Remember the good old days when you first started your travel blog? It seemed that life was simpler then: you visited somewhere interesting, wrote it up, added a few photos and published a post.
Then you got a few readers and life got more complicated. There was social media to update, with new channels sprouting up like weeds every few months. Subscribers were looking for a newsletter on a regular basis, new software made it easier than ever to start a podcast, and in the middle of all this you began uploading videos to YouTube and telling digital stories on Periscope.
Meanwhile, in the interest of making the blog a commercial success, you set up some affiliate links, placed some ads on your site and created a contest to give away travel gear. Ooh! And now there’s this great way to generate traffic by adding a gizmo widget, and on and on . . .
So how do you find enough time to actually TRAVEL? Although it seems like you have way too much to do, the reality may be that you are simply trying to do too much.
Travel blogging offers continuous business opportunities on the path to commercial success. (And doubtless there will be many great ideas that will emerge from this TBEX conference!) But before jumping into a whole new crop of initiatives, it makes sense to “clean out the blogging closet,” getting rid of activities that are too time-consuming or just plain don’t fit.
Just like any business, travel bloggers need to stop periodically to assess what is working and what isn’t, and make adjustments. It might be a social media channel that never seemed to click (I, for one, never really got the whole “Circles” thing). Or it could be a case of your blog evolving. When my husband Michael and I started “Changes in Longitude,” it was with the intent of chronicling a career break of a yearlong trip around the world. Five years of full-time travel later, our audience and focus are very different, so our blogging initiatives should be as well.
The trick is to establish some specific criteria for what gets “thrown out of the closet.” Take a look at your blog as a whole and determine the general direction you want it to take going forward. Then look at the activities you engage in to keep the blog going on a regular basis and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this fit with my reader demographic?
- How does this activity impact my traffic/engagement/bottom line?
- How much time do I spend on this activity?
- Do I like doing this activity?
- Is it worth paying someone else (or continuing to pay them) to do it?
If the activity doesn’t measure up, it’s time to jettison it. The critical aspect is to BE BRUTAL! This is not the time for nostalgia or pet projects . . . this is all about simplifying your life and creating a leaner, meaner blogging machine!
Once you’ve cleared out the old cobwebs, you’ll be ready for the many new opportunities you’ve learned about at TBEX. At the conference we’ll explore some ways to set up your new initiatives so they have a greater chance of success . . . and don’t find themselves at the back of your blogging closet a year from now.
Author Bio: Larissa Milne and her husband Michael are the publishers of ChangesInLongitude.com, which won the Lowell Thomas Silver Award for Best Travel Blog. Larissa teaches Entrepreneurship Strategies at Drexel University in Philadelphia.