BloggerViews: Interview with Harleena Singh – The Blog Commenting Queen from Aha! Now
Harleena Singh has not been an unknown name when it comes to the blogging industry since she is given the high status of Commenting Superstar by another top blogger, Adrienne Smith. It is often said in the blogging industry that in order to make a successful blog, you must focus on a single niche. Harleena Singh breaks this myth with Aha-Now.com which is successful as it is read and followed by quality readers although being a multi-niche blog.
In short, she has proven the fact that with sheer persistence and hard work, one can achieve success irrespective of the odds. Today, we are glad to have Harleena Singh, a freelance content writer and the founder of Aha! Now – A Lifestyle blog that inspires many, on our BloggerViews series.
Me: Hi Harleena, I welcome you to be a part of our BloggerViews series.
Harleena: Thank you, Pooja! It is indeed a pleasure to featured in your BloggerViews series, which I find has featured many great bloggers in the past, and it is certainly an honor to share the same platform. It is more so important to be one of the few selected bloggers for this special Navratri interview series.
Me: You don’t need any introduction in the blogging industry but still our readers would like to know about you in your own words.
Q1. Tell us about yourself, about your life before you joined the IT industry or freelance industry to be specific. Our readers know about Harleena as a blogger, they would love to know you as a person too.
A – I was an English teacher before I started blogging. Since my kids were growing up, I decided to be a stay-at-home mom and became a freelance writer. That was a few years back of course. With success in freelance writing, it was at the end of 2010 that I decided to create my own blog, and started Aha! NOW.
As a person, I’m very simple and lead a simple lifestyle. I’m just a normal person and blogger just like anyone else, but I’m very passionate about blogging. Just like any other homemaker, I like to cook, take care of my kids and family, and enjoy life as it comes.
Q2. You started off as a freelance content writer. What exactly pushed you into running a blog?
A – The idea behind starting Aha! NOW was to create a portfolio of my writings. Though things didn’t work really that way, in fact, they went much beyond that, and with time I became more of a blogger than a freelance writer.
People just loved what I wrote, and I started writing more for them, to help them in more ways than one. All of this led from one thing to another and the main reason why my blog is where it is today. I have my readers to thank for its success 🙂
However, if I hadn’t started freelance writing, I wouldn’t have started a blog either. So, I should thank the circumstances that pushed me into freelance writing. Therefore, you see that there is a chain of causation in life, and everything that happens, happens for a reason, and for your good! 🙂
Q3. Although different, freelance content writing and blogging requires writing. So if you were not a blogger then what career would you choose besides freelance content writer?
A – I was a teacher and would have continued to be a teacher. I consider it as a noble profession. I might have perhaps chosen fewer hours of working out of my home, to make enough time for my kids, if I had no other option.
As a teacher, I enjoyed helping the kids grow and evolve and that task give me inner satisfaction and happiness.
This is what I also strive for through my blog posts and the blog. I want to help as many people as possible and want them all to grow and bring happiness into their life. I guess I am a teacher even now!
Q4. Are there any particular mentors/bloggers who inspired you or guided you throughout your blogging career? If yes, then please share their names for my readers.
A – When I started blogging, I had no mentors to inspire or guide me, that’s because I came from a different niche of writing, which is very unlike blogging. I knew many writers, but no bloggers, so no one was there for me.
In fact, I didn’t even have an idea that I was going for “real professional blogging”. So, I just started experimenting with it by observing what others are doing, and picked up the essence of blogging that way. Google has always been my friend and mentor I would say.
However, during the early part of my blogging journey, I was influenced by many bloggers and the way they blogged. I’m glad to be still in touch with them, and some of them have become very good friends now.
Q5. This is one question that many bloggers don’t answer honestly. J But I can’t resist asking. Whom do you consider as your bigger competition as a blogger? For instance, if there’s a race to the Top Bloggers Leaderboard then who do you think can be you’re the best competitor to challenge you for the No. 1 spot?
A – I’ll be honest, but you’ve to believe me! I have no competition at all and I do not consider any blogger to be my competitor.
I believe every blogger and blog can niche out its own space, and there is space enough in the blogosphere to accommodate all the bloggers. We all have a mixture of audience, while a small fraction might be common; mostly we have different sets of audience. Moreover, even if we have the same blog audience, if you provide unique and helpful content, people will still come to you.
Since my blog is multi-niche, my real competitors should be blogs like Mashable or Huffington Post! But if I start acting and thinking of beating or surpassing the competition, I’ll deviate from my aim of helping people. It is important for me to be one-to-one with my audience, and I really don’t blog for money, which is just a byproduct and not really my primary focus.
In fact, I try to help other newbie bloggers to come to where I’ve reached and make them go beyond. I suggest all bloggers to forget about competition and get to the task of providing value content and good user experience to their blog audience. There is no harm learning from other bloggers and their blogs, but it is important to build harmony and good relationships with all for a healthy and peaceful co-existence.
