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IndiaStudyChannel – Tony John, CEO/Founder {Exclusive Interview}

IndiaStudyChannel provides you teaching job, practice test, reviews, govt jobs, earn money, question papers and projects. CEO/Founder of this site Mr.Tony John running this site successfully for the past several years. He is our new guest in this Success Stories interview series

For all those who don’t see any other career option besides medical, engineering or law, to tell you Blogging, definitely has found its new roots in India. The curiosity to know more and the craziness for being independent have led to this ‘online’ revolution.

Indians are extremely professional when it comes to blogging. A mere Google search will play adequate if you want to know how many Indians are working successfully with their blogs and are making their living out of the same. At least 2000 people apply for an AdSense account every day. – Tony John

If you search for top earning bloggers in India, you will see a lot of testimonials. While many professional bloggers from India earn handsome revenue from blogging, many others post fake revenue reports to catch the attention of blogging community. As far as I know, Mr. Tony John, webmaster of IndiaStudyChannel.com and Amit Agarwal of Labnol.org are some of the highest earning bloggers in India. In fact, Tony John has been blogging since 1998, even before blogging became popular in India.

Usually I don’t believe in others’ AdSense income statistics, unless and until they reveal their real AdSense cheque (not doing tricks using Photoshop.

Tony John - IndiaStudyChannel.com

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Mr Tony John, the man behind IndiaStudyChannel.com and a number of other blogs. Mr Tony John is known for his famous website IndiaStudyChannel.com,  India’s number one educational portal. Tony is no less than a prodigy at blogging. He runs many famous blogs and is a full-time blogger. He works from home and says he’s loving it.

Well, I started my blogging career in 2008. In those days, if you’d have typed anything in Google SERP for any keywords or phrases related to education in India and IndiaStudyChannel.com would be in the top ten entries in the Google Search Results.  In-fact, Tony John’s blogs still continue to dominate Google SERP. This is something amazing.

Tony John - IndiaStudyChannel.com

IndiaStudyChannel is not just an educational portal, it’s not just another place where people come, read stuff and close the tab. Hundreds of thousands of people are members of this website and besides gaining knowledge, they make money writing articles. Tony say’s it right – “Learn to earn, Earn to Learn”. That’s what IndiaStudyChannel.com actually.

Tony John - IndiaStudyChannel.com

1.How long have you been blogging?

I commenced my online presence in 1998 with my first weblog being hosted at Tripod, a free hosting provider. I am still keeping it for the nostalgic memories associated with it, even though now it’s flooded with advertisements from the hosting provider. I only became serious about blogging in the year 2000 when I switched over to professional blogs with custom domain names. The term “blog” wasn’t popular in those days; it was called “weblogs” then. By 2005, I had several popular blogs in my profile and then I founded the company SpiderWorks Technologies Pvt Ltd, to manage the blogs under a legal entity.

2.You seem to be one of the first bloggers from India, yet how does your name does not usually show up in many of the professional bloggers list?

That’s probably because I wasn’t active in India. I was working in USA from 2000 to 2011. During that period, I wasn’t connected with the bloggers’ community in India. So, only a handful of bloggers knew me here. I started attending product launch events and blogger events when I settled back in India recently.

3.Have you been blogging full time in USA or were you working in some companies? Why did you move back to India?

I was an active blogger when I was posted as a software architect in USA. A job was necessary to retain my work visa. Once I got the permanent resident status in USA, I quit the job and became a full time blogger. Even when we were fully enjoying life in USA, at the back of my mind, I always had the deep desire to return to India and live in my motherland. However, leaving the luxuries and comforts of life which I enjoyed for more than a decade and abandoning the permanent residence status which is a dream for most Indians there, was a tough decision to make. My kids grew up in the US and were very comfortable in the ecosystem they have there. My family was worried about the challenges faced by the people who moved back to India, especially about the changes in work culture. Many people who moved back to India later returned to USA since they could not cope up with the challenges here. Thanks to my blogs, I didn’t have to worry about many of the challenges faced by most others. Finally, I made the decision to buy the one-way ticket to the country I belong to and I’m pretty happy about it.

