Let’s go back, way back, to where it all began. Sounds very dramatic doesn’t it but I mean go back to when we first started our little JWalking blog. As soon as we decided to change our lives and wander off looking for adventure we also decided that we needed to document our experiences.
Why did we start our blog?
There were two reasons initially. First we needed a diary to record where we had gone, what we’d done, and who we’d met. We were aware that there was no way we could remember everything and we were keen to record our experiences in as much detail as possible. The second reason was to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
We knew that it might be tough to communicate individually with every single person as we travelled around so the blog seemed a perfect way of sharing what we were getting up to. After asking what people thought we were overwhelmed by the support and encouragement to start blogging. So we did.
Did we have any concerns about starting a blog?
Are you kidding? We were worried sick! Neither of us had ever done anything like this before and were completely out of our comfort zones writing and publishing content in any form. My web design and coding background obviously took away the technical challenge but that hardly made it easier at all. So we just went for it.
Apart from both of us learning how to handle creating content it was a big learning curve for Jo on the technical side. She was extremely IT literate but this was a whole new world. She obviously hit the ground running as I knew she would and took to it like a cat to water (I know, I know ….. it’s a duck!).
Our biggest worry, and one that has never left either of us, is that we didn’t want our blog to become a ‘Look at Us’ operation. Showing off about where we had been and what we had done was never ever behind it and anyone that knows us will know it’s not our style at all. So hopefully it never came across as a showy big deal to anyone.
Has our blog changed over the years?
Yes , it’s morphed completely through a few different styles. Initially as we learnt how to write and engage with an online audience it was just a simple diary with posts written in almost school essay format. We didn’t know any different at the time but as the months went by we started to learn what worked and what didn’t.
More interesting posts started appearing as our writing developed and also as we began engaging more with the huge blogging community. Who knew how many thousands of travel bloggers there actually were?
I think it’s developed in the past couple of years into a more relaxed easy-going style too.
Do we have different styles of writing?
Once again, are you kidding? We decided from the outset that we would try and write alternate posts. This was never going to be Jon’s blog with Jo just dipping in occasionally which it could easily have become. We were both determined to make it ‘OUR‘ blog so we took turns and still do.
Our writing styles are probably reflective of our personalities a little in that Jo’s posts are full of interesting facts and historical references, and are fabulously written. Whereas mine are completely emotional and chatty and tend not to be at all serious.
Jo might say ‘the 16th century castle was built by Charles I prior to the English civil war‘ where I would probably go for ‘what a huge, amazing place and did you see that annoying American woman?‘.
Did our audience change?
When we started we innocently thought that only family and friends would be interested in our story and mini adventures and had no thoughts or ambition for the JWalking blog to be anything else. As I started connecting with other bloggers and using social media to publicise our posts our views and hits began to increase.
We actually have two audiences. The first is the family and friends audience that we always envisaged connecting with , but the second is the worldwide blogging and travel community that we had absolutely no clue even existed.
In the early months as we toured Europe and Australia our audience was virtually all family and friends but now the majority is the online community. Sadly but understandably some of our old friends and even family have stopped following us after all this time. We suspected that this might happen but it does make us sad. We still have a few hardcore followers and commenters that have been with us since Day One like Lydia, Mayo, and Andy B that we are forever grateful to.
So our little blog grew from a corner shop with 30 followers to an international conglomerate (slight exaggeration) with over 10,000 followers. The numbers blow our minds constantly and we never get over the kind comments that we receive from all over the world.
What’s the future for JWalking?
I’m referring to the blog here and not the people of course! With life settling into much slower routine with less travel and searching for a new home, we aren’t living the exciting travelling life currently. So we are well aware that with less posts and less big adventures that the blog has slowed down of late. Happily our followers don’t seem to mind and are as supportive as ever so we will have to see where we go later this year.
Everything has a lifespan and blogs are no different. We don’t want to limp on for years with a half-hearted effort especially as we have worked so hard to make the blog what it is now. There will be a right time to stop and hopefully we will both know when that is before our followers lose interest. Not yet though, you don’t get rid of us that easily!