Who doesn't know Harleena Singh?
In such a small period she has made a big impact on Indian Blogging that her hard work is highly appreciable.
Few people are calling her commenting superstar, few omnipresent blogger and many are praising her in their own ways. In short – people are very much happy to have such an active blogger in Indian community and reading her blog Aha-Now to get more happiness in their life.
For getting success in blogging we really need to do some extra ordinary things so that more people can get more awareness about your online identity. She adopted some of the great ways to spread her voice and found great channels to get in touch with other bloggers.
Let's start this interview and know more about her.
1. Welcome on Blogging Cage.
Thank you Kulwant for having me over. It’s a pleasure to be on your blog. 🙂
2. Please share about yourself and your story to enter in blogging.
Well, I’m a professional freelance writer and a part-time blogger too, besides being a mother and a wife too. However, before I entered into the blogging or writing world, I was an administrator, teacher, and counselor in a school. Thus, perhaps unknowingly paving the way to become a blogger who guides people in their life.
I always say that I didn’t choose blogging – it’s blogging that chose me! Even when I started blogging, I was simply doing it for the sheer joy of blogging, and not with the intention of becoming a professional blogger. This means posting as and when you like and thoroughly enjoyed doing it and gradually built relationships with fellow bloggers, who are now good friends.
It all just happened on Christmas Eve about 3 years back when my husband told me to share my knowledge and build a portfolio of my articles as well in the form of a blog that could also serve the purpose of helping others.
The multi-purpose idea struck me deep in my heart and that’s how Aha!NOW was created, and with time I developed a strong passion for blogging. Initially, I was only posting posts once a week on my blog, that too related to my liking. But once I learned about the ways of blogging by visiting other fellow bloggers, I became more serious and started blogging in the real sense.
Not to mention, unlike other bloggers, I had no mentor, nor any friend in the Blogosphere to guide me from the right or wrong, so I was all on my own right from the start. Every little thing is something I have personally tried and tested, or perhaps it all happened because being a writer, you write, you don’t blog, nor do you have blogging friends, unless you have a blog.
3. How the idea to start a motivational/inspirational blog came in your mind and how you converted it into reality?
Interesting question! There was no initial plan to start an inspirational or motivational blog at all. I’ve mentioned the reasons why my blog came into existence in the previous answer. In fact, my main intention to start the blog was to share things about life and my experiences, and people found that inspirational and motivating.
The positive and strong feedback from my blog readers and friends made me transform the blog from a family niche to a bigger and encompassing personal development niche.
With time, I started adding more categories and topics to it as people started responding to what I shared. Now, I have niches like relationship, love, health, self-improvement, and blogging too in it. Of course, I cannot do that unless I don’t have knowledge and experience about it, so I write on things I know and believe in.
Honestly, the things that helped me to convert my ideas to reality are planning, management, and hard work. Not to forget – self-belief, and above all the love, support, and positive feedback from my blog readers that acted as an incentive and motivation to keep moving forward and make the ideas comes true.
4. When did you start doing freelance work and how it helped you?
I became a freelance writer a few years back. Once I knew I wanted to spend more time with my family working from home as my children were growing up, I thought of entering the freelancing world.
I started undertaking commercial writing assignments and creating quality content that my clients started liking, in the form of articles, web content, email blasts, letters, press releases, and many other online and offline requirements. You can read more about the writer part of me from my website http://www.freelancewriter.co/.
As a freelance writer, I was not only able to grow financially and professionally, but also evolved as a creative writer. It helped me take the initiative of creating my blog Aha!NOW, which has been one of the most wonderful things that happened in my life.
5. Finding work is the biggest task for any freelancer. Which platform you tried to find work and which is the best project you have done till now?
Finding consistent work is really tough for any freelancer. Even when you have work in hand, you need to think ahead of the coming days and look for work while working on the present project to make a living. As a freelance writer, I started with platforms like Odesk and Guru and later on got hooked to Craigslist.
Since many of my clients were happy with my work, they even spread a good word and referred me to other potential clients so I was lucky about finding work.
I’ve had the opportunity to undertake many good writing projects that it’s tough to decide the best among them. However, I definitely enjoyed a couple of projects that involved creating enormous content for a website right from scratch, which were very challenging and one that required to build a comprehensive guide for an American cosmopolitan city, which was very interesting as I literally felt so familiar with the city as if I were living there!
6. According to you what are the biggest challenges of blogging as well as freelancing.
I think the biggest challenges of blogging are to remain committed and consistent, as well as care for your readers – the three C’s! Besides, you need to build your audience by building relationships with them, the natural and real way, which happens when you can relate to what they say or help them through your posts.
Gaining subscribers isn’t the tough part. What matters is keeping those subscribers and turning them into good friends, isn’t it?
