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Chris Elwell Interview – Optimizing Your Blog For Search Engines

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Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Chris?

I’m the President of Third Door Media. We educate internet and search marketers. We also provide marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers of search engine marketing related products and services.

You run the largest website for search engine optimization, do you think SEO is still important for bloggers?

Absolutely. It would be a shame for anyone to write great content, only to have its value limited because they didn’t implement SEO best practices.

You have a network of related websites, Sphinn, SMN and SMX, what are the benefits of launching related websites? Is it true when they say the best competition is your own competition?

Each of our sites does something different, so they compliment each other rather than compete. Search Engine Land publishes news, analysis and opinion. is a social news site that allows the community to post, vote and comment on best-of-web content. Search Marketing Now provides in-depth presentations and white papers on topics relevant to internet marketers, while SMX is the home for our worldwide conference series. Search marketers have different needs, and each of our sites is aimed at satisfying one or more of them.

How can Search Engine Marketing let you run your website on autopilot allowing you to earn a passive income from your websites?

Call me old school, but I don’t believe you can have a meaningful revenue stream by having anything on autopilot. You have to work sites just like any other business in order to maximize their potential.

Tell us what working on the Internet is like for you, is it long hours?

I work really hard, and I think most people who run Internet businesses do too. There is probably a little more flexibility when you’re running a business like ours, but at the end of the day there’s no replacing the effort that it takes to make any business successful.

Tell us about Sphinn, a social bookmarking website for search engine marketers. Why did you decide to launch it? Where are you with Sphinn now?

Sphinn is a social news site. My partner Danny Sullivan wanted to launch it to provide a place for the community to discuss important issues with news stories serving as the catalyst and expand Third Door Media’s profile beyond search marketing. We created Sphinn on an open source platform called Pligg, but are preparing to launch a completely updated version with advanced moderation tools and other functionality. It is very exciting.

You are known as the authority website in the Search Engine Marketing niche. What advice would you give a new webmasters to dominating their niche?

Write great content. Producing content is a virtuous circle. Great content gets indexed, linked to and discussed. All of those things lead to more visitors and recognition in the community you serve.

What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?

Do something your passionate about, not because you think it will make you a lot of money. If the money part doesn’t work out, you’ll still have done something your proud of.

Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?

Eventually, I’d like to teach and coach high school football. I figure in another 10 years (I’m 48 now) I may have mellowed enough to be good at those things. The idea of “retirement” seems foreign to me; I plan to skip that in this life.

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  1. Brilliant post, keep them coming 🙂

  2. Scott :: says:

    Heh, I like his thoughts on retirement; a valid thing to skip if you’ve got the right niche.

    Another good interview Michael.

  3. Hey Michael,
    Another good interview. I admire you for that because I know it takes hard work and guts to get things done.

  4. Stuart Wooster says:

    Another one in the bag, well done Michael 🙂

  5. Shane - Inspiring your Success says:

    I like his advice about not putting a website on autopilot. I agree with him to be honest, but it is completely the opposite to what you try to teach on here and Retire at 21!

    • I think to a point you can, if you put some things on autopilot, like your earnings and some of your content then you have more time to work on other things.

      Works for me 🙂

  6. Franklin Bishop says:

    Really enjoyed this interview. It sure does take a lot of work.

  7. Another very good interview with Chris. It is always gratifying and delightful to hear someone say that content in writing article is very important. I believe so myself. I think we should never sell ourselves short for the sake of the potential of earning fast and quick. Passion comes with honor. And that is important in writing anything. Hope this is a wake up call to those who just take blogging for granted.
    thanks Michael and Chris!!!

    • No problem Jason! Glad you enjoyed the interview, I totally agree, Content is King!!

  8. I’d have to agree with Chris about the long hours when you first start a blog…it does take time to write good content, and network, and learn SEO. Maybe down the road things can be a little more autopilot, but I think at first you need to use your own content rather than outsource so that you build a following that identifies with your style.

    However…I am totally going to start doing more interviews to save writing time, and begin outsourcing the technical stuff. Thanks for the tips, Michael!

  9. Fred Rivett says:

    Aww, no audio.

    I was just about to settle down to listen to it whilst doing other bits and bobs.

  10. Michael,

    I think you’re a young well-trained and great prospects!

    Congratulations and good luck!

  11. Hey this is an awesome article on SEO. I recently wrote an article on SEO too, and would love your feedback. Basically, I want to make sure I covered all the bases in my article.

    Can you help me out, and take a loook at it?