Saturday, June 28, 2008

Interview With A Brilliant Blond


Class, I'm beginning something new: interviews with successful bloggers!

And I'm delighted to initiate this series with the delicious, delightful, darling Deborah, aka fastfastlane. Her blog is Life In the Fast Lane.

You've no doubt encountered her incredible blog posts if you're on the Net because she's a Blogging Super Star! Each post is a mini masterpiece. I'm almost embarrassed to comment anymore on her posts because words of praise are the only things my fingers will type. My brain completely shuts down, and I can't think of anything witty or intelligent to add. So don't read any of my comments on her posts for they are lame fan material.

Once you've read her posts, you've no doubt muttered to yourself as I have, "How does she do this? Damn!"

If I sound like a fan, well...I am! I'm in total awe of her thorough posts (many which have videos) and prodigious output!

It's bloggers like Fastfastlane who inspire me to be a better blogger.

(However, as my readers know, I'm a Slacker Blogger and don't want to trade places with FFL. My Hollywood peeps keep me too busy. Read on, and you'll see why I am comfortable with my piddling pace!)

So Listen UP class--- you'll learn a lot from Deborah!

More about FFL-- and you can skip this part if you're already sick of my fawning adulation-- she is bright, diligent, hard-working, passionate, fun, keen to upcoming trends, and responsive to the blogosphere zeitgeist. Plus she's a GOOD, kind person to top it off.

What's not to like about this total package? She is the epitome of what Blog-Bloke terms a Remarkable Blogger!

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Blog-Blond: I'm a huge fan of your blog, and I'm always forwarding the link onto others or showing it to others because your posts are so well-done and Over The Top! My friends ask me questions such as: "how many hours does it take for her to complete a post? Where does she get all the photos?"

And I tell them I don't know! So share with us how many hours you put into the research and writing on your average post? Give us some idea of your process.

Deborah: Thanks so much Kuanyin, I'm truly flattered.

Depending upon the style of post, it takes anywhere from about 8 hours to 2 days from start to finish for research, writing and editing, and formatting. I try to publish one of my 'marathon style' posts at least once per week which generally takes about 2 days to complete.

The first image and paragraph needs to pack the most punch and reveal what the story has to offer in one fell swoop. Photos typically lend interest, no matter how compelling a story may be, and generates interest to continue reading.

Flickr is an excellent resource for images where you can find photos that authors have generously provided Creative Commons Licenses for. Using the 'Attribution License,' you are able to freely crop and edit them, for an exchange of credit and link back to the image, which is far more than fair and only right.

Under this license format, simply enter your search term for the sort of images you're looking for. Then click on the link for 'Most Interesting,' and your search quickly changes to the most popular for the tags that match your query.

http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-2.0/

Other resources are available as well, such as everystockphoto, PicFinder, and stock.xchng

http://www.everystockphoto.com/

http://www.picfindr.com/

http://www.sxc.hu/home

Blog-Blond: Share with us some hot blog tips which would be helpful to newbie bloggers-- even 'bloggers- who've- been- around -the -block- so- many -times- it's- round' like me, the Blondalicious Blogger.

Deborah: That is a loaded question, one which is not so easy to answer, as it could cover a myriad of topics. I have stumbled over many hills and valleys along the way in the learning curve.

I would say that whatever you do, put your heart and soul into what you compose, and cover topics that you find interest in yourself, which will bring out your passion to provide a good read.

Do not write merely for the sake of publishing something for the day. If you would not find an article to be a compelling read, why would your readers? While you cannot appeal to everyone with everything you write, you will have self-respect for your efforts by putting everything you can into it. Your readers can see through a shoddy effort, and may not return for more.

I do admit to feeling less satisfied with publishing my shorter-style posts which typically take 8 hours or less, but I'm often pleasantly surprised by the responses they receive. Time simply does not permit a marathon-style post for each one.

