Interview With Harleena Singh On Leading A Great Life & Building A Great Blog
Harleena Singh is one of the very few top women bloggers in India who is successfully running a website online. She runs a personal development and self-help blog called Aha!NOW where she gets tons of useful comments on each and every post she writes.
Aha!NOW was awarded as one of the top 10 best personal development blogs of 2014.
One of the many reasons most bloggers read Aha!NOW is because Harleena writes insightful blog posts where shares her personal strategies and tips to make your life better in this cluttered world.
If you are a freelance writer or thinking to start a career in freelance writing, Harleena is the go to person to hone your skills. She is not only a great freelance writer, but she is a great mother and motivator who shares great tips on leading a great life.
I always get inspired by her writing, she not only motivates me, but whenever I read her posts, I feel great about myself. That’s how her writing impacts, she breathes life into each and every blog post that she writes.
Here are few of the main topics that she writes on Aha!NOW blog.
- Life related
- Relationship related
- Family and
- Blogging related stuff
She recently launched a new section on her blog called “share your problems” where you can discuss whatever the family or life problems you have. Believe me, you will definitely get the best answers from the blog community and her experience.
Let us now get into the details of the interview with Harleena Singh. Let us find out how we can build a great life and blog without sweating much. Without much ado..
1. Harleena, how did your blogging journey start? When did you start your blogging career? What were your first thoughts?
Thanks for this interview Anil, and I hope the information about my blogging career is of help to your readers. 🙂
I started my blogging career on Christmas Eve about 3 years back. Well, honestly speaking, I never intended to start blogging in any way!
My husband and I discussed about ways to share our life and experiences in the form of a blog. Also, since I was a freelance writer, I needed a medium to improve my writing and create a portfolio. Besides these reasons, I started my blog for the sheer joy of writing and helping others, and I never ever thought of becoming a blogger. That only happened with time when I started to connect with other people and they found my content useful and helpful.
My first thoughts were to write on all the topics that I could share my experiences about. Though later when I learned about niches, I tried to make it a family blog, but eventually, I ended making Aha!NOW a multi-niche blog. That’s how Aha!NOW was created, and with time, once I started getting a positive response from my readers, I added the “Blogging” category too.
2. I must say you are pro at getting quality comments on your blog posts? How do you get so thoughtful comments? Please share your tips and strategies with our readers.
Thank you for saying that, and I do look forward to receiving comments on my blog, just as every blogger does. I think if you write thoughtful comments yourself, whether on your blog or on other blogs, you make an image that tells people about how you are and what you prefer. I guess that’s why I am better known for my blog comments than anything else. 🙂
I think giving a personal touch to your post, asking frequent questions to the readers, making the readers feel comfortable and welcome, matters a lot. You need to develop a relationship with your readers, even on an individual level. With time, they develop the trust to open their hearts and minds through their comments and are also influenced by other people who do the same. It then becomes a norm and everybody follows that!
3. What are the premium plugins or tools that you use to run your blogs? Please share why do you use them.
I started Aha!NOW on the free Blogger platform. After I switched to WordPress, the only premium things I bought were my WordPress themes. All this time I never had any premium plugin, but recently I bought one to show my count of social fans on the sidebar.
4. How do you make money online? Only through freelance writing or are there other ways as well?
Yes, being a freelance writer, I do make money from my writing jobs, and that is my main source of earning. All this time I have had the Google Adsense ads on my blog that contributed a bit to take care of my blogging expenses. Apart from that, I never made any money online.
However, I’ve now come up with a plan to make money online through advertising banners, sponsored posts, and reviews.
5. How do you network with other bloggers to create long lasting relationships? How much time do you dedicate every day?
I make sure that that I welcome all new comers to my blog when they make their first comment and I visit the blogs of all those who comment on my blog. I thank all those who help spread my blog posts on social media and I myself promote the posts of other bloggers too. In addition, I respond to all notifications and comments on the social media and reply to all mails from fellow bloggers. I believe that if you’re good and have the intent of creating a relationship, mostly the other person responds in the same way.
It takes time to build relationships with bloggers. It’s not about how much of time one dedicates daily, it’s just the quality moments you spend with each other, whether through the social networks or through your blog comments.
I don’t stay all that much on the social media sites, but when I am there, a little chit-chat is good to keep us going. However, it’s only through blog commenting that I’ve made really good friends all over the Blogosphere and I’m happy about that my blog community rocks!
