// At 27, Amit Agarwal grew restless. A techie working inBangalore, he wanted to live with his family inAgra. But what about the monthly pay cheque? Idea: a tech blog that will help him get freelance assignments. So in 2004, labnol.blogspot.com was born.
The first post was the review of a new printer he had bought. And soon he was fielding questions from people who had the printer or any other gadgets.// // // // // // // //
Agarwal didn’t know it then but the blog would become his full-time profession. Seven years later, he is still writing the blog (now labnol.org), and no longer looking for freelancing. The blog with 4.5 million page views per month has him clocking in 14-hour workdays. The only difference: he works from home. “Back then, I didn’t think or know that a blog could be my source of income,” he confesses. His source of revenue: Google AdSense, the Google service that places contextual ads on blogs. The blog and Google stay his chief source of income, with 75% of the revenue coming from it.
With little to no capital required, taking your business to the web is clearly the way forward. But decoding the web is not that easy. As yet another tech blogger, 27-yearold Amit Bhawani, found out. Starting as a personal blogger (amitbhawani.com now techadvices.com), the MBA graduate from Hyderabad has 300 domain names registered under his company Digital World Solutions with 40 sites and blogs operational, covering technology, health, education and automobiles.
Bhawani started blogging as a 22-year-old in 2006 and soon realised that it’s the only business where there’s an assured 100% year-on-year growth. Last year he made Rs 1.2 crore from his blog with 70% of the revenue coming from Google AdSense.
Unlike Agarwal, Bhawani has a team of content writers (four on the rolls) and is soon planning to move out of his home office and set up a team of 16 writers to feed his 40 websites. “It’s easy to make money online and you keep hearing offhand stories of webpreneurship. But it’s difficult to find any guidance,” he says. There are no agencies telling you what to do, and competition will misguide you. The web is the only source.
But as Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development and supporter of many internet-oriented businesses, famously said, “Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” In his five years as a web entrepreneur, Bhawani says the three Ps that help you are passion, persistence and patience. But a few pointers never hurt.
Find a Niche
While studying to be an engineer, which he never got down to pursuing, Rishi Sachdeva, 27, realised that there’s no specific service that caters to NRIs who wish to deliver flowers toIndia. His mother had a small florist business catering to local clients. His idea: to provide “similar or better virtual environment”. He started aryanflorist.com in 2004, when he was studying engineering. Based out of Yamuna Nagar, he built a network of 100 florists withinIndiato deliver pan-India, even to remote villages like Sangrur inPunjabfor an additional cost. Today, the company has started delivering gift items like champagne, chocolates along with flowers and has a pan-world presence with a network of 250 florists in countries like theUS, theUK, UAE,Canada,AustraliaandNew Zealand.
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Sachdeva has Africa andEuropeon his list next. After setting up the website in 2004, designed by aDelhiweb designer, he only used Google AdWords to popularise the site. ?gWhen I started out, there was no one to help me out. I made mistakes in reading the Ad-Words clauses, how to get traffic to the site and the search keywords to be used and learnt from them he says.
The first five years of business were spent in understanding how Google works and how to increase his site’s visibility. The money that came in was pumped back into advertising. Result: what started as a Rs 200 per day ad spend has spiralled into Rs 50,000 a day (AdWords works on a pay-perclick model).
“There has to be a key differentiator to your blog, site or service you offer that will drive people onto your site,” says Raju PP, a tech blogger who runs the site techpp.com (started in 2008). It started as a personal blog in 2005 and took on a life of its own as a consumer and personal tech blog in 2008.
In 2009, Raju quit his job with Infosys to start full-time blogging. The blog has 2 million page views per month with 1.23 million unique users. Raju says he’s working harder than he has ever done in any job but he’s happy with the results. AdSense contributes 60% towards his monthly kitty of a few lakhs while Tribal Fusion make the rest.