As someone born and raised in the Netherlands I of course know Joost de Valk; it's a small country and we're all on a first name basis … Kidding
No, I know Joost de Valk because he's one of those rare folks that does SEO, writes about WordPress *and* adds value. It's uncommon to see those 3 rolled up into one.
Joost is a smart but busy person yet
after numerous threats he willingly made time for a short interview.
You've been working with WordPress since when?
Started working with it in '06 I think, near the end, for my personal blog, which was joostdevalk.nl back then.
There's somewhat of a love affair between SEO's and WordPress. Is WordPress inherently more SEO-friendly because of it, the script, itself or is it because the structure and principle of a blog are?
It's easily changeable permalink structure and titles are probably what caused the love in the beginning. The constantly updating nature of blogs helps too.
Google, and other search engines, seem to love the tag and category structures as well, which makes sense: you're linking pages that are related on topic closely together.
You've written extensively on SEO for WordPress but if one is impatient or otherwise pressed for time, what is the single most effective thing to do or change to a WordPress setup that will reap good reward?
Setting the permalinks to something sensible, for instance just the post name, and making sure the post title comes before the blogs name within the
Teams of smart people nowadays fleece through WordPress code to find exploits the same way people hunt for these in popular software such as Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Internet Explorer. And for the same reason: financial gain.
Where is this headed and can "the common man" still protect their own install, their own work
Yes, because even though that's happening, we haven't had a really serious security issue for a while.
Like Eric S Raymond said: given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.
Just make sure you keep updating to the latest version, and you should be reasonably safe.
Seeing the economic crisis loom in Europe too, your friend announces that this year he plans to at least make sizable supplemental income "on the web".
Doable and, if so, how much of his weekly time will he need to invest you think before even beginning to hope to see some money flow in?
Depends on his skills.
Most of my friends are developers, and even though there's a crisis, there's loads of work for good developers.
I'd recommend they start building plugins or extensions for one of the bigger open source frameworks, WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and just start promoting themselves as experts in that field.
If you're thinking more along the lines of another affiliate site, that's getting harder fast, there's just too many people trying, and there's only so many hosting accounts, adsense books etc. to be sold.
He's setup his web site, affiliate links are in place, Adsense is running, interesting and well written posts are being churned out. Now his next step should be — what? And remember; the economy doesn't allow him to simply smack a couple of hundreds against the wall…
Create something of value: a tool or an article that REALLY stands out, and after you've done that once, keep doing it for a year or so, and don't over monetize while doing it. Building an audience takes time, and it's damn hard to build an audience if every 2-3 lines of text are followed by an ad.