Let’s meet Amit Agarwal who is a famous blogger based in India. He is also called “the founder of the Indian blogging revolution”; and authors the hugely popular and award winning Digital Inspiration blog where he writes about computer software, consumer gadgets, mobile phones and web applications that help us become productive. Digital Inspiration website is an award-winning technology site with 5,000+ articles, how-to guides and video tutorials on all things related to personal technology, software and useful web apps.
Amit also writes a weekly column on personal technology for Indian newspaper The Hindustan Times.
Hello Amit, tell us something about yourself and how you got interested in taking up blogging as a career?
It happened by chance.
I was working for software company in Hyderabad and was not exactly bored with my 9-to-5 job but wanted to do something on my own. One of my colleagues had a blog and that’s how I got exposed to this blogging thing for the first time. Initially, I thought of using my blog to get freelancing projects but that changed very soon and now I make a living directly from the blog.
What according to you is a successful blog? Are the success benchmarks set on the number of visits or the amount of money a blog makes or something different?
It depends. For some people, success may be defined by how many dollars they make at the end of the day but I think its more to do with influence and not just traffic or money.
If what you write can create buzz (i.e. there are conversations happening around your blog), I think you are successful. If people in your industry value what you write, you are successful.
This of course doesn’t apply to “private” bloggers who write mostly for their friends and family members.
What are some of the advantages and drawbacks in this profession?
You are your own boss. You not only get to do what you love but you also get paid for it. But I think what matters most is that you have a platform to share your voice and opinions.
The downside is that there are risks involved which are not in your control. What if search engines decide to put your site out of their index? What if you there are no online advertisers in your industry?
What have you found most challenging so far?
When you start a new blog, it’s almost like putting a billboard in the middle of a desert. Nobody knows about you – some people will only accidentally stumble upon your site and if they like it, they’ll probably help in spreading the word. Like all new bloggers, that was my biggest challenge – finding readers.
What does your typical work day or week look like?
It’s more like a 9-to-8 job now. I rarely cover “breaking news” so never really face that “time pressure.” I have about 500 feeds in my newsreader so it takes about 2 hours daily to clear the queue. Site management (like comment moderation, design tweaks), social media interactions (mostly twitter and facebook), emails, etc. take another two hours. The remaining time goes in writing stuff.
Weekends are mostly reserved for family.
How do you see blogging as a career evolving in the next 5 years?
I think more and more youngsters (especially college students) will start jumping into the blogging bandwagon. They may not take blogging as a “full-time” career but it will at least help them pay most of their utility bills.
Some tips or advice for those looking forward to taking up blogging as a career?
Always have a fall back plan. Get some good education, gain work experience and then maybe think of taking up blogging as a career.
Even if you have good ideas and write really well (blogging is all about writing), establishing yourself in the over-populated blog world can take months so don’t feel disheartened during the early stages. Just keep on writing and they’ll come.
Your website and contact information?
Twitter – http://twitter.com/labnol
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/digital.inspiration
YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/labnol
Retargets that help you Launch a Blogging Career
Problogger has very useful tips for those wanting to launch a career in blogging and for the advanced bloggers. You can also subscribe to the problogger forums and learn from the members/mentors and others who are in the same boat as you. Some recommended blogging retargets are also a must see here.