking to operating systems to video games.

David Delony is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, he lives in Medford, Oregon. He received a BA in Communication from California State University, East Bay.

David's writing has appeared in Walyou, Make, The Motley Fool blog network, TMCnet, and Techopedia.

Our Interview with David

We interviewed David about his life and interests.

How did you get into technology and web development?

I've been interested in computing from a young age. My first entry into programming was, like a lot of people of a certain era, in BASIC. The 3-2-1 Contact magazine used to have a section called BASIC Training that had programs you'd type into your computer. I used QBasic on a Packard Bell 386 in the early '90s. I first started playing with web programming as a teenager.

My first website was a terrible attempt at a humor site on a free website host, Xoom, at the turn of the millennium. The company was promptly bought by NBC and disappeared into the ether. I can't even find it on the Wayback Machine.

Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?

I'm currently using Windows 10 at the moment, though I've used the other platforms for a while. I was a Mac fanboy in the '00s. I'm still in love with the idea of a slick UI coupled with real Unix underneath. I was also experimenting with desktop GNU/Linux at the same time. I even used a Chromebook as a daily driver for about a year. I got my mother to use one after her old Windows machine broke down, and she loves it. It's cool that Google finally got nontechnical people to use desktop GNU/Linux.

I do use Windows because the availability of games has always been much better, and interacting with the real world for professional purposes sometimes requires it. I have made some customizations. I use Cygwin to get a Unix-like environment, making heavy use of SSH and Mosh. The ability to run GNU/Linux on Windows 10 is cool, but I think I'll stick with Cygwin while Ubuntu on Windows gets ready for prime time. I don't really care if the binaries are real Linux executables or have just been recompiled for Windows as long as they work. All my dotfiles are in the Cygwin directory!

What hosting companies have you used?

My personal stuff is hosted on a shell provider, the Super Dimension Fortress, or SDF. It's a public access Unix system running NetBSD with a lot of cool people, most of them fellow Unix geeks, who hang out on a custom bulletin board and chat system. Or, like me, idle with the help of tmux. Bob Odenkirk (Mr Show, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) hosts his official website there.

How'd you get into technical writing?

I've always had a passion for writing. When I was younger, I wanted to be a novelist, then I got interested in journalism. The outlets for professional journalism seemed to be shrinking by the time I graduated from college. I decided to put my love of words to use in writing about technology.

Favorite code/text/HTML editor?

I usually use Notepad++ when I'm working locally. It's free, and it's got all the features I need, including syntax highlighting. On remote systems, I use Vim. It's also lightweight while having a lot of features. I used to use Emacs as my Unix editor, but I realized that the keystrokes were becoming physically uncomfortable. Some people are put off by the modality in vi and Vim, but the latter has a visual cue that reminds you whether you're in command mode or insert mode. The commands are so powerful. You can move mountains in a few keystrokes. Plus, everything's on the home row.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Definitely Star Wars. I saw it on the Disney Channel when I was very young, and that was the first day of the rest of my life. I enjoy Star Trek, but the world of Star Wars seems grittier and more real. Star Trek seems prissy and uptight at times.

Where are you in the world?

I'm originally from the Bay Area, but I currently live in Medford, Oregon. I do prefer the nearby town of Ashland, with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and vibrant community, but the scenery is always nice around my home.

What about music?

Like a lot of geeks, I have pretty eclectic musical tastes. My favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Joy Division/New Order, Talking Heads, XTC, Joni Mitchell, and Cocteau Twins. I've also gravitated toward jazz recently. My favorite jazz artists are Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Jaco Pastorius, and Charles Mingus.

Elsewhere on the Web

David can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Frank Moraes: Editor at Digital.com
Frank Moraes Frank has worked in the tech industry since the mid-1980s as a writer, programmer, and project manager. He's a big fan of psychotronic films and something of an expert on the English-language translations of Don Quixote.

Who Is Frank?

Frank Moraes has been in the publishing business for the last 25 years - early on working for newspapers and book publishers but eventually focusing on the internet. Frank considers himself "old school" and takes pride in his status as a curmudgeon. He got his start in the computer industry in the 1980s, writing astronomy tools in C and assembly language. He also built his first website in 1993. But lest you think Frank clever, he dismissed the invention of the blog as "a toy for people who can't code." Today, he runs two blogs: Frankly Curious and Psychotronic Review. When Frank isn't writing (which is rare) he likes to cook, play music, and read the occasional novel.

