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Google Product Review Update Analysis and Case Study (2022)


Google has rolled out the new Google Product review update on 23rd March 2022. The update is related to Product Reviews and listicles, and it impacts the search ranking of many websites. Let’s understand what is it and how can smaller websites follow Google guidelines to improve search traffic.

The crux of the Google Product Review update is to improve the search result for people looking for genuine product reviews and advice.

The intent for the update is great, but in reality, is this making the genuine information accessible to more people? Or is it pushing big brands, keyword-stuffed pages, and websites with bought links equity to the top of the results? I analyzed some of this information, and here are some findings and case studies. I could be wrong, but here is what I have found.

Note – My intent is to highlight some of the insights about this new Google Product Review update and how it is, making the search results better or worse. I am sharing the perspective of a small publisher. I am not writing this article as an opinion but will share proof and data.

The SEO agencies have different perspectives on the matter and are mostly unaware of the limitations of publishers and how big publishers are doing most reviews.

Google Product Review Update 2022 – Case Studies and Analysis

In the product review update, Google says the reviewer (blogger) should have checked out all the products and tested them before writing a listicle. Practically speaking, I believe it is not doable for smaller and most large websites.

For writing an article like 10 Best smartphones Under Rs 50,000 – you need to buy all 10 phones and then test and review them. The budget and time for writing such an article will be in lakhs, and it will take weeks to test them and write an article.

Google Product Review Update

What will the blogger get out of it?

Maybe if he is lucky, a few 100 bucks. It is not viable to do it. Neither the authors at large tech websites have tested all products. Multiple authors test different products, and the listicle is probably written by someone who has not even tested a single product on the list.

It is unrealistic and absurd to expect blogs to have the resources to test, review and write about each product. They can read user reviews, analyze, summarize, state pros and cons, and test some products. But what Google is asking is not doable.

Impact of Google Product Review Update on Affiliate Websites

We have a medium size website that, in its hey-days, used to get a million visitors per month but now is reduced to just a fraction. It is a decaying skeleton similar to iGyaan.in or phoneradar.com blog that have already died.

After the recent Google Product Review Update, the traffic has gone down by about 80% of what the website was getting. Years of effort into writing high-quality content looks wasted. I am sure there would be many more in the same boat. I checked the Alexa ranking of several small websites, and all seem to have got hit.

The guys who are not hit are commercial websites or large brand names, at least in the tech niche. I have checked 100s of keywords that are now dominated by large websites with worse outdated content.

However, Google somehow thinks that if a website has a high (E-A-T) due to publishing a huge volume of daily content or buying backlinks, that website is worth showing on the top of the results.

I see Flipkart, Amazon, bajaj-Finserv, Cashify, and several other large websites ranking at the top (for similar keywords like best smartphones under 20,000) – these folks have never done a detailed smartphone review in life. Most of the writers are inexperienced, hired for doing the quick work. They don’t have experience or an in-depth understanding of topics. But the brand name is big and is the so-called E-A-T. So these folks are ranking for all queries.

Case Study 1 – Google Product Review Update

Let me share some examples of how Google pushes down smaller websites despite some articles having incredible content.

It took me many days to write an article on “Made in India Smartphones”. The article was written more than 3 years back and has been updated many times. It has more than 200K views. It used to rank on the No.1 position for the keyword “Made in India Smartphones”. The article has received 100s of comments.

After the recent update, Google pushed poorly written articles from Bajajfinserve and Cashify to the top of the result. Both are commercial websites that buy links from all major publications to dominate the search results. I have emails from their SEO team to sell them links, but I never did.

These websites are not even writing content for readers; they sell EMIs and other products to the organic traffic. They don’t care about the end reader or why is he searching this topic.

Buy Online using Bajaj Finserv EMI is the goal of this page

That is still fine if the content was good and better than what I managed to write after spending days on my article.

Let’s have a look at the content. Just read the underlined part of the article – how much is the keyword stuffing in the article. My god, we were back in 2008, I guess. Keyword stuffing is a thing now:)

made in india - bajaj
Made in India article by bajaj

Why Should Cashify be left behind in the race of keyword stuffing – let’s do it, boys, rule the search and make a fool of small publishers and search teams.

made in india cashify
Made in India Cashify

Cashify is a website that has nothing to do with the information but uses the blog to drive traffic for the purchase and sale of used electronics and other products.

The key aim for the Bajaj Finserv website is to sell phones on EMI and are optimized for that. Nevertheless, the content, user experience, and website design are poor. There is no information about the author on the Bajaj website, and the other has a very poor author description. What you can learn from this is Author and who is writing the article doesn’t matter as long as you can buy the links.

Unfortunately, Google doesn’t care who the author is anymore, his profile, or his years of experience. Author profiles were dropped by the search giant. Backlinks and Brand names matter a lot more.

This is just one example. I have several more keywords and examples where the search results have deteriorated. Maybe, the intent of the product review update was not bad, but the results aren’t convincing.

We need to understand whether these websites ranking in serps have Genuine E-A-T, are these made for sharing information, do they care about the reader’s pain. Nope, they are commercial websites to push their own business.

However, Google thinks since they don’t have Amazon/other affiliate links, these are offering valuable information.

Case Study 2 – Google Product Review Update – NewIndiaExpress

Another website that has gained massively after the update is the new https://www.newindianexpress.com/expressdeals/. You can copy the link and visit and check the website. The website has Zero product reviews – literally, they never tested any product.

Another funny thing is there are no author descriptions or images in the articles. They are just writing some text. The website has a poor design and clearly looks spammy. They are writing on products from Glucometer to face creams to laptops, smartwatches, and gaming laptops. There is no niche, no expertise, and no useful articles. Just affiliate articles written by anonymous writers to make money. The domain is also not very old.

Don’t just trust me. Do your own validation.

Best AC in India – This is how it is done
new India Express
New India Express Ranks 1 On Google For very Competitive keywords
new india express all products
New India Express have expertise in all sorts of products

Why the website is Ranking No.1 on Google for a lot of competitive keywords? Because it is part of the NewIndiaexpress domain, a news website, and a large publisher with a zillion links and domain authority. Also, these guys are using a content template that is good for showcasing fake authority. Can actually go and read some articles.

Case Study 3 – Product Review Update

Another website shares the same design and content as the newindianexpress – probably made by the same fellows. Both are fake websites – no original testing and work. A content template is used for all articles with a strong emphasis on showcasing fake testing and reviews. No original images, no author details. Absolute garbage, in my opinion.

Check the content on both the websites – it is also similar – Google is still showing both in the top results:

indulge express
screenshot from Indulge express

Below is the screenshot of the newIndiaexpress – They also use the same content template for all articles with exactly the same words. They are probably using an AI writer to rephrase the wording. Rest all is the same. Very clever work, and it fooled Google for sure!

New India Express – Uses the same template with some changed wording here and there

I am sure the authors who wrote these articles have no expertise in the domain. Nevertheless, these websites now rule the Google serps, and, unfortunately, smaller websites that wrote incredible content are no longer seen.

Individual Pages and Quality – Does it Matter Anymore?

What happened to the Individual Page and its Quality, freshness of content, and user experience? – What happened to the Quality Rater’s Guidelines. Everything is gone for a toss; Google now ignores nearly everything but respects the website’s brand name and fake E-A-T acquired by purchasing backlinks.

This is bad for the searcher as they are also getting crappy outdated results on the top. There are multiple ads at the top of search results by the same big brands or some of the spammy websites that both Google and Amazon fail to remove.

Paid and Sponsored Reviews

I have been in the Indian Tech Industry for the last 8 years, and most brands hate publications that state Cons. Stating Soft Cons are okay, but they despise you when you mention some real negatives. They won’t send products for reviews if you dare to mention the negative. Most of India’s large YouTube Channels and Tech websites do paid reviews. Unfortunately, that is the harsh reality of product reviews. The first-day reviews that most publications and Youtube channels publish are mostly paid by the brands either in cash or in kind.

What is the authenticity of such reviews that Google emphasizes and weighs so much on?

Creating and maintaining listicles is hard work. You can’t write an article like “Best Smartphones under 50,000” and then forget about it. New phones are launched every week/month, and the list needs to be reviewed and updated with relevant content. You need to track the launches in each segment to have a great list. Reviewing and testing products is fine; many tech products are similar. Ideally, if you review some of the phones in the price range, you have a fair idea of what to expect from others. For instance, if I test the phones with the same processor and camera sensor, I am sure about the performance it will offer in another model. If you test the MIUI 13 (Xiaomi OS Skin) in one phone, it stays the same.

The fellow writing a listicle for a big brand has one job – writing listicles. He doesn’t usually test and review products; it is done by another reviewer. How can Google rely on this guy’s judgment who has very limited exposure and knowledge? God knows!

Small publishers can freely state the Cons and negatives; the big paid guys can’t. The algorithm update forces readers to view paid/sponsored content by big brands. If we look at Youtube Tech Videos, it is mostly dominated by paid creators who get the products first from the brands, and genuine creators who buy and review are shutting down channels.

