This post is in response to my early discussion about why I might stop travel blogging. The response via the comments was overwhelming and I want to summarize the main points I have taken away from everyone’s input. An update on what I have decided to do is also in order considering the interest the article sparked.
1. Most bloggers know they can’t live off a blogging income
It seems that the majority of us know that blogging alone isn’t going to yield much money. That doesn’t mean we all don’t hope our blog takes off and we make some dollars, it just means we are sensible about what to expect in terms of income. The fact that we celebrate 1,000 visitors a day and $1,000 a month, speaks to itself.
2. Half of you believe you will succeed by doing what you love or are passionate about
We aren’t in sync on this issue, and honestly, there is no need to be. To state my opinion, I don’t believe that just by doing something you are passionate about you will find success. Running a business is more complicating than that. I also believe that the world is much more difficult than that.
3. We understand that blogging alone isn’t enough
If you want to make money, you need to do more than blogging. There has been enough bloggers sharing their steps to success for us to understand that there is always something more than just blogging. Some write freelance, operate a side business, do web development, have a completely different full-time job or speak publicly. Others sell ebooks, SEO services, hard books, photographs, subscriptions or magazines. Take the knowledge that the more experienced bloggers are offering and learn from it. Your blog is your audience; decide what product or service you are going to sell to them.
4. When a hobby becomes a job, things change
A hobby is something we enjoy, something we do purely for pleasure. There isn’t a requirement, a threshold nor a measure of success. When a hobby becomes a job, it changes. It’s a business now, and you must focus on the activity in order to achieve success. Success is no longer just about pleasure, it’s about income. If we enjoy something tremendously, be cautious when considering turning it into a job. You might lose the pleasure you original received from that activity forever.
5. The travel blogging community exists
The comments in the article, which was written for travel bloggers, displays an incredible interest of bloggers to share thoughts on a subject many of us can relate too. Many of you are thinking, “Of course we exist.” What I am trying to convey is that in this chaotic online world, which often seems fragmented, clicky, and self satisfying, we can come together for discussion that is relevant to our business. We won’t all comment on each article about a destination we write, and we shouldn’t. Those articles are written for non-travel bloggers. We do comment on articles that we can all relate to, that are a reflection of our industry and that we can learn from. It’s important to have that community, a sense of belonging, a support system, people we can gather honest feedback from. We all blog for different reasons and are on different levels of the business cycle, but we know each other well, if only by a twitter profile pic.
What have I been up to?
I haven’t stopped blogging, but I also haven’t found a job yet. It’s only been 3 weeks and the number of job opportunities in Miami for my skill-set is at a minimum, according to Monster.com. I have stopped my use of StumbleUpon, Digg and being on Twitter all day. That has freed up a tremendous amount of time. It’s amazing, and it feels great. I do feel a bit disconnected on Twitter, but I think I am doing the right thing. I check in occasionally and retweet an article or find an interesting discussion that is going on.
I redesigned this trave blog after 2.5 years of the same theme. It felt great to make that transition. My other sites aren’t getting as much attention, but I have that, “who cares feeling” when it comes to steady content on each site. I write when I have something to say, or I am getting paid to do it. I started a new YouTube account where I am uploading all my past travel videos and other videos I create from other blogs and our cat. I have very little followers, so please connect with me and I will reciprocate.
I focused on the website redesign because I want to get all the technical stuff fixed before I get a job. When I am working full-time I don’t want to have to worry about technical issues on my blogs. I want the SEO set up correctly, a minimum number of plugins and highly supported theme across all my blogs so I can focus on content only moving forward. I still have a lot of fixes to do, specifically with my video pages, but I am working on them aggressively. The new YouTube account is actually my old personal account. I have so many videos covering so many different topics that I wanted to get away from the name of 2 backpackers. I also have revenue sharing on my personal account. A big plus if anyone ever decides to watch our adventure travel videos. They are more likely to watch our cat videos, which is how we got the revenue sharing deal.
How has this impacted my traffic?
That’s the question you guys want answered. I am happy to say, traffic has… increased since I have stepped away from StumbleUpon, my old Facebook page of 3,000 fans and the hours I used to spend on Twitter. What does that mean? I have no idea, but it feels good. Of course, my traffic has shifted away from Twitter, but my StumbleUpon traffic has increased. Strange right? It’s about writing the right articles and getting those articles in front of the right people. My Google Search traffic has also increased, which is preferable to me. It tells me that I am improving my SEO and I still have 80% of my site to improve. When I have enough data to start showing a month over month comparison, I will share it with you. Expect to see some Google Analytic charts in the next update.
I mentioned we left our Facebook page of 3,000 fans. I did that because I wanted a Fan Page that encompassed both our travel blogs, CoupleTravelTips.com and 2Backpackers.com. The new page is called “Jason and Aracely Travel“. At 300 fans, it’s going to take a long time to build back up, but again, now is the time, since I am completely open to change and not thinking about short term gains or income. It’s our long-term plan to brand ourselves, our names, us as a traveling couple that matters most at this time.
I will continue job searching and improving the backend of our site. It will take me another week to redo all the old video posts and get them uploaded to the new YouTube account. I will continue updating old posts to improve keyword focus and correct the design and headings. When I find myself in a full-time job I am not sure how much time I will dedicate to the blogs, but I hope to post the occasional video. That’s my goal, to return blogging to a hobby. Focus on the aspects of blogging I enjoy most, while making enough money from whatever my full-time job will be.
Oh, by the way, I have already net $2,000USD this month. Go figure.