Travel Blog

Confessions of a newbie travel blogger

October 12, 2011
Balloon festival

It”s been six months since I started this travel blog and I realised that this is a tough gig to crack.

For the most part, I”m enjoying the experience.  But as with any endeavours, I developed a  love-hate relationship from making this travel blogging work.

I”m not saying goodbye to travel blogging. I am not keen on doing that. But rather, I would like to tell a few experiences I”ve realised from a few months of being part of the community. Here are a few things that have made this whirlwind experience both challenging but most of the time, inspiring.

  • Travel blogging is, at most, a one-person show

It’s not easy to work and manage a travel blog. You work from start to finish – from buying the domain, doing the design work and fixing technical issues, writing blog posts to scheduling tweets and managing social media channels. It has become a juggling task, that  has taken most of my free time.  Building a blog from scratch requires a steep learning curve,and in order to get your head on the game – you need to have both discipline and patience.

It”s been difficult to keep up and you can see it with the ireggular number of posts I do per week. This is not what I want and I”m trying my best to put it back into a good rhythm – but mind you that it”s not an easy task to do to make sure that you have fresh & interesting content available.

But despite that most of the tasks belong to me,  I have friends helping me out with 25travels – proofreading, writing posts and giving editorial advice – I couldn’t do it without them.

  • Success doesn”t come easy

From a travel blogging context , it means that building your name online won’t happen in days, weeks or even months.  This is an accepted fact. But keeping the momentum going to write and improve your blog, without any return on investment, is sometimes discouraging.

  • Every new visit, follower or fan counts.

Checking my analytics has become a daily obsession. I check fanatically my blog”s search keywords, visits, page views, time spent  and comparing it with the previous months hoping that it’s going to be better. But that single increase on my page views is enough to put a smile on my face.

I watch the numbers closely and with every milestone – my first 100 twitter followers, my first blog comment, my first 25 fans on Facebook –  comes as a challenge to work hard and invest more time.

  • Comment Lover

Once you write and upload your post, then you wait on how your readers respond. How will your post fare to the reading public? Will they gate it and love it?

For me, comments are big metrics to see how popular your posts are. Also, if someone re-tweets your post – you are happy. If someone famous (more on #4) re-tweets it, then you start jumping out of your seat. 🙂

It bothers me when a post doesn’t get any comments or feedback.  If I don’t get comments on a post then I assume that there must be something wrong with it. Was my post boring,  uninspiring or just plain unreadable?

  • I get excited when talking to travel blogging celebrity

My first days as a travel blogger was like going to a new school. I am the new kid joining a pool of people who have been in that community for years.They, the popular travel bloggers,  have mastered the art of travel blogging and amassed a huge amount of followers, fans and comments on their every posts.

As a new kid, I get excited every time a travelblogger celebrity reply to my tweets, RT my blog posts or comment on my blog. I can’t help to get star struck. So if you are one and you are reading this, please do say hello and comment back – that will surely bring smile to my face.

  • Travel community is a great bunch

Being a part of a travel community like #TTOT, have given good traction for my blog and a supportive hand in improving it. New & fulltime bloggers work hand in hand in making everyone new feel welcome.

The community allowed to meet people who appreciate and value travel like I do. I’m continuing to learn about places I’ve never heard off , food that I never knew existed and experiences that is now on my ever growing bucket list. Through this community, I also got inspired to work towards doing an #rtw trip soon.

And I’ll also like to extend my thanks to the great people I met in the journey particularly beforeiam35, amzkiz, packsandbucks, hyperren, shivya, fourjandals, 2girls1journey, pckyourpassport, toniwonitravels, our_oyster, a6packofstories, confusedjulia, budgetplaces, AE_carhire.

  •  Small words can have an impact

I talked about success in the context of building a name online. And I”m far from achieving that form of success. But what is the measure of success anyway?

My biggest realisation in doing this blog is that through telling stories about my goal and adventures, I can impact the way you, my readers, think about travel.

This keeps me going,  knowing that through my work, I  manage to influence another person”s travel decisions – even if it’s just a simple hostel recommendation or to begin their own travel goal.

