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Today I celebrate one year of The Wandering Wanderluster Travel Blog! Yey! (High Fives Herself) Why is this a big deal? Why the celebration? Well let me tell you. Its been one year since I dived into the deep end of the blogging world and its been a roller coaster of a year. As I sit and reflect over the past years events I realise how similar my experiences have been to raising a child even though I have zero experience in raising a child (and I am 100% proud and happy about it).
Before embarking on becoming a parent you spend month preparing for your new arrival. Well bloggers to be do exactly the same. Instead of reading baby books you spend months trawling through websites of bloggers you admire looking for advice on how to best start your blog, what is the best hosting service provider?, what your niche will be? and most importantly what will you call your blog? What design should I get? Should I hire someone? Should I purchase a theme? What is all this about plugins and html? – See what I am getting at?!
Then comes the day of arrival. For us bloggers that is the day we click submit on a domain purchase and a hosting service. That was freaking scary for me. Once that domain name is set there is no turning back.
God it only gets worse….your first blog post! Jeez! What to write that will set the tone for my entire site? Will people like it? Will people read it?
Then comes SOCIAL MEDIA….! Aside from the painstaking time it takes to set the blooming accounts up, remembering to share your post over all the accounts you created is an art form. Que anxiously sitting and waiting for notifications that someone somewhere read it!
Then comes the sleepless nights when your blog doesn’t quite work or something drastic goes wrong. HTML errors, 404 missing pages and malware….what on earth is malware?!
You spend endless hours nurturing your blog, growing it and showing it off to the world – its exhausting!
So you begin to see why one year of blogging is a big deal to me. The fact that after one year my blog is still standing, has over 100 posts, a Facebook page with over 600 likes and a twitter following of nearly 1000 IS A BIG DEAL. And I am super proud of myself.
Blogging is HARD! And all these setting up a blog is easy posts are bullshit and its the main reason so many blogs fail. Want my advice?
SIX simple things to consider before setting up a blog.
- PICK A UNIQUE NAME – I spent weeks thinking of a name. And while “wanderlust” is one of the most used names for travel blogs (I slightly changed mine) you must be confident and happy with it before buying your domain. – Oh and make sure your blog name is also available as User Names etc for social media accounts for continuity.
- PICK A NICHE – It is perfectly fine to pick more than one niche. For example my blog is an adventure travel blog but I also support Eco-Tourism. If you set up a travel blog don’t write about fashion tips or healthy eating unless you can tie it in well with something to do with travel ie: Clothes to pack for a trek or budget food meals for travellers or something….
- SET YOURSELF A SCHEDULE – Successful blogs that have a high readership post regularly. A lot of bloggers will tell you that you must post frequently – bullpoop! While posting frequently does keep your readers interested and your brand at the forefront of their minds….readers will quickly unfollow you if you write posts and content that is of low quality. Go for quality over quantity. Set yourself a reasonable schedule for writing posts that is flexible around your lifestyle.
- BE PATIENT – No one becomes an overnight success. Blogs take a lot of time to develop so don’t be disheartened if no one comments on your posts or clicks like on Facebook. Shout about your blog where ever possible. Share your posts with your friends. Comment on other blogs. Research SEO techniques….build a loyal followership and you’ll get there.
- DON’T EXPECT WRITING CONTRACTS OR MONEY – If your primary goal is to make money from your blog (or travel the world for free with a travel blog) you may need to rethink and lower your expectations. While some people are successful enough to make money from their blogs and travel, they do so because they have earnt it. There are various way to make money via blogging including google ad’s, selling your own e-book or guide or selling your services (marketing, graphic design etc…) but make sure you are fully prepared to take on such work and that the ad’s fit your brand. No one wants to see a dolphin swimming experience in the Caribbean on a website that promotes eco-friendly and sustainable tourism…
- NETWORK – Network, Network, Network. Join blogging groups on Facebook, sign up to blogging friendly websites, attend conferences….not a single blog would become successful if they didn’t network!
Lastly, blogging should be enjoyable. While there are times of stress there are also times of happiness, self-accomplishment and joy. The blogging community is a friendly bunch that opens doors to a whole heaps of new friends and opportunities. Setting up a blog also helps build your character. You learn new skills and feel a great sense of pride when you finally manage to figure out what Google Analytics does or successfully launch a new site design.
Finally I will leave you with this….