Do you want to learn blogging from pro bloggers?
Then I have a good news for you.
Today, I got the opportunity to interview Santanu Debnath from BloggingJoy.com
He is one of the awesome affiliate marketer and blogger from India.
Firstly, I would like to thank him for accepting the interview request.
So, without wasting your time now I am going to start the interview.
Let’s get started!
An Interview with Santanu Debnath – Founder of BloggingJoy.com
1. Please introduce yourself to BloggingIndian readers?
Thanks Sufyan for giving me this opportunity to share my blogging journey with you. It’s an honor for me.
Hello friends, I am Santanu Debnath, a full-time working professional and a blogging enthusiast. I have learned to generate a passive income source through what I love doing the most, blogging. However, it’s not just money for what I blog now, I am addicted to it.
2. What inspired you to start blogging? What are your favorite blogs that made you what you are today?
Well, I came to know about blogging much after I discovered the internet. Initially, I was looking for different opportunities to make money online. Those days, there were lots of programs running on the internet where people have to buy some products and they can make money through email clicks, form filling, data entry, etc.
I tried many of them and then failed miserably, as most of them were scams. Later in 2009, I came to know about the concept of a food blog. I & Manidipa (my best half) love to spend quality time experimenting and preparing different recipes and we got the idea to share our recipes through a blog.
We started our first blog on Google Blogger platform and it was Manidipa’s Kitchen. From those days I discovered that I love to write. Most of the time, I used to prepare the recipe content. We enjoyed that period publishing recipes with different pictures.
But our fund didn’t continue for many days, as we got failed to bring traffic. I was not aware of SEO and different strategies to bring traffic.
Gradually, I started searching for these topics and came to a few of the awesome blogs of India like ShoutMeLoud, Labnol.org, BloggingCage, BloggersPassion, BloggerTipsandTricks (Now MasterBlogging), etc. I have realized the power of blogging, different monetization techniques and the importance of SEO while writing content.
After that, I moved to WordPress and started my first blog MyDailyLifeTips.com (a multi-niche blog). Initially, I had applied for Google AdSense program and later on explored the world of affiliate marketing.
3. What are the skills that can help a beginner to start living a laptop lifestyle?
Well, the term laptop lifestyle looks very fancy and attractive. But it’s not exactly that easy to live a life or career driven by blogging. I am working full-time for an MNC and enjoying blogging as a passive income source.
But when I think about a full-time career in blogging, I know that it is still far away. You need a solid income stream generated through blogging and for that, you have to start with a good plan. There are multiple skills that you need to learn and master with time.
A blogger is a one-man army and here are few of the core skills one must focus on learning.
- You have to learn how to blog on WordPress. Of course, you can start a free blog on Google Blogger and make money from that also, but for a better career and more exposure WordPress is a must.
- Content writing & content marketing are the key driving forces in blogging. It’s content that people love to consume in different formats like text, video or audio. So, you have to learn the art of storytelling, writing a quality article.
- SEO or search engine optimization is another area where you have to put enough time to understand how on-page SEO & Off-page SEO work.
- There are various ways to generate income from your blog. You must know all those techniques and find out the best suitable way to generate income from your blog. Many people don’t know how to monetize blog traffic to earn more.
- Besides that, you have to understand & learn basic design skills to play with your blog design, creating visually appealing landing pages, etc. There are various such page builders and WordPress plugins available. You must have the urge to learn those tools quickly and use them professionally to build a better blog.
4. What are your income sources? How much do you make every month at an average?
As I said, I am not a full-time blogger, I am not depending upon my blogging income. But I am quite happy to generate an extra income source which is not fixed every month. My major earning sources are from affiliate marketing, Google AdSense and sometimes sponsored posts.
Being a part-time blogger, it is quite difficult to scale up the earning to a satisfactory level. There were months when I made more than $1500 a month and then again next month it was around $500-$700. So, from an extra income point of view, I am quite happy to get such income through my different blogs, but I know it is not enough for someone who is aspiring to become a full-time career in blogging.
