An interview with me


Best Friends

One of the suggestions in the WordPress Daily/Weekly Post challenge is to Conduct an interview for your blog, with some tips and a suggested question list on SuccessBlogNet. I have a short but slowly evolving list of potential interviewees and I’m thinking of maybe making this a periodic feature…first up, though, I thought I’d interview me to see what it feels like…

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Brought up in a small town in South Island of New Zealand; long time military career…really…most of its in the ‘about me’ tab just up there ^…

Why is there a picture of two dogs at the top of the post?

I always like to have at least one picture in every post, usually at the top. That’s Lulu and Kirk, my two helpers when I work from home…

How you first got involved in with blogging?

Just bumbled into it…have spent a lot of time over the years since the internet became really accessible here around 96 or 97 on discussion boards but hadn’t really spent much time in the blogosphere until 2009…my biggest inspirations were the blog used by the COIN Center at Fort Leavenworth, Travels with Shiloh (link just over there on the right), and Peter Hodge’s much-missed The Strategist (sadly Peter pulled the pin on this when he went overseas last year). Since I found WordPress, it’s really just been a trial and error fumbling-in-the-dark process…

What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Having the time to write…it was OK late 09 and early 10 when I took a sabbatical from full-time work and could devote 2-3 hours a day to researching and writing mini-essays but once I returned to work mid-10, I have had to work really hard to maintain an output. Of course, to a certain extent that is self-inflicted as I am still a bit of a blog fuddy-duddy and keep forgetting that I can draft and pre-schedule posts instead of writing them live…the ability of Windows Live Writer to draft posts offline is slowly getting me more organised in this area…

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working on your blog?

I’ve ‘met’ a bunch of people through the blog as brief contacts…I’m not much good at keeping in touch unless I have something to say…Dean and Peter mentioned above would be the two main long-term connections I have maintained since starting to blog – until Peter broke up the team by putting real world before blog! Just kidding! But of those I have ‘met’ briefly most have only added to my positive experiences of the blogosphere – the exceptions really being a few minor acolytes of Mike Yon who break out the torches and pitchforks every time someone offers a differing opinion to his…

How would (someone) describe your blogging style?

Structured…I probably think too much about what I’m writing instead of just emoting directly into the blog and that does really slow me down (not always a bad thing!) – I still feel like I should be writing as for an essay or formal paper and that’s NOT what this form of communicating is really about…

What do you do when you aren’t working on your blog?

What my wife tells me to do!!! As above, the blog takes a back seat to work although there are some logical cross-overs in the COIN/Irregular Activity area. When I work more from home in the summer, there is a ton of (mostly self-inflicted) work to do around the house and when the weather’s nice, blogging also takes a back seat to that – I’d love to do more after dark but after a day’s working (work work) online AND some solid hours working outside, I’m pretty shagged…last night I didn’t even make it through Bones and work up on the couch around 1pm…fortunately it’s a very comfortable and large couch so no back pains or anything…

Are you a full time blogger? How did you get into blogging and why?

Define ‘fulltime’…does blogging rule my life or is it my number one activity…nope. I’m aiming at one decent (yeah, define ‘decent’) post a week (the WordPress post a week challenge is a great catalyst) and normally make that. Decent = a substantial proportion of my own thoughts/work not just a bunch of pictures or borrowed material. If I could, I like to write a 1500-2000 word post twice a week…

What networking do you do that you feel helps your blogging business?

Hmmm…trick question? For me, blogging’s not a business although I occasionally use it to promote business’ that I think are worthy of attention, and those I am connected with like Hawkeye UAV and FX Bikes…am a bit of a sucker for cool Kiwi entrepreneurs…to promote the blog, I have the url in my signature in places as diverse as Paper Modelers and Small Wars Journal, in my email signature block, and also most places where I might offer up some comment from time to time. I don’t actively promote the blog other than through those means and being aware of key words that the searchbots like…my biggest ‘hits’ days have been through searches for Masterchef, quadding my hit rate for over a week when Masterchef 2011 kicked off here…

How do you keep coming up with material/content for your blog? Many people struggle with coming up with different articles/posts and they only have one blog.