Doorway Affiliate Sites – Are Winning!

I have repeatedly asked Amazon and Google to remove doorway affiliate websites that use Google Ads to outrank genuine bloggers. But they don’t care. I have written several emails and complaints, but they hardly respond or want to take action against thin affiliate websites using Google Ads to drive traffic to Amazon and other affiliates.

Below is an example of a thin doorway affiliate website that buys Ads and makes money using Amazon affiliates.

thin affiliate websites

Life is sad being a blogger, especially in India. Most of them have already died or are struggling to become YouTubers.

Linking to different E-Commerce Websites – Harsh Truth

In the product review update, Google also states that publishers should link to different affiliate websites and give users a choice. In India, just one affiliate network pays some money – Amazon India. I have worked with Snapdeal.com and Flipkart.com in the past.

Snapdeal stopped the affiliate program long back. Paytm also had an affiliate program 6-7 years back, but they shut it. Infibeam had an affiliate program that was closed.

Flipkart continues the affiliate program, but they don’t pay any commission. Here is what GeekyRanjit has to say on the matter. I have checked with several publishers, and Youtubers all have lost money. Flipkart is a big fraud when it comes to affiliate marketing.

Why Should Flipkart get free traffic? Nearly everybody has stopped linking to them for many years.

What can Small Websites and Affiliate Blogs Do?

In fact, after the update, we removed most ads and affiliate links from our website and made the website free for visitors. We are not getting much traffic nor earnings, and as long as Google thinks we are a thin affiliate website, there is no hope of gaining traffic back. Also, I am sure that if things don’t improve in the next 2-3 months, we will have to close shop like several smaller websites. We can’t sustain the expenses for very long. Of course, it is our loss, and 8 years of effort are wasted. Still, the loss will be for the readers looking for detailed and genuine content written by an experienced and genuine writer, not some commercial shit from a conglomerate that has bought 100s of links and ads to get the rankings.

Concluding Thoughts – Product Review Update

The folks at Google probably have no idea about the damage this is doing to genuine content writers and bloggers. It is nothing new; in the last 8 years, I have seen several SEO penalties – Panda, Penguin, and the rant to keep the quality higher. But quality doesn’t matter if you have a big brand name or if you can buy backlinks. The Guidelines and penalties are for small folks who can’t spend dollars.

Google has done many good things in the past, and letting blogs survive would have been another positive. But going by the trend, they are making it very hard. It’s not my job to write about these things. All I want from them is to fix the ranking for my website and other deserving websites for the sake of bloggers and their staff whose livelihood depends on it.

Google is the Gate-Keeper of the internet, and I think it is way better than Facebook (Meta), but some of the things that the company has done are neither in favor of searchers nor smaller businesses. Google doesn’t owe anything to smaller businesses, but they owe it to the searchers and content websites following their guidelines.

The new Product review update is not what we expected, and Google should revert it and focus more on the quality of the individual pages served to the searcher for the keyword rather than blanket push for big media with useless, outdated thin content or fake E-A-T.

Additional Resources and Further Reading:




Amazon and Flipkart Reduce Affiliate Commission on Mobiles to 1% – Hard Time Ahead for Tech YouTubers


Amazon and Flipkart Reduce Affiliate Commission from 2.5% to 1% on Mobiles

Indians are obsessed with smartphones and there are a huge number of Youtube Channels and tech websites that create content around these.

Some of the bigger channels get sponsorship from mobile companies but other small creators are dependent on the affiliate income and Google Adsense revenue.

Amazon and Flipkart Reduces Affiliate Commission
Amazon and Flipkart Reduces Affiliate Commission

Also, we know that when brands sponsor Youtube channels and send review units these come with strings attached. Creators can’t criticize any aspect of the product or state the obvious Cons.

Most independent creators who buy products and review can state these without the fear of backlash from the brand. But these creators depend on the affiliate income that will get severely reduced by the reduction of commissions.

The move by Amazon and Flipkart can cut the income for most creators by more than 50%.

This is going to harm the creators and in turn, they will be least interested to invest money in phones and create unbiased content.

So what we will see more on Youtube will be paid promotional content created by so-called big Youtubers who get money from brands for promoting the products instead of independent unbiased reviews.

There were already several phones that don’t have any commission especially all the phones from Xiaomi, Realme, and iPhones.

Now there is not much to earn for creators since Samsung, Oppo and Vivo phones will also offer just 1% commission instead of 2.5%.

The changes to commission rates are done in February 2021 and it is surely going to make lives harder for many YouTubers and Content creators whose primary source of income is affiliate marketing.

Realme doesn’t sell phones on the Amazon platform and is already a non-starter for many content creators and YouTubers.

We have earlier written a detailed article on the Flipkart Vs Amazon affiliate program and in our findings and feedback from several content creators (Geeky Ranjit, Revatlas, Candytech.in and others) we found that no one is preferring Flipkart.

The major reason for not using the Flipkart Affiliate program is – lack of conversions on the site, (or they are intentionally removing successful conversions), there is no response from the Flipkart affiliate team even after many emails and complaints from creators.

The Flipkart affiliate program is a borderline scam that is pushing traffic to the Flipkart website but is not paying for the traffic fairly to the YouTubers and Bloggers. Also, several YouTubers complained that they have pending payments with Flipkart that the commissions are not paid for months.

The situation was very different for Flipkart before Walmart’s acquisition as they paid fairly and on time. We have worked with them for years. But in the last 3 years, all have gone downhill for affiliate marketers associated with Flipkart.

Moreover, other players like Snapdeal, Infibeam, Paytm have long back closed the affiliate programs and the real option for affiliate marketers is Amazon India.

But recent cuts make smartphones an unattractive category for genuine YouTubers or bloggers.

Back in the days, the commission rate on phones was 4% then it was reduced to 2.5% (a couple of years back) and now to just 1%.

It is going to impact the meager affiliate earnings that content creators are surviving on.

Hard Time Ahead for Content Creators

This is bad for the creators and the ecosystem and as there are no other independent sources to earn money, creators are only left at the mercy of the brands for money and review units, at least in the Tech niche.

Considering the amount of competition in the content creation market where the lion’s share goes to big creators and media houses; being a small honest Independent creator is going to be very hard.

This is even worse for the consumers as the companies will buy their way to promote bad products and most of the Youtubers are not going to state the obvious Cons as the brands don’t allow that.

Having an ecosystem to earn independently gives a lot of freedom to the creators and now the sources are reducing and there is a lot more competition in the market.

It is going to be hard for the creators to refuse the offers from brands.

This is not about chasing big money but it is a matter of survival for most small independent creators.

Also, this is worst for the viewers and readers as most of the content they will consume is paid for by the brands.

Ultimately, people will be more frustrated with their purchases, and we already know how bad the after-sales service and support are from some brands.

Also, due to this monetary dependence, even the honest Youtubers are going to refrain from telling Cons.

Another important fact is that we have so many Tech YouTubers in India and brands have ample choice, even if a couple of them are not covering their products they don’t care.

Besides, if the honest ones who are going to tell the Cons are not covering the products, it is better for the brand and its sale.

With declining views and hardly any sources of monetization – the majority of the tech content you will see on Youtube and big websites is paid promotion by brands. Most brands don’t give a crap about quality of work or fairness.

The mobile market is super competitive thanks to Xiaomi and Realme – there are no margins left and every brand is playing on large volumes.

In such a scenario, they want YouTubers to push the product even more down the throat of people so that the sales charts can climb higher.

This is an ugly but sad truth.

Thanks for Reading the Article – Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, Read:

Should Youtube Ban Giveaways? – The Shortcut Success Mantra On Youtube


I watch many Youtube videos, and there are several creators that I admire. Not because they offer Giveaways, but because they create quality content.

In this article we will discuss the topic – Should Youtube Ban Giveaways? and what is the impact of Giveaways on thumbnail CTR, View Duration, SEO, and how it impacts a Channel growth and other creators.

Good Youtube Videos take effort and time to make. Also, you need to have skills in shooting videos, the right camera, audio, and lighting gear to make your message more appealing.

Should Youtube Ban Giveaways? - The Shortcut Success Mantra On Youtube

Also, you need a studio or space to shoot the videos to make them have the right vibe.

Not to mention, hours of editing before finally uploading the video to Youtube. It takes years for normal and honest creators to reach 500 thousand or a million subs on the platform.

But there are shortcuts to reach there fast. To understand these, we must first understand how the Youtube Algorithm works and how shortcuts like giveaways impact Youtube SEO.

YouTube Algorithm & SEO

Several factors make a video go viral and reach more audiences, and the Algorithm starts promoting the video to peoples’ feeds.

However, the most crucial factors for a video to get higher views are:

Giveaway Impact on Thumbnail CTR (Click Through Rate)

If Youtube showed your video to 100 people in the feed, how many of them clicked on the thumbnail and watched your video. If 5 people click out of 100, your CTR is 5%, and if 10 people click, your CTR is 10%.

Giveaway Impact on Average View Duration

Once someone clicks on the video and starts watching Youtube, measure how long he has watched the video. For example, if your video is 10 minutes long and someone watches it for 6 minutes, then the Average view duration is 6 minutes.

