From Dreaming to Launching a Travel Blog

| | Inspiration

Dreaming of a travel blog someday

“Honey, someday I want to start a travel blog.”

This is what I’ve said to my husband too many times to count. Being the supportive husband that he is, he always told me it was a great idea, and he had no doubt I would be a great blogger.

I even had a name picked out–Empty Nesters Hit the Road.

We both have dreams of traveling full-time and hope the blog will help support us, but at this moment, we are the proud parents of one recent college graduate and another college student.

Our kids will need our support for at least another three years. My husband started his own business last year, so that means I am currently the one person in the family with a full-time salary and great benefits.

So I kept dreaming while voraciously reading travel blogs and subscribing to a myriad of vlogs.

Then I attended a women’s retreat in June, and my procrastination was over. We were asked to commit publicly to one goal before leaving.

I decided it was time to stop dreaming and told the group of 30 women present that my goal was to write four blog posts before our thirty-day follow-up phone call.

When that call took place in July, I had written the four posts and made another commitment to get my blog launched by the end of the summer.

First cover photo I created for a blog post
First cover photo I created for a blog post

Ready, set, launch

First I enrolled in the Travel Blog Success membership and started working my way through the courses.

Wow, what an eye-opening experience!

I simply had no idea how much I did not know about blogging.

I suddenly had a much greater appreciation for all of my favorite bloggers and the time they put in behind the scenes to write, edit, upload, and promote high-quality content.

Then came the launching of the website which did not go smoothly because I discovered my many technological limitations.

So I hired two professionals–a web designer and a coding specialist. The designer provided the layout, uploaded my first five posts and provided me with training for how to continue. The coding specialist fixed all the glitches in my poorly selected WordPress theme.

Since I also wanted to include four social media accounts on my website, I needed to set aside the time to get these up and running as well. Again, I was amazed at how much I did not know.

Personally, I have always enjoyed social media and thought this step would be easy. I’ve come to accept that I have a great deal to learn when it comes to the successful use of social media as a strategy for growing my blog.

Finally, the day came when I stopped making adjustments to the site and started sharing it with friends, family, and colleagues.

Now emptynestershittheroad.com was launched!

My private dream was finally a public reality.

Wendy and Jason during a trip to Copenhagen
Wendy and Jason during a trip to Copenhagen

Keeping it going

After the initial excitement of sharing my new travel blog, it was time to learn how to manage this on an ongoing basis while still having a full-time job, and one which I intend to keep for the foreseeable future.

I’ve read the articles on SEO and know that to improve my Google rank I will need to post regularly. I also know that one of the best ways to drive traffic to my new site is to guest post (like this one!).

So the challenge I’ve faced for the past two months is how to balance a full-time job and a “side-hustle.” And when I set aside the time to work on my blog, which of the many important tasks do I do first?

Over the course of a few weeks, I’ve settled into a new routine that seems to be working. Fortunately, I work from home, so I have some control over my daily schedule.

For my full-time work, I get started early in the morning. I have a to-do list, and I try to stay laser-focused on these items.

Late in the afternoon, if I’ve completed my to-do list, then I switch to blogging. I also use some weekend time when possible.

Within the time I set aside for blogging, I try to decide what is most critical, but this is the area where I still have much room for improvement.

Based on the advice I’ve read from successful bloggers, I am trying to focus my effort on developing good content and other efforts that will improve my SEO.

But, I’ll admit that I can easily become distracted by social media. I understand that social media is an important part of blogging, but I’m attempting to contain the time I spend on it.

Iceland
Iceland photo selected for website home page

What’s next

So just two months into managing a blog, I am painfully aware of how much I still have to learn.

Now that I am into a rhythm of writing and posting regularly, it’s time to start learning about affiliate income. And having recently installed the Tailwind app for Pinterest, I am trying to schedule Pins at least a week in advance.

I recently read about an app that helps identify hashtags for Instagram, but that will have to wait for a few weeks because I just committed to another guest post.

If you are reading this, you are likely a member of TBS, so I don’t need to tell you that this blogging business isn’t easy. But I am loving every minute of it and wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Recent Comments

  • Thank you for sharing! I have wonderful opportunities to start a travel blog (I travel a lot for work) and need to get past 2 skimpy memoirs on my WordPress effort to make this real. I will follow you success. Bravo!

  • Loved reading your story on starting a travel blog. And, I really appreciate your commitment towards it. Yes, travel blogging isn’t easy. Most of the time, it’s so hard to maintain the balance between blogging and social media. 🙂 But, I guess discipline is what we all need to practice in order to achieve what we want to.

  • You communicated this so SIMPLY!!! I am hooked on Empty Nesters Hit the Road going forward.

  • I started my blog as a semi-retiree (working part time now), am also amazed at how much time it takes – not sure I’d do it while working full time. I admire your willingness to get it done!

  • Thanks for sharing this post… As I was reading it sounds as my life story. I have said so many times that I was going to start a blog and now I am happy to be already working on it… hopefully I’ll be launching soon but it’s true that it requires a lot of work. Reading your story is a good motivation 🙂 Congrats for your blog!!

  • While I love Millennials (I’m Mom to four of them), I REALLY love seeing another Non-Millennial travel blog that shows people juggling travel and real-life responsibilities like a mortgage, full-time job, college tuition, etc. You go girl! 🙂

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