Today’s article features the lovely Andi Perullo, author of My Beautiful Adventures.
Shortly to be married (congratulations :)), Andi’s blog features updates on her travels, thoughts on her life, guest posts and even fashion advice.
Unlike many other travel bloggers I have featured (although not all!), Andi focuses on short term travel, balancing a career with her travel aspirations. Today she talks about how she achieves that, as well as a number of other topics. Enjoy the interview!
Tell us a little bit about Andi, and your site, My Beautiful Adventures.
I am a Chinese Medicine Doctor by day/travel addict by night. My Beautiful Adventures focuses mostly on the latter part of my life. It is my personal travel journal, where I share all of the experiences I have as I explore the world.
Why did you start writing a travel blog?
I began simply because friends and family encouraged me. Whenever I would return from a trip they would want to hear stories and see pictures and most felt this would be the easiest way for me to share everything. I also thought it would be a great way to connect with other travellers.
How do you define success in terms of your travel blog?
I feel successful when someone has told me that I have inspired them. Making money and gaining an increase in traffic is great, but neither compare to hearing that my blog has influenced or motivated someone to travel.
What aspirations do you have for your travel blog?
I would love to eventually turn my blog posts into a bestselling novel (romantic travelogue). I know that books are slowly becoming extinct, however it is a dream that I have had for a long time and I strongly believe in trying to accomplish all of your dreams no matter how big they are.
You have a well known online personality. How important do you think this is for the success of your site?
I think it is essential that your personality reflects in your blog. That is how readers will connect with you. If all you do is write generic lists and never share your own experiences people will never know who the real you is and they will lose interest. Hopefully, my personality reflects that above all, I blog as a service to others and that I always put my readers first.
Do you follow any metrics in terms of traffic analysis / site ranking, and how important do you think these are?
If your goal is to monetize your blog, then these are fundamentally important and should be checked on a daily basis to make certain that you are on the right track. While I do make money from my blog, I must admit that I do not pay enough attention to metrics. My resolution for 2011 regarding my blog was to pay more attention to metrics, so I installed Google Analytics and check it about 2-3 X a week.
What techniques have you used to improve your traffic, and how successful have these been?
I think the 2 most important “techniques” are 1) having valuable content, which will naturally attract a following and 2) constantly interacting with your readers. I respond to every single comment on my blog, Twitter, and Facebook that I receive. I am so grateful to every person that reads my blog and I want them to know that!
What have you found to be the hardest thing about running a travel blog, and how do you overcome this?
As much as I love my blog, my patients always come first. Sometimes, I become overwhelmed trying to balance both professions, but for the most part I have found a way to make it work by prioritizing. I also have a set schedule that I try my best to stick to.
What sort of time commitment do you put in to your travel blog on a weekly basis?
I would say that on average I devote anywhere from 0-6 hours a day to my blog/social media. It all depends on if I am working or on the road and how much writing/photo editing I need to do. When I am on the road I try to completely disconnect, since my travelling is short-term and I want to be fully present.
If there was one thing you wish you could have known before you started writing your blog, what would it have been?
I wish that I would have known more about SEO. Now that I know more, I have to go through every single blog post and edit certain things. It is incredibly time consuming.
How do you go about promoting your travel blog?
I mostly stick to Twitter and Facebook.
If you have questions or problems with your site, where do you go to find answers?
I use Google to research the question/problem and I ask my fellow bloggers. I have found that the travel bloggers in particular are such a genuinely helpful group of people.
Travel blogging is becoming more and more popular. How do you differentiate yourself in such a crowded market?
I think there are 2 ways that I distinguish myself. First, as previously mentioned, I am a short-term traveller. Most of the travel blogs out there are dedicated to long-term travelling. I show people that it is possible to have a career you are passionate about AND travel. A lot of people incorrectly think that that you have to choose one or the other or that short-term travel is less authentic, which it absolutely is not.
Secondly, I write day-to-day travel narratives. That is really unique. You will typically find that travel bloggers will either write lists or they will write about specific experiences from various trips in no specific order or only highlight certain parts of a trip.
What key advice would you give to people running, or thinking about setting up, their own travel blog?
I encourage every traveller to do it! However, you must be 100% dedicated to it and you must discover early on what your niche is. I highly recommend doing a lot of research and planning beforehand as well.
And finally, what question are you not able to answer when it comes to travel blogging, which perhaps the readers will be able to help you out with?
Honestly, in this moment I do not have any questions. If someone has a question for me though, I would love to hear it!
As always, tremendous thanks to Andi for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about her travels on her website: My Beautiful Adventures, plus you can find her on both twitter and facebook.
For more travel blogging tips from the experts, have a look at the rest of the series. To keep up to date with upcoming posts you can subscribe to the RSS feed or join in on the site’s Facebook page. In the meantime, if you have any questions or thoughts on this post or the series thus far, the comments box awaits!