I remember that the reason why I started blogging was I was inspired by other bloggers to start my own.  And now that I am actually doing it, it’s been rewarding to see emails & comments pouring in. That validates me as a travel blogger, even if it”s only in a small way. It’s only a handful of emails since I started – but all those emails, tweets and posts, inspire me to continue this work.

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  • Reply Kait Burke April 18, 2012 at 16:38

    Hi there! I just discovered your website yesterday and am absolutely loving this post. I have been blogging here and there for family and friends while I have been abroad but it wasnt until yesterday that i actually started considering doing it for a living. When I came across this post from you it really helped me put things in perspective and know that, if this is something I really want, it is going to take a hellova lot of work, but can very much be worth it. Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more from you 🙂

    Kait xx
    Kait Burke recently posted..The research is never-ending.My Profile

    • Reply Jerick April 21, 2012 at 01:47

      Thanks Kait! all the best on your blog too. 🙂

  • Reply Chrystal McKay April 4, 2012 at 18:11

    Also a newbie blogger – I love this post. Helps keep me inspired to keep working and know there are other people struggling along too. For me the HARDEST part that drives me mad every few days is the technical side…..php sql http://ftp…..Yeah….I went from my a blissfully blank tech mind to knowing and understand those features. haha Great skills though.
    Chrystal McKay recently posted..How Rural Canadian Life Prepares you for Global TravelMy Profile

  • Reply Shaun February 29, 2012 at 15:15

    Wow! What awesome stats for the month! You must be so proud! I often wonder whether all these blogs in ‘travel blogger’ ever actually make any money consistently. Thanks for sharing your tips. 🙂

    • Reply Jerick March 14, 2012 at 10:32

      Thanks – if you are in it for the money, then travel blogging is not for you. You can make some bucks, but it’s not really the best career if you want to end up being financially rich! I’m in it more for the experience, the network and the inspiration that my small blog can do to people. Much more rewarding if you ask me. 🙂

  • Reply AdaTheDaydreamer December 29, 2011 at 18:00

    Hey Jerick!

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. It’s so tough to maintain a blog with no one else to help you with things. I myself am a “noob” in this travel blogging niche and it’s really stressful. To think, I haven’t traveled far yet and starting this dream destinations blog D: If this is already getting into my nerves, I can’t imagine how things will be like when I start traveling around the Philippines!

    I can also relate to the part of getting that tingly feeling when you see a new fan on your Facebook page, a new follower on Twitter, and so on.

    Do that – keep in mind why you started your blog in the first place. I lost track of that even though my blog’s only 3 months old but people from the traveling community have given me pats on the back, saying I should not lose hope and that mistakes are all part of the process. Like you, the traveling community has also inspired me to continue blogging. And it is people like you who inspire to pursue dreams of traveling 😉
    AdaTheDaydreamer recently posted..A Night In Davao City: The Spirit Of Christmas, Part 3My Profile

  • Reply Tracey November 15, 2011 at 13:42

    Thanks for the tip #TTOT – learn something new every day

  • Reply Aussie on the Road October 14, 2011 at 14:54

    These are all feelings and experiences I can definitely relate to. I get super excited when I have an email from Disqus telling me I have a new comment or when I see a new Facebook fan on my page, haha.

    I also remember being a little star-struck when I met guys like Caz & Craig from yTravel Blog, haha.
    Aussie on the Road recently posted..Guest Post: Vintage SydneyMy Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 14, 2011 at 19:16

      Exactly! I think it’s a universal feeling for any new bloggers. 🙂

  • Reply Adam October 13, 2011 at 06:52

    This reminds me of how I felt when I started out. Something I read on Twitter earlier that I found a bit inspirational: “blog like no one’s reading” — something I plan to take to heart!
    Adam recently posted..Should you visit Israel?My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:48

      Great advice Adam – I must say that I’m finding hard to be comfortable in writing blogposts but I’m sure that after a bit of time and discipline, I’ll find my voice.