If 1000 people watch that video and the average view duration is high and protect your video to the end, that signals to Youtube Algorithm that it is interesting. The algorithm starts to promote it to people. The Algorithm enables it to people based on the topic of your video and their interests.

So now we understand the two metrics that are very crucial for Youtube success – CTR and the average view duration. Other factors that increase the reach and success of a video are likes and comments.

How do Giveaways Impact the Video Reach and Success?

Let’s get to the point – The Giveaways impact all of these parameters and SEO for YouTube Video. The users click more on videos with Giveaway in the thumbnail or the title.

Further, the view duration and bounce rate decrease as the viewers are enticed to watch the full video to learn about the giveaway and participate in it.

Also, the Youtubers usually ask to like, comment, and subscribe to the Channel, which also sends positive signals to the Youtube Algorithm to promote the video further.

So, by throwing money by doing Giveaways the Channel can gain 1000s of subscribers in a quick time and can also get lakhs of views that otherwise would not have been possible.

This is terrible for small youtube creators who are starting out and creating quality content.

They are already struggling to keep the lights on, whereas the more prominent Youtubers using Giveaways as a means to create an undue advantage can keep crushing these smaller YouTubers.

Since the video gets a lot of views and the thumbnail has a higher CTR, the Youtube search results also feature it at the top, ahead of even better content from other creators.

All of this creates a terrible case for the viewers and other creators while the Youtuber who is throwing money to get an advantage is laughing and exploiting Youtube at its own game.

Several Examples of Giveaway Success Youtube Channels in Tech

Many Indian Tech YouTubers successfully use this giveaway weapon and have amassed millions of subscribers and views.

They mostly tie up with the brands to get an early reviews and giveaway units, and brands are also happy as they get eyeballs on the videos, and the creator only promotes the products and does giveaways.

These Youtubers are not doing actual product reviews, nor they mention that the video is sponsored by the brand. As per Youtube guidelines, if the Video has a paid promotion, the creator must disclose it. Nobody does that.

Poor viewers who think the Youtuber has millions of followers won’t be praising a bad product are trapped in all of this and end up buying bad quality products.

Giveaways Can Destroy Authentic Engagement – Giveaways are Bad for Creators in Long Run

Several Tech Channels on Youtube have very low engagement as the users who subscribed to the channel were not interested in the content but more interested in the Giveaways.

If you are doing fewer Giveaways and more people are following you because of the quality content, then it will help you in the long term.

But if a creator is doing too many giveaways, ultimately, when he stops doing giveaways, the people who came for the gifts will not find your content worthy and will shift to other channels.

Giveaways for rewarding your subscribers are a good thing, but using them as a weapon for growth on Youtube, Instagram, or Twitter may be a shooting in your foot strategy.

Should Youtube Ban Giveaways?

So, these Giveaways are not even suitable for the viewers who are getting low-quality, paid, promotional content from brands. Hiding the truth and real cons about the devices they sell in the market.

So my humble Appeal to readers is to not participate or watch such videos. Infact if you want to see better content on Youtube, you must dislike and unsubscribe from these paid channels.

Also, a humble request to Youtube to either ban this ugly giveaway culture or at least put a limit to this draconian practice and hack that hurts honest and true content creators in India.

Thanks for reading the Article – Should Youtube Ban Giveaways?

Also, Read:

How to Increase Email Open Rates, CTR, Conversions – Email Marketing Guide 2020

How to Improve Tech Youtube Channel Views and SEO: Best Tips

How To Purge or Clear NGINX Cache

Cloudflare May Be Slowing Down Your Website (Case Study)


This article will discuss how Cloudflare may be slowing down your Website instead of speeding up.

Cloudflare May Be Slowing Down Your Website (Case Study)

Advantage of Using Cloudflare

Cloudflare is one of the largest CDN providers globally, and I have been using it since 2013 to speed up my sites.

Apart from speeding up the images, compressing HTML, CSS, and JS, Cloudflare also provides security and HTTPS to your Website.

The free plan has some limitations but is useful for most website owners, but the pro-plan offers many more like additional page rules, Brotli compressions, and serving WEBP images on the Fly.

One of the most significant advantages of using Cloudflare is the ease of setup and running it.

You don’t need to do much, point your nameservers to Cloudflare, and you can install the WordPress free plugin to optimize the setup further.

All was working well for years, and I was delighted with the service and even a few years back, I moved to the PRO plan that is $20 per month.

Cloudflare Slow TTFB (Time To First Byte) Issue

A few months back, I tested my Website using Cloudflare Pro plan using GT Metrix, and Webpagetest.org and both the websites showed that the TTFB is close to 1 second.

I am using one of the lightest themes and hardly any plugins. Additionally, I am using NGINX + Caching to ensure everything is fast using a 20$ Linode server. Linode and Digital Ocean are excellent when it comes to performance, but Linode is slightly better than Digital Ocean.

I contacted Linode and started digging into why the server was taking so long to respond to the first request and causing a delayed response. I initially didn’t think that the issue was at Cloudflare.

We checked the themes, changed them, removed all plugins, and finally, when we were left with no choice, moved the server from one Geolocation to another to ensure a faster speed.

Oddly, we still saw the TTFB was higher. So eventually, we tested the Website by turning off Cloudflare services and found the culprit.

Website TTFB with Cloudflare was 0.7 second and was also varying when we tested it from India. Sometimes it will go as high as 1.5 seconds for TTFB.

GT metric with CF
GT metric with CF
Webpage Test shows a 0.738 second when using cloudflare

The webpage size is less than 700 KB, and even without any Ads or JS was loading slowly.

After Removing Cloudflare, the TTFB was reduced to .3 seconds and overall load times also came down.

So, I realized that I was paying Cloudflare $20 every month to slow down my Website instead of speeding up.

I contacted Cloudflare support using the ticket system, and they did some testing, and they didn’t offer any help to fix the issue and passed on the buck to our hosting and website setup.

But when I persisted, they clearly said for India traffic, and you can try our Business or Enterprise solution for faster speeds.

So they want me to shell out excess of $200 per month to get some speed out of the system.

Response from Cloudflare

This was the response from Cloudflare - In summary they told me to read an article that says that we don't need to worry about the TTFB or if we are worries we need to shell out more 
Hi Kanuj,

Thanks for contacting Cloudflare support. We're sorry to read that you're experiencing difficulties.

Apologies for the delay in our response.

Looking at the recommendation from the GT matrix report -

Leverage browser caching for the following cacheable resources

We can see all the resources that are being flagged are being hosted externally and are therefore not being proxied through Cloudflare.

This result means that Cloudflare can't add the browser cache expiration header to these resources.

One option would be to move these resources to your own domain which would allow Cloudflare to add a cache-control header to those resources. Alternatively, if you have access to the server hosting these resources, you could add a cache-control header there instructing the browser to cache those resources.

The following images are resized in HTML or CSS. Serving scaled images could save 91.3KiB (75% reduction).

You do not have an image resizing option on the Pro plan so you would need to reach out to your website developers to resize images at your origin or upgrade to the Biz plan to use this feature.

Understanding Cloudflare Image Resizing

You can also go through the article: Stop worrying about Time To First Byte

95% of my traffic is from India and Cloudflare is routing traffic from the US location based on the IP we are able to see.

Due to the way routing in the country works some requests are sent to data center locations that are not necessarily the closest geographically. For example, if we do not have a peering relationship with your network provider or if that cache location is under heavier load, we may manually route our self-service plans to other datacenters.

Most of the requests are sent to the physically closest cache location, but some requests are sent to nearby ones that are under a lower capacity. If you would like your zone to always be served by the closest geographic colo and the highest priority of traffic, please consider upgrading to the enterprise plan by filling out an Enterprise Request Form

Apart from TTFB, are you observing any issues with browsing your site or accessing any particular resource? Maybe we can check on that and try to fix it.

Without Cloudflare, using optimized images, with Super Cache, Nginx, Mem Cache, and Autoptimize, we can deliver 2X to 3X the speed that is possible with Cloudflare. Also, I am just paying for the hosting to serve the files to visitors.

TTFB reduced to 0.3 seconds after removing cloudflare
Overall pageload time reduced from 1.7 seconds to 0.6 seconds.

You may not be able to visit the above site that we specifically set up for testing and validating this case study.

I dug the issue a little more and found several tickets and posts on the Cloudflare community forum that also shared similar problems. (You can Google and search for the Issues).

Why the TTFB is Slow When Using Cloudflare?

Many users have concluded that their Indian servers are overloaded due to several people using the Free service.

However, even if you are using the Pro plan ($20/month), you are still treated as a free user, and there is no prioritization of data centers for your traffic. It is a Pro plan on paper, and you are not getting much out of it.

If you want to have a better speed, you can shift to India’s Enterprise plan or some other countries where users see a higher TTFB performance when using Cloudflare.

I liked Cloudflare a lot, and it is easy to work with but considering there is no benefit of using it at the moment for me, I have given up on the service.

