A few days after posting the ‘A Weekend at Panari Resort Nyahururu’ blog post, I logged into my blog to check out the stats – the number of people who’ve read the post, clicks on other pages etc. I quickly skimmed through the graph that showed the data, looked through the comments (mostly spam!) and just as I moved the cursor to click on log out, I saw it. 50 blog posts published. 1 draft. Whoa! 50! That many? I couldn’t quite fathom how the travel blog I started on WordPress in June 2017, out of a need to write about my travel experiences, had grown to 50 posts. I have learnt quite a bit about being a travel blogger these past two years but especially so in 2019. Here are a couple of thoughts:
1. Do people still read blogs in 2019?
Someone on Twitter posed this question early this year and made me interrogate whether I still needed to continue running this blog. 2018/2019 brought with it preference for video and the boom of vloggers in the Kenyan space. Suddenly there were YouTube videos on road trips to Naivasha or vacays in Lamu and it seemed like people would rather check out a travel vlog rather than read about it. So why did I keep at it?
2. It is mine!
I started the blog for me. It combined my two best interests: writing and travel. I enjoy seeing new places, staying at cozy retreats and sprawling hotels, taking part in unique experiences, meeting new people. Writing about my trips comes naturally to me. From jotting down compositions in school to penning down articles for magazines, my love for writing runs long and deep. Running the blog by myself, for myself means doing this my way. No pressure. However, I realise it is important to strive to improve and make the content and the imagery better.
3. Write well. Make it useful. Make it relevant.
In travel writing, learning to paint a picture using words is an essential skill. Capturing the emotions of a particular moment, describing a scene in great detail and with flair is a sexy art. Excellent writing draws interest from readers and publications looking for writers. I loved this article by Nonie which was also featured on Capital Lifestyle; she reminisced about Watamu so poetically it felt like seduction!
A useful blog post is one that informs readers how far a destination is, how to get there, how much it costs to get there, what activities are available and how much they cost. When a blog post contains such information, it helps the reader make decisions when planning their travel. You can bet they will bookmark the post and will tell others about it too! Canduh did a fantastic job here describing her experience at the Olkaria Geothermal Spa in Naivasha.
Travelling while black, corruption at border points, responsible tourism, solo travel, travelling with family, finding love (or lust!) abroad and so on are issues that affect travellers and I love bloggers who delve into them. Oneika Raymond is in my mind the most authoritative blogger in the travel space globally. While she keeps her content fun and easy, she is not afraid to speak about crucial matters that touch on tourists and locals. Marion Mithamo wrote an article that addressed the condition of many Kenyan hotels that was absolutely spot on!
4. Social Media
As with most things, social media has considerable influence on whether a blog thrives or just, you know… I struggle with social media – I don’t post regularly, I don’t take beautiful photos, my captions on IG are weak…. urgh!! It’s a mess! However, I appreciate folks who expertly manage social media, more so IG! JustRioba on Twitter and IG has visited many African nations and offers some useful tips; RheenRuby uses her InstaStories to give all the low down about travelling through East Africa wonderfully.
Social media is all about building a community. This community will retweet your blog posts, mention them on their handles and generally help you build traction and grow your audience. No one does it better locally than Bonita! I have seen her number grow exponentially on IG and Twitter, thanks to this skill.
So there are the lessons I have gleaned in my blogging journey. Are you a blogger or looking to become one? Comment down below and share any more thoughts or questions. Here’s to the next 50 posts!
Thanks for reading xoxo!