How I Turned My Blog into a Full-time Living – Part 1
Yes. I turned my blog into a full-time living. If you’re one of those people who keep on asking bloggers that how bloggers make money and how to earn online income through a blog, then you might sit tight, grab a cup of coffee because it’s a long story.
Trust me, if you’d start reading, you might want to read all the way to the bottom…
If you’re kind of busy, I’d suggest to bookmark this blog post and read sometime later, when you’re relaxed, fresh, and want to read something inspirational.
My story isn’t inspirational, though, in fact, I’m trying to make it inspirational.
Once you stick with this blog post for a couple of minutes, you’ll be with me for a long-haul.
So, you’re staying. Never mind.
Okay. I’m going back to the early days when I started thinking about working online.
A few things are always beyond our approach and thinking…
I don’t understand one phenomenon.
If a human starts an effort and puts 100% to something, NATURE starts setting up things for him.
I’ve always tested this.
This is really beyond me. I can’t explain this.
Back in school, my uncle who was/and is a lecturer at a reputable college in the city told me to focus on ENGLISH language. I said, OKAY. (I mean that ‘OKAY’ with no intention to pursue that thing)…
I asked a web developer friend about Google’s ad program that how it works etc. He didn’t know about it much and the only thing he knew was people MAKE MONEY when someone clicks on those ADS.
It was a huge thing.
Next mission was where to put those ads!
GOD knows where I found blogger.com and created my personal blog with a Blogspot subdomain.
It was so cool.
Later on, I started writing about business development, current affairs, and domestic politics. All in all, I had no idea about niche selection and target audience, of course, but that didn’t stop me. I wrote a couple of blog posts and I got a comment on a blog post which I wrote related to “building alternative resources” — The story was, I used to work with freelance web developers and trying to set up a small web design services company, so I realized at early stage that you can’t rely on a single web developer, instead, you should have an alternative resource to get things done for you. So, that pushed me to write that blog post.
I started getting a little appreciation from cousins and friends — not because I was writing something extraordinary, in fact, I knew, it was horrible, but people were not used to of it, that is why they got astonished and started appreciating me.
And, I didn’t stop them.
So, I got my Adsense account on a free Blogspot blog which might be a strange thing these days.
I might not be the most successful blogger when it comes to MONEY MAKING. What people want to see is a six figure income, lavishing lifestyle, and a fancy car… People expect this from a blogger who considers himself/herself a successful blogger.
It’s not like that.
BLOGGING isn’t a quick buck scheme. It’s not a MONEY MAKING scheme either.
It’s a career. It’s a lifestyle. It takes so much learning, experience, and hard work to succeed.
You’ll find dozens of examples of bloggers who have been successful, but it took them years and years to reach where they stand now.
I always tell people when I talk about my BLOGGING career that I started off without any guidance. I learned on my own. I made MISTAKES and LEARNED the hard way.
And, I’m proud of it.
So, it was 2009.
I came to know about WordPress. I went to one of my friends. He was a web developer and I asked him to teach me about installing a WordPress blog. So, he taught me the basics of installing a self-hosted WordPress blog, I came back home, bought my web hosting, and within a couple of days, I launched my first ever WordPress blog.
It was the time when I started using WordPress. Although, I messed up a dozen time while testing hundreds of free plugins and themes.
The problem was still there. The lack of a PLAN. I had no idea about NICHE, TARGET AUDIENCE, CONTENT STRATEGY, READERS ENGAGEMENT, MONETIZATION, and CONVERSION RATE.
There was only one thing in mind.
Money Making = Google Adsense
Something happened this year. My God!
Still remember that BANG.
I and a friend of mine were sitting at my office. Then, he told me to check the score update on a cricket match. You probably don’t know that Cricket in Pakistan is like Football in the USA. Everybody loves it.
So, I googled something. And, we landed on a cricket blog which was showing around 100 live visitors on its WhosAmungTool. And, we were stunned.
That moment gave a little turn in my blogging…
I thought to get a little deeper in the blogging field and my friend showed interest in starting his blog.
(He never did, till now, probably… sorry, my friend, you know I have told you this many times.
I had to say this because you don’t want to spend money on something you want to use to make money. Brother, you’d regret someday on that strategy.)
Right. I called another friend. He was one of the good friends and mentors of mine. He has always been a support and guide. He encouraged me to go ahead with a blog on sports.
So, I had already a Google Adsense account, and I jumped to sports blogging.
Launched my sports blog.
I started covering Cricket, Tennis, and the Field Hockey.
I was totally new to blogging. I had no idea about niche selection and audience building.
All I was thinking about was CLICKS ON MY ADS.
See, No experience. No exposure. Just on my own. That is how I started.
If you’re starting off or you’ve been following the influencers who’ve helped you over the course of time, I got to say you’re lucky. I’m happy for you…
But, if you’ve started off recently and a kind of like me, then I’ve got this covered for you guys…
Trust me, I’ll help you as much as I could…
Here comes 2011. I was pretty much active with my sports blog. One of the reasons was the Cricket World Cup 2011. Everyone was waiting and searching for the cricket, highlights, matches, fixtures, and updates… So, my blog got huge traction.
I didn’t realize that sports blogging is pretty much an occasional niche and it is pretty much like event blogging. When the respective sports events come, your traffic goes up, and rest of the time, you see nothing good.
At that time, I stumbled upon some of the writing gigs as I was writing about sports, so a Chinese tennis coach approached me and asked for some article writing stuff for his tennis website.
We discussed the pricing and I started working.
I delivered the articles and he paid me. I don’t remember the pricing but it was pretty reasonable, in fact, I was happy to get a good price.