A Friendly Interview with Frank

To get to know Frank a little better, we asked him a few work and life-related questions.

What advice would you give to would-be freelancers?

Freelance writing is a field you should only go into if you aren't fit for normal work. This is why most freelancers are young. They usually go on to have traditional jobs because of their obvious advantages of stability and benefits. However, freelancing has great benefits for certain kinds of people. For example, you can usually live anywhere in the world. And you really do have more control over your life. But I don't think anyone should choose to become a freelance writer. And in a certain sense, no one does. If you want to be a writer, try to do it in the traditional way. If a freelance career is calling you, you will hear.

What is your favorite offline hobby?

My life revolves around the internet. One of my favorite things is to find and watch obscure no-budget films. But these days, that's something that is connected to the internet. Films that in decades past I longed to see I now commonly find on YouTube. As a response to my online life, I try to take at least 3 half-hour walks each day. And I maintain strong offline relationships with friends and family members. These are probably the only things that have stopped me from losing my grip on our shared reality.

Which resources on Digital.com do you find the most helpful?

Digital is very usual for people who run small businesses. That includes me but I do my best not to think about that! So I tend to get more excited about articles on our sister site Blogging.com. I feel very bad saying it, but one of my favorite articles on Digital is my own, Where Is the Best Place to Start a Small Business? It's filled with a lot of great data. And I love those pictures! Say hello to Frank on:
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Gary McGath
Gary McGath headshot Gary McGath is a veteran software engineer. His book Files that Last: Digital Preservation for Everygeek is a complete guide for keeping digital documents usable for years. He is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.
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Jaramy Conners
Jaramy Conners headshot

Getting to Know Jaramy

Jaramy is a freelance writer working out of upstate New York. He specializes in a number of things including: technology, identity theft protection, blogging, business, and communications writing.

The most important thing to know about Jaramy is that his name is really spelled that way. He has a master's degree in writing from Chatham University and over a decade of experience. But despite the career he has followed, his first published article was about weightlifting.

Jaramy is a freelance writer and identity protection expert. He has a very active career. He's contributed to over 400 publications.

In addition to his technical writing, Jaramy is a children's author. His short story "Steve" won the Hunger Mountain Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children's Writing.

Elsewhere on the Web

Jaramy can be found elsewhere on the web:

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John Casaretto
John Casaretto headshot

Getting to Know John

John has a varied background in the high tech field. He was the president of BlackCert, a cloud consulting firm, which he also co-founded.

In addition to starting BlackCert, John started the podcast Build Liberty Radio. He has also worked in various capacities in business development and cybersecurity.

Finally, he has worked as a freelance writer at Digital.com as well as many other publications like SiliconANGLE, where he is their CyberSecurity Editor.

One of John's most interesting endeavors was working as Digital Operations Director for John McAfee's 2016 presidential bid.

He lives in Colorado.

Our Interview with John

Here we interview John about things serious and silly.

How did you get into technology and web development?

I have been a technology consultant since 1999, in tech since 1995. I feel fortunate to have found a career that I'm passionate about. Today, I help companies with cloud, security, and crypto strategies.

Windows, Mac, or GNU/Linux?

All of the above!

Do you own any websites?

More than I can keep up with. BlackCert.com is where most of my efforts are at as of this moment.

What hosting companies have you used?

Hostway, Codero, Azure, AWS, HostGator, BlueHost, and I even have a Wix site somewhere.

How'd you get into technical writing?

A technology media company found a now-defunct blog of mine, it was all about my adventures in technology consulting. I soon found a voice, followed by fans at one point. I knew I made it when trolls took notice. The rest is history.

Are you working on any cool projects?

Absolutely! In addition to the digital certificate business, BlackCert has been working on a number of cloud security projects. We have built a support and services offering for companies of all sizes, with a specialty in compliance and security needs. This service will launch soon, so keep watching the site.

We are also developing a blockchain-based privacy API for the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital authentication. What's really cool about it is that it will run on any cloud service, hosted server, or any device down to a Raspberry PI. It's called Medusa, it will be open source, and we plan on building a variety of enterprise and consumer services off of that.

Favorite code/text/HTML editor?

I grew up using DreamWeaver, and it's still my go-to.

