Today’s travel blogging tips article features a blogger who has been successfully living a location independent lifestyle for eight years.
James Clark is the author of travel blog Nomadic Notes. On the road since 2003, James confesses he needs only his laptop, an internet connection and a pillow to keep himself going.
As well as running his personal travel blog, James finances his location independent lifestyle with web design and travel promotion activities.
With eight years of success behind him, and no doubt more to come, today James shares his thoughts on creating and running a successful travel blog.
Tell us a little bit about James, and your site, Nomadic Notes
I am Australian by passport, though currently of no fixed address. I run an online business that revolves around travel, including web design and site optimisation, as well as travel marketing. Nomadic Notes is my personal travel blog which features photos and notes as I wander my way around the world.
Why did you start writing a travel blog?
I started Nomadic Notes as a personal creative outlet away from my online business sites, and I use this site to participate in the online travel community.
How do you define success in terms of your travel blog?
There are the obvious metrics, such as the month by month increase in traffic, but as a personal blog I would say that success for me has been in being part of a community of like minded people and making real life friends who I talk to and meet up with offline.
What aspirations do you have for your travel blog?
I use my travel blog as a means of improving my writing and photography, as well as making myself known in the travel community and beyond.
Do you follow any metrics in terms of traffic analysis / site ranking, and how important do you think these are?
I mainly use Google Analytics to gauge the progress of my site. I use the traffic numbers and referrals as a yardstick to see how I can improve traffic numbers. I take note of metrics such as Google Page Rank, Alexa, Compete etc, but those aren’t accurate measurements and can be too easily gamed to be useful.
Being obsessed with checking website stats can become an obsession, so be aware of that. It’s better to focus on creating content and engaging with readers.
What techniques have you used to improve your traffic, and how successful have these been?
I do link exchanges with other travel bloggers, as well as promoting my site through social media (mainly Twitter, Facebook and Stumbleupon).
What have you found to be the hardest thing about running a travel blog, and how do you overcome this?
Running a travel blog while actually travelling is the hardest thing for me. If you are out taking in new sights all day, it is a real effort in time management to set aside some time to create new content, in addition to my other work which I need to find time for as well.
What sort of time commitment do you put in to your travel blog on a weekly basis?
I try and post twice a week, though when on the road this is often once a week. In addition to content, there is the promotional side of engaging readers via social media. I spend my spare time working on multiple sites, so I really couldn’t say how much I spend on one site.
If there was one thing you wish you could have known before you started writing your blog, what would it have been?
I’m learning as I go so I don’t really wish I had known anything. If anything though it would have been I wish I started earlier. If you are thinking about starting a travel blog, stop thinking and register a domain, NOW!
What have you found to be the best way to go about generating an income from your blog?
As I am already generating income from commercial websites I am not reliant on income from my travel blog. Monetizing a personal travel blog is difficult, but if you are interested in earning income online I would suggested starting other sites which would be more suitable for commercial purposes, such as destination guides or on specific niches you are passionate about.
How do you go about promoting your travel blog?
There are a multitude of ways to promote your site. Early on, commenting on other travel blogs is a good way to get on other travel bloggers radar. Exchanging links, doing guest posts and interviews and social media are good methods as well.
If you have questions or problems with your site, where do you go to find answers?
I usually just Google any problems I have. There are also some good travel blog groups on Facebook where the members can point you in the right direction.
And finally, what key advice would you give to people running, or thinking about setting up, their own travel blog?
I would give the same advice that was given to me when I first started making websites – write about a subject that you love to write about, not just because you want to make money from it. That way if your site doesn’t create any income it wont matter so much as you are blogging for the love of it.
Massive thanks to James for taking the time to answer all of my questions and be entertaining with it. You can find more from James on his website, Nomadic Notes, and you can find him on Facebook,Twitter and Google Plus. If you have any questions or comments on the interview, hit up the comments box below.
Don’t forget you can see more tips from other travel blogging experts by checking out the rest of the series, which thus far has interviewed nearly twenty successful travel bloggers. Enjoy!