Santanu Debnath is the founder of bloggingjoy.com where he writes about WordPress, Web Hosting, Affiliate Marketing, and Speed Optimization. He is a full-time software professional and passionate blogger.
According to Santanu, focus & consistency of doing the same thing in a different way day after day is the key to success in the online world.
This interview with Shantanu is very insightful and informative. I hope you like the interview and share it with people you care about.
Hello Santanu, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us.
Thank you, Sandeep for inviting me on your awesome blog. I have read a few of your interviews published so far and have to say that you have been asking some awesome questions.
Thanks. So first, let’s start talking about what gets you out of bed? Do you have a favorite quote that inspires and motivates you or just helps you work on your online business every day?
Well, my life has changed a lot in the last few years and accordingly my daily routine. Besides my full-time day job, I try to give my each and every possible second for my passion for blogging.
This makes my everyday routine a little more hectic. But, I believe this is a phase which I will overcome soon and will be able to balance my work, life & aspirations with good health. But, I am an early riser and always love to start the day with the rising sun.
I read many motivational quotes and watch motivational videos every day and I think this one will perfectly suit the context: “Set a goal that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.”
Can you just start by just telling people who aren’t familiar with BloggingJOY.com? What niche it’s into? Who’s the target audiences? And what problem are you trying to solve?
My blog Bloggingjoy.com is all about helping people learn how to blog on the WordPress platform and build a better blog. I have been into blogging from last 10+ years and did a lot of mistakes. And that’s where I learned the maximum lessons.
Throughout these years, I have read a lot of blogs, followed hundreds of bloggers and gradually realized what is blogging & how to be a better blogger.
I still remember back in 2007-2008, when today’s top bloggers like Anil Agarwal, Harsh Agarwal, Ankit Singla, Kulwant Nagi started their journeys. Right now, feeling proud to see them in the list of top blogs from India.
Well, Bloggingjoy.com is mainly focused on WordPress blogging niche. My main audience is people who are struggling to build a better blog, looking for useful information to run their WordPress blogs.
Also, there are plenty of products in this niche. I share about them on my blog besides the useful how-to tutorials.
My aim is to create a blog where a beginner will find every single information to start a blog. A lot of information is out there, but a beginner may not know where to start. That’s where I want to place my blog in the coming days.
I want to provide all this information in a sequential manner and that would be absolutely free of cost.
The internet is full of information and it is quite difficult to find all the necessary information at one place in simple language. And that is what I am trying to do with my blog.
I know, most of the people fail in their first attempt to start a successful blog but I want to know Is this your first blog?
As I said, I am into blogging from more than 10+ years. So I have experimented with a ton of websites. Many of them failed, many of them got success but later on discontinued due to various reasons. Being engaged with a full-time job, I have changed cities in every 2 years and that took a huge time & effort to get established with family every time.
And that’s how I learned a lot and finally decided to start a blog where I can share all my experiences, learnings and help people to follow the right path. Besides that, I also have a few other blogs among them recently started a blog on the web hosting niche (HostingBrowse.com) to spread more information & knowledge about WordPress hosting. I have also started a YouTube channel as well where I am trying to share useful how-to guides and my blogging knowledge.
I am trying to consolidate them and only want to have a few so that I can focus on them properly and create better blogs, as we all know, quality wins over quantity or Less is the new more.
Tell us a little bit about like, how did you come up with the idea for starting a blog?
Back in 2007, somehow I came to know about the term make money online. At that time I used the internet for surfing purpose only. But that term opened a new world for me. I explored many such make money online programs and spent money on them as well. But, very soon I realized that the majority of them are scams.
But one good thing that happened is, I came to know about the Google AdSense program. From that, I started exploring how Adsense works and explore the world of blogging. Our first blog was a recipe blog, I & my wife Manidipa started in 2009. But that was not successful.
As a part-time blogger, I have never been able to give enough time to take proper action on blogging. And it was a time when I was working hard to grow in a professional career as well. Our first blog didn’t work, due to lack of planning and knowledge. It was on Google blogger platform. But I was still looking for more and came to know about WordPress blogging & affiliate marketing. I discovered that making money through a website is actually possible and that’s what continuously encouraging me to read more in this niche.
Professionally, I am a software developer and that’s the reason I got connected with WordPress quickly. I was really enjoying editing themes, reading different fixes, etc during my initial days. I spend quite a long time trying different themes and designs. At that time I was working on a multi-niche website and was making around $400-$500 per month using Google AdSense.
