We recently interviewed Richard Carpenter founder of www.photoshop-plus.co.uk, (and in a previous life hv-designs.co.uk) about developing his new website, coming up with new tutorial ideas and operating in such a competitive market.
You already had a successful design website in the shape of hv-designs.co.uk, why did you decide to sell and start a new one?
I’d been working really hard for the past 2-3 years on hv-designs and thought it was about time i had a break. Rather than just stop posting and loose potential traffic i decided to let someone else take it on and drive it even further forward.
When it came to planning, building and driving traffic to your site, did you do anything differently this time around from past experience?
Not really no, i still submit my tutorials to tutorial directories but now I also submit my articles as well to article directories which is something i never used to do before. I’m also trying to drive more traffic from being more socially active on Twitter (https://twitter.com/photoshop_plus) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ps.plus).
You are active on Twitter, Facebook and Digg, how much time do you invest in these and what kind of return do you get?
This time round on my new website I’m trying to be as social active as I can. Every time i switch on my computer I’ll be there posting to my social network.
The return from my social network isn’t that great at the moment as I’ve pretty much started from nothing again, my entire social feeds etc… Were sold along with hv-designs.
I’d say the biggest return i get is from twitter.
What is your process from trying to come up with an idea through to publication of a new tutorial?
I have a folder on my desktop full of bookmarks, screenshots and images that inspire me so when it comes to writing a tutorial that’s my starting point. Unless I haven’t had an idea already.
Once the idea has been planted i set out and create my idea in photoshop. Once I’m happy with my result and i’ve had some feedback from friends and relatives, then i start to write it up. The whole process takes me about 3 days just for one tutorial.
I’m pretty much about a month in front with my content so tutorials you’re seeing now on photoshop-plus I wrote about 1-2 months ago.
Creating original content rather than relying on round ups or top 10 lists is incredibly time consuming. What advice would you give to someone for maintaining their motivation?
Your right it is very time consuming but it’s all worth it in the end.
The only advice i could probably give is try and keep up with new trends and techniques, and try and follow certain inspirational websites like deviantart. Websites like these contain a whole mound of inspiration.
What are your long term plans for the site?
I’m hoping this time round i can make photoshop-plus alot bigger and better than i made hv-designs. I have some great plans for it which i don’t really want to discuss at this moment in time as it’s still early.
I think a new snazzy design is definitely on the cards which i shall be working on throughout 2011.
A very competitive industry has formed around Photoshop, are there still opportunities for developers and designers to carve a niche?
Honestly, I think it is overcrowded. That being said there is always room for newcomers. I think the main problem is that too many sites simply re-churn out existing information, in a series of unoriginal roundup posts. The best blogs come up with something original, be it awesome tutorials, or unique ideas.
The trouble is many people have set up a ‘design blog’ over the past couple of years just to earn some quick cash which seems to have caused this overcrowding. They all seem to be going down the same route of posting generic type posts, rather than creating articles or tutorials based on the things that inspire them. I think these blogs will end up fading out because the author isn’t fulfilling their creativity; they’re just posting for the sake of it.
Are there any Photoshop tutorials that stood out for you in 2010 as being exceptionally good?
There has been a whole load of tutorials this year, it would be impossible for me to list them all, so here’s four of my favourite.