*Honest insights from a beginning Travel Blogger*
I started my Backpacking Detours Blog nine months ago. I had no idea where to begin, but I had plenty of motivation to share my love for travel. I started to research and found plenty of articles and blog posts online. The articles I read made it sound simple; follow a few steps and ta-da, I will have a blog.
Let’s just say I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to the computer, and I’m good at research, so I wondered how difficult could it be?
The first thing I needed to do was decide on a blogging platform. I wanted something easy to use and free. I chose WordPress.org, as they offer hundreds of blog themes to choose from. I only needed to choose the one that would fit best with what my blog is about-travel. I chose a basic travel theme, which I have since seen others using. In the future, I will consider upgrading soon to something a bit more sophisticated and not so plain.
The next step was choosing a host for my blog. Of course, I did my research and decided on Blue Host. This decision may not have been very smart in the long run. I was influenced by other bloggers highly recommending Blue Host. Little did I understand at the time, Blue Host has an affiliate program, which compensates the bloggers nicely. Needless to say, that’s why I kept seeing that hosting company pop up all the time. Only time will tell how it will work out for my blog.
The third step to beginning my blog is adding plug-ins to my Word Press theme. What’s a plug in you ask? I didn’t know either! There are hundreds of options of plug-ins that work with my blog and can make it more user friendly, keep away spammers, make sharing on social media easier and even keep track of blog visitors and statistics.
The forth step was to install Google Analytics. This allows me to track where my readers are from, how long they stay on my site and which article they are reading, just to name a few of the analyses available. I have the plug in for it, and I have signed up, but I can’t seem to make it work. Once I figure it out, I will then be able to see what my readers are interested in as they read my blog posts. This is one of those stressful times that I would love a real person to sit down with me and show me the way!
Finally, the most important part of starting a blog to me, was creating content that is important and interesting enough for me to write about, as well as interesting enough for my readers to take the time to read. My main issue is that I like to write about travel experiences or lessons I have learned while traveling. Many people like to read travel guides and itineraries for specific destinations. So, I’m trying to find a happy medium.
The last part of this post I will talk about sharing my blog. It’s important to use social media like Twitter, Facebook and Stumble Upon, to name a few, for sharing the content I create. If I don’t share it, then no one will know that it’s there to read.
Engaging in social media groups is a wonderful way to grow my blog and learn from other writers. It’s a great network of like-minded people.
I wanted to write this post as a new writer so you can see how much goes into bringing a blog to life and maintaining it. I often have self-doubts about my writing skills, my topics and a general feeling of “what the heck am I doing?” In the end, I know I want to share my love (obsession) with travel. I can’t wait to read this post again in one year and see how much I have learned and grown.
My four essentials for blogging are:
* To read Part 2 of this blog post, please click here. Many more lessons learned, three months later.
Are you a blogger or have you considered starting a blog? Please comment below. I appreciate any advice. J
*Note to self: Figure out Google Analytics ASAP!
UPDATE: 1/2016 I have finally figured out Google Analytics! Apparently It was active for the past month and I didn’t know it. Yea!