Here's The First Thing I Did For, A Website With Animated Children's Books

Here's The First Thing I Did for, a Website with Animated Children's Books

As I mentioned at the beginning of the year, I've started working for, a website that offers animated children's books with voice-over narration for a monthly subscription fee. It's a great educational tool for parents and teachers to teach kids how to read. The company takes children's books, scans in the images, animates them with Flash, and attaches narration to the texts. The results are beautifully animated books that are both educational and entertaining. Currently, there are one hundred books in English and another hundred in Chinese. It's an interesting approach because it blends in new media (computers, internet) with old media (children's books). Kids nowadays grow up with the computer and internet anyway, so this makes learning how to read more interactive and entertaining.

Search Engine Optimization

When I first looked at's homepage, I noticed that it was heavy in Flash and images. This is fine for a kids site because that's what they respond to - bright colors, animation, and cartoons. However, this is terrible for search engines. They don't see flash, and they don't see images. When I looked at the html, I noticed that that only non-graphical text on the page are those located at the footer - "Our Story," "Contact Us," "Privacy Policy," "Terms of Use," "Customer Service," and "Links." On that entire page, that's the only thing search engines see, and none of those words have anything to do with what the site is about. If someone searches for "animated children's books" or "children's books," the site will not appear in the results because none of those keywords are on the homepage.

The first thing I did was add a welcome message to the header describing what the site is and filled it with relevant keywords. It's a simple enough task for me to do to get my hands dirty with the CMS. Adding the welcome message to the top of the page should get more search engine traffic to the site later. Currently, the site doesn't get much traffic, but the good thing is the only way it can go is UP!

Rewriting Book Descriptions

The next thing I did was get former RT-er, the notorious Binh Ngo, to rewrite all 200 book descriptions. The original ones were written by one of the Chinese editors, who translated them from Chinese to English. They were fine translations, but some of them were too literal and would sound awkward to an American. Thanks Binh!

Check out the Demos

Now that I got my hands dirty, expect more changes and additions along the way. If you have kids, check out some of the demos on the homepage; it's what attracted me to work on the website in the first place. The Flash animations based on the children's books are pretty well done. Let me know what you think of the site or have any suggestions.

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