I had an opportunity to interview Pradeep Kumar – Founder and Editor of Hellbound Bloggers (HBB), a very popular blogger of India who has made blogging into a full time profession. In this article Pradeep shares with us some interesting tips on blogging and plugins that he majorly uses. Take your time and read this through.
1. Sorav Jain: What inspired you to blog?
Pradeep Kumar: I guess I have two things: 1) What made me start a blog? 2) What inspired me to blog?
So, for the first one, I guess I was just curious. People around me (online) have been saying lots of stuff about Blogger.com, Google AdSense, and blah blah. Naturally being a curious cat, I decided to sign up for one. For me, it was just another platform like Orkut, Yahoo! Messenger, Gmail, etc. So I didn’t give much thought about it, I just signed up.
Initially, I wrote about random topics, copied-pasted Wikipedia articles, uploaded some pics and things like that. But at one point, when I started to share my blog posts with others, I felt I need to write something exquisite so that I can impress them or maybe to tell them what I have been doing on my blog is worth your time. So I decided to write quality blog posts, tips & tricks, and some valuable information. The more I wrote, the more I understood the power of the Internet. It’s not just you and me; it’s the whole Internet. So I understood the power of Blogging, it’s a wonderful medium to share your thoughts and teach billions of people who use the Internet. That’s more or less the inspiration for my start.
2. Sorav Jain: How many years you have been blogging and how many blog posts have you written?
Pradeep Kumar: I started my first blog during my school days; it was a Blogger.com blog. Now, it’s 2017, so it would be like 9-10 years. I have written around 1500+ articles on our Slashsquare Network blogs.
3. Sorav Jain: Which are your best-performing blog posts for years now? Which brings you the maximum traffic?
Pradeep Kumar: Most of our blog posts are perfectly optimized for search engine results, so they perform pretty well. But, apart from that, I do write about topics that I feel like I should be “making people aware” of something. This is one such post:
I have been researching this topic for some months, and I decided to write about it on my blog. The response was good. It triggered me to research further and explore the field. Even though this blog post is not something from which we get plenty of search engine visits, we did get some quality backlinks and other reasonable responses.
4. Sorav Jain: What On-Page Tips would you like to give for perfect SEO?
Pradeep Kumar: These are my 5 suggested On-Page Tips:
1) Title: There are two types of titles, the one you write for Social Media, and the one you should write for SEO. You can use Yoast SEO plugin to configure this.
2) Permalink: Okay, so, if your blog post is about “15 Tips to improve your Android battery life”, then your permalink shouldn’t be like “15-tips-to-improve-your-android-battery-life”, edit it and make it like “tips-to-improve-your-android-battery-life”. This is not exactly about SEO, but more like a future-proof tweak. Just in case, you update this post next year and add five more points; this post becomes “20 Tips”, so each and every time, you’ll feel hectic to edit the permalink.
3) Content: Of course, pretty obvious isn’t it. Make it optimized. Write like a Blogger, but think like a Reader/Searcher, like a desperate guy/girl searching Google for a solution. Combine all those keywords and prepare your post naturally.
4) Images: This is important yet ignored a lot. Always keep optimized images (with an alt tag, filename, good size, etc.) on your blog posts.
5) Proofread: We all hate it right? Grammatical mistakes/errors will annoy everyone. Even a single spelling mistake can change your entire article’s meaning.
5. Sorav Jain: How do you amplify your blog posts? What’s your usual pattern like?
Pradeep Kumar: My blog posts are usually the list of problems I faced during my Blogging journey and their solutions, which I gained via self-experiments and from our communities. I’m a desperate online user, I have typed almost, I can’t number it, but countless times about so many stuff, I know how people search online, so my blog posts will be optimized for that. I don’t want to spam it with keywords. Instead, I just make it uniformed in a way it looks perfect for the visitor’s search query. We recently kickstarted our HellBound Bloggers (HBB) Forum as well, so I’m pretty sure this forum discussion experience will help me to understand our niche audience better.
6. Sorav Jain: How important it is to pick up a niche in blogging?
Pradeep Kumar: It’s very important. It’s not about how popular the niche is; it’s more about how connected you are to that specific ‘niche.’ I have seen plenty of newbie bloggers suffering from ‘writer’s block’, it’s mainly because of this, they start tech blogs because all their fellow buddies started it but deep down, his passion is about ‘Automobiles’, I don’t understand why he can’t just start that and make it big.
