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green and orange jfold wallet

A question I often find in my inbox and see on travel blogging forums is, “how can I make money with my blog?” If a blog were a direct method of making money, everyone would have a blog. A blog is simply a medium; asking how to make money with it is like purchasing a new laptop and then asking the clerk at checkout how to develop your career around it.

A blogger needs to ask themselves, if they want to monetize their site, the right questions from the bottom up, not the reverse. Why should anyone give you money? This is the simplest question any business that stays in business regularly asks itself. If you’re not asking yourself why should anyone give you money you will fail at doing so. The reality is, even if you are asking that question, you may fail. But in the latter situation, the outcome is much more in your hands.

crowd of peopleHow Most People Go About Making Money From Travel Blogs

Whenever you earn a cent from your blog, the person or company sending you that money is paying you in exchange for something. Companies purchase text links to improve their search engine rankings, buy banner ads to promote their products to your audience, and donation buttons work because ultimately someone wants to help cover your costs (or travels) somehow. You are essentially monetizing an audience who happens to congregate on your travel blog (and by extension you and all of the places you hangout. Like Facebook.)

Keeping Your Content In Context

The quality of your content does not correlate to the amount of money a blog or other media format makes. (Which explains the success of reality television.) Generally the thinking behind ‘content is king’ is that good writing, photography, etc. will lead to a bigger audience. There is no guarantee that it will however (but producing an enticing formula for crap isn’t that easy either.)

Having an audience is only one broad layer of your monetizing strategy – you need to keep it in perspective to relevant websites on the Internet. How many people actually follow you? Why do they visit your site? What’s their demographic? How big is your audience to anyone who would pay money for it? Why would anyone want to give you money to communicate with the people following your blog?

Entertainment Vs. Problem Solving

So as you wander down the rabbit hole instead of staring at what comes out of it and happens to fall in your lap, you can take your monetizing logic one further step back. Why would an audience follow you in the first place? Most travel blogs and forms of media fall somewhere in between two pots – entertainment and problem solving. They can, of course, overlap (most of the best sites do) but people are exchanging their time with you for some gain. Maybe they like to laugh, get taken away on wild travel adventures, or learn the best ways to find cheap flights. How your audience grows will dictate how successful you are at being entertaining or useful and that audience may lead you indirectly to some income.

You may yet fail or succeed but you’ll be asking the right questions. Making money online is capitalism – the market dictates which bloggers make money and how – not communism where everyone makes something just for showing up. There are infinite roads from A to B; some lead to money, others are just you working for free. Now you’re thinking in the right direction. The rest is up to you.

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This is a guest post by Jason Demant, the co-founder of Unanchor whom I interviewed back in 2010. Since then, a few things have changed on the site where travelers can create and sell their own personalized itineraries – this is Part 2 on how to write great travel itineraries in a series that covers 3 of my sites. You can catch Part 1: Earn Some Extra Travel Cash By Writing City Guides On Unanchor and see Unanchor in action with Part 3: What To Do In Seoul, South Korea On A 24 Hour Layover.

alexandria egypt

As the cofounder of Unanchor.com, I have read over 100 travel itineraries. Through this process I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to write a great itinerary. In today’s post I’d like to offer my advice and tips for any aspiring travel writers on how to write the perfect travel itinerary.

Why Write Itineraries?

The first question you may be wondering is why write a travel itinerary to begin with?

  • Show off your local expertise.
  • Give people a new way to travel and see your favorite city.
  • It’s a great way to complement your travel blog by showing your readers exactly how you traveled a particular city or how you recommend they see your city.

…and of course you can make some extra money by selling them on Unanchor.

big ben london englandHave The Right Mentality – Be Their Tour Guide

The best way to begin the itinerary writing process is to ask yourself what you would do with your close friend if they were visiting your city for the first time.

  • What attractions would you take them to see?
  • What information would you tell them about your city?
  • What restaurants would you go to?
  • Where are the great local gems that you only know about from living in the city?
  • Where do the locals hang out and what do they do?

