Interviewing David Peralty from XFEP.
Brief Intro about yourself?
Well, my name is David Peralty and I am a Canadian geek that has been interested in computers since I was in grade six. I enjoy writing, especially creative writing. I am married to my college sweetheart. The answer to everything is 42.
How did you get started?
I continually talk about how I get started, but that is because I enjoy reminding people that anyone can do what I do. I started by guest posting for Darren Rowse (problogger.net) while he went on vacation. At the same time, I had interviewed Jacob Gower (bloggynetwork.com), as he had bought a few blogs and sites from Paul Scrivens (9rules.com).
Once I was done my guest posting spree, Darren offered me a part time blogging position. Jacob Gower offered me a full time one, and so I went off with him to start building Bloggy Network.
Do you run your blog under any “Media” type site? Like I run mine under the control of Gurilla.net
Xfep.com is completely independent. I started it as a pet project, and had every intention of flipping it for some decent money. We have a car loan that I would love to pay off, and some looming credit card debt that I hate having.
How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging for around six years now in one form or another, but I have been a full time problogger for the last three years now.
Whats your strategy with your blog in general?
Well, Xfep.com was really a test bed for me. My normal strategy is just to produce as much content as possible in a way that I would want to read it. If others enjoy it, great, but if not, I was usually fine with that as well. With Xfep.com, I tried everything to push and promote the content in such ways that it would be linked to and enjoyed by a wider audience, while still keeping focused on my core ideals.
How do you get rss readers?
I really don’t try to get RSS readers. I am in no rush to grow my RSS readership, and while I would love everyone to subscribe to my blog, I understand that there are only so many blogs people can subscribe to. I have hit the saturation point with RSS a few times, and have trimmed my feeds, and so I don’t take my slow RSS growth as a major negative point, as I have a small group of really active readers that keep me passionate about writing.
Do you give out freebies?
I try to pass on free things as often as I can. I consider myself a fairly giving person. I especially enjoy giving away things from my own pocket or things I no longer need. While it isn’t the big prizes that many blogs give away, I also am not trying to attract the same type of reader. I have given away many free domains, and currently have a small contest which just closed which was to give away a variety of small prizes to those that read my blog.
I am not like some people that put together contests to bring in new readers, but rather, I put together contests to reward loyal readers.
Whats your opinion about the importance of PR in a blog’s life?
If you mean Google’s PageRank, I don’t think it is very important unless you are trying to sell advertising. If you mean Public Relations, then I think its very important. Building a brand, and then promoting that brand is key to building a blog that cuts through the noise of the millions of other blogs.
Do you consider the top100 list at 45n5.com as authoritative?
As a personal proving ground, sure, but as a real authority, I don’t know. I guess it is fairly authoritative in the community it represents, but outside of that, and those involved, I wouldn’t place too much “authority” behind it.
It took me a long time to work my way up the ranks, and I would be lying if I didn’t say how impressed I am with the readers and fans that have supported the site. I never thought that they, with a bit of help from me, would bring the site so far. I remember having issues breaking into the top 100, and currently I am in the top 10.
Any thoughts on my post on Blogs are not the authority, the Bloggers are?
While I can agree to a point, that wouldn’t explain the success of certain multi-author blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo, where I couldn’t for the life of me, tell you who writes there, but I know that site is authoritative.
People like Chris Garrett (chrisg.com) bring authority with them wherever they write, while others bring content to authority blogs.
Would you sell out your blog at some point?
Sure, if the price was right, but I hope to always have access to write on Xfep.com. At this point, I am getting to the point now where I wouldn’t feel comfortable selling it for any “reasonable” price as the site, and the community have an ever increasing sentimental value now.
Do you think people should sponsor wordpress themes?
I don’t think that people should directly sponsor WordPress themes, but I have released a few themes of my own,(http://xfep.com/wordpress-themes/) most designed and developed by others, some that were going to be sold privately to be used on one blog that I then turned around and freely distributed. I think this should be the new goal of those that have the desire, but not the skill to get WordPress themes out into the blogosphere with a back link to their own site.
What’s your take on sponsored reviews?
I flip flop on sponsored reviews. I can see why it is wrong, and I can see why everyone should say negative things about them, but if taking sponsored reviews helps you get closer to your dream of writing full time, or working from home, then who am I to say you are wrong?
I think that bloggers should remember though that positively reviewing spam only makes them look bad as a blogger.
What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?
The best thing that a blogger can give to his readers is the truth, or at least their version of the truth. Any insight that you can pass on can be of great value to others. I am always surprised by which posts that I publish help people the most.
Did Aweber play a vital role in your growth?
I haven’t ever used the service, though I have heard great things about it. The majority of my growth came from social media promotion, as well as WordPress themes, and continually pushing out the best content that I can.
Do you think Pagerank plays a vital role in a blog’s life?
I really don’t think any single ranking system plays a vital role in a blog’s life. I have watched some amazing blogs leap into the forefront of their targeted communities mindset and they didn’t have any rank in any system before hand.
Did you ever consider selling links to those underground link sellers, you know, the ones that mail you and ask you to sell in-content links and pay per year?
Nope. Always air on the side of caution, and never take anything that seems like spam. Again, anything you do on your blog can effect people’s opinions of yourself as well as any brand you are trying to build.
Though had they offered me five or six figures, I might have reconsidered…
Did you ever get an offer of selling your blog out of the blue, if so how did you react to it?
I did, but it was a lowball offer. I thanked them for their interest, and let them know what my asking price was. They never messaged me again. It was up for negotiation, but I guess they thought I was crazy and didn’t want to deal with me.
What are your thoughts on my free WordPress themes here, be as blunt as you can.
They aren’t bad, but they are fairly generic. If there is one thing I don’t like about most WordPress themes, it is how generic most of them are. Some of yours have beautiful colour schemes, but none of the themes do anything to “WOW” me. Again, there is nothing wrong with them, as they are great themes, but they don’t stand out in the ten’s of thousands of themes that are out today.
Overall what do you think of blueverse, once again be as blunt as offensive as you can?
You have an Alexa rank to be jealous of, that’s for sure, as that is the only thing separating Xfep.com from BlueVerse on the 45n5.com/top100 list. Nice readership, closing in on one thousand RSS subscribers.
I really dislike how your current theme does archives, as I love paging through people’s posts, and there is no previous page or next page link that I can see. The advertisements aren’t too intrusive, and the content so far ping pongs between very personal insights to generalizations to link bait. It seems to be a good mix, but I think there needs to be more teaching posts. Keep it personal, and build up a great resource filled with your own opinions and the things you have noticed, and I am sure it will continue to do amazing.
Any tips for my readers?
Be honest, be a resource, and communicate often. One of the things I really enjoy doing is going back to some of my first posts and reading them. You never realize how much you have improved until you look back on what you have done in the past.