Bloggers Face-Off: Gary Arndt vs. John Struan

By Daniel Scocco

It is Tuesday, so time for a new Bloggers Face-Off. On this edition we have two interesting bloggers.

Gary Arndt is the man behind Everything Everywhere. In the case you are wondering, the name of his blog is right on the mark. Early in 2007 he decided to sell his stuff and start traveling the world. His blog is where you can find his thoughts, experiences, and a log of his journey.

John Struan, on the other hand, blogs about art, t-shirts, gadgets and a lot more on his blog Super Punch. John is also the proof that you can make a blogspot blog successful.

Gary Arndt
everything everywhere
John Struan
superpunch
1. How many hours per day do you dedicate to the blog?
I’m traveling full time, and I have a travel blog, so it depends how you define it. I’m sort of always doing something which can be used as content, whether it is taking photos or just walking around a city soaking up the culture Three hours per day
2. How many page views does your blog get daily?
Over the last 30 days, I’ve averaged about 2,000 page views per day. 8,500 for Super Punch (robots, monsters and other daily links). 2,500 for Toycutter (custom action figures, vinyl toys, and miniatures). 800 for Evil Buttons (all things Coraline)
3. Do you make money with it? From what sources?
Currently, no. I will be selling original photography soon and will be writing a book in 2009. I am also looking at some more creative advertising opportunities than just banner ads Yes – – affiliate links, AdSense, and banner ads
4. How long did it take for you to reach 1,000 subscribers?
It took me 18 months to reach 1,000 subscribers. It took me another 87 days to reach 1,500. My site is in a very underrepresented niche. Most people find it by accident and say “Oh Wow!”. They don’t go looking for it. As it has been picking up steam, it is getting easier. I recently launched a redesign of my site and an email newsletter and the subscription rate has increased significantly I can’t say for sure because I didn’t pay much attention. Maybe 15 months
5. Do you think one needs to post daily to be successful?
You don’t “have” to, but it really helps. I know of a few blogs with a lot of subscribers that post very infrequently. In general, the more you post, the more ways for people to find you via links and Google searches. In the long run it is a numbers game. That is why so many multi-author blogs do so well It depends on the nature of the site. My main site is a daily links/pop culture blog, so I have to update many times a day to compete against all of the other similar sites out there. Artists with a full rss feed/newsletter can update much less often
6. What is the biggest blogging mistake you did?
Not starting an email newsletter sooner. Like many technical orientated people, I use RSS and just ignored the potential of email. Eventually the evidence became overwhelming. Investing some money in Aweber is worth it Trying to use forums and social media to promote my site without taking the time to first become a trusted member of those communities
7. Twitter is a distraction or a good promotional tool?
Twitter has been the #1 best marketing and promotional tool I have ever used, hands down, no question. Nothing else is close. I have almost 20,000 followers on Twitter and it has been great for me For me, just a distraction, although I realize it works great for other people
8. Do you think AdSense makes a blog look unprofessional?
Adsense is very common now. You can find ads everywhere. I don’t think it is that big of a deal. I’m not currently running adsene, but I may again in the future. Adsense works better the more targeted your blog is. Mine isn’t very targeted, so I’m not the poster child for Adsense Like many bloggers, I wasn’t pleased a few months back when all AdSense ads seemed to have been bought by opponents of gay marriage. But otherwise, AdSense ads are no more unprofessional than any other type of ad out there. Placement and moderation is key. I display AdSense text ads prominently on my custom toy site because the ads are very relevant (places to buy toys) and therefore useful to my readers (who want to buy toys). The content at my main site is too varied for AdSense ads to be sufficiently relevant, so I instead emphasize banner ads and affiliate links.
9. If you could give an advice for a novice blogger, what would it be?
1) Blogs are an established medium now. There is no more first mover advantage. You have to spend a lot of time being unknown and building your traffic slowly. The key to being successful I think is tenacity. 2) Despite all the talk of content being king, that just isn’t true. You have to spend a lot of time on marketing yourself and your site. It isn’t easy and takes a lot of time. 3) Don’t think that putting a widget on your site from a blog network is going to make you successful. If it was that easy, everyone would do it. Notice that few big blogs use those widgets. WIdgets and buttons DO make a blog look unprofessional. Use them sparingly I actually recently wrote extensively on this topic for my blog’s two-year anniversary. But briefly: (1) give more than you expect to receive; (2) pick something you really like doing because it’s probably going to take a huge amount of time and effort before you start earning any real money; (3) play to your strengths; and (4) respect your readers
10. What is the best way to increase website traffic?
I really think that raw web traffic is secondary in importance to having a loyal following. You can get on the front page of Digg and get 50,000 visits and have it all disappear overnight and be totally forgotten the next day. For me traffic is just a means to the greater end of getting a following, which is much harder to measure. The goal of getting on the front page of Digg isn’t the 50,000 visits, it’s the 100 people from that which might subscribe and become long term readers. The key metrics for determining your following are subscribers, average post comments, re-tweets, links, and other stats which show people being invested and interested in what you are doing It depends on what you’re good at. If you’re an expert at creating linkbait for Digg, then write linkbait. If you’re great at writing funny comments, then comment all over the place. If you’re a good networker in person, then network at social events. Do you think Demi Moore has 300,000 followers on Twitter because of her clever writing? All of these methods work. The question is which one works for you, and you’ll only find out by experimenting. Sugesting links to other bloggers, writing guest posts, and posting lots and lots of fresh content is what works for me



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17 Responses to “Bloggers Face-Off: Gary Arndt vs. John Struan”

  • ravi

    Ya.. I could not understand that either. I think it was just added to the wrong place..

    I think John Struan still wins..

  • ravi

    The biggest blogging mistake is to be arrogant and try to appear special…I don’t know what other people think about that but I just hate it. And anyone can guess who am I talking about…

  • Radu

    I would have voted for Gary. His work and website presents him as artist.

    Radu

  • Eric

    I voted for Gary but I loved John’s too. I would have voted for both if I could have. Great feature though and very informative.

  • SEO Tips

    Great intereview, they both gave some excellent answers however it was the last answer by Gary that got me. That was an excellent, clear and honest answer which I truly agree with.

  • Tech @ InkAPoint

    Gary’s last one is amazing..

  • sikiÅŸ

    I only found everything everywhere yesterday…great blog

  • Boerne Search

    Yes, this was a tough one. I went with John. But I like alot of Gary’s ideas too.

  • Ria

    I like Arndt’s answers to questions 5, 9, and 10, so I’m gonna vote for him. Good job guys!

  • Chris Robbins

    I thought both answered the questions equally good and couldn’t bear to vote one over the other.

  • Matej

    Love everything-everywhere!

    Been reading it since Blogging competition, great pics, and I loved the ebook! To bad that niche is not much represented, you really need to get featured on big sites to make widely popular blog, and I think this one should be.

  • Tom – StandOutBlogger.com

    I only found everything everywhere yesterday…great blog 😀

  • Daniel Scocco

    @himanshu, this is not a real competition, but rather for fun.

  • Himanshu

    Excellent writeup and some really useful tips.

    Daniel, you should have one option as “Both of them”. It’s totally unfair to vote for one. I am not voting!

  • Chrys

    The biggest blogging mistake is to be arrogant and try to appear special…I don’t know what other people think about that but I just hate it. And anyone can guess who am I talking about…

  • CLAT Guru

    Ya.. I could not understand that either. I think it was just added to the wrong place..

    I think John Struan still wins..

  • Rarst

    Ehm, I can’t make sense out of right answer to AdSense question. 🙂 AdSense is not social media?..

Comments are closed.