Give travelers what they want, not what they ask for.

I believe that travelers ask for options but they really want advice and recommendations. When writing an itinerary limit the number of options you give travelers. Don’t forget, you’re the expert. Don’t be bashful, travelers want your recommendations. There’s no harm in giving your recommendations – people can always choose to do their own thing.

Provide Clear Directions

Some people are great at reading maps while others aren’t, so make sure to include both a map and written directions. The best directions are those that constantly give clues that you’re on the right track. This is as easy as identifying landmarks that you’ll pass as you go. Make sure to mention things that they may see if they’ve gone too far as well.

  • Restaurants – These are the exception where giving options is a good idea. However, when recommending multiple restaurants, make sure it’s easy to understand the differences between them. Avoid recommending restaurants that serve the same food in the same price range. Otherwise, how will the traveler be able to understand the differences?

Don’t forget to recommend the best dishes at the restaurants as well. Restaurants are typically known for a dish or two and be sure to mention those.

Don’t Forget The Photos

taksim islak hamburger

Including pictures is a great way to spice up your travel itinerary. But which pictures do you include? The best pictures are used to show the travelers what they’re looking for or that they’re on the right track in the directions. Some good examples:

  • A famous building.
  • The front of the restaurant that you recommend.
  • A tricky, easy to miss turn.

The Format

The itinerary should have a clear and easy-to-read format. You want to lead the traveler through your city, from activity-to-activity as if you’re walking there next to them. If you’re looking for a pre-made template, you can download Unanchor’s itinerary template here [MS Word document]. (If you choose to write for Unanchor, we have an online itinerary generator that takes care of the formatting for you.)

Some Other General Tips

Unless you clearly explain it, try to avoid acronyms, local lingo and nicknames as much as possible. Don’t forget to recommend how to get to the first destination of the day. You won’t know exactly where the traveler is staying, so you’ll want to mention any public transportation stops that are nearby or if it’s easier to just take a taxi.

Thank you Jason for this itinerary power lesson. Students (aka. all of you) can visit UnAnchor, to earn some extra cash by helping out other travelers with your experienced tips. Follow up with Part 1: Earn Some Extra Travel Cash By Writing City Guides On UnAnchor and get a good example in Part 3: What To Do In Seoul, South Korea On A 24 Hour Layover.

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What Happens When You Stop Blogging For 2 Weeks

boracay beachSeveral weeks ago I announced on foXnoMad that I would be taking two weeks off from blogging, including related activities like participating in social media, and responding to most emails. More than that this two week break would be part of a larger plan I had in mind – to allow myself 6 weeks of annual leave from my sites. I figured why not give myself what I had years ago when I was working for a boss that wasn’t me before I was in the position where I had to take a break.

I’ll be writing about the personal and travel side to the break in the coming weeks on foXnoMad but many, many of you wrote me wondering what would happen to a travel blog if it went quite for two weeks. I suspect many of you might be considering taking a few breaks yourself, so I’d like to share what I’ve learned and tell you what happened.

black netbookReducing Your Anxiety Through Preparation

You’ve probably had times where your blogging schedule was unexpectedly disrupted. As comforting as a regular posting schedule can be, when something like a site error or that thing called “life” gets in the way, it can have the opposite effect. Stress, worry, and headaches can come with the idea that you’re not tending to your travel blog every moment of the day. What happens in reality, however, is…not much. You’ll find that missing a blog post or leaving Twitter for a day or two doesn’t cause your travel blog to disappear into obscurity. What I’ve found is the length of the break doesn’t cause anxiety, it’s how predictable that break is.

I planned my blogging break in advance and announced about 10 days prior that I’d be taking 6 weeks of annual leave spread over the course of each year. The day before I took off, I let my readers know. This way they knew what to expect and wouldn’t be surprised by me going quiet on my site (although I did still reply to comments albeit slower than normal) and my silence on Twitter or Facebook.