Resources and references:




Gutenberg Verdict – Bad for Writers, Good for Developers


Have you ever tried to do Gardening with a kitchen knife,believe me, it is hard.I have been trying to do it for many days.

If you don’t have the right tools to dig, cut, and water, the plants it is tiring job.

Something similar has happened to WordPress.

In this Post we will explore – Is Gutenberg Good or Bad? – Should You Switch to the new WordPress Block Editor? – Pros and Cons for Gutenberg, Comparison with Classic Editor.

WordPress has changed the default classic editor to a new block based system, and it is almost two years since this change was first introduced to the community.

Gutenberg - Bad for Writers, Good for Developers

Still millions of users are not using the feature and asking the developers to switch back to the old classic editor. 

Notably, 5 million+ users have installed the Classic Editor plugin.

There are valid reasons to use the classic editor for a lot of users, and it is tough to make the switch to the new Gutenberg Editor. 

If you read the feedback about whether you should switch to Gutenberg. You will get confused. Some people love it, and others hate it.

I have been using WordPress for the last 6 years and it is the most amazing content creation platform uptill this major change.  

I will tell you why some people like it and others are hating it. In the end, none of them are entirely wrong. 

Let’s consider WordPress developers as a company that make tools.

They launched their new Kitchen tools (Gutenberg), which are excellent, better than what they have ever made in the past. The company is proud of these new tools and want everyone to use them.  

But there is a problem. 

Half their customers work in the kitchen and love the new tools, but the other half are gardeners.

The gardners need gardening tools.

WordPress is telling the Gardners to use the kitchen tools and adapt to them.

The company has worked hard and spent time and money to develop new tools, and thinks everybody should use them. 

No, but they are bad for Gardening. The company doesn’t care. 

Gutenberg is a new kitchen tool from the company (WordPress).  

The people working in the Kitchen are Developers who love these new tools.

Gardeners are writers who want to just write and publish many new articles daily without being bothered about fancy boxes and designs. 

Gutenberg – What’s Good and Why To Use it?

Gutenberg comes with a blocks system that offers a lot more versatility and creative design choices than the classic editor.

The cherry on the cake is that you don’t need to touch any code. 

You can create fancy boxes, images, add colors to backgrounds, embed videos, Gifs, and do alot more stuff that was impossible to accomplish earlier.

It is easy to create pages, even with the ability to import pre-made templates and customize them as per your need. 

Does it make the work of developers creating new websites for the clients easy? I bet it does—no need to waste time writing CSS and optimizing it for different devices. 

Gutenberg is an out of the box for developers, and even for some of the content creators. It is ideal for creating some fancy pages. 

So what’s the problem? Let me tell you.

Gutenberg – The Bad and Why People Hate it?

Gutenberg is a big mess for writers looking to publish many articles every day.

Most writers are not concerned with fancy designs. The focus is to keep readers engaged with useful information and gripping writing.

Here are some of the problems that writers may have with the Gutenberg Blocks system: 

  1. Blocks are a distraction. Break the writing flow, and impact the quality of writing that you want to deliver to your audience.
  2. It is hard to quickly create headings and bullet lists using keyboard shortcuts – it requires too many mouse clicks for everything. 
  3. Blocks are clunky and slow to move, hard to format, and it is difficult to edit content.
  4. Adding new images, hyperlinks, and adding attributes like no-follow takes time. Everything needs more clicks. 
  5. For very long articles having a large number of blocks, the post editor itself starts to hang, and the experience becomes sluggish. 
  6. Several blocks are not compatible with AMP (especially block plugins) that degrades the user experience and is another pain to fix for many users. 
  7. Blocks don’t work smoothly with software like Grammarly that is essential for writers. 
  8. Jumping from one block to another is unintuitive even when you are editing a copy. 
  9. When you want to cut or select paragraphs, the blocks make it cumbersome.
  10. You can’t upload multiple images in a post. It was doable in the classic editor.
  11. Overall, blocks don’t offer a smooth writing and content creation experience. 

Alot of people like me who publish between 4-6 articles a day need a more efficient and fast content publishing system.

I am afraid Gutenberg is not that. People who have are not used to the classic editor can use Gutenberg and live with the slow editing process; as they are not aware of how fast was the classic editor.

But once you are used to the faster content writing and publishing experience of the classic editor, it is tough to switch to the Gutenberg. 

As I said, you can’t do Gardening with kitchen tools. 

Way Forward

WordPress could have made Gutenberg as an add-on and let it live inside the classic editor. Those who wanted fancy blocks can add them, and those who want to write with the faster flow can do that.

It could have been a win-win. I hope the WordPress development team will work based on the feedback from millions of users and improve the experience.

Probably, Johannes Gutenberg himself maynot have liked this over complicated approach to publishing content.

People are moving to minimalism and simplicity to keep a higher focus – Gutenberg is an exact opposite.

Also, Read:


How to Increase Email Open Rates, CTR, Conversions – Email Marketing Guide 2020


I have been doing email marketing for almost 6 years now and have sent 100s of campaigns to readers and potential shoppers.

I have experimented with everything – HTML emails, plain Text, sending times, and different email service providers in the journey.

Here is what I have learned from the experience and what you can do to increase your Email Open Rates, CTR, and Conversions.

Creating Right Email Marketing Strategy for 2020

Email Marketing Guide 2020 – A lot has changed in the email marketing and especially in the last couple of years.

The open rates are down and click through rates are dwindling, so is it worth to spend time and effort on email marketing in 2020.

Email marketing is referred to as one of the best ways to make sure your readers can get back to your publication, and you can remind them that you exist and are writing some kicka$$ content.

However, there is a cost associated with email marketing. It is two-fold: the time you invest in generating leads and getting emails, writing email newsletters, and track the conversions.

The second cost is Email sending to bulk lists is expensive roughly for 2000-5000 subscribers. It may cost upto $49 per month.

Now if we are spending time and money on something we would like to know what is our ROI (Return on Investment). In this article, I have shared my experience and how we can increase the returns.

There is a considerable percentage of users that use Gmail. In my email subscriber list, it is 80% Gmail users.

Now the biggest hurdle in the email marketing for me and others is the creation of Gmail’s promotional Tab.

Xiaomi In India

We are making something amazing and this is the beginning of the end. One of the fastest ways to work is to define your goals and set your targets. Once you have goals and targets it is easy for you to work on the goals and achieve success. A man without goals and targets is of no use.

Gmail and Promotions Tab

One of the most significant issues hurting email campaigns is the Promotions Tab for Gmail. About 80-90% of the users will not even be able to see your newsletter when it lands in the promotional Tab.

I still remember my email open and click-through rates tumbled to less than half when Big G kicked us with the promotional Tab.

Seth Godin, who writes a daily blog with the massive following, was furious at Google for killing the reach of email newsletters for blogs.

He wrote an article with the title, ” Please don’t kill the blogs – an open letter to Google.”

Here is What Seth Goding has to say about the Gmail’s promotional tab.

So what should you do to by-pass the promotional tab conundrum? I have done some research, and this has helped get open, and click-through rates increase.

Email Marketing for Blogging and SEO Niche Works

But there are increasing challenges in email marketing, and let’s talk if it is worth the effort. Firstly, most bloggers (writing about SEO and Blogging) will swear and say that email marketing is the best for your blog.

But there is a problem with that advice. If I have an email newsletter for Profoundblogger and I send some authentic (no sales B.S.) articles, readers will love it.

Also, the people who visit Profoundblogger or similar blogs are into reading, and if they are subscribing to the newsletter, they mean to read future newsletters.

Email Marketing for Tech Websites, Telecom, P.C. Hardware and Gaming, and other Niche?

I have experience with sending the newsletter to tech enthusiasts and especially from India.

The click-through rates and open rates are low, and it is usually not worth the effort to spend too much time on emails for me currently looking only at the stats.

Increasing CTR and Open Rates of Your Emails

Even bloggers like Neil Patel and Brian Dean has resorted to sending plain text emails to avoid the promotions tab. Your Email is dead on arrival if it lands in the Promotions tab.

My Experience With Open, Click-Through Rates, and Benefits of Email Marketing

So, I started building an email list from 2014 for Candytech. My tech blog and with time was able to gather 25,000 email accounts—a significant number.

So here are some of the stats I will like to share from the last 10 campaigns we sent to active users (who have opened an email in the previous 6 months) out of the 25k users.

The Active user base is close to 5000 users, and we removed about 12,000 users who have never opened any emails we sent. There are about 8000 laggard users.

I used a mix of HTML and plain text emails for sending campaigns for 45 days. I sent 10 emails to the 5000 active users. Also, we tried different times of the day and different days in the week.

  • Emails Sent 50,000
  • Emails Opened – 2480 (Open Rate 4.8%)
  • Emails Clicked – 447 (Click Through Rate – 0.9%)

This was not the situation 3 years back, I used to send 10k emails, and at times there were 400 to 500 clicks from a single email.

Plain Text Vs. HTML Email Stats (CTR, Open Rate and Unsubscriptions)

Here are the stats for plain text emails that landed in the Inbox for most users, and the HTML email has landed in the promotional Tab for most of the readers.

