Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Hongkiat?
I’m a web designer come developer and a blogger. I do design project, consultation on daily basis. Part of my earning also come from blogging.
Nearly 2 years ago you decided to hand in your notice and resigned from your day job to become a Problogger, how has this transition gone for you?
It has been good and I’ve not regret that decision. I realized I’ve got a more and better time flexibility. I get to do what I really like, it’s like enjoying with your hobby on daily basis and get paid at the same time.
I understand that your friends and colleagues tried to put you off the idea of quitting your day job, do you think it was worth the risk?
A lot of my friends were skeptical with the decision I make. It’s totally understandable, I mean it’s really something risky 2-3 years ago as there’s not too many successful example. I let my heart take control, and it’s worth the risk and totally paying back.
You are now currently living the Internet Lifestyle, what does the Internet Lifestyle mean to you?
To me, you are probably living the Internet Lifestyle when you don’t buy papers any more, and instead you depend a lot of Yahoo, CNN news. You check emails very often, check out prices of stuff online before buying stuff, being very active in social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter. You communicate more in Instant Messenger that you do verbally.
What advice would you give to a new blogger trying to drive traffic to their website? Could you share an example of the effects?
I think driving traffic to a site is not too hard, but keeping them is. So I’ll suggest bloggers to start with writing a good number of quality post (say 30-40) without worrying about traffics. Then continue the pace, be active in social networks and slowly promote the new post. Good entries will hit and when it does, people will crawl deeper into the site looking for more articles to read. And when they do found, you’ve just got yourself a returning visitors.
You are known as one of the authority websites in the Web Design and Development Niche. What advice would you give a new blogger to dominating their niche?
To dominate your niche, you got be part of it, and be really interested in it. I’m a designer and web developer myself, but if I’m not passionate about designs and web developing, I’ll never have good idea for my next entries.
When you first started blogging did you model yourself on anyone? How did you learn how to be a “Problogger” and do so well with your first blog?
I modeled myself on a lot of people, particularly bloggers from my country that had blogged for quite some time – LiewCF, FriedBeef & PaulTan for instance. The good thing I found learning from your locals is – you can meet them up personally and that makes sharing of ideas easier.
“Problogger” is a very subjective term to me. Some defines it as “professional blogger with high traffics”, some say “full time blogger” is also Problogger. I’d say it’s a bit of both, together with some good years of blogging experience. To be honest, I did not learned to be one, but I turned problogging the day I quit my day job and my daily expenses depend on it.
I have been a reader of your blog for quite sometime and notice the large amount of Top Lists you do, what are the benefits of doing top lists over normal blog posts?
As a designer I surfed a lot, looking for free stuff, resources and tips I can adapt. Then I notice I’ll do the same thing again few weeks later on a different project. So I thought, it’d be a great idea if I research once, compile the great ones. That’s the main reason why you see so many “top lists” in hongkiat.com. It’s my personal bookmark of great stuff, and it’ll certainly be useful for others too.
Working less and making more money sounds like a good deal to me, have you got any tips for getting more done in less time?
2 things I noticed that had help me greatly in reducing the amount of working time, and increase in efficiency.
Instruments and setups – I use a Macbook pro and I carefully choose the exactly application that meet my needs. On top of that, I also organize the bookmarks, folders and arrangement of files so they are always easily accessible.
Environment – To be able to focus, I work in room under dim light that blocks out noise.
What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?
Study the market and your niche first before jumping into it.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?
The thing about making money online to me is – 1 dollar save in expenses is a dollar earned. I’m spending a lot of money on bandwidths and servers. So if I can go back in time, I will want to carefully plan the foundation of the site (images, codes, structures), which I believe will lead to a big saving of money if they are properly optimized.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
It would be – don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. The “egg” here can mean “traffic”, “earnings’, and even “blog”.
Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
They are couple of plans in “planning”, mainly I’ll still stick with sharing great resources but something more niche.