A web developer might not be the correct word to define my journey of developing some highly popular website. A web developer only develops the website. However, I did all the aspects of running the website. I was handling server and its optimization, designing, maintenance, curating of contents, search engine optimization, social and web marketing, ad campaigning etc. A web developers job is limited to just a few of these.
My First Web Page
Like most of you, my first web page was “Hello, World”. In 1999 or 2000, my brother was learning computers. There was hardly computers available in those days at homes. My maternal grandfather, who was a doctor, was having one in his clinic. One day my brother, gave me two codes to type on a notepad and save it as .html. First one was for “Hello, World”. The second was a modified version of first. It was an animated version. The sentence was starting from one end of the screen and slowly moving towards another end.
Lets Start with the Basic
For the next several years, I never did any such exciting work. I was curious to learn. But, was having no time and resource. In 2005, I got my computer and by the end of 2006 the broadband connection. I had come out of ISI and was full of free time. My toughest time was from 2006 to 2011 (Read More: Abhishek Rukhaiyar – A Failure). It might be the longest 5-year block. However, after the period passed, now it feels as it was my golden period. I read all sort of things. During this period my companion was Google. Whenever, whatever questions I had, I just used to search on google and read about it. One good thing, howsoever funny or complicated the question might be you can ask directly to Google. But, not to even your closest person.
During this period, one thing I invested a good amount of my time in web development. I was having a zeal to learn how to create a website. Just after I have an internet connection, I went one day to the biggest book store in Patna (it was my regular spot during my preparation for IIT). I asked for showing some popular books on HTML. As I was having the information that the code I wrote on the notepad to create the web page was in HTML language. I had no further clue about anything.
The book was The Complete Reference: HTML & CSS. It was a thick book around 800 pages. Within a month or two I read from one end to another. At that time I didn’t understand much about CSS. I can say I was totally unaware of how to use a style sheet. However, I learned well about HTML. I did a lot of practice. For some time, I created the singleton webpages. I learned inline styling.
However, soon I learned that you can keep it online somewhere and can open the page address to open the webpage. I had no spare money to spend. I could ask anyone too. It was a big deal for me. I found a free Webhosting website. I found Freehostia, my first WebHost. It was a wonderful experience to learn with freehostia. I got introduced with cPanel and learned about various options available in cPanel. I used a free subdomain created some webpages. Then, I learned about nested interlinked website. I created a website for books. It had details about various good books available on different subjects. I dedicated my full time to the website to make it perfect.
Later, I learned that we can create wonderful webpages even nested interlink with Adobe Dreamweaver. The benefit was What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG ) editor. I was editing files on my system and was syncing it with my WebHost using FTP.
Introduction to CMS
After a year or so, I learned about a software DataLife Engine (DLE). It was a content management system (CMS), which was written in PHP and utilises MySQL to create the database based website and dynamically creates the webpages. It was a totally new experience for me. The amount of time I spent on creating a static website sometimes look a waste. However, it was a learning experience which let me learn the bits and pieces of a webpage. I created a website which used to curate and publishes news reports.
My next upgrade was Drupal. DLE was a Russian software and was primarily in Russian. Some of the developers used to convert it into English. Drupal was a popular software, I did work on it for some time. I make some websites on Drupal. However, it was never really an upgrade for me. Drupal was having plugin functionalities but with limited options. The library was not big. During this time only. I used to see other CMS software such as Joomla and WordPress installations in cPanel.
I tried my hands on Joomla too. But, setting up a Joomla website was even more tough than Drupal. Literally, I was never able to understand Joomla. So, the next in the trial was WordPress. There was no trial afterwards. I did publish websites on Blogger or some other platform. However, WordPress became my companion until now.
Experiments with WordPress
In 2009, I created a fully automatic website on WordPress. This was the first website where I spent some money. The confidence came from one earlier project where my host interestingly was not only giving free host. But, also free domain name. I created a full-fledged website using WordPress on that host. That website was also fully automatic (Read More: Abhishek Rukhaiyar – An Innovator ). The base idea to create that website was used in this new website, where I invested some money. The earlier free website was getting good growth within a month. But, due to load on the server, the host cancelled my account So, I decided to utilise a similar idea for my own website.
The new website was fetching contents from other websites automatically on schedule. Each time if someone visits my website after searching a term on Google, which is called Keyword, my website will show a search page to Google with that keyword. Once my website has a sizeable post, each such search will throw some search results, not Nil results. So, if Google based on my contents send one visitor to my website, my website will show a webpage to crawl to Google. This webpage is based on a Google keyword.
Google after crawling that webpage starts sending other visitors who searched similar or matching keywords. So, for every new visitor that Google sends to my website organically, there is a chain created to send them more visitors. As Google sends more, more webpages are shown to Google to crawl. As Google had more webpages to crawl, the scope of being highlighted in new keyword search increases. So, after the first few organic visitors to my website, the number of visitors started growing exponentially. Apart from traffic on my website, all regular maintenance of my website was utilising plugins which do not need my intervention.
My website was growing at a rapid pace. Till this time, I was not having a Google Adsense account. If someone has worked on the websites, for small size websites Google gives the best returns from ads which I was missing.
