2014 was an amazing year for me. Things didn’t went that wrong, like they did in 2013 and year before that. Both my online and offline lives went smooth. This post is a summary of things I did/learned in 2014. It has primarily a personal approach and doesn’t intend to force any show-off to readers.
2013 had ended up with a disturbing half when my INSPIRE scholarship was discontinued, due to some unknown reasons. God knows why are there corrupt and careless people in the center of Indian Government. Nevertheless, all was for good. I found a more convenient & easier way of earning money. I started selling backlinks. And to do so, I needed to move off WordPress.com free hosting due to their strict linking rules. In September 2013I switched to GoDaddy Unlimited from WordPress.com to enjoy freedom. Self Hosted WordPress wasn’t a new tool for me as I (as a team) had already been operating Symbian-Developers.net for years on WordPress.org software. But then came the real trouble from the other end. GoDaddy was very slow & my sites went offline often with HTTP errors. I tried to ask for a refund and they made it for faster & more resourceful for one month or so. After two months of hosting purchase, I again started getting trouble with site load time and unexpected HTTP errors. On support desk, GoDaddy.com people told me to use better caching & cloudflare optimization network. December was the month of goodness— I switched to cloudflare, sold couple of backlinks and found new sponsored articles. My site had almost 0% downtimes, and I was feeling a lot better & more focused.
PS. I still use GODADDY along with Cloudflare network and optimize my site using awesome WP Rocket.
When 2014 started, I decided to make my site look more professional & less mathematical. I started realizing that choosing mathematics as the major content subject was my biggest mistake ever. While knowing it, I also knew that I’ll never be able to clear this mistake completely. Meanwhile, I started deleting math and education related articles which were not attracting any traffic.
December 2013 had taught me that if done properly, I could earn a lot of money from my blog. My hunt for sponsored posts & links went very well. I earned very satisfying amount of money regularly. Despite of first semester exams, January & February were two great months that kickstarted an entrepreneur inside me. In February alone, I think I earned ₹ 35000, which is fairly a decent amount for an Indian. March and April were average & I couldn’t earn more than two thousands these months. This sudden drop in my earning forced me to think in a new way. Now, with my prior CSS/HTML & PHP knowledge, I started designing for the people. Money began to flow but again semester exams were in road. After a halt of May-June, I kept my web designing stuffs up and going. I also tried to sell my graphic designs and failed aggressively. India is a market, where you got to have real guts to sell something online. No one was willing to pay for my graphics, then I went to behance.net like sites and started exposing my artworks. This was a huge turn around, I was invited by many medium level companies to work with them. And also, some of my designs were purchased (eventually not by Indian users). I learned that graphics won’t make real money unless you are a real company. I couldn’t be a company for now — so I dropped the idea of focusing on graphic designing professionally.
Web designing was relatively more successful and it earned some handy money & reputation. According to my evernote notebook, I have improved around 30 websites & designed 7 from scratch, all making a turnaround over ₹ 0.25 million.
- All started with hindicricket.com. I purchased the domain for a full-fledged ESPNcricinfo like website in Hindi but again, lack of time made it look impossible. If all goes well, I’ll be renovating hindicricket.com again in nearest future.
- Successful additions of Question Hub, Portfolio, Download Hub and Testimonials pages were made. Question Hub is a small question-and-answer community mainly dedicated to serious questions about Career, Math, WP and Science. My Portfolio contains a grid of works I have done online (offline works aren’t included in portfolio). Testimonials (re-designing it up) is the place where I showcase the quotes made by my users.
- WooCommerce SHOP was added, removed, added, removed and added again.
- I tried Easy Digital Downloads as a WooCommerce alternative too but that was a big fail to me, with consequent negative SEO made deep impact on my site.
- I practiced SEO schemas like entry-title, summary, author, published & modified dates, reviews and ratings. As these experiments came lately in last half of December I’m still observing their effect on my site. You will be updated once enough data is gathered.
As I told, 37+ sites were designed in a time not more than seven months. It was a year of making things. Apart from websites, I created some sites WordPress themes & plugins — 7 themes and 11 plugins. But as certainly, better themes are available in market, I made no mistake by not launching them. I still use themes made by others and customize them to my own need.
I also made a bulky Android App, some Chrome Apps & Extensions, Mozilla Firefox Add-Ons, an Opera browser theme (:-D) and some great social media icon sets. All were partially successful and great enough to build a coder confidence in me.
Yes, I am a reading rabbit. I read almost anything I get. From books to comics, e-books to audio-books (listen?), from blogs to splogs. I read almost every topic. From Tech & Gadgets to History & Philosophy and mathematics, off-course. 2014 was no exception, with improving English knowledge I rattled around 40 books, hundreds of comics and hundreds of blogs. I am a damn busy guy, you know! In my feedly I have subscribed over 600 blogs ranging every topic I enjoy. My calibre library has around 1400 books in both English and Hindi and I feel no shame to accept that 90% of those are pirated (thank you TORRENT). I raised my real library by buying books related to civil services from flipkart.com and hindi comics from rajcomics.com. It is quite possible that I’ll be opting for civil services this year.
In this whole year I watched just a dozen of movies and TV serials in total. Game of Thrones & Sherlock are worth mentioning TV series & there aren’t movies to mention other than Guardians of the Galaxy & Hobbit III.
Close friends are always amazing. But distant friends? They are awesome too. In the hunt of link building & SEO hunts, I made some very good friends. Vineet Maheshwari (my first ever client), Siddharth Sharma, Akshit Wadhwa, Avinash, Dan, Raman, Aalok and Mitchella are invaluable. I hope I’m as important to them as they are to me. I also lost contact to some friends like Ananda Bibek, Abhishek Kumar, Paul Wallace, Upakul, Pranil and TimeThief. All of them are great human beings and truest inspirations.
Before the year started, I was nothing but just a math student living on parent’s money & government’s scholarship. But now I am a PHP developer, web designer, graphic artist, tech blogger, reviewer and so on. This is why I called it the greatest year of my life.
Thank you 2014. Thank you, once again.
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