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Ask Me Anything: How did you start travel blogging?

Welcome back to my “Ask Me Anything” series. I try to answer FAQ every once in a while and something I get asked a lot is Why did I start travel blogging and what led me to make that decision.

I’ve kind of written about this before throughout the years on this blog but will answer it more detailed here.

Blogging was not on my forecast that is for sure!

I know a lot of people ask because they want to start a travel blog. If that is the case you might be interested in these posts:

Use These 9 Websites for Planning Your Next Trip

Why I Chose to Start Journey Blogging

I met Ben in India and moved here, leaving my job as a nurse to live in Goa with Ben. I didn’t have travel blogging on my mind then,  and at this time, 4 years ago, I didn’t know what a travel blog was.

Even though I had traveled to around 20 countries at that time, I hadn’t used a travel blog as a resource and got all my information from Lonely Planet. I never traveled with a smart phone or computer.

After about 6 months, I was in Thailand with two of my best friends backpacking for a month. We were having a boozy night and I was telling them that I really needed to figure out how I was going to make money. At this time, I was doing Thai massage here in Goa and had fliers up around town. That made me about $60 per massage.

They both went to school for marketing/sales/PR type stuff and started telling me I should start a website or blog about traveling, particularly how to travel to India. They told me people made money from this. They even talked about SEO. I was like that’s cool, but I bet its way too hard. They said I should focus on solo female travel blogging.

After that trip, I came back to India and Googled: Top Solo Female Journey Bloggers. I discovered the blogs of some of the best bloggers there were at that time. I read their “about me” pages and saw where they traveled. A lot of it was similar to what I had been doing for years, but never writing about.

PS if you want to start a blog, don’t bother with Godaddy, they were terrible! Bluehost is cheaper and better for new blogs and will give you hosting at 2.95/month.

Luckily, Ben worked for Microsoft and went to school for IT before moving to India.

I didn’t know what WordPress was. I didn’t know who GoDaddy was. I didn’t know a URL was the same as a domain. I was clueless. Ben showed me how to buy a domain, buy hosting, and install WordPress. He set up my free theme and showed me how to get plugins and customize them.

If you are doing this alone you can learn this from YouTube videos but I highly recommend having someone help you.

After it was set up, I just started writing everything about my past travels to Europe, Thailand, Uganda, and everywhere else I’d been.

I posted them so that my blog wouldn’t be empty. I told my crazy backpacking stories. People started reading them. I didn’t know SEO or anything like that. I just wrote and posted pictures. I am so OCD that I loved doing this. It was actually fun. I wrote 5 posts a day sometimes.

Next, I started writing about India. I wrote about each place, tips on trains, buses, and how to dress. It turns out I was writing things that Google liked and by the end of the year, my blog became one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world (a site called the Expeditioner keeps track of this with Google Analytics screenshots).

The next year, I watched a lot of YouTube videos on blogging and learned more about SEO.

Now, it seems crazy that I actually give tips on blogging and social media and get paid to consult people on this! It is nuts what you can teach yourself online.

The main reason I started my blog was to earn an income, not just tell my stories, and I’ve always been honest about that. At first, I didn’t even want to share my real name. I wanted it to just be tips, like Lonely Planet. I quickly learned that more personal touches and stories did the best on my blog and that I had to put my personality into it to succeed or else I would be like any other travel website.

It was strange at first but now feels natural.

Although at first, my goal was to make money and share tips about India, that started to change once the blog became personal.

People started to e-mail me about their life goals and needing help to take steps to change their lives. It started to change how I wrote and who I was writing for. I wanted to help people do something different from what they were doing, and not liking.

It was funny because it was similar to being a nurse where people tell you everything about themselves knowing there is a confidentiality agreement and we have to keep their secrets! People were telling me their whole life stories via email and asking me for advice on where they could travel. It was so much fun to help them decide!

So, this is why I started blogging and why I continued to now! I started to enjoy learning more about photography. I learned more about design and actually enjoy blogging a lot now. Of course, traveling for a living is a fantastic job but I actually like the writing and editing photos part too. I don’t like the tech stuff so finally, I hired someone to help me with that. I’d rather spend my extra time making images like the one below (hoping they get shared a lot on Pinterest lol).

2017-09-13T11:15:32+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

3 Comments

  1. vaidehi April 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    nice… very well explained

  2. schimiggy December 6, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    does this offer still stand?! I’m always traveling!

  3. Panda On The Go June 2, 2018 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    Rachel, Can you share which of your posts are very first posts in this blog. I am just curious to see how your writing style changed during the time. :) I am trying to launch my blog (just for fun, hobby and my friends), but I am stuck. I do not like anything I write, I dont really know what to write and how to write. I do not pretend to become professional in any way, but I still want to write in the way, that friends would enjoy reading the things I have written.

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