You have been a well known blogger and an inspiration to many other new bloggers. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Hi everyone, this is Pradeep Kumar, CEO & Founder of Slashsquare, an Indian Blog Network and Web Consulting Media. I'm a fun-loving guy, Blogger, Internet Marketer, Movie Freak, Atheist and a proud Indian. I'm also an engineering graduate, but yes, not an engineer.
How old are you? How many years you have been blogging? How many blogs you have? Does any family member help you in blogging?
I'm 23 years old and I have been blogging for the past 7 to 8 years. I created it like I would normally create an email address, but eventually it became a vital part of my routine work. I'm running Slashsquare blog network which has HellBound Bloggers (HBB), HostLater and MoviesDrop.
My family members know that I'm a full-time blogger, at first they were confused whether it could be a replacement for other standard jobs, but now, after understanding that I love it so much, they settled down with my views.
How did you come to know about blogging/how was your beginning in the blogging/Tell about your first blog
Thanks to Google's Blogger platform, I think now it's very easy for almost anyone to create a blog easily and that too within seconds. The same happened to me before several years, I just randomly created a blog without even knowing about it, I thought it was just another email system or something like Orkut sort of thing.
Then read so much about blogging online, I understood it is more than just a web space, it is like a tool. I then considered it as a medium for sharing my views, I started having so many weird names for my Blogspot blogs and then I settled down with "HellBound Bloggers (HBB)".
I used that blog to write about various topics like quotes, entertainment, cinema gossips, etc. Then I started having craze for gadgets, I started to write about them constantly. After that, I deleted all those blog posts and started to blog somewhat professionally about Orkut tricks, Windows Tips, etc. I think after this I took Blogging way too seriously.
What makes your blog interesting to your current readers/What made your blog popular?
This is a complicated question, I usually blog about things I like and then I look at that myself as a reader. If I'm ok with both of that, then I'll blog about it no matter what happens.
I always compare the blog post I'm going to write with other blog posts which were already published, I'll see the pros and cons with both the posts and try to make a new one.
What is your background in the niche you are blogging/Are you a technical person/why did you choose this niche?
I'm not an expert in any niche, I'm just a passionate and curious learner. I loved Internet and Social Media, so HellBound Bloggers (HBB). I loved Web Hosting and Domains, so HostLater. I loved Movies and T.V. Series, so MoviesDrop. And then I loved Gadgets & Gizmos, so DeviceBAR.
I have another set of blogs yet to be launched, it's more like I believe, starting a blog about a topic I love to learn more will help me to become a detailed person in that field. :)
What do you do in order to keep up with latest tools and technologies/Which websites your browse regularly/What is your source of up to date knowledge
Thanks to mobile apps, I'm constantly using various news apps like CNN, BBC, and other standard publications. I sometimes use AllTop and Google News to keep track of any interesting stuffs that are currently happening.
What are the technology websites and blogs you are associated with/How many blogs you have/do you write articles in other sites
HellBound Bloggers (HBB), HostLater and DeviceBAR are the 3 blogs I usually write about Technology stuffs. I totally own and manage 4 blogs. I rarely write on other blogs, but I have written around 10 guest posts on various blogs during my blogging journey.
What do you do when you are not building software or contributing in technical web sites and blogs?
I usually read books or watch movies. Apart from these, I take a long walk listening to music. If it drizzles then it'll be a very long walk. ;)
How is your daily schedule/how many hours you work in your blog
Again it's another complicated question. I usually blog when I want to blog, I rarely follow any schedule these days. I have a list and I'll write the things I need to complete in a day. If I'm successful then I'll complete it within few hours and spend the rest of the day with other stuffs.
Which webmaster/blogger is your role model? Which sites/blogs you like to follow?
I follow all the passionate bloggers, I learn from them a lot. I followed TheOatmeal site for a while, I loved the way they manage to share information via graphics and stuffs
Do you have any bad experience from other bloggers? What was the biggest challenge you ever faced?
With other Bloggers? I don't really think so, people have ups and downs, I usually see the bright side and try to find the best in them.
Biggest challenge I have ever faced? Promoting all my blogs without spamming. I think that's the biggest challenge a blogger would face.
Who are the top 5 technical experts/bloggers in your network? Can you mention the name of the big bloggers in your friends list/network?
I never believed in the number game, there are several talented bloggers in my friends list, some of them are even newbie bloggers. I have been in touch with so many bloggers, let them be popular or not, I learned one thing very clearly - There is not a good ranking system to rank them. Some people see the money they earned, the Facebook or Twitter followers they, their blog stats, etc.., it's really hard these days.
What do you think about the future of blogging? Do you think it will continue to be a profitable business in the long run?
Bloggers will have a huge competition with their fellow bloggers and online journalists. But Blogging won't be down, maybe the trends will change, but it won't be down for sure. Just like printed books have value no matter how ebooks rule the world, same goes for Blogging.