The number of emails I received from my readers telling me that they’d miss me but be patiently awaiting my return was truly touching. People who had never written me before were reaching out and their support encouraged me further.

Looking At The Numbers

I honestly don’t track many blog statistics very closely; the ones I do focus on are my daily email, RSS subscribers, newsletter subscribers, Twitter followers, and Facebook fans. Those are people who’ve made a commitment to follow my travels and site in some way. They’re regulars; those numbers and the traffic from them didn’t decrease over the two weeks. In fact, my email and newsletter subscription rates increased slightly above average over the course of my break.

owl eyes

A few interesting things did happen to my pageviews. During the first 4 days of my break, they actually increased. I suspect this has something to do with the delayed effect of RSS, email, and other subscriptions. That is, most subscribers don’t check out your site immediately after you post something but rather when they’ve got some free time. Usually that ends up being 24-96 hours after your content pops up somewhere. A few people might have also been coming around to see where I had gone in case they missed the announcements too.

I didn’t have the usual spikes from posting new content, which was to be expected since there wasn’t any new content. My traffic from search engines wasn’t effected and created a solid backbone of traffic throughout the 2 weeks. Toward the end of my break my pageviews did decline slightly; however the average pageviews remained fairly the same over two weeks. The increase in the first 4 days helped to balance things out.

Finally, it’s worth noting that my server decided to have several fits (I swear it acts up for my attention) making my site unavailable much more than usual while I was away. Next time, now that those issues have been resolved, I’ll be interested to see how the trends change if they do. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share my findings with you.

Timing The Break And Lessons Learned

I decided to take my first two (of the 6 total) week break in February. It was a time in between any big blog events I had planned and I would be returning with my annual Best City to Visit Travel Tournament – typically a very busy time on foXnoMad. In the future I’ll probably plan my vacations at similar times. One thing I wasn’t prepared for was the number of emails waiting for me when I returned. Although I had been answering some emails along the way (yes, I did have a vacation responder set up), many of those “quick” messages I thought I could tackle in a few hours took 2 days. (I was primarily responding to emails related to the server I manage and advertising inquiries. Next time, I’ll probably have an assistant take care of those tasks.) Little things added up so next time I’ll come “back to the online office” with two non-writing days as a cushion.

To those of you who might be anxious about taking a blogging break, I hope I have been able to alleviate some of those concerns. The sky didn’t collapse in on itself and my readers were waiting for me when I got back. They were full of understanding and perhaps a bit more keen to see some new posts of mine.

Feel free to let me know if you have any specific questions about taking a blogging break in the comments below.

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The Differences Between Push And Pull CDNs

cdn serverAn increasingly popular way to make travel blogs more efficient is through the use of content delivery networks (CDNs). They are an inexpensive and efficient way to improve loading time on several fronts but can be confusing to set up initially. There are two primary types of CDN – “pull” CDNs and “push” CDNs – which have different benefits and costs so today we’ll take a look at the which one might be best for you.

What Is A CDN?

A CDN helps to speed up static components of your blog (especially pictures of say, your bed in Rome) by distributing them across a number of servers around the world. This does two things – one is to put much of your travel blog’s content closer to the person who wants to view it. So, a person in Japan will download your beautiful photos of Granada from Tokyo, rather than your server sitting in Boston, for example. Less distance traveled means a faster download and secondly, if the content isn’t being pulled directly from your server, it saves overall computing power (important to have plenty of for when traffic gets really busy).

You can set up a CDN on your own server (in effect creating two download points for your photos) but most people opt for paid services like Amazon’s Cloudfront. (Next time I’ll talk about Cloudflare, which is a free alternative, although not a CDN by design.) With paid CDNs, you are generally charged by the amount of data in gigabytes that are downloaded from your site each month. (Here’s Amazon’s pricing chart to give you and idea.) Most travel blogs that aren’t very video intensive don’t have the kind of traffic or the content (e.g. podcasts) to make CDN usage very expensive.

