As this blog approaches a pretty significant milestone of 1 million views, I became inspired to blog about my writing process. Here are a few principles I follow in almost every single article.
1) Take Notes – Don’t Blog On The Road
I almost never write while traveling. The quality of writing is proportional to how much time I put into it. I don’t want to spend 3-5 hours of my travel rest time writing, cropping pictures, and editing. I tried to blog during in my 3000 km Road Trip of Korea and gave up by day 18 or so. Also, my thoughts and ideas on a place change as a trip progresses or looking back. My break down of the Maldives, for example, would have been a confused mess if it wasn’t written in retrospect. Which leads to #2…
2) Do Your Homework
I’ve ranted on what I think about guide books a few years ago on this breakdown of the Lonely Planet. Personally, I think blogs are still positioned to be the best source of information when it comes to planning a trip. However, too many blogs, are heavy on the “look at me” and very light on details or accurate information. This is one thing I didn’t care for in other blogs and was determined to focus more on the information and less on me. Any claims that are made are double checked and due diligence is part of the process.
3) Don’t Re-invent the Wheel
Speaking of due diligence! Whenever I get an idea of a blog post, I google the key words and check if anyone has written on that topic. If it has been done, I try to think if there is a different perspective I bring or if I am just “re-inventing the wheel.” No one needs yet another post about a first timer walking around the streets of Rome. That has been done to death. If it has been done, and I can’t bring a fresh perspective, I just skip it.
4) Have Some Integrity
Before I got into blogging, I didn’t even know this was a thing. However, when I got my first few thousand hits, some emails started trickling in. “Write about my package tours.” A few emails became 2-3 per day with everyone and their momma offering anything from camping tents to discounted trips to cash to write about products I’ve never tried before. It is important not to deceive your reader base. That was my thought back then and it’s the same now. If a post is sponsored, I’ll tell you. And I won’t push a product I don’t believe in.
5) Don’t Quit Your Day Job
One of the most dangerous things a blogger can do, and one of the fastest ways to completely cave on point #4 is quitting your day job. It is easy to say, “Nope, sorry, I won’t deceive my reader base by pushing this product I’ve never tried” when you aren’t counting on those ad dollars to pay for rent. Keeping this blog as a hobby is probably the best decision I made.
6) Learn To Put The Pen Down
“Post every Monday” or “2x per week” are common phrases used on blogs and vlogs that are supposed to entice readers to stay tuned. I used to think like that, but it became kind of a burden. I was writing when I didn’t even want to write. It also watered down my writing as I was scratching for ideas. One of the best decisions I made was to only write when I had something to actually write about. Otherwise, I just put the pen down.
7) Be Niche, Be Gimmicky
Maybe it is kind of obvious from the title, but the niche of this blog is World Heritage Sites. I am a self-proclaimed fanatic of WHS and it gives the blog a central point to come back too if it’s going off the rails. I found that most of the blogs I have ever enjoyed are very niche or even gimmicky. After all, if I am going to snowboard, I’d rather read the blog of a snowboard travel fanatic than some dude that just does it all. In this case, jack of all trades just doesn’t cut it.
8) Have Fun
It is a hobby after all. Try to enjoy it.
So there you have it. If all goes well, the blog will hit 1,000,000 views in May 25th, 2020 (give or take a few days). Thank you everyone for following.