In today’s interview, I am going to feature one of the very popular Pro-Blogger, Istiak Rayhan. He is running multiple blogs and also developed a couple of popular WordPress plugins with his brother. His journey is very much motivational and we can learn a lot from his experiences. Let’s start this interview.
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Interview of Istiak Rayhan (RoadToBlogging.com)
I have asked around 15 questions to Istiak and he has responded with honesty with full of details. It is amazing to explore so many details and also how he is managing so many blogs and plugins with his team.
1) Hey Istiak, welcome to my blog. Could you please introduce yourself & your blogs to my readers?
Hi Santanu, thanks for having me on your blog. I’m really happy to be interviewed by you.
Talking about me, I am Istiak Rayhan. I’m a full-time blogger and internet marketer from Bangladesh. I’ve been in blogging since 2012. Recently, I’ve started plugin business with my younger brother Imtiaz Rayhan.
Currently, we have 5 active blogs.
RoadToBlogging: RoadToBlogging is a blog about blogging that covers several blogging related topics like WordPress, Web Hosting, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing, etc.
WPLeaders: WPLeaders is a hub of WordPress Leaders where we talk about best WordPress themes, plugins, tools, and influencers.
HostLater: HostLater is all about web hosting and domain name.
SetYourOffice: SetYourOffice is our only Amazon niche site where we help people who want to set their own office.
2) After BBA & MBA, why did you opt to become a full-time blogger despite a high salary job?
Actually, I was never in a job and I didn’t even try to get a job.
After completing my BBA and MBA, I was making enough money to live a good lifestyle here in Bangladesh. And it was more than 5 time better than a regular job. So it’s a no-brainer to choose blogging as a full-time career.
3) If I am not wrong, you & your brother have built a couple of plugins. What are they?
Yes, we have built a few plugins. My brother is the lead developer of those plugins. I’m mainly handling the marketing part.
Here are the plugins we have developed so far:
WP Coupons & Deals: It’s a complete coupon plugin for affiliate marketers. We initially built it for our own purpose and later decided to submit it on WordPress.org and selling the premium version.
Ultimate Blocks: This is the plugin we are really proud of. It’s a Gutenberg Blocks plugin that extends the functionalities of Gutenberg editor by adding more custom blocks. We have some awesome blocks like Table of Contents, Content Filter, Review Box, Click to Tweet, Slider, and many more. We have specially designed this plugin for bloggers and marketers.
WP Table Builder: It’s our brand new table plugin. It’s a true drag and drop table builder. We have been developing the plugin for over a year now. We will be launching it real soon.
Besides these, we have some other small plugins.
4) How did you come to the idea of building a plugin?
Everything we create has a story. It’s not based on profitability or market trends.
We created the ‘WP Coupons & Deals’ plugin cause there was no decent coupon plugin back then. We launched Ultimate Blocks because we want to help bloggers to publish better and engaging blog posts. Before using Ultimate Blocks, we used to design our blog posts with Thrive Architect.
We have developed the table plugin because most of the table plugins available are not user-friendly. We wanted to build a true drag and drop table plugin.
As I said, I am mainly handling the marketing part, I don’t have much idea how does the team code and how difficult it is. My brother handle that part.
And talking about marketing, I really enjoy it and this is what I have been doing for others as affiliates for more than 6 years. So I know how to promote things online and make money out of it.
Here are some tips from the marketing perspective.
- If you are a beginner, start with a free product and launch a premium version later. It’s called the Freemium model.
- Use the product on a daily basis. It will help you to understand the product and promote it to the right market.
- Define your audience, who are going to use the product.
- Build a relationship with Bloggers, YouTubers, and Influencers who are related to your product.
6) What are the pros & cons of managing a WordPress plugin business? Is it hampering your blogging time?
- It’s a true business model. In blogging, I work as an affiliate while promoting others’ products. Here we are promoting our own products. And it’s different from the affiliate marketing.
- It’s more sustainable then affiliate marketing. In affiliate marketing, you have to depend on organic traffic.
- We can reach more people via our plugins.
- You need to be very active to give support to your users when needed. In blogging, we don’t have to worry about that.
And plugin business doesn’t hamper my blogging time. In fact, we are planning to have blogs for all of our plugin sites. We have an active blog for Ultimate Blocks site now.
