Each week I am publishing an interview from the book Blog Blazers (in alphabetical order) which can be purchased on Amazon here. The interviews were all done in 2008 and the full list of bloggers interviewed can be found by clicking here.
This week the interview is with David Seah of DavidSeah.com
David Seah originally studied computer engineering and computer graphics design. From he moved to the professional video game industry, working with the Internet and freelancing as a New Media designer/developer for a few small companies in the greater Boston area. As a result of these experiences David developed many skills in several useful areas, but career successes continued to elude him.
He then started blogging in 2004, to figure out more about what truly interested him, what his career path should really be. And this is when he discovered that sharing his experiences in his own words was the missing piece that eluded him in his career. And because of this discovery he flipped his priorities. Now, his goal is to meet the kind of competent, conscientious, and self-empowered people like him. He now applies his skills toward making that possible through collaboration and community building. He reports on this experience on his blog, and through the creation of various productivity tools such as The Printable CEO.
Steph: What makes a blog successful according to you? Is it traffic, reach, revenue, etc.?
David: Ultimately, a blog is successful when it connects people together in a way that creates opportunity and change. That generally means reaching and influencing just a handful of the right people that WANT to create that opportunity with you.
Steph: When did you decide you finally reached success with your blog?
David: I’d say early 2007 or so. I had been blogging long enough to see that it wasn’t a fluke, and that the blog was doing a good job of representing myself to the world authentically, which has lead to other interesting opportunities. I am meeting fascinating people.
Steph: How long does it take to become a successful blogger?
David: If you’re measuring success by traffic, then not that long if you can maintain the blogging rhythm and post compelling original content. This increases your Google footprint. After that, it’s a matter of getting noticed by the larger sites, which will drive readers to you. If you write good content that is unique, they will find you. The rate of growth is then determined by the size of the demographic, your ability to write compelling original chunks of content every day, ease of accessing the chunks, and the perceived utility of your writing.
Steph: Who do you think are the most successful bloggers on the internet today?
David: I don’t really follow these kinds of trends, as I don’t chase after this kind of success. One person that comes to mind, though, is Virginia De Bolt, who I imagine would be the first to say she is not as glamorous as the A-Listers, but through blogging rediscovered her sense of purpose in a niche that embraces her. It’s this kind of personal success—connecting people with the right people—that I consider the most important.
Steph: Which five blogs do you regularly read?
David: I actually don’t read any blogs regularly…I’m quite busy these days, and when I have time to do blog-related stuff I am generally creating a new article. When I have time to surf, I’ll check out the blogs of my “online council” of like-minded bloggers to see what they’ve been up to.
Steph: Which websites would you recommend for any new bloggers starting to blog?
David: I would tell them to check out the member sites (both past and present) that belong to the 9rules Network. I’ve been a member for quite some time, and what is particularly interesting about the group is that we’re all committed to creating a better web site experience. Browse them. Find ones that appeal to you. It’s helpful to have some kind of role model to follow.
Steph: Which book(s) would you recommend for new bloggers (these can range from marketing books, blogging books, etc.)?
David: No specific titles come to mind. I would just tell them to get into the habit of writing their experiences in a way that makes sense to people who don’t know you or your subject; that’s writing 101. Next, suck it up and put it online. For the “how do I…” technical questions, I’d probably just tell them to check out ProBlogger or something.
Steph: What is your most successful blog post ever?
David: In terms of establishing thought leadership: The original Printable CEO Concrete Goals Tracker article, which put me on the map and started the entire chain of subsequent tools.
In terms of traffic: The Healing Power of Water, which got dug and sent about 100K visitors to me.
In terms of getting me recognized by a lot of cool people in the web development industry: FYI, I am Not Dave Shea.
Steph: What’s your biggest tip on writing a successful blog post?
David: Get to the point in the first sentence, or hook ‘em via some other means.
Steph: What’s your best advice in regards to content and writing for bloggers?
David: Provide something useful to someone that hasn’t been said before, something that people can APPLY to themselves. And don’t worry about appealing to everyone; just appeal to yourself first.
Steph: How important do you think are the headlines of your blog articles?
David: Headlines give people an idea of what they’re in for, so they’re very important. I try to write them so they pique curiosity while also being search-engine friendly.
Steph: Do you spend any money and time on marketing?
David: No money. I do spend time on putting content out in several areas, which is in essence marketing.
Steph: What are your main methods of marketing your blog?
David: Word of Mouth, which gets me linked on other blogs, which drives first-time visitors, which result in subscriptions or bookmarks, which ultimately drives page rank.
Steph: Which marketing tactic has surprised you the most in terms of its effectiveness?
David: Word of Mouth.
Steph: What are your quick and short five best tips for blogging?
- Make good, original content.
- Be a real person with your own opinion, but don’t mistake opinion for content.
- Stand behind your words.
- Write constantly and consistently.
- Talk to your audience in your comment area.
Steph: What is the most common pitfall new bloggers generally fall into?
David: Mistaking content for reporting about what other bloggers are writing about instead of adding something NEW to the blogosphere.
Steph: If you knew what you know now when you first started, what’s the one biggest tip you’d give yourself today?
David: Nothing actually comes to mind; the blogging experience was one of exploration and empowerment of my own process, so it was very natural and unburdened with any expectations.
Steph: What repels you the most from a blog (animations, in your face advertising, etc.)?
David: Obvious commercialization.
Steph: Do you make any direct money from your blog through advertising, product placements, etc.?
David: I have some AdSense revenue, enough to perhaps cover my hosting costs. My blog is a platform, not a revenue generator in its own right.
Steph: What is your best monetization method (Ads, affiliate marketing, etc.)?
David: I haven’t monetized my blog. I may create a separate web site for direct monetization of my writing, which is not the same as my blogging.
Steph: Do you find you get more from direct monetization of your blog or from opportunities that come because of the existence of your blog?
David: Opportunities, definitely, are the greatest benefit from my blog.