In freelancing, the biggest challenge is finding consistent work and keeping your clients satisfied, besides remaining punctual in your delivery by respecting deadlines. Yes, finding a job that pays well is also a challenge nowadays, but I wouldn’t say that is the only factor one should be concerned about.
Even if you get low paying jobs on a regular basis, it’s alright. Remember, the more you write the better you become, and with time, you can increase your rates based on that and end up being richer in terms of money and skill!
7. How much time do you spend on social media promotion and SEO of your blog?
A lot! I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question! In-fact I just wrote a detailed guest post for Jane of ProBlogging Success when she invited me to guest post for her blog. It was on blog promotion about what I do in social media promotion and how I do it all – it surely does take a lot of time.
Perhaps I’m not the only one who spends time on blog promotion, as it’s said that blogging consists more about promoting your post than writing it! It’s indeed a true fact – your post mean nothing if they don’t reach a wider audience, and for that you have to promote it to all the possible places and platforms.
Regarding SEO – honestly speaking, I’m very casual and follow the general principles that are suggested by experts, which don’t take much of my time. I don’t use any software or other SEO tools or tactics. I think I’m pretty satisfied with my SEO skills, as that help me drive about 35% of my blog traffic. 🙂
8. Guest blogging is the greatest online weapon. Have you used this weapon till now? And according to you what are the biggest benefits which we get after doing guest posts?
I’ve heard of this cliché, and I believe perhaps it is true. Yes, I used this weapon when I wrote my first guest post for Adrienne on Blog Commenting. I’m happy that it was pretty successful, as that it received 300 comments so far, so perhaps people liked it.
All bloggers already know the benefits of guest blogging as each one is doing it. However, what I observed after I wrote my guest post last year was that it got me a few backlinks for a few days, but more importantly, it helped me acquire many new readers for my own blog.
Also, it got me recognition for commenting so I guess guest blogs also help you develop yourself as an authority of your niche. I’ve my fingers crossed for my second guest post on Jane’s blog, and may be its positive results will give me a boost to do more of them!
9. You are a housewife. So how you do manage your professional and domestic life?
Yes, I’m a wife but I hardly relate myself to the term “housewife” if you mean it literally. I’m an equal partner in earning for my family and I’m lucky that my husband helps in my professional and domestic chores.
Having said that, it is true blogging is a very time-consuming job – so are the other things a mom has to manage at home, and to strike the right balance is the key I would say, which isn’t easy.
There are times when I have food cooking on one end, a post that needs to be written, social media to be taken care of, clients waiting for their projects, kids that need attention – beside other numerous household chores! But as they say, where there is a will, there is a way – and each one of us has to find our way to make things work, isn’t it?
Blogging at times becomes addictive and then it tends to disrupt your family life. So, learning the art of management is absolutely essential for every woman working from home, or for that matter, any working man from home too, isn’t it?
I think you can do very well when you plan things out for the day, create your routine you want to follow, and set schedule and time slots to the work in hand. Nothing goes wrong then, unless it’s an unforeseen emergency. Bloggers need to take care of their health and take out adequate time for their sleep, exercise, and family of course. Blogging might be your passion, but it shouldn’t start ruling your life, or it can unbalance you and your family in a large way too.
10. Which are your favorite blogs?
All the blogs I like to visit are my favorites I would say – there is no one or few specific favorite blogs. I’ve many blogging friends, and then there are those who visit my blog.
I surely visit their blogs, read, comment, and share their posts, so those visits are always essential for me.
Besides that, I’ve to visit many sites and blogs for my research work for my commercial articles, so all of this hardly leaves me time to generally surf more blogs online.
11. How much time do you spend for blogging daily?
Being a blogger, I think I should say nearly full-time because I am literally blogging all the time nowadays! I don’t just mean blogging by writing the blog post, which for me is the easiest part. Blogging majorly includes writing the post, editing it, setting it up and making it error free for rolling it up.
Thereafter follows the main work of promoting your post on the various social networks, bookmarking sites, forums, directories and various other places.
Ah…and not to mention the comments, which for me take ages to reply because people love leaving long comments, they do so at my blog at least, and I love receiving their comment and replying too, but it takes a long time.
Thereafter the return visits to those who visited your blog, because that’s exactly how relationships are build, isn’t it? So, where the time goes amidst all this, no one knows! Blogging takes ALL of my time I would say 🙂
12. Can blogging really change someone’s life?
Absolutely! I am a living example I would say. So are you, Kulwant. I think when I started my blog three years ago; I never imagined I would be where I am today. I had NO idea about professional blogging, commenting, interaction, social media, and had never heard of SEO or keywords and all those things. I could just write, and that is ALL I did!