Many hosting providers like Media Temple are also now including CDNs as extra features to their hosting packages though they tend to be much more expensive that 3rd-party alternatives.

push signWhat Is A Pull CDN Versus A Push CDN?

A very watered down explanation of the two is with a pull CDN, the CDN caches parts of your site upon request to their servers. A push CDN is where you upload your entire travel blog to the CDN so it’s ready for users at any given time. Let’s look a bit further.

  • Pull CDN: Imagine a person loading your latest travel blog post. It probably has pictures in it, as does your site’s theme (e.g. icons, background images, etc.) For this example let’s have your hosting server be in Boston. You’ve just published your latest travel blog post and your biggest fan in Japan wants to read it. With a pull CDN, the very first time she does, the content isn’t on the CDN. During this first request, the CDN “pulls” the images and so forth to CDN server nearest your Japanese fan. That could be Tokyo or Hong Kong, whichever it is, the very first time the CDN has to pull the post, meaning your server and reader won’t see any gain in speed. The second time however (and usually for 1-30 days later) the CDN has the content loaded and it’s will be available to everyone who is closest to that Tokyo or Hong Kong CDN server.
  • Push CDN: Going along with the example above, instead of waiting around for the CDN to pull the content when it’s needed, you simply upload the entire content of your travel blog to the CDN beforehand. That way your pictures, theme files, videos, and the rest are always on the CDN servers around the world.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the entire story or process of how CDNs work, it’s a look at the system from very high up in the sky. That said, it may seem like a push CDN is superior to a pull, but that’s not always the case.

small globeThe Benefits Of Pulling Or Pushing Your CDN

In general, a pull CDN is much easier to configure than a push CDN. Once initially configured, a pull CDN rather seamlessly stores and updates content on its servers as its requested. The data usually stays there for 24 hours or longer if the CDN doesn’t detect that a file has been modified. For low traffic sites or those that are sufficiently optimized with caching, good code, and more, a pull CDN provides speed without asking much of your server. Once your content is pulled (give it 48 hours to get enough data to make it a noticeable difference) the maintenance required is low.

  • So what makes a pull CDN so easy can also be a pain, especially when you’re making changes to your travel blog. Typically you don’t have control over how long the pull CDN cache lasts, so if you update a photo or theme, it might take up to 24 hours for all of your readers (and you) to see it. You lose control for ease so when it comes to making widespread changes like updating your theme, you often have to shut off the CDN during the process.

Conversely, a push CDN can put added strain on your server if it’s underpowered for your traffic, or you have lots of changing content in a given day. The reason being, pushing all of your data and any changes as they happen to the CDN takes work on your server’s part. If your server is already struggling under heavy load (here are a few tips to optimize your site) or has new content several times a day, all of them syncing between your server and the CDN might do more harm than good.

Which One Is Best For You?

The decision on which CDN type to go with revolves in large part around traffic and downloads. Travel blogs that are hosting videos and podcasts (aka. large downloads) will find a push CDN cheaper and more efficient in the long run since the CDN won’t re-download content until you actively push it to the CDN. A pull CDN can help high-traffic-small-download sites by keeping the most popular content on CDN servers. Subsequent updates (or “pulls”) for content aren’t frequent enough to drive up costs past that of a push CDN.

Whichever CDN type you end up choosing, I would strongly recommend you keeping track of your usage over the first 1-3 months as well as loading times. You may find that your specific travel blog is better configured for a push or a pull with a little experimentation. Experimentation that should take place on the weekend or other dead times because either way you go, DNS changes are going to make the first 48 hours messy.

[server photo by orangebrompton, push button by Steve Snodgrass, globe photo by fsse8info]

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How Guest Posts Actually Help SEO

This is a guest post by Shannon O’Donnell who uses freelance SEO as a way to fund continued travels.