Understanding the Results of the Study

Emails Sent – nearly 5000 in each case

HTML Email – 4952 sent, 194 Opened, and 54 Unique Clicks to the Website. 3.92% is the open rate, and 1.09% is the conversion. Only 2 people unsubscribed.

Plain Text Email – 5053 sent, 702 Opened, and 84 Unique Clicks to the Website. 13.92% is the open rate, and 1.66% is the conversion. Astonishingly 27 people unsubscribed from the emails.

What are the learnings Here?

Plain Text emails offer better open rates and more clicks as it lands in the inbox folder rather than the promotional tab of Gmail.

The HTML emails mostly land in the promotional tab and hence are less visible to the readers.

There is an increaser in the number of unsubscriptions for the text email. We did a survey of the people that unsubscribed, and here are the reasons that they gave us:

  • They don’t want too many emails in the primary tab.
  • Found the email inturrpting more important work.

With the text emails you are getting more close to people and they are bound to take an action.

But still, I think if people are unsubscribing it is not a problem as most of these readers are not so much interested in what you have to offer. Or maybe their interests have changed over a period of time.

Either way it is good to not have them saves money of sending emails and you have a better list to offer your services.

HTML emails will get more clicks when they are opened by readers due to attractive images or video embeds.

Best Time To Send Email Campaigns

Email open rates were the lowest on Sunday. Other days were more or less the same. Email Open rates are better in the afternoon and morning than late evening or night.

Tuesday is the best time to day to send the email according to research but I think monday to friday is good.

Open Rates By Hour

I would suggest sending emails at around 11 am or between 2 to 4 pm as most office goers are also seeking some break during this time. In the morning there are usually some priorities and also at the end of the day there are some essential tasks people want to close before going home.

Should You Send HTML or the Plain Text Emails

Plain Text is a better way to make sure your Email goes into the Primary Tab. It increases open rates, but the Click Rates are much lower than the HTML emails.

Overall still my Plain text emails outperformed the HTML emails.

For some businesses like e-commerce, it is still more suitable to send the HTML emails as those emails are entirely promotional and sales. But it will not hurt if they can try plain Text for some of the non-promotional emails. (Brand Awareness Campaigns etc.).

Plain Text Wins in most cases.

Increase the Open Rates by Personalization

The easiest way to personalize your emails is to use the readers name and make sure that you are collecting names and emails when building a list.

Increase Relevancy and Timing of Emails

Be the first to break some of the news. If majority of your readers have already learnt about a topic you are going to see less open and click rates.

I have seen from 100s of my campaigns over the years the highest clicks have come from breaking stories.

Why? Your readers are probably hearing this for the first time. The timing of your email is very important. Same story will not get you even 50% of the clicks if you are late by a day or two.

Try to publish some breaking news or story and send it immediately to your readers. You will see a huge surge in engagement.

Use Headlines that Appeals to Majority of Readers

You may have published 4-5 posts during the week and want to send a newsletter. You must choose the top for headline that is most important for your readers.

Also, you can combine two or more topics to create a headline and subject for the email.

This will straight away give you increase in open and click through rates.

Using the Sender Name in the Subject and Opening lines

This is pretty much self explanatory that using someone’s email will lead to more engagement and increase in the open rates.

Check the Graph below, based on a study there is a significant increase in the CTR when using the name of the person in the email subject line.

Clean Up Your Mailing List

Every quarter, I clean up the mailing list removing those readers that have not opened any of my emails in the last 90 days.

If they haven’t opened so many emails they are not going to open in the future most likely.

You can even send a polite email saying if they are not interested in service they can unsubscribe or can let you know if they wish to continue.

Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

A higher number of your readers may be opening your emails on a mobile device. It is essential to test the deskop as well as mobile version before sending so that it looks good on all devices.

Some Stats Worth Knowing About Email Marketing in 2020

Do a list Segmentation to Send More Relevant Emails

Consider this: Some of my readers are interested in topics like Telecom and broadband and I send them emails related to Gaming. What will happen? They won’t open and worse can be they can unsubscribe.

Relevancy is very important and is really hard to achive. Dividing you long list of subs into sub-segments and sending custom email to each segment can sky-rocket your email conversions.

An ideal strategy is to tag a user when he signs up. You can even use different sign-up forms on different categories on your website so users get added to different lists when the sign-up.

For example instead of having one big list of readers, create listing like Gaming, Telecom, Smartphones, and Computer Hardware. Of course, this approach is for large websites that publish a lot of content for smaller websites it is good to just have one single list.

Email Costs & ROI

So to send emails to 5k subs 3 times a week, I will need the right email solution. If I use a solution like MailChimp or SendinBlue, it will cost $49 per month. It is a considerable cost.

Total Email Sends in a Month – 5000*3*4=60000

Opened Emails – 6000

Clicked Emails – 1020

Cost Per Email Click – .05 dollars or Rs. 3.75

That’s bit expensive if I consider what I am paying to sent the emails. I use a custom solution called Sendy to send emails and the approx cost for me is around $20 per month that helps me to improve the ROI.

Also, consider the time required to create an email campaign that takes about 30 minutes to an hour if I am sending a plain text email.

Typically, I can spend Rs. 300 or $4 on FaceBook ads and get more than 500 readers to the blog, and it takes 30 seconds to promote an article.

So for Rs. 1500 or $20 I can get close to 3000 readers from F.B. to my blog and spend 1/tenth of the time on emails.

But the problem with the FB readers is lower time on page and engagement. Emails are more personal and also create a much strong brand recall.

It is just not about the numbers. The benefit of email marketing is immense and it is more like Youtube where your subscribers know you and relate to you.

I have subscribed to Brian Dean from Backlinko and Neil Patel as both create highly useful content and educate the readers.

Why You should build an Email List and Try email Marketing?

There are a couple of things that can totally give a different picture than what I have shared above.

Your audience is not from India, here we show a pop-up and people enter email address and half of them never check emails. Indian audience is unlike the U.S. or readers from other countries.

ROI in India for emails is poor. Cost of using other solutions such as F.B. ads or even Adwords can give you traffic for even 1/10 of cost and time.

Bulk email providers are offering email solutions based on the pricing in the US and it can be very expensive for many marketers in the developed countries.

Further, the monetization strategy of your blog matters; if you are on Adsense, then it may be a lousy ROI strategy for you, but if you are using affiliate marketing and can sell products to readers, it can make money.

Email marketing creates a loyal base of readers, which is not possible otherwise. Even if it offers higher costs and lower returns, you can still stay in touch with some of the loyal readers.

Email marketing is magical for e-commerce stores and excellent to use it with HTML emails. Bloggers must try the plain text approach to increase open rates and land emails in the primary Tab of Gmail.

Read Next: 


Information and Images Resources





Flipkart Vs Amazon India Affiliate Program – Which is Better?

Amazon Vs Flipkart Affiliate Program
Amazon Vs Flipkart Affiliate Program

Let’s discuss in detail about the Flipkart and Amazon affiliate programs and which is the right fit for your blog. Also, we will explore which program can help you make more money.

I have been using Flipkart and Amazon affiliate programs since 2014, and they have drastically changed over time.

Before 2017, there was a lot of potentials to make money that has reduced in recent years for some of the niches like technology. 

Back then, there were other options such as the Snapdeal affiliate program and even Paytm or Infibeam affiliate programs. All of these are closed now.

Flipkart and Amazon are the two largest affiliate programs available to Indian content creators.

Both the programs are still running, but the commissions are vastly reduced. There are certain categories like Furniture, Books, Grocery where there is still an 8-10% commission.

The major sellers like Electronics, large appliances, and smartphones have seen a decline in commission rates over the years.

How to Join the Programs?

You can visit the links below to Apply for Amazon or Flipkart Affiliate program.

The company will verify your application and check your website before giving approval.

It can take a couple of days to get approved so don’t worry if you don’t get an instant reply. 

Link to Join Amazon Affiliate Program

Link to Join Flipkart Affiliate Program

Due to Covid-19 both the companies have paused the affiliate programs in April and till the 15th of May they have not started the programs. This is causing a huge loss to the website owners who were solely dependent on affiliate marketing.

Also, Flipkart is not signing up new affiliates for some months. We are not sure how serious they are about the program expansion.

Commission structure for Flipkart Affiliate marketing

  • Grocery – 11% for new customers and 3% for existing customers.
  • Books, Sports, and Home and Furniture – Currently Zero Percent, prior to lockdown it was 8 to 10%.
  • Electronic devices – 4%
  • Large Appliances – Flat Rs 1500
  • Air Conditioners – Rs. 3000
  • Mobile Phones – 0% for top-selling (Tecno, Realme, Xiaomi) , Flat Rs. 1000 on iPhone and some other premium phones, and 2% on most of the mobiles.

