First, let me thank Dan Swords for this opportunity! Dan has been a source of inspiration in my blogging journey for several months now. His, “how to blog” posts have been immensely helpful to me.
Hello! My name is Linda Witte and my husband is Fred Witte. Both of us are teachers; I am retired and Fred is still employed at a local technology campus. We live in Lake County, Illinois and love our area! We are close to both Chicago and Milwaukee, yet we live a country life. During the next few years, we are planning to be fully retired and hope to work and travel everywhere. Both of us love to tell our stories through writing and photographs and it only seems natural to share our incredible experiences with the world. This was the inspiration for Witte’s World Blog, a place to share our world with others. We are a young website, but we are thrilled to be part of the blogging world!
1. How long have you been blogging?
In 2011, I had Lapband surgery for weight loss. During my weight loss journey, I started a blog on Google to share the experience. I enjoyed the interaction and the ability to share my journey with everyone. In 2015, after I lost my weight, I set aside the blog to focus on life. Nevertheless, I was constantly journaling, writing poems, songs, short stories, and taking photographs to pass the time and sharing on Facebook. Time flew by and in 2017, we decided to start a travel, food, and life blog. Our current blog has been up and running since December 2017, and we can honestly say we are loving the journey!
2. Are you a full-time blogger or do you also have another job/career?
At this time I am a fulltime blogger. In the beginning, I spent about 6-10 hours a day learning about the basics of blogging. At that time, I had no knowledge of the backend and technology of a blogging. SEO, self-hosted, themes, branding, were all new vocabulary for me to learn. After about six months things are finally becoming much easier, but I still work on my blog from about 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. In addition to all the blog maintenance and posts; social media is an important tool for a blogger. We are on all forms of social media from about 6:30 am to 9:00 pm daily, even Saturday and Sunday. Everything you have to do is a fulltime job and more. At times, I find myself turning off all forms of social media, for a few hours just to keep myself sane. Someday, we are hoping that the blog will become a source of income and sponsors, but right now we are just getting the basics down.
My husband is working fulltime and helping me part-time with the blogging. When he retires in May of 2019, we will both be blogging full time. Currently, he is helping with marketing, photography, and social media. He is also working on writing his first few posts. Stay tuned for his voice entering the blog soon!
3. What got you started into blogging?
The love of writing and taking photographs! We started kind of blogging on our personal Facebook page while sharing our travel experiences with friends and family. They loved us sharing with them and with their feedback, it just seemed natural to create a blog to share our experiences with the world.
4. What is your blog about and how does it help others?
Our blog is “Travel, Food, and a Little Bit of Everything”. Our hope is that through our blog, the world will locate out-of-the-way places to travel, find locally owned restaurants to enjoy, and learn about life from an experienced couple.
5. What is working for you and your blog? Why?
I believe, the one factor working the best for our blog is the love we have for traveling, eating, photography, and life. When we enjoy what we are doing, it comes out naturally in our posts. However, we are still in the infant stages of blogging and we are spending much of our time finding our voice, niche, and branding. Collaborating with other bloggers is really working on building our website to be the best it can be. We have met and worked with many wonderful bloggers over the past six months.
6. What did not work out so well for your blog? Why?
About three weeks ago, while on a Facebook blogging support group, it hit me like a ton of bricks, that I was ruining the fun and purpose of our blog. In the group, someone said, “Do not use the word “blog”, it is a negative.” Really? We love to write, our writing is a blog, how can we be a blogger and not be called a blog? At that moment of reflection, I realized my biggest mistake for our blog; I wasn’t a blogger, I was a marketer. I was falling into the money-making trap. I ended up putting the writing, the photography and having fun on the back burner to make money. Why not? We are going to be part of the travel industry. Other bloggers were making money and staying places for free. I was convinced hotels and restaurants would be knocking down our door to write blog posts about their businesses. Having no understanding of how to monetize a blog, I signed up for courses on monetizing my blog. I took every lesson from the courses and used them to create my blog. I became obsessed with the idea of making money. Every post I wrote was an opportunity to add some affiliate links. All of a sudden my posts were being written to try and make a penny. Our blog voice, branding, everything turned into a money-making venture.
When I realized this, I went back to the drawing board and started looking at my blog as a fun place to share our experiences with the world. Not just a place to make money. Yes, we want to make money, it is our ultimate goal! Most importantly, we want to travel, write and share our experiences with the world. If we make money or travel for free in the future, that would be a great perk. If it doesn’t happen, it won’t matter because we are doing what we love.
7. What tools are you using that you can introduce my readers to?
I couldn’t live without my favorites tools for images. Canva and Picmonkey are great for resizing images for social media. Canva and Pexels, have a large selection of free stock images you can use, without the fear of copyright infringement. Canva is helpful with your branding because you save your preferred colors, images, and fonts. Resizeimage.com is free and helpful to ensure your WordPress images are the correct size for a quality post.
I love the writing add-on tool, Gradeproof for spelling, grammar, phrasing, and eloquence. For all my writing on social media, I use the free version of Grammarly. Just a reminder… do not over grammar check your writing! You want your writing voice to sound natural.
Social Media is imperative as a tool to get your name out there and get people to see your blog. My focus is on Twitter right now, I find it easy to use and people on Twitter are the most supportive and fun people. Facebook seems useful for support groups, but my business page is pretty lacking with followers and the followers I do have are not active. Instagram is great for sharing images and getting your name out there, but it is difficult to share posts through Instagram.
Pinterest is a great tool to drive traffic to your website. It is not “social media” but a search engine and you need to learn how to create pins, write descriptions, and schedule for optimization. I use Tailwind to schedule my pins and find groups, it is very easy to use and helpful.
8. What piece of advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a blog?
Actually, I have two pieces of advice! We learn from our mistakes…right?
- Do not start your blog only to make money (unless you are selling your own products). When you start your blog, spend the time to learn how to blog, then, after your blog is up and running and you have some subscribers, you can begin to think about monetizing with affiliates, sponsors, and ads. There is only one requirement that you will need to know before starting your site: To monetize your website you will need to be on a paid, self-hosted server like Bluehost, Siteground, or Flywheel.
- Before you go “live” with your blog, make sure you have found your theme, niche, and, branding. Get all the minutia out-of-the-way first!. Furthermore, type about 5 to 10 posts and find your voice/style. When you go “live”, you should have your blog perfected. Then after you go live, with a quality site and content, you will naturally get subscribers and followers. Your name will become known…then and only then, your site will be ready to monetize.
9. What do you have planned for the future of your website?
According to our business plan, our ultimate goal is to obtain sponsored posts for our blog to make money and travel and dine for free/reduced rates. However, we are looking forward to traveling near and far and sharing our journeys with the world. We love being bloggers, whether we are making money or just having fun!
10. Where can everyone find you?
Website – www.wittesworld.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/wittesworld1
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/wittesworld/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/wittesworld1/
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LindaWittesworld
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/wittesworld/
Tumblr – https://www.tumblr.com/blog/wittesworldtravelblog
You can also join my Social Learning Facebook Group at For the Love of Blogging
Are you interested in being part of the Featured Writer Friday series? If so, check out the featured writer guidelines. There’s not too much too it. It’s all about you, your writing, and your blog. Come on, click the link and be a part of the fun!!
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To your success.