Over the years blogging has grown into an industry where individuals and content creators can get started with their own online platform. WordPress has also made the process of creating content and websites extremely easy. Once a user has invested the time and effort in understanding how valuable content is created and how Google and social media are used to increase traffic to their website, the real magic happens.
Today, with Bilal Ahmad of Techmaish.com, we're going to cover these topics and more in this latest edition of Meet the Bloggers. We hope that his journey in blogging, affiliate marketing and SEO inspires you and that you achieve new goals month after month.
Who are you and how did you get into blogging?
First off, thank you Zac Johnson for having me on your blog. I am honored to share my thoughts with your readers. My name is Bilal Ahmad and I come from Peshawar, Pakistan. I started my blogging journey in 2008 with a dial-up connection. It was hard to browse the internet on a 56kbps connection, but it was pretty fun.
I started TechMaish.com in 2008 and started writing about the latest happenings in the world of technology. Over time and as I acquired knowledge, I also started sharing my thoughts on blogging, SEO, social media, and other internet related topics.
Additionally, while my first priority was making money from my blog, I was very keen to establish my name in the blogging world. At first I didn't care about making money and I just focused on networking and building my brand. It worked well and now I make enough money to live a luxurious life.
What's the backstory of your blog and how did you choose the niche?
When I used Yahoo Messenger and Orkut every day in 2008, I found that people make money on the Internet. It motivated me to dig deep into the MMO field. I started digging and learning how to do it. First, I got to know about PTC sites like NeoBux and other scam sites. Although it wasted my time and only made a few dollars, it taught me that it is indeed possible to make money on the internet.
When I finally knew about blogging and affiliate marketing, I started my blog TechMaish.com and other niche-related affiliate blogs. Within a year I started making money, which further motivated me to compete with others. At that time I was following the Raymond.cc blog and wanted to start a similar blog. I ran a competitive analysis and started ranking for the same keywords that the blog ranked. Fortunately, I managed to score some popular keywords. Which resulted in decent traffic coming to my blog.
At that time, I was a commercial student living in a hostel in Peshawar City for training. It was difficult for me to cover my expenses. However, blogging has helped me a lot in making my dreams come true. Later on, in addition to completing my MBA, I made my life luxurious thanks to the income from my TechMaish blog and other niche partner websites.
Describe how to get your blog / website up and running.
Due to the unavailability of PayPal in Pakistan, I had to start my blogging journey with Blogger.com. Because it was free and easy for me to learn its basics. Later, with the help of a friend, I managed to buy a domain name and hosting account for my blog. I migrated my blogger blog to WordPress. I hired Harsh Agarwal from ShoutMeLoud.com to do the migration because I knew very little about PHP.
The first thing I did to get readers to my blog was to post comments on popular and relevant blogs. That not only helped me to build my network, but also the readership. For me, however, it was Google Traffic that helped me make money. To rank by keywords, I targeted Raymond.cc and other blogs to find low-competition keywords. This strategy worked very well and within a year I was able to get up to 3000 / month traffic from Google.
How do you generate income on your blog?
The first thing I did to make money on my blog was Adsense. It's one of the best and most lucrative monetization method for any blogger. It was difficult to approve an Adsense account at the time, but luckily I approved it very quickly.
Along with Adsense, I am now selling ad space, sponsored posts, and reviews on my blog.
I also use affiliate marketing, but I use niche blogs for this because they convert very well. I use ClickBank, JVZoo, and a few other CPA sites.
What strategies are you using to build and increase traffic for your blog?
The first and most important step in increasing traffic is building a network. While search engine optimization is the most popular way to increase traffic, building a network is important in the long run. Which in turn will increase traffic. In the blogging space, when you are connected with other bloggers, it is quite easy to get backlinks, mentions, and other benefits from them that can directly or indirectly increase traffic.
My suggestion to new bloggers is to keep in touch with your fellow bloggers and always help them out when they need your help. This will help you build your network over time and add traffic and sales in the long run.
How do you add to your email list?
In all honesty, this is the only area I am not that active in. As we all know, it is said that "there is money on the list" which is true, but not everyone can create and maintain an email list in the long run. I still have problems in this area, and that's because I didn't put a lot of effort into it.
How do you write content that works well and that readers love?
Most of my content comes from other bloggers and I write very little these days. Because I receive dozens of articles every day. However, when I write my own articles, I follow the steps below.
- The first thing I look for is the trend of the subject. I only write on trending topics.
- Once the topic is set, I will do my best to provide the article with information so that users can recommend it and share it on social media. I'm also trying to reduce my bounce rate, which is very important if you want Google to perceive your content as quality.
- After the content is published, all my efforts will go into promoting it. Which is the crucial part if you want to grow Google rankings.
What obstacles did you face in order to start and grow your blog?
English is not my first language and this limited my ability to write good content or even communicate with other bloggers in the first few days. It took me some time to effectively write and share my content to grow my blog.
What lessons did you learn while creating your blog?
I started my blogging career at Blogger.com, but limitations made it difficult to customize and optimize my blog. I decided on the Self Hosted Blogging Platform under WordPress. I made this decision in the early stages and I think this is a good decision for my blog to grow.
I also learned that many articles won't help you get traffic, but the quality of the content is critical to traffic growth. At first I had to stick to posting at least 1 article per day, but slowly I realized that even 1 article per week can increase traffic if it's well promoted.
I recommend any new blogger to focus on high quality content and then promote it well. This way you can increase your blog traffic in less time.
What platform / tools do you use for your blog?
As I mentioned earlier, WordPress is a very good platform for bloggers. It has a lot of features and works really well with the Google search engine.
Then it is recommended to use Thesis Theme for its simplicity, robust coding structure and super fast loadability.
I also use the Semrush tool to find trending and most searched keywords on Google. Because I can only write about the topics that bring traffic.
What were the most influential people, books, podcasts, courses, or other resources?
I always follow Neit Patel from QuickSprout.com because he is very knowledgeable about the blogging industry and gives very useful tips.
In the early stages of my blogging, I followed Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com because he was one of the first successful bloggers at the time.
Advice to share with other bloggers / entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
For new bloggers, I would like to recommend the following:
- Start your blogging career with the self-hosted WordPress platform.
- Write high quality and trending content and make a habit of writing 1000+ words along with screenshots, references to sources of authority and links to research.
- Put all of your efforts to promote your articles. Create as many backlinks as possible.
- Build a network so you can stay in the blogging industry long term.
Where can we find out more?
Thanks again to Bilal for taking the time to share his advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you are interested in learning more about other bloggers and how they succeed online, be sure to check out our blogger interview series.
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