I know you are excited to read another awesome interview from my interview series.
This weekend I am interviewing one of my favorite and a great blogger from India and he is none other than Arun Prabhudesai from Trak.in.
Arun needs no introduction because he is already a well-known Indian blogger and have been interviewed on many other big sites. He is the man behind one of the biggest Indian blog where you can read new business trends in India, entrepreneurship, and Start-ups with Indian flavors. He started his blog in 2007 and named it Trak.in, after putting some efforts on his blog and finding needs of his readers he converted this blog into multi-niche blog and finally he was UNSTOPPABLE.
I myself started reading his blog in year 2012 and it helped me a lot to know more about latest news and trends. Trak is a blog where you can find many flavors and you will never feel bored after visiting it once.
Let’s start the interview.
1. Please tell us about yourself and your educational background.
I have been blogging since 2007 before which I worked in IT Industry for more than 10 years across continents. Though I am a civil engineer by education, I have been in Software IT Industry since 1996. My brush with Internet came pretty early and I have been hooked on to it since!
2. Who inspired you the most to start a blog and which were the blogs you read in starting days?
I was in the US when I started trak.in – I actually wanted to come back to India and start something on my own. I used to spend hours on internet researching and looking for opportunities back in India. During my research, it struck me that it would be great if I could share the information with other like-minded people and have healthy discussions. This is where it all started. In those days there were hardly any blogs except labnol, which were popular. But I did follow many popular US blogs like Techcrunch, Mashable, Boing-boing and few others
3. How do you collect the idea to write on your blog?
Trak.in is not a single authored blog anymore. We have multiple authors writing for us. As far as ideas go, we look for latest happenings in the Online and Tech world that will appeal to Indian audiences. Unlike hardcore technology blogs, we write on business side of things. Many authors on Trak.in are experts in their respective fields, and hence they bring in deeper insights and analysis on subjects they write on.
4. Being from IT background, how difficult or easy it was to start a blog?
It was actually not very difficult. Hosted WordPress blogs was just gaining momentum back then. Being from an IT background, I was able to setup and start a self-hosted blog in less than couple of days. Back then, WordPress was not a matured CMS platform as it is now. First few months were learning curve for me. Sometimes, even upgrading or installing a plugin was tedious. But not now, things are much simpler now!
5. Trak is one of the best blogs from India (my favorite blog). How the idea to name it TRAK came in your mind?
I wanted a short name for my blog. Like I said, when I started the blog, I did not start it to make money and so I did not give much attention to SEO. I did not even know that domain name should have your main keyword in regards to the subject of your blog. I was tracking Business and technology happenings in India through my blog, so I liked the Track.in, but because track (with a C) was not available so I went with “Trak”!
6. SEO is changing in big way. How you are managing SEO work on your blog and how much efforts are you making to make it more SEO friendly.
Honestly, I do not spend much time on SEO, In early days when I started Trak.in and came to know about SEO, I was obsessed with it. I used to spend more time doing SEO rather than concentrating on content. However, it was soon clear to me that content is the most important thing. If you have great content you will have traffic. If you do not have good content, no matter how much SEO you do, it is of absolutely no use. However, I should add that basic SEO is important and bloggers should spend some time learning it, atleast in the initial days of blogging.
7. Just few months back you changed the design of your blog. According to you how much is the importance of a blog’s design and how this new design is helping you?
Having a good design for a blog is very important. When a new visitor arrives on the blog, he should be able to find quickly what he or she is looking for. It is very important how you present the content to the visitors. A visitor makes a decision within first 10 seconds of his visit, whether a blog is good or bad and design plays an important role. We changed to new design as it was important for us to make trak.in responsive and mobile device ready.
In the first couple of years, we hardly had any visitors from mobile devices, however that has changed drastically over past couple of years. Now we have nearly 40 percent of our visitors coming from mobile devices. The site always needs to keep up with the changing times.
8. Almost all of the newbies have one common interest, which is – technology. We have been flooded with technology blogs. According to you how such blogs are affecting internet media?
According to latest ComScore report, Blogs are the fastest growing category in India with nearly 50 percent rise in traffic to blog. That clearly tells that blogs are becoming increasingly popular with Indians. Blogs differ from mainstream media because they offer more personalized view rather than a neutral and indifferent view that most mainstream media sites offer. Also, readers can engage with the author on a blog, which in most cases is not possible with other sites.
The reason for such high number is technology blog is obvious. Most of the bloggers are techies or have an IT background and are comfortable writing it!
9. How many authors do you have on your blog now and how are you managing them? Any special tips to manage multi-author blog?
We currently have 6 regular authors with few others who contribute every now and then. Apart from ensuring that they follow Trak.in policies, I do not interfere with them and give them complete freedom to choose the subjects and writing.
10. You have built a great authority blog and doing superb work to share latest tech and entrepreneurial news. Have you ever tried entering in affiliate marketing? If YES, then where and if NO, then why?
No, I have never tried affiliate marketing much, except for couple of articles where I have put affiliate links. One of the reasons that I not pursued much of the affiliate marketing is because trak.in niche is slightly different. We write business side of things, which necessarily do not align with most affiliate products. Also, in India affiliate marketing is just coming up. We still do not have platforms like Clickbank and commission junction.
11. Coming 3 years. Where will we stand in blogging?
In my view blogging will only grow and with internet penetration rising sharply in India, there is no doubt that we will see popularity of blogs rising further.
12. Many people want to start multi-niche blogs. According to you is it a good move or bad move?
I am of the opinion that bloggers should stick to the niche they are comfortable with. You cannot produce good content if you delve into niches in which you have limited knowledge.
13. Which monetization programs are you using on Trak.in and which is working best for you?
We work directly with few advertisers and we also use Adsense network. Apart from it we also have few other ad networks that we use from time to time.
14. Message for my awesome readers.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, I honestly suggest that first give it a try for a few months. If you are still passionate about it after 6 months, you are surely on your way to build a successful blog. Though it is quite a clichéd phrase, I am going to repeat it here – “Content is King” – It is the heart and soul of your blog, if you don’t have that, you have nothing.