Some of the top advice you read all over the Internet for good SEO practice is the idea of guest posting on other sites. This advice is solid at every level and works not only for SEO and Google link juice, but also for your site’s visibility within your community. New bloggers don’t traditionally come with a built-in audience unless you’ve been active on social media before your site launched, so with that in mind, you need people to see your name, your message, and your brand.

shaking hands

That’s one of the more obvious strengths to guest posting, you build your brand and funnel new and relevant SEO to your website.

On the other side of this equation though, is that Google juice I mentioned–this is where a lot of people begin to go a bit gray in their understanding. Everyone tells you links help your website’s Page Rank. But what about search engine rankings? How do we go from Page Rank (PR) to relevant search engine traffic?

google speakerWhat you Need to Know about the Google Algorithm

Knowing which sites consistently provide value is the core magic of the Google search algorithm, and to properly understand how you should be leveraging your guest posts, let’s start at the Google algorithm. Google returns some of the most relevant and accurate search results of any of the search engines out there and the company hands-down dominates the search market. Bing is the runner up (and Bing’s search algorithm fully powers Yahoo too), so that’s really the only other game in town.

Google’s algorithm is complex and no one outside of Google (and likely only a few people there) know the exact components. The algorithm is a formula that takes into consideration dozens of factors about your website, gives them different weights within the formula, and then combines those components to form the basis of search results.

These are a handful of the things Google considers when evaluating a website or blog post:

  • The age of your domain
  • Frequent keywords used within the site and those keywords other sites use to reference the site.
  • The freshness of the content on the website and relevancy (is there enough content, are people staying on the page when they click onto your site from the search results?
  • Page Rank: i.e. a numeric value assigned to your site ranking its value to the world wide web, mostly based on incoming links from other websites.

Those are the core basic components of the Google search algorithm and should give you a general understanding of how your site is found and placed within the search engine pages by Google.

authority sweatshirtHow Incoming Links Effect Your Page Rank

We’ve analyzed the algorithm, now let’s look at the incoming link your guest blog post will be sending to your website from the website you’re guest posting on.

Your site’s PR is nearly entirely dependent on a variety of incoming links from websites with a higher PR than yours (to find a site’s PR, a quick and easy option is Page Rank Checker). Websites with a PR 4 and higher (sometimes arguably PR 5 and higher is optimal) are great target guest posting sites. These websites with higher PR will lend you some of their PR juice through Google when they link to you.

Basically, when a website links to you it is giving you a vote of confidence from their domain – they are giving you some of the Google trust they’ve earned over time. Get enough of these votes, from a variety of sites and sources, and you’ll see your PR increase over time. Be forewarned though, Google only updates PR a couple times a year, so it may take time for incoming links to effect your officially shown PR.

How Incoming Links Effect Your Search Engine Results

Now we’ve come to the meat of the SEO reasons for guest posting, the keyword link juice (remember it’s about sharing audiences and spreading your message as much or more than for SEO). When you’re guest posting, you nearly always have the opportunity to include a personal bio either at the beginning or the end of the post. This bio is where you link back to your website, your projects, and your social media information. It’s also your main chance to send yourself a targeted, keyword link.

Traditionally, you’d link to your site with your blog’s name. That is one option, particularly if your site has a great keyword within the name. If it doesn’t though, consider alternative descriptions that target your site’s niche keyword.

Another option is to link to your site with its name, but then also build backlinks to a specific cornerstone piece of content on your site. If there is one invaluable resource you’ve put a lot of work into, include it! Add that to the bio, if you’re doing an honest bio and you’re writing related to your niche the site your guest posting for won’t mind a link back to your site that includes specific keywords.

As an example, let’s consider this fake bio as a perfect way to use guest posting to raise your site’s profile:

ìSuzie Q blogs about deep-sea trout fishing and wrote a wonderful, free resource for fish-loving travelers, the ultimate list of trout fishing travel tips. If you love trout fishing too, why not follow her on Twitter and Facebook?!î

In this bio example, Suzie Q is ensuring she now has relevant incoming links for keywords related to her niche. The link itself will help her siteís PR and the keywords within the link tell Google what her siteís about when itís calculating her place in the search engine results pages.