6. How many hours do you work every week on blogging related things? What is your daily routine?
I guess on an average I spend about 6-8 hours a day on blogging and related activities like commenting on my own blog or visiting other blogs, especially those who visit mine. My daily routine starts with taking care of my family needs first, and once I get time away from that I sit to write. Usually the serious work like blog writing or writing for clients and even commenting, as that’s something I do with my heart too, is done before lunch time.
The evenings are usually kept for lighter work like social media and promotion of my blog posts, which happens before dinner, and a little after it too. Just as they say, blogging is 20% of writing and 80% of promotion. If you don’t do that, then you’ll not be able to make your content visible and reach to masses, and thus deprive your blog from important blog traffic.
7. What are your biggest traffic sources? What do you do to leverage that traffic to make your blog successful?
Presently, my biggest traffic source is organic traffic, which comes through the search engines. Other major traffic sources for me are Facebook, G+, Twitter, and Pinterest, and of course that coming through the CommentLuv links that I leave on blogs after commenting.
People tend to forget or ignore Pinterest, but that’s one place where your post stay for the longest period of time – much more than on FB or Twitter, or anywhere else. I continue to get daily traffic from Pinterest, even on my older posts, so that’s one place every blogger must be on. Occasionally I get traffic surges from Stumble Upon, as in my recent post on healthy benefits of meditation.
I expect a part of the traffic to follow my social media accounts, spread my posts using the social buttons, comment on the blog posts, click on the ads, or subscribe to the posts. So I place the appropriate actionable widgets such that they are easily accessible.
8. Did you make any mistakes in blogging? If yes, what are they? What would you recommend a new blogger to become successful?
Oh yes….we all make mistakes, but that’s also how we all learn, isn’t it? I think a person without making mistakes can never better himself or herself. I made my share of blogging mistakes, which I mentioned on a post I’d written called- don’t make these blogging mistakes, so I won’t repeat them all again.
Well, I would suggest that new bloggers should be patient. I see many new bloggers with a lot of potential give up too soon, because they are in rush to get rich or achieve top ranks. Rome wasn’t built in a day! Everything takes time.
Learning from the mistakes of others is a lesson that every blogger should learn on their own. Always remember that content IS the king, and more so after the recent Google updates. Bloggers need to concentrate on providing quality content to help their readers. Learn to give back to the community – read, like, comment, and share each other’s posts, something that most bloggers don’t do and I wonder why!
Also, build relationships with fellow bloggers and influencers, which is another essential point because only then will you start getting traffic from people, besides the search engines.
9. How do you find so much time to responding to each and every one? I must say you respond to almost everyone in the blog comments, Facebook, twitter and Google+. Please share your tips.
It takes a LOT of my time, Anil, and that’s on all the social media networks where people share my posts, or if I have shared them and people have liked or commented on them.
Yes, perhaps it’s not necessary to thank each and everyone for the likes and shares, but that I feel is basic courtesy – to thank them for their kindness. Each like or share matters, and I’m sure you’d agree with me about it too, so why can’t we take out time to thank people when they take out time to like or share our posts?
Actually, I visit the social media sites only twice a day, so all the likes, comments, shares that have gathered up on FB, G+, Twitter mainly, which runs in huge numbers, I take them one by one till they are all done. But with the numbers increasing now, I wonder how long I’d be able thank people even for the likes!
10. Bloggers are wasting so much time in Facebook. What do you think is the best way to avoid Facebook addiction? And also share your favorite time management tips?
I completely agree with you there, and I see many promising bloggers spoil or waste their lives on social sites like Facebook doing unnecessary things. Agreed we need FB for our blogs, but we should learn the art of time management, or else we are doomed.
I did write a post on time management that you can read, where I mentioned all the tips as such. Otherwise too, just limit your time you want to be on the social sites and stick to it. Like I am on Facebook, as I mentioned for a very short time, and usually share my updates, again twice a day.
I could do it otherwise too like some bloggers do, they keep putting updates or tagging each other. But this only increases their notifications, while tagging pro bloggers who are busy in their blogs and work is frustrating at times, if it doesn’t relate to the blogger. So, these are all time-wasters I would say.
If you have something to say or share, do so by all means, but limit or set a fixed time for yourself. After that time, no matter what – leave Facebook and GO!
The more you stick on, the more you will realize that your work suffers – it’s a complete addiction. Also, limit your status updates, so that you get limited notifications and comments because you again need to take out time to reply to them too. Just putting up a status and not replying isn’t my cup of tea!