4.Can you name your favorite topic you like to blog about?

My favourite topic for blogging is blogging, AdSense and SEO, since that is what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years. I started in the online world before the term “blog” came into existence. I started with AdSense in 2003, the same year Google launched this product[VK1] that changed the lives of a whole generation of bloggers. And I have been doing SEO since 1998 when I launched my first weblog, without really knowing what it was called. So, these are probably the subjects I have the best knowledge and expertise in and it makes sense to have them as my favourite topics to write regularly. Sadly, almost everyone who lands into blogging industry starts a new blog on the same and tries to share their half-baked knowledge on the same, which spreads of lot of mess in the blogosphere.

5.What are the major implications of Google Updates according to you?

Even though it’s not perfect, the primary advantage of the Google penalties and updates are that it eliminates the Black Hat SEOs and temporary blogs that appear to take advantage of every topic. With all the new algorithm changes, Google pays attention to the authority of the website and reputation of the author. That is a good sign. Now, bloggers have started focusing on building reputation and not just creating new blogs every day. Even though many genuine sites are negatively affected by the recent changes from Google, it generally improved the quality of search results. Webmasters have started focusing on providing quality content instead of keeping themselves busy performing SEO activities.

6.Have you penned for any other websites or offline publications?

I have published articles in MSDN and CodeProject long ago. I was an active contributor in Microsoft communities as well. These days, I am not writing for other publications.

7.You were an advocate for Microsoft technologies and were a long term Microsoft MVP, but later you had some disputes with the same company regarding your website MyMindowsClub.com. Can you tell me about it?

I was passionate about writing on Microsoft technologies and have been doing it since long. In 2011, Microsoft filed a domain dispute asking me to surrender some of my domain names because it contained Microsoft trademarks like “Windows”. Even though I was shocked, I took legal help and finally Microsoft gave up and they came up with an agreement that allowed me to retain my domain MyWindowsClub.com. I still own that domain name, but I lost the enthusiasm to write on Microsoft technologies anymore. So, I rebranded that website to www.techulator.com and started focusing on non-Microsoft technologies as well.

8.What tools do you use to manage your social media presence?

I am not really a social media guy and probably I am not taking its full advantage. I rather focus on on-page SEO and developing content for my blogs.

9.Please suggest few tips for the newbies to succeed in blogging?

Subject knowledge, focus, patience and hard work are the key areas to be focused. Most bloggers fail to succeed in blogging because they don’t have these elements. These days, everyone wants to be called a pro-blogger as soon as they start blogging and want to make truckloads of money quickly.

10.What makes Tony John special from the rest?

I don’t think I’m special or different from others. Probably, people who know me should answer that question.
I come from an ordinary family and background. I was a shy person throughout my studies and job and I haven’t changed a lot still. A few qualities I can think in myself are: my vital experience in blogging and my attitude to share my knowledge and experience with newbie bloggers without expecting anything back in return. I never use the “invisible” status on social media or instant messengers and don’t mind spending a lot of time to clear even silly doubts of new bloggers. I get a lot of queries from new bloggers and I try to help everyone as much as I can. If the question is way too silly, I may respond five or ten minutes later and by the time I respond, they would have found the solution from Google. But I would make sure I respond to each and every query that needs my help.

Tony John - IndiaStudyChannel.com

11.How many blogs do you own at present and which ones are your favorite?

I own over 25 blogs currently. Some of them are not really blogs but are regional portals. My favourite sites are IndiaStudyChannel.com, dotnetspider.com, techulator.com, studyvillage.com and AspSpider.com. There are many other micro niche blogs that sometimes get more traffic than my favorite websites, but I do believe such sites may not have long lives.

12.Some of your blogs are really popular as compared to the blogs that are usually considered as the most popular Indian blogs. It looks like you are silently making a lot of money from your blogs. Would you like to share your income reports?