      PS. You’re one of the favourite travel blogger (and actually one of the people I’m referring as a “celebrity”) so I’m really happy to see you here. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  • Reply Jaime October 13, 2011 at 06:13

    Great post… I had all these same feelings when I 1st started my blog so I know where you are coming from. It’s not easy, but give it time and things will fall into place. The only thing I could advice is don’t worry about the #s. Just be yourself, write good content and people will come! I know it’s easier said then done, but possible. The reason you started your blog is the right reason to start a blog… the emails you get or people you help is priceless.

    Congrats on 6 months… cheers to many more!!!
    Jaime recently posted..An open letter to the Sahara Desert.My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:42

      Thanks Jaime and great advice too! I’m trying to stay away from the numbers now, but it is tricky. But as you said, if you write about something you are really passionate about, then success will come after. 🙂

  • Reply Si @ thedepartureboard October 13, 2011 at 05:13

    Hi Jerick, A very honest post. Keep up the hard work at the end of the day you write about what you love, Travel! The numbers don’t matter yet, perseverance and you will succeed.
    Regards, SI
    Si @ thedepartureboard recently posted..Cockerelstepping at the Wagah Border CrossingMy Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:40

      Yes, I agree that writing about what you love makes the job easier. Thanks Si for visiting!

  • Reply Neil October 13, 2011 at 04:44

    Dude, love this post! You’ve written pretty much exactly how I feel about blogging at presenet. I am an analytics fiend and will probably soon be hit with a restraining order from google because of it.

    Comments, retweets, hits, follows, likes …. I love and hate them equally.

    Still for all the late nights writing posts that people will probably never read, I’ve met some wicked people (such as yourself) over the past few months making the whole process totally worth it!

    Dont stop now mate, you’re doing a great job. Onwards and upwards.
    Neil recently posted..The cost of a weekend in Riga to my wallet and my healthMy Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:39

      Cheers Neil, you’re one of the people I met early on and who continue to inspire me to work on the blog. Thanks for the support too – I’m not stopping don’t worry. 😛

  • Reply nod 'n' smile October 13, 2011 at 00:43

    As a newbie blogger myself, I found this post incredible relateable and insightful. Glad to have found your blog and looking forward to where the journey (your blog and your travels!) take you.

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:35

      thank you. 🙂 glad that this simple post helped and inspired you to continue blogging too!

  • Reply Peter October 12, 2011 at 23:24

    Great post mate – eventually you get tired of analytics and its all becomes about content and creating fresh concepts that no one else has done. If it helps, I sit down at the end of each month and record my stats in a book (Alexa, Klout, Twitter, PageRank, Google, FB and list goes on ), this way I can see my growth and I don’t waist my time during the period in between watching my numbers. I still think that getting comments are the best reward for blogging as well as seeing my writing published – cliched I know, but at least I know people are reading 🙂

    Happy Blogging!
    Peter recently posted..Ecotourism and Nature Based Tourism – Do you know the difference?My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:34

      Thanks Peter for the advice, I think I’ll do that.

  • Reply Roy | The Riding Dutchman October 12, 2011 at 22:44

    Very cool post!! More and more I’m starting to feel similar to this. But it’s all part of our learning experience 🙂
    Roy | The Riding Dutchman recently posted..‘What Happens in Bali, Stays in Bali’My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:32

      Thanks Roy, I agree – it’s a tough learning process but having people like you who are supportive makes the learning waaay easier.

  • Reply Auto Europe October 12, 2011 at 22:34

    Jerrick we love your blogs and your tweets through the week! All of your thoughts above apply to us ‘non blogger’ tweeters too! It’s a tough world out there and dealing with great guys like yourself make all the difference!

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:31

      Thanks guys! I agree, even in my day job as a eComms online professional, I always push my client to be more personal and really interact with people.I’m happy to see and meet companies like yours actually doing it in practice!

