I can’t believe how much fun the Featured Writer Friday series has been. I’ve been getting a lot of good comments on the series and think that it will continue. I hope you all have been enjoying these blogging tips and I hope they have been helpful. I have to tell you that I have learned a few things too. So without further ado, here’s Carmen from Wellington World Travels to give you her blogging story and to share with you some of her blogging tips.
Take it away, Carmen!!
Hello everyone. I am Carmen. I am a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful kids, 3-year-old son and 4-month-old baby girl. I was born in the Philippines, but I currently live in Doha, Qatar with my husband and kids. I used to work as a Nurse in the Philippines, and also worked as a flight attendant overseas for more than 3 years. That’s how I was able to travel more than 50 countries across 6 continents and met my husband. I blog at wellingtonworldtravels.com where I share my world travels, family adventures, photos, reviews and expat experience.
1. How long have you been blogging?
Since I started traveling in 2010, I have been sharing my experiences, travel guides and photos with my family and friends on social media. However, it was only last year that we decided to make it official and start a blog.
2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?
I am a part-time blogger. I am a stay-at-home mom, so when I am not blogging, I am taking care of my kids. I am planning to go back to the work field and further my education in a few months.
3. What got you started into blogging?
My blog started out as a place to document my travels and adventures, and share my photos. Now, it has become a platform on which I can voice my thoughts, opinions, knowledge, and ideas.
4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?
Wellington World Travels started as a travel blog where we share our world travels, travel guides and tips. Since I have been traveling with the kids most of the time, I started sharing our family adventures, tips for traveling with kids, etc – which I enjoyed writing the most. I also do hotel reviews and post unfiltered photos for our readers to see the reality behind the photoshopped, well-designed websites of hotels. For the trips that I can barely remember what happened, I share them under photo essays. As expat ourselves, we wanted to know how it is to live and work in a foreign country aside from Qatar. So we created Expat Life Interview Series where we interview expats of their day-to-day and/or working life experience. We publish interviews every first Friday of the month. I also post a travel quote every Wednesday to fill up the ‘silence’ in my blog. Once in awhile, I do series on my blog like #MondayMemories where I share my first travel moments, packing tips series, and money saving tips.
5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?
Doing interviews, guest posts, and collaborative posts on my blog and on other blogs are great ways to drive traffic to my blog. To be honest, I can’t create content all the time. There was a time last year when I felt unmotivated, occupied with some issues, and busy with the new baby. Thanks to guest posts and interviews, I was able to post something. I do Expat Life Interview Series on my blog, accept guest posts, and initiate collaborative posts to increase blog traffic. To increase my blog’s Domain Authority and Page Authority, I do the same in exchange for external links or backlinks. I do interviews on general blogging like Dan Swords’ Featured Writer Friday, travel, and parenting niche. I also collaborate with other bloggers and do guest posts on another niche. Why? Because they are bound to have followers interested in travel and may visit my blog. I have already guest posts and interviews scheduled on other blogs until May.
Joining several Facebook groups also helped improve my blog views, traffic and exposure. I am a member of more than 5 groups, and each has its own rules. We get to share posts, leave comments, Instagram posts likes, retweet tweets, share on Facebook, click through, and many more. Some of the groups I joined are Travel bloggers, Grow Your Blog, Blogger Engagement Group, Circle of Travel Bloggers, Blog Support Group, and many more.
Joining travel Twitter chats increased my Twitter followers. Some of the twitter chats I joined are #CheapOairChat, #TRLT, #FamilyTravelHour, #ExpediaChat, #PassionPassport, #DCtravchat, #LPchat, #OneTravelChat, #TravelSkills. There are a lot more! They run on different days and time with different co-hosts in different topics. They are also a great way of meeting travelers or travel bloggers, and sharing photos and information.
Aside from Facebook and Twitter, joining Pinterest Group Boards gets my pins noticed and repinned. I usually follow bloggers on Pinterest and asked them to be added to their group boards. Join as many group boards as you can to get your pins everywhere. I have a Pinterest group board of my own as well.
6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?
So far, Google AdSense and Affiliate Links are not working out so well. I signed up with different affiliate companies like Linkshare, Shareasale, Agoda, Booking.com, etc. But it hasn’t generated any income for my blog. Google Adsense made my blog look spammy so I removed them and used affiliate banners instead. However, even if I haven’t made an income, affiliate links are proven to help monetize blogs.
I am having a hard time being an Influencer. There are several websites or companies that made it easier for brands to connect with bloggers for social content promotion and bloggers to monetize their blog by sponsored posts. However, If you notice, most of the Social Media Influencers look like models. Most brands available usually offer skin care products, makeups, and clothes for a paid sponsorship – which is not my niche. Nevertheless , I have signed up with a few websites like Social Fabric (US), BravoMark, Influenster, GetBlogged and Blogging Connect, but I am yet to see travel opportunities.
When it comes to social media, Instagram pods did not and will not work for me since I am not that active in Instagram. An Instagram pod is a group of Instagrammers who tell each other when they post, and promise to like and comment on everyone else’s to promote their visibility. This will help your post appear high on your feed (to ‘beat’ the algorithm), and help make an account seem more popular. Instagram pods did not work for me because I won’t be able to fulfill that promise to comment on all posts in the pod. Plus there are Facebook groups that have Insta-Like or Insta-Comment threads. So there is really no need for me to join an Instagram pod
7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?
I use WordPress to create my blog. It is very design-flexible and user-friendly. Even if you are not tech savvy, you can create your blog and add posts easily.
For web hosting, I highly recommend SiteGround. It is quite expensive, but you get what you paid for. Before, my site used to crash several times, and couldn’t handle large size photos. Now, the web performance and experience is superb.
For images, I use Canva. They have free pre-populated templates in different dimensions. So even if you are not design-savvy, you’ll love this. It also has several images, fonts, icons and shapes, and photo filters available. I use this tool mainly for making Pinterest pins.
I have been using Grammarly as a grammar checker. It checks all my posts for spelling, punctuations, sentence structure, etc.
Download high-quality images at Pixabay.com or Pexels.com. You can use these images for your blog posts or for whatever purposes you want. It is free and no copyright restrictions.
8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
While I am a supportive person and will definitely encourage that person to definitely go for it and start a blog, I also don’t want to give false hope and assurances. I would tell him/her that blogging takes up a lot of time. Just to create one post will already take up a lot of your time. From creating the content, doing research, finding images, editing images, editing post – before you realize it, several days has gone already. Don’t forget that you also need to promote it on social media or else how are you going to get a traffic. AND join facebook/twitter support threads to build your community. It will take all your time. If you want to earn money from your blog, it will take time. If you want lots and lots and lots of readers, it will take time. If you want more followers on social media, it will take time (unless you buy them). If you want a high amount of traffic, it will take time. If you want a high DA and PA, it will take years! So be sure that you are willing to invest your time in it. As they said, “Rome was not built in one day”.
9. Where can everyone find you?
Blog URL – http://wellingtonworldtravels.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/W_WorldTravels
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WellingtonWorldTravels/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/wellingtonworldtravels/
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