My readers would have learned a lot about your individual self. They will be eager to know about your blog: Aha-Now.com
Q6. What, when and how did you consider launching a lifestyle blog and named it Aha-Now?
A – I’ve mentioned the story behind the naming of my blog on the About page of my blog. When I started my blog, I had no idea how the domain names should be. I learned about keywords and other things of blogging much later. I just thought of having a unique name and Aha! NOW for me was like “Eureka” was for Archimedes. 😉
Aha! NOW did not start as a “life” blog, but as a family blog. I wanted to contribute what I then considered myself to be fit and experienced to do so, and it was writing about family, parenting, and relationships.
With time, I started increasing the niches and have about more than a dozen now. However, I increased them gradually and after I started getting positive feedback from my readers. My focus presently is on complete development of a person in personal, social, and professional aspects of life.
Q7. Most of the Probloggers today advice to focus on a single niche if you want to be successful in blogging. But you have proved them wrong by launching a multi-niche blog covering number of important topics. Why did you choose a multi-niche blog over single niche? Today we know that you justify all the topics on your blog but was it always the same when you started the blog?
A – I think the Probloggers are right to a certain extent. You should blog about what you’re an expert in or in a niche that you feel you can contribute more than the others. But I guess I got a little lucky and my blog audience has now become so used to a variety of content and niches on my blog. Honestly speaking, I conducted a readership survey last year, and surprisingly majority of them wanted Aha! NOW to remain multi-niche – and I do what my readers like, so it works well for me.
I guess I was successful because what I blog is all about life and its various aspects. I don’t say I’m an expert in matters of life, but I’ve considerable knowledge and experience to write about them. More so, when a reader visits a blog, he or she is there to read the specific “views” of the particular blogger. So, it all comes down to your voice and personality.
When I start with a few niches as I mentioned in my previous answer, I felt that there were other niches that were interrelated and I could help more if I also wrote about these related niches. Earlier, I only used to blog once a week, and when I made it twice a week- it gave me more time and space to include more niches and cater a wider blog audience. Thus, I have people from ALL walks of life visiting my blog because there is something for everyone.
Q8. Blogging today and during the time you launched Aha-Now! Do you see any difference? Please tell us your view.
A – I think that today the bloggers are in a better and advantageous situation. They have all the resources, which are easily available, and have many peer bloggers to help them out. Blogging is becoming more professional and commercialized too.
Earlier people may’ve tried to scale the mountain of blogging alone and on their own, today it is more of a collaborative effort and you need to help each other to be successful in blogging.
However, whether yesterday, today, or tomorrow; blogging is all about others, it’s about helping, and it’s about providing useful, meaningful, and helpful content.
Q9. Aha-Now.com is a lifestyle blog and you have earned the reputation of being a Life coach in the dotcom industry. Can you share any personal life experience if any, where you pushed yourself up after being down emotionally and mentally?
A – Thanks for saying that, but I’m still not an official or professional Life coach. I’m pursuing a course to become a Life coach that I’ve mentioned on my blog.
Life is a roller coaster ride, and you’ve many ups and downs. I too had my share, and might have more in future too. When I left my teaching job, I was literally doing nothing and the earnings were nil. So, that was a “down” time, but I gathered positive energy, held on to the rope of hope, and believed that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Today, here with you, I am basking in the spot “light”, which I could not have even imagined in my “dark” days. 🙂
Q10. Finally, what’s the most memorable event you experienced in your blogging career till now?
A – It is the starting and working for the community at Aha! NOW. I started the Aha! NOW Blog Community, fondly called as the ABC, and this has really added a new dimension to blogging for me.
This is the best mode and level of helping people and making Aha! NOW a self-help platform. The success of the ABC is my most cherished and memorable even in my blogging career. I would invite you and your blog readers to come and experience the community with a difference, as it is a real community with real people, with a very active forum!
Other than that, it’s this interview, which is very different from the ones that I’ve done before. So, I thank you for all the questions you’ve asked that brought out the best in me. 🙂
Q11. Lastly, a few words of wisdom for my readers about life and blogging! J
A – Live and love life; this is how you’ve to go about life. Love blogging and live to blog; such should be your passion for blogging. In fact, life and blogging have similarity and common grounds, which is to learn, excel, and evolve. God Bless You ALL 🙂
Thanks so much Pooja for having me over – it was indeed a pleasure to be here 🙂
Favorite Books: Haven’t read one for a long time.
Favorites Movies: I hardly get time to see any movies!
Favorite Celebrities/Icons (Sports, Entertainment, Politics or any): None – they are all good.
Favorite Blogger: There are so many of them, all favorites!
Favorites Places: SO many, tough to list them out.
Favorite Hobbies: Cooking, painting, listening to music – again many!