5. Which revenue source do you think is the most effective for bloggers/marketers?
Personally, I believe affiliate marketing & accepting sponsored articles are 2 really good ways to generate revenue for bloggers. Although I tried Google AdSense, it has its own complexities.
6. What do you think about the future of blogging?
Blogging is all about content marketing and this is one of the major channels of digital marketing. Blogging is no more a hobby; people know that one can generate income by running a blog in different ways. So, I feel the future of blogging is really good.
But at the same time, it is quite difficult as well. Because competition has also grown like anything with the popularity of blogging. That means, if you put casual efforts then you will not get any results even after trying for years.
7. How to convince parents to start supporting their child to start a blog? How did you convince your parents?
Frankly speaking, my parents even don’t know what is blogging and what exactly I do with my laptop every day. And I am not a full-time blogger, got a job on my final year in college (on-campus) in IBM. And that was enough for them to be happy.
But I know this feeling, a struggle of every blogger with the family & society. Because it is very difficult to convince or make anyone understand how much effort one has to put to run a blog and how amazing this work is.
I find blogging as a great way to meditate. According to me, every parent wants to see their kids succeed and they can’t imagine anything beyond the typical ways that our society has.
They are not 100% wrong also. Blogging is quite good if you know how to be successful and live a healthy lifestyle. But mostly beginners spend ample time with the laptop and follow an unhealthy lifestyle or routine which is not good. That will definitely force your parents to think about what exactly you are doing, even if you are making money.
If you can give your parents the confidence that you can live a healthy and happy life through blogging, then why you have to convince your parent? I am sure they will agree and support you only.
8. What are your favorite ways to generate traffic to your blog?
Without any doubt, organic traffic is the best thing for any blog. Especially when you are into affiliate marketing, organic traffic can give you the best conversion.
Besides that, I am quite active on my Facebook group and a few other social platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Quora. I am getting some traffic through these channels as well. Besides that, my blogging journey has been featured on different blogs and that is another good way people are discovering my blog.
9. Which blogging tools do you recommend?
There are multiple tools & plugins we need to run a blog successfully. Here are a few of the tools that I use on a regular basis.
- Canva for creating images for blog post thumbnail.
- Thrive Architect to design landing pages.
- TinyPNG, Compressor.io for compressing images without losing quality
- SEMrush, Ubersuggest, Small SEO Tools, Keywords everywhere for regular analysis
- I also use FREE Grammarly extension
- Thrive Leads to collect email leads
- RankMath SEO Plugin for on-page optimization and other blog maintenances
10. If you had to start from scratch, what would you do differently? What’s your #1 blogging mistake?
I would say networking is the biggest mistake I never took seriously. The major reason behind that was my low confidence. I had never felt that I need to help someone, connect with someone in blogging, as I was blogging part-time.
Throughout the years, I simply wrote articles and created multiple websites in different niches. Majority of them failed and I lost many of them. Due to different priorities in life & job, I never gave enough time to blogging and that’s another mistake. You have to be consistent and master in at least one niche to become a better blogger.
So, after 10 years of blogging, I have actually started from scratch from the day of starting my Facebook Group. I have re-branded my blog BloggingJOY.com and started with a new plan. In 2019, I found consistency, transparency, and networking as my biggest skills in blogging.
11. What role did school and college shape you in making you a marketer?
Well, it has a lot of impact on changing my mindset. I am a successful product of our education system. I have finished my schooling with very good marks in science, followed by a Chemical Engineering degree. After that, I joined the IT industry where I have joined as a developer.
I know you will find no connection of what I did in school & college and what I am doing now. Over a period of time, while working for different companies, I came to know that there is something called passion or interest.
That helped me to discover blogging. If you want to be a good blogger, then you have to be a marketer. I am not from marketing background though, but I am learning things as per the need gradually.
12. What is your life mantra?
Whatever life I have lived so far, one thing I have discovered that, the more money we make the higher our need level goes. This is something which continuously disturbs me. I have realized that the biggest challenge is to be 100% content in life and stay happy in the long run while doing your best thing. This is what exactly I am trying to implement and love to do with my life.
