So, yesterday morning I stayed in bed for a good couple of hours after I woke up reading through a whole heap of new blogs (because what else are Sundays for really?) and stumbled upon a fantastic, literal life-changing blog post by Christina from Happytowander.com called How To Create Epic Travel Blog Content. I’m not going to lie, I knew my blog needed some little tweaks, but I thought I was doing semi-ok, however, reading through this post yesterday morning I actually heard the metaphorical penny drop. In the post she talks about how titles like ‘5 reason I like such-&-such place’ don’t work, even though the gazillions of other posts about how to improve your blog that are out there on the web say that these types of lists are what bring in the views. When I was reading Christina’s explanations for why they don’t work, and reading her simple alternative title example, I was like duh, that should have been so freakin’ obvious. Likewise for the navigation bar. I thought having ‘travel’ in the menu, which lists destinations when you hover over it, was enough but boy-oh- boy was I wrong.
I’m surprised I ever got any views to be honest with you, folks. My blog’s a bloody shambles.
Sometimes you need an outsiders perspective though, you know? It’s hard to see where you’re going wrong because, even if you know changes need to be made, it’s difficult to admit your blog is anything less than perfect; it’s your baby and you spend sooo much time making it the best baby it can be. That’s why I’m so so glad I stumbled upon this article because it isn’t the same as the generic ‘advice’ that’s out there already- it forces you to look at aspects of your blog you’d never even considered were hindering you before and makes you realise that, if you were seeing your blog as someone else, these mistakes would be painfully obvious.
Seriously, if anyone needs to improve their blog but doesn’t know how, go read Christina’s post. Do it now, I’ll wait (just come back here afterwards yeah?)
Anyway, because of my Sunday morning enlightenment, I’ve started making a few little changes. I started with the navigation bar. Before, my navigation bar had a section for travel which only listed destinations which I’d written posts about and, honestly, I thought that was enough for travel. I didn’t stop to think that I like lots of options when I visit another blog, especially a travel blog when I’m usually looking for a specific thing, whether that’s a city guide, solo travel tips, or just a personal travel story, so why would people be okay with next to no options on my blog? Now I still have a ‘travel’ section but underneath it has sub-sections for photo diaries, travel lists (7 things you should do in this place etc), and stories from the road (personal anecdotes from my travels). I’ve changed my old travel heading to destinations so people can chose a destination from the list, and I have ‘types of travel’ which currently includes sub-sections for solo travel, and organised tours but I’m working on filling this up I promise! I also still have a lifestyle section but I’m trying to work out the best sub-sections for that!
Another change I’ve made is that, instead of my blog posts appearing in full, my posts appear as excerpts so you have to click on it to read the whole thing. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while but didn’t because I wasn’t sure if it’d make a difference or not, and I know that some people don’t like it because if they don’t like the post they’ve wasted time by clicking through. However, in my new found spirit of not caring whether people like my blog or not (I do care, please like me) I did it anyway. I just think it looks cleaner and it may add a few extra cheeky page views to my stats. I am planning on making a few more changes over the coming weeks, but I’m going to see what works and what doesn’t first.
The Girl Behind The Screen:
So that’s a bit about my blog, but what about me? I’ve realised that I haven’t actually posted much about myself before and, recently, I’ve had a lot of views on my about page, which I’ve taken as a sign that people are desperately trying to find out some more about me because I’m so fabulous and I’m breaking their hearts by only providing them with an about page! That, and I was tagged in a facts about me tag type post by Verity the other day (which I wasn’t going to participate in yet here we are).
I do think sometimes though, why should people care about my posts if they don’t know much about me? So as a special treat for y’all I’ll let you have a little nosey into my life. The facts are mainly travel related but I’ll see what else I think of whilst I’m writing it.
- I have dual nationality– Yep, not many people even know this about me because I never usually see the need to drop it into conversation, but I have both a British and an Irish passport. It’s never really helped me before but now it means still no airport queues in Europe and I can escape to the continent away from this shambles of a country when it inevitably goes down the pan because of
Brexit(I’ve crossed out the word because I’m sick of hearing it). Big up the Irish.
- I had never been to a Disneyland before last year and I went for free– Yes, you read that right, I went to Disneyland California last summer and payed exactly $0 for the privilege! I’m nothing special, I just have an American friend who used to work there and makes it his mission to take all his British friends who come to visit him there. He also has tonnes of friends who love him and get him in for free. I’d never been before despite living extremely close to the one in Paris all my life. This was partly because you have to remortgage your house to get there and partly because my family just didn’t get Disney. Boo. I had the best time ever though and I’d happily go again.
- I lived in New York for three months– Upstate, like an hours drive from the city, but loads of celebs lived where I lived and they describe themselves as living in NYC so I am too! I worked in a summer camp and spent a lot of time in NYC, which became my all time favourite city. I’d never really felt the urge to go to New York before but I just felt so at home there and really want to move back there one day.
- I’m a huge animal lover– I’ve always grown up with animals- mainly cats- and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. Being away from my big fluffy teddy-bear of a dog is one of the hardest things in the world. I’ve also been a vegetarian since I was 19 (and on-and-off vegan since I turned 21) and I couldn’t imagine eating meat again as I just can’t see animals as food.
- I once got interviewed on Croatian national news– It was earlier this year, in fact. It was my last day in Zagreb and myself and another girl in my hostel dorm had a few hours to kill so we went to the old town for breakfast and a wander. We got to the square outside of St Marks Church and got ambushed by a news presenter with a microphone in her hand and a guy with a camera who just started filming us. She asked us if she could ask us our opinions about some men (her exact words). Chenelle really didn’t want to and, whilst I’m nowhere near a super-confident person, I’m a different (better) person when travelling so I thought why the hell not? Long story short, she showed me pictures of the candidates for the upcoming election without telling me who they were and asked me what I thought of them. I actually had fun doing the interview but just after it ended I had a heart-stopping moment of oh crap, what if I’ve just told the whole of Croatia to vote for a complete fascist?! (I didn’t btw, I unknowingly chose the most liberal guy. Phew)
- I refuse to go to Berlin without my mum– She used to live there, work there, and met and married my dad there. She was even in the crowds the night the wall came down (we have bits of the Berlin wall in one of our kitchen drawers). She always talks about how much she loves the city and what a blast she had there, so it’s been a long-term dream of mine to take her back there one day.
- I used to hate flying but now it’s one of my favourite things– I first went on an aeroplane when I was five and hated every second. The more flights I went on the less scared I became but I still hated it. Since I’ve started travelling on my own, though, I absolutely love it. Sure it gets boring sometimes, and really bad turbulence can be scary, but it’s taking you to a foreign place or back home to your family. I especially love flying solo as I can read the whole flight, or sleep, or write without any interruptions. And there’s the added bonus of not being able to use social media so you’re literally forced to stay away from it (unless you’re on a fancy plane with wifi and all that jazz, but I wouldn’t know about that). I will never, ever like take-off though. Never in a million years.
So, err, yeah that’s me. Hope you enjoyed this little insight into my life and my blog. If anyone has any fun facts about themselves I’d love to here them because I’m very nosey. Drop me a comment!
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