Interviewing Adriaan Pienaar from Adii

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Brief Intro about yourself?

I’m a self-taught designer & developer, specializing in WordPress. I’m currently establishing my own design agency called {radiiate} ) and I’m a founding partner of WooThemes (http://www.woothemes.com).

How did you get started?

I started out in February 2007, when I began doing small freelance projects for clients. Initially it was only to pay my study bills, but my freelance reputation & activities continued to grow to the extent that I can now make a living of what I do. As mentioned above, I taught myself all I know about Photoshop, HTML, CSS, PHP and WordPress.

How long have you been blogging? Did you start out blogging as a wordpress theme designer?

I also started blogging at the beginning of last year, when I started freelancing. I do 99% of my marketing through my blog and it has thus always been an important part of what I do online. Initially I didn’t brand myself as a “WordPress Rockstar” – as I do now – and I started blogging as a n00b trying to find his way in the online industry.

Whats your strategy with your blog in general?

In my mind, there’s only one rule for my blog and that is that I need to be honest at all times. I blog about what I want, when I want; as it is my belief that people read my blog for that direct approach. I try promote myself and my ideas through my blog; thus essentially selling my personality and not my services, premium themes etc.

Could you tell me, in as many words as you can, what made you stand out in blogging?

I really think that my success is based on the fact that I’m a straight shooter and that my blog isn’t a marketing tool for simply punting my own products & services. My blog is the place I share my ideas, opinions & thoughts and I think people have come to really like that about my blog. Or at least I’d like to think so… icon razz Adriaan Adii Pienaar   Adii.co.za : Blogger Interviews

As a Designer, what would you say the most important thing about a blog design is?

Content stays king and beyond a pretty design, the only thing that separates one blog from the next is the content. The content itself isn’t a design element, but the styling of that content is definitely the most important thing. If the content’s styling is bad and the user experience not top-notch; it doesn’t really matter how great the rest of the design looks.

I’ve seen your new site WooThemes, what would you suggest the best strategy is against license violations? Such as using the same theme on more then one site or sharing it?

If you have an answer for this one, let me know… icon smile Adriaan Adii Pienaar   Adii.co.za : Blogger Interviews We actually have our little ways of making sure that our users adhere to the licenses they’ve purchased, but as with any digital products, it is by no means a fool-proof system. Piracy will happen and people will use your software without your consent – it is simply part of the space we are living / working in.

Do you give out freebies? Like free wordpress themes? If so, then would you say its a good strategy to keep your readers coming back for more?

I’ve done quite a few free themes in the past and they definitely boosted my status as a theme designer. The traffic from the themes also also had a sustainable, positive growth effect on my overall traffic, which means that I’ve managed to convert a theme user to a blog reader. Freebies in general are very popular and serves as a great marketing tool.

Whats your opinion about the importance of PR in a blog’s life?

Not important at all… Good content will find their way to your readers, irrespective of your PR!

Do you think design is why readers come back to the blog more often?

Nope – not at all. It’s all about the content, which will always stay king…

Any thoughts on my post on Blogs are not the authority, the Bloggers are?

Oh definitely! Without the blogger, the blog would be dead, whilst the blogger could always blog elsewhere. Take for instance a guy like Robert Scoble – he will always have an audience irrespective of which blog he uses to publish his thoughts.

Would you sell out your blog at some point?

Nope. Plus I don’t think I’d be able to sell my blog due to it’s connotation to me personally – www.adii.co.za wouldn’t be www.adii.co.za without Adii… icon razz Adriaan Adii Pienaar   Adii.co.za : Blogger Interviews

Do you think people should sponsor wordpress themes?

Hell no… I think the train has left the station in this regard and we won’t see “sponsored” themes any time soon (again)…

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

Content is always #1. Thereafter design… Those two will sort out the SEO, traffic & readers.

Any tips for my readers?

If you blog – be yourself. If you work online – work hard and build a reputation. And remember to sell yourself as a blogger, designer, developer etc (depending on what field you are in), since that is much more sustainable than to sell any given product & service.

You can track all the blogging reviews under the Bloggers category or the Blogger Interviews tag.

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