Personally one of my favorite graphic design blogs on the web, Blog.Spoongraphics provides amazing resources, tutorials, and tips for graphic and web designers everywhere. The creator and designer of the blog Chris Spooner is also a freelance web designer himself, and I landed a great interview with him.
Chris Spooner demonstrates amazing ability through not only his portfolio, but also his very inspiring posts to Blog.Spoongraphics (one recently going over how he redesigned the Digg-Clone DesignBump). I am very excited to have such an inspiring interview with Chris, and I encourage all web designers and graphic designers to give it a look-over.
Where did the inspiration come from to first create Blog.SpoonGraphics? Can you name a few websites that contributed to the design/development of the blog?
I remember seeing a bunch of design blogs springing up at the time. Bittbox.com was one I remember following during its early stages. Web Designer Wall was another that appeared on the scene a little later, but sprung into action with a bunch of great articles.
From building and running Blog.SpoonGraphics I naturally followed a huge number of fellow design blogs, most of which are still going today. Each one is a great resource for discovering new information and keeping up to date in the industry.
How did you get started into blogging, and what was it like when you first started out?
My blog started out just like every other out there, with low traffic stats and zero subscribers. After a short while though, a few posts and tutorials started gaining exposure through linkbacks from other blogs and submissions on bookmarking sites. This has continued since on a steady upwards trend to the point it’s at today.
How much traffic does the blog receive, on average? Does this convert well into a decent revenue stream to pay for hosting, domains, etc?
Traffic stats currently are averaging around 15k per day, with a drop towards the weekend. Now the site has become an established blog in the community the advantage of advertising income is a great help. It definitely pays for the hosting and domain outlay, and also provides a good income and covers the time invested into tutorials and articles.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to yourself when you first started blogging?
I recently gave myself the opportunity to start it all again with my second blog over at Line25.com. This time I’ve been able to put all the knowledge I’ve learned from Blog.SpoonGraphics into practice in developing Line25 from the start, which has really helped boost its growth. Little insights into the types of posts or titles that tend to do well on social bookmarking sites is useful in developing traffic in the early days.
Little nuggets of SEO information also help tailor the site to naturally perform well in the search engines. Tips such as tweaking the permalinks, and using plug-ins such as the All in One SEO Pack have really helped.
Why did you decide to stick with the co.uk top-level domain instead of using the more common .com?
Blog.SpoonGraphics was initially setup as an experiment under my personal portfolio domain. When I first registered the name the .com version was taken, so I simply settled with .co.uk.
I had no idea that the site was going to develop internationally, otherwise I would have picked out a title that was a little more fancy!
This is another example of how I’ve used my experiences and done things slightly different with Line25.com, this site has a title that is much snappier, and has a sole purpose of being a blog.
Although your blog is very popular, you can see from your main site that you also offer professional web design services. Have you noticed an increase in client project proposals since launching the blog?
Without the blog I would never have been able to head off into self employment. The blog has not only generated great exposure and search visibility, but has also been a consistent source of project inquiries. These are often of a higher quality than my portfolio, with some great opportunities being seen from clients simply getting in touch after reading one of my posts.
What are some of the most popular posts and tutorials from Blog.SpoonGraphics?
Create a Simple Vibrant Light Effect in Photoshop and How to Create Intense Light Streaks in Photoshop are the highest rated articles on Blog.SpoonGraphics, which is a good example of creating posts based on a popular topic can really help!
Twitter Background Design How-To and Best Practices is another hot topic, one that fills a niche and provides good search traffic.
If you had any advice for someone starting their own web design blog, what would it be?
Keep plodding along in the early days! Starting a blog requires a huge investment of time before any income is seen, so ensure that you’re passionate about the subject you’re writing about. Even with the advantage of an already established user base from Blog.SpoonGraphics and benefits of increased personal exposure, Line25 isn’t generating any income at the moment. Stick with a consistent posting schedule and good quality content and sooner or later things will start to pick up!
Do you have any last-minute words of wisdom for our readers?
Live the lifestyle of this social media age. Being active on sites such as Twitter and running a blog is not only fun, it can also lead to some fantastic opportunities.