Please tell us something about yourself? Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
It’s good to be interviewed on your blog, Marco. Blogging is my profession, though let me add here that I started blogging as a hobby. It has now become my full-time occupation, which I’m very passionate about. I started my online career with freelance writing – blogging was totally unexpected and unplanned.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
After starting off successfully with my freelance writing career, it was by the end of 2010 that I decided to create my own blog in a way to improve my writing, showcase my ability to write on various niche topics, and to create a portfolio of my writing works.
Being a blogger and writer, it’s essential to be online, especially as I have a full-fledged blog community to maintain.
So, I am always online blogging and doing other tasks, including promoting my posts on the various social networks, bookmarking sites, forums, directories and other places. Not to mention commenting, whether on my blog or visiting other blogs, this makes me stay online for a long time.
Did you have someone help you make your blog or did you do it by yourself?
As I started my blogs on the free Blogger’s platform earlier, it was easy to set it up. However, my husband, Vinay, has always been there to help me. He has always been working behind the scenes of Aha!NOW and is responsible for establishing and speeding up the blog, setting up all the features, plugins, and other technical aspects of the blog. I’d be totally lost without his help in this regard! Recently, he’s even commenced his blog services page, which we have started on our blog.
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Yes, the right domain name is essential, and it’s good if it’s a name related to your niche and the one that includes a keyword to show up in the searches.
However, being a new blogger, I did not know anything about how to choose the right domain name. I just thought of having a unique name, and Aha!NOW for me was like “Eureka” for Archimedes. My husband and I discussed on it for a few minutes and just booked the name, so it was almost an instantaneous decision. Having said that, if we knew about the importance of a domain name, we might have done things differently.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
Presently I am using premium WordPress themes by StudioPress and ThemeForest, and my sites are hosted on Siteground and DigitalOcean.
My must have plugins are Yoast SEO, Wordfence, Jetpack, Akismet, and W3 Total Cache. Other than these I have used the CommentLuv Premium plugin for sometime on my blog. I do not use any SEO plugin or applications but I might try them later.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
I use WordPress on my blog though I started off on the Blogger platform. I find that WordPress is better and easier to manage. I do not find it hard to do anything on my WordPress blog. Probably it is because I’m by now so used to it.
Nevertheless, the entire process of blogging, consisting of creating new posts, inserting images, formatting the posts, publishing it, and then managing the comments is simple on WordPress.
How much time do you spend blogging?
A LOT of time! Now that blogging is my profession, I need to regard it as my business and put in as much time as possible. Not to mention that blogging also consists of taking care of the social media, blog visits, comments, the blog community, taking care of the emails, and lots more!
However, as bloggers we need to wear many hats, thus if we know the fine art of time-management, we can get things done in a systematic way.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
There is no one way to promote a blog, but yes I always share my posts on the various social networks once they are published.I personally share blog posts on my Facebook profile and both the fan pages, Google Plus profile and page, and of course Twitter and my Twitter pages too.
Other than these main platforms, there is LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, other bookmarking sites, and Pinterest, which works wonders for my blog as it brings me daily traffic.
All these social media channels attract several visitors to my site, though a lot depends how interactive your audience is on these networks and how many fans or followers you have there.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Of course, there are many ways to monetize a blog. It depends on what type of blog, blog audience, and blog niche you have.
I’ve always used Google Adsense since the beginning and tried some banner advertising, which are the easiest ways to make money online. However, if you’re more interested in making money, it’s best to try sponsored posts/reviews, affiliate ads and links, selling personal ebooks and products, and finally, personal consultancy.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Being a professional blogger, I would certainly encourage others to start their own blogs. However, the type of blog you create would depend on your needs. But as a blogger, you need be consistent and committed, and give in your best before expecting any kinds of returns. If you are willing to do all of this and are passionate about blogging, then blogging is for you.
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
Blogging can be fun, and you can only be successful in it if you take it seriously as a profession, especially if you wish to earn from your blog, eventually.
Blogging can give you name and fame internationally, I know as it has done to me. If not completely substituting your income, your blog can at least be a source of supplemental income.
As a new blogger, you need to take out a little time daily to read other blogs and learn from the leaders or the successful bloggers. Spend time to know what you’ve to do, and create a plan of how you’re going to achieve your aim.
If you wish to become a successful blogger, you need to be regular, dedicated, committed, and be there to help others with the best of your intentions. Remember, it’s always about others more than yourself in blogging. 🙂
Life is short – make it worth the while 🙂
If you wish to connect with me – here are my various profiles –
Blog – Aha-now.com
New Blog – HarleenaSingh.com (coming soon!)
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/harleenasingh.freelancewriter
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/harleenas
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/harleenasingh
Photos ©: Aha!NOW