Interview With Pradeep Kumar of HellboundBloggers.com (Bloggers’ Interview #9)
The last Interview I published was 2 months back. As I was busy with other things, I did not get enough time to bring more awesome inspirational stories of bloggers & Digital Marketers. But today, I want to share the interview of one of my favorite Top Bloggers in India, Mr. Pradeep Kumar of HellboundBloggers or HBB.
Personally, I admire him a lot for his contribution to the Indian blogging community. Just search about HBB Facebook Group, you will understand how awesome & helpful group that is for all bloggers. In fact, I have listed this group on the list of Amazing Facebook Groups For Bloggers.
Pradeep Kumar Interview
Without wasting much time, let’s enjoy the discussion and learn a lot of blogging tips & WordPress knowledge from his own experience. As I always say, this kind of articles are actually a goldmine of practical knowledge sessions that you will get for free. If you agree with me, don’t forget to comment on this post after reading this till the end. Let’s begin.
1] Hello Pradeep, it’s great to have you on my blog. You need no introduction to blogging fraternity. But, for some of my blog readers who might not know, could you please share some information about yourself and your blogging business?
Thank you so much Santanu bro for featuring me. My name is Pradeep Kumar; I’m the CEO and Founder of Slashsquare. It’s an Indian Blog Network and Web Consulting Media. I have been blogging for the past 10+ years, and my journey started with doing this for time-pass, then passion, and right now, it’s my profession + passion.
2] How exactly have you started your blogging journey? Please give us some light about your educational background, your future plans at that time, and how blogging happened?
During our childhood, we all had something to look forward to right. If you are an academically bright student then you’ll study well and focus on your education, if you are into extra-curricular activities, then, you’ll play sports or do stuff like dance/music, but for me, I was not really into any of these, I was into deep-thinking usually, after that, thanks to my brother, I started to read books regularly. I read a lot. We all had our experience of knowing about the internet, most specifically about Orkut, Gmail, and Yahoo! Messenger.
The more I spent time with them, the more I realized how I could utilize my time online, and blogging became the right medium for that. I was doing my B.E. Computer Science when I was actively blogging, but I was not able to focus on both since I didn’t have a computer at my home. But I was not in a hurry to go anywhere; I decided I can be someone who can be patient and focused.
I don’t have any concrete future plans, but I have a list of things I want to do for each of our brands, our main intention being to make our brands reach as many people as possible.
3] How many websites do you run currently? Do you have a team to manage them?
Right now, these are the publicly visible websites we have under our Slashsquare network: HellBound Bloggers (HBB) [Blog + Forum], DeviceBAR [Blog + Forum], GameThem [Forum], MoviesDrop, TravelTear, and FoodGravy. We’ll be launching our BookWritten blog later this year.
I never had any official team or employees to run my company or blog network, bro. We have a lot of quality freelance writers from all over India. 7Span takes care of our excellent design works most of the time.
4] Do you operate from any office or home only? How is your daily schedule?
I don’t have an office at the moment, but I’m planning to rent a studio or 2BHK very soon if I have plans to produce “Videos” in the future. Right now, I’m very comfortable; I usually prefer any place as long as I’m not getting disturbed or distracted in any way.
I make sure I get at least 6-7 hours of undisturbed sleep every day. I try my best to walk for at least 1-1.5 hours every day. I often take a nap in the middle of the day for like 1 hr or 45 minutes. I listen to sleep stories or random soundtracks; apps like Calm helps me a lot to achieve this.
So apart from all these, I work all the time and dedicate 30-40% of the time for entertainment, maybe like movies or gaming, but even those two come under work for me sometimes. I don’t always like to stay indoor, which sometimes depresses/demotivates me, so I simply out go for Dinner or Marina Beach with my friends whenever I need free air.
5] Besides blogging, do you also provide any services?
Slashsquare is a web consulting media as well, but we don’t undertake clients regularly. We do our bit for SEO, Social Media, and Marketing. Nothing serious or completely professional, my expertise is what I experienced all these years.
6] If I have to ask the top 5 things that worked like a charm when you started blogging but ‘doesn’t work in 2019, what are they?
I’m not really sure if I can say 5, but…
1) RSS feeds worked like a charm; configuring Google Feedburner was the first thing we all did when we created our blogs.
2) Blog Comments were very natural back then, we might have used it a bit for backlinks and spamming, but nothing compared to what we have right now.
7] As you have huge experience in this field, how do you make sure that a beginner is getting access to your in-depth knowledge & experience so that they can avoid those typical mistakes?
Our HBB Facebook group is moderately active, thanks to our members, I shared my thoughts and opinions there frequently. Apart from that, valuable interviews like this help them a lot to know about my journey a lot better.
