Interview with Jon Hernandez founder of VodkaOnly.com
Jon Hernandez- Founder and writer for Vodka Only. Vodka Only is a premiere website dedicated to Vodka Drinks, Cocktails, and Brand Reviews. What makes Vodka Only different from many other mixed-drink review websites is that it offers an unbiased, personal take towards the liquor. Jon’s goal is to write real, honest, and personable reviews on vodka brands. He list step by step instructions on how to make many different drinks, and also tries to write the articles in a way so that the reader can decide whether or not they believe it would match their taste. We were fortunate to sit down with Jon to discuss his career with VodkaOnly. His interview can be found below.
Q:Describe what Vodkaonly.com is and their ambition in the market?
VodkaOnly.com is a website based on vodka reviews, mixed drinks, facts, and stories. Its primary purpose is to just educate the public on what’s good, new, and sometimes weird in the world of vodka. I’d say the emphasis right now is more focused on the reviews than anything else and I hope to push VodkaOnly.com to become one of the top respected websites in vodka reviews.
Q:What are your hopes and aspirations for the future?
Pretty much become an authority figure in my niche. I love being in a position where companies contact me for marketing ideas for their brand or something as simple as reviewing their product. I love to help out anyway I can. My only hope right now is grow my brand and to possibly release a product sometime soon. I don’t have the capital to release my own vodka (yet), but I got a couple of ideas in the works right now.
Q:What is the story behind Vodkaonly.com? How did the idea start out and turn into what it is today?
Vodka Only was my first real attempt at building a reputable website that people would enjoy visiting and would offer real value. As a college student, I couldn’t think of anything better to do than make a website about vodka. For some people, vodka is vodka. It’s all the same to them. But that’s not the case, there is definitely a clear difference in quality between some brands. Others it’s the opposite. There are some brands people are convinced are good due to marketing and that kills me. Vodka Only is my attempt at educating the public on what vodkas are good, bad, and just plain awful. The website you see today is a culmination of my efforts and putting what little free time I have into something I care about.
Q:How do you separate yourself from the competition?
Pretty much by just being down to earth. I don’t want to complicate things with people’s drinking; I want to make it simple. There are really only two things people care about with vodka: can you shoot it and does it mix well. And yes, some vodkas are better at one and not the other. But hopefully my reviews help people with their decisions on what vodka to pick up on any given week.
Q:List some role models or brands that do a really great job in the market?
It’s kind of hard to compare my website to others in the exact niche, but to broaden a little bit, I would say I admire Tasting.com, the website for the Beverage Tasting Institute. I admire their methodology and aspiration for quality control in there samplings. They have a whole team and top of the line laboratory in which they taste all their alcohol and I would love to visit and take part in a day of trials and testing.
Q:What is something unique/interesting that most people wouldn’t know about Vodkaonly.com?
Currently, VodkaOnly.com is a one man show! I currently am the website owner, admin, writer, and video producer/editor. This isn’t to say that I’m not open to others joining my team, I just haven’t openly called for resumes (nor could I properly pay for anyone to write full time). I would be open to guest writers, but it would be more of an opportunity to showcase their writing and interest in vodka than it would be for wanting an actual job.
Q:Have you ever had a time of adversity or uncertainty in life or with the site that you had to overcome, if so, how did you overcome the situation(s) and conquer the odds?
I wouldn’t say any real big adversity other than time constraints. As of December of 2012, I will finally be graduating college as a civil engineer. I know what you’re thinking: you’re a civil engineer? What are you doing with a vodka website? Ha, well, I’d like to think of myself as a man of many trades and this website is a door to many other opportunities that aren’t offered by engineering. But, as I leave college, I will have time soon to really produce some good content and see where this niche can take me.
Q:Are you working on anything new for the future with Vodkaonly.com?
Well, besides producing more great content and furthering my goal of becoming an authority in vodka… I actually look to expand my range of expertise. In spring of 2013, I hope to release my new website of TequilaOnly.com. I’m very excited for that one and look to really impress my readers with some of my great choices. I already have a few favorites, so I’m excited to get going on that one!
Q:Where do you see yourself with Vodkaonly.com in 3 years?
It’s really hard to say. As fun as vodka reviews are, I’m not sure I can go much further beyond that. I hope to keep producing great content (time willing) but it’s hard to say where I will be career wise. In any case, I hope that the website will continue to produce great content, no matter who is running it. What I really hope to do is branch out in to other niches and try to brand everything I do. Interlinking niches and ultimately creating multiple avenues to go down.
Q:Do you have any advice for aspiring Writers out there?
Yeah, my advice would be to JUST DO IT. No, I don’t mean to quote Nike, but it’s true. The biggest thing holding people back are themselves. If you want to write, find a niche you enjoy, find a soapbox to stand on (I chose to create my own website), and just start typing away. The internet has created so many opportunities for people to write about what they enjoy and you shouldn’t waste that. The formula is this: write about things you care about and that people will want to read, and then share your articles via social media. I would Google on how to write articles for websites (since there’s a few things you need to do to get noticed by search engines) but for the most part that’s it. If you believe you can be an authority figure in a given subject, than go for it!
Q:Would you like to make any shout outs?
Just want to thank Pruvology for the interview and a shout out to the Misc on bodybuilding.com. I know it’s random, but a thread on internet marketing in the miscellaneous section of that forum is what got me going and gave me the encouragement to create my own website.
We want to thank Jon for taking the time to talk with us. We look forward to Jon’s future success with VodkaOnly.com. Be sure to follow Jon on his social media channels. You can find Jon and VodkaOnly on VodkaOnly.com, Pinterest, @Vodka_Only, and Facebook