Today I crossed Indian border with my blogging interview series and reached in Pakistan. I am very thankful to Mohammad who said ‘Yes' to my interview proposal and answered my question in very detailed manner.
Mohammad is owner of MyBloggerTricks; A very famous blog to teach blogging tips and tutorials. Many newbie bloggers from all across the globe have learned blogging from this awesome blog as Mohammad continued to serve best of the best tutorials on his blog.
As my interview series is running from last 2 months, so many of my Pakistani readers were suggesting me interview this blogging tycoon, who helped many of them indirectly with his blog. I asked him many questions and he replied all of them from his heart.
Let's read about his life and blogging journey.
1. Tell us about yourself and your childhood dreams.
Thank you Kulwant Nagi for considering me worth an interview. I hope this interview helps to entertain your readers productively.
My life is full of interesting stories and turning points. I was 7 years of age when I used to accompany my dad at his shop. I used to sell plastic bags for rupees 2.0. Ever since I understood the value of being responsible, I started dreaming with open eyes. I am a normal guy who loves socializing and making new friends. Swimming, riding, bunking classes, preferring to be a back bencher, and hanging out with friends are few things I love to do. =)
I am currently pursuing a Bachelors degree in Computer and Information System Engineering. Fortunately just 7 months are left before I become a graduate, I am now both financially independent and engaged. I got tied up with a beautiful princess in 5th March 2013 and have to bring her home after graduation. So the childhood dreams are all accomplished today Alhamdulillah and what I dream next is to live a peaceful life with nature all around and improve the socially failed academic system of education at schools, colleges and universities that always aim at producing career-oriented milk feeders and never business-oriented grown ups.
2. MOHAMMAD, I am listening your name from year 2010 when one friend of mine told me about term ‘blogging'. Please tell us how you started your career with blogging?
My true inspirations were two Indian guys, one is Divya sai from bloggerstop.net and another is Aneesh from BloggerPlugins.org. They are the two people who always encouraged me with everything I did. They are my true idols unlike the big names Online who talk big but help less.
3. You did Computer Engineering, and then tried your luck with masters in same field. How difficult it was for you to make your mind to get back in daily routine (I am asking this question because in 2010 I was admitted in RIT, NewYork, USA for higher education. But everything was shattered and it took me atleast 4-5 months to get back into daily life).
I have not yet completed my studies and I don’t plan to do Masters. I believe education is good only when you are able to apply it. My future goals are linked with my business endeavors. That’s where I wish to invest the remaining half of my life.
4. How you convinced your parents to do full-time blogging as compared to job?
My parents were the first to demotivate me with my blogging activities. Spending hours in front of your computer without earning a penny during the initial start of your online career is surely a family Taboo but with time (over a year) my parents realized its potential and always encouraged me to excel more.
I still remember my dad saying “Son why the hell are you wasting your time in front of this box?? Get up and study!”
I had to convince them every other day and would often ask them to have Patience by giving them surety that good days were near..
5. How much time you spent on your blog in starting days, and how much time you are spending now?
I used to spend around 10-15 hours during the initial phase. i.e. 2008-2009. Then with time the Studies and Readership burden increased and my timings dropped to 6 hours. Today when STC Network is blessed with several contributors and employees, I have to spend only 4 hours online, dealing with clients and maintaining the sites.
6. You are still running your blog on BlogSpot. Aren’t you feeling any insecurity to run this blog? Because we have heard that Google can delete our account any time.
I have tested all major Content Management Systems be that Joomla, WordPress or Blogger. Earning and traffic are dependent on your quality content only and independent of the platform you use. The reason why I like Blogger is because it provides free Web hosting, Up-time servers, highly secured logins, easy template customization features and friendly front end control. There are some people who attach unnecessary security doubts to blogger regarding Google’s blog Deletion policy.
We have shared several posts that guide blogspot users on how to keep a daily backup of their posts just like we do at WordPress through plugins. Comments, posts can easily be backed up in Blogger like any other CMS. Blogs that are deleted are ones that badly violate Google’s TOS and this action is taken against blogs that mostly promote racist, explicit, unethical and infringed content. If you know you are doing nothing wrong, then you are safe from all sorts of penalty. Blogs on WordPress or other CMS systems are more vulnerable to attacks as compared to Blogger. We have written an interesting post here:
7. Which are the primary sources of your income?
- Contextual Ads : AdSense
- Banner Ads: BuySellAds
- Affiliate Commissions
- Product Reviews
- SEO Consultancy via Skype
- Sponsored Workshops in Local Universities
- Web development Services (Account for 70% of our earning)
8. Which are your favorite blogs?
All blogs by Google and Yahoo. Mashable, TechCrunch, labnol, SEOmoz, search Engine land and few dozens more! 😉 You can’t love just few!
9. You have attended many seminars as a speaker. How you prepare your speech and how much time you spend to prepare them?
Frankly speaking I love public speaking! Hand me a mic and give me a time duration, leave rest on me! I love making people laugh and yet helping them out. I am doing this since 15 years now so its takes only 3 hours to prepare a Power point presentation and brainstorm myself.
10. You started new blog Smart Earning Methods, how this blog is doing and what are your future plans with this blog.
This blog was more like an experiment and the results are amazingly beyond our expectations. It is doing extremely well thanks to our two dedicated and highly well versed co-authors: Nida and Qasim. I wanted to apply some SMO and SEO techniques to it and wanted to use this PHP platform to understand the trending behavior of traffic. So far it has helped me out to better improve my understanding of search engine algorithms and robots crawling and indexing activities.