No matter what I publish, I attempt to uncover all that I am able to find on the topic. When I can no longer find anything in my searches, I feel satisfied that my research is complete as it can be.

Blog-Blond: You're a hot blonde! Do you have a moniker, a nickname you've given to yourself like I have?


Deborah: Hahaha, the hot blonde calling the blonde hot ;-) The only other name that many know me by is Fastfastlane, which I use on all social media sites that I am involved with.

It began in reference to my blog Life in the Fast Lane and our business Fast Lane Transport. My first attempt to use fastlane at a social site had been taken, so I used fastfastlane, and have stuck with it ever since.


Blog-Blond: You're very prominent on Digg (having made the First Page many a time!) as well as other platforms. You're everywhere it seems. How long did it take you to make your mark? Share with us your baby steps .And then share with us what's new and hot in the blogosphere.

Deborah: I first heard about Digg shortly after I started blogging. After signing up, I realized very quickly that I am a news junkie, and became quickly addicted.

I began adding friends who submitted stories that interested me, which snowballed. While I do not have time for the extensive searching required to submit very much myself, I support my friends by voting up good content that they submit by visiting the site at least twice per day. You have to be very dedicated to it.

There are many who would use Digg strictly for their own gain alone. For this reason, it takes time to earn the trust of the community. Immerse yourself to learn what sorts of stories are of interest to the site before you begin submitting. Add friends whose content you enjoy, dedicate time to vote their stories up daily, and over time your sincerity will show through and you will gain trust within the community.

It is frowned upon by many to submit your own content. Never do so if your content is not the type that appeals to the site, and above all, only if you are contributing to the site by submitting excellent content in far greater number than your own.

I also Stumble anything that I run across regularly which I feel the author has put a good effort into that will provide value to StumbleUpon, as well as pages sent to me which I find interesting.

As for what's new and hot, I would recommend Mixx.com which I feel shows some great promise. The community and site management are a little more laid-back than Digg with a broader expanse of interests, and very friendly for the most part.

Blog-Blond: Are you sure you're not a twin? Or a triplet? Or?

I wish I had a twin. A triplet would be even better. One of my often-spoken sayings is 'I wish I had a clone.'

Blog-Blond: Ok, if you're not a twin, when do you sleep? How many hours?

Deborah: When I first started out, I used to publish a post on a daily basis to provide a daily read, even on weekends. I was getting 3 to 4 hours sleep a day at irregular hours. My home life began to suffer for it, and many-a-day I nearly fell asleep at the computer.

I began taking Fridays off of composing which would mean that there was nothing new for readers come Saturday. It was pleasantly surprising to find that it did not affect readership return tremendously.

But this was not enough of a break, and my health began to suffer. I now try to get at least 6 hours of sleep per day, and compose as my time permits. This of course means less time spent on the computer and articles published, but one must weigh in what is most important in life. I do confess to spending much more time at it than my family and friends would like ;-) I am addicted somehow.

Blog-Blond: I've noticed you don't advertise on your blog. Why? Do you ever plan to do so? What are the down-sides of putting ads on blogs?

Deborah: I refuse to monetize my site with anything I would feel embarrassed to promote. But if a reputable advertiser came knocking at my door, I certainly would not refuse. This is something that also consumes time to research, as it won't necessarily fall into your lap, for which I have never found the time for. My foremost concern is providing content that readers will enjoy.

I have never been a fan of Adsense and Adwords. They typically appear above the fold, and frequently the first thing that you see before any content. This puts me off as a reader, so why do that to your own readers? For the pittance of return in monetary gain for most, I find it not worth it.


Blog-Blond: You recently did a re-design, and it's fabulous! Should bloggers change it up every now and then to keep their blog fresh?

Deborah: Thanks so much. It's been wonderful receiving such positive response to the redesign.

Times change quickly on the internet, and if you wish to remain on top of things, I feel you should adapt and implement them.

