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Jacob Gube On Building A Fast Growing Web Design Blog

Jacob Gube is the founder of Six Revisions, one of the most popular and fastest growing web design blogs on the Internet.

He’s also a web designer and web developer who specialises in front-end development and PHP development.

In this interview, Jacob:

  • Tells us the story of Six Revisions, one of the biggest AND fastest growing web design websites on the Internet.
  • Takes us behind the scenes of running a successful multi-author blog.
  • Shares what made Six Revisions so successful.

Interested? Keep reading!

Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello, I’m Jacob Gube. I’m the founder of Six Revisions, a website that publishes articles, tutorials and resources for web designers and web developers. I’m also the co-founder and technical editor over at Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists where you learn design tips and tricks.

You’re the founder and the chief editor of Six Revisions, one of the largest web design and web development blogs on the Internet, can you tell us a bit more about it?

Six Revisions is a site that grew out of my personal desire to write about the web design and web development industry. It started in early 2008, and has since grown into something that I couldn’t have imagined at the beginning. It’s all been a very humbling experience.

To date, we’ve published over 1,000 articles on Six Revisions and we’ve had the opportunity to work with a combined total of over 200 authors (on Six Revisions and Design Instruct).

In all the posts we publish, we emphasize on practical and applicable information that the modern web designer/web developer can readily use in their day-to-day activities.

Six Revisions is also one of the fastest growing web design and web development blogs out there. What was your experience with online marketing and blogging prior to starting it?

I had no experience with marketing or blogging prior to starting Six Revisions. My only experience in blogging came in the form of developing custom WordPress themes (which was, at the start, primarily a blog-publishing platform).

You’ve started Six Revisions as a single-author blog, but then it evolved over time and now you have a team of great writers over there. Why did you decide to bring them on board (as opposed to sticking with a “one man’s show” approach)?

There are many reasons for running a multi-author blog. The biggest reason is content diversity — it allows readers to experience different styles of writing and they’re able to see a broader picture of the industry, as opposed to reading about it only from one person.

Also, it enables us to publish more content than what’s possible if I were the only one writing. As the founder, I have various other responsibilities aside from writing articles, so I’m able to put more time into those things.

Talking about writers, how did you manage to build a great team that you have today?

They’re terrific, aren’t they? Many writers approach me via email after reading Six Revisions, with the desire to get their work published on the site. In addition, I regularly recruit new authors through various means, such as coming across an article they’ve written and me sending them an invitation to write for us or through social media.

You put a big emphasis on the quality of the content. How do you decide what makes an article good enough for Six Revisions?

A high-quality article is one that’s useful and written well. A lot of it is subjective. We do have a basic rubric for rating a submitted article, but I’ve personally found that you can’t adequately and consistently rate articles based on a strict set of rules. After reading as many article submissions as I have, though, and after years of getting feedback from our awesome readers, I’ve been able to develop a sense of what the audience will like.

Web design and development is a very rapidly changing field. What do you do in order to stay up to date with the shifting interests of your audience? How do you know what people want to read about?

The most crucial thing I do is listen to the readers. They collectively tell us what direction to take and what we need to do in order to make their experience and self-education better.

Also, I read a lot of content outside of our web properties, and I keep up with news about web design and web development and related fields. I also practice web design/web development regularly, to keep my own skill set sharp, to learn about new projects, techniques and technologies, and to further keep myself informed about the industry.

How did you promote Six Revisions in the beginning and how did you get your first visitors when you were only starting out? Also, how do you promote it now? What proved to be the most effective marketing strategy and why?

In the beginning, there really wasn’t much promotion. As the site started to establish itself within the community, readers would submit our content on social news sites like Digg and StumbleUpon — and from there, the site just grew.

Now, we also get a lot of readers through Google search results.

Our strategy for promoting the sites today is simple: What I do is share our articles on Twitter and Facebook, that’s it. I firmly believe that if you publish great stuff, people will eventually find their way to your site and your existing readers will share your content within their own social networks.

What do you think is the main reason for the explosive growth and success of Six Revisions?

The main reason is our readership. They come to the site and share insightful comments. They share our content on social networks. They motivate us to continually produce great articles, tutorials and resources about web design and web development.

And, equally, our writers are also an enormous driving force behind our continual growth and success.

Running a high-traffic multiple author blog seems like a very complicated task to most people. How do you handle the logistics of that? Is it really that difficult or is it relatively easy once you have a proper system in place?

I’ll have to be honest, it is very difficult. It involves long hours. It’s a 24/7 job — there are no weekends and holidays and you always have to be connected. Being a founder of anything is a way of life, not a profession. However, the biggest reward, for me at least, is the possibility that you could’ve helped make a web designer’s or web developer’s job easier that day.

It’s important to have a solid process in place. Consistency is important. Also, you have to regularly evaluate whether the processes you’ve designed and implemented are really the most efficient ways of doing things.

As with most things, it does get easier the longer you do it. But, in my experience, that just means you’ll be able to take on even more challenging activities.

Last, but not least, what would you advise to someone who wants to build a successful web design and development blog, but is only in the very beginning of this path?

The biggest advice I have is to focus on producing the highest-quality content you possibly can. To a content-centered website, this is your sole product, and so that’s where most of your time and resources should go into. It’s a continual learning process, and it’ll be hard at the start, so keep pushing and don’t give up!

Thank you!

In a Nutshell

  • You can grow much faster and offer your readers a wider variety of perspectives if you run a multiple-author blog.
  • It’s hard to evaluate the quality of articles based on a certain set of rules. It’s better to trust your own intuition on this (..the more articles you have to evaluate, the easier it will be to separate high quality content from an average quality conent..). However, a general guideline that a good article must be both well-written and useful is something to keep in mind.
  • You need to be dedicated to publishing only high quality content. This isn’t easy and takes more time in the short run, but it will help you to grow much faster in the long run.
  • It’s very important to listen to your readers. Pay attention to what they like and what they want to read more about. This will help you build a loyal audience relatively fast.

What did you guys learn from this interview?

Share in the comments!

About the author: Agota Bialobzeskyte is a writer and online entrepreneur who firmly believes that web designers and web developers all over the world could greatly benefit from learning more about online marketing.

This article was originally written for Foundertips.com, a blog started by Dainis Graveris, founder of 1stWebDesiger.com. But then Foundertips was merged with BloggerJet, so the article is here now. If you want more from Dainis - go check his blog or his course to becoming a successful freelance web designer.

6 Comments

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  1. Ashamis Amit

    This was a very good article, and thanks for having Jacob on. I try to fashion my blog, on the same basics that Jacob mentions, namely great content. I hope to one day have the same success as he does. visit thestockwell.com and see for yourself, hopefully you like it, because we sure try!

  2. Jake

    Excellent article, I am too creating my own blog and have only been doing it for 6 months. My traffic is just starting to see a good increase after 6 months. I like Jacobs advice at the end, just got to keep on going and try your best to produce quality content. Thanks for the read.

    • Agota Bialobzeskyte

      Have you tried guest posting on popular blogs in your niche?

      It’s the most effective blog marketing method that I know of ;)

  3. ToM

    It’s always inspiring to read how successful bloggers have got where they are; as the author of a single author blog a hope one day to make it multi-author which makes any blogging strategy much more scalable

    • Agota Bialobzeskyte

      Good luck with it, I think it’s doable, assuming you are willing to put in the time and energy required.. ;)

  4. lissa

    Hi,nice one

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