Commission structure for Amazon India Affiliate Marketing

  • Apparels and Clothes, Shoes – 9%
  • Toys and Baby Products – 9%
  • Books – 8%
  • Health and Beauty Products – 8%
  • Large Appliances – 5%
  • Mobiles – 1%, Some phones at 1% and others at 0%.
  • Kindle, Amazon Devices, and Firestick – 10%

In Feb 2021 – Amazon.in (Amazon India) has reduced the commission on all mobiles from 2.5% to 1% and this is a drastic cut for many YouTubers and Tech Blogs that will be severely affected by this move.

Which Program Offers More Commission – Flipkart Vs Amazon?

As you can see from the above data that the commission structure is different for both the companies and they keep changing it on a month to month basis. 

Different product categories have different commission structures. Flipkart has capped payout on several products by offering a flat fee that limits the earning of affiliates. 

On the other hand, Amazon has no such restrictions.

Amazon has a better commission structure in comparison to Flipkart.

Several top-selling phones and products (TVs) don’t earn any commission. 

Especially for low margin Chinese brands like Realme and Xiaomi there are no commissions on most products. 

Reports and Tracking

Both Flipkart and Amazon offer detailed reports. You will be able to track the number of clicks, products ordered and commissions on a daily basis.

You can optimize your website and content based on what is working for you and market those products more that offer good returns.

The reports are more accurate from Amazon.

At times I find Flipkart showing some invalid clicks and the tracking is incorrect. This may or may not impact the earning but reports are delayed at times.

Another significant issue is the click tracking and conversions. Flipkart is not tracking clicks or sales accurately as per our experience. On one day, the dashboard will show 3 hits, and the next day 30 hits. Also, some of the runs are incorrect, as we have not linked to those products.

Our Experience With Flipkart Affiliate Program

Also, I asked GeekyRanjit who is popular Tech YouTuber and has several years of experience with affiliate marketing. Here is what he said about the Flipkart affiliate program.

Link to Tweet.

For us, the conversions are Zero for many months now, and we have not got any commission from the company since 2019 despite sending traffic.

Also, they have never answered any questions that we have emailed them or sent on Twitter.

Personally, I will say it is not worth spending your time or effort on the Flipkart affiliate program. On the other hand, the Amazon affiliate program is also not blemish-free.

I have observed that the high-value purchase conversions are minuscule on Amazon.in. It is hard to say the reason for this but we get tons of orders for products that are cheap and we have not even linked to but the actual high-value products that we market are seldom shown in affiliate reports.   

This a bit dicey and hard to prove but if you have tons of links and massive traffic to Amazon, you will eventually know what is happening. This may not be the case in other countries.

Experience may be different for other affiliates but we have had several problems with the program after 2018.

Widgets and Banners

 Both Flipkart and Amazon offer banners and widgets that you can embed on your website by just pasting a few lines of codes. 

However, these may not offer higher conversion rates as the banners are not specific and target a broader audience.

Instead, it is better to create your own banners to market the specific products or offers that you think will lead to higher conversions. 

How are payments Done by Flipkart and Amazon to Affiliate Marketers? 

To receive payments, you will have to provide your bank details such as account number, name, and IFSC code to get the payments.

If you don’t have a bank account you can use the account details of a friend or a family member. Also, you can change the account details whenever you wish.

Also, you need to submit the Pancard details, so the taxation is done at the source. 

However, you can file a refund for the tax deducted by Flipkart or Amazon at the time of filing the income tax return. 

The payment is done by these companies every month in the first 10 days.

How Much Can You Earn from Flipkart and Amazon Affiliate Marketing?

Flipkart has put a capping on the maximum commission that you can earn in a month based on your previous earnings and traffic. They can change the limit from time to time and even for some months, they can set it to zero. 

On the other hand, there is no limit to the commission that you can earn from Amazon affiliates. 

You can earn a few 1000s to a couple of lakhs per month from the commission. 

However, it is not easy and you need to have a really high volume website to drive traffic to high payout products to achieve this. 

Are Affiliates making money from Flipkart and Amazon Affiliate Programs?

It is one of the most asked questions on Quora and other forums.

There are blogs and websites that are making money from these channels. However, from my personal experience, the commissions have reduced drastically in the last couple of years. 

My earnings have dropped by 70% in the last few years due to reduced commissions and restrictions on payouts.

The major reason is the growth of Chinese companies that offer no payouts to affiliate marketers and take away a major chunk of sales.

Online buyers are price conscious and deal hunters who flock to brands like Xiaomi and Realme that don’t give any commission to poor bloggers.

The potential for earning is low from affiliate marketing in technology niche currently as there are bigger media houses and companies that drive a lot of traffic to these sites and small bloggers are left out. 

If you are into books, software services or even large appliances chances are there to earn a good amount of money.

Can You Use Both Amazon and Flipkart Affiliate programs on Your Website?

Yes, you can. There is no restriction that you need to stick to just one. In fact, you can use AdSense along with affiliate marketing to augment earning from your blog.  

Is it Easy to Earn Commission from Flipkart or Amazon Affiliate Programs?

The short answer is – No. It will take a lot of effort to create quality content that you can rank in Google.

When visitors use your links to buy products, only then you will earn a commission. 

Also, the conversion rates are very low and only a fraction of visitors (less than 2%) that click your affiliate link will actually buy a product. 

I don’t want to discourage you but it’s not an easy job as it used to be.  

Here are some tips that I have learned over the years that you should try to boost your affiliate earnings from Amazon or Flipkart.

How to improve earnings from Flipkart and Amazon Affiliates?

10 tips that will increase your affiliate earnings significantly: 

  1. Promote high commission products and write detailed articles about these.
  2. Stay away from marginal commission brands – they are not worth it.
  3. Look for opportunities to increase traffic to articles that have high margin products and are less competitive to rank.
  4.  Increase the relevancy of your affiliate links by linking to products that consumers will buy after reading the content. 
  5. Market products that have high volume and higher commissions.
  6. Try to sell products that can give you a large revenue from a single sale rather than focusing on low commission products.
  7. Use the sidebar on your website for marketing top-selling products. 
  8. Reduce Adsense Ads and have 1-2 custom affiliate banners in each article. 
  9. Look for high margin products that are not covered extensively by main media outlets. 
  10. Write about products that will pay you commission – don’t worry about having high or low web traffic. 

Concluding Thoughts: Flipkart and Amazon Affiliate Programs

These are excellent to earn additional income from your blog or website or even your Youtube Channel. 

Since there are no other options as most other affiliate programs are already closed these are a must-try for bloggers. 

Considering that Indian content creators have very limited choices to make money the large companies may be exploiting the situation.

We have seen several orders are removed at a later date that otherwise would have helped creators earn a lot more commission.

There is no transparency about canceled orders and why certain orders were removed from final commisions paid to the creators.

Also, the commissions are now paid on the product value – GST which creates a nearly 20% dent in the earnings. Earlier Amazon and Flipkart used to pay commission on the sale value of the product.

There are affiliate aggregators like Admitad, and Cuelinks, etc. but the conversions are even worse in those cases. 

Showing one offer to all visitors is not going to convert well. The only way for higher conversions is to work on the relevancy of the marketed products. 

So, this article may be an eye-opener for some readers who are otherwise told that affiliate marketing is easy money. No, it’s not. 

Keep Working! Stay Positive and Create Awesome Content!

Share your thoughts, experience, or queries in the comments below. 

Also, Read:

10 Rookie Writing Mistakes To Avoid To Become a Better Writer

Desktop Adsense Ads – Best Sizes, Placement Strategies, Optimization Tips for Higher Revenue

Hit By A Google Penalty What To Do Next (My Experience)

Learn How to Do Email Marketing the Right Way – Comprehensive Guide

Should YouTube Ban Giveaways? The Not-So-Secret Success Mantra.

10 Rookie Writing Mistakes To Avoid To Become a Better Writer

Writing Mistakes To Avoid To Become a Better Writer
Writing Mistakes To Avoid To Become a Better Writer

When I started writing blog posts in 2014, I had no idea what was good or bad writing. Later in 2018, I realized that my writing was not up to the mark, and required improvement.

Every day, I read articles on NewYork times, Medium, and other publications. Also, two books that really helped were – On Writing By Stephen King and the Elements of Style by William Strunk.

I am still learning and consider myself a beginner. English is neither my primary language, nor I ever emphasized learning it throughout my life.

But being a blogger is of no use if you can’t write comprehensible content. I love the works of Ernst Hemingway and how he clearly puts his thoughts across. There is no need for complicated words or jargons to make your writing stand-out. It needs to have simplicity and clarity.

I am not a master at writing, but here are some of the things that I have learned that vastly improved my writing.

You can learn these, write them down, and implement them in your work to get better at writing.

Read as you write

After writing a sentence, it is important to read it once. It will help you quickly iron out any minor mistakes, spelling errors, or sentence formation issues.

I usually do this if I know I am not going to spend much time editing it later. This works well when I am pressed for time or want to publish quickly.

Editing is Golden

What separates good writers from bad ones?


Undoubtedly, Editing is golden.

If you are not editing your first draft; you’re not doing justice to your work. First drafts are invariably garbage and always need some editing.

Try editing your work, and you will see how much better is your edited work in comparison to the first draft.

