Hi Stephen – Thanks for being our Featured Site this month.
Perhaps you can begin by telling us a little about yourself?
Hi. My name is Stephen Searer, I am 23, and I live in Temecula, CA. I am a middle school history teacher and I majored in History and Philosophy. I'm a huge fan and player of soccer and running. I also spend my free time hiking.
Stephen, where did you get the idea for your site?
I think I came across some images of Google's offices a few times and that piqued my interest knowing what other work environments looked like.
Do you have other sites? Was/is this your first?
In addition to my Office Snap Shots blog I've have had a personal website which has been up for a couple years now.
Do you do all the writing yourself?
Not anymore, I recently asked one of my good friends if he would want to help me out. He said yes, so you'll probably be seeing Jose writing articles more frequently.
How much time would you say you spend on your site on average a day?
I'd say an average of 2 hours if you include studying the traffic statistics.
Is this your primary job or do you also work elsewhere?
Nope, I am a teacher first, blogger second.
How long has your Blog been live?
The site has been live since mid-July.
How long have you used Sitemeter?
I've been using it on this site since it launched, and have been using it on my other sites for a couple years now.
What was your inspiration for the site?
I'd say seeing a few images of some really cool offices floating around the internet. Everyone seemed to really like them wherever they were posted, so I figured that I should try to the THE place for that content.
When you first started the site what was your experience like?
Like most sites it started fairly slow until I showed it to a few friends that are heavy social bookmarking users. It was first posted on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, and then it hit the homepage on Digg. Needless to say my server couldn't handle the flood of traffic. It was a great problem to have.
From day to day work and maintenance on the site what is the primary difference from when you first started the site to now?
Not too much really. I recently updated the photo gallery on the site, which looks great, but is a little more time consuming to use. Overall, it is probably about the same.
What do you enjoy most about having a web/site?
Specifically speaking of this site, I'd say that it's a pleasure to be able to give people content that they are really interested in. It also gives me something to do for the few hours each day that I am not busy.
What is the biggest challenge you face in running a site like yours?
It's probably the same as most websites; connecting this particular content with people that are interested in reading it.
From a financial perspective are you losing money, paying the bills, or making money from your site?
I am able to pay the hosting bills with the site which is great, but I do spend quite a bit of time contacting companies and hunting the internet for the content. Depending on what my time is actually worth I guess that could technically be losing money.
So how are you able to make it work financially?
Hosting is easily paid for by Google Adsense, but we also have begun selling advertisements on the site at a minimal cost to get things going.
What are your goals for the site?
I haven't really chiseled a set of goals in stone, but I mainly want to keep providing my readers with quality content. They are the reason I have a website, so I try to please them as much as I can. I am also hoping to increase the number of people that visit the site, the one goal that I do have is to double the amount of RSS subscribers I have every month.
To people just getting started what piece of advice would you give them?
If you are writing a blog, you really must post on a regular schedule. You should also not stray far from the topic people visit your site for; readers will get confused and stop visiting. Also, encourage your visitors to subscribe to your site with an RSS feed. My site is still young, but I have been trying to so these simple things to give my readers maximum enjoyment from the site.
Well thanks Stephen. It's been great speaking with you and of course we wish you and your site all the best.
Visit Stephen's site at www.officesnapshots.com