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Trek, as long as it's the original.

Where are you in the world?

Most of the time, I'm in Denver, CO

When did you first use the internet?

I was on an 8-bit Atari X800 with a 1200 baud modem.

Name one weird fact most people don't know about you.

I love opera music and jazz.

When you aren't sitting in front of a computer, what are you doing?

Family time.

What was your first computer?

I used a Tandy TRS-80 at school.

What do you like to watch on TV?

Boxing

What was the first website you ever built?

Wow. I'm going to guess it was NRGServices.com It was horrible, but I did sell that domain for 5 figures.

Who do you use for hosting?

I'm an avid Azure enthusiast.

Code from scratch or use a CMS?

I've done both, but I prefer CMS nowadays

How did you learn web development?

I learned from doing. Plenty of mistakes that way, which taught me a lot.

What do you love about freelance writing?

I love doing things that not everyone can do. I've done a lot of marketing content for major companies, as well as a lot of thought leadership ghostwriting for CEOs and such.

I specialize in leading concepts in the fields of security and cloud. In a way, it is a part of my advisory skills that I use in leadership roles and consultative engagements.

What do you hate about freelance writing?

I've written for a couple of major tech news sites that for one reason or another brought in so-called 'experts' to hopefully improve quality, etc. In almost every case, these experts were on this mission of imitating what they learned in college journalism onto these websites.

Paper news is a dying, boring format. With all respect to the science of journalism professionals, that makes for a boring internet. If everyone has the same style, AP cues, etc then why would anyone want to read your stuff over anyone else's?

This is the web, it takes all kinds, and many people want to read things from the real-world, not a canned, systematic thesis-style story.

Elsewhere on the Web

John can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Jon Penland
Jon Penland headshot

Getting to Know Jon

Jon is currently the COO for Kinsta, a web hosting company that specializes in managed WordPress hosting. But he has long been one of the most productive writers at Digital.com.

Prior to freelance writing, Jon spent a decade in the business world. During that time he worked as a retail Store Manager, as a construction Project Manager, and as an Account and Sales Manager in the sale and distribution of custom engineered pumping systems. He also earned an MBA from Georgia Southern University, graduating with honors and a 4.0 GPA.

During his time in the business world, Jon's most enduring hobby was learning about web technology and building websites. Eventually, he found a way to turn his hobby into a career.

Jon has been a freelance writer, hosting support engineer, and WordPress developer. He's written over a hundred articles for Digital.com.

He also has an acute case of wanderlust. While he does now live permanently in Georgia, he and his family spent two years on the road and crossed the entire country, from the outer banks of North Carolina to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. He did this all while writing great material for Digital.com and other upper-end tech websites.

Jon writes a bit of everything for Digital. He has written scores of expert reviews of hosting providers, programming resource guides, front-end development tutorials, and even a bit of SEO copywriting.

Our Interview with Jon

This interview digs into more of Jon's life.

What was the first website you ever built?

Around the year 2008 I stumbled on a training program that taught the basics of online marketing: SEO, keyword research, affiliate marketing, and building a content-driven website. I didn't put in enough effort to make any money with the program, though I wish I had — hindsight is 20/20, as they say.

What I did manage to accomplish was to publish my very first WordPress website. It was bad, even by 2008 standards; but I look back at that project as the thing that got me started down the path to where I am today.

Who do you use for hosting?

My first host was Bluehost. I signed up with them twice: first when I joined that online marketing program in 2008 and a second time when I launched Intro To Pumps. However, I eventually switched over to SiteGround due, in no small part, to the avalanche of positive user reviews I read here at Digital.

What's your most popular website?

Back when I was in sales, I created a site called Intro To Pumps. At the time, I built it to pad my resume and to try and enhance my career in the pump industry. I've since left the industry but Intro To Pumps is going stronger than ever and now ranks in the top search results for several competitive terms.

Code from scratch or use a CMS?

Most of the time I build sites with WordPress because I do a lot of writing about WordPress. If I were building any sort of content-driven site, there's no question, I'd use WordPress. However, if I were building a simple static site I'd probably code it up from scratch using Bootstrap.

How did you learn web development?

I started by studying web development at Treehouse. There I learned HTML and CSS, and played around a bit with JavaScript, PHP, and WordPress. After that, I gained a lot of experience by building my own project sites. That was all of the training I had when I started working as a writer.

