How I Solo Built A $1.2K/Month Blog Site For Indian Photographers

Published: June 28th, 2023
Manthan Gajjar
Founder, PEWDOC
from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
started August 2019
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello, my name is Manthan Gajjar and I am the founder of pewdoc. Using my blogging platform I'm helping young ( or you can say beginner ) photographers to learn something about photography in their day-to-day life.

In this photography industry, my main product is the content that I write and publish. It is mostly regarding trending photography stuff like tips and tricks or gear reviews. Like covering any new camera’s feature or for example, informing my readers how they can sell their images online for free and earn some serious money.

So most of my customers are those newbies who just started learning photography and planning to adopt photography as their main source of income.

So right now as my side hustle project, from this business, I’m earning $1.2k/month.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I completed my engineering in 2018 and started working as an intern at one of the IT companies. So from that time, I was aware of the power of the internet, or in simple words, I was aware of how people are making money online by just selling courses or making videos on Youtube.

So initially I started my journey by creating a youtube channel on a random topic and back in 2018 you don’t need 4000 hours of watch time + 1000 subs to show advertise on youtube if you’re a content creator. So I started publishing some random videos like a song with lyrics, top 10 songs, etc…, I earned a couple of bucks but due to copyright strikes I wasn’t able to get more out of it and I know that’s not a valid way to start earning some passive income.

At that time I was using Nokia Lumia 520, and the built-in camera was too good. I started capturing some macro shots and at that time I just passed out of college so I was aware of some social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. I started uploading my images on Instagram.

I was getting a decent amount of likes and more recognition from my friend and family members because I was capturing some normal images with different compositions which I learned from youtube. And at that time I just agreed with the sentences like photography is just this, for me, it’s just a hobby, you can’t earn money unless you’ve got a studio and you’re capturing weddings or something similar occasions (especially in India).

Back in 2018-19, I was following some good photographers around the world, and I was just capturing what they were capturing, so sometimes I just failed and I wasn’t about to figure out a way to get the result, so I started googling some ideas and ways to get the result which I predicted, and at that time I reviewed a couple of blogs. I got the output and I was just chilling that night.

I remember in March/April 2019, I reviewed around 10-12 blogs to understand the process of capturing the image, and out of these many blogs I found advertisements on most of the blogs, then I did some research and found something about adsense, and at that moment I realize ok, I can learn and teach other people regarding photography by just sharing my thoughts and example.

No need to create a youtube video and share your views (I was too shy :D). You can just write a blog and start sharing your idea with the end person, who’s also willing to learn and get answers for his photography project, Just like me & you can also earn some good money so that’s a bonus.

So that’s how I come up with the idea of creating a photography blog.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

It’s Christmas Eve 2018 & I was clear about the thing I wanted to do during the holiday + for a couple of next weekends, I just did some good research on how to start a blog.

But the interesting thing about starting a blog is, you need to prepare lots of other items before you start publishing a blog, and at that time I was running out of money so before buying these services, I did some RND and learned basic stuff like SEO, the correct platform to use for blogging, and which theme to pick, I also created my social media accounts, Logos, domain name, hosting provider and all the required item.

I almost spent 15-20 days understanding SEO on youtube and free courses, After getting some rough idea about SEO, back in my mind I was clear about the content that I need to prepare before I buy hosting and a domain. So I prepared 3-4 well-written articles. And at that time I realize planning is essential to execute such an idea, especially if you’re running low on budget.

I bought the domain and hosting provider for under 10$ and started applying the free theme which I picked a week ago, scheduled a couple of articles with valid information, and started sharing on social media after publishing, I was already working as a developer so I modified the existing theme as per the requirement.

It’s better to do something every single day. There’s no valid reason not to do what you love or what you want to try.

Describe the process of launching the business.

After publishing 3-4 articles, I just waited for the next 2-3 weeks to see the growth, but nobody knew about my blog, or who am I. So I prepared a list of good articles again with valid keywords + with better content like adding proper infographics and designing new feature images.

Because at that time I was too shy to tell anyone like please read and share my article, I was just focusing on delivering quality content.

