I was originally from a small town in northern British Columbia but I eventually ended up in Taiwan for over seven years after getting tired of the rat race lifestyle. Now I help individuals, small businesses and organizations build an internet presence.
Why did you start MatthewHooper.com? How does your website make money?
MatthewHooper.com has had many incarnations over the years. It started nearly a decade ago as a personal site. In its current incarnation, I originally started to use it as a way to answer questions that I got asked repeatedly. Anything from software recommendations to website best practices. I started to get asked more about websites and then to make websites for other people. That is what led to what it is now.
How do you come up with the content that meets your readers' needs? Why did you choose this niche?
The content on the website is almost like an FAQ. If I get asked the same question more than once through email, it ends up being a post. That way when I get asked again, I can direct them to a better written article on my site instead of hastily written email.
The niche was something I have always been dabbling in. I started using WordPress way back when it was just getting off the ground and I have been growing with it. It started more as a hobby but I then found it was something that I could make a living from.
What's your marketing strategy to drive more readers?
The biggest thing that I do to get more readers is guest posting. I wish I had more time to do more guest posts because this is something that has brought the most traffic to my website.
I noticed that you have a WordPress course - what is that about?
The course is something that I developed as a low priced alternative to what I offer as a service. I find that lots of people want to get a site online but it's hard to find a single resource that will take them from start to finish. This is what my WordPress course does. For someone that doesn't have the budget to hire me but has the time to put into learning how to do it themselves, this is a great option.
As some of our readers are bloggers and one of their challenges is how to be more efficient in their writing. What lessons can you provide for them in not getting overwhelmed in writing frequent blog posts and still have time to market their website.
I don't really think of myself as a blogger. The content that I create falls more under the inbound marketing or content marketing umbrella. My main goal is to either get people to hire me for my services or to take my courses. I'm not really trying to gain a huge readership, just my "1000 true fans". Because of this, I write content that appeals to those types of people. If I have nothing to write about, I won't write a fluff piece just so that I can say I publish every day. I think if your website is small, your better off writing a guest post on a site with a large audience that overlaps with yours. Go for quality over quantity.
With the Panda and Penguin updates, writing great original content has become even more important in promoting your blog. Some industry insiders are saying that the SEO industry will disappear entirely in a few years as optimization will be replaced by content marketing - what are your thoughts?
The SEO industry will never disappear, it will just evolve. The days are gone when you could spin a bunch of crappy articles and blast them across the internet hoping that would be good enough to get you on the first page of the search results. Content marketing is SEO. Guest posting is just a more acceptable form of article marketing. Writing good content that shows up in search engines and gets shared across the web is what every content producer should strive for. Social signals are only going to become bigger keys to gaining search rankings especially as Google+, Twitter and Facebook gain greater momentum.
Although you are a big fan of Wordpress as a CMS, are there any other platforms that you would highly recommend for new bloggers?
I am 100% biased in favour of WordPress. Mostly because it's what I use for myself, my clients and my students but also because I feel it's the best option. There are other CMS solutions out there but they tend to be overkill for the needs of most small to medium size businesses or organizations.
There are some workhorses out there like Drupal or Joomla but those are good if you really need a specialized solution. You can also expect to pay a lot for a Drupal or Joomla developer.
On the low end, there are solutions like WordPress.com (which is a crippled version of the WordPress.org version that is common among bloggers) or simple solutions like Blogger or Typepad that a lot of people soon outgrow. They aren't really a true CMS anyways. WordPress has a huge support community with countless themes and plugins that will help you accomplish most of what you would want to do with a CMS these days.
What are some of the mistakes that people do in creating a blog?
I think one of the mistakes that people make is not putting enough thought into what people do when they get to their website. I often ask students or clients what they want visitors to do when they get to their website. "I'm on your site, now what do I do?" Do you want me to buy something? Sign up for a newsletter? Fill out a contact form? Whatever it is, it should be the easiest thing to find on your website. There should be a link to it from every page or every post. If you just want someone to share your post or leave a comment then tell people that. Don't assume that people see your website the same way that you do. Ask friends or family for their opinions, at the very least.
Where do you see MatthewHooper.com in the future?
I want it to grow into a resource that helps solve all kinds of problems people have when they are trying to build an internet presence. This may either be through the free articles that I post on the site or through some of the products or services that I offer.