13. Which hosting will you recommend to newbie bloggers?
It is quite difficult for a newbie blogger to start a self-hosted blog. The major reason behind that is the money they have to spend for a hosting company and other necessary tools to create a better blog.
But one can’t ignore the fact that without investing for quality hosting and tools, you will never be able to make a decent income consistently. People are quite smart these days, you have to put enough efforts to convince people to sell your products.
So, I would not suggest anyone to start a blog on FREE hosting. If you are not sure, better to start a blog on Google blogger, which is FREE and has enough potential.
But for all WordPress lovers, you must go with quality hosting companies only. I am using SiteGround Hosting for my Blog BloggingJOY.com, which is really awesome with many features. But their renewal pricing is quite high so many beginners don’t consider them. But if you know the importance of investment, don’t compromise with quality.
Other than SiteGround, I found a few of the good alternatives are Bluehost, A2 Hosting, FastComet, etc. As a beginner, an affordable shared hosting plan from any of them is good. You can learn gradually, grow your blog and migrate to a better host in the future if required.
14. Most challenging moment in your Blogging career and How you dealt with it?
It is always challenging for a part-time blogger to full-fill the aspirations of blogging. Time management is the biggest problem. Even if I want to give some time, but on hectic weekdays I hardly find any time to login to my blog.
Consistency is always a challenging thing for me in blogging. And I am not blaming it, because I am earning my bread & butter through my full-time job. Gradually, I have learned how to balance them perfectly and stay focused on every field.
These days, I mostly focus on blogging during the weekends and 1-2 hours on weekdays. I plan things in advance to manage things properly. I engage with my Facebook Group buddies regularly to stay motivated, discuss on different topics and remain connected.
15. What special tip you would like to give to newbies who are just starting out in blogging?
Frankly speaking, in 2019 blogging is quite simple and at the same time, it is very difficult as well. Why I said simple is because:
- You can continue to listen to your heart and follow your passion.
- There are plenty of topics to learn from and enjoy an awesome learning curve.
- You will find so many amazing people around you and can easily make friends online & offline. I have organized a Bloggers’ Meetup recently where I met a few of the awesome bloggers at Hyderabad.
But blogging is really tough for people who don’t know how to do it properly.
- Blogging takes time. If you don’t know which niche you should blog about then you will fail very soon.
- Blogging is not about simply writing content and publishing on your blog. There are a lot of things to do while writing and after you’ve written the content. If you are not ready to invest in enhancing your skills, then you will never be able to realize why your blog is not growing.
- Getting traffic from Google is really tough in 2019. There are multiple Google updates which are continuously tracking your website & content. And if your blog is not compliant with them, then you will face penalty or get ignored. You have to learn how to deal with them and blog properly to get organic traffic.
- Whatever you write, you need an audience to read that article and get benefitted. If you don’t know how to build your audience, then within a few months, you will lose all hopes in blogging.
- People are making millions from blogging. But you should also read the real stories behind their success. How much effort and time they have invested to see such success. It may take 6 months to 1 year to make a decent income. But people are trying hard to make money from day 1 without realizing how it exactly works and fail miserably in the next few months. Do you know that 99% of bloggers fail in blogging in their first 6 months only?
So, you have to give enough time to blogging, learn new skills every day and network with fellow bloggers. If I can do it from the last 11+ years, then why can’t you? Make sure you have a plan to execute.
If you find my journey useful and my tips worthy, you can follow my blogging tips by searching the hashtags #BJTips or #BloggingJOY on Facebook. I share more such useful tips and experiences regularly on my Facebook Group, The Bloggers’ Team.
Feel free to connect with me, I will try to help you as per my best knowledge. If you find this interview useful, please don’t forget to share this article on social media.
Finally, a big thanks to Sufyan to give me the opportunity on his awesome blog. You can subscribe to this blog for more awesome content in the coming days.
I hope you found this interview useful. If you did please share this post on social media.