How a Global Pandemic Helped my Travel Blog Boom!

Donna Hankins

by Andrew John Virtue Dobson

Put your hand up if traffic to your travel blog tanked in 2020…

Many bloggers spent countless hours developing niche websites over the last decade… apparently the pandemic had other plans.

I know many travel bloggers who had their traffic tank up to 90% once lockdowns were enforced around the world. It was the most stressful time in our lives. Some of those bloggers decided to pursue new careers while many of us have stuck it through and survived.

While I heard many friends in the industry feeling such despair I had a totally different experience. While I was certainly anxious about what was going on in the world, moments after Canada closed its borders I stood in my kitchen in Toronto and decided immediately to pivot to recipe development. Moss does not grow under these feet!

Just 2 days later I posted my first recipe for Homemade Raincoast Crisp Crackers. A month later I wrote a lengthy tome to the Best Sourdough Discard Recipes as half of the world was patiently waiting for their bubbling sourdough starters to bloom so they could get baking.

For much of the pandemic Canadians were not allowed to travel outside of their home province, so I balanced our content to include recipes as well as regional travel guides that showcased the best Glamping in Ontario, Weekend Getaways From Toronto and Toronto Pizza Delivery.

Before the pandemic my site Dobbernationloves would get 50-60,000 visitors a month. After pivoting to writing stories about my favourite recipes and local travel stories we now get over 190,000 visitors a month!

I thank the pandemic for teaching me to better utilize my time. The amount of energy it took pre-Covid to organize 2-3 press trips a month with tourism boards…I could easily get 10 times the traffic by writing about recipes that people are Googling from Toronto to Tokyo. A restaurant guide I may have written for Berlin becomes obsolete in many ways with restaurant closures and new eateries opening that I don’t have access to. Peoples love for freshly baked muffins on the other hand, that’s not going anywhere!

At TBEX Thailand I’ll be speaking about The Financial Power of Diversification. My hope is to inspire attendees to think outside of the box, developing new ways to make an income through travel storytelling.

The presentation will showcase how you can make money via Diverse Voices, Diverse Content and Diverse Revenue.

I’ll offer tips on how to apply to government grants to help your business grow, how to utilize SEO to build your audience through existing travel content and how to leverage the diversity of your writers to secure advertising from new brands.

Follow Andrew via @dobbernation


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