Introduction to Dedicated Servers
The first month my website was on shared hosting. As the website was growing exponentially, the second month I decided to shift it to a Dedicated server. Somehow, I convinced my brother to pay the money from his credit card for a dedicated server. My parents refunded him, who do not have a credit card. My payments were done using PayPal and it doesn’t accept debit cards. Somehow, I solved my payment issue. I was earning. But, I was earning low.
I had got my first Dedicated server. Till this point, I had not known about the backend of a server. I was just using the cPanel interface. But, the road ahead was very tough, which enabled me to learn new things.
It was Diwali time. Three days before Diwali, I signed up for the dedicated server. For the next two days, there was no contact from the host. No mail, no communication. I was worried, as for the first time I had invested some amount involving various people. Anyways, after two days, I got a mail from my host that my server is ready and they gave me an IP address, a user name and a password. Normally, on shared websites, I used to get a web address instead of IP address. I entered the IP address in my browser and tried to go to the server page. Boom. I got an error. It was a blank server.
It took me the next few hours to understand what a blank server means and how to connect with it. After searching for some hours, I found out that one requires to use Putty to connect to the website. I connected, but it was a command-line where old DOS commands were loosely working. It was Ubuntu OS. I was in a total mess.
- I was not knowing what software to install
- how to install them
- Set up process for these softwares
- How and where to keep my WordPress files to start the website
It took me 24 hours straight from receiving the mail from host to starting any website on the new server. Plus 24 more hours to finally moving my website to the server. Result of all – A huge learning experience.
I had paid a months rent for my server. I was getting around 15,000 page views per day. But, I was not having a Google Adsense account. My earning from the website currently was not ample enough to cover the cost of the server. I discussed it with my family. However, it was decided that I should not waste any more money on the websites. I had no source of earning at that time to fund my dream.
My Own Blog
In the next few months, I joined an MBA coaching institute in my hometown. It was almost 9 months course. Within 2-3 months of joining, I formed a group of students, who used to sit after the class and practice for Group Discussion. I had a list of GD topics. We used to practice 2 topics every day. To prepare in a better way, I decide to use a different approach.
I had an experience that if you write about a topic rather than just read from various source, then you will be more clear about the topic and will remember the points in a better way. So, I created a blog on WordPress.com, Rukhaiyar’s Corner. After reading from various sources on the topic, I used to write 60 % of an idea based on what I read and 40 %, my understanding and my thoughts. Lastly, based on the points I’ve written, I used to write a summary or conclusion. If you go for Rukhaiyar.com’s old article, you could still find these articles. I transferred the contents later on to my own domain’s self-hosted website.
I was active on my WordPress.com blog and later on too once I move it to my own domain. In between, I started working as a Public Sector Employee and got busy learning new things to work better. I continued posting new articles at regular intervals. I started posting IIT JEE articles on my blog (Read More: Abhishek Rukhaiyar – A Counsellor). These were engaging articles and were getting 100s of visitors each day to my blog.
In mid-2013, one day I was just browsing through expireddomains.net. I found less than a day old deleted domain named 4hire.org. It was a short named domain name with complete meaning. I saw potential and purchased it instantly. Already, I was having a server space where I was running Rukhaiyar.com. I hosted 4hire at the same location. However, I was not having time to maintain it. So, I worked on it for a week. Created a website based on the idea of my old website which I hosted on a dedicated server. I was having Google Adsense account. I monetise the new website and created it fully automatic. It was a Govt Job bulletin portal fetching contents from the competitive websites. I just created it and forgot about it.
By the end of August 2013, I noticed some strange activity on my shared hosting and my AdSense earning. What earlier used to be $ 0.5 to $ 1 a day had increased to $10 – $ 12 per day. Further, I saw a jump in my shared hosting resources. After detecting, I found 4hire.org was getting around 3000-4000 page views per day. Soon, I shifted my website to a VPS. I started the optimisation process. I was not a pro like now. However, I started to give a better experience to Google. The better it feels that my website’s experience it, the more I would have got the traffic. My website traffic was increasing every day by almost 10-15 %.
The Earning Time
As the website was growing, I keep on increasing the server capacity. From VPS to dedicated VPS to Dedicated server to two dedicated servers (one for the website and another for the database). I implemented similar tactics on Rukhaiyar.com, with just one difference, the contents were my own. Soon my earning went past $ 100 a day. There was a stint of more than 30 days when my earning was continuously upwards of $ 100 each day. Similarly, the page views were going more than 100,000 per day for 4hire.og and more than 50,000 per day for Rukhaiyar’s Corner. A summarized view of my earning and website stat is given below.
My high earning period lasted for just 4 months. Google changed its algorithm and soon the traffic to my websites started reducing. I earned some decent amount in 4-5 months. However, I could not generate enough to create capital.
Web Life Ahead
Later on, I keep on working on different websites. I learned new things. However, generating once again the magic of 4hire.org never happened. I was also lacking the time required to manage a website and its SEO. However, I worked on several new job portals and WordPress related websites.
My journey as a web developer might not be superb. However, it was a rich learning experience. I’m still learning and will keep on learning and Evolving. I’m looking forward to developing a website which on its own without such Black Hat tactics will be able to generate a similar kind of traffic as I experienced with 4hire.org.