Finding good tutorials on web design and development can be tough these days. Although so many people have and use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and all of the creative suite, there are very few that know how to utilize the tools properly and create astounding designs.
Tom Ross of PSDFan is a web designer of 8 years and currently posts up tutorials, interviews, and even some free graphics here and there onto the blog. PSDFan has grown rapidly, and I feel honored to have an interview with Tom as we learn a bit more about what makes PSDFan such a success.
Where did you get the idea for PSDFan? Can you name a few sites in particular that were an inspiration when building the website?
I initially had the idea for PSDFAN after taking a step back from what I was doing at the time (freelancing) and thinking about the direction that I wanted to push my online pursuits. I really felt that running more of a community would be more fulfilling than simply dealing with client after client on a one-on-one basis. Whilst I was keen to teach others in the community, PSDFAN was really started as a creative outlet, where I could just enjoy making art.
As for other site’s that inspired me I’ve always been a big fan of the guys at 37Signals, I definitely made sure to re-read ‘Keeping it Real’ a few times before launching. I’d also have to credit Collis from the TutsPlus network, as I think PSDTUTS really inspired a generation of designers to push their Photoshop limits.
How often do you update the blog? Is it difficult to find fresh and original content?
These days I’m updating the site pretty much every single day. I’ve had periods of more erratic posting in the past and people don’t seem to react that well. There’s something reassuring about a site that updates routinely. Inspiration for content comes and goes. Right now I’m having a lot of great ideas, but obviously there are periods when these dry up.
What are some of your favorite graphic design / web design blogs?
Hmm, tough question. Some of my favorites include PSDTUTS, Tutorial9, 1stWebDesigner, WebDesignerDepot, DesignShard. There are many more, but I probably check out those the most.
Can you give us an idea about how much traffic the blog gets?
I don’t know if I’d like to share exact figures (I may do a post on this in the future). Somewhere around the several hundred thousand visitors a month though. Unfortunately, this means that quite a lot of bandwidth gets consumed!
I see that PSD Fan uses BuySellAds for an advertising agency. Why did you choose them over any other ad service?
You can actually see my review of why I use them on their homepage. Basically they’re easy, reliable, friendly and generally awesome, I’d recommend them to anyone.
Do you have any ideas for future advancements or additions to the blog? Maybe some secrets waiting to be published?
Yes, I have a lot of future plans for PSDFAN. I’m actually working on preparing version 3 right now, and it should go live in the next couple of weeks. As well as all the additions that will come with that, and more/better posting, I’m planning on really growing the community at PSDFAN. The members area will eventually be a cool place for Photoshop enthusiasts to hang out and share tricks/techniques.
What advice would you give to someone creating their own Photoshop tutorial and Graphic Design blog?
It’s a lot of work, especially in the early stages. Basically with so many sites like this around, in order to break into the ‘market’ if you will, you have to stand out from the crowd. Spend extra time creating better content than your competitors, really hone your own Photoshop skills and if other site owners are spending 10 hours a day on their site, spend 15, or 18!
That’s more of a business viewpoint, but I’d have to say that the main thing should be passion. A lot of tutorial sites cropping up seem to lack this, and that is why they fade out pretty quickly. You should really love designing and teaching people if you plan on keeping your site going.