Hello, my name is Nate ‘Vancano’ Smith and I’m a content specialist focused on SEO, content strategy and reporting on website analytics.

I help people use content to create business results.

I’m currently the Web Content Officer for the University of Huddersfield; where I write content, advise on SEO and information architecture, and report on web analytics.

It’s important to note that all views expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the views of the University.

About this website

This is my personal blog. It’s my sandbox to run experiments, learn new technologies and write about things that don’t fit on my other websites.

Sometimes you need a place where you can store thoughts, play with ideas and find the fun in writing. That is this website.

My career

Undergraduate

I first studied a foundation degree in Computer Games Technology at the University of Huddersfield. This was a 2 year course which introduced me to 3D modelling and animation, game design principles and a small bit of programming - which is not my strength.

My passion was always writing stories for games, which the games technology course didn’t touch on, but was great for learning the principles of game design. So after graduating I went straight back to studying, this time it was English with Creative Writing.

During my English degree I began working for an affiliate marketing agency under the guise of a graphic designer. That was until I convinced the MD to hire a real graphic designer and let me handle the copywriting and email strategy. This worked out the best for all.

The agency then offered to pay for the rest of my degree if I would go and work for them part time.

So I did.

Affiliate marketing agency

From here on I worked part-time and studied part-time.

Learnt HTML, analytics, improved my copywriting skills.

Worked on minisite ideas and copy for lead generation. Also managed the very large email database.

Unfortunately that company folded and the MD fled the scene. So I finished my degree and became a freelancer.

Freelance

As a freelancer I worked on many projects for a number of different clients.

The projects mainly involved building websites, writing copy and working with a graphic designer to design brands for clients. I even spent a bit of time drawing maps for authors - more on that below.

I launched my own blog called the Worldbuilding School which teaches authors how to build their own imaginary world. For the blog I created a Photoshop plugin that generates maps called “Vancano’s Map Generator”. It’s still on sale today.

The blog has taught me a lot about SEO, content marketing and building audiences. It’s still one of the sandboxes I use today to learn about digital marketing. Digital is always changing so I find it’s useful to have a couple of websites that can be used to test, experiment and learn through.

Back into employment

After a while freelancing I returned to employment as I was due to get married and wanted to buy a house.

My first role back was for Retail Computer Solutions (RCS) where I was employed as a digital marketing executive. I managed the website, handled all marketing for the company and supported the sales team with lead generation.

RCS is a family run business that builds its own EPoS, Head Office and Warehouse management software.

I’ve written a case study based on my time with RCS.

I learnt a lot at RCS, particularly around working with a dedicated sales team, generating leads for large software contracts and implementing my ideas around content, SEO and lead generation.

After 3 years it was time to move on, into a role closer to home.

Web Content Officer

This is the role I currently hold.

The web content officer is a hybrid role, split between content and technical. It’s been a great opportunity for someone interested in both sides.

The content side involves writing copy, understanding information architecture, content strategy and being able to structure content for usability and the right audience.

The technical side requires understanding analytics, tracking, SEO and how to communicate with developers.

I’ve worked on a number of key projects from a whole website redesign and structure to working with departments on the architecture and structure of their web content.

It’s a great role working with a great team.

What I'm working on

If you’d like to know what I’m currently working on then checkout my “Now” page.