Apart from that I learnt a lot of values in life and the importance of self-discipline and management that go a long way in defining your path and achieving success in life. I believe we all change on a daily basis no matter what we do, but blogging I must say acts as a catalyst to make you learn the importance of time, knowledge, and relationships sooner and in a better way.
Blogging has changed my life and helped me realize my hidden potential of helping people in more ways than one, which I get to know when they comment on my posts, or ask for help through their emails or questions on the social networks. It’s no wonder that my husband often says that you need to become a life coach now 🙂
13. In blogging journey many times we feel very frustrated and hopeless. What would you like to advice for such situation?
Yes, being humans, getting such thoughts is natural. But I would advise people to go slow, and take it easy. Do small bits daily, take baby steps, set achievable goals for yourself, and remain within limits. I know of some bloggers who run too fast when they start blogging, but they fail or give up within a few months because their expectation levels are very high. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Don’t try to jump leaps and bounds and tire yourself. You need to run a marathon, not a 100 meter race, isn’t it?
Frustration, hopelessness, and depression are like dark clouds and phases in life that passes by. You need to have patience, hope for the best, and keep making efforts – they do pay up in the end. Similarly, with blogging, you are going to come across ups and downs. Learn from your failures and down moments, and convert them into your strength. Your failures eventually become your stepping-stones to success. Take hold of yourself, have patience, keep faith, and keep moving! Don’t stop! Good things come to those who wait, isn’t it?
14 Success rate in blogging is very less these days. According to you what are the mistakes which newbie blogger are making?
What success means to a blogger differs from one blogger to another. You can measure success in terms of number of subscribers or followers, your blog rank, the traffic you get, or the money you make. But it all comes through only if your content is helpful to your readers and they like what you share. You need lots of people to share your post, which gets you the required traffic and that’s how you become successful in the Blogosphere perhaps. All of this happens when you are present (everywhere) and also promote your posts.
We all make mistakes, and I have made mine too that I mentioned in a post called don’t make these blogging mistakes, so I won’t repeat them all again. But briefly, I think most bloggers tend to be in a rush to achieve success or make money online, and they try all wrong ways to do so only to realize later when they are penalized by Google. I think you should foremost concentrate on writing great content, write for the people, write to help others, write to connect with others, and give back to the people by being there if anyone wants your help.
Another major mistake I see many bloggers make is that they don’t believe in building relationships with fellow bloggers, or they don’t like sharing each other’s posts. I wonder why? I think sharing shows that you care and appreciate the work. With our blogosphere being such a compact place for bloggers, isn’t it good that we can all share each other’s posts?
15. Blogging have different definition for different person. What is it for you?
Blogging for me is to share my knowledge and experiences with the people in a way to help them in their life. I go all out to do my best by giving my readers the best information I find online, and sharing it with them if need be.
16. I personally love your writing style. What are the things which make you unique and how did you develop them?
Thank you for saying that Kulwant! I have no specific writing style, but yes, perhaps each one of us has a different one. I think what makes me unique in this regard is that I write as I would have spoken had a person been in-front of me, so there is never any shortage of words, or nothing to hold me back. Words count never matter to me, shall I say – or else this interview wouldn’t have crossed the 3000+ mark already! Oh my goodness…there I go and make history once again, is it? With such a long interview! That’s MY unique style 😉
But I’d say that practice makes a person perfect. And, it’s good to read as many books or content whether online or offline to consciously or subconsciously develop a way to express yourself, and find your own voice in the process.
17. If you were to start all over, what mistakes would you like to avoid?
Just head over to the above link on don’t make these blogging mistakes and you’d all know what I would have avoided! I think I would be spending a lot less time on the social networks, but that would also mean perhaps making few friend’s, but I might be able to blog more often than. So, it’s a choice you have to make, isn’t it?
On second thoughts, I don’t think I would call them all mistakes. They are all learning experiences for me and each one has made me a better blogger, so by committing those mistakes I have progressed in a way.
18. How are you going to contribute in blogging community in coming years?
By being available and more helpful to people when need be. I wish I had more hours in the day and perhaps another pair of hands to help people. I wish to create resources for bloggers so they can improve themselves and their skills. Also, I started the “Share Your Problems” section on my blog where people share their problems or ask questions that concern their life, in some way or the other, and hopefully, my blog community and I can provide the answers and solutions.
19. Message for my readers.
Just be you, and be a good blogger. I don’t mean good in blogging, but being a kind, generous, humble, and a giving blogger. We all can make money from blogging, but how many of us can give back or help others is what matters most.
Remain committed, consistent, and care for your readers. Share the knowledge and spread the light. All the rest as I mentioned in #13…(keeping the word count in mind!!)
Thanks Kulwant for having me over, and I hope your readers learnt something from the little things I shared here today 🙂