So what does it feel like running a website for six years?

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07/10/2016 by The Sorcerer


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“You are running Hardware BBQ for six years. That is a very big deal in India for a tech website!”

What’s more important than that is your website to be known to a large number of users around world. From the country you’re living in to the world. If you see it that way, the site is too small.

Still, it has its moments.

Let’s start by saying running the PC hardware website is very easy in India if you push the right buttons. Mostly because you don’t have any competition. The old websites like Techtree stopped covering DIY PC a long time ago. Tech2 stopped for the time being. CHIP magazine is no more. Once my book store sold as high as 40 per month. The last time I checked, keeping 1 to 2 copies for sale itself is a burden as return process is a nuisance. Mostly because the content is so dynamic that you get to know now today is old tomorrow. The ’90s are no more.

 

Others? They flow where the money is and say the other guy is shutting down. That’s not a bad thing since the original object is to cater to a majority. That is a platform for people to capture this niche. Some of them cover a bit of PC too whenever it’s possible. But the DIY PC niche is almost exclusive.

Then there are smaller (and independent) websites like mine. The main difference between them and I? They still couldn’t take advantage of the situation. All they had to do is work honestly, work smart and have consistency. While having close associations with certain has its usefulness in short term, it harms their reputation with readers or other brands. The goal is not set with PC tech bloggers. They have at least one of the two thoughts:

#1. If he can do it, so can I!
#2. In it for exclusives, goodies, etc.

The first mindset is valid if its done right. Unlike in the United States that is flooded with quality content makers in youtube and websites, India is almost a clean slate. It’s a good place to start as some companies are easy to connect and meet. I am told that I had an advantage of time. But six years is a struggle for me. I’ve had the unfortunate situation to cut ties with friends well before I started the website and well before they worked in a company.  This affected my long term plans to use the website to establish an online publication company. I had someone interested in investing and a mentor with a long set of restrictions. Some restrictions were the distance I had to maintain when I interact with the companies and to stop from growing closer. It did not work as planned, but I learned that coming too close with any company is bad if you want this to be a business. Everything was “Learn the hard way!”

Those with second mindset, shut down eventually. Its not a question of if but its when. Everybody in this line of work knows about everybody. Nobody likes those who abuse the system.

But what Hardware BBQ? Expenses and what not?

Expenses..

Earlier I used to say it pays its own bills- hosting in a VPS, domain with emails, minor stuff. Now, it can give additional income that I need to buy equipments to expand and also pay the bills for the site. Yes. its a terribly slow process. But growing a website to be successful is very difficult. Unless you have massive investment, good reputation as a publisher among readers and a good workforce, starting a website from scratch is not easy.

Affiliate sales is helping a bit to reduce the load. In a way, the amount I earn from affiliates is meh, but its acts like a decent discount coupon. Google adsense and direct ad sales are doing pretty decent. With a month’s earning I was able to buy two yognou YN300-II + batteries + import a slider from the US. Plus I was also able to pay off a couple of bills for two months. That speaks for itself. The site can earn and pay for its expansion on its own.

Scopes of Improvement

The written content needs to be refined to attract all sorts of users. It also needs to have newer testing method. News posting has gone down a bit but I’ve decided to concentrate more on news that matter as a PC component standard rather than press releases.

Video Content

I’ve started investing in stuff I need to make videos. I know a lot of people say you need to start making videos first and then concentrate on getting things to improve. That’s easy to say when you come from a time video quality that’s posted online was around 480p to 720p, while battling digital noise and lack of light. While having consistency is important, I’ve noticed that several people prefer quality in audio and video.

Being profitable

Being profitable is important. It enables you to have people, get more quality content. Travelling to expos for more coverage and saving up for future expansion. Of course, I have my personal goals. Profit while maintaining a strong connection with the readers is very much needed

Health

Not as good as I want to. It just that when I start having a plan, it doesn’t work. Bad excuse. I have been neglecting it.

Personal Issues

There are some. And I feel the pressure to be profitable so that if shit really hits the fan, I would have a safety net. Its also neglected for now.

My XP with companies

Well it wasn’t as entertaining as it was before. But that’s a good thing. I am able to distance myself from bad management and people so that solves the problem. Others who want to work with me do, and others don’t. Its just that simple

 

Its keeping me busy and its keeping me alive. The site is slowly standing on its two feet. And that’s awesome.

 

 

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