“Running A Successful Site Is Not A Cake Walk”

Christy Woodrow and Scott Calafiore are two surfing entrepreneurs who also run a travel site. Read the following interview for their advice to new writers.

How and why did you start?

The why began right before a 2 month trip to Southeast Asia and Australia that Scott and I took in early 2010. We wanted to share our stories with family and friends while we were away.

It also seemed like a great way to keep track of our photos since photography is a huge part of not only our personal lives, but our professional lives as well.

The how was a little more difficult. We decided not to use WordPress, so it took a lot longer to write the code and perfect the layout. We are happy with the results though, even though it took about 6 months before we were ready to launch.

We like the flexibility of being able to customize things more than if we had built a WordPress site.

How much time do you spend working on it and what are the usual tasks?

It’s hard to say how much time we currently spend on our site because we have several business projects at the moment and we go back and forth working on each one.

I would say at least 15-20 hours a week on the actual site, but starting out we probably spent more like 30-40 hours a week getting things set up.

The most time consuming tasks are writing, editing photos and uploading them to our site. These are daily tasks, otherwise we can easily get behind on our posting schedule.

Lately we have spent a good deal of time optimizing old posts to rank better in search results and staying on top of social media.

The past few months have also been spent building an online store, shooting a promotional video and creating a marketing campaign for our new surf bikini line.

What is the best lesson you’d like to share with our readers?

Running a successful site is not a cake walk, but if you are aware of this in the beginning, hopefully you won’t get discouraged as easily. There will be plenty of times where you will consider giving up or think that nobody will ever care about your tiny slice of real estate on the internet.

The web is full of all different types of people. Some people will lift you up and others will try to tear you down. Do your best not to let the haters get to you. Learning how to separate constructive criticism from negativity is extremely important.

What is your best advice on how to get visitors?

Network. Network. Network. Relationships are key. Start out by helping other bloggers and most of them will be happy to return the favor by sharing your articles, commenting or offering guest posts on their site. Guest posts are a great way to get your content in front of a different audience.

It’s also important to stick with it, even through the tough times. Keep putting out great content while sharing it through all of your social media channels and eventually the readers will come.

What is your biggest success and biggest mistake?

I would say that our biggest success is the relationships that we have formed with other bloggers. This may not be a success to some people, but for us it is extremely empowering to meet other people who have the same passion and drive as we do.

I won’t lie though, seeing our monthly reader numbers grow gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling and makes me feel successful as well.

Our biggest mistake has probably been not starting sooner. I know, that’s a stupid thing to say because it’s never too late to start. This is a tough question though.

It is really hard for me to think about life and business in terms of mistakes. I like to look at things as a learning experience rather than a mistake, otherwise I might drive myself mad.