I subscribe to enough feeds from around the place to get more than enough stimuli to write…although we ding-dong occasionally, I find a get a lot of good cues off Mike Yon’s Facebook page; next after this would probably be items posted for discussion at the Small Wars Council…

What’s your strategy with your blog in general?

Ummm…you think I should have one…? Will give that some thought…it’s more a tool or a means than an end in its own right so I’ve never really thought about in that light…it’s not like I’m planning on using it to take over the world or anything…plus Dean (aka Dr Karma) already promised me a good job when he makes his bid for world domination…although, your Karma-ness, overlord of Australia…? I was expecting something a little more up-market, you know…longest serving minion (after Shiloh) at all that…in-humour, I’m sorry to any not signed up to Dean’s FB page and all of that will mean nothing and he probably meant for it to be a surprise…

What would you prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

Content because it’s my soapbox and it’s all about me; then readers – one always likes to feel if not needed then at least not totally ignored; then the rest of that stuff…

What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

A. Entertainment. and/or b. something that might in some small way be useful to them…

A lot of people are interested in blogging for the money earning potential. What are some tips for people interesting in making money from blogging? What are some realistic expectations in regards to what can be made?

Don’t know…not really that interested…the big turn-off for me are those sites that are so dominated by ads, that it is difficult to determine what is content and what is mere marketing spam…

Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?

Honest answer…don’t really care; an even more honest answer would be I have no idea what you just said…

What has been your strategy for creating visibility to yourself and your blog?

Are you listening to me…really…? See what I said about re networking – that applies here as well – so does the strategy bit…please pay attention…I notice you’re not taking any notes – do you have a super-memory or am I just boring you…?

What was the most challenging moment in your blog content development process and why?

When I disagreed with a paper that Adam Elkus wrote and he came to my blog to discuss it…a real crisis of confidence: if that hadn’t gone well, I probably would have binned the blog and gone back into my hole. he was really good though and just wanted to put his POV…second would be when they added me to the blogroll at Snall Wars Council and that was like, wow, big leagues…I really need to up my game now…or just run away…so far game-upping seems to be working…

Everyone has a favorite/least favorite post. Name yours and why?

My favourite, because of the picture and not some much my content would be The Big Gun – Michael Yon’s up close and personal shot with the cannon on the A-10 is brilliant…least favourite? There are a few that I was less than satisfied with for one reason or another but no specific ‘un-favourites’…

What’s your take on sponsored reviews?

Paid advertising – I hate them…

Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?

It’d be those in the blogroll – I’m not interested in a blogroll four miles long so I keep it pretty short and think long and hard before adding another one to the list…all of those bloggers are people who in one way or another inspire me…

If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Shop around the blog hosts before you commit – if you want a good soapbox, WordPress is tops; if you want to try to blogging for money, try elsewhere unless to want to self-host right from the start – NOT RECOMMENDED for noobs…

Start small and slow…don’t unload all your best ideas in the first week.

Stick with it and don’t given up because your daily hits seem stuck in single figures.

Write about the things that you are passionate about…eventually, if you write it, they will come…usually, so long as your passion is not so obscure that you’re the sole member of the groupie club…

A Bath?

Yep…like to finish with a photo too…this was in a house we looked at buying over Napier way a couple of years ago when we wanted to get a bit closer to civilisation. Decided that civilisation was over-rated so stayed where are near the Spiral…a good bath really makes a house though…

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2 thoughts on “An interview with me

  1. This was brilliant…I’ve got to start following that ‘idea a day’ blog.

    I keep hoping Peter comes back to the fold. His blog was a must read…

    Besides, I am holding out for a Pacific Rim Blogging Summit…

    Thanks for the plug and take it easy,

    TwShiloh

    • The post a day/week is a great driver – once you subscribe, they come direct into your inbox and you can take or leave them…the Destructo-Ray is a must for pic of the day…

      I’m in for the PacRim Blogging Summit but would suggest we hold it on high ground…

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