This week I am celebrating three years since my site went live! It has all blown by so fast, however I have learnt so much along the way and want to pass on some of it to you, as well as offering my readers a chance to win something to celebrate during the new year.
Enter the competition below to be in with a chance of winning £100 of Amazon Vouchers. One lucky person will be chosen in a month’s time and will be sent the online voucher via email.
My Best Moments
While reminiscing of the days when I was staring at the WordPress homepage wondering how the hell I build a blog, it is hard not to think of so many memorable and touching moments I have experienced. I had put in my five best moments so far:
1) Travelling Across South America
A couple of months before jumping on a plane, I was stuck in a job where I was working around 10 hours a day. My stress levels were through the roof and I was hating life. While this can just become our lives, Spaghetti Traveller was my way out, as I told myself I didn’t need to live like this. So I handed in my notice and bought a ticket to Peru that day. I headed out there and had some of the most amazing moments of my life, meeting people I will never forget and still in contact with now.
I’m sure every blogger goes through these moments (except the huge ones) where you start to question the point of it all. When I spend my weekend writing content, designing and editing images, learning video editing and building my social accounts, I wonder why I’m doing it all for free with no end return. I have always written the content to be helpful to people wanting to travel somewhere, however it can be a very draining experience at times, which is why recognition from firms or award ceremonies are always appreciated. Thomson Holidays just highlighted me as the travel blogger to watch in 2016, Easyjet highlighted me as their blogger of the month a while back, while I’m currently nominated for the UK blog awards.
3) USA Road Trip
Still the best trip of my life, I had a road trip from San Francsico to Miami, stopping everwhere along the way and this all started the travel bug, which I’ve never been able to shake off since. Of the top 10 moments of my life, around 50% were on this trip!
Following on from reading hundreds of other travel blogs, it is amazing to attend conferences, blogger meetups and events and beginning to recognise the people around you. While most people have grown up to celebrities in magazines and many young kids now have their YouTube heroes, I have looked up to other bloggers which have achieved such great results. Therefore, getting drunk with these people is an amazing experience!
My most successful page on my site since its release is my personal bucket list. I found there were a huge amount of people looking for a simple list, however there didn’t seem to be a great resource for this. I therefore made one up and within a short period of time it started ranking on Google all over the world. At its peak, it was number one for all the related terms in the UK, USA and Australia!
Building Your Own Blog
So many people ask me about creating their own blog, however it never becomes anything more than a dream. Everything will remain a dream unless you take the leap and dive straight in. Write down your goals, what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. You can do all the preparation in the world but if you don’t just jump in then you will always be waiting.
Every day you delay it, you are pushing yourself further away from achieving your dream. I have therefore given my five tips for new starters:
1) Find A Name
Choosing a name for your site is getting harder and harder as so many domain names have been bought. I would recommend loading up a site such as GoDaddy and inputting site name ideas to see if they are available. Don’t EVER consider anything other than the extension for your country or .com. So I have Spaghettitraveller.com and .co.uk bought out. Some people buy stuff like .co, not realising this is for a particular country (Columbia), meaning they might struggle to rank in the UK and will randomly be getting traffic in Columbia.
2) Social Accounts
It isn’t just the domain name, you also need to make sure you can get the social accounts. Once you have this, you need to start building out the social accounts (you might want to consider investing in some bots just to speed the initial process up a bit).
3) Create The Content
There will come a point when you just can’t be bothered to write a blog post and the issue you may face is that as you leave it one weekend, you then leave it the next weekend and then it becomes a task you keep saying “tomorrow I will write something”. To protect against this, I always recommend getting a chunk of content done beforehand, so you can focus on the other tasks, such as coding, creating and editing images and videos, building your social accounts and general work on the site.
4) Google Analytics & Search Console
These are free tools by Google which are absolutely essential. They will help you to recognise where you are gaining traffic from, whether you have any issues with the site, schema markup, HTML improvements, XML sitemap submission, localised & international targeting, demographics data etc.
5) Link Building
Be careful if you read about this topic, as you don’t want to adopt any ‘old school’ methods. Whether guest posting on other blogs in your niche, putting yourself forward as a case study or an expert opinion for large publications or creating a great piece of content which has the potential to go viral, there are many tricks which will work in 2016.
Remember if you ever want to learn more about digital marketing, you can head over to my other blog ‘Hoop Marketing’. I’m also happy to answer any questions you may have if you’re considering setting up your own site.