Since becoming a freelance tech writer I've also completed a Udemy course on web development, taken several courses on WordPress development at the WPMU DEV Academy, and worked my way through about half of Eloquent JavaScript.

Mac, Windows, or GNU/Linux?

I'm a Windows guy but only because of cost and convenience. I'd love to be a Mac guy but I'm unwilling to pay that premium. Recently, I've gotten involved providing tech support for a premium managed WordPress host, Kinsta, and I'm getting my first taste of Linux.

What do you love about freelance writing?

The freedom. As a fulltime freelance writer you can work the hours you choose to work and work them from absolutely anywhere — and I have! For about 2 years my family roamed around the country in an RV and freelance writing made that possible.

What do you hate about freelance writing?

Working as a writer is a production-based arrangement, but writing is a creative process. This creates a bit of a problem. You have to write in order to earn, but the creative part of your mind doesn't work on a schedule.

Right now, if you have a regular job and take 15 minutes to browse social media, you still get paid during that mental health break. Not so for a freelance writer; those 15 minutes are unpaid. Successful freelance writers have to be disciplined and learn how to force themselves to write even when they don't feel like it.

Elsewhere on the Web

Jon can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Katie Horne
Katie Horne headshot Katie is a C# developer-turned-technical writer. Most of her time is spent perfecting developer-oriented documentation for a Seattle-based startup that specializes in identity-as-a-service.
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KeriLynn Engel
KeriLynn Engel headshot

Getting to Know KeriLynn

KeriLynn is Head of Content Marketing for OptinMonster. Before that, she worked as a freelance writer for various websites.

In the 1990s, KeriLynn taught herself HTML and began creating websites in those early days of the web. In 2010, she upped her game, learning CSS, PHP, and WordPress. Not long after, she created the popular website, Feminist Fantasy, which publishes feminist-oriented fantasy fiction.

All of this work made her an expert at website development as well as content marketing.

She has worked as a freelance writer for various websites besides Digital.com, including WPSuperstars.net, WebHostingSecretRevealed.net, and other sites.

Elsewhere on the Web

KeriLynn can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Kevin Wood
Kevin Wood headshot Kevin is a WordPress developer turned full-time tech writer. An adventurer, Kevin runs his business from the jungles of Costa Rica to the mountains of Colorado.
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Marko Csokasi: Digital Contributor and Editor
Marko Csokasi Marko is a digital nomad. He has been creating and consulting in the technology, finance, and cryptocurrency sectors for over 4 years. His dystopian imagination is his greatest asset in the tech industry.

Who is Marko?

Marko is a jack-of-many-trades in content marketing with a background in affiliate marketing and innovative consulting. He left school early, worked in the depths of central London's property market, operated an online business as a shareholder and director of operations, and eventually tasted the life of a digital nomad in a variety of corresponding fields. Marko has a broad range of interests and books became a central part of his life after he left school. He's a keen reader of George Orwell. Aldous Huxley is his favorite essayist. When he attempts to watch movies, he usually takes an hour to pick one and falls asleep halfway through. Work doesn't stop on the road, so he travels whenever he can. Alongside his content marketing work, he's an undergraduate Psychology student.

A Friendly Interview with Marko

Marko also gave us some additional insight into his life as a freelancer.

What do you wish you knew before starting your own business?

That perfection is an unattainable illusion and the existence of "The Lean Startup" by Eric Reis.

Which resources on Digital do you find the most helpful?

The HTML cheatsheet wins due to my frequency of use as a lazy pseudo-developer.

What advice would you give to would-be freelancers?

Pick one skill and work on it until you can do it well enough to land yourself freelance work that detaches you from whatever you're trying to get away from. Take risks, accept challenging tasks and learn as you earn by diversifying your toolbox on the job.

One piece of advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs?

Find the right people, and delegate the right tasks.

What is your favorite offline hobby?

Right now - carving wood. I also play the guitar, but I have a patchy relationship with my instrument.

How do you maintain a positive work-life balance?

