Who is Abhinav Singh?
From fighting mental health problems such as depression to getting fired from a corporate job in Mumbai, Abhinav Singh gets listed as the top travel blogger for 30 times in India by websites such as Thrillophilia and Skyscanner.
Abhinav didn't quit his job to travel, but he got fired because he traveled too much. I have personally met him, and he's one of the most humble and kind people I've ever met.
He owns a popular travel blog, A Soul Window, where he shares the stories of his travels.
Today, you'll meet this personality, and he'll tell you how to overcome the journey of becoming a successful blogger in India.
Let's see the view from his #ASoulWindow.
Can you tell our readers about yourself and your blog?
I am Abhinav Singh. I am running a travel blog A Soul Window since 2014. I write detailed blogs based on my own experience. The information I share is not available in traditional guide books and other blogs. I work hard on each blog like it was my first one. I have solo traveled to more than 300 places since 2008 and still hungry for more.
Describe how you first get into blogging?
When I was fired from my dull corporate job for traveling too much, I wanted to do something in the field of travel. After spending my last savings on Everest Base Camp trek, I started a travel blog, thinking it will act as my resume. Little idea did I have that it is a full time job. I am blogging ever since. I lived in chawl, refused to take help from parents, stopped drinking and going out to make it happen!
How would you describe your blogging style?
My blog is guide book like. I provide information to the right audience. Each blog also has sections on my mini evolutions, thoughts, observations etc. I do not romanticize places much and be as real as I can.
Blogging opened a whole new world to me. I never thought I would one day be going to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, see Uganda in a helicopter with producers of Bahubali, go on cruises..
What type of networking do you think is better to enhance your traffic to the blog?
I don't think networking or even social media ever led to stable long-term traffic. SEO is the only good way to get you passive traffic while you are sleeping or better still, writing your next blog.
What do you think is the best service a blogger can provide to his readers?
Empowering my global readers with facts and information satisfies me as a travel blogger from India. I get many comments, DMs and even mails from strangers who tell me how my blog helped them.
How do you manage time to run your blog efficiently?
Blogging is a full-time job. I work more than people work in their desk job. Waking up early helps write a lot without distraction. On other days, late nights also work like a charm.
How do you want to improve yourself in the next year?
I want to control my habit of over writing. There are times when I have felt that I could have written 3 performing blogs in the same time which I took in writing one well researched blog.
What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from that?
I wrote my first 300 blogs without doing any SEO for my first 5 years. Most of my top blogs are those which I wrote after learning SEO post 2020.
Tell me about your proudest achievement?
I feel satisfied when I look at my travel blogging journey. Within few months of starting, I was listed as the Top travel blogger from India many times, worked with many tourism boards, judged contest, won travel blogger awards and even ranked as No. 1 travel blogger of India. I have got much more than I had wished for. And all of it has been organic.
Who has impacted you most in blogging and how?
Several Western bloggers and few Indian bloggers such as Ami Bhat and Soumya Nambiar taught me much of what I know of SEO. I am thankful to them for guiding me correctly in my blogging journey. Especially because many bloggers misguided me in the past, knowingly or unknowingly.
What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?
I was approached to be the main photographer of ‘Aamchi Mumbai' guidebook by Outlook Traveler Getaways 1 year before I became a blogger. It was the biggest acknowledgment of my talent. I also won many photography awards before becoming a blogger.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I cook vegetarian food from across the world, read travel books, update myself with political news, read world affairs, pet a street dog, exercise, catch up with friends etc. I don't watch movies or OTT, so that leaves me with lot of quality time which I can spend meaningfully.
Where would you like to be in blogging five years from now?
I aim to keep growing my page views as much as I can. There are no goals. I believe in this line from Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta, “Perform your duty without thinking about the results.” Despite being self-explanatory, not many understand what it means.
What was the most challenging moment in your blogging journey so far?
When my mom passed away, I thought of closing my blog. It took me an year and more to stand back on my feet. I wanted to show her my first book and take her to Europe but that will never happen now.
Can you name some of your favorite bloggers and explain why they are your favorites?
The quality of work which Ami Bhat, Divyakshi Gupta, Soumya Nambiar, Lavinia D’souza, Roxanne Bamboat and Jitaditya Narzary do is unmatched. They are some of the most intelligent bloggers I know. Yes, intelligence is getting rarer in these reel crazy times.
How do you motivate yourself to keep the blog up and running?
I love my job. I am excited every morning to switch on the laptop. Early morning means 5 a.m. here.
Can you tell me about a few sources from where you get products for review on your site?
100% of the products which I have reviewed have been organic. While I do sometimes pitch for a media trip or a hotel stay, I have never pitched for a product. In all product campaigns, it is the brand which has approached me.
What do you find the most frustrating aspect of blogging?
Editing pictures is just plain mundane. Publishing the blog is also the most boring aspect of blogging. Also, the need to keep updating the blog gets really frustrating even for the best of the bloggers. But then these are the professional hazards we have to live with.
What is the biggest difference in your life post-blogging?
Blogging opened a whole new world to me. I never thought I would one day be going to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, see Uganda in a helicopter with producers of Bahubali, go on cruises, stay in the room where Deepika Padukone once stayed, get VIP access to places, meet celebrities, fly business class in Singapore airlines or boarding the luxury trains of India. I am grateful for how blogging changed my life forever!
Did you have any professional help or did you create the blog yourself?
I created the blog with a little of both.
How active are you on a weekly basis? How often do you communicate with your followers?
I write for around 5-6 hours every day, including Saturday and Sunday. I publish as many as 5 to 11 blogs in a month.
How much time do you spend blogging?
I wake up at 5 a.m. daily and spend anything close to 5-6 hours a day. I work on weekends as well if I have nothing else to do. I manage all this despite doing chores like cooking, cleaning, washing utensils, clothes and mopping the floors myself. I live alone. I have not hired a maid because it kills productivity majorly. I like to work without the door bell ringing. On good days, I write for 10 hours a day.
What do you think is the best social media strategy for getting more visitors to a blog?
Not many understand how Pinterest can get you good steady traffic. Contrary to popular belief, the traffic which twitter, Facebook or Instagram drives to blog is useless, even after running ads.
Would you encourage other people to make their blog?
Some strangers keep asking me in DM on Instagram on how to be a travel blogger. I generally don't share my phone number but I thought “let me do for others what no one did for me initially.” After they call me and I tell them about all the work and SEO, they vanish. The issue is that kids these days do not want to work hard. They do not realize that the Reels will not take them anywhere. Even the brands are blind to this. We live in strange times.
Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?
I am one of the only 5 full time male travel bloggers of India who do SEO and post frequently. I would have been in a job if it was a hobby.
A lot of people think that blogging is an easy way to make money online. Do you have some tips for those people who are interested in making money from the blog?
Targeting a blog which may attract readers from USA, Europe and Australia etc., can get you better income from Mediavine. Also, learn your SEO. Many people ask how travel bloggers earn in India? Well, if you have good traffic, you can earn well as an Indian travel blogger through sponsored posts, affiliates, campaigns, ads etc. You can also earn from translations and writing blogs, articles and books for others.
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