“So you think we should start a blog“, I asked Vera. We've been flirting with the idea of having our own blog for a while. But between the renovation of our old house, my freelance translation business, everyday cooking & houseworks, I haven't had much time for blogging. We took a road trip to Amsterdam in the late 2011. And on the way back we finally made a decision to start our own blog. Right away, Vera wrote our About us section on her telephone. It changed overtime. Just wanted to say it all started on a 14-hour drive back home when we had to keep ourselves entertained.
Don't promise when you're happy, Don't reply when you're angry, and Don't decide when you're sad
Few years of living in Istria, and we noticed that the places we've been visiting lately had nothing to do with the places we were visiting when we just moved here. Never underestimate the local knowledge. Locals know where to eat, where to go, what to do, and when to do it. No matter what that is. Our original idea was to try to share the best of Croatia, just as we discover it. And our blog is still pretty much about it.
However, on our blogging journey we've learnt a lot about all kinds of things, from technical aspects of running a blog, writing, distributing our content and how to build traffic. Travel bloggers are just excellent group of people who help one another a lot. We are truly grateful for all the tips they've selflessly shared with us (and still keep sharing). We'll get more into it in another post. We naturally expended our blog to expat life as well as to our blogging life (this is a first post on that one!). We also plan on adding the product reviews to our blog.
The first things first
If you think of starting your own blog, here are few hard learnt truths about blogging:
#1: It's time consuming, if you want to do it properly. If you just have a blog as your own diary, then go ahead and enjoy it. If you want to build a substantial traffic and a readership, you'll need to put in many hours of work. Our daily activities consist of:
- creating the content for our blog (and to have a content you need to previously have an experience you will write about);
- distributing our content across different social media channels, commenting on other bloggers' content (good Karma is extremely important; so if you want others to support you, start by supporting others first);
- actively participating in the forums related to our blog's content;
- interaction with the followers on our social media profiles (Thank you every and each one for being there!)
- answering e-mails, comments from our readers and sending pitches out in a search of more content and / or paid gigs (we need to live off something)
Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers. – Simpson
#2: The success doesn't come overnight. If you want to run a successful blog one day, then you need to really be serious about it. We put countless hours in our blog (and we don't yet consider us successful), and we both hold steady, 9-5 jobs. Combine it with the number #1. You need to like it a lot, or to have really clear goals to keep doing it. If you are in for a quick ride and an overnight success, you better don't even start with it. There is no such a thing.
Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else. – Alison Boulter
#3: You'll be spending money when you just start. If you are a travel blogger at least. If you want to share your travels, or experiences with your readers, you'll need actually to pay for them. Just check how many restaurant reviews we have on our blog. We paid for each of these meals. It's a lot of money. You can try to fake it, but you won't go far with that. Don't forget that there are almost 7 million bloggers and only 14% make a living with their blogs.
Being blogger is still pretty awesome, and we enjoyed it a lot. If you think of becoming a blogger, we've put together six simple steps to help you start your own blog.
Do you still want to be a blogger? Let us know in the comments about your blogging aspirations.
31 thoughts on “So you want to be a blogger”
Thanks for this inspiring post! I didn’t know you both work besides blogging, I work too (and many hours a day!) and sometimes I feel my blog won’t be successful ’cause I can’t fully commit to blogging (even if it is my main activity after working in the “real life”). Anyway all this to say that you are really an example to look up to, and this post cheers me up and makes me think that I can do it too, even though I have to go to a regular desk job on a daily basis…
I think the most surprising thing for me is just how time consuming starting a blog has been. Creating the content takes long enough (and I don’t think I’d ever be able to post consistently if I didn’t run the site with another person — I don’t know how the solo bloggers do it!), but throw in being active on social media, and having a part in the travel blogging community and it can consume hours upon hours. On the bright side, though, it never feels like work. I love interacting with other travelers and growing my own personal community of contacts from around the world. There are so many interesting stories to hear and share and I love being a part of that, even if it’s a small part.
