We talked to Mohammad Athar of English Summary and Explore Keywords about its English study tools and SEO keyword research toolkit. Here is what he said about it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded English Summary, and Explore Keywords.
Mohammad Athar: Mobile phones came to Kashmir in 2006, and within a year, I came to know about something called “Internet” but didn’t know what it exactly was! Who knew that it will rule the world in a few years. In 2009, I got my phone on which we could access the internet by long pressing the 0 button. It was a new world for me, but I soon learnt that there is Google, Yahoo, and other websites.
At that time, I would often remain curious and think about how I can make one and share my knowledge there. With time, this curiosity grew. I would often search for how to make a website on the internet. This constant quest finally ended when I came to know about WordPress in 2013. The next problem was, “What do I do with a website!” I had no idea. Then during my college days, I found that there was a lack of proper study material on the internet and what we have is either incomplete or too complex to understand.
So, I discovered a “problem” that I was determined to solve. I started taking my notes online, and soon I saw users coming from Google. It was a moment of joy and probably something which changed my thought process. But as I was on BlogSpot, I felt the need for having a proper domain name, so in 2017, I purchased englishsummary.com, which was recently dropped back then.
Within 2 years, my traffic raised from 1000 visitors a month to 1,500,000 a month. The growth of the site did not only provided me more revenue but also opened hundreds of opportunities.
I found out that all bloggers like me needed tools for keyword research, but the tools available in the market were either paid or had very limited features.
AnswerThePublic, which was initially free, went paid after gaining a good audience base.
So, during the COVID times, I did a little bit of research, learnt about APIs, various data sources, and came up with the idea of developing my own keyword research tools website, which would be free and accessible to all the users. I wanted to keep the name easy to remember, so I chose explorekeywords.com. This site became a huge success as the page views quickly increased to 700k within 3 months.
The site is monetized using Google Admanager; this way, I am able to earn without charging a single penny from my users.
How does your company innovate?
Mohammad Athar: I am a keen lover of problems and consider them as a blessing from Almighty. A technopreneur is the one who can discover the problems of his audience and solves them in the form of his website/YouTube channel or any other platform. Mere creating an “Alternate to Facebook” or an “Another Search Engine” is the first step towards failure. I believe in doing something which others cannot even dream of.
Though Explore Keywords has become a huge success, my team and I keep searching for new ideas based on the problems which we think our users are facing.
We have a WhatsApp group in which the users ask their questions. These questions are not just questions but opportunities to build something better.
In addition, we also conduct weekly meet-ups where we provide a free consultation to newbies and those who desire to build an online brand. The “Free” concept takes the price barrier away, and we get an opportunity to indirectly promote our brand. e.g., if a user finds the tools useful, he shares the site with his friend circle.
We plan to provide some premium tools in the near future, but we will keep the basic tools free forever (as Google does).
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mohammad Athar: Well, COVID did affect my business. The traffic went down, and so did the revenue. However, after September, the conditions have improved, and now I see a great opportunity lying ahead.
But I consider COVID-19 as the best period of my life. Many people who had joined me because of my initial success vanished away after seeing the downfall of my websites after the outbreak of COVID. I let many of my employees go who were simply working for the sake of money. Now, I have hired new people with lessons I have learnt in my mind.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mohammad Athar: In any business, at every step, we have to make choices that decide our future. Initially, when I began my website, I was writing on everything. But with time, I felt that focusing on a specific niche is important to succeed. And after deciding this, I had to delete hundreds of articles from my website. Though it was a hard decision, it paid.
Today, I believe in taking big steps because we cannot be technopreneurs until we move out of our comfort zone. The best thing about taking big decisions is that we learn. This learning cannot be achieved in schools and colleges but only by experience.
I have failed many times. I have seen my website outranked by big brands. But, I do not take these things negatively. I analyze my competitors and try to provide something which they cannot.
An important lesson which I have learnt in my life is “problem-solving.” If we learn to solve just our own problems, we get the opportunity to establish a business by helping those who face the same problems.
Another lesson that I have learnt in my life is having a specific niche. e.g., Apple is known for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, Ferrari is known for cars, Forbes is known for news. Until we do not choose a specific niche, we cannot become a brand. Those who try to work on everything ultimately fail.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mohammad Athar: COVID was a time when we were locked in our homes. And to make the best use of this time, I started learning more about productivity tools, new trends, etc. And I saw that there are hundreds of freely available tools which can bring a significant change in our lives. I use the following tools for more productivity:
1. Google Tasks – Every day, in the morning, I prepare a list of daily tasks on this app. This way, I find daily goals to accomplish. Marking the “Tasks” done is something that makes me feel that I have done something.
The app helps me psychologically to do my daily work in a better way.
2. Google Keep – As the name suggests, this app is for note-taking.
Whenever I find something useful (links, a piece of text, an idea, etc.), I put it in the keep. And the best thing, it gets synced to my Google account. I can access my notes anytime and anywhere.
3. Udemy – Udemy is a great platform for learning something new. I often remain curious about various new fields like Data Science, Data Analytics, AI, etc. Udemy is a great platform for learning these things without spending a penny.
4. My Smart Watch – Having a smartwatch on one’s wrist can bring about a great change in one’s life. It reminds me of when I sit too long or sleep too long, or do not drink water. These small reminders are beneficial for our health and daily routine.
5. Google Tools – I use Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Google Trends, Google Appspot, Google Data Studio, and Google Search Results Page to find, understand, organize and use the data for my site’s growth. 6. Explore Keywords – I developed keyword research tools for the sole purpose of providing basic data at no cost, which every blogger/digital marketer/vlogger/agency requires. I use these tools to make my content strategy successful.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mohammad Athar: This world is full of competition. And I think competitors help us to succeed in life. I consider AnswerThePublic, Ahrefs, SEMRush, KeywordTool, and many such sites as my competitors and our team has constantly been working on providing better tools either for free or at an affordable price so that technopreneurs and bloggers like are able to find the data without putting their fortune on the stake!
Your final thoughts?
Mohammad Athar: A startup is not something that depends on money or hard work. It requires an idea that is unique and needed in society. I did not have a technical background. I just had a dream of providing my own content to those who face problems like me, and I succeeded.
A startup solely depends on your idea, which on the other hand, depends on your experience, your problems, and solutions. Hence, when we begin something, we must keep in mind that we are going to do this to solve the problems of others. Earning money should be a secondary motive.
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