Making Profit out of Blogging is up to the Blogger's talent and his hard work towards his blog. He should be creative and determined enough to stand up against his competitors and make a good image out of it.
What are your future plans/Are you planning to be a fulltime blogger/Any other online business you plan to start
My goal or idea is very simple, I needed to form a blog network covering the topics I love, so that I can interact and learn more along with the like-minded people. Full time or part time I'll be a Blogger nevertheless. ;)
I'm also planning to involve with Slashsquare (as a Web Consulting Media) full-time, so will making some changes with a strategy.
Do you like to share your earnings/how much you make from your blogs/which are your highest earning blogs/what are the sources of income. (list the monthly income in each site from each source, if ready to disclose)
No, I rarely or I won't actually do that. I never wanted my traffic source or income revenue to be a motivation or inspiration for other people. Or I don't want them to define me as well.
Do you use affiliate marketing to earn revenue? What is your advice to others on affiliate marketing?
I'm a beginner in Affiliate Marketing, thanks to Flipkart and Amazon, I have been experimenting a lot in this income field. Affiliate Marketing, apart from other income sources, made me a better businessman, like I'm investing some money (like FB Ads, content, etc) and waiting for my return.
If you are new to Affiliate Marketing, pick a trending topic (say Moto E), become an expert in this, write various blog posts about it and create social media profiles promoting it. This will help you to understand how it works.
Which source of revenue you suggest as an alternative to Google AdSense?
For us it would be paid/sponsored reviews, , there was a time when we got around 300$ for a single review. It was like I wrote 5 reviews and spend rest of the days working normally.
Which are the online social communities you are most active on.
Facebook (http://facebook.com/spradeepkr), Twitter (http://twitter.com/spradeepkr) and Quora (http://www.quora.com/Pradeep-KumarS) are the major ones I would say.
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?
Paid/Sponsored reviews were one of our major income sources, but since Google started to hate it, we couldn't really focus on continuing it, so we decided to stop for a bit. But then, we moved our focus on Affiliate Marketing and we are getting a decent income there. So it got even.
The earnings are pretty average these days since I'm investing a lot on domains, advertisements and hosting. A LOT! :D
How did blogging help you personally other than making money?
Blogging gave me a medium to share my thoughts, I'm very grateful for that. Blogging helped me in several ways, my command over language, my knowledge, my beliefs & disbeliefs and moreover it helped me to find various interesting people in Blogosphere.
How do you socialise?
I'll talk with everyone as if they are childhood friends. Because I believe, every best friend was once a stranger we never met. :)
What does your family think about your blogs?
I don't really think they know the names of my blogs properly, but they do know that I write on them frequently. :D
What do you think about the Panda and Penguin updates from Google? Did your blogs get affected by it? What advice you give to other bloggers to avoid Panda/Penguin penalties?
Google is trying its best to clean the web and make it uniform, so I think it's OK as long as they are following standard procedure, but it really hurts when it affects a blog which didn't do anything wrong. My blogs were not affected that much but we were able to recover that since most of our posts are written by guest authors.
Keep up to date about Google's algorithms, follow basic SEO stuffs, and write quality posts. I think these 3 are fine to become Panda and Penguin friendly.
What do you think about the future of SEO?
Apart from Google and Bing, people should also focus on Baidu. The future of SEO, just like the future of Blogging, won't change that much. Google wants to understand your blog posts, pick a proper one and give to their users. So SEO algorithms will come and go, but it lives forever.
What you advice - focus on a single site or create several sites in various niche?
At first, I started HellBound Bloggers (HBB) and I was thinking like, I'll use this blog to write about everything I love - Movies, Gadgets, Politics, Lifestyle, Social Media, etc. But then it's a very huge circle and it was very hard to form a community around it. Then migrated a part from HBB and started HostLater. Then I started MoviesDrop and DeviceBAR. I once decided to blog about all these topics on HBB but I realized it was not worth it. It will be a huge mess of content and target audience.
If you want to blog about something, take movies for example, start a Twitter or a Facebook page, see the kind of reaction it gets from people. Then decide on it. Single niche or various niches, it doesn't really matter as long as you are determined to manage them.
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?
Yes, I have seen them as well. I can't oppose such things, because I'm not sure about anyone, a prominent blogger is a prominent blogger because he or she is good at blogging and that doesn't define their character. Sometimes people are so pissed off that they think public humiliation is the only solution.
Which technology company you like the most - Microsoft/Google/Apple? And why? Which company you think will be doing best after 5 years from now?
It should be "Google", it's very simple, they are controlling the entire bloggers.
Do you have any Microsoft certifications or other certifications? Are you a Microsoft MVP? How does the MVP status help you?
No, never actually tried any, but I do have some online Google certificates. :D
Thanks a lot Pradeep for spending your valuable time and answering all the questions. I wish you all the best for all your future ventures and future plans.
You have been a well known blogger and an inspiration to many other new bloggers. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Good job bro!
Very proud of you mama! All the best for your future. Fly with your favorite colors.
I love Pradeep interviews