I get into affiliate marketing in 2012-13, when we started Wpblogging360.com. Initially, I was working for a few months as per my availability. But later on, Manidipa started with that blog on a full-time basis. At the same time, parallelly I was working on different other blogs as my time permitted.
Frankly speaking, my financial condition was good from the beginning. But I always wanted to build a separate income source so that I can depend upon that till I die. Especially, I was aware that our generation is not going to get any pension like my father is getting. So, I was continuously exploring different ways to generate income. After spending many sleepless nights, I discovered that Blogging is something which I can do continuously without getting bored.
How much time did it take for you to earn your first income online?
It took quite some time. I got my first Adsense payment in 2009, I think. And that was also from YouTube videos. Yes, I had an education website and had uploaded a few videos of training. I was totally surprised to see $7 earned in one day and then in a few days got my first $100 as well.
But due to lack of planning, consistency & time management, I lost that website, YouTube channel and like that many of my websites. I tried many websites in different niches. Although they failed mostly, that’s what helped me to learn the biggest lessons of my blogging journey.
There are many options available to earn money from a blog, what monetization option did you choose and why?
You are right. Few of the ways I got success are through Adsense, sponsored post, paid guest post & affiliate marketing. Without any doubt, Google Adsense & Affiliate Marketing are my favorites.
But one has to understand how are they different from each other. You need a different mindset to understand how these two ways work. I started with Google AdSense and it was really awesome. But you need high traffic from high CPC countries to make huge income.
At the same time, affiliate marketing works with almost negligible traffic also. But here you have to know how affiliate marketing works best. You have to learn the methods to convince your readers to generate affiliate sales.
Right now my focus is mostly on affiliate marketing, but at the same time, I have a plan to grow my other blogs for Adsense income as well. It’s always good to generate income from different sources.
Can you give us an idea of the size of the monthly traffic you have right now?
Why not! Let me share a screenshot from my Google Analytics dashboard. I hope that is helpful for you to get some idea. There are a lot of improvements and I am continuously working on them as per time permits. I am expecting more traffic in the next few months if I am able to update my old content with better optimization.
What do you think is the best strategy that worked well for you to get more traffic to your blog?
Getting traffic is not that easy these days. If your niche is totally new and has millions of searches, you can definitely get some traffic. But when we talk about blogging & WordPress niche, it is damn competitive.
Few of the things that worked for me to get traffic to my blog are:
1). I have started a Facebook group so that I can directly connect with the audience and regularly engage with them. You need an audience of your own and that’s my biggest learning from last 10+ years of blogging. Till Dec 2018, I was a blogger, no one was aware of. But from the day I have started that FB group, I learned the value of networking.
2). I always write content which is solving peoples’ problems. Frankly speaking, I don’t stress much with keyword research, competition, etc. When I see that I can share something which can resolve someone’s problem, I go for that. Even if that is of high competition if the content has the potential to solve users problem it will definitely rank someday. That’s how I work for my blog Bloggingjoy.com. But when I write for my other affiliate sites, I go with typical keyword research only.
3). I have built a habit of helping others in different FB groups and wherever possible. And wherever possible I share my blog URL and that also helped me to get some traffic. This way I also got popular among people, which helped me to get referral traffic as people remember my website and they search for solutions.
4). Within a short period of time, my Facebook Group & blog got a very good exposure. I am thankful to all my friends who helped me to make this dream come true. And due to that, I have been featured in more than 12 blogs and shared my blogging journey.
5). Besides them, I also do regular guest posting, blog commenting, social media promotions to increase the reach of my blog.
So, these are the few things that worked for me and my website started getting traffic. Now you can call it a strategy, but I would say this has become a habit for me & I want to do the same in coming days as well.
What were some of the mistakes that you made while building your online business? What didn’t go well?
Thanks for asking this question. Because this is where I have so much to say. These days people are watching the success of bloggers, but no one is ready to follow the tough route of blogging. When you look for shortcuts, you will get into a lot of trouble and lose all hope for blogging.
Here are a few of the mistakes I made, that I don’t want others to make.
1). Pick the blog topic or niche wisely. As a beginner, we all get fascinated with other blogs and try to start a blog covering multiple topics. After a few months, you will lose your focus, interest as you will find it difficult to get traffic. I did the same mistake.