Interested in learning more about SEO and how to use it to build a better travel blog? Get Traffic Now is a free resource I co-authored with Andy Hayes that breaks down the complexities of SEO into a do-it-yourself handbook ideal for both new and established travel bloggers!

Shannon travels around the world using freelance SEO as a way to fund continued travels. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter for travel stories and advice, and feel free to ping her if you have any SEO travel questions!

[photos by: Nicolay Corboy (shaking hands), Daniel Morris (Google speaker), YAIAGIFT (authority sweatshirt)]

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Earlier this year, I asked you what your most pressing travel blogging questions were. LI asked how and where to best promote a blog contest, especially if your blog is fresh out of the Internet womb.

question mark

Floating In The Extremes

A blog contest has the potential to excite your readers, encourage participation, and draw new audiences to your site. Conversely, a contest can also make you feel like you’ve fallen flat on your face in a public display of disappointment. Running a successful contest – that is with more than mom participating – is a tricky prospect, no matter how large or small your audience is.

simple mathEase And Eas(ier)ness Of Entry

A critical component in running a successful contest is making things simple. That starts laying out the basics – what the person will win and how they enter.

Make entry into your contest as easy as possible, especially if you’ve got an audience on the smaller side. When LI asked whether to post a blog contest on Facebook or her actual site, I’d say do both if you’re just starting out.

While every contest is different and can go a number of ways, they tend to build momentum over time. When people are online they’re lazy – you’ve got generally under a minute to get their attention so make the most of it. With a larger audience you’ve got more people to funnel to a blog post or a Facebook page but for newer sites you’ll need to cast your contest net wider.

snowball on a hillGive Yourself A Lead But Not Too Long

Travelers tend to neglect the places that are close to home partially because of the mentality that they’re so close, “I’ll get their eventually.” Well, we all know how that goes and a blog contest is the same way. Give people 6 weeks to enter and chances are you won’t get much more participation than a contest with a 1 week entry deadline.

People are consistently dumping emails, calendar tasks, and interesting articles into “to do” lists which are the digital equivalent of black holes. Never to be seen or heard of again your contest announcement should get people to enter on first read; because it will be gone by the time they get back around to it (if they ever do). That’s also where a simple entry comes in – your readers will be more inclined to do something that takes 3 seconds to understand and even less time to do.

I’ve got a few more solid pieces of advice for running a successful contest on your travel blog but do feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments below.

[photos by: FrozenCapybara (question mark), Jer Kunz (simple math), redjar (snowball)]

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Dave Lee’s Travel Blog Success program, which I reviewed last year, has been updated and recently relaunched. Travel Blog Success is designed to help travel bloggers improve their sites on many fronts from monetizing to building an audience. Here’s a look inside the improved program that has its host of success stories to back it up the second time around.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dave Lee, who writes Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, several times over the past few years. He’s been blogging for the past 4 years with 3 years of traveling under his belt; and is someone passionate enough about both to take an ambitious project like Travel Blog Success and make it work. There are two tiers of membership to Travel Blog Success, with Basic membership giving you access to 27 written lessons and Premium including 12 expert audio interviews (one of them with yours truly) and more.

travel blog success

(Travel Blog Success) Stories

Since launching last February, Travel Blog Success has helped build and benefit many popular travel blogs including Johnny Vagabond, yTravelBlog, and LandLopers. You can read theirs and other testimonials on the Travel Blog Success homepage which really highlight the main benefit of the program – the community. The private forums are filled with other travel bloggers with various backgrounds and strengths, who are serious enough about improving their sites to invest the $99 (for Basic) or $129 (for Premium) memberships.

