Today's interview is with Steven Snell. Steven runs vandelaydesign.com and traffikd.com. He writes about web design, marketing, blogging, social media, and SEO. His websites are very useful, make sure you check them out.
Steven, can you give a quick introduction of who you are and what you do?
Well, I'm a web designer and a blogger (I live in the U.S.). In the last
year I have been writing the blog at Vandelay Website Design and just last
month I launched Traffikd as sort of a side project. I've also been doing a
good bit of freelance blogging for various blogs.
What got you into blogging?
Initially I started blogging in attempt to get some search traffic to the
Vandelay Website Design site. I didn't know much about blogging at the
time, but I knew the SEO benefits of having a good bit of keyword-rich
content on the site. That was my initial goal, but once the traffic started
coming from some other sources (like social media) I got excited and
dedicated. Things kind of took off unexpectedly from there.
What does your average day look like? How do you budget your time?
Well, I have a full-time job, so I work until 5:00 there. When I get home I spend about 5 hours working on my blogs and articles for other blogs, as well as whatever design projects I have going at the time. I spend most of my weekend working on that stuff as well. Each day really is different depending on what I have going on, but I've been spending more time recently on writing than designing. Managing my blogs is taking an increasing amount of time, just doing stuff like handling email and responding to comments. I think at sometime it will become a full-time career, but until then it takes a lot of evenings and weekends.
You have many original posts on your blog highlighting many interesting techniques I have never heard shared publicly before. How do you come up with all your new ideas?
I do a lot of brainstorming. I keep a notebook or a folder with my most of the time and I write down any decent idea that I have. Many of them never turn into a usable, but others develop over time. When I have time to sit down and write an article I usually have several ideas already waiting for me, so that helps me to avoid bloggers block.
How do you generate traffic to your blogs?
A pretty high percentage of my traffic comes from social media, in particular StumbleUpon, delicious, DZone, and Design Float. Direct traffic has really been growing, which is nice. I think it's a sign of increased stability when people are coming to the site directly rather than relying on social media. Search engine traffic has also increased the last few months.Кстати! Для читателей shakin.ru сейчас действует 10% скидка на курс по семантическому проектированию сайтов от Сергея Кокшарова и Игоря Рудника.
What are your favorite social networks?
The 4 that were mentioned in the last question are the ones that I target the most. I'm not a fan of Digg, so I'm not very active there. I really like StumbleUpon because it can work for anyone. I like DZone and Design Float because they are well-targeted for the audience at Vandelay Design. I think delicious doesn't get enough credit. The posts that I've had on the front page typically do well with search traffic, in part because of the links the came as a result of exposure from delicious.
What is total number of daily visitors of your websites?
The traffic is all over the place. Right now on Vandelay Design I get around 100,000 or more per month, but that's boosted a bit by spikes of social media traffic. On the typical day without a hit on social media, it's usually around 2,000 or so. Traffikd is pretty low right now. I haven't had time to do anything to promote it except to write posts. I think yesterday it got about 400 - 500 visitors, which is higher than some days. The first week it got a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon, but that has tailed off.
Which blogs do you like the most and why?
I really like Smashing Magazine because they find a way to come up with new ideas, target social media, and still produce high quality content. They take linkbait to a level that no one else does. I also enjoy Freelance Switch and Freelance Folder. Maki probably has the best content anywhere at Dosh Dosh.
What do you think about Microsoft and Yahoo deal? How can it affect bloggers?
I haven't really thought about it much. I think it would be interesting to see what changes they would make with their search engines to compete with Google. I really don't think it would affect me very much, but maybe I would be surprised.
What are the suggestion you would like to give to Russian bloggers?
I guess I would give them the same advice I would give bloggers from any county. Focus on writing the best content that you're capable of, and find ways to get it in front of targeted readers. Networking with other bloggers has been huge for me and it has led to some opportunities that I never expected (primarily the freelance blogging jobs). It's obviously important to stay dedicated and consistent. Keep your focus on the long-term,
celebrate and enjoy your accomplishments and you'll do fine.
Thank you for the interview, Steven! Good luck!
Thanks Mike. I certainly never expected to be interviewed for a publication in Russian. I'm always amazed at the links my blog gets from foreign websites. Those of us that have always lived in America are pretty bad when it comes to foreign languages, so I'm always amazed that people in other countries can ever read what I'm writing.
Interview taken by Globator
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