My blogging journey so far

Today marks 90 days of my blogging journey. I entered the world of internet 3 months ago in August 2020. In this post, I will show the progress made and the experience earned so far.

Background

My name is Usama. You can read about me here: https://usamasohail.com/about/

I am currently well settled in Qatar. There is no work pressure or overtime. However, my hometown is Pakistan and I am living here in Qatar since 2018, away from my parents and siblings.

I used to visit them every year, however due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions, I could not visit them in 2020. This is disheartening for me more than ever and I miss them so much.

I already had no plans to remain working for others till retirement and want to start a business from savings. I did gain a lot of insights in various businesses in my 6 years auditing experience, but still unable to find a suitable business which I would be confident enough to invest all my savings in it.

One day I visited a website adamenfroy.com. There I found a post for Mr. Adam’s monthly blog income reports. He mentioned in the latest monthly report about his total earnings per month, which crossed over 80,000$. That too within 1 year of starting the blog.

He was recommending everyone to start a blog and make money online, He was offering a blogging guide, free 7-day email newsletter, which I opted in straight away.

I was thinking to start a blog and grow it until I go back to Pakistan after resigning from Qatar in 2022. Why 2022, because Qatar is hosting FIFA world cup in 2022 and most of the current projects are going to finish by that time. So, a downfall in Qatar economy is expected after that.

I am not targeting 80,000 $, even 10% of that would be sufficient to survive. I already have some investments in mutual funds and earning passive income from them. So, I thought to give a try to blogging business, as I mentioned earlier, I do get some extra time to spare. As suggested by Adam, I opted for hosting on Bluehost, and took their WordPress shared hosting “Plus” package.


If you are interested in Bluehost, you can check the link I have put in the banner below:

bluehost

Selecting a niche

I was confused which niche to select for the website. I like to watch movies online and used to stream cricket matches in office during my audit life, so most of the time I was looking for streaming links on google.

Finally, I planned to start a website with general niche and thought to make a new blog after experimenting on this website. The pages which will be ranking on Google will help to identify the niche with the passage of time. So, I launched linkscollections.com, which is a collection of top links, that can be websites, or best books links, or any other online collection.

Setting up the website and plugins I found

Majority of the WordPress hosting providers allow a single click WordPress installation option. After that, installation of themes and plugins is a child’s play. Mr. Adam suggested many useful plugins, however, in my blogging journey and to cope up the specific needs of my website, I found following plugins to be very useful:

Visitors and Pageviews in 90 days

My website got 781 unique visitors in the last 90 days. Most of the traffic is from social channels. I share the new posts on Pinterest, twitter and facebook.

90 day stats
traffic source

My website is ranking on google for 124 keywords, impressions on google are in thousands but CTR is very very low. The reason is the keywords themselves. My website is ranking for those keywords which are the website name itself. So, when a user enters the search query, the first result will be the website itself.

search stats

Domain rating and Alexa Rank

Ahrefs Domain rating

current Ahrefs

Currently, my Ahref’s rank is 29.6 million and Domain rating is 5. However exactly one month ago on 20 October, my Ahref’s rank was million and DR jumped to 33. Still I can not figure out why Ahref’s rank dropped instead of increasing.

old Ahrefs

As per Ahrefs, Domain Rating (DR) shows the strength of a target website’s backlink profile compared to the others in our database on a 100-point scale.

I guess this is the reason why my rank dropped. Other websites targeting the same keywords, got better backlink profile as compared to mine. I does not even have 10 referring domains since I want to grow my website naturally and not involved in link building.

Alexa Rank

alexa rank

Contrary to Ahrefs, my Alexa Rank improved significantly from 900k to 200k in these 90 days. Alexa Rank is a single metric that provides a quick summary of a site’s performance (yours or your competitor’s) relative to all other sites on the web.

Monetization

Mr. Adam suggested to monetize the blog through affiliate links. However, when I started approaching these websites with affiliate programs, most of them rejected the application. The reason being new blog with little or no traffic.

Obviously why would someone want to risk his website reputation with new or unknown blog, which might become spammy later. Old websites with good DA and real traffic is the best choice.

Skimlinks

Luckily, I found an affiliate network Skimlinks, which approves new websites and bloggers to be a part of their network. They have a payout threshold of just 5$. However, from their 45,000 affiliates, most of them are CPA and not CPC. So, I got 21 clicks on the affiliate links, however no sale is recorded yet. Bad luck!

skimlinks stats

You can also join skimlinks network and give it a try.


Accu webhosting

While I was approaching for affiliate programs, I got approval for an affiliate program with Accu webhosting. I have used their accu weather application for a long time, and their hosting plans looks quite promising. They also have a reseller package. Where you get a dedicated server and can sell web hosting to other people.

