So, Pradeep does not need any introduction in the Indian Blogging community! Yes, we are talking about Pradeep Kumar, who runs the most influential blogs as well as social pages and Facebook groups.
Let’s start digging more about him –
Pradeep Kumar, we know a lot about you, but can you please introduce yourself to the people reading about you for the first time?
Thank you so much, Yogita buddy, for featuring me here. My name is Pradeep Kumar; I’m a Blogger and an Internet Marketer. We run a blog network called Slashsquare; it is also a web consulting media. I have been blogging for the past 10+ years, and this is something I involved myself completely. Apart from my professional side, I’m a fun-loving guy; I like to network and learn more about the things that make me curious.
We believe you have already spent a decent number of years in blogging, so can we know a little more about your overall journey?
I started my very first Blogger.com blog during my school days. I’m so glad about that because it helped me understand how the whole internet works. I was curious to know how to make more people read my blog or how to make more people know about my blog. Only after that, I learned about SEO, Email Newsletters, etc. During my college days, I started a professional custom domain name blog and started to update regularly.
Eventually, I began to make money out of my blog, as well. This was indeed very important to me because I was way too skeptical about making blogging as my full-time profession. After some time, I realized that I need more than a single blog to share my interests. That’s when I brainstormed and decided to start a blog network. I named it Slashsquare.
You have a lot more in your basket, so you have a big team to handle that? Or how you manage all work?
Right from the beginning, I never had any team or full-time employees, I always love to work alone, both a pro and a con, my vision gets limited here, but I still enjoy working alone. Running a blog is a huge responsibility, both of us know that very well, we rely on the content to upscale everything, so I hired so many passionate and lovely freelance content writers. They are probably one of the main reasons for our blogs’ growth, and they are, in one way or another, part of our journey forever.
From my personal experience, these days, I am not getting any paid work for the blog… Even some agencies mentioned that brands are not looking blogs, but social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and all, for them, blogs are dead now… Is it so? Is blogging already taken over by social media and YouTube?
Blogging can never be replaced; the text content will always be popular just like newspapers (let it be physical or digital) survive these days. But the problem is, Social Media is filled with visual stuff. Images, Videos, GIFs, etc. People spend a lot of time here. And brands want to utilize that. If a brand wants to launch a new product XYZ, and if they’re going to make people aware of this, they’ll form a new hashtag like #XYZisHere, and the only easy way to make this trending is by utilizing social media. Twitter and Instagram are popular for hashtags. Brands are ready to invest a lot in making this happen—even some political parties. YouTube is different, and it’s good to involve in this platform if you love producing video content. You’ll be able to conquer the two popular search engines – Google and YouTube.”
Blogging and SEO are too much connected, so what are your top 5 or 10 SEO tips for a blogger? Please elaborate on how you do link building?
SEO is a bit complicated because blogging is generally a way to express ourselves on the blog. Teaching or explaining what SEO is to a newbie will be too hard, but we need to make them understand that it’s almost mandatory these days to understand how Google or any search engine works. These are my random tips:
- Make sure your blog loads as quickly as possible. Optimize it, reduce/remove unwanted things, check it for both mobile and desktop versions.
- Forum links, comment links, guest posts, etc. are all good for link building, but getting backlinks naturally is the real deal. For that, you need to become a solid trend in your niche, be quick to publish reviews and news and be a reliable source of information.
- Create a content strategy and work accordingly. We usually divide our Content into three types:
1) The ones we want to write.
2) The ones people search online.
3) The ones suggested by our subscribers/followers/members.
All these three are very, very important to build your blog.
For the 1) point, ask yourself why you started this blog, what you want to convey to your readers, any personal experiences to share, etc. Let’s say you run a pets niche blog, and you did something to make your dog healthy, make that as an article and write it from a personal pov. For the 2) point, keyword research comes handy. There are plenty of tools, but just make a normal Google search initially and make a note of all the auto-suggestions and “Searches related to” at the bottom. For the 3) point, join a community or use your social media profiles, conduct a poll, and ask them what they love to read. Ask them about the problems they are facing. Analyze the queries they post on your platforms or ask you personally.
Blogging is no more a passion but money-making profession, so what are your money-making ways from blogs and social media? We also wanted to know the difference in your first blogging income and the last month’s blogging income.