Re-arrange Your Sentences & Paragraphs

At times, your next line or paragraph may not have a logical connection to the previous. It breaks the reader’s flow and digresses from the topic discussed in previous lines.

Although, this new piece is relevant to your article, however, it doesn’t make any sense in that context or paragraph. You must move it where there is a logical connection or create a separate section.

Your Spellings Can Break it

There is nothing more egregious than having spelling mistakes. There are no excuses for them. Use spell check on Microsoft Word, Google docs, or Apple Pages. There are a zillion free apps that will help you fix spellings.

Improve Your Grammar Instantly

Grammarly is a free/paid tool that is essential for all beginner and intermediate writers. It helps you spot passive voice, spelling errors, missing commas, semicolons, and a lot more.

Moreover, Grammarly is the only paid tool that I have been using for the last 3 years. It is a bit expensive but worth every penny.

Make Shorter Sentences

Shorter sentences are easy to devour. Even try to make one-word sentences. Not all your sentences should be short, use a mix of long and short sentences to make your writing easy to read, and have a natural flow.

The Flesch reading score implemented in the Yoast SEO Plugin in WordPress is superb. It will help you to do this easily.

Write About One Idea at a time

It was early morning, John got up and went to the beach, bought an ice-cream and started eating it, meanwhile he was reading the newspaper and was looking at the beautiful girls walking on the beach.

Hard to Read. Right!

Try to convey one or two ideas in one sentence. Break the sentences. Use full stop wherever you can use it effectively.

Remove the Fluff from Writing

I got the below submission from a newbie writer. It is fluffier than an unsheared sheep. The reader will get frustrated and leave it as it is hard to find substance in such writing.

Example of Bad Writing With a lot of Fluff (unnecessary details).

The article is about Vivo V19 and should have elaborated on the features and specs of the new phone. Instead, it digresses from the topic and jumps to Covid-19 and many other things that are not relevant.

Another grisly error is to describe all of the important specs in just one long sentence, without offering any details.

Remove the unnecessary thoughts, sentences, and paragraphs that don’t help the reader. It will make your writing more potent.

Use Heading and Subheadings

Reading a long piece of content can be exhausting to many readers. Heading and Subheadings are natural breaks and pointers that you must include for your readers.

Even in Books and Novels, you will see chapter names and heading and sub-heading to improve the flow and reading experience.

Also, if you are writing on the Web, you may need to do it for search engines like Google. Why? When you have heading and subheadings, Google can easily understand the topic.

Create a Flow

Writing with flow is “Nirvana”. The holy grail of writing.

Read the below sentence:

“He opened the letter, read it, and made a note of its contents.

It is easy to read. But look at how beautifully three different ideas are woven together.

Writing with flow makes reading effortless.

It needs practice, learning from profound writers, editing your work, and putting more effort.

There are no shortcuts to this enlightened state. It will take time, but you and I will reach there one day.

Don’t Use An Extra Word

As it is crucial to reduce the fluff from your articles, it is essential to minimize words from sentences.

One of the indispensable lessons taught to editors is to cut out the extra. If your sentences have wordiness, you need to cut them ruthlessly.

Try to make sentences that are on point and straightforward. Unnecessary words and sentences make your writing weak.

One quick tip is to avoid passive voice and write in active voice to use lesser words.

So, that’s all from my side, share your thoughts in the comments below. If you liked the article, please give a shoutout by sharing it.

Also, you can refer to this Memo sent by David Ogilvy to his team. David was the founder of Ogilvy and Mathers and commonly referred as the father of Advertising.

How to Write by David Ogilvy
How to Write by David Ogilvy

Below is the text version if you wish to copy and store it somewhere for re-reading.

# How To Write by David Ogilvy

A memo drafted by David Ogilvy for the management to circulate as they saw fit:
September 7, 1982

The better you write, the higher you will go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
(1) Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing.* Read it three times.
(2) Write the way you talk. Naturally. 

(3) Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs
(4) Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification,
attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass. 

(5) Never write more than two pages on any subject.
(6) Check your quotations.
(7) Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning-and then edit it.
(8) If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it. (9) Before you send your letter or memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
(10) If you want ACTION, don't write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
"Writing That Works, Harper & Row, 1981

Also, Read:

Finding the Right Topic and Domain Name For Your Blog

Master These 10 Skills To Create An Incredibly Successful Blog

Should Blogs focus on Social Media for Traffic and SEO?

Learn How to Do Email Marketing the Right Way – Comprehensive Guide

Digital Ocean Vs Linode for WordPress – Speed, Reliability, Features, Price, Comparison


I have been using both – Digital Ocean and Linode for different websites for the past 5 years. Once you have an experience of services/products for many years, you know exactly where they excel and have shortcomings.

In this post, I will share with you my experience of Digital Ocean and Linode for running WordPress Website and how they are in terms of Speed, Reliability, Features, Price, etc.


The website you are reading this article is using a $5 digital ocean droplet (server) and my other website Candytech.in uses Linode.

Both Digital Ocean and Linode offer the same solution – unmanaged server and hosting. You can deploy your own cloud server for as little as $5/month to run the application like WordPress, Joomla, Ghost, or several other services.

Both offer 1-Click install of some of the Apps like WordPress or a LAMP or LEMP stack. Let’s talk more from the WordPress perspective and see what both solution providers have to offer.

But first let me tell you about the hosting issues and why I choose these two providers.

The Big Hosting Problem

If you have ever hosted your WordPress sites with companies like Hostgator, BlueHost, Hostinger, or others you know that the support suck at time and the renewal pricing is unfair. They will offer cheap prices when you sign up and later at renewal will ask for 2X or 3X the original price. Not fair and shady.

The second type of hosting provider are looting point-blank; like Kinsta or the WP Engine. They charge an insane amount of money. They are charging 10X more than services like Linode or Digital Ocean in the name of managed hosting.

Linode and Digital Ocean offer rock-solid hosting, great performance, and reliability that’s hard to find at a fraction of price than other hosting companies. Once you have hosted the websites with these providers there is no way you are going back to the others.


The pricing for Linode and Digital Ocean is fair and lowest in the industry and has been the same for the last many years.

No price increase, in fact, they made it cheaper a few years back. You pay for the exact duration of the service. So If you are using a $10 server for 20 days you are billed for 20 days. No misleading pricing and discount schemes. No, upsell of services, no downtime on lower price servers to push clients up the pricing chain.

Both the companies are fair when it comes to pricing and you can upscale or downsize your server based on your traffic or requirement.

Linode Pricing (ScreenShot)

Pricing for the Smallest Server on Linode – $5
pricing linode 2
Price for Servers on Linode

Digtial Ocean Pricing (Screenshot)

You can use a $5 server or $10 server to run a WordPress Website with blazing fast speed. The higher instances are good if you have a good traffic.

pricing DO
Digital Ocean Server Price Starts at $5

A $20 server can easily serve 100 concurrent visitors and nearly 500,000 or more visitors per month without breaking a sweat. These are conservative numbers, I think we can push it, even more, depending on the install and plugin themes you are running on the website.

MarketPlace and Ready To Use Apps

Both the services offer an excellent choice of 1-Click Apps like WordPress, LAMP Stack, LEMP Stack, and some of the free and paid server web panels like Cpanel or Plesk.

Installing WordPress With Apache and PHP is a matter of 1-click only. But installing NGINX and WordPress may take a bit of coding knowledge.

There is no 1-Click App that can do NGINX+PHP+Wordpress installation on either DO or Linode, something I would love to have on both the servers.

Digital Ocean has more options, you can install the Litespeed server with WordPress using the 1-click app and you are good to go.

Also, Digital Ocean has a vast library of 1-Click Apps that you can use (other than WordPress).

Market Place DO (Read to use 1-Click Apps)

Market Place DO
Market Place DO
Market Place DO2

Market – Place – Linode

marketplace linode

Installing multiple WordPress Websites a bit tedious and there is no straight forward way to do so. It is doable but using the command line or editing some files on the server.

The alternative is to use a service (hosting panel similar to the CPanel) like RunCloud or Serverpilot to run multiple instances of WordPress without touching a line of code.

Another advantage of running these panels is automatic updates to server software, security, and PHP when needed.

If you are running 1-2 websites it is easy to just create a separate App for each and have different servers for these.

Performance and Speed Testing

To test the speed of Linode and Digital Ocean – I created 1 server each using the $20 plan. To keep the setup same, I installed the 1 Click Apache+PHP 7.4 app on both the servers.

I added the Newspaper theme (it is a bit heavy but good for testing), to both the servers. Further, installed the WP-Cache and Autoptimize before starting the tests.

I repeated some of the tests on both the servers so that we don’t have any unusual results.

Back-end performance when using WordPress on both the servers is super fast and there were no issues in updating posts or adding images etc. The backend itself was snappy and easy to navigate.