I use the luxury of personal time management to take long lunch breaks, eat slowly, and work out when I want to. I sometimes take power naps and walks in the park in between tasks. Staying close to loved ones and traveling is also key, though I can never comfortably say that I do those enough.   You can reach Marko on:
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Matthew Dixon
Matthew Dixon headshot Mathew Dixon is a technical writer with Red Robot Media, a UK-based content agency. He's also a blogger and movie enthusiast.
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Matt Squirrel
Matt Squirrel headshot Meet Matt, the founder of (and brains behind) ReviewSquirrel.com, the site that became Digital.com. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.
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Natalie Mootz: Author and Editor at Digital.com
natalie mootz Natalie is a cat-wrangling digital native whose career is even more eclectic than her banjo-playing, World of Warcraft hobbies would let on. She earned a Salesforce.com Admin certification as well as a Marketo marketing automation expert certificate. Her work has been published on Engadget, Laptopmag.com, Tom's Guide, and About.com. She lives in Southern California with her husband, their feline-American children, and a banjo.

Who Is Natalie?

Natalie spent the late 20th century and the 00s in the trenches of marketing for Fortune 500 companies including Boeing, Los Angeles Times, and Citibank. She created and taught training curricula for sales and marketing teams. She's been certified by both Salesforce and Marketo, and also completed Toshiba’s Six Sigma Black Belt coursework. Natalie has always been fond of both tech and writing. She taught herself HTML in the mid-90s after one too many bank mergers left her unemployed. She then started her own zine, ApparentDepth, becoming a blogger even before the word “blog” had been coined. She now runs her own business as a technology writer and loves to help people learn new tech skills. In addition to Digital.com, Natalie has written for Engadget, Tom's Guide, LaptopMag, and for private clients including HECS high-tech wetsuits. Natalie lives in Southern California with her husband, her feline-American children, and a banjo.

A Friendly Interview with Natalie

We picked Natalie's brain with some additional questions to get her insights on small business and freelance matters, as well as her hobby.

What do you wish you knew before starting your own business?

Create a work schedule and stick to it. If you don't set limits on work to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, you'll burn out very quickly. Also, get an app that helps you with invoicing and time tracking, as well as expenses as soon as possible. I use Harvest (it's free) but I've also used Wave in the past. Set aside 30% of all your income in a separate savings account to pay your taxes.

Which resources on Digital.com do you find most helpful?

I love that Digital has so much unique content in one hub. Even though I work here, I use a lot of the site’s resources on a weekly basis! The Lorem Ipsum Generator and the Strong Password Generator are must-haves for anyone working on the web.

What advice would you give to would-be freelancers?

You can’t just put up a website or a LinkedIn profile and expect work to come to you, even if you’re advanced at SEO. You’ve got to get yourself out there by doing either virtual or in-person pitches. Build up a portfolio and promote it like gangbusters! Don’t worry so much about a “brand,” but do know what makes you different and which clients might enjoy your unique talents.

What is your favorite offline hobby?

Believe it or not, I play the banjo, so you might say my favorite hobby is annoying my neighbors. You can reach out to Natalie on:
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Nermin Hajdarbegovic
Nermin Hajdarbegovic Headshot

Nermin works primarily for the freelance marketplace Toptal. But he is also a freelance writer who has published widely on a broad range of subjects in the high tech field.

Nermin was born in Tuzla Canton in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Currently, he lives in Sarajevo. After completing secondary school at Gimnazija Meša Selimovic, he want to the University of Sarajevo.

Before concentrating on writing, Nermin specialized in 3D graphics rendering for commercials, music videos, and cartoons.

He started work as a journalist for the companies TechEye and CoinDesk. From there, he went on to Fudzilla and his current position at Toptal.

In addition to his regular work, Nermin has worked as a freelance writer for a number of different publications.

Elsewhere on the Web

Nermin can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Paul Newham
Paul Newham headshot Paul is an experienced journalist, copywriter, and PR consultant with Red Robot Media — a UK-based small business.
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Rebecca Moody
Generic Profile Image Rebecca is a freelance writer and editor with nearly 10 years' experience in marketing. She helps small businesses craft digital marketing strategies that help them stand out from the crowd.
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Richard Kershaw
Richard Kershaw Headshot Richard Kershaw creates websites for webmasters
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Sherrie Gossett
Sherrie Gossett Sherrie started her career as a professional guitarist in south Florida. “I lucked out because my first pro gig was with a group that already had a contract with producer Jerry Marotta,” says Sherrie. “I was working with a very talented group of individuals -- it was exciting and rewarding.” From music, she went into publishing, digital media, and marketing. Some of her accomplishments include helping a business scale up their qualified traffic from 10,000 visits a year to 2 million and growing monthly KPIs by double-digit percentages.

