Harsh Agarwal is an engineer by education and a blogger by profession.
After working for Convergys and a job offer from Accenture, Harsh decided to start blogging in 2008.
He is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience about blogging, marketing, and making money online.
Harsh didn’t start to get rich.
All he wanted to do is teach others and share his ideas. Today, his blog, ShoutMeLoud, has an Alexa Traffic Rank of 2864 and over 200,000 subscribers. In the following interview, you will find out how Harsh is marketing his blog, making money, and much more.
You could also build your own business as a professional blogger. Click here for my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.
Success Harbor: You were blogging for 5-years on Blogspot before starting ShoutMeLoud.
What kept you going for so many years?
Harsh Agarwal: The only thing which helped me the most to stick to blogging is my passion and motive.
I started blogging with the objective to share what I know and make life easier for others.
I’m a person who likes to try new things, and at the same time, I want to share it with others and let them know, “Hey, look, it’s so easy to do.”
This is one thing that kept me going so far, and along with it, it’s mostly the great response from the community, which made me learn and do new things every day.
Success Harbor: Most people quit within the first few months.
Why didn’t you quit?
Harsh Agarwal: There are multiple reasons:
- Passion – I am passionate about writing stuff I find useful, and that’s one reason I have been constantly on it.
- Money – After four months of blogging, I realized one could make a decent income from a blog. I started making around $800 after six months of blogging, and that actually helped me a lot to decide between professional blogging or part-time blogging. Without money, I don’t think I would have made it so far. At the same time, not knowing about making money from the blog gave me an extra push, because I was happy with whatever money I was earning through blogging. It worked as an incentive for me.
- Learning – Being a curious mind, I love to learn new things, and every single day I learn something new. Moreover, I love to decode complicated things into simple words so that anyone can understand and do it themselves.
Success Harbor: What were the signs that helped you quit your full-time job at Accenture?
Harsh Agarwal: I was actually working with Convergys before and had a joining offer from Accenture.
When Accenture asked me to join them on July 8th, 2009, by that time, I was making close to $900/month from my blog, and I could see growth in future days.
I was certain about not joining Accenture.
At the same time, I had a car accident that made me bedridden for a good six months.
Those six months helped me a lot to shape my blogging career, and working for someone else became a thing of the past for me.
Success Harbor: You had a bad car accident early on as an entrepreneur.
Instead of giving up, you have spent your time learning and building your business.
What were the things you have learned and done while recovering from your accident?
Harsh Agarwal: For the first 20 days, I was in bad shape and had to undergo surgery.
The doctor recommended me to be in complete rest for six months.
I was kind of getting hopeless as it was uncertain how fit and fine my leg would be after six months.
That’s the time I started spending almost 12-14 hours a day learning and reading as much as I could.
I experimented with things like “SEO”, “Various blogging tips” and read a lot about internet marketing online.
Success Harbor: How did you drive traffic to your blog in the beginning?
Harsh Agarwal: In the beginning, I took advantage of social bookmarking sites like Digg, delicious, StumbleUpon.
One of my posts also made it to the Digg homepage in 2008, which drove more than 18,000 visits in a single day, which was like unbelievable.
Apart from social bookmarking, I used to blog comments.
I created many meaningful connections due to blog commenting, which helped me a lot to grow my blog back then.
Success Harbor: Can you give us some specific examples of marketing/getting more visitors to ShoutMeLoud today?
- Email marketing – I have set up Aweber to let my readers subscribe to my blog updates. It helps me drive traffic to my epic content.
- Social media – I promote my articles on Social media sites (FB, Google plus, twitter).
- YouTube – These days, I’m actively working on my Youtube channel @denharsh to create video content, and so far, I see great conversions and brand building with the help of videos.
- Next in my chart is podcasting.
Success Harbor: Which one is your favorite social platform, and why?
Harsh Agarwal: In terms of marketing, none of them, as it requires a lot of time and effort.
