Happy birthday, Blond Wayfarer!
Yup! Time flies! My amazing blog is officially two years old! How the heck did I ever stick with something for this long? I still don’t know how I did it. Most of my projects … Ehh, never mind. Let’s stay positive.
To be honest, I completely forgot about my “blogiversary.” This morning I walked along the beach, appreciating the Jersey Shore’s wild sandy beauty, and suddenly the date hit me like a rouge wave. Then my work ethic kicked in. I wasn’t planning on posting today. I have an editorial calendar, but screw schedules! Blogiaversaries need to be celebrated!
Anyway, if you’ve been reading about my “oh-so remarkable” life for awhile, then you already know last year I wrote a post about lessons I learned in my first year of travel blogging. Why not continue the tradition? Hopefully my observations and mistakes help you if you want to start your own website.
Over all, my second year of travel blogging has been intense, overwhelming, epic, fun, and inspiring. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions! But I feel like I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago. Small victories!
1. Sometimes taking a hiatus is okay.
After I moved to north Jersey, I took a three month hiatus from travel blogging, and it turned out to be a great decision. I was burnt out. I was obsessed with affiliate links and comissions instead of writing strong posts to resonate with readers (sorry). I hated logging into my blog. I had a new job and apartment and social life that required my limited attention. So I stopped posting.
My blog saved me from falling into a dark and bad place. So it shouldn’t transform into a boring chore. Ever.
If you feel wiped out, then take a break and don’t feel the least bit bad about it. Your readers will understand. It’s better that you want to share stories than write sheer crap to meet self-imposed deadlines.
2. Pinterest and SEO are very important.
Okay, you should really blog for love and not glory, but we all care about traffic, let’s not kid ourselves. My own traffic has been (very slowly) improving this year. I credit both Pinterest and SEO for these gains.
For Pinterest, I try to incorporate three pins per post to maximize my reach. Treating Pinterest like a search engine rather than a social media site has also improved my blog’s traffic. Keywords, relevant group boards, and clear vertical images are important to leverage Pinterest’s power.
This year I’ve also been getting reasonable traffic off Google and other search engines, too. I had ignored SEO for far, far, far too long. Now I care about link building more than Twitter. Why? The traffic is far more consistent. Try to rank for a couple keywords and see what happens. Moz is a great resource for all things SEO-related.
3. Your blog is more important than social media.
Maybe this next lesson is a little controversial, but I’ll say it anyway. Now I’m not suggesting new and experienced bloggers ignore social media. Having these accounts is not optional if you want to be taken seriously. However, you blog should always be your number one priority. I’d rather optimize posts than figure out how to hack whichever social media is hot on any given week.
Here’s a good example why your blog ought to come first in the grand scheme of things. Instagram’s organic reach took a nosedive in April, prompting anxiety across the blogging and online influencer communities. And even though you shouldn’t use bots, Instagram shut down those tools, too.
It was big news, even causing rumors of shadow banning. This whole fiasco made me realize that social media is unpredictable. You’re not the CEO of Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat, meaning changes come out of nowhere. You have no control. None. Zip. Zero.
Your blog, however, is yours. Take care of it.
4. Networking is essential. And fun!
If you want to work with tourism boards and other brands, then you need to get your butt to some conferences and network til your heart stops! You can only do so much connecting via email, and PRs are swamped with lackluster pitches anyway. Going to a conference shows you’re serious about joining the industry and making a meaningful impact.
This year I went to BlogHouse Philadelphia and TBEX Europe in Stockholm. Both the BlogHouse workshop and blogging conference allowed me to connect with brands, bloggers, influencers, and entrepreneurs. I’m still in contact with a lot of these folks.
And don’t forget to create business cards!
5. Don’t forget your love of travel (and life)!
Sometimes, blogging sucks up sooooo much of my precious energy, that I forget about why I created a blog at all! Isn’t that craziness? It’s easy to get lost especially on the world wide web, haha. Do whatever you can to keep your passion strong.
Not to mention, workaholic tendencies can spill into travels and taint your hard earned experiences. Avoid, avoid, avoid!
Don’t mindless witness all your trips through a camera lens. Don’t stare at facebook instead of the historical city square or beautiful snow capped mountains. Take a couple of pictures, sure, but also enjoy the moment. The moment is all you have.
As for me, I plan on “relaxing” in Scotland by wasting less time babbling on social media accounts. Emails won’t exist very much either. Personally, I blog because I adore to travel, not the other way around.
My second year of travel blogging rocked! Cheers to another! Are you a travel blogger? Or another type of influencer? How long have you been writing for? What lessons would you add?