Apart from AdSense and Affiliates, we also focus on Sponsored Content usually. These three are our top revenue sources, mostly. My first blogging income was a sponsored post; it was for a software review. I was so glad to get an email from a brand to review their product. I was so excited when they told me I’ll get the software free for the review. And then I was literally shocked when they told me they’ll pay me a small amount of money for that as well. That was the first time I created my first PayPal account as well, I guess. That was literally 10+ years back. Right now, we run a blog network and a web consulting media called Slashsquare. We have multiple blogs for multiple niches like Travel, Books, Food, Movies, etc. Our revenue increased a lot over a period of time, but also our investments and time, we invest a lot for Content and branding. But it’s all a part of the journey.
Though blogging is so common these days, will you suggest newbies choose blogging as a career option?
Anyone can actually start a blog, if they need a platform to express their views, let it be in the form of text, video, or anything, it doesn’t matter, if they need a platform, then blogging is the best way to go ahead. But, making it as a profession, as in, focusing on this full-time to get their income is a bit tricky, not at all difficult, but a bit tricky. If they have a blog, their own audience, and getting good traffic per day, then they can prepare a proper content strategy to upscale their blog. More relevant traffic = more opportunities to get conversions. They can experiment with AdSense, Affiliates, and Sponsored Content to get started. After that, they can start a YouTube channel for their blog or even paid Newsletters. All these are possible, but all these won’t happen just like that in a month or two. It takes time; they should enjoy this process, focus on growth and branding. Over a period of time, they will get an idea of how much they are earning right now and how much they can earn further by optimizing their blog further. I wouldn’t suggest them to quit their education or job to start a blog and then make money. That won’t always work out. Don’t get deviated by random courses or motivational speeches about making money online. Be realistic. Be yourself. Figure out what’s best for you and get started. You can become a successful professional blogger only if you know what you are doing.
Can you also share some tips that help beginners to make money online?
They need to focus on two things, particularly: Traffic and Authority.
To increase more traffic, they need more content. Of course, even less content can produce quality traffic, but having more content means you’ll be covering all the required questions your current and future audience will have. To increase more authority, you need to focus on generating quality backlinks.
And you have to focus on improving your branding on social media as well. Influencer marketing is pretty popular these days. Good reach on Social Media will help a lot to generate more revenue by collaborating with brands.
Are you living a busy life or a productive life? Share some tips.
For the time being, it’s a combination of busy + productive + lazy; sometimes, I like to be far away from responsibilities and take a break from everything. That is actually good for me because such breaks help me become 10x productive when I return to work. I would never love to do any work by sacrificing my health. I decline projects or outsource them if I have to spend a lot of time on them unless they are really important.
I watch movies, read books, play games, and I spend a lot of doing random things not related to work. I eat. I sleep. But, when it comes to work, I will make sure if I start working on something, I should do it properly and not in a hurry. I create a music playlist every week, and I listen to them when I work. I make sure I get enough sleep before I start anything important related to my work. I also work at night mostly because I find 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM way too peaceful without any disturbances.
Let’s have a round of offbeat questions –
Tell us your life regrets if you have any?
I have a lot. As I type this, I can remember a lot. If it is related to work, I started a YouTube channel and was active in 2008 publishing screencasting videos. Still, out of nowhere, I stopped it due to my bad academic performances. I wish I continued that no matter what. That is something I regret a lot when it comes to work. But in my personal life, I regret not learning to cook the dishes I love to eat, mainly because I was scared to do that, then because of family restrictions, so many reasons, I just kept missing that wonderful opportunity to explore the art of cooking. When I started FoodGravy, I decided that I shouldn’t delay this any longer… I’ll be most happy to update it here once I start doing it.
So bloggers and internet marketers are very much addicted to the web, so what is that one thing you hate most about this online world?
Probably the only thing I hate the most is that it is addictive. It literally makes us stalkers in a way. The internet got no end; once you start searching for something, from one niche, you’ll jump into a completely different niche just like that. I spend a lot of my time in front of screens, a screen for watching movies, a screen for reading books, a screen for playing games, and when I’m online, I feel like I live here, and not outside all this. This is both a pro and a con again, I guess.
After work and family where you spend your rest time and what all you like to do when you are away from the internet or your Smartphone.
I would love to go to Marina beach and spend some time with my friends. Or I might end up going to our native place Kerala, I love the whole vibe of that place filled with more trees and fewer buildings. I want to learn something new and use that to spend most of my time offline.
Oh, that’s a lot about you and those great tips are definitely going to be very helpful for me and many others. Thank you so much my dear friend for giving me this opportunity to know you even better 🙂