So, instead of following the blogging cult of posting “Sunday Link Love” every Sunday, I’ve decided to branch out and actually do something that interests me.. That being interviews. Every Sunday, I’ll send somebody an email (most likely a blog I read) and ask them a couple of questions.
The difference between this and linking to other people’s articles is that you can actually learn something from interviews.
This week, I interviewed Michael Martin over at ProBlogDesign.com which is a blog that focuses on “Designing A Better Blog”.
1. How long have you been blogging? Do you run more than one blog?
A year and a half now. Before then I’d run one website (Which did well!), and quite a few forums (I used to love forums. They have such a sense of community and you get to know people quite well!), and even a fairly big gaming clan at one point!
The result of it all was that when I started my blog, I knew how to work with people. I was used to starting conversations and making decisions for the good of the site, so in my blog, it was easy to reply to every single comment with a decent reply, and to reason out what may or may not work best for the site. That helped me a lot I think.
2. Looking at your RSS Feedcount, today it is at 3886.. Very Impressive numbers! Do you have any tips that helped you boost your subscription count?
Thanks! The thing is, I’ve never been that good at marketing. I’ve never had any great social media success, though I do have a good StumbleUpon profile (But that’s just because I like the site!). The only two things I really did for promoting my blog were some guest posts, and a whole heck of a lot of commenting.
My trick was to find a big blog in your niche that gets tonnes of comments (I chose ProBlogger), and click every single person’s link and leave them a comment. I must have left thousands of them, but they were all good comments! And I made sure to check back and reply again if the blogger had answered me. Good comments meant that I got noticed by the blogger, which led to backlinks and more importantly, new friends!
3. How important do you think a unique blog theme is?
I think your theme has to be a pleasure to use and memorable to your visitors, but it also has to be something that makes you smile when you see your blog. People can get away with using templates to begin with (It’s quite an investment to get a unique design!), but as their blog grows, I think that everyone should aspire to having a design custom made for them.
No two blogs are the same, and as you branch into things like ebooks, services, stores, affiliates etc. you’ll find more and more that your old theme just wasn’t made for this. A custom design solves that problem, as well as giving you your ideal design of course.
4. Recently, You haven’t been posting as much.. Is there any major reason for that? Or is it simply because there are other internet related things that require more of your attention.
Yep, I’ve been hiring other people to write quite a bit. The main reason for that was that I wanted fresh perspectives on the blog, new people with new ideas and people that knew certain topics that I’m poor at. So for instance, I tend not to take on ideas that I know I could (or have) covered well, but when someone comes at me with an idea I’d never have thought of (Or simply didn’t know how to do!), then you know it’s all been worthwhile.
The irony is that I still put as much time as ever into the blog because editing and talking over ideas takes so much time, but I’m much happier with the breadth of topics covered now so it has all been worth it (I hope!).
5. I noticed the 9rules icon on your blog.. Are there any benefits to being in the network other than the snazzy logo?
Lol – I’m not so sure I like the logo, its’ stealing my sidebar space! But being in the network sends me a few hundred visitors per month, and it’s also a fairly widely recognized badge so I think it acts well as a “This blog is worth looking at!” badge.
6. ProBlogDesign.com is on the first page of Google for the term, “Blog Design”. Thats a very large task to achieve.. Congrats! Are there any SEO tips that you could share with us?
I kind of cheated there… The name of my site has that keyword in it. I specifically picked the name for that reason because I knew those were the keywords I wanted. Beyond that, my two pieces of advice would be:
1 – SEO is largely common sense. The search engines want to give their users the very best web sites, and they want to spider your site as if they were a human. So if some trick feels like it is a trick, or shady or anything like that, then don’t do it. You’ll be caught on in the end.
2 – Try new things. Try adding your key words in somewhere else, or taking them out, or hyperlinking them, or any other little SEO change you can make. Eventually your changes will show an improvement, making it all worthwhile!
7. How long did it take you to cover your kitchen table with your business cards? (See The Twitter Update)
Lol – About 40 minutes I think! But I had a big box of Wine Gums to help me, that was a productive day!
8. Any future plans for ProBlogDesign.com?
Many! But they’re all just plans at the minute, nothing concrete done on them and I know most of them won’t be acted upon. At the minute, I’m working on getting the business (The freelance design mostly) much more organized and better flowing, and still trying to get a handle on the article editing. Once that’s done, I’ll have more time on my hands to spend on new projects (Which should be fun! ).
Thanks a lot Michael for those great answers. I hope all of you reading this learned something about SEO, Blog Design, or Kitchen Table Decorations! Michael also said that he would be glad to answer any questions that the readers might have about himself, or his blog in the comments below..
So if you have anything to ask, feel free to leave a comment below!
Stay tuned for some great content this week!