Blogging went from being absolutely unheard of in India to being one of the most crowded spaces ever.

Everyone wants to do “niche marketing” because Neil Patel and Seth Godin said so. And then they crash and burn.

Why?

Simple – No one tells them that blogging and affiliate marketing is hard work. You don’t just publish one blog blog post and turn into a millionaire overnight.

There is a LOT of hard work involved and today, we are going to talk to one of India’s OG Affiliate Marketers – Anil Agarwal from BloggersPassion.

Without further rambling, let’s dive straight into the interview. I’m Nirvana Guha – your host for this post. And you’re reading all about the secrets of Affiliate Marketing that no one else will tell you.

Succ33d: What are the 5 favorite tools that you use regularly?

Anil: I use a lot of free tools. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

  • Google Analytics: to keep a check on my website traffic stats.
  • Google Search Console: to keep track of my website’s health.
  • Google Docs: to write content and for managing spreadsheets.
  • RankMath: Earlier we were using the pro version of Yoast SEO, recently moved to Rankmath. Looks to be a good move.
  • GTmetrix: I use this speed testing tool to check and improve speed for my website pages. Sharing a sample screen showing speed for my blog home page:

Succ33d: What are the top 3 paid tools that are worth the investment?

Anil: I use a lot of free tools. Here are a few of my favorites:

 

  • Go for an SEO tool. Pick one from SEMrush or Ahrefs
  • Use an email marketing tool. Go for Drip or ConvertKit. Sharing below a screen showing open our recent broadcasts that we sent via Drip:
  • Use a conversion optimization tool like CrazyEgg to track the behaviour of your website users

Succ33d: How do you research topics and choose traffic spinners?

Anil: I will start doing research on broad topics. A good example could be affiliate marketing. Then I will use SEMrush or any other keyword research tools to find more sub-topics around affiliate marketing.   Mostly I do a series of posts around a core-topic to increase my chances of doing well on Google search.

Sharing a few topic ideas I would do around affiliate marketing:

  • Best affiliate marketing products, web hosting affiliate programs, travel affiliate programs, etc.
  • Best affiliate marketing blogs or marketers list
  • How to set up an affiliate marketing blog
  • How to get more sales for affiliate products
  • How to do SEO for an affiliate website
  • Best affiliate link cloaking plugins, etc.
  • Individual affiliate product review (Example: Bluehost affiliate review)

Sharing below a screenshot showing some sample content ideas around affiliate marketing:

    Succ33d: You started the blog as a side-project and then became involved with it full-time. What was the transition like?

    Anil:

    That’s true. I started BloggersPassion.com as a side project. And for many years I kept it running as a side project only. In 2018, I started working full time on BloggersPassion.com and in 2019, I started one more project around web hosting topics at HostingMonks.com.

    For many years I was stretching myself with my job, family and blogging related tasks. It was becoming really hard for me to manage everything.

    So in 2018, I left my full-time job to focus more on my blog and to give more time to my family. So far really happy with where BloggersPassion is standing. You guys can check Bloggers Passion journey from here.

    Succ33d: Is full-time blogging a viable business in India yet? How can someone validate if s/he has what it takes?

    Anil:If someone wants to get into blogging, I would suggest doing it side-by-side initially. And once you start getting decent income regularly from your blog, you can take blogging as a full-time career.

    It’s going to take a couple of years at least before you start getting decent income from your blogging efforts.

    So start blogging as a side project initially with a day job and once you are able to manage your expenses with your blog, you should become a full-time blogger.

    Succ33d: Do you think SEO is no longer a great source for traffic generation given that Google is pushing the organic results far below on the SERP?

    Anil: Still, there is lots of traffic there. For most people, Google search is the biggest traffic driver.  On BloggersPassion.com, more than 80% of traffic comes from Google search.

    I would still suggest improving your SEO skills but at the same time, start searching for more traffic sources.

    Succ33d: What are your 5 most valuable learning from this journey as a blogger?

    Anil: 

    #1 It’s Going to Take Time: You cannot make a popular blog in a day. It’s going to take a few years at least for you to turn your ordinary blog into a great blog. You will also get better with your blogging, SEO or marketing skills as time passes. Enjoy the blogging journey and don’t put too much focus on the end result.

     

    #2 Networking with Blogging Friends is a Must: When I started blogging, I was just focusing on my blog. I was not networking with other bloggers.


    But for the last couple of years, I have become active on social channels and connect with my blogging buddies there from time to time. If they stay near me, I try to meet them face-to-face as well.

    They are the one you can reach out if you need any advice, can plan something jointly or can land on their blogs through guest posts, comments, etc.

     

    #3 Follow Your Passion: These days, I spend most of my time on improving my blog design, its content and then marketing those contents. I don’t see all of these activities as work as I love doing them.

    Lots of people are not happy with their jobs as they are not doing the work they are most passionate about. I would suggest to follow your passion and try to survive with it.

     

    #4 Blogging is Not a Get Rich Scheme: If you think, you will become rich overnight after starting a blog, then blogging is not for you. It’s going to take lots of consistent effort and hard work before you will see its benefits. Blogging is all about doing all the hard work now and enjoying its benefits in later years.

     

    #5 Don’t Give Up: You will see lots of ups and downs in your blogging journey. Stay strong and keep blogging. I have seen so many ups and downs in my blogging journey. When I started, my Adsense account got banned, then I found more Google Adsense alternatives I can use to make money.

    My blogs have also faced a few Google algorithm updates and penalties. But with continued efforts, I’m able to get out of those difficult days.

    Succ33d: Your biggest mistakes so far?

    Anil: I made a lot of blogging mistakes in my early days of blogging. Sharing a few of them below:
    • For a long time, I was not building an email list.
    • Was not active on Social channels and was missing the social circle.
    • We kept using shared hosting for many years. Should have moved to a better host bit early.

    Succ33d: If you were starting today what would you do differently?

    Anil: I started my hosting related project HostingMonks.com in Jan 2019. The way I’m working on things here is a bit different from how I started BloggersPassion.com.

    With HostingMonks, I’m focusing more on brand building and putting less focus on the promotion of individual pages.

    Wrapping Up

    And that was Anil Agarwal from BloggersPassion. We hope that today’s interview gave all of you a closer look at his affiliate marketing playbook. If any of you are into affiliate marketing, reach out to Anil and drop him a thank you mail.

    Until next time. Peace out!