7) How do you manage time for so many activities? Do you have a team?
I am still struggling with time management. But I am improving every day.
I actually divide my week for different tasks. For example, Saturday and Sunday are for publishing new posts to all of our blogs. This helps me to get more things done.
And as my brother handles the development part, I don’t have to do anything there.
We are a team of 6 people including me and my brother. Currently, we have 2 writers and 2 developers.
First of all, we use Trello for managing the activities of all sites. Then I personally use Todoist to manage my day to day tasks.
And talking about WordPress management tips, here are some tips for beginners.
- We use WPX Hosting that takes backups of our site every day. So if something goes wrong, I can immediately recover it.
- We use SEMrush and MissingLttr to publish our posts on different social media sites regularly.
- And Google Docs is our favorite tool for writing. I and my team are using Google Docs for writing.
Yes, I bought WPLeaders from Hesham Zebida (the founder of Famous Bloggers) and HostLater from Pradeep Kumar (the founder of HellBound Bloggers).
Both of the time, experiences were good. I bought HostLater via Flippa and WPLeaders via personal contact. However, I always recommend using a platform or Escrow while buying a site.
In the case of WPLeaders, I knew Hesham Zebida for years. And I sent the money upfront. And it was smooth and Hesham was very helpful.
I’m not a regular user of Flippa. But I’d like to share some tips for beginners.
- Always check if the site got hit by Google Penalty. You can easily check it from SEMrush. A sudden decrease in organic traffic means the site got hit by Google.
- Then check if the site is ranking for profitable keywords. This is especially important when you are going to buy the site for affiliate marketing.
- Then check if the seller is offering other things like social accounts, and related things.
- Set a budget limit. You don’t need to keep bidding just because others are bidding. If it exceeds your budget, stop and wait.
- If the auction ends up without having a buyer, contact with the seller via message and try to negotiate within your budget.
To be an affiliate marketer, you need to start a blog. There are other ways of affiliate marketing. But I am not using those. Blogging is the main way for me.
Here are some tips for you to make money via affiliate marketing.
- Start a blog. Most of the people who want to make money via affiliate marketing end up without starting a blog.
- Try to choose a niche that has some connections with you. Don’t start a health blog if you don’t have enough knowledge on health and related stuff.
- Decide how you are going to monetize the blog. The most common blog monetization ways are affiliate marketing and advertising.
- Be consistent.
- Be patience and keep going.
12) Amazon affiliate sites are very popular these days. How a beginner can enter into this?
I have only one Amazon affiliate site. So I don’t have much knowledge on Amazon affiliate.
But if someone wants to enter into Amazon affiliate, I’d recommend him/her to choose a single niche. For example, I chose the home office niche. And I have a plan to cover everything related to an office on that site. But for now, I’m covering only the home office-related stuff.
So start with a single niche and expand later. However, you need to choose your domain name wisely. In my case, my domain name is SetYourOffice.com. I didn’t mention “home office” on the name as I have a plan to expand it.
13) What are the key aspects of building an Amazon affiliate site & then generate income from that?
The main aspect is obviously serving the readers and help them to solve their problems. And getting affiliate sales is the by-product.
14) What are the tools you are using (Free or Paid) to run the blogging business?
Here are the tools I am using right now.
- Trello: I use his tools to manage all of our projects from a single dashboard.
- Todoist: I use this to manage my day to day tasks.
- Google Docs: My favorite writing tool.
- Grammarly: It keeps my writings error-free. As a non-native speaker, I make a lot of grammatical mistakes. Grammarly helps me to get rid of those mistakes.
- SEMrush: My favorite SEO tool. Recently, I’ve started using it for social media posting as well.
- Marinara: Pomodoro® Assistant: I’m a huge fan of the Pomodoro technique. I use this chrome extension for using the Pomodoro technique.
15) You have started a Facebook group recently. How is your experience till now?
Yes, it’s going well. We have already some big WordPress guys on the group. Hope it will be one of the best Facebook groups for WordPress Enthusiasts.
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So, that’s the end of Istiak Rayhan interview and I am sure you have learned a lot from this amazing interview. He has a lot of experience in the field of WordPress and shared as much knowledge as he can in this interview. Feel free to share your feedback by writing a comment & also don’t forget to share this interview on social media.
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