1) Tell us something about yourself and your blog?
Thank you for inviting me to be part of this interview.
I’m Tony John, a blogger from India and have been fortunate enough to enter the world of blogging the very year Google was incorporated, that’s in 1998. I started with a personal blog in a free hosting platform and moved to a custom domain in year 2000. Currently, my main focus blogs are www.indiatravelblog.com, www.techulator.com and www.indiastudychannel.com. Even though I work from home most of the time, I have set up a small office with a small team. In addition to blogging, I offer digital marketing services to clients and my team takes care of the digital marketing.
2) What are the topics you are covering in your blog?
IndiaTravelBlog, as the name states, is a travel blog which is slowly making good progress. Techulator is a well established gadget/app review portal. In addition to the reviews, I cover a wide range of technology topics in this portal. We are associated with all major PR companies in India and they do invite us for all major product launches and tech events. IndiaStudyChannel is the most visited educational portals in India with a prime focus on education. We have recently started an overseas education section in the site, which is gaining momentum. We plan to enter overseas educational consulting services in the near future through the Study Abroad section in IndiaStudyChannel.
3) Initially what tools did you adopt to make your blog rank or grow?
I don’t use any SEO tools for ranking or promoting my blogs. Instead, I depend fully on myself and my content to market my blogs. The only tools I use are Google Analytics, Search Console and occasionally, Alexa to track my sites. I spend a lot of time writing quality content that are worth giving a link from other sites. Sometimes, I do refer to my articles from other websites where people are seeking for help that match the content of my articles.
4) How did your family and friends react to the concept of blogging and bloggers earning from it?
When I started blogging, it was a hobby and the rest of the family didn’t pay attention to it. But eventually I became an addict to blogging and that’s the time my family members started noticing it and they were worried about the amount of time I spend on the blogs. To make things worse, there were no income from blogging. Eventually, Google introduced AdSense in 2003 and that changed my life. My blogs started giving me good revenue, which I never expected even in my wild dreams. I was working in USA as a software architect at that time. AdSense revenue was so attractive that I eventually decided to quit my American job and returned to India to settle here.
5) How much traffic do you get from social sites?
Majority of my traffic comes from search engines. I do get traffic from social media channels but that’s not my primary source. IndiaTravelBlog gets relatively higher traffic from its social media pages.
6) In India people like big screen phones, and apple has launched iPhone SE, will it work in India?
I think the trend is changing. Tabs are no longer doing well in the Indian market. People who bought tablet computers for its large screens are no longer using it. I myself have been using an iPad in the past but it is taking rest in my shelf now. Also, my current phone is a 5.5 inch screen and that fits well for my day to day needs. Large screens are preferred by people who use it as a work horse. The 4 inch screens still have its market with students and people who prefer to have small devices that fit their palm and purse.
7) What are the posts you made, that made you feel proud?
In my last 18 years of blogging, I have written thousands of blogs and hundreds of thousands of people have read them. There are many such posts worth mentioning and some of the most important ones are my series of articles on how I traced my wife’s lost iPhone. It was a long journey and took several months of efforts to find the lost phone. I put those experience into blogs and it has helped thousands of readers. Another interesting series of articles that helped a lot of people are my articles on my relocation from USA to India. After living in USA for more than a decade, I moved to India for good and that was a big decision. Coming out of the eco-system we built in USA was a really big challenge. The articles I wrote out of that relocation experience was very useful to hundreds of others who were going through the confusion on whether to return to their mother land or continue the rest of their life in USA.
8) Are you bored of blogging?
Several occasions I felt tired and didn’t feel like writing anything. Sometimes it was just for a few hours and some other times it lasted a few days. But I never thought I want to quit blogging. Unlike other jobs, this is a job I chose out of passion and this is something I want to continue doing as long as I can use a computer.
9) Blogging has changed a lot from how it was a few years ago.
When I started blogging long ago, everyone were blogging for fun and as a hobby. Introduction of Google AdSense changed the blogging landscape. A lot of people came to this field purely as a business. And that’s perfectly okay as long as they are adding value to the web. However, my serious concern is about the newcomers who jump into blogging expecting a bright future by seeing the first few dollars from AdSense. What they don’t realize is, the revenue from blogging may not last long for everyone. While it is easy for everyone to make some revenue initially, the path ahead is not so easy. Due to the way it works, it’s easy to reach certain levels in blogging and that makes many new bloggers quit their primary job and expect to make several times of their initial earnings by doing blogging as a full time profession. This is where most bloggers fail. My advice is, if you are new to blogging and have just started making some money, stick to it as a part time job. Continue your primary job and do blogging as a part time job, which is the best option I would recommend. I have shared my experience of switching from part time blogging to full time blogging.
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