2nd February, 2015
I know I am a day late but we were busy celebrating. Guess what? ReadMeNow just turned two. In the last two years, I have learned a lot because of ReadMeNow and this is going to be the longest article I ever wrote. This is our story of how ReadMeNow has come this far and all the challenges I faced to keep this blog up and running. This is also a thank you note to all the readers and people who believe in ReadMeNow and will continue to do so. This would have been impossible without my father, Shailesh Shah, who has been a constant support for everything I have done and will do in the years to come.
It all started with a domain name and a very cheap hosting paid using my father’s credit card. That reminds me I still haven’t paid him back. The first and a half year of ReadMeNow was the learning period. I was new to WordPress, premium themes, plugins, SEO, Analytics, Affiliate Marketing and so on. The initial period was a tough one. I was steering the website completely all by myself. Every day, reading one or the other blog post about professional blogging. I was amused as to how lucrative the blogosphere was!. I started with poor writing skills, zero SEO knowledge and a mediocre amount of patience. I started with a free theme, Montezuma and during that phase, Vishal Khedkar had just joined. We started by posting about technology and gadgets. Most of our articles were related to Android as Vishal is a crazy Android developer. We applied for Google Adsense and got rejected. In the meanwhile, there was no money coming in from the blog and we both were disappointed. Vishal kept writing articles and I kept maintaining the website, learning about SEO and spamming other websites. I just made sure the quality of the articles was maintained. We didn’t want any copyright issues or plagiarism. After all, good things take time. The traffic was rising. From 50 page views a day to 300 page views a day. I was happy with the statistics. We followed every right SEO techniques. The traffic was static. It never dropped below 300/day.
ReadMeNow kept me busy but the fact that after working so hard, not getting anything in return turned me down towards the blog. Another heartbreak followed, Vishal left ReadMeNow. After failing to get Vishal back, I stopped working on the blog for almost two months. I continued by freelancing but somehow failing as a blogger was not really something I wanted. I logged back in my WordPress to find a traffic rise by 5 times. Yes, the older posts were now getting 1500 page views per day. I decided to apply for Adsense again and in the meanwhile, thought of different ways to make this blog a success. I never stopped learning. In this blogging journey of mine, Harsh Agarwal‘s blog, ShoutMeLoud helped me a lot. Actually, ShoutMeLoud and stories of other bloggers like Amit Agarwal (Digital Inspiration) kept me going. I have always believed that good things take time and patience is the key. I applied for various affiliate marketing programs and instantly got accepted. Even though I got accepted, I couldn’t make any money out of it is because the niche I was running was a different and I failed to promote the programs. I purchased a premium WordPress theme, Newspaper. The traffic was great. Sometimes, it even touched 300 a day. So, I decided to hire someone online to write for ReadMeNow. I posted a job on Odesk and took some interviews. The problem was I didn’t have enough money to pay the articles. Low wages turned down most folks but I finally got a brilliant writer Shafaq Talqeen. She was different from other writers. She was ready to write for me for peanuts. The only catch was that she wanted her name on the website. I was ready to accept the condition and hired her. I wanted to generalise the niche of my blog because technology was not something everyone read. I wanted to establish a readership and that’s when I introduced three new categories, Lifestyle, Travel, and Humor. Shafaq started flooding these categories by her excellent writing style. She was more serious than anywhere who was associated with the blog. My photography friends, Romeo and Parth, who are excellent at what they do, also vouched for ReadMeNow by writing on Photography. The results came in, Adsense was rejected even this time. This was the third time Adsense was rejected. By this time, Shafaq became busy and became inactive. I was dejected and disappointed. The traffic was good but no returns led me to the idea of selling the blog. I told my father that I wanted to sell ReadMeNow and I had already started researching. My father is a very patient man. He just told me that selling the blog will not make any justice to your hard work and you will still fail as a blogger. You have waited this long, wait for some more time.
I immediately dropped the idea of selling the blog and continued to work on ReadMeNow. I started posting tutorials regularly and thought of new ways to get more traffic. After a few months, I decided to hire some more people but this time they were people I knew personally. They had to be someone I can connect to, meet regularly and work as a team. I wanted to build a community and connect to people through ReadMeNow. My search led me to Minal Rita. Minal is again a fantastic writer and a lovely human being. Her niche was not technology or gadgets but she was ready to fill in for lifestyle and travel. Her first post on Dharavi, was appreciated by a lot of readers. This was the time when I applied for Adsense again and it was finally approved. At one of my freelancing jobs, I met Ashok Patel. Ashok writes on technology but his writing style is generic. He writes better technical articles than I do. During our research on Dharavi, we found out about Faheem and Tauseef’s, Be the local tours. The work they do inspired us so much that we had to meet them. We set up a meeting with them and took our first interview. Meeting Tauseef led us to the idea of launching – The Local Chatroom. You will soon hear about this from us, I promise. Nirvan, my best friend and support mechanism also joined us to meet Tauseef. Through Ashok, I met Shreyansh Kotak. Shreyansh started contributing as an Android writer and recently achieved his first milestone. Shreyansh is a quick learner. If you need something done right now, he is the one you call. Ashok and Shreyansh both, are very hard working individuals and I am glad we are working together. Their belief in ReadMeNow is overwhelming. I have to note that Shreyansh deleted his personal blog just to make ReadMeNow better and I thank him for that. We moved to Genesis framework and currently we are running on its child theme, News Pro. Nirvan started researching about a lot of upcoming topics and through Nirvan, I met Akanksha Tiwari. We were a big team now. People from different academic backgrounds but similar interests. Soon, Starbucks became our second home. We started planning the project I abandoned a year back, due to the lack of team and money. Adsense motivated me to move ahead. It was a green signal that I am going on the right path. We will also be coming up with Fork It – “A not so mainstream food blog”. Let’s keep the details a secret for now. Araadhana has joined our team especially for Fork It and is doing a great job. Her ardent writing style will leave you speechless. I have to thank my sister Anoli for introducing me to her. Nicole is going to reach out to all of you through various social media platforms. We personally thank all the readers for making what ReadMeNow is today and for the years to come. Bookmark ReadMeNow for more all the interesting stuff that will follow.
I would take some time to personally thank all the people who believe in ReadMeNow. My parents support in this little venture of mine is tremendous and all the credits go to them. Next, I would like to thank all the hosting and CDN companies involved in ReadMeNow. Without ShoutMeLoud’s tips, I couldn’t have come this far. Thanks Harsh Agarwal for the wonderful articles on your website. I would also like to acknowledge all those who have contributed to ReadMeNow, Vishal, Shafaq, Minal, Ashok, Shreyansh, Nirvan, Romeo, Araadhana, Parth, Akanksha and Nicole. I would also like to thank other people who have always believed in me, my relatives and friends. We promise to bring more interesting stuff and continue to grow.