Disclaimer– I am not your expert affiliate marketer who earns a 6 to 7 figure money from my blog. I am not any famous blogger or influencer out there. I am not even a full-time blogger or marketer.
However, I started from zero and learned everything in digital marketing that helped me to scale out my travel blog TravelEscape from zero traffic to roughly 2000 views per day and thus also made money for me to get motivated.
WHO IS THIS ARTICLE FOR?
Well, I don’t know what your requirements are. But I drafted this post with a few people in mind. And they are –
- People who are struggling in their journey to grow their blog traffic
- Anyone one who has no idea what to do next to realize their blogging dream
- Someone who is dreaming to start his/her journey in the digital marketing field
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT FOR –
- If you think this post can help you make quick money, then you better not waste your time reading this.
- I Seriously have nothing here for you if you think it can help you make money overnight by doing some online scam or fooling freshers or believers in purchasing useless and not relevant courses, paid plugins, services etc.
WHY YOU MUST READ THIS ARTICLE
I am sure, you might have read so many articles, following experts bloggers or have gone through numerous videos, or be part of numerous Facebook groups and then you might be asking why I should read a new article by this guy? Your question is very valid and I must assure you if you stick by the whole content there is definitely a key takeaway for you.
These are the key topics that I would like to discuss in this article
- Why I didn’t start immediately
- About my past dilemma
- My first step towards executing my dream
- The low & high of my digital journey
- All the learning
- How much I make from my blog
- Keeping my priorities straight & simple
- My biggest strength
- My plan for 2019
- How can you succeed
- How can I help you
- Some resources & recommendation for you to start right
- Summary & conclusion
WHY I COULD NOT START IMMEDIATELY?
During my graduation, like the millions of today’s youth, I too had a dream – A dream to start up a venture in the digital marketing field.
When I moved to Bangalore for my 1st job after my grads, I found myself desperately wanting to start out something of my own. The hustle around start-ups in the Silicon Valley was irresistible. Everyone around me discussing their own startup ideas (some even working on them) became simply too overwhelming. It became quite impossible for me to ignore my dream for a venture of my own.
With a background in software engineering, I was really fixated on the internet. I had a strong urge to do something in the digital world. But sadly, I had no idea how it worked.
LET’S GO BACKWARD
Back in 2015, the internet was in a very nascent stage. And unlike today, I did not consider blogging as something that had too much about SEO, marketing or monetizing. In my opinion, bloggers were just people sharing their own experiences. And anyone who found it online read it or browsed through the videos.
I later learned more about it and realized that it’s a great way of making money too. The best thing was that your niche can be anything that you are passionate about.
I learned a little about SEO. It was not as tough back then. The parameters were much simpler back then.I am not saying that SEO was non-existent entirely, but yes you would not have to slog your way through to get your blog listed in the top search.
That was obvious because unlike today, not too many people back then owned a blog. Naturally, it was not a tight race even for the newbies.
At that time I had a full-time job that I loved (I still do). Most importantly because it provided me with the security of a steady income. So, leaving this comfort zone and building something from the scratch and having to wait until it generates steady revenue seemed like a challenge.
In spite of all my positivity and willingness about the idea, I could never really bring it above the folder to materialize it.
The idea, however, kept lingering in my mind. Living in the Silicon Valley made it worse. Even in the cafes, you would find people discussing and working on their amazingly brilliant ideas. It was a true sight for inspiration.
So I too thought of taking a chance and initiated baby steps towards achieving my dream of venturing into the internet world.
MY FIRST STEP
My first step obviously was to buy a domain name. I have always loved traveling, and hence wanted to express and document my travel experience. So when I bought the domain, I had a clear mind that whatever I am to do, is going to be something related to travel.
I browsed for available domain names and found one called travelescape.in. At that time, I was excited about the name and I registered it immediately.
But today with my experience and knowledge about blogging, I realize that it was not really a perfect name to start. I consider it as a lesson though that I did not do my research well and ignored the potential of a .com extension.
Moving on with my story – now that I had my domain I was really pumped up to get started. I started it as a personal blog and published little stories of my travel experience. In the beginning, I would occasionally post occasionally.
I am not much of a social media guy, so I never made any effort to share my stories with others. Whatever readership I had come directly from Google. I owe that to my little research on SEO.
Facebook was the ‘in thing’ and the users were rapidly discovering its potential as a brilliant marketing platform. But I was too hesitant to even let my friends know about my blog. Leave alone posting them publicly on Facebook or any other social media platforms.
