After much thought and deliberation, we decided to start blogging and our travel blog was born six months ago. It has been such a huge learning curve, which is why we have decided to put this post together. We hope that by highlighting 4 things we have learnt in our first 6 months of blogging, it may help someone else who is just starting out or help them take their first steps.
1. Building a blogging website is achievable
There is so much information out there regarding building your website that we found it really confusing. Our backgrounds of nursing and car sales had not equipped us with the skills needed, however, in the end we decided just to go for it. We initially made lots of mistakes but with the help of our friend Tom Shearman of Andean Trails and GoDaddy we swapped over to WordPress which we have found user-friendly and haven’t looked back. The staff on the online chats support service have been very patient!
We still have so much to learn but some things are making sense. Search engine optimisation (SEO) blew our minds, we are still trying to get our heads round this one but WordPress has an easy traffic light system and for blogging virgins like us has been a godsend. Find what works for you, and go for it, there is a lot of support out there.
2. The importance of social media
Social media is key to driving traffic to your website. Investing time is consuming so don’t spread yourself too thinly, find the platforms you enjoy and focus on them.
We use the following –
We had been on Facebook for years with a personal account, but at the same time as we started the website we started our page Paul and Carole Love to Travel. This has proved really useful in networking with other travel bloggers and sharing content.
We had little knowledge of Twitter, it has taken a while for us to understand but is now our favourite platform for interacting with others. We still have a lot to learn though, currently trying to get our heads around Twitter chats but will get there in the end! We remember being so excited in initially reaching 200 followers and now can’t believe that we are now heading towards 2000! The support of fellow travel bloggers has been much appreciated and CActually merits a special mention!
Pinterest has been a real surprise. It is so easy to spend hours pinning your boards, and is a great source of information. It has proved to be an excellent platform for sharing content and driving traffic to our website.
We do love the visual impact of Instagram and how easy it is to showcase your photography. It doesn’t drive a lot of traffic to our website but has been great for networking with others.
Engaging in social media has proved to be the way that the majority of traffic has been directed to our site. Initially most of our traffic was coming from Facebook, followed by Twitter, then Pinterest. Now this has been reversed and we are seeing most of our traffic via Pinterest.
Keeping up to date and posting regularly engulfs a lot of time, we now use Buffer which has considerably helped with the stress of worrying about posting regularly.
3. Learn from the best!
Initially we were nervous about interacting with other travel bloggers, particularly the big influencers, however, we soon learnt that the world of travel blogging is mostly a very friendly place. This has been most rewarding, and a great source of information and advice.
The following have been both helpful and inspirational and merit a mention –
Marc Guberti Marc has only just turned 18 but is a real smart cookie. He has been instrumental in our understanding and using social media effectively.
Where is Tara? Tara is a travel blogger from Ireland, who writes in a witty and honest way and isn’t scared of getting out of her comfort zone. This combination makes for great reading and inspiration.
Goats on the Road Nick & Dariece are a Canadian couple who have turned their travels into a lifestyle. They are a real inspiration and we think have one of the best travel websites out there. We can relate to their love of house sitting and really enjoy their Goat Life TV channel.
Expert Vagabond Matthew Karsten has been travelling the world for the last 4 years and has recently given us one of the best pieces of advice – ‘Treat your blog as a useful and entertaining magazine, not a journal. If you write about a cool trip make sure to indicate tips and advice that will help someone else out. See what else is out there on the topic and make your article even better’. We will strive to do this is the future.
Two Drifters Amy and Nathan are a couple who encourage others to travel further and love better. We enjoy their website layout, honesty and love for each other. They were the first travel bloggers to contact us and we were thrilled that they had invited us to collaborate on a post they were putting together on Love and Travel.
Nomadic Boys Stefan and Sebastien describe themselves as two greedy boys exploring the world. They love travelling and eating, their website is informative, really amusing and they always make us smile.
4. Blogging takes time
Travel blogging takes time, a lot of time. Working full-time and blogging can become overwhelming and at first we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to stick to a schedule. This has now been thrown out the window. There are lots of advice out there stating doing 2-3 posts per week, this just isn’t realistic for us. We post when we can and have something useful to share. There is no right or wrong way, it is not an exact science, just do what makes you happy.
After a very shaky start, we are slowly finding our way and are really proud of our achievements so far. We know we have a long way to go, have enjoying the journey so far, and are excited about the future.
If you’re thinking of starting a blog, go on take a leap of faith, I know we are glad we did!
If you have any other helpful information, tips or advice we would love to hear them in the comments below.
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