The template that I had formerly used is a perfect example. What worked more than a year ago does not work today. The template was giving countless HTML errors which were irreparable or too many to be pointless to even try. The high cost outlay that I had put out is what held me back from switching over sooner than I had, but I was forced into the change. In the end I actually became excited to do so.

Now I am very happy that I have, as it is a much more contemporary format. I feel that my readers enjoy it much more as well based upon the response. So the long answer is yes, keep your blog fresh by providing the best offering that you can for your readers.

Blog-Blond: Whom do you admire in the blogosphere and why? Any frenemies?

Deborah: Who do I admire? There are many, and I hate to be remiss by not including them all here. Suffice it to say that I maintain friendship with those whom I respect and admire, such as yourself.

But if I had to name one person that I feel has contributed greatly to the blogging community, I would say Darren Rowse from ProBlogger. He has always remained straight up and provides solid advice on a consistent basis.

http://www.problogger.net/

As for social media, there are a number of people that I respect and admire. One who is not only an expert blogger and freelance journalist, but provides solid information and direction on social media is Maki from Dosh Dosh. You cannot go wrong by following him on his blog. http://www.doshdosh.com/

Others who have taken heat publicly merely for being well-known in social media, but whom I hold in very high regard and greatly respect would include Reg Saddler aka Zaibatsu, Muhammad Saleem, and Andy Sarcini aka MrBabyMan. Another media maven would be Mig from eWriting Pamil-Visions. There are many more, I could go on …

http://www.ewriting.pamil-visions.com/

And 'frenemies?' What's that? ;-) I work at only inviting positive energy into my life.

Blog-Blond: What are your long-term plans for Life in the Fast Lane blog? What does your husband think/feel about your blogging passion and expertise?

Deborah: Oh how I loathe that question of long-term goals … always have even at job interviews. Nothing personal, I'm sorry.

While I realize that countless successful organizations and people thrive on long-term goals, I have never subscribed to using them for my own business and blog.

I do as I see fit for my own morals and principals, never as a follower unless I admire something someone has done and wish to emulate their success out of respect for what they have achieved.

I try to treat others as I wish to be treated myself, and strive to be the very best that I can at whatever I endeavor. I can be very hard on myself, and am my own worst critic. I will not waste time at something that I know I will never have the talent or interest for, or anything that I see will blatantly prove to be an unsuccessful labor. But if I see something with potential, I am relentless and tenacious in achieving success, and thinking outside of the box to make it happen.

I feel that oftentimes when we set long-term goals, we lose sight of what we are doing merely to achieve them. Some will stop at no end to make the numbers, lose face, hurt others, and turn potential prospects or business off with unscrupulous methods, losing sight of reality along the way to accomplish the final end. The end does not always justify the means.

As for my husband, he has never been very pleased with the time and effort that I spend on the computer and blogging. It is a constant struggle to please 2 masters at once -- my husband and myself ;-) He does not read my blog, unless he is doing it secretly without my knowledge. But one thing that he does know, is that I put all of myself into whatever I work to achieve.

Deborah: I would like to put a positive spin to a final word in thanking you for inviting me for this interview and the opportunity to be here. You are a legend in your own right.

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I'm submitting this to "Humor-Blogs.com"

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Posted by Kuanyin Moi at 5:23 PM

4 Comments

  • Anonymous RennyBA posted at Monday, June 30, 2008  
    How great to see one good blog friend interviewing another and very well done - both of you!

    I appreciate Deborah's straight and honest answers - typical style for her blog too and that's why I love reading it. Indeed also course she does not monetize it!

    So keep up the good work Deborah and you too Kuanyin :-)
  • Anonymous WordsnCollision posted at Monday, June 30, 2008  
    If anyone can change the old blonde stereotype, it's Deb. Keep on truckin'!
  • Anonymous Tomboys posted at Monday, June 30, 2008  
    Great interview. Deborah is a class act all the way.
  • Blogger Kim posted at Wednesday, July 02, 2008  
    excellent interview !!!
    a very thorough job gals :)
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