Apart from this, I also did a small campaign on Facebook ads, I spent 15-20$ for a week, so that way I gain some attention from a real audience. I started getting their feedback for each article and I saw so many improvements and I worked accordingly by then.

There’re so many new lessons I’ve learned in that phase, the biggest one is, you need to understand what your readers are looking for. The very first thing about your readers is you need to be specific about your niche, like if you’re starting solo and small then you should know which target you want to pick.

If your inner heart is saying there’s no fun and it’s not what you want to do for the next couple of years at least without earning a single penny then you need to think twice before you start working on some ideas.

Another thing is taking constant feedback from your readers, there’s always a chance to improve a bit. Day by day. And everyone knows it’s a long process but you need to trust the process and work accordingly.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

In the blogging industry, it’s pretty hard and time taking to grow, it may take 6 months or 2 years to see the actual growth, so if you’re picking this thing then make sure you’ve enough patience to grow in this industry.

And sometimes it’s not that easy to archive the result that you already planned back in your mind. So you need to tackle such situations and go through it so many times to see the real worth of your business.

From the beginning, for me consistency is everything, it helped me to get more readers day by day, I did so many wrong things in and out but the thing I never stopped doing is researching & publishing content each week.

In 2020, I bought a couple of courses to learn SEO, because at the beginning I knew if I’m good at SEO then I can easily rank on Google to get some organic results. I followed some youtube videos, understood how the affiliate market works for bloggers, and joined so many different platforms to see the outcome I planned. So that content helped me to improve my sales and traffic in a good way.

Now the question was, how to get existing customers/readers back to read my blogs? So I did some research and found out about newsletters, I started my newsletters to send weekly emails regarding lately published articles, and I think that’s a good way ( and a very important and easy way ) to stay connected with your genuine audience, who loves your content and follows you.

As I said I did some Facebook ad campaigns and I’m a photographer so I know the power of Instagram, as you can easily get some serious followers + attention if you’re publishing great content on Instagram.

So here’s one of my favorite methods to gain good traffic via any social media ad campaign…

Initially, I reviewed a couple of videos on marketing like how to get traffic with less money from doing Facebook or Instagram, or Google ads, I used a couple of important tools to get the right keywords, which are easy to rank and contain no or less competition.

Then I published 2-3 in-depth articles on those specific content. In 2020 I got one keyword “sell photos online in India”, I published this article with all the valid information. Then I started one week of a Facebook ad campaign.

I spent around 50-70$ for that campaign and still, that article is ranking number 4 on Google India ( that single article was ranked number one position for 6-8 months in India). Right now that single piece of content is ranking for more than hundreds of keywords on Google.

The only logic I applied was researching a low-competition keyword with a valid niche + targeted country, there are a couple of free tools available to do keyword researching but I chose paid one and I got the result. It’s 2023, I’m updating the content of that article regularly so other user finds the latest content, see the current analytics…


However, I never understood the power of re-publishing an already published article, so that thing I learned lately due to that the visitors are still coming back to this article and that’s the reason article is still performing well on Google's top 1.

If you’re planning to join any affiliate market right now, which works fine + is trusted, and gives commission then I must suggest the Amazon affiliate platform. As a photographer, you can try this in the beginning, because it’s easy to apply and very easy to use, but later you can move to some specific platform where you can earn more commission in the photography industry compared to Amazon.

Writing a blog each week and doing research as a one-man army it’s pretty tough, you need to do the same thing each week with a couple of improvements. But you need to keep doing it until you see some results.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Each week, I’m publishing 1-2 articles regularly, I even started another blogging site: specially for Indian readers, where I publish relevant content for Indian photographers…

From my primary blog, I’m earning enough for the next 4-5 months if I don’t post anything at all, because I’ve spent plenty of time creating the base, so now I’m getting some referral traffics from Pinterest, Facebook, and from some of the ranking keywords. I’m also getting some opportunities where brands contact me to publish their content on my blog to promote their products.

Since 2020 till now, I’m not spending any money on social media ads or to get paid traffic.