There is nothing that really stops me from disclosing my blogging income. I haven’t publicly shared my income reports yet, but I am planning to do so through my blog in near future. Let me keep the suspense until then. While on a guiding spree, I have disclosed my income to many bloggers to motivate them, so it is not really a top secret. Since many bloggers are disclosing their traffic and income reports, it is not difficult for anyone to guess my blogging income from the publicly available statistics of my blogs and comparing it with the other top bloggers.

13.Are we supposed to assume that Tony John is created all by himself or are there people whose support is indispensable to him? Tell me about your family?

My family includes my wife, who helps me in managing the finance and accounts of our blog network and the three boys. I am glad to say that I get to spend a lot of quality time with my family due to the flexibility and financial freedom given to me by my blogging business.

Tony John with his sons

14.What are all ways to generate income from blogging?

As of now, most bloggers make money from content writing, which is monetized using AdSense or affiliate marketing. SEO services, content development, website administration, web site & logo designing are some of the common ways of making money. You can read my blogging tips at techulator.com. Affiliate marketing is a great source of income for many, but I am kind of hesitating to enter that field since it will make me recommend many products that I really shouldn’t! I could offer various SEO services but as of now, I am very comfortable with the income I am making from content ads. But there are many young and dynamic bloggers out there who make good money from such services as well.

15.Any special advice for the Google AdSense Publishers?

Well, while AdSense is great for bloggers to make money, there is a big risk associated with it too. Google can disable your account anytime with or without giving you a reason. Unless you are a pro blogger with account managers at Google, you can lose your AdSense just for a usual ‘click-bombing’ attack. So, don’t depend on AdSense alone for revenue and try to build parallel online and offline revenue streams to make your future secure.

16.How is AdSense working out for you?

We have been associated with Google AdSense since 2003, the same year Google launched it. We have direct account managers at Google to discuss any concerns we have on the AdSense program. Also, Google was kind enough to enable many premium AdSense features such as using more than 3 AdSense content units per page, opening Ads in new window, using custom sized ads etc. You can see all these premium features in techulator.com.

IndiaStudyChannel.com is approved by Google to offer AdSense API based revenue sharing program.

We are sharing 90% of the AdSense revenue with the contributing members, using an AdSense API based implementation, which enables us to create new AdSense account for our members and manage their AdSense accounts directly from our site without having to login to the AdSense account. As far as I know, there are no other Indian websites that have this feature in partnership with Google.

17.Many publishers are worried about low CPC from Google AdSense. What are you suggestions to improve CPC and earnings from AdSense?

I think it is wrong to think about increasing CPC. Instead, publishers must think about increasing overall earnings. There are several optimizations that you can do to increase the CPC but then your total earnings may go down. A balanced approach would be to focus on the topics with highly paid keywords and target visitors from countries like USA, UK etc. where usually advertisers spend a lot of money on AdWords, which will translate to higher earnings for AdSense publishers. You can read this article to find more tips to increase AdSense CPC and earnings

18.Tell me something about IndiaStudyChannel?

IndiaStudyChannel.com was started as a small website in 2006 with my brother for his engineering project. We started it as an online college and school directory but in time, it evolved to be the best educational portal in India[VK2] . It is one of my most successful websites ever and I’m very proud to say that many people are making a living out of IndiaStudyChannel. Many students and retired professionals earn good income from our revenue sharing programs.

19.You have a unique model for operating blogs with partner webmasters. Can you elaborate on your model?

Sure. Except a few of my key blogs, the rest of the blogs in my Spider Network are operated by partner webmasters. Webmasters are empowered to run the show as they feel fit, under my monitoring and guidance. The webmaster is responsible for day to day affairs of the business and also managing content. A fixed portion of the profit is shared with the webmasters, along with 100% AdSense share from the content they develop in the site. This model has been working very successfully for me since 2005 and having been inspired from us, few others have also started similar models.

Many thanks to +Tony John for giving his valuable time for this interview during his busy schedule and gave some wonderful tips to my blog readers. Thank you so much. Keep your good work. We wish him all success in his blogging career and his life.

Hope you enjoy this interview, if you like this interview then consider sharing with your social media friends. Leave your valuable comments below about this interview. More success stories coming up shortly. So subscribe to this blog by filling your e-mail address below in the subscription box. Thank you.

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