At that time, I actually thinking about Freelance writing. I, later on, started approaching different sports websites about writing gigs. Some of them responded and some of them didn’t.
At that point, I started realizing about ‘Sports Niche Disadvantages’ — Because I was in the field, I used to find other bloggers with blogs related to blogging tips, solutions, and technology, and their blogs were growing…
Later on, a Canadian blog owner found me… We talked and I wrote a few articles for his site. It did well. I started realizing that sports blogging isn’t working really well…
Although, my first blog helped me a lot in understanding the blogging field. It taught me lessons. It provided me a chance to make mistakes and learn from them.
I did, actually.
I learned the hard way. Because, on that sports blogs, I had no idea about SEO and I literally did SEO blunders…
Imagine all experiments on the main blog.
In 2012, I decided to get better at what I do. I was more aware of niche blogging and looking forward to entering the new area in the blogging field.
I started a ‘blogging tips‘ related blog and it was a real niche blog.
After two months, I got a message from a company on my LinkedIn that they want to talk to me. So, they asked for my email address and phone number. We talked a couple of time on the phone, skyped for a few times, and exchanged the emails.
The company was based in Switzerland.
I got my first shot. I was excited. They knew about my expertise as they have been seeing me writing on the sports. They wanted me to write for entertainment category which includes TV, Film, and Sports. I happily agreed.
That was my first major break-through.
The lesson you can grasp is that you have to keep trying. You have to keep putting your effort in the work. There are two benefits of doing that. 1) You get better and better in what you’re doing. 2) You develop a brand name doing a consistent work in any field.
The effort I started in 2008-09 changed in 2010 and I kept on digging it deeper and deeper.
Read about my year 2013, 2014, and 2015 in part 2 of this blog post.
I hope to see you there in a few days.
Before leaving this page, tell me one thing…
Do you enjoy real-life struggles and success stories?
That’s sounds similar to my beginnings except that I have not moved on to full time blogging as I am still trying to build traffic to my site. I have monetised my site but working heavily on getting more traffic. It’s gotten better since a couple of months ago but I am hoping that 2016 is my year. Like you, I am slightly changing topics I cover. Not entirely but I am incorporating other subjects I’m knowledgeable about and run personal tests on aside from just focusing on fashion. Looking forward to your part 2.
Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I’m glad you’re focusing on your blog. I’d love to advise that don’t focus necessarily on building traffic. I’d rather choose the fewer number of visitors (who are qualified and relevant) than random and useless visitors (who will just come visit, eat up site’s bandwidth and walk away)…
Feel free to email me via the contact form, I’ll get back to you with some monetization strategies for your blog. It will help you grow your blog as a brand.
Great story! I admire you for sticking to blogging through such a steep learning curve. I’ve never been a big fan of Adsense, and imagine it must have been quite hard to monetise a seasonal niche only with ads.
As for your question, definitively. I found real-life struggles to be much more insightful and deep than a basic tale of success where Bob found his “calling”, stuck to it through all the hardships of life to achieve his ultimate goal.
A lot of us don’t know what we are doing at first or have a strong passion for it. What you share is more relatable and helps readers adjust themselves to more realistic expectations.
I’ll come back to read part 2 tomorrow.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for checking this out. I wrote a 3-post series and tried to share everything I learned so far in terms of being a blogger who is out there and trying to float on the surface of the deep sea.
In fact, I didn’t stop there, I shared the roadmap of past 5 years. It’s all about being transparent and honest with the audience. Thanks for reading this and leaving your valuable comment.
An answer to your question – “Yes I do like reading real life struggles and success stories”, they are too much inspirational to make you go through. 🙂
Oka Bye, Moving over to Part 2 😀
Thank you so much for reading this and leaving your comment here.
I hope you continue to come here and my struggle will help guide you in making a difference in your freelance writing career.
I’m not free, fresh or relaxed. Despite all that, I could read till the end in one go.
I’m glad to know you a bit more. You’ve guided me a lot in blogging. I think I’m lucky because it took me just 3 to 4 months to jump from random and all-over-the-place blogging to niche blogging with a defined audience. I’m sorry it took you too long but you kept going and going.
Best of luck for all your projects.
Thanks for reading this. I think that’s the whole point. A blogger must provide solutions and help others avoid the problems that he or she has had along the way.
Yes hassaan its really enjoyable to read a article like this.i’m also want to doing blogging and the same problem of mine is like you. Only sports i know about more and can write an article on it. please guide me what is good niche for blogging.
Thanks for reading this article. It’s impossible to tell the best blogging niche. Because this is something we have to figure out on our own. You know yourself better than anyone else.
What do I like?
What is my passion?
What am I good at?
What do I like to do when I’m free?
Blogging isn’t just about writing about smartphones or blogging or social media. It could be anything you’re passionate about and it might help others.
Don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to answer because that’s the most important stage of a blogging career.
Inspirational story! I want to start a blog but I don’t know what topic to write on. Help would be appreciated. Peace.
Thank you so much for your comment. Choosing the niche is probably one of the important decisions in one’s blogging career. You must try to find some sort of passion/interest and then use that in your blogging. I can help you in three steps:
I hope my reply will help you.
I’ve came here all the way from Facebook to your YT channel than on your another channel named T.V and it brought me here . so i will give you thumbs up bro you have great sense of writing to keep your audience reading on . i guess you are from faisalabad; i am also from fsd i have started a blog couple of weeks ago and i have no idea of powerful writing and monetizing,SEO and stuff like that i am totally new to these things . i would be really thankful to you if you could please spare some time for me !! would be more glad if you would like to have coffee with me and some discussion!!!!
I’m glad you left a comment on my blog. Let’s meet up next week.
Its really inspiring looking forward for 2013 onward.