I have known Todd Fratzel for almost 2 years through social networking sites like Twitter. When we first met on a social networking site (Plurk I think it was) there weren’t too many bloggers in any of the construction/DIY/contracting fields, so we communicated with each other often, sharing articles, brainstorming future ideas, and became ‘friends’ on many networks.

Todd is the Principal Engineer for a large construction company in New Hampshire. He runs their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. Todd is also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. So, as you can see from those credentials, he writes about something he is actually an expert on.

Todd has a blog in the DIY niche, which has become a very competitive niche over the last 2 years. He also has a blog about Green Construction that he writes on frequently. Some of his more popular topics/articles include:

  • Insulating – Todd covers a variety of topics in this category and it is probably his most viewed topic.
  • Lowes Coupon – Here Todd simply wrote about Lowes Home Improvement and a 10% off coupon on purchases over $5k (which is a nice discount) so if you are planning a project, go print your coupon. There are also a couple of other helpful links there for Lowes.
  • Tool Reviews – Todd is also lucky enough to get lots of cool tools to play with and review on his site! How fun is that!
  • – Todd ocassionally has giveaways and writes about other sites having giveaways like this

And there are many more topics, just about anything you can think of that has to do with home improvement, remodeling, and DIY. So, now that we have gotten to know Todd a little, here is my interview with him:

How did you start blogging?

I actually read an article while flying to Los Angeles three years ago about a guy who quit his job and made a living blogging. At the time my wife and I were searching for ways to make some extra income. When I started it I thought it would just be a hobby of sorts. As it turns out it’s turned into an incredibly successful business venture that continues to grow today.

Who influences you (then and now)?

When it comes to blogging my #1 influence from a blogging point of view has got to be Darren Rouse ( ProBlogger ). I read his site daily and find great inspiration from his continued success. Within the niche I’m driven from my own professional successes and sites like This Old House . I was fortunate enough to be featured on an episode of Ask This Old House several years ago at our first home and I witnessed first hand the power of getting solid advice from professionals. I hope my sites will one day inspire DIY’ers in the same way.

How long did it take for your blog to earn over $100 per month?

This surely is a test of my memory skills! If my memory serves me I would say it took well over 18 months of blogging almost daily before my site started generating that kind of money. Today it earns several thousand dollars a month. I think it’s extremely important for new bloggers to realize the success takes time and so much patience.

What mistakes have you made that you would change if you could go back? (blogging)

I truly wish I had started blogging on the Wordpress platform from the get go. Last year I revamped the site and moved from Blogger to Wordpress. The move was lengthy and stressful to say the least. I also highly recommend buying a domain from the very beginning as well. Trying to move from a free domain to a paid one isn’t all that fun either. Domains are so cheap today and hosting isn’t bad either.

How have you promoted your blog, and what do you feel has worked best?

This is an area I think I’ve neglected frankly. Most of my success comes from over 3,000 visitors per day from search engines. This is due to the large amount of content on the site. I’ve tried social media with limited success. One of the sites that I found some good networking on was www.houseblogs.net which is a site for house bloggers and other DIY’ers. I’ve made some great connections there. Promotion is something I hope to work on more for 2010 especially as we role out some new features on HCI.

What are you future plans for your blog/other blogs?

I’m really hoping to expand on a few things in 2010. Last year I created Front Steps Media which is my company that publishes several blogs.

In the next week or so we’ll be rolling out the HCI forums . Forums have become so popular on most of the DIY and home improvement sites that we want to offer the same benefit to our readers. I’ve teamed up with a friend of mine that does programming and he and I will be launching the forum shortly. I’m hoping it will create a great community of DIY’ers that can share their experiences and questions.

Also, in the next couple of months I plan on rolling out a new site called Tool Box Buzz. Last year on HCI we tested and reviewed over 50 products, mostly tools. The idea is to publish all the tool reviews on that site in one place for people looking for information on the latest tools.

Todd’s Sites:

Home Improvement
Green Construction
Tool Box Buzz
Home Improvement Blogroll

Conclusion:

The main reason I wanted to interview Todd, was to show that it takes hard work and dedication to make money blogging, but also that it is possible.

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