Slowly, I saw people from different parts of the world taking interest in my blog. I kept publishing more often now.
I had the best of feelings to know that my posts were being read. From a flat line when I started off, my stats too were now showing some good growth. I was overwhelmed with the progress.
I knew that it’s time I take my personal blog to the next level. I invested more time in learning more about SEO, email marketing, WordPress, plugins, themes, marketing and everything else that I needed for my blog to grow.
Everything was available on the internet. So I never found it difficult to learn any of these. To be truthful, I have never attended a single course to learn them. Meanwhile, my blog started showing some really positive results.
But I wanted to make it even better. I never really competed with the big brands that already existed in the internet community. To grow it on that bigger scale needed full-time dedication. But quitting my job was still not an option.
LEARNING NEW SKILL
I started applying my newly acquired knowledge on my blog. And to my great satisfaction, it worked wonders. Okay, I accept. It did not suddenly explode with traffic and earned me 6-7 figure money, but it was much more than I expected. Especially with the little time, I dedicated to working on it after my 9 to 5 job.
My blog now had a lot more strangers coming in from Google, related websites, Facebook and different other sources. I received some great comments which were from real people who loved traveling like me. People were even subscribing to my blog and rating my articles now. I now had a feeling of ultimate satisfaction.
HOW MUCH MONEY DO I MAKE?
The next big question, which I am sure you want me to answer is the money factor. My answer is very simple. I am making good enough money to cover my hosting and marketing fees, the payment that I make to my team of editors who has made my journey smoother. And. a bit more to cover my holiday trips.
Still, need the answer on ” how much I earn”? therefore, I encourage you to read my popular Quora answer. Please come back to this article and let me know if it answered your question?
I can now actually call it a small business that I grew from scratch without quitting my job. And guess what, my blog even got listed in the top Indian travel blogger which are kind of overwhelming to me.
HOW I ACHIEVED MY DREAM?
When I started out, I was just a newcomer. And people were already claiming to have made 6-7 figure numbers from their blog. I have no doubt that they all might have done that but I never got distracted by many of the inflated marketers out there.
My strategy was slightly different yet a very simple one. I created a list of what I needed to do and strictly followed it. Let me tell you how my list looked like –
- I won’t blindly follow what established bloggers recommend.
- Will not count money as the 1st priority
- Will invest more time in creating great content.
- Will continue learning
- Work on my website’s functionality and make it super efficient for users
THAT LOW FEELING & LEARNING
I knew that there will be moments when I will feel low, given that it’s nothing new that I am doing. There are thousands of successful bloggers out there already who are doing much better than me. It’s tempting to follow exactly what and how they executed things.
But I understood that their strategies have already been utilized. People love new things. Repeating the same stuff again does not make any sense. So blindly burning money based on their recommendation and following their footsteps was never became my strategy.
Secondly, making money from my blog was not my topmost priority. Because I knew for sure that once an asset is created, money is bound to come.
I focused more on creating great contents which could engage and benefit my readers. Google loves powerful content. And if you can play the good boy in Google’s eyes your game is on. I wrote about things that were not easily available elsewhere. On my holidays, I took small trips to remote places and wrote about them.
KEEPING PRIORITIES STRAIGHT
People loved it because it made them discover places that have not been explored by many. I showed them these destinations through my lens and told them about my travel experience.
Sure, they were not about some big and fancy foreign holiday spots at the beginning like many established bloggers were covering. But I always believed that a new story needs to be heard.
The internet is the all about discovering new things after all. So there is always a scope for the new bloggers to express themselves and there is still a new product to be launched.
EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FOLLOW
With that in mind, I create my own story and refused to blindly follow the rest. Once I had a steady income I covered a few foreign lands as well like Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan etc.
Obviously, your content is not the only thing that matters for your blog to be a hit. You got to work on the efficiency of your blog and make improve its functionality for people to have an excellent user experience.
I was a bit choosy in this regard. I invested only in the right, very relevant paid themes and plugins and rarely on services.
Meanwhile, I did not give up reading and learning new hacks. One of the biggest rewards you can give to your business is to adapt to learning new skills. I worked on my video and photography skills and mastered it.
Now 40% of my traffic comes from Google alone. That’s quite a growth. Especially for someone like me who had no idea how blogs worked.
