Surat’s known for its diamond merchants. This time, lets meet a diamond instead.
Born in Surat, Shaswat Shah’s story is quite interesting. With no background in the IT or technology domain in the family, the blogging bug bit this boy when he was in school. With no fixed line internet connection at home, he used his Mom’s mobile data pack to connect his computer to the internet and started blogging.
His first blog was managing to get around 5,000 hits everyday, but he did not know at that time that you could not just copy stuff from other websites and post it on yours. To avoid getting into ‘legal hassles’, he switched to learning the right ‘White Hat’ techniques of blogging and SEO. Slowly he became better at what he does and rubs shoulders today with some of the biggest bloggers from India.
After a brief chat with him during a blogging summit in Delhi last year, we recently caught up with this boy wizard to delve deep into his wizardry. Excerpts from our chat.
DD: When you started blogging at such an early age, did you ever think that it would become a main stream career for you?
SS: I was in 9th standard when I started blogging. And honestly, I never thought that I would be consider blogging as a serious career someday.
I started with a very different niche and certainly I didn’t know what I was doing at that time but the passion and the eagerness to start something online helped me carry on. I was very fascinated by internet and wanted learn about how-to-build websites & blogs.
DD: What attracts you more to blogging over a corporate job?
SS: Blogging has it’s own freedom, which a corporate job may not offer. You can earn while you’re sleeping, have holidays whenever you want & work from everyplace with a single handy laptop and a data pack connection. I feel that blogging can also be done with corporate job as I’ve been doing part-time blogging with my studies.
DD: What has been your personal key to success in blogging and digital marketing?
SS: There’s no key to success and no way to define it either. Whenever you achieve a milestone, you want to achieve more because that’s human nature. The main thing everybody should focus on is KEEP LEARNING. And not only learning but also implementing whatever you’ve learned.
People who’ve been friends with me on Facebook and Twitter know’s that I share lot of content daily, that’s because I love to read and consume knowledge from which I can Learn NEW things, adapt and execute.
I’ve seen people telling and giving advice “to fail fast” but I effectively believe that one should not try to fail fast but instead try to solve difficult problems which you think you can’t do, by challenging yourself you’ll learn more than any failure!
DD: How many websites and blogs do you currently run? Roughly how many people visit your sites in a month?
SS: I currently have more than 18+ blogs running live, few more blogs in the pipeline with some new upcoming projects. Total amount of visitors I’ve haven’t counted yet, but all I can say is I am generating a decent amount of income out of it. Recently I’ve also started my personal blog shaswatshah.com.
DD: How has blogging helped you crack other deals and get more work?
SS: I’ve worked with a Digital Marketing Company RiseMetric in Mumbai for 2 months (During my school vacation). In which I also worked for some SEO campagin of Housing.com and AasaanJobs.com and few in-house big projects. I got lot of opportunities and learned a lot working with a Digital Marketing Company while doing SEO of a Billion Dollar startup.
Currently also I’ve few offline clients just because they saw my blog online and they wanted to hire me.
DD: Do people take your casually since you are so young? How do you deal with that?
SS: This is the biggest challenge I’ve faced till now! Just because of my age I’ve lost potential clients. And another problem is I cannot hire anyone offline. As I’ve numerous blogs I need writers, I’ve already hired few writers who work from their home but whenever I want to hire a full time writer or an SEO Manager who can work for me no one agrees saying we can’t get hired by a 18 year old kid.
DD: Do you spend time on your blogs daily or do they make money for you passively too?
SS: I do have to spend lot of time on my blogs even though few of them are on auto-pilot. I’ve to stay updated with every new Google’s Algorithm changes and SEO changes in the Industry.
Most of the time I spend for monitoring my ranking improvement, backlinks analysing, posting/updating blog, moderating comments etc.
DD: There are countless tutorials on SEO around the web, what are the key learnings that you have implemented all through these years.
SS: SEO is limitless. The more you get into, the more you’ll learn. And just by reading bunch of articles and watching video tutorials you won’t learn but by implementing and experimenting you’ll learn.
DD: What can be a good motivation to make people to write and blog more?
SS: The best motivation syrup, is to write openly whatever you feel, doesn’t matter if you make lot’s of mistake in starting but just start.
“A journey to thousand miles is started by single step”. Don’t think about any thing and just start writing on whatever you love, and eventually you’ll develop a good readership.
DD: Other than ad sense and affiliate income, what other sources you think are there to help people earn via blogging? Does it also help build a personal brand?
SS: Blogging does help you to create a good personal brand. And there are countless sources to earn money via blogging such as if you’ve personal brand or good number of visitors you can build your own product and start recurring monthly income, you can write an eBook and sell on your blog or sell through Amazon, you can write for others and earn, you can earn via sponsored post, direct banner advertisement etc.
There are many other sources to earn which you can discover by yourself once you come into this field.
DD: What do you plan to do next? Study some more or keep blogging?
I recently completed my 12th Science and I’m not very good at studies. But I’ll just complete my engineering and continue blogging. For now I don’t have any great plans, but I guess I’ll definitely go with flow.