7. Sorav Jain: What are your five tips for efficient blogging?
Pradeep Kumar: I guess, these are something I usually focus on:
1) Be Natural: Blogging is not Rocket Science. Blogging = Sharing. So you are practically writing something out of your mind.
2) Learn First: I’m not a big fan of sports (at least for the time being), so I basically can’t write about sports with enthusiasm or passion. I can just hire someone and ask him/her to write. But when you want to blog passionately, it is better to start with something you love.
3) Earn Next: Blogging is not equal to Money. They didn’t start Blogging for making money. It’s basically for sharing quality information. So first focus on building your blog with quality information, then worry about the Money part.
4) Personal (vs.) Professional: Don’t mix your personal blog with your professional blog. I have a personal blog, and I have some professional blogs, I can’t mix them. I can’t just write a blog post about what I did during my vacation with my family on my professional blog.
5) Become Your Motivation: Blogging badly needs motivation. If you are a passionate Blogger, then you are already motivated, and you’ll achieve success with consistent hard work. If you are Blogging for Money, nothing wrong in that, it’ll take some money, and you need constant motivation. Compare your results month-wise, improve them further and work hard.
8. Sorav Jain: How much revenue do you earn just out of blogging? This is a crucial question as it would inspire many aspiring full-time bloggers.
Pradeep Kumar: I can’t honestly give an exact figure at this moment. 🙁 Slashsquare is my online life. It’s both a web consulting media + our blog network, this is our income source, and it varies a lot. But, I can assure this is probably the best profession for me, not just I’m financially sound, I also have the freedom to express my views and make money out of it.
9. Sorav Jain: How do you manage your time so effectively?
Pradeep Kumar: I guess it’s a simple mantra. When you do something you Love, you can easily conquer Time. I didn’t enter Professional Blogging just because it gives me Money; I started to blog when I had no idea that one can generate revenue from a blog, so it was something that came out of pure passion and curiosity.
I avoid distractions when I work. People often say I spend so much time on Facebook, but the truth is, whenever I update something on my profile/page/group, I just do the initial promotions, and I close the tab/window. I won’t open it for some minutes/hours. I don’t even open my feed/timeline to see what others are doing; I just focus on my work alone.
I take proper breaks. I go for a jog/walk. I listen to music. I read books. But hey, that comes under MusicBooze and BookWritten as well.
10. Sorav Jain: Please share the list of accolades and awards you have received so far due to your blogging?
I got my first interview on 2008, so overall almost 70+ interviews so far. HellBound Bloggers (HBB) also won the “Best Chennai Blog” Urban Tree echoVME award.
11. Sorav Jain: Is Google your main source of traffic today?
Pradeep Kumar: Yes, SEO > Social Media for us. I don’t focus on writing blog posts exclusively for Google, but we do optimize them properly for grabbing their attention. Social Media is OK for us, thanks to Facebook’s complicated page algorithm, but still we are expanding further to Quora and WhatsApp. It’s a Trial and Error method for us.
12. Sorav Jain: Which are those Top 10 WordPress Plugins you use and why?
1. Akismet: To protect your blog from Spam Comments.
2. WPDB-Manager: To repair, optimize and backup your database.
3. Yoast SEO: To optimize your website and articles for SEO.
4. WP Rocket: A simple yet powerful cache plugin.
5. Broken Link Checker: Analyzes your websites and articles for broken links. You can unlink, edit, etc. them.
6. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP: You get all your primary Google Analytics data on your dashboard.
7. Optimus: One of the cool plugins for optimizing your website images.
8. ThirstyAffiliates: Want to cloak your affiliate links?
9. WP Encrypt: A perfect WordPress plugin if you are using Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate.
10. Jetpack (if you like): A plugin from WordPress with plenty of features.
Thats the end of interview. Thank you Pradeep for taking your time out and doing this interview. Here are some amazing take aways from this interview for readers:
- Focus on Niche. Keep personal away from blogging or create an another blog for your personal stories.
- Keep trying new things.
- Focus on content first, earning 2nd.
- Motivate yourself.