Blogging is not as glamorous as people think - Yet you should go for it
I was doing a typical 9 to 6 job that I hated like anything, which most of you do and that's the reason why you are reading this story. My friend Dhvanesh and I used to be colleagues in our previous company. Without giving you a 1960's black and white kind of feeling by dragging you in the flashback, I'll quickly brief you on how we started.
Being from Gujarat, we don't actually have a nightlife, so I and Dhvanesh usually "chill out" at a tea stall and like every other night. It was 2012; we were young, energetic, and like everyone else ready to take on the challenge of changing the world. We wanted to start something of our own, be our own boss, but at the same time make sure we make a good amount of money. After a lot of brainstorming, we finally ended up with an idea of blogging. But now we had one more question, a blog on what?
Research played a crucial role in whatever we did. After a lot of research, we decided to write on Apple and its products. So we bought the domain iGeeksBlog and started writing on different topics after finishing our 9 to 6 job. It wasn't easy to write especially after working almost 9 hours and more than an hour of travel. But we didn't give up. Another challenge was that we never wrote anything in our life and on top of that, coming from a non-English speaking background, things were a lot tougher for us. We continued with our endeavor regardless.
We started getting visitors because, at that time, the competition was not as fierce as it is nowadays. And also, Google's algorithm was not as smart enough in yesteryears. The day we started getting visitors was a memorable moment for us as the seeds that we saw started reaping slowly and steadily. One more meeting at the tea-stall but this time it was for taking a life-changing decision. Should we quit our job? If we do, how do we monetize our blog? What if we fail to monetize? How will we take care of the family? All these thoughts were haunting our minds. We have to make a call as blog needed most of our time while the job was the reason for our existence and it was time to select either of them.
We moved ahead with iGeeksBlog and decided to quit our job. That was a life-changing decision we took. Since that day we have never looked back. The journey so far wasn't easy at all, but it was worth it. Based on almost seven years of experience in blogging and making money online, I decided to share my take with the newcomers.
I observed that in India, making money from the internet and blog is generally considered as a passive income or a side-business. It still hasn't got a status of "Blogging Industry." I think this is because people consider blogging as an easy way of making money and this misconception has to lead many young, energetic entrepreneur jump into it without knowing the amount of hard work they will need to do.
At no point, I am discouraging anyone from getting into blogging. The only objective is to educate you all about the reality of blogging. It is definitely a life changing thing, one of the most lucrative business, but at the same time, you need to understand that like any other business, this too will need day and night of hard work, and above all, it will require a lot of patience. To give you an insight on the basic requirement, below are some key points to be considered before getting in to blogging.
#1. Strong command on English
I'll rate this on top on the list as most of the blogs are in English. You need to understand that people across the world are going to visit your blog. If your English is not up to their expectations, they will leave immediately. The worst part about blogging is that no one will likely give you any feedback. It is more of a guessing game that you play with your mind. You have to analyze what is going wrong with your blog, why your visitors don't engage with your content, why you don't have better conversion etc.
Besides good English, even your thoughts matter. No one wants to read the boring content. You need to make dead words speak for you, connect with your readers, engage them, entertain them. This is where your thoughts combine with your command over language and create engaging and entertaining content for the user. This is one of the points that newcomers are entirely unaware.
Most of the videos and contents on blogging primarily focus on writing long content with proper grammar for better Search ranking on Google. But what they fail to explain is that Google's algorithm is smart enough to understand the flow of your language, the tone of your writing, the vocabulary, and many other aspects. Google can understand almost all languages on the earth, and you cannot fool it with spinning the content. Google also monitors the time a visitor has stayed on an article, better known as “Bounce Rate.” This helps them decide the quality of your content.
#2. Intense competition and strenuous working hours
Compared to 2012, blogging has become a hugely populated space, and new bloggers jump-in every day. If you are serious about blogging, you need to make sure you don't mistake it to be a side-business or a source of passive income. You'll need to read as much as your eyes can take and research as much as your brain can grasp before jumping into writing an article. Working hours are infinite when it comes to blogging. Because your blog stays awake 24*7 and so it demands you to stay awake and take care of it as much as you can.