We feel the same, Jessi. It’s definitely time consuming, but it doesn’t feel like work. Thanks for stopping by.
Great ideas and tips! Blogging is very time consuming, but if you are organized it definitely helps! I would love to travel to far away lands one day. I love the pics of the caves and ocean landscape, just beautiful! #SITSblogging
Thanks for stopping by, Tickles & Tots. True, it does help to get organized. Although I still didn’t manage to do that (I’m just all over the place).
I’d love to be a travel blogger! Maybe one day I’ll be able to be one when the kids are all grown up and out of the house.
Stopping by from #SITSBlogging!
Thanks for stopping by, Tenns! It’s not so easy to travel extensively with kids. And also, blogging itself takes so much time. But your blog is great too just as it is.
I keep trying to explain this to my friends who are so adamant about becoming bloggers. There is just so much that goes into it. If you are not fully 100% committed to it, it won’t work. This was a great post. Thank you for sharing!
So, true! Thanks for stopping by, Theresa!
Thanks so much for your insight. I’ve just started a family travel blog and these tips will really help me. I’ve realise how time consuming it I already (as has my husband and kids!) but I’m loving exploring new blogs, tweaking my own blog and the excitement of getting new blog post ideas and jotting them down on my phone.
I’ve already found the travel blogging community a friendly one but wondered if you could suggest some forums for me to join so I can connect with more?
Hi Esther, thanks for stopping by. I can suggest you some travel bloggers community and groups (send me an e-mail if interested). As for forums, I participate in forums about Croatia – just joining the conversation on the subject at Tripadvisor, Fodor’s, Lonelyplanet, etc…
Every blogger decides the purpose of their blog. To develop my writing craft? Find an audience? Develop a brand? Make money? If you decide to try to make money, then it can become like any other job.
What I love about blogging is the freedom it gives me. I don’t have the restrictions of word count and my editor’s requirements and expectations – who sometimes has to bow to advertisers’ expectations (“make sure you mention hotel so-and-so because they’re buying an ad in this issue”). When I blog I can write about what I want, in as many words as I want, as often as I want, and I can choose and edit the pictures myself. I can try to create a little piece of beauty.
True, Isabel! There are many different purposes of blogs. Freedom is certainly one of the big enjoyments of having a blog. I like the fact that we are able to decide what to publish on our blog, when, and how. It is also a open platform to test all kinds of marketing ideas without being scared of failure or brand image, or whatever. It’s a great learning ground in many ways.
You hit the nail right on the head Frank!
Blogging is not just a hobby, it’s a passion and FT work!. I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years and there are days that I am well exhausted :(
I have a job that I love (translation) but then again travel is one of my other passions in life. So I have to dedicate all the time necessary to create, promote, engage on a daily basis!
As you said, success does not happen overnight and you must persevere to see results and in our case visitors but they do come!
You’re doing an awesome job & hope for your continued success ;)
Thanks, Karla! Your support has been tremendous too on this crazy ride. We appreciate it a lot. It helps to be passionate about blogging. Otherwise, we’ll all give up long time ago (IMO). Thanks again for stopping by.
I totally agree with all the points you made above. The way I view my blog, first and foremost, is that it is a journal that I keep of all the adventures my husband and I have together as a couple. With this in mind, I will keep on blogging regardless of the success of my blog.
The Dessert Engineer, that way is perfect. And if the wider success comes, great. If not, you’ll always have a journal where you can relive your adventures.
I completely agree with your points! I have a full time job and do my blog as a hobby which I love and am so passionate about and it’s a relatively little blog compared to most but I enjoy it so much so don’t mind the many hours I put into it :)
Thanks, Skikha! For us, it’s also a hobby at the moment. And we enjoy it a lot. However, I cannot say that we wouldn’t be happy if one day we’re able to make a living with it. I find corporate world very mean and senseless. So would love to be able to get out of it one day.