Speed Test Comparison Digital Ocean and WordPress

Google Page Speed Insights

Digital Ocean

Do Mobile Google Page Speed
Do Mobile Google Page Speed
Do Desktop Google PageSpeed
Do Desktop Google PageSpeed

Google Page Speed – Linode

Linode desktop Google Page Speed
Linode desktop Google Page Speed
Linode mobile Google Page Speed
Linode mobile Google Page Speed

The Desktop Page Speed is same for both, Linode has a slight advantage on the mobile as you can see from above screenshots.

Pingdom Tools

DO Pingdom SpeedTest
Linode pingdom PageSpeed Test
Linode pingdom PageSpeed Test


Linode GT metrix
Linode GT metrix
Do gtmetrix
Do gtmetrix

Clearly You can see the GT Metrix Score for the Linode Droplet is better compared to the DO.


Linode webpage
Linode webpagetest.org score
Do webpage
Do webpagetest.org score

The Score for Linode is still slightly faster when tested using the Webpagetest.org. Even the TTFB is faster for Linode slightly.

As you can see from the results the performance is close for both the servers. We hosted both the servers in India and tested also from India or a closer destination.

One little thing to observe is the TTFB and full page load, it is a fraction of a second faster on the Linode instance Vs the digital Ocean. In a production environment with several plugins and Ads running on the website, it will be hard to find a speed difference. But if you care about that tiny fraction, then Linode has a bit of raw performance advantage.


Both the services are highly reliable and you will rarely see any downtime. I have observed some slowness or connectivity issues for both the services but nothing alarming. The slowness or connectivity issues crop up say once in 3 months and also resolve on the same day or next day, mostly without raising tickets.

Service and Support

There is little to no service for both the providers. The team at Linode is more responsive and helpful in comparison to digital ocean. The tickets are answered fast and they try to offer guidance staying within limits of an unmanaged hosting provider. They won’t troubleshoot anything for you but will share articles or pointers to look at when you are looking for some guidance.

You are mostly on your own, when it comes to working on an unmanaged hosting provider.

A lot of people are afraid that their website will go down and they will not be able to troubleshoot. I have not experienced any such issues hosting at Linode or Digital Ocean due to the server. Most of the time the issue is with a plugin or theme or the server or Nginx needing a restart.

Some of the downtimes are attributed to the connectivity issues at Linode or Digital Ocean for which I raised the tickets and the matter was sorted quickly.

Overall the experience is positive and much better than most hosting providers where servers are down every other day.

For months, I don’t even check the servers or have a need to monitor what is happening.

It just works.

There are Several Pros when Using a Service like Linode or Digital Ocean

  • Fast hosting – You can create the fastest loading WP sites.
  • Highly affordable – no hidden charges.
  • Highly Reliable – Very low downtimes
  • Excellent Hardware and Performance
  • Fair Pricing – no renewal shocks

Cons of Having Unmanaged Service

  • Managing everything can be overwhelming
  • You need some technical skills to manage it.
  • Troubleshooting issues can waste a lot of time.
  • The learning curve is a bit steep for non-technical personal.
  • Updates like the PHP version is difficult to do.
  • Running multiple sites can be a pain without a web server panel.

So Which is better?

Both are incredibly good, Digital Ocean offers some extra Apps that you can use. On the other hand, Linode has a tiny bit better performance, and the support is slightly better.

Frankly, I am using both and you can’t go wrong picking one over the other. Both are reliable and blazing fast, take the leap and get your next hosting at these affordable providers.

Thanks for Reading, Share your Queries in Comments Below.

Why You Don’t Need Expensive Tools Like Ahref, Semrush, KWFinder, Moz


I know this post is going to offend many bigshots …. Oh Yeah…. That’s the aim.

Most of the bloggers will tell you that in order to succeed at blogging you need to do keyword research and for that, you need paid tools like Ahref, Semrush, KWFinder, or Moz.

But I am telling you that you don’t need any of these paid tools to succeed at blogging.

Why Should You believe in What I am telling You?

Because I built Candytech.in without any of these tools and managed to reach more than 1 million page views per month without ever paying for any of these tools.

So Why are other Bloggers telling you to spend money on these tools?

The major reason every top blogger promotes these tools is boatloads of affiliate money they get from selling these on blogs. Even I promote these to my readers but these are not the right fit for everyone.

What other bloggers won’t tell you is who should actually buy these tools? Will these tools be effective if you a beginner or still not at the top of the game?

Can these tools tell you about future keywords that you should target as the competition is low?

They don’t. The ill advice is to buy these tools if you want to be successful at blogging. Many users buy and spend money and then they don’t get successful. I will tell you why that happens in a moment.

Is Ahref, Semrush or Moz Uselss or Overpriced?

The answer is No. These tools are good and even can help in improving your web traffic. Moreover, can help you monitor keyword positions and steal your competition keywords.

The pricing is steep $99 per month for Semrush or Ahref. The key question to ask before deciding to go for these tools is – Can you earn those $99 per month extra from your blog if you invest your hard-earned money?

If you can justify that $99 purchase, may be these are right for you. For most bloggers who are starting or even have been blogging for couple of years it is hard to justify the yearly investment of $1200.

There are other essential expenses like writer salaries, hosting, CDN, development costs, plugins, themes, etc without which you can’t even run a blog.

Also, with revenue dipping across the board due to COVID-19 is it prudent to get an expensive service that probably you won’t be able to fully utilize.

Let’s deep dive on what purpose these tools serve and what actionables we can act on.

Why Do You Need These tools?

For multiple reasons – to monitor backlinks, to disavow the bad backlinks, for keyword rank monitoring, keyword PPC and volume checking, competition tracking and some more tasks.

I have used Semrush Pro, Ahref, and a couple of other tools and have later stopped the service. There is a lot of data that you can analyze and we get a concise view of the information using these tools. It is excellent if you want to save time in finding the information.

Are You Using the free tools?

But for most bloggers, I don’t think so they are even using the free available tools.

The best free keyword research tools are

  • Google Trends
  • Google Search recommendations
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Webmasters Console
  • Google Analytics

Let me explain it a bit.

Google Trends can give you information about keywords that are starting to rank and new keywords that you can target.

You can use the Google Search bottom of the page keywords to know the related keywords to use in your articles.

For monitoring your keyword ranking the Google Webmaster Search Console is an excellent free tool.

Also, deep dive into Google Analytics to see on which posts you are getting users and what are the most profitable keywords and pages that you have.

(Check the Google Publisher reports in GA and see the posts that get you most revenue and optimize these posts further).

For On-Page SEO use free tools like Yoast SEO and even Grammarly to make your text more user friendly and easy to rank.

So after spending all this time on these tools do you still have time … hmmm, I don’t. There are other more pressing issues like content publishing, bulk emails, and social media marketing, Youtube Videos, website development, and Ad optimization that keep me occupied mostly.

Do You Have time to check additional data daily, monitor it and start acting on it?

If you are a blogger with even 1-2 writers team, you still have a lot on your plate. Aforemention daily tasks of adding new content, reviewing and editing team members content and posting on social, email marketing and web development etc is going to keep you busy for the most part.

Also, you need to monitor latest happeings in you niche, follow trends and quickly write about these to ensure better search visibility.

Even if you still find time to dig deep into the keywords analysis by ahref what are the actionables that you will actually implement on your website. You can monitor all the backlinks you want but how is that helping. For most people you don’t need to disavow links even if you do it once a quarter, just use the Webmaster console and excel to sort the links and upload the disavow file.

(Learn More Here – How to Get Rid of a Google SEO Penalty).

Why You Shouldn’t Invest Money in Such Tools?

The main issue that I find with the approach of paying 1200$ for getting the data from these tools is the actionables that we can get out of it.

Even if I get all the actionables, I am in a position to implement those and then monitor if I have been able to improve the rankings.

Second big issues is these tools work on the historic data and historic volumes of the keywords.

Most big publications and bloggers have access to that data and the keywords are already competitive at the time a small guy like me find them and write content on it.

What if I want the future keywords and trends that I can catch early on and blog about. You know that Google values content written first on any topic and will rank it higher even if your blog is not having a high authority or backlink profile.

You can find trends from Google Trends and if you can even predicts some keywords on your own that you think people will search down the line. I have done this and have seen massive traffic growth.

Say if you wrote a detailed post on Covid-19 very early it could have exploded and given you immense returns. But if you wait for the keyword checker tools to tell you about volume for a month and then blog about it, you won’t even rank anywhere.

To Sum Up, the three major issues:

  • Do You Have the time and bandwidth to use these tools?
  • Can you make $99 per month extra when using these tools?
  • You can’t get future keywords from looking at historic data?
  • What are the actionables that you will get and do you have time to act on these?

If your answer is no for most of the above questions, you don’t need to get these tools yet.

Why Should You Invest Money In These Tools?

If you have time and bandwidth and you are already making good money from your website, you can buy these tools. Also, if you have an SEO specialist for your website and have a high volume website, it makes sense to invest in the tools. Undoubtedly, you can fine-tune your SEO strategy and get precise information for better content writing.

But on the other hand if you are struggling to produce high quality content regularly, you first need to fix the basics before venturing to buy these tools.

So What Do you think about Purchasing these tools, Share with me in the comments below.