Vroom! The man behind one of F1’s fastest growing blogs…

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I’ve been fortunate enough to learn more about Adam Mills recently – the man behind F1Badger.com – a blog which has enjoyed 600% growth in traffic in 2010.

On the back of his success, I thought it was worth interviewing him about how he has made his blog one of the fastest growing F1 blogs going around…

Note: Scroll to the bottom of the interview to find out more about Adam’s background.

An interview with Adam Mills of F1Badger.com

Q1. Do you consider F1Badger.com to be a blog or online news portal? What’s the difference in your eyes?

I would consider F1badger.com to be a blog rather than a news source – it may not sound as fancy but a news source would be a site that duplicates releases from agencies such as GMM (global motorsport media) or Reuters and co. Badger (as it’s more affectionately known) is more opinion based and although it is a source of news, the news is inside a chatty, banter-tastic enjoyable wrapper and other articles are purely features on various topics or interviews and what have you.

Q2. F1Badger.com has enjoyed a huge jump in traffic in 2010 – can you put that down to specific tactics / strategies you’ve employed? If so, what were they and are they applicable to other blogs?

The huge jump in visitors for 2010 from ’09 is partly down to time, i.e. the longer you’re around the more people come across you due word of mouth thanks to the fantastically successful social media tools such as a facebook and twitter – they provide a great way to interact with your audience alongside the commenting feature on articles.

Another reason for Badger’s jump in visitors is down to having ‘FantasyGP’ integrated with the site – it’s an interactive predictions game developed in-house, which allows fans to get more involved with the sport from their armchair and helps make even the slightly less interesting races fun because the players have a vested interested in the result besides who they support – it really is good fun and race winners receive custom Badger trophy mugs…

Having such an interactive part to a blog or site really does help increase visitors and bring people back time and time again – as well as our superbly written articles of course!

Q3. What have you done from an SEO perspective to help increase traffic? And what advice would you give to others about to take SEO more seriously with their blogs?

Search Engine Optimisation is such a massive subject and there are no hard and fast rules to follow. Google and the other search engines are massively complex in their indexing of sites and pages – the rule of ‘content is king’ definitely applies, i.e. having excellent content helps SEO all by itself, especially when other sites start linking to it and referring back to it. If you’re using WordPress as your blogging platform, there’s a wealth of free plugins to aid your blog’s SEO and Google themselves offer various tools, I’d just advise reading as much as possible about it, trying out the various tools and seeing what works best for you. The days of simply putting “free porn” in your site’s keywords to boost visitors are thankfully behind us!

Q4. As far as content goes, do you find it challenging to strike a balance between creating content that appeals to your audience versus what you think is interesting? How much editorial control does your audience have over your blog?

In a word, no. The beauty of Badger is that it’s written by the fans (who happen to have journalistic and writing skills) for the fans. I would never have an article published that wasn’t interesting, there would be little point. In terms of news, most of it is covered in Badger, though we do concentrate on any particularly juicy news more than others.

In terms of control, Badger welcomes ideas and we often have readers asking questions making suggestions through various channels (twitter, facebook, comments or good ol’ email) – on a similar note, Badger’s unique style of writing (relative to other sites) attracts many people to submit guest pieces, a couple of our writers have come from having experience at Autosport and been highlighted via Red Bull Reporter’s young journalism program.

Q5. If I was going to start a blog tomorrow, what advice would you give me in year one?

Keep it simple – it’s very easy to look at established sites and want to compete with them from the outset, but to be successful it pays to start small and stick to what you’re good at – it’s best to put all your efforts into one area before branching out. Badger for example, started out as just me on my own writing on a standard out-the-box blogger site called Parc Ferme where I wrote my own thoughts on Grand Prix – the feedback was great, people loved the down-to-earth, chatty style and because I’ve been a fan for nearly 20 years, the content was grounded and intelligent (or so I’m told) – with a load of research and learning, I founded Badger and got some like-minded people onboard to help cover the writing duties and before I knew it F1badger.com was going full pelt.

As with any product, one of the major keys to success is having a uniqueness to it – you couldn’t expect to open a bookshop and compete with Amazon, but if your bookshop offered something Amazon doesn’t then you’re onto something – maybe selling signed books or books that are out of print.

So, overall if you fancy having a go at a blog – choose a topic you’re passionate about and have buckets of enthusiasm for and you’ll find the task a lot easier and more enjoyable. Don’t let the ‘blogosphere’ scare you if it’s all new and bit overwhelming – make use of the free tools out there to get you going… you never know where it might lead.

About Adam Mills and F1Badger.com

I’m a young gentleman living in London – the city I now call home and am completely in love with.  I enjoy playing records, Vespa, photography, grand prix, coffee, tasty food, pretty much anything to do with badgers, anything Italian and using technology with a sacred fruit on it somewhere.

I have a full time job in IT Service Management (yawn!) but when I’m not working the 9-5, I’m running, running and editing F1Badger.com – the grand prix webzine where “Formula One isn’t boring…” – a site that was born as a result of me being a huge fan of the sport since the days of Mansell, Senna and Prost and having a keen interest in social media and writing. 

Most people ask immediately “Why Badger” – to which one could simply respond “why not” but there’s a bit more to than that, I like badgers, they’re the best example of classic British wildlife, superbly elusive and full of character, they’re also black and white, i.e. synonymous with the chequered flag and attract loads of interest.  There’s a plethora of sites called F1 News or F1 Fans or what have you, which a little tiresome – Badger stands out and reflects the light-hearted nature of the webzine. (growing up with Wind in the Willows and Animals of Farthing Wood may have had something to do with all of this too!) 

Stay connected to Adam


You can check out f1badger.com and follow on the blog / Adam on Twitter @f1badger.

His personal blog and Twitter are also worth a look – rightpalava.com and @rightpalava.

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