Great points about blogging. I had no idea how time consuming it is to build a blog! But it’s worth it I think to share your travels, be involved in the most supportive online community and keep moving forward. :)
Thanks, Karisa!It’s a long ride, but a great one. Like you said, it great to be a part of the most supportive online community and see our blogs move forward.
You are right, maintaining a blog is hard, it’s even harder when you have a full time job like you two. However, I would say you were pretty gentle, I don’t feel discouraged at all by what you have posted. I have been told a lot of worse things about starting a blog (especially when you want to have a multiple topic blog) but I am still here, determined not to get discouraged.
I have been blogging privately (never made my blogs public, while I was researching my style, my voice, topics that I feel I can write about) for years and finally took a plunge last year and made a public blog. I run it with my husband and while haven’t become wildly successful yet, I do believe we will continue to grow. Most important thing is not to give up, especially in the beginning when you are just starting out.
Thanks, Ana Lynn! Yes, you are right, we were probably a little gentle. But it’s because we still enjoy building up our blog and the traffic. And all the hard work seems kind of easy when you do what you like. Somebody who’s not that passionate about blogging will give up easier I think. ‘Cause it really is constant work. I like your blog. Just keep doing what you do, and it will certainly continue to grow.
Starting a blog is definitely a lot of work and you learn as you go. But you learn a ton and for me that’s been half the fun. Patience and determination are a must! Thanks for sharing, it’s good to have some reminders.
Thanks, Daidri! We feel the same: the work is half the fun when you do what you like and when you learn something new along the way. Thanks for stopping by.
This is an excellent post. You summed it up quite well! I only started a small 5 months ago with my blog. I mainly started with just writing content and finding my way of writing. I think it is important that you understand what you write about, what you want to tell the world, how you want to be unique.
2014 will be the year to take blogging to a higher level and yes I work around the clock. 9 up to 10 hours per day I work in a local travel agency and afterwards I work until the late hours for my blog. I love it though so I don´t mind. I keep my social and adventurous life for the weekend.
It´s quite tough and one, like you said, should really love blogging. I hope with my perseverence and commitment that I´ll make it to this 14% =) Thanks for your post, it again inspired me to do more, cause this is what I love doing!
Thanks, Milene! Although we did start our blog few years ago, we just started taking it seriously in the last 6 moths. So like you, we hope to bring our blog to a higher level in 2014 with our full commitment. It would be awesome to make it to those 14%, though :)
What a great post, I sat here nodding, over and over again and agree with you. Especially about it being hard work – never knew just how much time you have to spend to promote your work. For me its so much more than I wonder if I have time somedays. I am shocked at the number of bloggers you mentioned – really 7 million? That number has totally blown my mind! ….okay I better get back to work :)
Thanks, Sarah-Jane! Actually I’ve learnt the most about promotion and distribution. Sure, I’ve read tons of posts on that subject. But they are always too broad. Like write a guest posts. Yeah, and where and how do you find them. These kind of things I’ve learnt and now it seems really obvious. I found this infographic and it says 7 million (a bit less to be precise). Don’t know how founded these findings are, though :)
Yes, you’re right. (Travel) blogging is time consuming, and yes, you’ll need to be active. Content is king in travel blogging as well, but there’s more to it than you imagine when you first start out on this kind of journey. This is what happened to me: I had some “finished” written material from recent and old travels, well formulated tales, fascinating stories and all that. I had this idea that there must be others out there interested in it. So I created a site, and the site grew with more content, changed layout and even more ideas. Last year I moved it to another platform (self-hosted), lost a lot of readers, and had to (almost) restart my efforts. And so on and so on. On the other hand, it’s highly rewarding being able to browse one’s own blog. And it feels satisfactory that so many readers drop by, from virtually any corner of the earth.
Sandalsand, thanks so much for stopping by. It’s a hard work. Though, for the ones who are passionate about it,l it’s also lots of fun. Sorry to hear that you’ve lost lots of reader. That would drive me insane.