Today, I had a chance to interview Pradeep Kumar is the CEO & Founder of Slashsquare, an Indian Blog Network and a Web Consulting Firm.
He is one of the top bloggers from India and I picked his brain to get some of his learnings and experience in blogging & digital marketing.
He has developed successful content brands like HellBound Bloggers (HBB), MoviesDrop and DeviceBAR, and he is in the process of creating upcoming brands like FoodGravy, BookWritten, GameThem, Photovity, MusicBooze, and more!
Deepak: When does a blogger become truly successful? What metrics according to you determine success? Is it traffic, branding, revenue or something else?
Pradeep: I always see a Blogger as a Teacher, as someone who teaches millions or even billions. You can be a Blogger or even a Businessman, your success shouldn’t be tagged by money, sales or popularity, it should be your readers/customers.
Your focus should be on helping them or solving their problems. See what they want, analyse their needs, provide them suitable answers. Their satisfaction should be your success.
Deepak: I wouldn’t be interviewing you unless I perceive you as a successful blogger. But at what point did you feel that you were a successful blogger?
Pradeep: At first, when I got 10-15 comments per blog posts, I thought I’m a successful blogger. Then, when I got like $200 to $500 per month, I thought I’m a successful blogger.
After all this, when I was interviewed by other bloggers, I thought I’m a successful blogger. But to be very honest, it took me some time to realise that, all these have nothing to do with my success.
I saw success as a journey and not as a destination. It doesn’t have an end, it is something you should encounter each and everyday. My definition for success is already answered in the 1st question. 😉
Deepak: How did you choose the name and domain name for your blog? What is the story behind it?
Pradeep: Unlike a logo, a theme or even a strategy, the name for a startup shouldn’t be changed after launching, so I make sure I pick the best favourite name available.
I don’t really purchase names from other existing owners, I just look for the ones that are available for registration. I spend weeks or even months to analyse a proper name. I just want the name to be “Short”, “Branded”, and “Related”. That’s it.
Deepak: If someone got started blogging now, how long will it take to reach blogging success?
Pradeep: When I started Blogging, like 7-8 years ago, we didn’t really have that much of Bloggers or even, the term “Blogging” was not that much familiar.
But now, Blogging is widely known as as popular profession. People can understand when you tell them “I’m a Professional Blogger.”
So when someone starts a blog now, she/he will have huge competition, their motives will be challenged. If someone wants to start a personal blog, or wants to experiment blogging, then this could be easy.
If someone wants to become a professional blogger, that person should properly analyse their competitors, the blogging scenario and then enter into this field. Success can be easily achieved by time, money and hard work. 🙂
Deepak: Can you name a few successful bloggers in India today? What made them successful according to you?
Pradeep: I can point out several successful bloggers in India, but I feel Harsh Agrawal from ShoutMeLoud.com deserves a mention here.
I know him right when he started his first blog, I admired the ways he expanded himself and reached the top. His interaction and networking with fellow bloggers are something every blogger should follow.
Deepak: If someone wants to Learn Blogging, where can they get started?
Pradeep: If you ask me, there isn’t much difference between posting a Facebook update and blogging. The goal is same, we are sharing something for the world to read.
If that person wants to do this properly, then he/she should ask themselves “Why they want to start Blogging?”. This is a very important question, because I have seen people answering, “I want to start Blogging, because my friends are Blogging.” There is nothing wrong in this, but this motive won’t help you to blog in the long run.
If you want to learn or understand Blogging, then sign up on Blogger.com, WordPress, Tumblr.com and start to write something you love. Share the content with people you trust. Get their feedback. Improve your blog posts further. Make them public.
Deepak: What is your most successful blog post ever? How did your perception of blogging change after that?
Pradeep: Long back, I wrote a blog post titled “10+ Special Browsers For Visually Impaired Users”, I just wrote this as yet another resourceful blog post. But this article went viral and I received affectionate responses from unknown visually impaired users from all over the world.
At that time, this was something that moved me, it made me realise, Blogging is more than a medium, it is a tool to help others.
Deepak: According to you what are the top 3 factors that one has to keep in mind while trying to write a successful blog post?
Pradeep: Analyse for whom you are writing the blog post, is it for you or for your readers? or for both?
Write a blog post, as if, you are directly speaking to your reader, like face-to-face, eye-to-eye. Make sure you don’t fake anything, don’t say “It’s good”, when you don’t know whether it’s good or it’s bad. That’s it!
Deepak: How much did you invest upfront when you got started blogging? Where was it invested in?
Pradeep: My previous investments (when I started Blogging):
- Domain name (just a .com)
- Hosting (Shared)
My current investments:
- Domain name (all TLDs + ccTLDs for short URLs)
- Hosting (Cloud Based)
- Google AdWords & Facebook Ads
- Freelance Content Writing
- Design Works
Deepak: Why should a newbie blogger get started with a self hosted wordpress blog instead of a free blog at Blogger.com or WordPress.com?
Pradeep: If he/she is serious about Blogging, then investing some bucks for the domain name and hosting shouldn’t be a big deal, so WordPress.org (self-hosted) is the best way to make them serious about Blogging.
At the same time, this is the platform they will be using in the long run, so it is better to become familiar with the settings and options.
Deepak: Have you spent money on advertising and marketing your blog? (If yes, tell us more about it).
Pradeep: I’m not a serious investor for ads when it comes to Blogging. I just use Facebook Ads and Google AdWords to experiment. I’m currently testing Twitter Ads for some apps, will share the output if it works well.
Deepak: According to you, what are the most common mistakes that newbie bloggers make?
Pradeep: Blogging is not for making money, they should be aware of this. Most of the newbie bloggers might have started blogging just because someone said “Blogging = Money” kinda thing.
Yes, there are several professional bloggers making millions out of their blogs, but it is not a month or year work, it took them so much of time to master such skills and results.
Deepak: What is the goal of your blog? If making money is the goal, what is your monetization strategy?
Pradeep: Money making is never a part of our strategy. But yes, I do need money to make a living and scale up my network, but I never define my success or goal by the revenues.
I love forming communities, it’s an easy way to share and learn information, this is what I have been trying to make: a resourceful community.
Deepak: What is the biggest opportunity that came to you because of blogging? Any interesting story that you want to share?
Pradeep: Blogging gave us an authority role to make our views trustworthy, an opportunity to make people read and compare our statements with other popular journalist portals. I think this is something I feel honoured.
Deepak: Thanks a lot for your time in answering the questions. Any other final thoughts you would like to share?
Pradeep: Thanks a lot for all the lovely questions Deepak, I love sharing information, and this has been a wonderful platform to pour my views.
<end of interview>
Thanks for reading this interview. If you are a blogger, digital marketer or an entrepreneur and if you would like to get featured on my blog, contact me.