Thanks very much for taking time to speak with us. We’re always on the lookout for sites with unique, creative, "positive" content and yours certainly fits that bill.
Perhaps you can begin by telling us a little about yourself?
I'm a single white male residing in eastern Washington State, who started trading stocks online around 1998. I also enjoy Internet marketing, gardening, cooking, aquariums, movies, and most things related to computers and the Internet. I've also lived 24 years able-bodied and 14 years as a quadriplegic.
Where did you get the idea for your site?
I bought my first aquarium about four years ago, not knowing much about the hobby. After a few years of successfully maintaining a freshwater fish tank, I decided it would be fun to take the hobby to the Internet.
Was this your first site?
No. My first site was on herb gardening using the blogger platform. Fun Fish Tank was one of the first five web sites I worked on though.
How long has this site been live?
This site's been up about two years now.
Is this your primary job or do you also work elsewhere?
This is just a hobby. My main focus is on trading stocks. I have a site for that at yourtradingstock.com. However, I've really gotten into Internet marketing after starting my first web sites. Residual income from those is always nice.
Do you have any quick stock tips for people reading this newsletter?
Well, I don't have any individual stock picks to give. I mainly focus on technical analysis, and short-term trading. What I like today, may change by tomorrow. A few tips I'd recommend about investing in stocks though, is to start as early as you can. If you invest in mutual funds, pick ones with a management that has a consistent record of gains. If you choose to build a portfolio of individual stocks, diversify with about five to 10 stocks in different industries. A third tip would be to plan your entries and exits. Know before hand if you're going to add to that stock pick that's now down 20% from your entry, or sell it, and re-evaluate the situation.
Do you do all the writing for the site yourself?
Yes. That's one of the areas I wanted to work on was my writing. I've always enjoyed it, but it does take time. I've got about a hundred ideas for other web sites, and to really get them going, I know I need to outsource some of it.
How many people in total does it require to run your site?
For Fun Fish Tank it takes 20 fish and one person.
What kind of fish do you have in your tank? Which one is your favorite?
Currently, I've got an African Dwarf frog, Neon Tetra's, Black Neon Tetra's, a Yoyo Loach, Tiger Barbs , two Gourami's, and a Gold Nugget Pleco. In the past I've had, Angelfish, a Red-Tailed Black Shark, and Swordfish, among others. The Tiger Barbs are definitely my favorite. They'll chase each other, and stay quite active.
How long have you used SiteMeter?
I've used SiteMeter since building my early web sites.
Can you think of a particular instance where SiteMeter has helped you?
I always check my SiteMeter stats to see how visitors find my sites. It's always interesting to see what search terms people use to find things. It also gives me ideas on what people are interested in learning about at my web sites.
Are there other blog/site tools that you currently use that you are especially impressed with? If so why?
I live on Wordpress. It’s search engine friendly, and allows you enough room to hack the code without being a full-fledged web site guru.
I am always interested in knowing what it was like during the first few months. What was your level of experience? How did you go about learning what was required to get going initially?
I didn't have a clue how search engines worked, buying domain names, and especially building a web site. I've always been good at researching on the Web from my experience trading stocks online, but just never seem to get that first web site built. I knew people were making money online in many ways, so that's what I typed in, "make money online". That led me to problogger, Wordpress, SiteMeter and a lot of fun reading.
From the first days of working on your site to today what is the primary difference?
I now use voice recognition to easily write my content, and have a better grasp of the whole process.
And now, how much time do you think you spend on your site on average a day?
I haven't created any new content on fun fish tank for a few months now. I have however been working on my aquarium. There are about eight different varieties of new live plants in it. I'm going to introduce that aspect of the hobby soon on fun fish tank. There will be a sister site, plantsaquarium.com. I've probably spent about six to 10 hours building it. I've been filming my fish and the plants, and will be putting a video up on both sites featuring live aquarium plants
So what has been the most rewarding part of owning your own website?
I enjoy the creativity, and learning about all the different aspects that go into it. It's rewarding being the creator, and watching people use what you've created.
What do you think is biggest challenge you face in running a site like yours?
The biggest challenge is finding enough time to create sites for the domain names I've bought! 134 and counting! lol
From a financial perspective how is the site doing? Are you staying above water, no pun intended?
Fun Fish Tank is tough to monetize. I didn't really care for the ads Google was placing on it, and took those off. The site gets a decent amount of traffic, so it will be interesting to see if I can send traffic to plantsaquarium.com, and monetize through there. I have had a few sales through my Amazon links, which do keep the site in the green, but I'm not rich yet!
Financially speaking, what methods have you found to be the most effective?
Google ads always pay a little, but commissions are better through affiliate networks. Everyone has heard of Amazon and eBay. They've both worked well for me.
What are your goals for the site?
My main goal is to continue learning about new fish, and offering any tips I can through my web site, to those interested in the hobby
To people just getting started what piece of advice would you give them?
Just do it! You'll make mistakes, and learn from them. So what's my advice in four easy steps? Register your own domain name. Sign up for hosting which costs less than $10 a month. Get Wordpress. Put SiteMeter on your site, and track your results.
Excellent advise Mike. Thanks so much for your time and we certainly wish you all the best in your endevours both offline and online.
Visit Mikes's site at funfishtank.com