With a complete command on your database and content, you can do wonders to play with the changing moods of search engines. After all the entire system of traffic generation through several sources works on carefully built Algorithms.
11. You are running STC Network. How you got your first client and where this company has reached at this stage?
STC Network was launched in 2010 and so far its the backbone of our infrastructure. Each month we pick a selected number of orders from MBT and our referrals. Each project comes with a lifetime consultancy, so the client remains in touch with us for as long as the company exists. The first order that I received was a small logo for a Pet’s blog and it was indeed an exciting feeling getting paid for the first time. 🙂
12. Are you doing any promotion for your blog/company? What kind of promotion you are doing?
I use Paid social Media Ads on Facebook whenever we have to promote a new service or product. But I do it quite rarely because most of the traffic comes from search engines and we really don’t feel the need to buy inorganic traffic. The promotion is done through social media networks, local universities and free goodies.
13. What we should keep in mind before starting a blog? Please tell us something different from Choosing a Niche.
Patience! The easiest job on earth is starting a blog but the toughest job is maintaining it. Most people start their blogging career with no strategy, SEO skills and no Target goals. Their first aim is always Money and that kills them very soon when they fail to earn a lucrative income online. Thus they quit blogging in less than a year.
I always advice my readers to give at least six months in understanding their niche and building readership and never to turn their blog into a fish market of Ads during the first six months. I strongly forbid using AdSense or any other Ad network for a newly launched blog for at least 5-6 months. Revenue will follow by itself once the readership and traffic flow is set up. When you care about readership, you care about quality and as a result Search engines would care too. Hate Infringing Copyrights, it is the worst thing one can do to his online reputation.
14. In our society people don’t know what blogger is. So how do you introduce yourself when someone ask you, “What you do?”
That’s indeed a great question. Back in 2008 people would often ask questions like what blogger or blog is and that would really sound weird. Today after 5 years, at least in our country students over 15 years of age are now well versed with these terms. We also have annual blog awards programs here and thanks to print and electronic media the blogosphere terminologies are spreading widely and becoming familiar to a larger audience. Today when I am asked how do I make money blogging, I simply answer “Keep my business card buddy, find it yourself!”
15. If you would have given chance to meet a blogger, who would be that great blogger?
I would certainly like to meet Pete Cashmore and Amit Agarwal. Both of them have inspired me to their fullest.
16. Can we see blogging as a profession in coming 2-3 years?
It's already a profession for hundreds of great entrepreneurs! Blogger’s are millionaires today and often treated as celebrities in magazines and appear as guests on biggest TV channels like CNN and BBC. Isn’t it? 🙂
17. What are your future plans with blogging?
I wish to automate it as much as possible. Blogging daily is tough if you have to grow your business. Services demand time and care. Blogging and serving clients could be a burden if you do it alone. So I always aim at increasing the number of employees. Right now 4 active employees accompany me in the efforts and I plan to increase the capacity.
18. Which SEO tools your using for your blogs/business?
I use the following abundantly:
1 Common Sense!
2 Google Trends
3 Google Keyword Tool
4 Google/Bing Webmaster Tools
5 Google Analytics for understanding traffic trends and strategies
6 Dummy Sites (webhosting) for practising SEO
7 Finally Google Search for finding answers to every question
I have never used a paid SEO tool ever nor those countless SEO plugins in WordPress Repository. SEO is a simple logic which if understood manually would make your online experience worthwhile. Automated systems never help precisely. There are always uncertainties involved in such paid plugins and sometimes even bigger risks.
19. How much money approximately you are making with your blogs and which are the sources?
This is the most frequently asked question that people often ask me. People often estimate it as $10K-$15K but it really hurts when they do. Sharing earnings publicly is something I take against business ethics and this is one reason why I have never shared Income Reports with my readers online. However in local seminars and workshops I often share around 10% of my earnings just to convince the attendees that whatever earning mechanisms we are sharing is not a scam. In my coming seminar on “BluePrint to Plan B” I will be sharing 20% of my income details live with audience for the first time. Once that is made public next week inshAllah, people would get an idea to estimate the earnings correctly.
20. Message for my readers.
I was a noob when I started blogging. My parents, brothers, friends and almost everyone mocked me for spending hours without earning a penny during the initial start of my career. Staying foolish, humble and practising are three things that brought me to a much better stage today. Whenever you step towards a bigger change, people would often demotivate you because what someone else couldn’t achieve, he would think the same for you. But you have to use your God gifted potentials. Be glad that you are able to read and write because there are millions who can’t. Don’t always follow people far ahead of you, follow those who love to help. Keep monthly goals and don’t do weekly comparisons of your analytics data or progress status. The lesser you concentrate on what you don’t have and the more you remain thankful for what you have, will always keep you happy and satisfied with life. Life is a jungle, you need to build skills to survive. If you wish to live a Blogger’s life then depend more on your common sense and less on tools. Understand algorithms and never the tutorial alone.
Hate Jobs as far as you can and take risks to become great entrepreneurs. Life has a lot to deliver so give it an opportunity to hug you properly.
Wishing you all the best of luck with your future endeavours buddies. Stay foolish, stay humble and keep practising. Peace and blessings be upon you all.