Apart from revenue sharing from sale, they also pay to affiliates for the clicks people made and visit their website. So far, I have earned 1.7 $. I know it is nothing, but considering the number of users on my website, the percentage is good.

accu web hosting

You can check Accu webhosting by clicking on the below banner.

Black Friday Sale on Hosting Services

Pop ads

Google Adsense rejected my application with the reason of ‘thin content’. So, I started looking for best Adsense alternative. There are good Ad networks like Ezoic and Mediavine. These are google partners but does not accept new blogs as publishers.

Then I found Propeller Ads, which was deemed best because of their features. They approve new websites; they have multiple type of ad units apart from pop under. However, there were two issues which lead to discontinue using it.

Number 1 is the quality of Ads. I found my website displaying adult content in the Ads section. I am a muslim and don’t want to earn money by diverting users to click and watch adult content. Secondly, the RPM was very low compared to what they were advertising.

However, recently they have introduced a multi-tag option, which provides a script same like Google Adsense. You will add it in the website head and they will add different types of ad units based on the content type on the page. Maybe I will give them another try.

I also signed up for PopAds.net which is also a pop ads platform and relatively better than Propeller Ads, however, I felt that with each click on my website, a new window will pop up and users will not like it.

How can they like even I myself don’t like those websites where I have to close additional windows which keeps popping up. So, I stopped serving Ads for them also.


PopAds.net - The Best Popunder Adnetwork

Amazon affiliate network

I did not know much about amazon affiliate network before and thought it would also require good traffic and high DA , PA to be accepted. However, last week I signed up for it finally. They give you conditional approval to make 3 qualifying sales in the next six months to be approved permanently.

The good thing about Amazon is even if the visitor did not buy the product linked on your website. However, they purchased another item in the same session, still you will get commission and it will be counted as a qualifying sale. So, fingers crossed now. 6 months are a lot of time to achieve this target.

Google Adsense approved

Recently I applied for Google Adsense again, and finally my application got approved. I love Google Adsense and hate it at the same time.

I love it for the quality of Ads. As you can see above, within 90 days I have tried multiple ad serving platforms but Google Adsense Ads are the best.

However, I hate it because Google Ads made my website speed extremely slow. Google Page Speed insights says it all red.

Before Adsense

before adsense desktop
before adsense mobile

After Adsense

after adsense desktop
after adsense mobile

If anyone knows how I can keep Adsense and improve the page speed, please let me know in comments.

Tool I use for keyword research

Due to the unexplainable change in my Ahrefs ranking, I lost trust in Ahrefs and I find it a little expensive as compared to some other options which I have.

Ahrefs packages start at 99 $ per month whereas Uber suggest which provides a free 7 days trial also, has a plan of only 12 $ per month. I am currently using the same plan. I also liked Keysearch and used their one month free trial. Their monthly plan starts at just 17 $. Thinking to buy this plan for the next month.

Misadventures

Since I started hosting my website linkscollections, I have learned a lot, be it keyword research, use of plugins, search engine optimization (SEO) or experimenting with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). This is a whole new world. I enjoy a lot spending time doing all these things.

I have done a few experiments also in these 90 days. I bought an expired domain with DR 32. I found it on expireddomains.net. I bought it on namecheap for just 6 $. The idea was to use an old domain so that my keywords can rank easily. However, since I was naïve and did not do a lot of research, I found later that this domain has a MOZ spam score of 17%. Another reason I don’t like Ahrefs. 😉 I stopped hosting it now and have set a redirect rule to linkscollections.

About this blog – usama writes

Last month I started this website usama writes, which is my personal blog, where I write only what I know. It can be x y z or anything. I share here my experience and knowledge. You are more than welcome to explore it before exiting.

I use TLD .xyz instead of .com as an experiment as many people say .com has more chances of ranking on Google as compared to any other TLD. Surprisingly, the results of this blog are better than linkscollections.

It has came out of Sandbox and started getting impressions on search results. It already got Adsense approval and Alexa Rank is now 163,747. All of this in just 20 days. So, I am quite excited about this blog.


Concluding remarks

Thanks for reading about my blogging journey. I know there is nothing phenomenal or exceptional. But, actually this is the point of writing this post.

Most of the bloggers who start their journey experience the same like me and end up quitting or discontinuing it.

However, I really enjoy this experience and has to learn a lot more during this process. Who knows, even if my blog and website does not become popular, I can still end up as a Virtual Assistant or SEO expert etc. These career paths are inline with my objectives as I can work from home and stay in Pakistan with my family. 😊