2). If your purpose is to make money from blogging, then you must learn to find profitable niches. And then build websites on those niches to rank for. You may find that deals & coupon sites with India based traffic attract a lot of traffic. But income from such a website is not that great compared to the effort you put behind them. That’s another mistake I did.
3). Don’t follow people blindly. It is very common that we try to follow someone and want to build a blog like that. But one should realize that you have to put your own thought process and feeling while building your own blog. These days, people will easily catch a creator and copycat. It can destroy your entire efforts of years. I have seen many bloggers writing articles on how to make $1000/mo from blogging, but in reality, they have not earned a single penny from their blogs.
4). Hesitating to invest in blogging. I spent years trying different free themes, free hosting, etc. But later realized that I have wasted my precious time. That’s why this time I made sure I have invested enough so that I don’t have to compromise on anything to build a good website. If you plan things properly, you can save huge money on Blogging tools. I utilized Black Friday sale and bought hosting, themes & tools to save huge money. And that’s how you can plan to invest for your blog as well.
There are plenty of such mistakes which actually helped me to learn things in life & blogging. That’s why I always say that, don’t worry about getting failed in your attempt. Just do it, even if you fail to get through that, you will learn something for sure.
What are some of the top tips that you would give our audience reading this interview to sort of taking away and think about in regards to making money online?
There are plenty of tips shared online and I don’t want to add a few more through this interview. But if someone wants to read a real-life experience, actual things that helped me to learn to blog in these years then this interview will help them for sure.
If you don’t make a mistake, you will never learn that lesson. And that’s how I have learned different techniques in blogging.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
Well, I received plenty of advice till date and even still I am getting in my life on different things. If I have to say it specific to blogging, there are a number of advice & myths, but until and unless I have not tried them or have not been through them I did not realize whether that actually works or not.
But on top of everything, one thing that I realized in these many years, which is the key to success is building a habit of doing things consistently. Yes, whatever the work is, if you can do it consistently then only you will be able to shine on that job.
What book would you recommend to our audience and why?
Frankly speaking, in my entire life besides academic books, I read only 2 books, Byomkesh Bakshi & Rich Dad Poor Dad. I am not a book reader. I mostly read blogs, eBooks & watch videos to learn things. There are plenty of resources available online for free which is enough, I believe.
Besides that, recently I have launched my first eBook on SEO best practices. If you are a beginner and want to build a quality blog that can sustain long in Google search without getting any impact from Google algorithm updates, then this eBook will definitely help you. This is a free eBook and one can download the Safe-SEO Guide eBook V1.0 from my website.
What’s one attribute or characteristic in your mind of successful online entrepreneurs?
Well, I think focus & consistency of doing the same thing in a different way day after day is the key.
What’s your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?
I don’t use any tool. But to get back into the track, I prefer to watch motivational videos. Besides that, I continuously look for fresh topics or what’s trending in my niche to learn & explore more every day.
what’s an interesting little fun fact about you that most people don’t know?
I love Bollywood movies and use plenty of dialogues in my everyday life in different situations to make things fun. At my home, I always play that role to entertain my family. 🙂
what’s one of your most important passions outside of your work?
When you ask me about work, then let me tell you that I am into a full-time job. I get into blogging due to my hobby or interest. And gradually it has become my biggest passion. I can spend days after days working for my blogs, reading different blogs and doing plenty of research around different niches.
I know the best way to reach you but just tell our audience as well in case if they want to connect with you?
Well, I am quite active on my FB group and regularly help people by responding to their queries. Besides that, I try to help people through personal chat, as much as I can. Thank you.
Santanu’s success is a perfect example to the people who want to do blogging while working on a full-time job. I can relate to this very well since I myself is a part-time blogger and an affiliate marketer while working on a full-time job.
As Santanu suggested, choosing your first niche very carefully is one of the most important steps for your success in blogging. Frankly speaking, I’ve done the same mistake of not choosing my first niche intelligently and copying what others were doing. That is a sure way to failure. Don’t do that.
Also, I really liked the way Santanu has answered the question about the mistakes he has made while building his online business. The suggestions he has given for newbie bloggers is priceless. The advice is so practical and relates to the real world life example.
You are definitely going to miss a lot of knowledge here if you don’t read the interview for sure.
But if you have already read and felt like this interview has helped you in some way then please share this with others and then leave a comment below.