Interview With Jon Phillips of FreelanceFolder

Jon Phillips is one of those guys who it pays to know. He’s smart, and keeps his eye on the ball. In the world of social media marketing Jon Phillips is one of those guys who just gets the job done; and you can’t help but admire his work ethic. Smooth, efficient and a great marketer/networker, I’ve gotta say that there are few others online that I envy in terms of work efficiency and productivity. If you don’t know him from SmartWealthyRich (a site that he has now sold) or his current site FreelanceFolder, then you are definitely missing out.

How long have you been blogging and how did you get started online?

I started blogging about a year ago, but have been working online for a couple years, mostly affiliate marketing and adwords which I no longer do. I started blogging ‘just like that‘, I had heard of WordPress and was bored one evening, so I downloaded WP, installed it and voila! I then joined sites like BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog, and I met Liz Strauss who helped me understand what blogging was about and gave me a ton of helpful advices. That’s how I got started. :)

How did you get so much traffic so quick since you have a relatively new blog? any blog launch tips?

I launched Freelance Folder in July 2007, but already had many loyal readers on Smart Wealthy Rich (my other blog which I recently sold), so this was enough to give Freelance Folder a head start. I simply told my readers I was planning on launching another blog, a multi-author blog, and was looking for writers. The response was great and I decided to do it.

My best advice would be to set realistic goals, my personal goals for the first month were:

  • 1000 rss readers
  • Alexa rank in the 70K range
  • Technorati around 15K

I think setting these goals is what made people want to write on this blog. Writers don’t have to worry about managing the blog or doing the time-consuming social networking and promotion tasks. One person told me something like ‘it’s fun to write on your blog, I don’t have to do anything except write posts from time to time. It’s nice to know someone has goals and will do whatever it takes to reach them‘.

Then making the Digg frontpage a couple times definitely helped.

Tell us a little about how important networking has been for your blog? Any tips for the new blogger?

I find a lot of new bloggers don’t spend enough time making friends on social networking sites, it sure is time-consuming but it’s worth the efforts. I’m not interested in numbers and traffic that much, I want to meet people, chat with them and check out their blogs, whether they grab my rss feed or not.

My best tip: take a minute and send a private message to that blogger who voted your post up on StumbleUpon, just say ‘thanks‘, it is always appreciated and that person will be more likely to stumble your posts again in the future.

I’ve seen you on StumbleUpon. How effective has StumbleUpon been for your blog as compared to other social voting systems?

StumbleUpon is definitely my favorite, sure Digg can send massive traffic but I find that stumblers stay longer on the site and are more likely to subscribe to the RSS feed. I’m probably the one who knows the least what he’s doing, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Digg is great but if I take a look at my stats I see traffic from SU every single day, traffic from Digg will die after 2-3 days.

Do you have any goals for expansion in 2008? What are the next steps you want to take with regards to Freelance Folder?

I honestly don’t have a plan or strategy, but here are some of my goals for Freelance Folder this year:

  • Find more writers (if you’re interested let me know)
  • Add a CSS gallery/portfolio showcase section
  • Write an ebook (or two, or three). I’m currently working on one
  • Not necessarily related to Freelance Folder: finish building my portfolio site.

What is your number one monetization tip?

I used to put adsense ads on every single post I wrote but not anymore, Freelance Folder is ‘adsense free‘, now I focus more on finding private advertisers for 125x125px banner ads. My best monetization tip would be not to charge more for a banner than it’s actually worth, go read some ‘advertise‘ pages on other blogs to see how much they charge and make sure you compare with blogs the same size as yours. Who wants to spend $400-$500 for a 125×125 banner on a blog that has 300 readers and 500 visitors per day? $30-$50 seems more appropriate.

Which Internet personality (blogger, seo, etc.) has had the biggest influence on you?

My answer is in question #1, Liz Strauss is definitely someone who influenced me a lot. When I started blogging I had no idea what this whole thing was about, Liz helped me out and I learned a lot with and because of her, she’s a good friend.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as an Internet entrepreneur?

I would say my biggest mistake was to not have a schedule. Building a blog, networking, replying to e-mails, chatting on Skype, designing blogs, writing guest posts, marketing, etc.. you really need a schedule or else there is no way you can get everything done and meet deadlines. I don’t have a ‘day job‘, so I have to treat every aspect of blogging like a business.

What are your three favorite blogs?

I have a lot more than 3 favorite blogs, but these 3 are at the top of my list (in no specific order)

Skelliewag
Successful-blog
IttyBiz

Four twitch responses: PC or Mac, Chow vs Schoemaker, Brandable or Keyword based domain, Jamie Lynn Spears is_______________

  • Mac, definitely. Sorry Mr. Gates.
  • Schoemaker! Chow is cool but too evil for me.
  • Brandable
  • lucky to have such a cool sis? (I had something else in mind but I’ll keep it for myself)

Comments

  1. *scratches out Ittybiz and hands pen to Jon* You spelled this wrong. It’s J-C-M-E…

    Very cool to see your interview up. While I normally skip these over, this is one interview I sat down to read. I value your blog and enjoy your style. Thanks to both of you for putting this one up!

  2. “I’m not interested in numbers and traffic that much, I want to meet people, chat with them and check out their blogs, whether they grab my rss feed or not.”

    Great quote. It’s not about numbers. It’s about building real relationships with other bloggers.

    Also, thanks for the Digg and StumbleUpon comparison. I didn’t realize the StumbleUpon leads to more RSS subs.

  3. Ryan Caldwell says:

    Jon, I’m curious how you use Blog Catalog – how has it helped you?

  4. Jon, Do you currently or is the goal to make a full time living from your blog?

  5. jphillips says:

    Hi Ryan, well I was very active in the forums over at BlogCatalog and it really helped me connect with other bloggers (answer questions, network, helps some people out) it helped me get some traffic especially when I was working for them, not much traffic though, but the visitors are definitely more interested in my blog(s) than random people coming from Digg. I get quite a lot of private messages there too.

    Hey Kris, yes that’s one of the goals, but the biggest part of my income comes from designing blogs and freelance writing, I don’t have a ‘day job’. FreelanceFolder simply gives me the exposure I need for my design and freelance writing services.

  6. Some people just have a knack for certain things. Jon makes it look so effortless and smooth, blogging and online marketing that is. Good stuff, Jon. I was one of the lost souls Jon helped within the BC community back a few months ago, he actually helped me with installing my flagship blog, Groovy Vegetarian.

    I now know how to do it myself, and have learned so much since those first baby steps. I still have alot to learn, but regardless Jon is a really cool and helpful guy. I know much success is still coming his way.

    Awesome interview!

  7. Markus Merz says:

    (Really) a great interview and (definitely) a (very) beautiful site. I have already spent some time there after publishing the (best) article (ever).

  8. http://moneymanagers.blogspot.com

    As i have learned by reading your blog regularly, one must pay regular attention in promoting articles of the blog apart from writing excellent posts along with building a strong community among bloggers. Monetising only using paid banners is also interesting.

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