In my short journey as a digital marketer, I have learned a few things. Let me list them down here, so you do not repeat the mistakes that I have already made.
- Delaying my journey by not ditching my comfort zone
- Ignoring the importance of a .com domain
- Not posting too often in the beginning
- Not focus on expanding my networking
- Not promoting my posts and not publicizing them ( I have already confessed to being a shy person who never took social media as an option to share my post.)
MY BIGGEST STRENGTH
- I never gave up learning.
- I was not scared to write about my own story
- I never blindly followed other already established people.
- I tested every single plugins and service before using them in my site
- Money was not my first priority
- I kept patient
MY PLANS FOR 2019
At the time of writing this post, we are still in December 2018, sometime around Christmas to be precise. However, given the growth and brand awareness, my blog is getting, I am looking forward towards the best year in the plate for TravelEscape and for its loyal readers.
This year I have some new plans in mind. I and my team are looking forward to starting
- Weekend paid guided trips
- Distribute free/paid guidebooks
- Publish ebooks etc
to make my effort and content more fruitful to my fellow travelers. However, my single objective remains the same –
- To give the best information
- Relevant tips & tricks
- Evergreeen Content to my readers
HOW CAN YOU SUCCEED?
As you all know that to build a big house, you should always start with a solid foundation. Consider your blog to be your dream house. And start working on the base.
Please do not rush in creating another blog with just money in mind. The internet is already saturated with that kind of stuff. You don’t want your blog to be just another one that becomes a victim of isolation. Lay out a clear strategy before you hit the floor.
- I know it’s easy to be said than done. So let’s simplify it for you. Start by answering a few questions.
- What are you best at?
- What are your priorities?
- How far you can go?
- How hard you can persist?
- Why do you want to jump in this crowded market?
- What are you going to achieve?
- Once you have an answer to these questions, you are ready to start your venture. The first one can help you find your niche 🙂
HOW CAN I HELP YOU?
I am glad if you have this question, I am more than happy to answer. My ultimate goal is to help out every single one of you out there who believe in his/her dreams like I did and came out to make a new story.
In this blog, I will try to tell you everything I did to make my blog succeed. By that, I don’t want you to directly copy my strategies. But I hope you take it as an inspiration and start scribbling down your brand new story. The world is waiting to listen to your version.
And if there is anything technical that you want to know from me – well, I am always here like your most loyal friend. You are most welcome to subscribe to my Exclusive Email List and interact directly with me as broadcast messages or even one-to-one.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
As you know by now, that I am also a full-time employee and I work really hard to manage time for my blog after work. So naturally, I am always running out of time to reply to each and every message that keeps flowing through different channels all the time. But that does not mean that I do not want to help you.
FACEBOOK VIBRANT COMMUNITIES
#1. I figured out another brilliant way to stay connected with all my readers. Sometime in the middle of 2018, I created a Digital Cafe community. Wait don’t get confused. It’s just a digital community on Facebook for a like-minded digital guy like you and me
#2. I have another community running and growing up nicely on facebook with my travel blog name called TravelEscape Community, which has, with time grown into a full-fledged digital cafe where travelers love to hang out and share their stories with the fellow members.
It’s a great experience and I am sure you too can benefit from it. Because you can learn a lot from these travelers and their experiences. So why don’t you to become a member and share your story? As I said – your story is a new one. And people are waiting to hear it.
But if you are not ready yet, do not worry. You can still join the community and enjoy listening to their stories. It’s fun actually.
JOIN RECOMMENDED COMMUNITY
When it comes to recommending product/services to whoever asks me for my view, I am very choosy. I cannot recommend anything to you because everyone else is recommending those. So, based on my self-learning and close observation over the years in digital space, I do recommend below-
#1 Learn Digital Marketing– Though the group has grown monster over the year, however, it is still very relevant for aspiring blogger or digital marketers. Founded by one of the cool guy Deepak Kankaraju, the Facebook community is going to resources in the crowded market.
#2 Master The Art Of Blogging – If Learn Digital Marketing is proving to be crowded for you, then I would recommend checking out the group Master The Art Of Blogging run by cool Ankit Singla. What I like about his group is his personal attention & interaction to each comment and post in the group.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
In the end, everything starts with you, whatever has worked for me, may or may not work for you. However, as I said and believe there’s always a scope of the new untold story.
Do you have one? Let me know in the comment below what do you think about the article & is your one key takeaway from my digital journey