Wade Meredith is the author of the popular health-related blog titled ‘Healthbolt’. “We’re not health nuts, but we are interested” is his tagline. I interviewed him to gain some insight into what makes both him and his blog so highly rated. Visit his blog at www.healthbolt.net.
1) What prompted you to start your blog? When did you start it?
I have been reading all sorts of blogs (I have about 30/40 I check daily) for over a year and I was tired of sitting on the sidelines. It was also (and still is) a way to teach myself how to be a Webmaster and develop skills in everything from “Web 2.0” integration to basics like how to set up and utilize and FTP program.
2) Your blog is listed as one of the top rated health blogs. What do you attribute that to?
Actually it’s #1 right now. (10:21am CST, Tuesday August 22nd, 2006) My blog has been online for approximately 8 weeks. As of this writing, my average page loads daily are 1,181 with 880 unique visitors. I attribute this almost exclusively to Web 2.0 integration. I put Technorati tags on every post. I’ve submitted my most popular pages to services such as Digg, Stumble Upon and Reddit.
I am also active in the blogging community and I frequently submit tips and stories to Lifehacker, Boing Boing among many others.
3) What has been your experience with the blogworld? What do you like or dislike about it?
My experience in the blogworld has been as a reader majority-wise. Like I said I was an active reader/commenter/tipper for over a year before I started my own blog, so I’m definitely what I would consider very “green” in the actual “blogger” community.
Another thing I love is that it’s a self-correcting system. The blogverse or whatever you want to call it (blogosphere, etc.) is self-policed by a mob mentality. It’s sort of scary when it gets out of control like the woman who had phone-cam pics of here letting her dog crap on the subway in Japan posted to a blog. The backlash throughout the net on forums and blogs made her a victim of online ostracism as well as prank phone calls. She also received threatening email spam. This is what happens when you deal with a mob-mentality.
It has kept junk like Coca-Cola’s blog from existing as some faux underground movement for very long. They presented means and it just didn’t work because the blogworld polices itself, which is nice (for me, not for Coke). They were called on it almost immediately. Now they play it straight. They only have been given a black eye in this way and that’s a good thing. Honesty, in all its forms, is good even if it can be kind of scary.
4) What do you foresee for the future regarding your blog? Writing a book?
Yeah, we have several features that would make the jump from 1’s and 0’s to ink and paper well. Our Easy health Tips feature for instance. That could easily turn into one of those little “365 Widgets” books or calendars. That’s just kind of a random thought I had. There’s no plan right now.
It does help that one of my contributors is a professional author, if I ever decide to take any portion of Healthbolt into print. There’s no plan right now.
I’m just trying to make sure it keeps paying for itself hosting-wise, which isn’t too difficult. I’m definitely nowhere near being able to quit my day-job or even fill up my car with profits (it’s pocket-change at the moment).
5) Do you receive much feedback from your readers?
Not as much as I’d like. I’m a shy extrovert, which is bizarre, but is a trait that lends itself to blogging well. I want everyone who reads the site to send me a tip and leave a comment, but the truth of the Internet is that no one actually reads it. They scan. For instance: out of the last 100 visitors that hit my site 79.1% of them were there for less than 5 seconds. So how many of those people can comment, they didn’t even get past my catch phrase (We’re not nuts, but we’re interested) and it’s right below the header. I don’t think that its anything I’m doing wrong. I know how I surf the ‘net sometimes: if something doesn’t grab me right away I’m moving on because I know there’s something out there somewhere that will grab me right away. Out of the billions of pages out there, there’s got to be, right? So I’ll just click on through and I don’t fault people for that, they’re people, I can’t change them all, but I can try to entertain a few of them and hopefully they’ll tell me what they like and don’t.
6) How do you decide which products to sell on your site?
I try to only pick stuff that I would be interested in and would actually click through to look at. I don’t want to offer my readers crap that they don’t care about. That’s wasting everyone’s time. Theirs and mine.
7) You say you are a web geek. What’s that mean?
It means I’m fascinated with the Internet in a way I couldn’t begin to describe in words. What we’re living through now is like the industrial revolution was over a century ago, except that it’s ten-times more important. The “Blog” is just a product of this era we’re in, like the steam engine or assembly line was back then. It’s very important, but it’s just part of a bigger picture. The Internet will affect us for the rest of history. We’re forging networks and communities that would’ve never been possible a hundred years ago, and I think it’s the most interesting thing I’ve ever been interested in.
8) What is your background? Educationally? Work wise?
I’ve attended 3 colleges and studied in the areas of Automotive Technology, Video Production, Sound Design and Communications. (I have no degree) I’ve managed restaurants, been a cameraman for a live television show (Good Morning Four States), and managed the parts department at an independently owned auto shop.
I’m currently in 2 different professional improvisational comedy troupes. Amongst other things, I’ve worked in construction (administrative stuff, no labor). I’ve done landscaping. I’ve been a counselor at a summer camp for gifted kids. I currently have an 8-5 desk job.
9) Do you have any worthwhile experience you would like to share about your blog’s effects on others?
One time I made someone somewhere laugh out loud, which is the greatest thing I can ever do. Laughter is therapeutic on so many levels. Oh and I hope I make someone’s quality of life better by getting them interested in how there body works.