You have been a well known blogger and an inspiration to many other new bloggers. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Hi, I am Abhishek Shukla. I am a simple person from Raisen - a small town in Madhya Pradesh. I am living in Bhopal since 2007. I have completed my engineering in Computer Science from Bhopal in 2008 and got a placement in TCS (Tata Consultancy Servieces) and Genpac. But my destiny made me a blogger. Now I am a full time blogger and a technical analyst doing trading in the stock market.
How old are you? How many years you have been blogging? How many blogs you have? Does any family members help you in blogging?
I am 25 years old. I created my first blog in 2002, but I started professional blogging from 2009. I have number of domains now but I have only two active blogs. These are Techifire.com and Techvyom.com
How did you come to know about blogging? How was your beginning in the blogging? Can you tell us about your first blog?
I started blogging long ago during my college days. I simply used to post things that I used to study those days on GATE exam. But I was not aware of making commercial use of blogging. I read about Amit Agarwal and Adsense Program in a website and signed up for it. My blog was already having traffic and soon I started making some money through Ad Sense program. This increased my interest in blogging and I started taking it seriously.
What makes your blog interesting to your current readers? What made your blog popular?
My blog is popular among the students preparing for GATE exam, specially the computer science students. I provide topic wise questions of the previous year exams, which are liked very much by my readers. This has helped to make the blog popular.
What is your background in the niche you are blogging? Are you a technical person ? Why did you choose this niche?
Being an engineering graduate in computer science, I have technical background. I didn't do any research before selecting the education niche. In fact the domain looks more like a tech blog than an educational blog. I was just sharing the things I study on my blog. Later I realized I was not making enough money because my niche was not so competitive and all my readers are from India only. So I started a tech blog that can attract global traffic.
What do you do in order to keep up with latest tools and technologies?Which websites you browse regularly? From which source do you update your knowledge?
I watch and read more and more news to keep myself updated about the latest technology trends. Daily I visit Google News website and sometimes with several visits a day. I have also subscribed lots of news websites RSS feed , which I read through Google reader.
What are the technology websites and blogs you are associated with? How many blogs you have? Do you write articles in other sites?
Techifire.com is my technology website and techvyom.com is my educational website. I have few more blogs but these are not so active. I have written guest posts on many websites.
What do you do when you are not building software or contributing in technical web sites and blogs?
Beside blogging, trading in stock market is my full time work. So when I am not blogging, I study about technical analysis on various stocks. I also like studying astrology. I am interested in politics and I am a member of Bharatiya Janata Party's National IT cell.
How is your daily schedule? How many hours you work on your blog?
I stay with my laptop for at least 8 hours a day. I start my day with analysis of various stocks charts. Then I go to Google News to check what is new in the tech world. I try to pick topics to write from news and trend analysis websites. And then I do research on it for writing a quality post. All these things go together with my trading. I fully devote to my blogs on weekends. I check the site for broken links and 404 errors and I do weekly maintenance work like optimizing database, fixing errors, creating backup etc
Which webmaster / blogger is your role model? Which sites/blogs you like to follow?
Anil Agarwaal is my role model in blogging. I started blogging after reading about him only. Some of the blogs that I regularly follow are seomoz, searchengineland, techcruch, mashable, readwriteweb etc.
Who are the top 5 technical experts/bloggers in your network? Can you mention the names of the big bloggers in your friends list/network?
I made a lot of good friends while blogging. Some of them are Amit Shaw of itech code, Rakesh Kumar, Atish Ranjan, Avijit and Naveen Thakur
What do you think about the future of blogging? Do you think it will continue to be a profitable business in the long run?
Competition is tough these days and only the best ones can survive. In future it will be tougher to blog as it can become a good business. The bloggers need to explore new niches. It won't be easy to survive with very common niches likes Blogging, SEO, Tech, Gadgets etc.
What are your future plans? Are you planning to be a full time blogger? Any other online business you plan to start?
In would like to start few new blogs on different niches. I will always be a blogger, I don't think I can ever leave it. It requires frequent update of posts, I am looking to start a portal. I have plan to go for further studies also and to start my own web development company.
Do you use affiliate marketing to earn revenue? What is your advice to others on affiliate marketing?
I do use affiliate on one of my blog. Affiliate marketing works only when you have loyal targeted readers. If any blogger is looking to make money from affiliate sales, then I would suggest him to blog on particular topic or niches only, do not post multiple kinds of articles on same blog. I see many bloggers are writing about seo, blogging, gadgets, tips and tricks and the like on the same blog. If you are doing this then its very difficult to become successful with affiliate marketing. You have to build quality readers for your blog.
