They say, experience is the best teacher.
Not wrong at all. But, life is too short to experience yourself and learn from it. You can learn from other’s experiences too.
This is why I am trying to bring Professional bloggers at QuestionCage, who are actually making money from blogging.
Digging in their life. Their Journey. Their Do’s and Don’ts. Everything you need to learn about.
And in the process, I am fortunate enough to share an Interview with Santanu Debnath who is blogging for years now.
Get access to his brain, from which he is making money online as a blogger. Reading this interview closely will be fruitful to all of you.
What will You Learn from Santanu Debnath’s Interview?
- Hustle for the passion, despite having a full-time job.
- What is important for successful Affiliate Marketing
- How to Find and Promote correct Products
- Correct Blogging Mind Set to Make Money from it
- Quick – Rapid Fire Bogging Questions
- Thumb Rule – How to Blog consistently [Asked on readers request]
Hi Santanu, it’s a pleasure to have you on QuestionCage. And I always love to listen to the stories of established bloggers.
Certainly, you are one of them and I know you have a lot to share. After all, it is a decade of experience. Please speak your heart.
1. Please Introduce Yourself and your blog, Who still might not aware of?
Thank you, Navin, for inviting me to share my journey & experience in front of your audience. It’s an honor for me.
Hello friends, I am Santanu Debnath, a Software Engineer by profession & a blogger by passion. Through my blog BloggingJOY.com, I help people to create a blog & grow as a blogger.
Blogging is one of the best ways to share your knowledge & create a side hustle besides your full-time job or business. But it needs a lot of passion & dedication to help others.
Besides this one, I have a few more blogs out of which I would love to mention MoneyGyaan.com, where I share personal finance-related topics.
2. How and what Incident made you get into Blogosphere?
Back in 2007, somehow I came to know that we can earn money from the internet. At that time after coming from the office, I used to search the internet for some make money online opportunities.
It was like a time pass beside my full-time job and gradually I thought to try different ways.
The majority of those Make Money Online schemes were fake at that time. I lost some money as well. It was my second year in the job, so my entire focus was doing best at that and whenever I got time, I utilized that on the internet looking for such opportunities.
This attitude took huge time and by 2009 end I came to know about Google AdSense. Although I got to know about blogging earlier, I never thought to give it a try.
Personal Journey: Deep Dive
I & my wife Manidipa started our first blog on recipe niche. The domain is still available with us, ManidipasKitchen.com. But that time we didn’t have much knowledge and we did all the mistakes that most people do in their early days of blogging. It was on the Blogger platform. Then we started a news website covering various categories, but mostly on personal finance.
In 2012, we took some serious decisions when we spend around Rs. 25,000 to move our blog to WordPress.
From that day, we never looked back and started blogging seriously. Later on, Manidipa left her job and opted for Blogging as a full-time career in 2014 with WPBlogging360.com.
My interest and activity for blogging were going on parallelly beside my job. I tried many websites during those years. Back in 2017, I decided to do something serious in blogging and started BloggingJOY.com where I started sharing my knowledge & experience on Blogging & WordPress.
Things have changed from 2018 when I first met Sumit Sao on Facebook. I know almost every single blogger in India but I never communicated with them. But from 2018 after I met him, this has changed and I started my Facebook Group.
3. Full-time Job Or, Blogging Career, What satisfies You the most?
I would say, both. I love my work too much and have done very well at that. But it’s not always the same.
Blogging has come as a huge stress-buster for work. The best way to get relaxed in my entire career has always been writing an article.
At the same time, blogging continuously is very monotonous and boring. So, I need my normal life, work routine to get some motivation to write something for my blog.
Quick Ones – Rapid Fire
- Long-Form Article Or Short Ones: I love to write both the forms (depending upon the blog).
- Content Or Backlinks (Priority): Of course content. Without content, what we will create backlinks for!
- More Important Link Building Or Keyword Research: I am not a keyword research guy, I would love to give priority to Link Building.