11. Would you recommend any premium blogging resources or tools for new bloggers?
While you can use all kinds of free things for your blog, I’d recommend all WordPress users to only use premium themes. As part of my monthly “Share Your Problems and Solutions” feature, I recently had a post on blogging problems, where a blogger stated that his blog was penalized by Google because of his wrongly coded free theme.
Other than that, there are plenty of premium tools and services, but I can only recommend what I use. One more thing that I use is MaxCDN services, though I’m not benefiting as much from it as I should.
12. Which web hosting do you use on your blogs? Why do you recommend it?
I’ve been using Hostgator since I shifted to WordPress about 3 years ago. I’ve had my share of problems with them and they were specifically about the frequent down times and restricting or even closing access to my blog due to high CPU resource usage. Sometimes these problems were due to some plugin on my blog. But I still recommend Hostgator because their support is really quick and helpful most of the time, and I’ve not faced any major problems so far.
13. Aha-Now is getting popular in quick time. So what are your future plans to take your blog Aha-Now to next level?
Well, it may seem that everything is happening in quick time, but I know that it’s taken me a long time to come at the level where I’m getting recognition and popularity. In blogging, three years is a long time. Even business experts say that it takes 3 years or about 1000 days to establish your business and starting earning rewards.
After building the foundation, the next level or stage is to create a structure that can guaranty stability, security, and growth. I plan to make money through my blog because I want to devote more time to blogging, which means I’ll have to sacrifice a part of my main earning source, which is freelance writing. I also want to take the blog to the next level so that more people can use my blog as a platform for interaction, education, and as the solution to their problems.
14. What are the tips you recommend to a new blogger if he wants to make money blogging?
Honestly speaking, I haven’t yet started making much money from my blog to really talk about this, but the little I make presently is enough to run my blog. However, I’ve recently started a make money category on my blog, so I hope to do that up with time as I learn the ways myself.
I recently had Neil Patel’s interview on my blog and when I asked him the same question, he suggested to make relationships, help people, give back, build a community, and also to get to know your community better to provide them with what they need. This is the best way to make money blogging and there can be various ways to do that as mentioned one of the answers above.
Before anything, I think new bloggers, as I mentioned earlier, foremost should concentrate on writing good content that people are looking out for.
15. Why most people don’t succeed in blogging? What are your thoughts? And how can a new blogger without prior online connections become successful?
Success means different things to different bloggers. The criteria considered for success by most bloggers are either a high Alexa rank, more PR, or the amount of money they make through their blogs. While a few like me take success to be based on how I have helped a single person in the day, or if I was able to make more friends.
If people do not succeed in blogging, I’d say it could be due to lack of good content, efforts to cultivate relationships, and patience. Also, there’s no substitute for hard work. I’d written a post on how to make a successful blog, which you can read 🙂
You always start from scratch. The first thing a blogger has to do is create great content, and keep on doing that for the entire blogging journey. Then comes the stage of cultivating connections and developing relationships, which happens gradually with time if you make the efforts. But you cannot become successful if you do not do any of the above mentioned steps.
The other thing you can do to become successful is by studying various pro bloggers and their blogs. They can learn the ways, tips, tricks, and all that other bloggers do or use, so that when they create their own blogs, they’d know it all. Yes, don’t copy them, but learn from them and use it in your way.
16. What are your views about Bloggers Passion blog and how readers here can get in touch with you?
As one can make out from the name of your blog name, you’re passionate about blogging. And it is evident from your content too, which is so informative and helpful to all bloggers, new or old. I’m honored to be a guest and being interviewed on your blog.
Thank you once again for having me on your blog.
So what can we all learn from Harleena Singh?
It doesn’t matter who you are, if you focus on building a great life one day at a time, you are going to reap the best rewards in the long run.
And there’s one secret in getting great comments on each and every of your blog post and that is to first focus on spending quality time on reading others stuff and leaving thoughtful comments on others posts. It’s as simple as that, there’s no success mantra. You have to give first in order to get something back.
There’s no other way to become a successful blogger, an average Harleena works 6 to 8 hours each and every single day (I must say, that’s really incredible, by also taking care of her family). So work hard even if you are a part time blogger or a student to get the best rewards from your blogging efforts.
If you are really persistent and consistently working hard towards reaching your goals, you will be successful in both your life and blogging. That’s all we can learn from the passionate blogger and motivator Harleena Singh.
So what have you learned from this interview? Did you like the way she is building a great network for herself online? What are your thoughts? Please share your views in the comment section below, I would be glad to respond to you.