Mark’s interest in web design dates back to 2000 when he was a given a weighty tome on HTML. He sat down with the book, a computer running Windows 98, opened Notepad and made his first website. At the time hot and cold running internet wasn’t commonplace, and certainly hadn’t made it to Mark’s home. So that’s where his experiments ended.
In 2009 Mark realised how useful a knowledge of web-design and development could be as he started to publish his first blogs online. Mark brought some cheap web space and began tinkering again, experimenting with self-publishing other kinds of content.
Reading Juice was the result. Over time it evolved into a website of Children’s Poetry, published under the name Mark Megson. It was an opportunity to experiment with illustration as well as create fun, shareable content with a highly targeted audience.
Today Reading Juice attracts over 8,000 unique visitors a month, has a bounce rate of 35%, and an average of 4 pages per session. In 2017 Mark realised that the site, and some of the content, could be improved. This involved editing, and in some cases removing, some of the poems, vectorising the artwork, and completely redesigning the site using WordPress. The new and improved Reading Juice was relaunched in 2018.
Some short stories that were once published on the site caught the attention of American children’s book publisher Aviva Gittle, which resulted in Mark and Aviva co-writing the book The Boy Who Bounced to the Moon.