On the 1st of December 2013, Shoutmeloud had its 5th anniversary and I wanted to write my blogging journey which could help others to take up blogging as a serious career. This is going to be lengthy and bit boring, as it’s about me and my blogging journey so far. So if you are passionate about blogging then only read it, otherwise check out the other categories of ShoutMeLoud. This post is all about how I started my first blog and later on how I created a network of blogs, after one successful blog.
Read: After 1826 days of blogging, all I can say – Blogging is incredible (5th Anniversary post)
A Little About Me:
I have already written a lot about me on the “about” page. For new readers, I’m Harsh Agrawal, Founder of ShoutMeLoud. By education I’m a software engineer and by profession I’m a blogger. This story will tell you about important time period of my blogging journey. Getting back to my education background, I completed my engineering in I.T. stream (2008) and by the end of my final year; I was placed in one of the most reputed IT Companies: Accenture.
My Blogging Journey : From Start
Alright, I have been updating this post whenever I get time. Last time it was edited in January 2014.
First three months of blogging:
I started blogging just out of fun in September of 2008 and started writing about things which I knew. I started my blogging journey on the BlogSpot platform. I was more interested in network and computer security, so I started with a community on orkut call “Underground world”. The first domain name which I wanted was underground world, which was already taken. So I started with the domain name virgintech.blogspot, and at the end of three months I was getting appreciation from my readers and I thought of investing on my blog. I bought Web-hosting and a domain from DreamHost and migrated my blog to WordPress.
Selecting a domain name + Hosting
By the end of three months, I was aware of the importance of branding of a blog. Initially I was thinking of some domain name with a keyword containing ‘Tech” but choose “Shout-Me-Loud” for it’s uniqueness and for better branding. For hosting I selected Dreamhost since it was cheap and offered one free domain name along with the unlimited webhosting.
How my niche changed?
Initially I wrote about the usual tech stuff which you could probably find on other blogs. Later on, I started writing about blogging & WordPress based on my personal experience. Since all content was based on my own learning experience and experiments, soon people started liking it and that’s how ShoutMeLoud found its niche.
My First Income:
As I mentioned, I started blogging out of interest; I never had any advertisements. On another note, I had no idea what AdSense was or what SEO was. I was a hobby blogger and with time I learned about AdSense and other advertising programs. Though before that I learned SEO by reading lots of blogs and experimenting every day. I still remember my first $10, which I earned via helping some guy at Digital point forum with his WordPress error. That was my first online income; later on I added AdSense and in the first month I made $40 which I consider as a good start.
Hobby blogger to Professional blogging:
Back in March of 2009, I left my full time job of 6 months and I took up professional blogging as my full-time career. It was not an easy decision and convincing my family was not an easy task, but I took my chance and selected what I liked. By that time I started making decent money which could take care of my daily needs. On another note, I have done my blogging business plan and I knew how I’m going to take ShoutMeLoud to the next stage.
My accident changed my life:
On June 29th 2009 ( a week after my birthday) I met with an accident, and my leg was badly hurt. The Doctor put me on bed rest for 6 months and that’s when my life changed. Since I had nothing else to do, I dedicated myself completely to blogging. I used to spend almost 14 hours a day in front of my laptop, most of the time writing and learning new things. Those 5 months changed everything in my life and given me a new direction. I read as much as I could, and I studied about many top blogs and how they succeeded.
Partnership with another Blogger:
Around January of 2011, I partnered with a Pune-based blogger to take blogging to next level in India. Since we both have the same vision, we thought of doing this together. Later things didn’t come up as expected, and I shifted back to Delhi to start my own venture.
One thing which I learned from this experience is, one should try to avoid partnership until last. If you are undergoing a partnership, you should do the paperwork first and have a complete exit clauses.
My dream and vision till now is making blogging a full time business and set it as an industry in India. Like Rome was not built in a day, it will eventually take some time, but someday I will touch that dream, where I will have a big office and many bloggers will be writing on their blogs sitting in their office.
I started to taking advantage of my current domain name and named my company as ShoutDreams.
Current Blog Network:
Many people have asked me how do I manage so many blogs on our network. It’s not an easy task to maintain multiple blogs and their social media presence. You need to have a team who can treat all blogs as their own blog. Whenever I hire someone (Editor, paid author), one thing that I always make clear to them is always blog for passion and not money.
I divide work amongst all of them, and moreover we work in a model where everyone’s suggestions are welcome. Though I work on maximum of 2-3 blogs promotion at a time. This includes writing guest posts, commenting, social media presence , and so on. At this moment, I’m concentrating on ShoutMeLoud and CallingAllGeeks.
At this moment we have following blogs and portals in our network:
When anyone sets up a company, the biggest problem you face is finding the right team. Your foundation determines the future of your company and whole plan. Right now, I’m in the process of setting up plan for our business, and by April 2013, planning to go live with our office for bloggers.
Earning from Blogging:
This is the most interesting part of my blogging life. If I would have gone ahead with my 9-6 job, I would be making $10-15k per year. With blogging and other online activities, I have managed to make more than $50K a year, which is thrice the amount from my job. Moreover by the end I’m my own boss and I work within my own comfort. I’m sharing this part with you, because I want you to take blogging seriously, and you might end up making money like you’ve never thought possible.
What’s Next for ShoutMeLoud?
We will keep evolving as a blog to teach blogging, SEO and how you can make a living from home. I also started offering personal blog consultancy program, which is the latest addition to my services. I will keep you updated with what’s going to come here next. You can join me on Facebook & Google+.
This post was written because many people wanted to know a little background about me, and about ShoutMeLoud. I will be writing more posts on how we work as a team, and what are the options you have to grow along with ShoutMeLoud. Meanwhile, let me know if you have any feedback for me or for ShoutMeLoud?