I remember spending countless nights in office during the early days of our blogging. We still frequently have the night out in office just because to stay ahead of our competitors. We need to make sure that our readers don't go to other blogs to get the latest news. As most of our traffic is from the west, we stay at night to write articles because that's when our viewers read. For newcomers, it is a message, think before you start blogging. Think which part of the world will read your content, and what are your target markets.
#3. Google ranking
This is one of the decisive factors of your success or failure in blogging. What I have observed is that newcomers generally do a Google search "tricks to rank on Google." While the fact is there are no tricks; it’s sheer hard work or should I say smart work that can get you on top of Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page.) It can take months or years, and sometimes you won't rank at all. I'll reiterate that it is all about reading and research about everything. For Google ranking, you will need to read a lot, understand what Google wants, technical requirements of your blog, etc.
Google ranking depends on so many factors that it is practically impossible to follow each one of them. But to be a successful blogger that's the stress, you'll need to take. That's because whether we like it or not, Google rules the internet and if you want to make money out of the internet, you need to keep Google happy. It's that simple.
#4. Monetizing the blog
Let's assume that you have researched a lot and also managed to write entertaining content. On top of that, you have achieved good Google rankings. Now the next challenge is to monetize your blog. It's not as easy as it sounds. There are so many ways you can monetize the blog, but most popular is Google Adsense. If you have researched as required, you'll likely know that getting approval from Google Adsense is a challenge in itself because Google Adsense has its own set of criteria for approving blogs.
Now your task is to read Google Adsense requirement in detail and make sure your content and blog meet them. With so many resources available on the internet, users are becoming smart day by day. Earlier, people used to click ads on the websites, now that ratio has decreased to a great extent. Pop-up ads are history and background ad clicks will surely be penalized by Google, and you may get banned from Google permanently. There's no shortcut, don't try it. If your blog is viral, you may sell some space on your page to private advertisers and use Google Adsense in other places.
With popularity, companies may approach you to write a sponsored article. But to reach that level, you'll have to go through all the hard work mentioned above. By the way, all these efforts are not one-time. Instead, it’s an ongoing task. Even with the sponsored article, you need to make sure that material is exclusively for your blog and has to meet the quality of your blog. Else, your site may be penalized by Google for plagiarized content.
#5. Maintaining your blog
All the above things were for starting up your blogging business but maintaining its position is what will take most of your hard work. Servers, Google Ranking, brainstorming unique content ideas, writing the content, image optimization, monetization, etc. are some of the areas where you'll invest your time and energy. In the beginning, getting a topic for your content will be more comfortable as you are just starting up.
As you move higher, the weight of that responsibility will increase. That's because now you have viewers who have set a benchmark for you and you need to either maintain that benchmark or rise above that, there's no option to go below that. It's my personal experience that in the early days we used to write so many contents every day, but that's not the case anymore. Now it is not just about Google ranking or money; it is about the reputation that we have gathered. People expect us to provide them with something that others are not catering. This is where most of our meetings are focused, what to write, how to write, and why to write.
#6. Creating a brand
Creating a blog and making it successful is different from building a brand and its value. As you might know already, creating a brand of your business takes years and years of hard work and lots and lots of patience. It is not an overnight process. Ask yourself, which website comes to your mind if you want to buy something or which site comes to your mind if you're going to know about a particular topic.
The answer you get for both the questions is the brand value created by that website. To reach that level, the dedication and hard work has to be immense.
Blogging is a very vast subject and writing everything down in one article is not enough. I have still not explained anything about social media management, hosting, technical aspects, programming, designing, etc. That's because I don't want to scare you.
In the end, I'll say that it is a serious business and not a passive money-making machine that most of you might be assuming. If you are serious about it, it has the potential of making 6-7 figures annually. But that can take years and a lot of sleepless nights with frequent thoughts of giving up. There will be months where no one ever visits your site, forget about money. That's the hardest part of blogging. That's the time you need to work harder instead of giving up.