- Money Or Fame (What matters the most for you): Both. Money to fulfill my minimal needs and fame among a group of like-minded people.
- Branded Anchor Text Or Generic Anchor: Mixing both smartly works best.
How do you perform Keyword Research for your blogs?
As I said earlier, I don’t stress much about keyword research. Because I know that I am going to write on almost everything over time.
But that doesn’t mean, I just pick topics blindly and write on them without a focus on ranking them.
In my blog BloggingJOY.com, I mostly target tutorials that will help the bloggers to learn something or fix some issues. Besides that, I also target Buyer intent keywords around affiliate products.
I prefer to cover all the long tail versions around the main topic so that I can create a good piece of content on that.
Besides that, I keep an eye on my competitors on a similar niche and try to pick topics from their high-traffic keywords.
What are your Blog Monetization Methods, and your suggestion for new blogs?
I have tried multiple income streams from different blogs in the last many years. I started with the Google AdSense program which worked very well for me back in 2014-2015. Followed by sponsored posts from Indian Personal Finance companies.
Later on, I entered into affiliate marketing which has changed my perception of blogging.
Initially, I tried a few Indian Affiliate Networks and created a Shopping & Deals website. Through Cuelinks, that website made more than 30,000 from the first 3-4 months. And I think as a part-time blogger it was a good income.
But later on, I lost that blog, but my interest in affiliate marketing increased. Finally, I entered the WordPress niche and did very well in the last few years. Last year during the Black Friday Cyber Monday Sale, I experimented with a sub-domain on my blog and it went on to get a huge success. I have shared a detailed case study on that.
So, I would say affiliate marketing is the best. But that doesn’t mean other monetization techniques are not good. It depends upon the individual, in which kind of monetization technique one finds their real happiness of blogging.
Five Affiliate Marketing tips For a New Blog?
Time has changed completely and I believe in 2020, almost everything is available online. Blogging & Affiliate Marketing are not secrets anymore and people are aware that these are good career options.
So, I don’t think I have any secret tips to share here. But still, I would like to mention a few of the key things that a beginner must keep in mind while starting with Affiliate Marketing.
1. Understanding the search intent is very crucial in affiliate marketing. If you don’t know what is buyer intent keyword and what are the different versions, then you can’t get good conversions. I have created a video on this topic, I am sure that will be useful to you.
2. Find a product according to your blog niche and focus on promoting that genuinely through practical ways, so that your readers can get benefitted from that.
3. Don’t sign up with many affiliate networks to promote 100s of programs form your blog. If you can’t promote a single product and get sales, what’s the point of joining 100s of products?
4. The best way to promote any affiliate product is by using the product yourself. This way you can easily share your honest opinions, create various how-to guides to help people, and provide genuine feedback to the users.
5. Work hard to create trust among your readers and grow as an authority in your niche. This will help in the long run to increase your affiliate conversion as more people will trust you and they will follow your recommendations. Don’t follow any shortcuts, if you want to play safely in the long run.
More than a decade of experience, Share your learnings from it?
That’s true, it is a long way for me. One thing I still feel is that I started taking actions very late. But that’s how I have learned from my own mistakes and reached the current situation whatever I am today. Few of the learnings I would love to share here:
You must ask yourself which topic you are good at. Like many beginners, I had spent a few years working on a multi-niche blog where I used to write on many categories. But with time, I lost that blog and also focus as I got confused with so many niches. Finally, when I thought a lot, I found my true interest and from then I am enjoying my journey.
Don’t compare it with other bloggers. I am following many bloggers from the last 10+ years who did tremendous in their careers.
Whatever they achieved in those years, one can’t get that in just a few months. It’s not about creating a website and outrank them in Google and make some $$$$. It’s about the reputation, the authority they build which takes time.
