As you may or may not have noticed, I was very active on my blog during November. I posted a new article on my blog every day for a whole month. Yep, talk about commitment…
Why would I do such a thing to myself, I hear you ask? Well, I did it for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to determine how I really felt about travel blogging. Was it something that, if I was put under enormous pressure, I would still enjoy doing it? Secondly, I wanted to set a rewarding challenge for myself. A challenge that I could complete, but would take a lot of work. Thirdly, I wanted to find out what articles are most popular with my readers, and what articles I enjoy writing the most. And lastly, I was curious. What would happen to my blog traffic if I posted an article every day? The scientist in me wanted to know.
Challenge accepted and completed! Now I must confess that my initial plan was to have some sort of backup. I wanted to work my butt off during the last couple of days in October to have a ‘blog article reserve’ to fall back on if need be. But this didn’t happen at all! I had a clear idea of what I wanted to blog about for the first week of November with a couple of articles lined up. But after the first week, I took it day by day.
Instead of going into the stats, which I’m sure most people would find boring, I want to share the lessons I’ve learned from posting a blog article every day for a month. Here we go!
I really love writing…
If I didn’t love writing, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this challenge. Seriously, I would have given up on day 4 or 5. A lot of work went into it, but I stuck it out for 30 days. Whoop! Whoop! It’s rare to find something you’re so passionate about that even when you’re working your ass off, you still enjoy doing it. This challenge just confirmed my love for writing.
Apart from writing, I really enjoyed supplementing my articles with great photos. Sometimes when words fail to capture a moment, photos can. My next challenge would be to develop and improve my photography skills.
Yes, your web traffic will increase
This might seem obvious, but in science, everything you say must be supported by data. Well, now you have that data. Not only did I attract new readers, my page views for the month of November were the highest since launching my blog last year.
I also learned the importance of having my articles shared on social media websites. My most popular article was about the Brainstorm Festival, a small metal music festival held in Apeldoorn every year. The organizers of the festival were kind enough to share my article on their Facebook page, which led to a lot of views for me. It’s all about networking with the right people.
It will always take longer than you think
Everything that goes into publishing a blog post: planning, writing and editing an article and selecting and editing photos for the article, is very time-consuming. In fact, I noticed that my timing was almost always wrong. It took much longer than I thought for me to complete and publish an article. So my advice here: plan how long it will take you to complete an article. Then add a couple more hours just to be on the safe side.
I love writing about animals
The articles I most enjoyed writing were the ones about animals. I had a whole process. First I would look through my photos to find the best animal snaps. Then I had to go about identifying the animals, which at times could be very difficult. Once I was satisfied that I had correctly identified an animal, I read up about it. I gathered as much information as I could from both the web and scientific articles. Then I take all the interesting facts and write a blog post. It might seem like a tedious process, but I enjoyed every moment. Each animal has at least one remarkable fact worth sharing.
I want to write meaningful articles
In addition to writing helpful guides and sharing my top travel tips, I also realised something important. I want to tackle difficult issues in the world, specifically concerns about animals in the travel industry. For example, how to find ethical animal encounters while you’re traveling. And why you should never ride an elephant and what about zoos in the modern world? I want to use my training as a zoologist to shed some light on animal welfare.
To all the other travel bloggers out there, follow in my footsteps and set a writing challenge for yourself. It’s so rewarding in unexpected ways!