A Friendly Interview with Sherrie

We dug a little deeper with Sherrie on her life as a freelancer and business owner.

What do you wish you knew before starting your own business?

Focus on lead measures, not lag measures. Lead measures are actions that move the revenue needle. Lag measures are things like last month’s revenue. Limit the lead measures that you focus on daily to 1,2, or 3 items only. (To learn more about this concept, read the book The 4 Disciplines of Execution.)

Which resources on Digital do you find the most helpful?

I find myself revisiting the article on Work-Life Balance: it offers some good practical tips.  I also find the software product reviews useful, particularly for products related to running a small business, such as invoicing software and lead generation tools.

What advice would you give to would-be freelancers?

If you provide professional services, learn to qualify and vet your potential clients. Dig a little to find out how organized they are in their thinking and in their business affairs. Disorganized clients can be a huge time sink and even put you in the red. Also, ask them how many hours they are spending daily on lead generation and sales to grow their business. If your client isn’t spending any time on these activities, and they’re stagnant in growth, it’s likely that their expectations of you are unrealistic.

One piece of advice for small business owners and entrepreneurs?

Find or develop a process to generate leads and sales, then work this process consistently every day. Having a viable process - and working it consistently, is what’s going to make the biggest difference in your success.

What is your favorite offline hobby?

Learning and experiencing new things.

How do you maintain a positive work-life balance?

I’m still working on this! I like to plan small mini-vacations: say, 3-4 days. That’s all it takes to feel energized and ready to get back to work. You can catch Sherrie on:
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Spencer Grover
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Getting to Know Spencer

Spencer is a freelance writer based in North America. He studied politics and psychology at university in New Zealand, which sparked his interest in efficient communication.

Spencer was born in the US and raised in New Zealand. Since that time, he's lived various places throughout the world. Currently, he lives in North America.

In 2012, he received his BA in Political Science and Psychology from the University of Otago.

After graduating, he became a Sales and Marketing Coordinator for Usability Matters. Then he got into freelance writing where he's worked for a variety of agencies, not-for-profits, software companies, and small businesses all over the US.

When he's not writing, he's usually attempting to bake sourdough while listening to This American Life.

Elsewhere on the Web

Spencer can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Tom Gerencer
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Getting to Know Tom

Tom is a sometimes web developer and award-winning writer who has published actively in a broad range of subjects including tech. He's also an avid science fiction nut who's sold several stories to national markets.

Tom Gerencer is a former whitewater professional who ran his own successful video production business in Maine for eight years.

He's created several of his own websites from scratch, including a nifty web app for video sales and streaming before that was a thing.

An award-winning writer, Tom has written extensively for the corporate video market and numerous blogs. He's published over 750 articles on finance, celebrities, nutrition, real estate, and tech.

Tom lives and works in West Virginia, a region known for its fantastic mix of California activities and Appalachia prices.

Elsewhere on the Web

Tom can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Tom Riecken
Tom Riecken headshot

Getting to Know Tom

Tom Riecken works at the University of Washington. He is also a freelance writer with a focus in technology.

Tom is a Washington native. He graduated from Tahoma Senior High School in 2006. After that, he received his BS in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington.

During his time at the University of Washington, Tom was an Undergrad Researcher. So it isn't surprising that after school he followed a tech career path, mostly doing technology troubleshooting and consulting.

In early 2014, Tom became an independent contractor, still doing straight technical work, but also doing technical writing for games and technical blogs.

Today, Tom works at the University of Washington. But he has been a freelance content writer, web developer, and data analyst.

He is involved with several global and local "futurist" organizations, where he often facilitates discussions about the social impact of technology.

His strongest recreational interests include spaceflight, astronomy, and realistic science fiction. He lives in Kenmore, Washington.

Elsewhere on the Web

Tom can be found elsewhere on the web:

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Toni Allen
Toni Allen A long time webmaster and business owner, Toni manages a number of websites for both herself and as a consultant. Her skills are a blend of technology, marketing and management. Toni grew up near Detroit, Michigan and is now based on Vancouver Island, BC Canada. She is an avid hiker and outdoor explorer. She likes trees, juggling and laughs.
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