I've been running a website called Naadan Chords for 2+ years now. I chose the niche of providing Guitar chords and tabs of Malayalam songs - since there was no such dedicated website at the time. I didn't expect many people to visit the site since I had targeted only a few people - something which I greatly underestimated!
From the humble beginnings as a Blogger blog at http://naadanchords.blogspot.com to an independent, mobile friendly WordPress self-hosted, self-built website at http://www.naadanchords.com, it has been an exciting journey.
When I was learning to play Guitar back in 2012, I was immediately drawn to Chords. Even though I used to go for classes where I was taught notes, notations etc, I felt like chords were the basic structure to any song. And so using YouTube and other sites, I quickly picked up the basics. By figuring out the chords and playing them, I could recreate popular songs without much effort.
I don't think I have the discipline even now to sit and learn the musical notations, different scales and the right way of holding notes and frets. I do it all in my own way and I prefer that.. :D
I quickly found out that there was no good place in the internet to get the Chords of Malayalam songs. And so I thought of starting a blog myself and post whatever I know over there so that I myself can refer to them at a later stage. Mel Mel from Ustad hotel was the first song I posted. The catchy arpeggio and chord progression immediately caught my attention.
I was looking for a name for the blog and that's when my College classmate Keval D Doshi suggested "Naadan Chords". It was just too damn perfect.. he had nailed the name! Keval, if you are reading this, thanks for the name man :D
This is what Naadan Chords looked like in Blogger - where it all began:
The trademark font Chewy used in the logo was something I got from Blogger - by editing one of the basic templates. I am still using this same logo :)
This is my first post in Facebook after I launched the blog on July 26, 2012.
After publishing a few posts, I was overwhelmed by the traffic coming in. The month of October 2013 - just a few month after launch, saw nearly 15,000 hits.
November 18, 2012 is when I took the next big step - create a Facebook page. Facebook is still a good source of traffic and lets people know when I post new songs. Now it has 1500+ likes! I can happily say that I have a good music loving community - that's what Naadan Chords has grown into.
I didn't know it at the time of creation of the page, but the page is what helped me get a good community of Malayalee people who love to play the Guitar. When I share something related to Music or Guitar, I know that they can also relate to it and enjoy the post as much as I did.
Soon, I started sharing my views on Guitar teaching and it gave me the opportunity to know that a lot of other people too shared my views. My post that Guitar music teaching should start with Chords as opposed to notes is one of the most popular posts I've shared in the page.
June 15, 2014 marked the milestone of 1000 likes for the Facebook page of Naadan Chords. Post shared in Facebook page after hitting 1000+ likes -
Moving out of Blogger
Naadan Chords was doing well and it was receiving a lot of organic traffic from Google. I thought that this has to do with the fact that it was hosted with blogger - a product from Google. Due to this fact, I was afraid of moving away from Blogger. I was afraid of losing all the traffic I was receiving.
I knew that Naadan Chords was big and it had to move out of the constrains of Blogger to a better, more customizable WordPress. Eventually, I got over my fear and decided to make the move out of Blogger.
I wanted a much more cleaner design. The Blogger template was too flashy - the background distracted, and there were just too many rounded corners. The new design sported a flatter design and a responsive approach - it had to look good across all devices. Statistics had shown that the site was being accessed increasingly from mobile devices.
On February 9, 2014 a whole new Naadan Chords was rolled out.
The main technical challenge that I faced during the move was the change in URLs. WordPress would give me cleaner URLs for the posts, but this meant that all existing links - indexed by Google and links I had posted in YouTube etc. would be broken!
The WordPress plugin - Permalink Finder created by Keith P. Graham saved my life. This is the description given for the plugin - "If you have restructured or moved your blog, this plugin will find the right post or page every time." Perfect!
If it wasn't for this plugin, I probably would never had made the move. I am forever grateful to Keith for his awesome plugin. It actually scans the URL for keywords and redirects to the right post - it worked like magic. This meant that no existing links would be broken! I was overjoyed. If you want the numbers, the plugin has succesfully taken about 18,000 hits to the right post till now.
One important fact that I learnt from Naadan Chords is that Malayalees are everywhere in this world! Haha.. check this Location heat map -
Per day, Naadan Chords consistently gets 1000+ hits! The spikes you see in the graph below are during Weekends.
What keeps me going
Naadan chords does not make me money. In fact, it costs me money to host and a lot of effort to maintain and add new posts. So why do I do it? The above statistics shows that there is an important place for Naadan Chords among the Guitar community of Kerala. Apart from the numbers and traffic, there is something else that keeps me going. These pictures should tell a 1000 words:
There are many many more messages and emails, and I've just touched the tip here. If I haven't replied to any of your email or message, I would like to apologize for the same.. I try my maximum to get back to everyone, but sometimes I just miss out due to lack of time. Oh, and don't worry, I just replied to Cyril Saju.. :D
These are just some of the positive feedback I got. Waking up one fine morning to find out that you helped someone whom you haven't even met - to perform on stage for a function, or just to play a song they really wanted to play - that feeling is more than enough for me to keep Naadan Chords alive :)