If I talk about my sales then for advertisements I'm using Adsense, so monthly I’m generating 30-40% income from there. Apart from ads I'm using Amazon (for now) as my major affiliate marketing partner. So from there, I’m generating some 30% of my income and the rest through some partnerships & small affiliate markets for photographers.

These days my main focus is delivering great content which each new photographer needs to know. And that’s why currently I’m targeting one specific country India because after some research I found lots of improvement needs to be done in the Indian photography community.

If you’re picking blogging as your profession then you need to focus mainly on long-term goals, goals like XX million of traffic in 2 years or 1 year. Because writing a blog each week and doing research as one man army it’s pretty tough, you need to do the same thing each week with a couple of improvements. But you need to keep doing it until you see some results.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

If you’re starting fresh, no matter if it’s blogging or as a YouTuber, I believe you need to do some solid research before you pick the topic, you can not predict like I’m done with 3 blogs this month now it’s time to chill. You need to work more than you planned.

In this journey of blogging, I made a couple of mistakes in the beginning, like doing a partnership with a brand just for money and later realizing that the brand is not related to my niche (photography). Accepting content from the unknown or using someone’s image on any blog without giving them credit.

The other mistake which I made was not following the trend, during the pandemic, it’s pretty hard to go out and pretty easy to work on my side hustle and I choose the second option for obvious reasons :D, I was publishing some great content but I wasn’t getting the traffic which I expected on some amazing posts.

Then later I realize my readers are looking for some pandemic kind of content, like how they can do indoor photography or how they can make indoor shooting fun.

So I wrote an article on such a topic and got an amazing response, so it’s always a good practice to follow the trend, you can use Google Trends ( to get some ongoing trends in your niche.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

From the beginning, I was very specific about using any paid tool, but still, I realize some paid tools just make your work pretty easy and it saves lots of time on the other hand.

So for keyword research, I’m using Ahref, that’s the only tool you need if you want to get some valid data, If you don’t want to spend any money then you can use Google’s search console, this one is free and sometimes it helps to get the idea about currently ranking content of your site.

And if I talk about some tools to boost productivity then I love todoist, I love to organize my time and task before I start my week, and sometimes I use Trello as well.

For newsletters, I prefer Mailchimp (the free pack is pretty good for beginners) I love some templates and you can schedule your email whenever your users are active, and for social media, I use Facebook, and Instagram & Pinterest, I love Twitter but I don’t have enough time to tweet :D.

Every weekend I schedule all of the posts for next week including newsletters so I don’t need to worry about sharing articles at the right time.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

In my free time or whenever I’m working out I always listen to some Joe Rogan or Chris Williamson's podcasts (sometimes Jay Shetty) on Spotify, my favorite podcast Joe Rogan X Naval Ravikant, this podcast helps me to see life from a different perspective.

Nowadays I’m also reading some books, I started with The inner engineer by Sadhguru then The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferries, and currently, I’m reading Eat that frog By Brian Tracy.

4-hour workweek opened my eyes to gain more attention to improving my business, starting from saving time to gaining more audiences, if you’re a person who doesn’t like to spend your life working at one place for a lifetime then you need to read this book, there’s so much to learn from that one book.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If you’re in your forties-fifties or even just starting, my simple tip for you is just start, instead of thinking every single night and regret it. It’s better to do something every single day. There’s no valid reason not to do what you love or what you want to try.

Like initially I also spend months just thinking about the idea and then doing nothing for that period due to laziness.

Another thing I realize lately is, don’t focus on money initially, just believe this: if you’re doing it for your good & enjoying every piece of work which you’re doing then it’s easy & quick to earn money in some small amount of time, compare to whatever you’re currently doing just for a living but not enjoying it.

Yeah, Many people say you can’t earn that much by just doing blogging or it’s not a secured job or something, but believe me, the market is there, people are still looking for some quality content to read and learn, so there’s always an opportunity to grow and earn.

And if you’ve enough money then focus on expanding your business and outsource your work, so you can save time and focus on only the required stuff.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!