Don’t consider the amount of money as the measurement of success in blogging. Many people think that someone making thousands of dollars from blogging is a successful blogger. Money is important, but it’s not a reason to feel content & satisfied. Many amazing bloggers are making millions, but no-one is aware of that.
The Internet is an awesome place to make money. But if you are not sharing your knowledge with others, don’t help others then after some time, you will feel alone and motiveless even if with millions of dollars in your bank account.
So, make friends & share your knowledge.
Five SEO Tips to boost the organic traffic for a new blog?
Well, I am not an SEO expert. I know that many beginners are doing amazing with their SEO skills and they are able to outrank authority blogs in Google. But still, I follow certain SEO points while creating content for my blog.
1. Collect all the long-tail keywords and relative keywords for the main keyword. I always try to put them while creating the content.
2. Keep paragraphs short and readable. Write in your voice and narrate things in a story format.
3. Always use H2 tags to cover the long-tail versions of the main keyword and under them H3 tags to cover more details.
4. I always use Table Of Contents, Bullet points & Table wherever possible. These help to improve the readability and also increase the chance to capture Featured Snippet in Google.
5. Use a WordPress SEO Plugin like Rank Math or Yoast SEO Plugin. So that you can keep a check on the various SEO points.
How did you make your first dollar, please share that journey?
It was from Google AdSense. It took many months to accumulate the first $100 on my AdSense account. As mentioned earlier, it was a recipe blog where I & Manidipa used to publish various recipes. But that blog hardly had any traffic for months.
Later on, I started a multi-niche blog, GetAheadIndia where I started sharing articles on Personal Finance & everyday life how-to guides. Later on, we moved to a new domain MyDailyLifeTips.com in 2012. It was on WordPress. From that time, things started to change and we were able to grow that blog significantly in the next few months.
I remember we made more than $600 a month from that blog back in 2014. It was a very good amount for us at that time. But after that due to many Google Algorithm changes, we lost traffic by the end of 2014. By that time, my interest moved towards WordPress & Blogging niche and I couldn’t give enough focus to that blog.
What Would be your suggestions to a New Blogger Mindset?
Well, 2020 is a different era compared to 2007. At that time there were hardly any bloggers or useful content available to learn about blogging. Now everyone knows that one can make a good amount of money from blogging and the competition has also increased a lot. You will find almost everything on the internet to learn from scratch.
I have only one suggestion to all the new bloggers – don’t be in a hurry to create a blog by following a successful model. Give enough time to understand the process, find out whether you have a genuine interest in that category or not, and whether you will be able to give enough time to grow your blog. You have to create this mind-set first as blogging needs a huge time. And if you ignore this part, failure is not far away!
🏆 Special – On Reader’s request – How to write content for the blog consistently?
There is no such rule to write content on your blog continuously.
But if I have to answer this question, 2 things are coming in my mind.
In case you are running a news website or a blog with multiple categories, then it is quite easy to write as much content as you can.
But that’s a tedious task with a different purpose. If you consider a blog like mine where I talk around a single broad category, here the challenge is different.
There are plenty of topics to write about, but we have to make sure that we are writing on topics where we can share our experience & knowledge. Personally, I follow a lot of blogs on a similar niche and always focus on their topics.
This always helps me to find out the topics to write on my blog. Besides that, I also follow Quora, YouTube, Social Platforms (e.g. Facebook Groups), forums where people raise questions. This is the best way to find topics that people are looking for.
When you have plenty of topics or blog post ideas, then you will definitely find your way of writing them gradually.
Take Away: It’s me, Navin
Hey Friends, I tried to dig a lot of information from Santanu and his blogging career. I hope there are some good takeaways for you from it.
To Interviewee – Santanu, it was great to have access to your brain. I always believe every individual person can make one learn a lot.
People are so much talented, just like you. We just need to learn and shine ourselves. The process should keep going.
Blogging is about patiently doing right things at right time, just like any other businesses.
Are you are learning from our Pro blogger Interview series at QuestionCage?
Feel free to share your opinion from this interview!