Though I prefer using Google plus, LinkedIn to create more meaningful connections and to connect with other influencers in my field.
Basically, for me, social media is more about creating connections than simply marketing your own products.
If I have to name one, I will focus on YouTube more because, at this time, it is the most profitable social networking site for me.
Success Harbor: How much traffic does your blog get in a month?
Harsh Agarwal: We get around 360,000+ Pageviews in a month.
Out of this 80% of traffic is from search engines.
Success Harbor: What are the most effective SEO tactics for ShoutMeLoud?
Harsh Agarwal: Write topics that are related to the theme of the blog.
Moreover, write case-studies, epic content that generates natural backlinks.
Keyword research and optimization after writing the content.
Promote articles on Social media sites.
Instead of showing the published date, I show the last updated time in the search.
This way, my evergreen content gets better Click Through Rate (CTR) from search engines.
I focus a lot on the page loading time of the page, which helps a lot with improving SEO and gives a great user experience.
I have a mobile-specific theme to get more traffic from mobile search engines.
Success Harbor: How many years have you been blogging before you started making money?
Harsh Agarwal: I started blogging in September 2008, and on December 1st, 2008, I moved to self-hosted WordPress with ShoutMeLoud.com.
I made my first affiliate sale in December 2008 and earned $47. It was in April 2009 I got my first AdSense check.
Success Harbor: How many different ways are you able to monetize ShoutMeLoud?
Here is a breakdown of how I make money from ShoutMeLoud:
- Affiliate marketing – This adds up to 70% of my total income.
- Direct ad banner sale – I get around $1500/month from direct banner ad sales.
- WordPress SEO – This is a service I offer to individual WordPress blogger,s which costs somewhere between $300-$700.
- Additional services – BlogSpot to WordPress migration, Thesis theme customization adds more revenue stream to my blog.
- YouTube – My Youtube channel helps me generate AdSense income and, at times, a couple of affiliate sales too.
Success Harbor: Where do you look to find popular topics to write about?
Harsh Agarwal: I usually focus on the things that I have learned and learning about.
Once I acquire enough knowledge on any topic I have been researching about, I write them as a blog post.
Success Harbor: What mistakes do you see new bloggers make?
Harsh Agarwal: Writing without researching:
Most of the newbie bloggers write things from their heart, but they miss out on converting it into a great piece of content.
Things like images, proper formatting, keyword optimization take hardly 10-15 extra minutes, which helps a lot in the long run.
Bloggers learn about the above skills after months or years of blogging, and I recommend all newbie bloggers to work on it from day one.
One just needs to spend 3-4 hours a day to learn about it.
Not having an email subscription box.
Subscription box-like email subscribers, social media follow icons that help one time readers to connect with your blog and stay updated with the latest content.
Having a subscription option is a must for any blogger from day one.
Changing the design too often and not having a logo:
A consistent design is crucial for the branding of the blog, and at the same time, a catchy logo with tag line helps one to establish themselves as a brand.
There are many more, but these are few I can think of right now.
Success Harbor: What are the reasons most bloggers fail and never get any traction?
Harsh Agarwal: Blogging without passion and goals.
Bloggers who usually fail after starting a blog are mostly due to lack of a vision and patience.
Blogging requires a lot of passion and moreover, a strategy to keep moving forward.
Blogging is one of those fields where self-motivation is crucial.
Another major aspect is not learning the basics and hoping to make it big, taking shortcuts.
My only advice for newbie bloggers would be:
Learn the basics: SEO, copywriting, image editing and basic blogging tips will ensure one will succeed in any niche they are blogging in.
Success Harbor: What are your goals for ShoutMeLoud for the next 1-2 years?
Harsh Agarwal: With ShoutMeLoud, my vision is to make it a one-stop solution for anyone who wants to create and make a living with a blog.
The idea is to give everything that I have learned over time and empower people to do something better than what I have done so far.
Say hi to Harsh at shoutmeloud.com.