Dave and Deb are a Canadian blogging couple who have been married for 13 years. In that time they have managed to hike, bike, paddle and climb their way across 5 continents and 45 countries.
They are always looking for unique ways to explore the world while sharing their experiences through words and pictures - experiences which have made their site into one of the most successful couple adventure travel blogs out there. Today I ask them what drove them to do what they do and the challenges they’ve met on the way.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves, and your site, The Planet D
Back in 2008 we decided to change our lives. After a crazy New Years Resolution we signed up for the Worlds Longest Cycling Race through Africa called the Tour d’Afrique. We originally were using the race as a springboard for a T.V. show, but that fell through and we decided to concentrate on the blog. Thus The Planet D was born.
We are now full time travellers and have managed to turn The Planet D into one of the most influential travel resources on the net.
What drove you to start writing a travel blog?
We have been travelling extensively over the past 10 years and have always kept a journal. We decided shortly after the Tour d’Afrique that we wanted to share our experiences with more than just our family and friends. We were always looking for that up to date information whenever we travelled and realized that our travels could provide valuable information to people travelling at any particular moment.
How do you define success in terms of your travel blog?
We redefine our terms of success each day. Last year we would have said that selling an ad or being invited on a press trip would be a success. Now we are looking for ways to generate a larger income and to be able to travel indefinitely. Every time we make progress we end up making new goals. We are never satisfied, so I think it will be a long time before we genuinely feel like we are a success.
Which, if any, metrics do you follow in terms of traffic analysis / site ranking, and how important do you think these are?
Mostly we use Google Analytics. It seems to give you the
truest measure of your traffic stats. But we do check our Alexa, Compete and our Wordpress stats as well. We also pay attention to our Social Media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon. All of
these drive a tremendous amount of traffic to our site. I think that it is important to monitor all of these in order to set goals.
What have you found to be the hardest thing about running a travel blog, and how do you overcome this?
The time it takes. Especially on the road. It is one thing to write a travel blog sitting at home but quite another to do it while travelling. We post everyday, and feel this partly the reason for our success. It is a balance. You cannot sit at the computer all day while travelling. You need to experience a country. But to be a successful Blogger, you have to spend a lot of time online and put out regular content. Being able to schedule posts has been
our greatest asset. We travel and do adventures for a week or so and then sit down for a day or two and write the posts and edit photos. It has been working so far.
If there was one thing you wish you could have known before you started writing your blog, what would it have been?
The importance of SEO. If only we would have known about meta tags, title and alt attributes and keywords, who knows where we would be now.
What have you found to be the best way to go about generating
an income from your blog?
Advertising is the main way we generate income from our blog. But this has been a long time coming. Having a unique voice, interesting content, and a specific niche of an Adventure Travel Couple has helped to build traffic. We focused on building our brand and gaining loyal readers before we even thought about selling advertising space.
How do you go about promoting your travel blog?
We promote our blog mainly through Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon. We also focus on guest posts, syndication and commenting on other travel blogs.
How do you see travel blogging developing over the next few years?
With technology advancing, travel blogs will become more important to people searching for travel information online. More people are travelling with tablets and smart phones these days and having access to travel blogs current and up to date information will be an
What sort of time commitment do you put in to your travel blog on a weekly basis? On average we put in 25 to 30hrs a week. But it fluctuates when we are on the road. This doesn’t include taking photos and notes etc. The blog is always on our mind when we travel. It really is a full time job.
And finally, what key advice would you give to people running, or thinking about setting up, their own travel blog?
Look for a niche. In these times where anyone can start a blog, look for something unique. It will allow you to stand out from everyone else and help to build your site faster. Write regularly and write from the heart. People come to your blog because they want to hear your voice and opinions. Most of all make sure you truly enjoy writing and photography. You will be spending a lot of time at your computer so you better love it.
Enormous thanks to Dave and Deb for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’re interested in reading more from Dave and Deb, head on over their site, theplanetd.com. You can also find them on both Facebook and Twitter.
For more travel blogging tips from the experts, why not check out the rest of the series, where I continue to interview some of the key names in the travel blogging world.
If you have an opinion on this article, please do comment below. And if you’re a travel blogger keen to get involved in the series, head on over to the contact page and drop me a line. Happy travels!