Bilal Ahmed is a blogger from Pakistan who has been blogging for a decade. Even though, he has a tiny email list, his blog, TechMaish is getting 250,000 monthly readers. Find out how it all got started.
Revenue of $4,000/mo
Email list size of 540
Founded in 2008
Hello! What’s your background, and what is your blog about?
My name is Bilal Ahmad and I live in Pakistan. I have done MBA in Banking & Finance. Although most of the people will say why an MBA student would start a blog but for me, Technology and Computers were always an area of interest. That is why I jumped in to have my own identity in the field of Technology.
I started blogging in 2008 and so far I have enjoyed it. My blog is TechMaish which is about sharing the latest happenings in the world of technology, SEO, blogging and Social Media. My readers are mostly from India, USA and Pakistan.
What motivated you to get started with the blog?
It was all about the passion that kept me motivated to have my own blog. In 2008, the Internet was not so popular in Pakistan. Having a blog or website was something that only a computer expert would be able to create and run. I wanted to have one just for fun. It just started when I acquired TechMaish.com domain and then started sharing my voice.
I learned the basics of Blogging, SEO, HTML, CSS and PHP and other related stuff. Slowly I learned that blogging can be used to make some quick bucks. Although my initial motivation was not the money, with the passage of time it became a very stable source of income for me.
My financial situation at that time was not that good. I did not have the means to buy a domain and hosting. It took me some time earning my first few dollars. And PayPal not available in Pakistan was one of the main hurdles in my way to purchasing my first domain and hosting.
What is the revenue model for the blog?
The main source of income for my blog is Adsense along with Direct Advertising (includes banner advertising, promotional posts, and reviews).
In 2008 when I started blogging, I was really not thinking about how to make money with it. But when the traffic started increasing I had to implement Adsense to see how it goes and when I saw the income it motivated me a lot. My first $100 took a couple of months but slowly with the increase in traffic it reached to $1000/month and beyond quite easily.'If you are a known name in the industry you are in, then it is quite easy to make money.'Click To Tweet
My advice to the newcomers and struggling bloggers is not to think about money when blogging. The more you think about it, the more it is going to affect your actions. If your motivation is money then you will make very little. If it is more than that then the money is going to come by default.
My motivation was to build my identity and reputation and I am very happy that I have built it in the past 10 years. In the process, money came and made my dreams come true. If my motivation was money, then I don’t think I would have continued for 10 years.
One of the main issues about being motivated by money is that when you don’t make any money for some time, you will start getting de-motivated and your actions and efforts are going to be affected negatively. In return you may either quite blogging OR have to start over again.
What are some strategies you have used to increase the blog’s traffic?
The first thing is that you have to think about your strength and weaknesses. In MBA we learned about SWOT Analysis where businesses have to think about its Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This then helps in formulating a working plan to survive in the market.
This is what I did when I started my blogging career. I was not good at writing at that time so instead of quitting, I started taking Guest Posts on my blog. The idea worked and I started getting lots of content on daily basis. TechMaish.com was selected in most of the top guest blogging lists and that further helped in getting more content. This in return helped in increasing the traffic. And I just have to focus on Off Page Optimization by building quality links from other reputable blogs through Comment Posting, Guest Blogging and engaging in different related forums.
How have you grown your email list?
Although I have used email marketing for my eBook about “Blogging” in 2015 but overall I have not implement email marketing as a promotional way for my blog. This is the area where I need to work more. Because we all know that “Money is in the list”.
How do you write great content that performs well?
I always write about trendy and newsworthy topics, which helps in bringing new readers all the time. Forums and Q&A communities are the best sources where I get trendy topics for my articles.
Technical writing is all about researching to provide the readers the most accurate and actionable content. Headlines always play the major role but if the content is not well researched then its purpose is wasted.
In order constantly receive traffic from Google it Is important to write only on the topics that have the most searches. I find such topics through SEMRush. It is a great tool. I wish If I had used it a long time ago, I would have targeted only the high trafficked keywords.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome with your blog? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
One of the challenges was to keep writing good content all the time and since my English was poor, I struggled a lot. But Guest Blogging helped me keep posting new and trendy posts all the time.
Another challenge was managing my blog servers because I had very little knowledge about HTML, CSS, and PHP. It took me some time learning all these languages. It is very important to learn all these because once a blog has traffic, it is always a target for the hackers.
My blog was hacked twice and was affected by malicious codes due to which Google has blacklisted my domain for some time. It took me few months to recover my blog. At that time my knowledge was not rich on these stuff but after those ancients, I have learned all the required stuff to keep my blog protected.
Have you found anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Neil Patel blog is one of the very helpful blog everyone should read to learn advanced skills. His books are also very useful and helpful in the blogging and marketing field.
One of the good decisions I made was joining WordPress platform from the very first day. It allowed me to learn things fast and keep my blog running with its full potential. Most of the new comers start with Google Blogpsot.com which has several limitations.
I have always tried to choose the difficult tasks first. This helps in keeping me motivated all the time. I have seen many newcomers quieting their career without fruitful results, just because of the difficult tasks they have to complete. If we start from the difficult ones first, then everything becomes easy at the later stage.
What’s your advice for bloggers who are just starting out?
The very first advice I would like to give to all the new comers is to stay motivated all the time. If you want to stay in this industry for the long period, you have to do things that has no monetary output but yet important for building for your reputation and skills. If you are known name in the industry you are in, then it is quite easy to make money.
Time management is also one of the key players in making your blog successful. You have to perform regular activities to keep your blog moving to the next level. For example, make it your habit to build at least 1 or 2 (or whatever you can) every day OR write articles regularly, engage in forums and comments on other blogs every day. If you can’t do it every day, just do it weekly but do it on regular basis.
Relationship building is very important in blogging. Connect with as many bloggers as you can, because this will help you to even make money from other blogs. For example, if a client approaches you for an advertisement and you make a deal, you can then show them your friends blog for the similar deal on higher rates.
Where can we go to learn more?