Danny Choo's Workshop

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 by Shaun in Labels:

TED and I made it here early and got some pix with the blog guru himself.

TED and Danny

Animax CEO opened the procedings by promoting a regional blogging contest about their self-produced agricultural anime, LaMB.

Danny opened the talk with his self-intro which all his readers are familiar with. It was cool checking out the evolution of his site from 2000.

He stressed the importance of having an online profile which:
- Functions as Portfolio
- Provides Identity
- Results in Partnership, business & career opportunities and blog growth.

He also recommended signing up with LinkedIn as a quick profile.

Danny really started blogging in 2003, using HTML. His site traffic really grew when he started blogging about Gundam and wrote guides about building them. He also started linking to sources and stressed the importance to link to others and share information. He started posting regularly, coming up with more original content and used social bookmarks.

Danny briefly explained SEO, which improves the site's search ranking results. He also recommended the use of Google Webmaster Tools to monitor site usage.

His take on original content is as follows:

Original content
- Quality not quantity
- Spread posts out
- Variety of posts that cover a wide range of people
- Write with passion

In 2005, Danny started walking around Tokyo in Stormtrooper armour and videoed himself doing so. These videos were uploaded to youtube and became viral, which wasn't his original intention.

Monetisation Methods
- Contextual ads (ensure that your post titles are in H1 tags)
- Affiliates (Amazon aStore)
- Paid Placements
- Merchandising

In 2007, Danny left Microsoft, incorporated Mirai Inc, built up business through contacts and allowed users to upload videos.

He evolved the site from a blog to community to address the problem with content organisation that users faced.

He shared the following points on usability:
Discoverabiliy - discover past content = popular posts, random posts, this time last year
Conversion - Subscribe to RSS, Bookmark, Remember URL, 2 - 3 seconds to convert new user, low conversion through search engines, high conversion through similar sites.

Landing page Oprtimisation
- Promotional
- Often landed on - Top Page
- 2 -3 seconds to impress
- Regular users know where to navigate
- New users must be guided

To determine the best site layout to be used, he recommended using Google Website Optimizer.
- Optimal layouts differ from site to site
- Continue to observe user behaviour
- Take action based on observation
- Strive for continuous improvement

Web 2.0 Services
Pushing content to these web 2.0 social communities enable a large pool of visitors to discover your site.

Sites Danny personally recommends:

- Youtube
- Twitter
- Flickr
- Facebook

- w3schools.com
- smashingmagazine.com
- technorati.com
- techcrunch.com
- feedburner.com

Offline networking is important too as meeting your fellow bloggers and making real-life friends opens more opportunities.

The Dark Side of Blogging
- Stolen Content
- Spam
- Haters
- Denial of Service attacks

Other Learnings
- Backup (Images, HTML, Database)
- Keep a routine
- Turnover rate

Summary of recommendations
- Understanding Technology
- Embrace web 2.0
- Continuous evolution
- Spend less time preparing content - Increase ROI
- Sharing - Quoting source
- Never use blog to attack others
- Passion
- Determining your Destination

It was great getting to meet Danny in person and it was great learning about his experience in running his site. Daisy and Alex found his talk very informative and TED found the pointers on SEO particularly useful.

Once again, thanks to Danny and Animax for organising this workshop.

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  1. Laurens says:

    TED looks like a happy camper

  1. nickpan says:

    woot! what a wonderful account. Thx.

  1. Shaun says:

    @arthur: maybe he felt ticklish.

    @nick: thanks.