Which source of revenue you suggest as an alternative to Google Adsense?
Truly speaking there is no real alternative to Google Adsense. Some alternatives are yahoo publisher network, Chitka, Buysellads and affiliates can also work well if the traffic and sites ranking is good.
Which are the online social communities you are most active on?
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc are some of the communities where I am most active. LinkedIn is good for connecting with like-minded people it has comparatively less spam than Facebook and twitter.
Most big bloggers have reported that their revenue has been coming down in last few years due to high competition. How is your earnings in last few years? Are they growing? How is your traffic growing?
Like everyone, I am also facing the heat of competition and Google Algo updates. I do lose traffic when my sites gets affected from Google update. But most of the time I am able to recover the traffic after taking appropriate recovery measures. To reduce the effect of competition now I am blogging on multiple niches. My traffic level are nearly consistent, sometimes get good spike in traffic when any post becomes viral.
How did blogging help you personally other than making money?
Blogging has give a lot to me. Whatever I am today is because of blogging only. I could not join TCS because of undergoing multiple surgeries. I used to stay quite depressed because of losing a good job at TCS. Blogging helped me to recover from depression. After I started earning from blogging, I started to trade in the stock market with the money I earned from blogging. Since I have studied technical analysis, my stocks trading also did well. Now I am a successful trader also, I give its credit to blogging. With blogging and trading, I am earning more than what my friends are earning by working with TCS that too with the comfort of being my own boss. It has helped me a lot at personal level.
How do you socialize?
Socializing is very important from a blogger. By being social you can improve the traffic on your blog. I do commenting of other blogs, stay active on social media sites, interact with my readers by responding to their comments and by trying best to solve their queries to socialize.
What does your family think about your blogs?
My family has supported me in blogging but they want me to be a part time blogger not full time. They feel that career in blogging is not so secure. When I started blogging I used to get checks once in 2-3 months and my father use to say you can't run your life with such small amounts, leave blogging and look for a job. After I started making good regular income, his views changed. He understands blogging better now and supports me.
What do you think about the Panda and Penguin updates from Google? Did your blogs get affected by it?
Luckily my blogs were not affected by Panda update, but the penguin update did hit my blogs. I had never checked the quality of links pointing to my blogs. After finding the reason of getting affected by penguin update, I worked on the recovery and got improvement in the traffic. Though Panda Penguin update aims to reduce spam, but it has negatively affected genuine quality websites as well. Blogging has became tougher because of Google Algo updates.
What advice you give to other bloggers to avoid Panda/Penguin penalties?.
Write quality contents, do not copy and paste. Pay attention to SEO also. To avoid penguin keep checking the links pointing to your site regularly and if you find any bad links pointing to your site do take appropriate measures.
What do you think about the future of SEO?
Many people are saying that Google is getting smarter and smarter and SEO may die in future, but I feel SEO will never be dead. If your niche is not so competitive then you can do well without any SEO , just by writing quality posts. But for a competitive niche you must know SEO as it is a continuous learning. Keep learning and keep experimenting. I have also not paid much attention to SEO before the panda and penguin update. From my experience I can say you can't survive without the knowledge of SEO in blogging world.
What is you advice - focus on a single site or create several sites in various niche?
Well it all depends on niche you are working on. You can stay more productive and focused on single site than on multiple sites. If you can get good amount of traffic on your niche blog then I would suggest you to stick to the same blog and keep on growing it. If you have expertise in multiple areas then you can have blogs on multiple niche. Don't start any blog on any niche just because some other blogger is doing well on it. Work on only those niches where you can write quality contents.
I have seen in many online blogger communities, many bloggers sharing insulting information about other prominent bloggers. What is your take on such unhealthy practices?
I believe blogging is a field where you should be friendly with other bloggers. Competition is good but don't make anyone your enemy. If you can post negative about anyone then he also can do the same to you.
Which technology company you like the most - Microsoft/Google/Apple? And why? Which company you think will be doing the best after 5 years from now?
I think open source and free things do better. Chrome or Android, Google has more free offer than others. Recently iOS lost its positing to android as number one smartphone platform. Samsung phones are doing well than Apple. Once Hotmail was popular now its Gmail. Microsoft needs to be more innovative. I like Google the most and believe Google will continue to do better than others.
Read Impact of Social Media on Search Engine Optimization
Published interview with Abhishek Shukla will help me to improve my blogs further. But in the interview, it is not clear if the only tech savvy individuals could become successful bloggers or even senior citizens with lot of non technical domain knowledge can be successful bloggers by launching social blogs or sites for the benefit of the society without expecting any thing other than recognition. The article is a good guide for new bloggers.