Andrea Spirov is a travel lover with the ambitious goal of inspiring you to take a trip or “at the very least, entertain you” through her site. She knows that what you can find during a journey is never enough. There’s always something that has not yet been reported, documented, photographed. In this interview she talks about her successful experience and the quality time spent to make her site a reference point for those who want to know more and be inspired.
Andrea, how and why did you start writing?
My husband, John, and I have always been travelers and expats. We even met each other while on holiday in Crete. When we decided to take a year off for a sabbatical I thought it might be nice to start blogging about our experiences.
Originally I wanted to interview other travelers, in particular those that we would meet in hostels who were doing really interesting things while on the road. But eventually we also decided to write about our own experiences and the site just evolved from there.
How much time do you spend working?
A lot. On average I spend at least 40 hours a week on the site – it’s a full-time job. Researching and writing takes up the vast majority of my time with social media at a close second.
Other tasks include responding to queries via email, including advertisers, advertisement maintenance (renewals, billing, updates, etc.). I also correspond with contributors and deal with the technical aspects of the website. The technical parts can take up a lot of time if there is a problem as I currently do all of this myself.
What is the best lesson learned that you would like to share?
Start networking early and plan to spend a lot of time if you want to be successful. We regularly guest post on other sites and give interviews. We belong to a variety of online groups and forums for meeting other bloggers.
You also need to be creative to think of new ways to promote yourself, with cross-promotion in other niches being a very important way to expand your reach. And don’t underestimate search, which can bring you significant amounts of traffic if you pay attention to SEO best practice.
What is your best advice on how attracting readers?
Building consistent, quality content is the best way to develop a successful site. Networking and promotion on social media is also very important, but if you don’t have great content, no one will care.
Find your voice and don’t try to copy what others have done – you are what will engage readers and keep them coming back. People tend to follow personalities that they can relate to. And as I mentioned before, don’t underestimate search for bringing in traffic beyond your fans and subscribers.
What is your biggest success and biggest mistake?
Our biggest success has been the steady increase in traffic over the last two years. We also meet a lot of fascinating people through our site and I consider that to be as much of a success as any numbers or advertising revenue that we generate.
The biggest mistake has been not having a more well-defined niche as I think those sites that have one tend to have a lot more success than general interest sites in a genre.