8] Well, I forget to ask you about your blogging mistakes. Would you like to share five such mistakes that you ‘don’t want a beginner to repeat in 2019?
Okay, I think, for this, I can mention five things…
1) Never ever monetize your blog without enough content and traffic. If you have 5 articles on your blog with 50% ads, then it won’t be a good impression.
2) If you finalized your new blog name, then register the domain name and grab the social media profiles/usernames before announcing it publicly.
3) Finalize your blog’s permalink (URL). If you have a personal blog, then the URL structure might vary, like you just need the post name. If you have a tutorials blog, then it might also vary, like you might want to add the post category here. If you have a news blog, you might prefer it with the date and stuff.
4) Write your article naturally and then worry about SEO. Never keep SEO in mind when you are writing the article out of your heart.
5) Don’t opt for pirated plugins and themes. Maybe they are easy and free to get, but you’ll pay a huge price when your site gets compromised.
9] These days people are not reading properly, even though every information is available on their fingertips. What would be your advice to them regarding how to be a better blogger?
On the internet, anyone can become anyone they want. It’s not like they’ll come to your home or office and check your laptop. You should keep your distance with fraudsters and scammers. Nobody will spoonfeed you till you become a millionaire. You need to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. If people can understand this, then they know their path and become a better blogger.
10] What are the few major skills a beginner should learn to build a career in blogging?
They need to write well, really well, they should know how to paint using black and white words. I always believed SEO and Social Media are optional if you can write really well, but you also need a marketing strategy to reach more people, so they should understand how search engines and social media works.
These two are enough; I don’t want to complicate them with anything else; you can open a blog on Medium.com and become a successful blogger as well. But, if you want to monetize to the maximum extent, then WordPress.org is the best pick.
11] Which platform do you prefer to blog on?
There are multiple blogging platforms, but we use WordPress.org for our blogs and Discourse for our forums.
12] What is the importance of building your own audience? And how have you been doing that?
Your blog is your brand, right, I always wanted more people to know about my blogs/brands, but I always wanted the right audience for this. For example, we have GameThem, but I don’t really think there is any point in having non-gamers (people who are not interested, totally) to be a part of it.
That’ll actually affect a lot of our focus. This is the reason why I’m a skeptic about conducting giveaways and asking people to like/subscribe/join/follow whatever we have; it’s making a cricket lover join a football group.
13] Is Google your only traffic source? Should we start focusing on other platforms too for traffic? Please share in detail from your experience.
Google is, obviously, our primary traffic source, but I would also suggest you rely on Email Marketing, Push Notifications, WhatsApp/Telegram, and all the other possible sources. Even as I type now, there is a Google update, and it’ll take some time for us to know if we got affected or not. Not just for traffic sources, it’s wise to keep alternatives for your income source as well.
14] How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
I get depressed a lot, stressed, jealous, and so many natural elements in my day-to-day life, the worst part, yes, it affects my work a lot. Even when I play games, watch movies, or read books, I’ll be affected. To fix this, I’ll always go to the root cause of whatever it is, I know our lives are limited, I don’t want to even waste a minute about the things I can’t fix. Traveling is something that helped me a bit, thanks to TravelTear>.
I’ll apologize if I do something wrong, I’ll refund if I didn’t complete any works properly, I’ll try my best to be a good person and do something good. Whenever I’m in any problems in my life, I’ll think of the good deeds I did, even a simple “Thank you.” from a person I helped is enough for me to run my day without any issues. Positive vibes are the fuel for me every day. My friends are my stressbuster; whenever I hang out with them, things will be back to normal. Shoutout to my close buddies: Vishnu, Mani, Henry, Ganesh, etc.
15] How do you deal with your family & society with your profession? Do you think our society gradually understands the term ”blogging”?
It took some time, but my family understands my work right now, I guess, but whenever I attend any functions or family events, it’ll be very hard when someone asks me what I do. It’ll be perfect if that person knows digital marketing and online stuff, if not, then I’ll simply hand them my visiting card and run away.
16] How can a beginner connect with Pradeep Kumar for any guidance or help?
I think “Email” is the best way at the moment: email@example.com
I’m active on Facebook, but I rarely open the “Messages,” and it’s very hard to say this, but I’ll always feel lazy when someone says “Hi” or “Are you there?” instead of telling the whole thing.
17] What would be your final advice to a beginner, who is planning a career in blogging?
Never get fooled by fake promises, if you want to invest your money on something, ask a community. In fact, ask multiple communities and see what they suggest to you. A person can lie, but a community can’t.
So, if you find this story amazing or if you have learned something from Pradeep’s experience, then feel free to share this amazing interview on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp wherever possible. Thanks for reading & sharing.