Cameron and Nicole Wears are the Traveling Canucks. They’ve been to over 50 countries on 6 continents in the past 7 years and they keep a travel blog. Read below on their best tips for people wanting to start growing an audience.
How and why did you start writing?
We started our travel blog before embarking on an around the world adventure back in 2008. Originally the blog was designed to update family and friends and to share our travel stories.
As our travels continued, we found that our readership was growing. Random people stopped by to find out where we were and what we were up to. People were actually interested in our adventures, stories and photos.
This inspired us to take our travel blogging seriously and write for a much wider audience. It’s been a great ride ever since!
How much time do you spend working on it and what are the usual tasks?
I spend about 15 hours per week on the blog, with an additional 10 hours per week promoting it through social media channels and networking sites. Being a travel blog, photos and video are very important. I spend a lot of time editing and tagging photos, which is very tedious and time consuming.
Aside from publishing blog posts and editing photos, usual tasks include responding to comments on blog posts, answering emails and enquiries, and sharing our articles through various social media channels like StumbleUpon, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.
I also spend a lot of time sharing other travel bloggers’ work. Every day I leave about 10 comments on travel blogs and I make an effort to promote articles from travel bloggers through social media – what goes around comes around!
What is the best lesson you would like to share with the readers?
Don’t underestimate the time commitment that is required to build a blog, especially if you are self hosting your blog (which I highly recommend).
Pay attention to the details. Make sure all of your links are directed to the right place, make sure your social media connections are linked properly, and make it easy for readers to navigate your site.
Keep it simple. Don’t add too much sizzle that will slow down your site and frustrate your readers. Be clear with your message and don’t be afraid to experiment with your site design and layout.
And most of all, stick with it! There will be weeks (and sometimes months) where it feels like nobody cares about your blog. Stay the course. It takes time. Be patient.
What is your best advice on attracting visitors?
Get social! The biggest piece of advice I can give to newbie bloggers is to dedicate more time to social media. You can have the best blog on the planet, but if nobody knows about it then you’re not going to get the recognition you deserve.
Be everywhere. Join networking groups and connect with other bloggers in your niche. Leave comments on their blogs and share their posts.
Engage with your readers and followers. Respond to comments and emails. Be helpful and give before taking. Your time will come, but you have to earn it first.
What is your biggest success and biggest mistake?
It’s hard to define success with a blog. You always want more pageviews, followers and advertising dollars – it’s never enough! We love to travel, so a big success for us has been attending press trips to fantastic destinations.
We’ll always remember the first time we were offered an “all expenses paid trip” to the Dominican Republic in exchange for some blog posts and social media loving. We had one of those “we finally made it” moments.
We’ve made a lot of mistakes with our travel blog. In the early days, we focused on quantity not quality – big mistake. If you want people to share your story, make it memorable and provide value. I’m embarrassed by some posts that were published years ago. The writing was sloppy and disorganized. But I guess that’s just a part of the creative process.
Another mistake was ignoring the importance of SEO tactics. If you want to increase traffic and readership, search engines need to find your work. So pay attention to trends and educate yourself.