  • Reply Shivya October 12, 2011 at 20:37

    Thanks for the mention, Jerrick 🙂 I agree with everything you’ve said, especially that success doesn’t come easy. I’ve whiled away many a days refreshing my blog stats too. Glad I’ve found such great company here!
    Shivya recently posted..Falling in love with Paris.My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:28

      No worries, you’re one of my favourite bloggers and I’m happy to have met you through TTOT. Success, in anyway you look into it, doesn’t come easy – but I’ve realise that discipline and hard work can bring you an inch close. 🙂

  • Reply Cole @ FourJandals October 12, 2011 at 19:04

    Thanks for mentioning us Jerick!
    I think you started a few months before me and you are way ahead of us in the game I think. I am having a huge down moment currently as my site, for some unknown reason to me, is screwing up. Working on getting that fixed but it takes up all my time so I can’t write other posts. So frustrating. I had a good month with big numbers now its gone all quiet again. Trying really hard not to be bothered by it but it is hard.
    Keep at it though because you inspire me to keep going as well.
    Cole @ FourJandals recently posted..Hump Day Wednesday – 12/10/2011My Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:26

      Yes, it’s hard to find the balance whether to work on the technical/design aspect or put on content. It happened to me several times that as I’m about to write a post, I end up working on a plugin or a new blog header. 😛 Cheers Cole, your one of the coolest people I met in the travel community and I’m looking forward to meeting you soon (maybe Oktoberfest 2012 or Brussels this Xmas).

      PS. Let me know if you need support on clearing up that theme – it’s a bit tricky to manage tbh.

  • Reply Amanda Slavinsky October 12, 2011 at 18:00

    This was a great post! I just started blogging and find myself incredibly stressed out over it a lot of the time. I work long hours and have to force myself to find any free time to blog and then when I don’t seem immediate results I get discouraged. It’s nice to see other newbies succeed and post words of encouragement.

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:22

      Glad that I helped in a small way Amanda. My best comrades in the travel community are also newbie bloggers and the group has been very supportive in giving feedback & advice to each other, something that I’m valuing a lot. We can do this together!

  • Reply Aline October 12, 2011 at 17:39

    Hi Jerick, I should be writing this in private as your aunt, but maybe you and your blogger-friends can profit from my sharing too so consider me as a “comrade at arms” who have been through the highs and lows of an online e-zine owner back in the early 2000s. You know how it was, no need to tell you here. So all I can say is, just be real, like how you wrote above. I think this is the best blog I have read from you (not that I can safely say I read all). lol. Am sure readers want to read about travel experiences from anyone…but the secret is how one tells it. Humorous, adventurous, factual, fanciful, however. But keep it real and a lil modesty won’t hurt too… 🙂 Keep writing and if you think you need some help in editing, just holler. But you know, we are Filipinos and English is only our second language. Most nationalities won’t mind an error or two as long as they understand the message. But sometimes, the harshest critics are those who feel our Filipino English has to be perfect when it’s not even perfect at its most perfect! 🙂 Btw, it was at BB that I learned I could write and honed it! That’s the biggest “high” of my experience!

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:19

      Hi Tita A, no worries – it’s nice to see family seeing my posts (which means I have to be a bit more discreet this time. :P)

      The language barrier pose as challenge, I agree, but not a hindrance as you say into writing a good piece. I know that my writing is not perfect, that’s why I decided to also start this blog as a way to somewhat hone my writing skills since my fulltime job doesn’t let me do it. Feel free Tita to have a look at my post and do a bit of proofreading, I’m always happy to get feedback. 🙂

      Btw, the book On Writing Well that you “lent” me is my writing bible and have taken the author’s advice into heart.

  • Reply Alexandra October 12, 2011 at 15:12

    Jerick, I love this post! As a newbie blogger myself, I can totally relate to each and every point. Just like you, I have a minor (aka huge) obsession with checking my analytics on a daily basis and tweets, RTs, comments, and even just plain “hellos” totally make my day. …Oh yeah, and I go “coo coo” for travel blogging celebrities too. 😉
    Alexandra recently posted..Here’s my card, now take me to Thailand! – How I got invited on my first press tripMy Profile

    • Reply Jerick October 13, 2011 at 12:08

      Thanks Alexandra, I think it’s normal for newbie bloggers to be a bit obssessive with stats but I’m ‘trying’ to check it less often now. =) and for the travel celebrities, I thought I was the only one who does that – but I guess it’s normal too. 🙂

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