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Interview: Matt Coddington of Net Business Blog
Interview: Matt Coddington of Net Business Blog
An interview with Matt Coddington, the founder of Net Business Blog
Published by Lars-Christian
03-01-2007
Interview: Matt Coddington of Net Business Blog

Matt Coddington is the founder and owner of Net Business Blog, a two month old blog that has quickly gained enough popularity to propell him into the ranks of other renowned bloggers such as John Chow, who Matt is actually cooperating with these days. I was able to catch up with him and ask him a few questions about what he does, and how he was able to create such a successful blog in such a short amount of time.

Quote:
Lars-Christian
Hi Matt. Glad to talk to you, and that you agreed to let me interview you. Can you start by telling us a little more about yourself? Like for instance how old you are, where you're from, and what you do for a living, just to get started.

Matt
Alrighty well I'm a 22 year old graduating senior at the University of South Carolina. I'm majoring in History ... don't make fun of me. I've lived in South Carolina for as long as I can remember. It's not exactly the best place for an web developer to live, but the weather's nice and the people are overall friendly. Right now I'm working on growing my web design firm (VehoWave.com) so that after graduation I can continue to work at home online and not have to use my degree.

Lars-Christian
Ah, so you're not working full time online per se, seeing how you're a student as well. How much time would you estimate you spend on web work every week?

Matt
Doing client work (ie. web design, coding, etc) I'd say I spend about 1-2 hours whether it's designing myself or managing projects. I've been spending more time lately on my blog as well (NetBusinessBlog.com), and I spend 2-3 hours a day writing, preparing new articles, and reading other blogs in the niche. When you count in all the other online stuff (working on my own side projects, checking email, etc) it's usually about a full 8 hour workday.

Lars-Christian
Wow, do you get time for a social life between your work and school?

Matt
Sometimes My fiance and I go out to the movies every other weekend. But honestly I don't go out all that much - building a business and going to university full time is pretty time consuming.

Lars-Christian
You got that right! And I'm glad to talk to someone who's got their priorities straight. Now let's move on a bit. I would like to talk to you about your blog, Net Business Blog. You just started it barely two months ago, but you've already managed to seperate yourself as quite successful with nearly 650 subscribers, and a steady base of commenters. Would you care to give us some insight in how you managed to accomplish this in such a short amount of time? Did you you do a lot of work before you actually launched the blog?

Matt
The only work I did before I launched the blog was the first couple of chapters in the Domaining 101 series which I was originally planning to release as an eBook. I've been shooting from the hip with everything else. Every post on my site was written and posted on the same day. I don't worry too much with keyword-dense articles or whatever, I just write what I think people want to read. As far as the quick success, I have Digg to thank for that (for the most part). A lot of people complain about Digg saying that the users there are too elitist, Digg traffic is ad-blind, it doesn't stick (I could go on and on), but I'm fairly certain that my blog's popularity is a direct result of Diggs. My first big article was Building a Niche Minisite which was split into 2 parts, both of which got a ton of Diggs. With the Digg traffic came del.icio.us traffic, stumbleupon traffic, blog links, forum links, and more. Out of the tens of thousands of visitors Digg sent my way only a few of them became repeat visitors, but if I can retain 10% of 50,000 unique visitors, I'm not gonna complain.

Lars-Christian
I think that retaining that amount of new users would be decent for any new blog! I guess Digg was also responsible for getting you a decent amount of backlinks as well, or perhaps you've had some good contacts that have helped you with that? According to Technorati you have already gotten more than 350 links from other blogs, which isn't bad in less than two months.

Matt
The way I acquired backlinks was mostly through Digg, yes. But I also emailed other bloggers in the industry introducing myself and updating them on what I thought were some of my better posts. I haven't gotten any complaints yet and often those bloggers include my articles in a link segment or include it in a post of their own.

Lars-Christian
Well there's definately a lesson to be learned in that. It doesn't hurt to ask, the worst response you can get is a no! I also wanted to ask you, do you have any previous blogging experience before you started Net Business Blog?

Matt
Just my personal blog.

Lars-Christian
Okay, well who haven't had one of those? Anyways, back to the topic of blogging in general. Apart from Digg as you already mentioned, which tools would you say are the most valuable for you, both when it comes to running and maintaining your blog, as well as promoting it?

Matt
I suppose a big one would be MyBlogLog. Despite the negative press it's been getting from Shoemoney and his staff, it's actually a good little service. Sure they have a long way to go, especially in the way of easier communication between users and spam protection, but the idea there is still great, and it has a lot of room to grow. I've used MBL as an ice-breaker for contacting other bloggers in the industry and have actually made some friends through it.

Lars-Christian
Interesting. I've tried it myself as well, but so far I've only encountered various spammers out there. I do love the tracking features it offers though. That brings me to another question. What do you use to measure your traffic and stats? Do you mainly stick to MyBlogLog, or do you utilize other programs as well? I do assume that like most people running a website of some sort, you're also addicted to stats

Matt
I'm a Google Analytics fan. Charts are sexy. Graphs are sexier. Analytics has all that! I do check on MBL Pro occassionally, but I usually just stick with Analytics.

Lars
Yes, Analytics does seem to do a good job indeed, and definitely deserves a reccomendation. Alright, almost done, but there was one last thing I wanted your input on. Your blog has a simple, yet elegant and stylish design. How important would you say that the design of a blog is for its chances to succeed?

Matt
Well since I'm a web designer, I'm of course going to say it matters But it's not all that matters. There are plenty of great blogs that do extremely well with an ugly design (perezhilton.com for example). However, for most blogs I would say that a good design isn't absolutely required, but it certainly helps. I think there comes a point in every website (blog or not) when a quality design is needed.

Lars
I agree with you there, but I have to say that I feel that blogs have helped put more focus on the content, and bring more appreciation to simplicity and awareness that it can infact be beautiful as well. But all in all, we more or less agree.That was everything I had planned to ask you. Want to include a few final words of inspiration to the aspiring bloggers out there who will read this?

Matt
Sure. I think the most important part of blogging is writing about what you enjoy. You don't have to have all of the right answers or know all of the write people. But if you are interested in your topic you will always have some thing to write about, and people will read it.

Lars
As true as can be! Thanks for your time, and good luck with your design business as well as your blog. I will definitely keep following you.
Again, thanks to Matt for taking the time to participate in this interview. I hope that you, the readers, enjoyed hearing a bit about Matt and how he became so successful so quickly, and be sure to check by when you can or subscribe to our feed for interviews with other prominent bloggers!
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