:: shine online ::
Timothy Dahl | @Charles_Hudson

This week's Shine Online features the incredibly talented + couldn't be nicer Timothy Dahl of modern do-it-yourself network, Charles and Hudson. Timothy has extended his very popular blog/site to a network - five sites that cover anything and everything home design, renovations, green building, home protection, , kitchens, paint and diy. Using the the same style across the board, Timothy's thoughtful and solid online brands truly makes and impact AND has resourceful and engaging content. yes! Plus we want to share that Rebecca (that's me!) and Timothy met because of blogging. (One of Sweetline's favorite rewards from the blogosphere) Enjoy the interview that talks about presentation, engaging in social media (and being consistent) and the importance of defining your voice (and sticking with it!)

You are the creator of Charles and Hudson, the online destination for do-it-yourself enthusiasts. You truly have created a resource across your five websites. How have you defined your voice on all of your sites and kept them unique while infusing the Charles and Hudson style into each?

Great question! Separating the content has been easy but finding a consistent voice for each site has been more difficult. Although each site will find its own identity, the overarching theme will remain powered by Charles & Hudson which is focused on independent DIY resources and products within reach of most homeowners.

You have a roster of contributors that write for Charles and Hudson. How important is it to have your writers share their own personality while keeping your brand in tact? (this is for companies that will have multiple bloggers)

Before bringing anyone on board we require multiple writing samples and really prefer they have their own blog. The content of their site is secondary to their voice and personality. We've got industry experts, stay-at-home moms and professional writers who contribute to our sites and we require they all work to their strengths and interests which keeps the content accurate and enjoyable for our audience and our writers.

Charles and Hudson has a fantastic design - easy to read, modern, fresh and accessible. How important was the design of the sites when you were getting up and running? What advice would you give to someone just approaching their website design and build?

Design is everything. Invest time and a bit of money into sorting out a template that you can be happy with for an extended period of time. Make sure it's flexible enough to add widgets and features as you desire but a solid enough platform that can withstand a lot of traffic (being optimistic) and a lot of content.

Once a website really gets filled in and has some depth it will take on a life of its own. I'd recommend getting on your own domain and hosting the content yourself.

You have really embraced social media with Charles and Hudson. Did you create a social media plan when you first started? If so, how did you go about creating a strategy that spread the Charles and Hudson brand while managing your own time? Can you suggest one social media application that new-to-social media folks should consider?
You hit the nail on the head with "managing your own time". As Betty White said "Facebook is a waste of time." It definitely can be and the same can be said of Twitter. There are times when that's fine but it's important to focus on your goals when using a social media platform. Take note of benchmarks and measure your progress.

I've found Twitter be a great place to connect with industry folks, PR reps, retailers and other bloggers. Facebook has been better to connect with our general audience. This mix will undoubtedly change and It could be very different for you and your blog.

Try and determine where your audience "lives" and give them what they want. Don't make it tough for a fan or follower to decipher your message or content. They started following you for a reason, don't change the game.

{thank you, Timothy!}

Enjoy all of the Charles and Hudson sites right here and follow @Charles_Hudson (They are a rad twitter feed and often do promotions and giveaways right on twitter so stay tuned!)

Check back every Friday for a new Shine Online interview that will inspire your online presence. 
Up next | Jeremy Knight of Canned Banners chats about advertising, presentation and style.

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