Although I have been documenting my travels through this blog for over a decade (a decade!), I didn’t take it seriously until 2013. At the end of that year, I decided to put my back into it and really give this travel blogging thing a go. I began by making 9 New Year’s Resolutions for my site. 3 years later I’m looking back at the resolutions I made, how far I’ve come, and what I should change in 2017.
First, let’s look back at those initial resolutions for a travel blogger and what I promised to change:
1) Travel more
Tick. In the past three years I have visited over 50 countries on five continents and gone around the world two-and-a-half times….boy are my arms tired!
Looking Ahead – Sadly, 2017 will see me travel less. More on that later.
2) Take better photos
Yup. I think I’ve done well and my site and Instagram followers would agree. In three years I’ve gone from “what is Instagram?” to almost 10K followers. Still, there’s room to improve.
Looking Ahead – I am by no means a professional photographer but in 2017 I hope to take a couple more lessons and push that Instagram following to well over 10K.
3) Post more content
Let’s look back:
- In 2013 I posted 34 articles
- 2014 I posted 100
- 2015 a stupid 201
- and in 2016 187
Looking Ahead – 2017 will see me come down to earth here…and that’s a good thing. Sometimes less is more. Posting 3 to 4 times a week is not good as it just becomes noise. It was necessary to fulfill the commitments I made with tourism boards, hotels, and tour operators and I am impressed I pulled off such a pace. I will back down to one to two times a week in an effort to remove the fluff.
4) Post shorter content
Another tick. The reason I was able to post so much was because I focused on shorter content and photo heavy stories. Again, this is not necessarily better.
Looking Ahead – In 2017 I will head back to posting more meaningful content that is engaging and less fluffy. This may mean longer but (hopefully) more engaging.
5) Post less noise
In 2013 I was experimenting with social media. Twitter was relatively new to me and I shared anything and everything as I tried to tune in to what worked and what didn’t.
Looking Ahead – Four years later in 2017 I will be doing much the same. What worked for me over the last couple years may not work going forward and as social media evolves, I must adapt.
6) Express yo self
In 2013 I recognized that with more content comes less personal stories and experiences. This was true and, sadly, I failed to overcome it. I did share popular stories on my selfish visit to Larry Bird’s hometown and being escorted home by a stray dog in Antigua, but truthfully, I hate talking about myself. I have even shared fewer photos of myself over the last couple years.
Looking Ahead – In 2017, this will change. It has to. All the successful bloggers I follow share very personal stories that connect and keep their readers coming back. I lost sight of this and focused on reviewing hotels and tours instead of being true to myself.
7) Be more social
Another thing I recognized in 2013 was the needs to interact with my audience. Although I was successful at this for a while, constant travel and writing about it got in the way. This led me to utilizing automated services to manage and share my content. This is not engaging but did help to grow my following so can’t knock it.
Looking Ahead – 2017 I will move back to more conventional ways of interacting. Hi, my name is Shaun and such. I have already started attending more industry events and am building relationships beyond my blog.
8) SEO yo Self
2013 I noticed the need to stand out in a sea of words. While I began floating to the top of Google search term rankings for my posts, there is always room to improve.
Looking Ahead – In 2017 I will once again look back and redefine myself amongst the now overcrowded world of travel blogs. How? I am not sure yet but I have the time now to figure that out.
9) Trim the fat
Although eating my way around the world has had its consequences and I do need to address them, when I say trim the fat I mean the content of my site. In 2013 I recognized the truth in “less is more” and started to keep things on topic and short. This was missed when I started posting 3 to 4 times a week and started spamming my audience with content they did not necessarily care for.
Looking Ahead – Similar to resolutions three to six, 2017 is the year to focus on more engaging content. Trimming the fat is, once again, a start.
5 (NEW) New Year’s Resolutions for a Travel Blogger
As mentioned, they’re always ways to improve. Here are five more New Year’s resolutions for a travel blogger to work on:
Get published. Seriously.
This has been on my to-do list for a long time. Travel and an aggressive posting schedule made it impossible to look beyond my own site. Turns out, I was doing it wrong. A big push behind major travel bloggers hitting the next level is the traffic and recognition gained from posting content on sites other than their own. I’ve known this for a while and need to make time to make it happen. 2017 is that time.
My 90-year-old grandfather always shakes his head at me when I tell him where I have been. “You should experience your own country before seeing the world.” Although I always shrug this off as old world thinking, he isn’t wrong. Canada is an incredible country and it needs to be shared. Besides being listed as the destination to visit in 2017, the political mess south of the border has made me want to stick closer to home. In 2017 I intend to do just that…and hopefully take my grandfather with me. I’m hoping to take him on a train ride through the Rockies while capturing his life as a railroad station operator. I’m already off to a good start with posts on Edmonton and Yellowknife scheduled for early this year. Then there is ticking off my bucket list item of visiting every province and territory by hitting the East Coast.
Smell the roses
Somewhere in the middle of 2015 I lost track of really enjoying travel. It became work and it became exhausting. After spending a month in Thailand cooped up in my air conditioned room or under a fan at a coffee shop, feverishly catching up on content, I cracked. I had just planned out the next amazing 3 months of travel and I didn’t want to go. I was exhausted and lost sight of what I was doing and that is never a good thing.
2017 I will be smelling the roses.
Go big or go home
Confession time. The latter part of the statement has already happened. I’m no longer a full-time nomad. I’m back living in Vancouver, working a 9-5, and traveling as much as possible in between. Staying true to resolution #6, I intend to share how I ended up here and why it’s not a bad thing. Essentially, I put my career on hold to travel full time, came home and got a promotion. Winning?
2017 puts me at a crossroads. I have worked incredibly hard to get to this point travel blogging but I still struggle to stand out and make any sort of living at it. 2017 could be my last push.
This brings me to my last point:
All this hard work has to pay off right? Truthfully, I have been making money off of the site for a couple years, but passive income at that. I rarely post something without gaining some sort of financial game. 2017 I will focus on how to make this work better.
What say you?
Thoughts on these New Year’s resolutions for a travel blogger?
Let’s hear it!
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