Happy 3rd Birthday to us!!
I still can’t quite believe it has been 3 years since I started Sostravel… Time does fly! I wanted to share with you my journey so far into the world of travel blogging. Hopefully you will find it insightful and I will be as honest as I can about what it’s really like to be a travel blogger.
I wanted to start a travel blog to inspire others to travel more, whether it be for the first time or for offering the frequent flyer a destination they hadn’t yet thought or heard about. It would be a website for all who loved everything travel. When I first began with help from Adam, we learnt from scratch the world of WordPress, it’s like learning a new language. We found some free monthly WordPress meet ups in Newcastle that proved to help us out on certain blogging topics, such as SEO and selecting a theme for example. I won’t lie to you it was a hard slog, but if you have the determination and commitment then you will overcome all these new obstacles and reach your goal. With a new shiny website www.sostravel.co.uk up and running I now had to get the content on.
What I would say is when it comes to writing your blog post-
A) There are no written rules on when you have to post or how much. Do it all at your own pace, don’t be rushed by others as you can be overwhelmed quite easily.
B) It’s important to get the content online, it doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about the minor details. People want to read about your experiences and be inspired to take a trip or visit for themselves. Don’t underestimate yourself!! We all worry whether a post will be a a success or not, I still now have a second pause before hitting the publish button on my own work. It never leaves you, but what I will say is it means you care and are passionate about your work.
I remember sitting night after night at the dining room table typing my past travels up and willing myself to continue. I got there and I am still here, I believe you can do it too! I enjoy nothing more than telling someone I have met for the first time about a certain trip I took or offering some tips on a specific country they want to visit. It fills me with excitement and happiness that I can help. When writing I write from the heart, I know everyone has their own way and its best to do it the way you feel most comfortable. I want my blog posts to be an enjoyable read with good information and helpful tips. Along with a host of pretty pictures to connect my travels together for the reader, you. There is nothing nicer than getting a kind comment online about a post and I always reply to everyone. If I can offer one tip, if someone has made the effort to send you a comment please show the same respect back and reply. It’s common courtesy and you will build many a budding friendship from these lovely remarks.
Friendship is a good point to bring up, blogging opens you up to a whole new world of people, some you may never ever have met. I am thankful for the genuine friends I have made on social media, I don’t know what I would do without them sometimes… Social media is tough, it’s what I have found the hardest. Not in connecting and following with others, in learning how to cope with negative side of it. Everyone isn’t your friend, my kindness at times has been taken for weakness and I have been hurt a lot. There have been a number of occasions over the last 3 years that I have said to Adam or my family enough is enough. However I’m not a quitter and this is my passion. I’m not going anywhere and I grit my teeth and continue on. If any of you are feeling this way, I want you to know you aren’t alone and if you ever need anyone to talk to just message me. People for whatever reason can be nasty and selfish, I would say that it’s all silly as we are grown adults not kids and there is room for us all. Don’t let some online bully deter you, as there are many many nice people waiting to cheer you on to success. For this very reason I have decided to set up a new idea called ‘Mentor Monday’. Whereby each week you can send me your questions all about blogging, then on the Monday of the following week I along with another blogger will answer a few of those questions, the best we can honestly and truthfully. Hopefully making your time in the blogging world a little easier and more pleasant. This will begin in a few weeks time, so stay tuned!!
I know everyone says it’s not about the numbers you have on social media that counts, but it’s all everyone worries about. When starting out or if you are struggling at the moment, remember it’s more important to connect with others and share your stories. The rest will all follow in time, keep plugging away and working hard. My favourite phrase is “Consistancy is the KEY”, it is!! If you are regularly adding content, your readers will come. Another tip I love to use whilst promoting my posts online is through visual means, not just photos as I love videos too, as they make people feel like they are there with you, giving a great experience and opportunity to enjoy the place or country before they actually book and go. A bit like a try before you buy option!
A question that has always popped up during my blogging journey so far is about scheduling posts on social media channels, I will truthfully say I have NEVER scheduled a post. Mainly because I want everything that you see or hear from me to be from me at that very moment I press post. Don’t get me wrong I think if you work alongside you blog or are short on time then scheduling is the best option for you. You should do what feels best for you, don’t worry about what others are doing!!
Another great way to interact with others whether you are travel blogger or fashion blogger for example, is to look out for chats online you can get involved in. For travellers there is RoadTripChat on a Monday with Lori and the CultureTravChat on Twitter with Nicolette on Thursday’s. Also each day tends to bring a new hashtag and I thought it may be helpful to list these so you can see what they are. As it is a great icebreaker on many of the channels to make new connections. Hope it helps!
Monday- #MotivationMonday, #MondayMood, #Top4Theme
Tuesday- #TravelTuesday, #TuesdayThoughts
Wednesday- #WanderlustWednesday, #WaterfallWednesday, #WellnessWednesday, #WednesdayTourist & #WindowseatWednesday
Thursday- #ThankfulThursday, #ThrowbackThursday, #ThursdayThoughts
Friday- #FlashbackFriday, #FoodieFriday, #FridayFeeling, #FollowFriday
Saturday- #Caturday, #WeekendVibes, #StreetArtSaturday
Sunday- #SundaySunsets, #WeekendWisdom
I have learnt a lot about myself during the last 3 years, I am stronger than I thought I was and I have surprised myself. As sometimes when you push yourself you do! I have learnt I’m a good listener, as it’s not all about you you do have to give other people support and care. Read others blogs and gain so much knowledge from each other. If I was to pick the most important thing to come out of my blogging, support is no 1. If you have a good support network you will fly like a bird, as that encouragement, love and help will be exactly what you need. Not in the good times but in the bad, when you want to give up and I promise you you will… It’s awful to feel this way but we all do. We also all get through it though, with this support and I don’t know what I would do without mine. You all know who you are and I love you lots and lots. If you don’t have the support, there are always people, fellow bloggers and friends willing to offer it to you. Never feel alone as you aren’t.
Money isn’t that the be all and end all of blogging. Start a blog and become an instant success, earning bucket loads of money?! Well I hate to burst the bubble but it doesn’t work that way for the majority, of course there are the odd few it may happen too. If you are just in it for the cash then I think you may be disappointed, it takes a lot of hard work and building of social media to get to this point. I never became a blogger for the money, of course I like it and want to be paid but that wasn’t my motivation. Mine was to give back what I know about travel, no I’m not a saint haha but I truly want to inspire. Yes when work comes along or a hotel stay it’s absolutely brilliant and I feel like I have won the lotto, as it’s what I love to do. But keep in mind what is important to you and as I said before the rest will follow accordingly.
The future? Well I hope to continue with my travel blogging and growing my site from strength to strength. As we enter the start of the 4 th year I feel positive about future, with new tours to be announced soon for Top10Marrakech trips to the Red City of Marrakech, please get in contact with me if you would like to take one! I look forward to a host of new travels ahead and a possible move abroad in the foreseeable future with Adam. I want to end in saying the biggest THANKYOU to you all for being so nice and reading my posts. You will never know just how much that means to me, as when I first started out I said to Adam are you sure people will want to read about my travels?? He said yes they will and he was right, you do! Mind he’s not right about everything but that’s another story…
My message to you all is, whether you have been blogging for awhile or are new to the blogging world, KEEP GOING and KEEP WRITING! We all want to hear your voice and experiences.
Much love, Sam xx