Writing a travel blog is easy right? In fact, any sort of blog. You just sit down and bang out a few words on somewhere you’ve been and throw in some photos that you took and ‘wham’ it’s done! Then lots of people just happen to read and like it making it a huge success. Easy. Surely it’s that simple?
This may be how it works for some bloggers out there but we’re not accomplished authors or designers and really have to put a lot more thought and hard work into our JWalking prose.
How do we write our blog?
For a start we take it in turns. Jo creates one post then I do the next and so on. We decided that this was the only way to keep it as ‘our‘ blog and not let it develop into some sort of geeky IT project which it could easily have become.
- No schedule for posts, we just roughly plan a week ahead who’s going to do what.
- Try and write the post in one hit, spending 2-3 hours typing and researching.
- Choose the photos that we want from the stored library on the laptop.
- Jonno edits and uploads the photos chosen.
- Schedule the post although it’s often for the same day. We generally go for between 6 and 7pm.
- When published we link on Facebook and Twitter and upload an image or two to Pinterest.
So all in all a post usually takes around four and a half hours in total from sitting down to logging off.
How we started our Travel Blog?
Well we weren’t so organised and we really had no idea what we were doing. I setup the WordPress account and blog before quitting work and had a ‘try it and see‘ period of breaking things and messing up the site before deciding on what we wanted.
Then we simply typed what we thought and added a couple of small photos before publishing. No social media at all and hardly any thought to readability or layout. All of our followers were family and friends that we had personally told to ‘read out blog‘. Looking back on those posts now is a little uncomfortable as they look fairly childlike and are so hard to read. Maybe we should rewrite and re-post with re-edited images?
What we’ve learnt about blogging?
Initially I would say not much but that obviously isn’t true after developing our blog over four and a half years. Thinking about it we have learnt a great deal and after a discussion whilst walking the dogs this morning we jointly decided that;
- We’ve learnt how to write stories after not doing anything remotely like that since we were at school.
- We’re still learning how to structure posts with a combination of story and facts. Jo still struggles with not including too many facts and figures.
- We’ve figured out that shorter paragraphs and sub-headings make our posts more readable.
- We are still learning how to write in the correct ‘voice‘. We know it’s not an essay, a letter, or an casual text but that ‘voice‘ that you need to get balanced is tricky to get. Ongoing.
- We know that properly tagged images bring a post to life.
- We know all about social media and the boost it can give to hits and followers. Need to do more though.
- Most importantly we’ve learnt that our online audience is of equal importance to our personal friends and family.
What we should do and don’t!
I think we’re doing most things correctly but of course we could always spend more time on the blog. We have ideas for posts that we haven’t quite got around to and could obviously promote JWalking more on social media but the fact is that we are very comfortable with the amount of effort we currently put in. We’ve been approached several time to do sponsored posts or carry advertising but we still maintain that our blog is about our lives and not the other way around. Perhaps that will change in the future but I doubt it.
What we do to spread the word.
The obvious links to new posts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest of which we find Pinterest to be the best developer of new followers and hits by a long way. It takes a lot of work though and we go through peaks and troughs with promoting via social media.
Easily the most enjoyable and perhaps the most successful way of spreading the word is via comments on other blogs and engaging with like-minded bloggers. The support and interaction that we get from so many of them is truly humbling and inspirational. Just wish we had more hours in the day to connect with even more people.
What would our followers like us to do?
Managing a blog can be an insular experience sometimes as it’s so easy to get stuck into a particular way of doing things and not changing or expanding when necessary. So if there is anything that you, our followers, would like us to change then please let us know. Shorter posts? Less photos? More about blogging? Location-specific information? Silly stories? Who knows what works best but we’re happy writing whatever is appreciated the most.
How do we write a Travel Blog?
We do our very best and try and be completely honest and sincere in every word we publish. So the final byline would be that ‘we write our blogs as ourselves’. Which is how we hope it comes across …………