Updating our blog: Plans for the next two months

Updating our blog: Plans for the next two months

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You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it.

Such is the case regarding the technology behind our struggling blog. There are basic things I don’t understand, simply because I didn’t know they existed. These things – that I don’t know –  are hindering our progress and reach. We’re on a mission to change that – and in the process, we’ll be updating our blog.

After two years of self-teaching and picking up tips here and there along the way, we’ve decided it is high time we take our blog a little more seriously. And, there’s no time like the present. We are currently in the Netherlands, house (and pet!) sitting for 10 weeks. It is the ideal time to temporarily shift our focus from writing posts to the actual running of our blog.

Instead of our usual tinkering around and fumbling through the random advice we find online, we’ve enrolled in a blogging course specific to travel bloggers. Within the next month I will be diving into the back end of our site in order to make it more user friendly, professional and, well, prettier up front.

My 'office' while I'm updating our blog

My ‘office’ during our blog revamp.

Not only are we seeking a new layout and logo, we are also working to clean up the parts of the blog that aren’t visible. I won’t bore you with the specifics of technical jargon, but I can only attest to the fact that a lot more goes into a successful blog than just prose and pictures.

After only the first few lessons, I have more questions than I have answers. Hopefully, that will be a short-lived trend. Either way, I will no longer be able to be blissfully unaware of the interworking of the blogosphere.

While ‘school’ is in session, we will continue to post new content, just not as much as we usually do. We will still be sharing photos and short stories on social media, so you can stay tuned to our adventures there. (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook)

Before we start updating our blog, we’d like to hear from you regarding what you like and what you think needs improvement. We appreciate honest feedback, so if you have a minute, would you please complete our survey below? Don’t forget to click submit at the end! Thanks!

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7 thoughts on “Updating our blog: Plans for the next two months

  1. Sharon Applewhite

    I keep trying to comment on your blog title but the computer eats it – so here goes my last effort! Long!!!
    Your title doesn’t reflect what you’re doing now – needs to be more encompassing and professional sounding. While in the Netherlands also take time to research any way to sell sponsorship for your efforts – they are valuable to future travelers. Subjects could be craft beers, Croatia, and how to plan and accomplish and enjoy a walking tour – and walking equipment like good shoes. How about subscriptions – good for libraries, nursing homes.

    You need a theme that is consistent throughout – subjects and pictures that are included every time and relate to the area discussed. In that vein, one of my favorite books is Van Loon’s Lives by Henrik Van Loon, written in the Netherlands about 1936 or 7. Only available used these days. It is an example of a consistent theme used very effectively and I am reminded of it because one of the lead characters lived where you are now – in the 12th century. Desiderus Erasmus, the “last man who knew everything” was an influential monk at the start of the European Renaissance and the author imagines dinners and conversations with him and “guests” that are informally informative. Look him up while you’re there – I know there is a monument or a house – I think. Queen Elizabeth and Queen Theodosia of Byzantium are one pair, George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte are another. In preparation the subjects of food, travel, history, and politics of each guest are researched so the reader gets information about stuff I’ve seen in your photographs and comments – like local markets, historic buildings, how to get around, battle scars, politics now as compared to then, etc, etc. That’s what I mean about a theme – which would be your brand.

    I have enjoyed all your posts (in my computerly negative fashion) and hope you continue as I vicariously travel with you. All except the walking – I would uber – if I could get my phone to work.
    Sharon

  2. Taking a course is something I’ve wanted to do for a while as blogging is frustrating business and a lot of the ‘advice’ out there is very self-interested. I think there’s more money to be made in making yourself out be be a ‘blogging mentor’ than an actual blogger.
    Our traffic has tripled over the last 6 months or so but nothing to do with the BS you’ll find online. In the beginning I played the blogger game of sharing tweets/FB posts but honestly I think that is something the bigger bloggers want to sell you on…it doesn’t bounce back. When we started getting traffic was when I stopped doing social media (except Pinterest which has done well) and started just focusing on my own content. Google has been my biggest friend. Make sure also to properly name your photos when uploaded to your posts, many people get to the blog from an image they’re searching online.

    Facebook has also been a friend but that’s only because I handed it to Spanky. It only does well because she enjoys it and spends a lot of time doing it. Even at that, with about 17k likes on FB, squeezing blog traffic out of it is tough. I find FB people like FB, they don’t necessarily want to click links and FB doens’t encourage it.

    There’s always a trade off between social media and doing your own content and I personally think time spent on content is more productive. That’s my experience to date. But I’d be interested in what you learn and it it works for you I’d be interested in eventually taking a course as well. So let me know if what you learn works for you!

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • I totally agree with you regarding the blogger consulting ventures! We have some serious technical issues on the back side of our site…but can’t really pinpoint the issues. We are hoping this course will at least get us to ask the right questions rather than flailing around helplessly. I’ve scanned the course and so far the jury is still out whether or not this was a good investment…Will keep you posted! 😉

      • Thanks Sarah, I’m curious. Like you I’ve learned a few things here and there on my own but there’s tons of technical stuff I don’t know (or that honestly I find boring and can’t prioritize). I think there’s always stuff to learn – but on the other hand I don’t want to fall for a gimmicky blogger-feeder scheme that won’t be of any use.
        Frank

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