I’m still fresh to the world of blogging, having launched exactly six months ago. It’s a steep learning curve and definitely not quite what meets the eye.
Six Lessons in Six Months
Here are the key things I’ve learnt about travel blogging. I’ve also shared my social/site stats and earnings for the first 6 months.
Anyone can be a blogger
I had been thinking of starting a blog for some time and knew it would be about travel. But looking at hugely successful bloggers had always made ‘blogging’ feel out of reach.
Then one evening I just went for it and decided to jump in with a wordpress.com site. It took no longer than an hour to get a site up and running with an ‘about me’ section and photos. Within a week I had put up my first two posts – it was so easy.
If you’re thinking of starting out blogging – just go for it (although I’d definitely advise a wordpress.org site rather than .com)
Bloggers are the nicest bunch
One thing I’ve realised is how important it is to network with other bloggers and what a great community the blogosphere is. Even though bloggers are all competing for viewers attention, it doesn’t feel like we are competitors and there’s a ‘we’re all in this together’ mentality.
There are lots of big blogging events and conferences but unfortunately these are usually expensive to attend so aren’t really an option for newbies.
However I’ve recently started to attend smaller events including Travel Massive Manchester where organiser Donavan fuelled us on space invaders and pizza while we shared stories (shout out to the nicest travel couple Wanderlust & Life!). I’ve also failed miserably in an influencer quiz at The E Word meetup and recorded a video podcast with top lads Travelling Tom and JWRSimons – look out for this being released soon. I’m also super excited for Icelolly.com’s Blog at the Beach event next month where I’m hoping to meet lots of new travel blogging folk.
Every small win is important
When starting a blog, it’s a slow burner so every single milestone feels like a big win. Whether that’s reaching your first 100 followers on Instagram or earning your first cash from ads.
People follow people
When I first launched my blog I didn’t want people to know who I was – at least that way if it was unsuccessful then people I know in real life would never find out. My name or photos of myself were no where to be found on my blog or social media accounts.
But it was Ngozi from Black Bird on a Wire who opened my eyes to this. People are interested in the person just as much as the content and that’s what will make people come back to read my blog again. I decided to put my name and face to the blog, rewrite my bio and start telling more people about it, this has made me much happier and I feel it adds more authenticity for my readers.
There is a lot more to blogging than meets the eye
On the surface, you’d look at a blog and assume that most of the time is spent writing the content. But you’d be wrong, in fact I’d estimate that less than 20% of my time spent blogging is creating the content.
There are so many other skills that you need include designing a website, search engine optimisation, editing images, promoting the blog posts, engaging with your audience and answering comments, optimising ads, reaching out to other influencers, the list goes on.
Time is the biggest hurdle
I’ve just mentioned all of the things that you need to know how to do in order to run a blog, luckily for me, most of these skills can be learnt through google or a how-to video on Youtube – there are even forums where other bloggers will help you out.
But the biggest barrier is having the time to do everything, especially whilst working full time and trying to maintain a social life. I try to commit one evening per week as well as a full day each month but this is not enough to grow at the pace I want so over the next six months I’ll have to try even harder.
What are my stats looking like?
Time for the juicy stuff. I’ve read a lot of blogger income reports and find them really interesting. I’ve decided that I’ll publish my stats so that you can follow me on my blogging journey. The first set of stats are really uninspiring but I’m hopeful that things will continue to grow over the next few years.
Social stats [at time of publishing]
Instagram followers: 2,822
Twitter followers: 465
Facebook page likes: 623
Sites Stats [Dec 2017 – May 2018]
New blog posts: 25
Site Visitors: 2,972
Page Views: 5,299
Earnings [Dec 2017 – May 2018]
Ad income: £6.47
Affiliate income: £0.36 (every penny counts!)
Hosting related: -£14.53
Hosting upgrade: -£12.11
Facebook ads: -£18.29
Instagram tool for following/liking photos: -£30.19*
*a few people asked about this, it’s a tool for following/liking photos to increase organic growth – wouldn’t recommend as no longer use this – authentic engagement is far more effective!
As you can see, my first 6 months as a blogger cost me a lot of time and money, but I’m really pleased at how my blog is looking and am hopeful that I’ve built a strong base ready for the next 6 months.
What are my goals for the next 6 months?
I’m going to keep sharing the progress of my blogging journey and setting goals every 6 months, hopefully this will keep me focused.
- Work with a brand or tourist board on a piece of content
- Get to know more bloggers IRL
- Get a top 200 position in the Trips 100* index (currently 275)
*The Trips 100 index ranks over 1000 UK travel bloggers according to a number of key measures including site visitors, social media following and inbound links. They publish the top 100 each month but everyone can also see their own ranking.
I look forward to sharing my next update with you all in December.