Bret Love is the co-founder of Green Global Travel, a web-based magazine dedicated to ecotourism, nature/wildlife conservation, the preservation of indigenous cultures and sustainable living. In this interesting interview he explains why your first year of blogging is going to be the most difficult one and what to do – and not to do – to successfully overcome this initial phase, where your creativity and tenacity are put to the test trying to build a profitable site.
Bret, how and why did you start?
My partner Mary Gabbett and I started Green Global Travel in November 2010 because we’re insatiably curious about traveling to new places, meeting new people, seeking out new experiences and new ideas, and love sharing those things with other people in a way that will hopefully inform and inspire them to travel.
Also, we’re extremely passionate about ecotourism, and believe in its potential to help save the world’s precious nature and wildlife by encouraging sustainable practices that both benefit and respect local indigenous cultures. As our tagline suggests, we’re hoping our site can help save the world, one story at a time.
How much time do you spend working?
A lot, especially considering it’s not our full-time job (yet). Between the two of us, I’d say we average well over 40 hours a week, usually working on it at least 4-5 hours a day, including Saturdays.
Tasks include writing, assigning and editing stories; editing photos and video; reaching out to potential advertisers and PR representatives; managing our team of interns; doing copious social media tasks; strategizing ideas for business growth; and then of course there’s the actual travel itself. We stay very, very busy!
What lesson would you like to share with our readers?
The sooner you treat your site like a business, the faster it will grow. We spent a full year treating Green Global Travel as a side business because we were running our own successful improv comedy company.
It wasn’t until we shut that business down and lucked into an amazing press trip to the Galapagos Islands last November that we began focusing most of our attention on GGT. If I’d known how quickly we could grow this business by giving it everything we had, I’d have done it right from the get-go!
Also? Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do it.
What is your best advice on how to get visitors?
The brief version is to blaze your own trail, focus on killer content, set concrete (and attainable) business goals, work social media like a beast, treat others the way you want to be treated, and try not to focus too much on stats or monetization, especially for the first year. It takes a lot of time, patience, energy and talent to build a successful site.
What is your biggest success and biggest mistake?
Our biggest success has been in getting big-name companies to approach us before we really even knew what we were doing as afar as running a site.
Ecotourism giants such as World Wildlife Fund, Sustainable Travel International, the International Galapagos Tour Operators Association, Ecoventura and International Expeditions all approached us about working together back when we were barely getting 10,000 page views a month. Working with such high-caliber companies DEFINITELY elevated our profile considerably.
Our biggest mistake was probably our first year. We weren’t focused, had no clue what we were doing on social media, and weren’t even on WordPress. In some ways, our relaunch in November 2011 (when we moved to WP) was like starting all over again. But everything since then has been amazing!