Included in the Premium membership are also coaching calls from Dave, which can give you an extraordinary head start and advantage to others working through blogging alone. As I mentioned last time, while you can learn everything in Travel Blog Success on your own, ideas build upon other ideas. Travel Blog Success can help you learn the nuts and bolts so you can focus on the more creative end of travel blogging.

travel blog success dave leeMoney Back Guarantee

Travel Blog Success also comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. In my opinion, the Premium membership fee of $129 (the extra $30 is worth the coaching calls and more) is a reasonable investment for those looking to make more of their travel blog. Travel Blog Success has a slant on making your travel blog work for you with advertising money and press trips, though this second incarnation looks to beef up the site’s content creation and marketing lessons.

Somewhere along the line if you want to make your travel blog a business, you’ll have to invest in it and regularly. Travel Blog Success is certainly a good place to put your money if that’s the intention; with the added incentive that’s it’s only a one-time fee.

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Earlier this year, I asked you what your most pressing travel blogging questions were. The first was brought up by David Robert Hogg – is attending the Travel Blog Exchange Conference worth it?

balancing act

So, Is TBEX Worth It?

That’s a question that depends on how you evaluate the worth of such conferences. To be honest, you’re unlikely to feel like the (roughly) $50-80 is worth the expense – plus the added travel costs – if you’re expecting to be enlightened by conference talks on social media and SEO. As conferences tend to go, some talks are better or simply more relevant than others; along with an higher-than-normal level of disorganization. Talks running late and a lack of wi-fi certainly left a bad taste in many participants’ mouth, but where hardly anyone held much complaint was where the real benefit of TBEX lies.

bar at nightNetworking, Networking, (Drinking), Networking

The days leading up to TBEX and before, after, and in between the talks of the conference is where you’re going to make more personal connections in the travel blogosphere than you could by being online for months. Not to mention that TBEX is one of the most lighthearted and fun conferences you’ll come across – travel or otherwise.

You can read more about TBEX on my review of the conference from last year. I hope this helps answer your question David – those of you who attended TBEX last year, what were your thoughts? Did you feel the conference was worth it? Sound off in the comments below.

[photo by: Digitalnative (balancing act)]

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There are several ways to reduce your travel blog’s loading time; many of which will have a measurable (if not human-noticeable) impact on how fast a given page on your site loads. How fast your pages load completely is not only important for getting indexed in search engines like Google, but more importantly a significant factor in how many people stick around your travel blog when it first loads.

slash

A Simple Explanation Of Redirects

Whenever you go to a specific URL, your browser begins to read the HTML behind it. That code tells your browser what exactly it should be doing and a line of code or two can cause your browser to jump from one page to another. There are many different types of redirect and each of them reducing loading time to varying degrees.

Redirects however, don’t have to be to separate pages.

Broken links or those that are malformed slightly can cause your browser to have to “auto-correct” the minor mistakes, denting your loading times ever so slightly. Trailing slashes also have an impact on how your pages are indexed by search engines, making consistency a appreciable factor in how well your travel blog is mapped by Google and others.

Finding The Culprits

Using the W3C Link Checker, you can find broken external and interlinks within your site that might be anchoring your pages to a slightly slower crawl. On top of that the free W3C Link Checker can help you find broken connections throughout your travel blog that readers might be getting stuck (and giving up) on.

Getting To Those Trailing Links

Notice at the end of your travel blog’s URL that there is a trailing slash, like http://foxnomad.com/ for example. When you add links (homepage and to individual posts) to your header, footer, or other static parts of your travel blog without one, it forces your browser to make a slight adjustment. W3C Link Check will alert you to any links that could potentially cause this problem.

There are long discussions online and many more details that about adding or removing slashes; consider this a basic start to a much larger topic.

Granted, you’ll likely only find a single link or two if any that are malformed in this way, but correcting them does nothing but improve your site’s overall efficiency.

[photos by: Edvill (Slash)]

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What Are Your Most Pressing Travel Blogging Questions?

thinking manFrom monetizing to Godfather Google, there seem to be a multitude of travel blog queries and gray areas people want to clear up in regard to their blogs. Across Twitter and Facebook there are some thoughtful and detailed concerns being brought up and I’d like to tackle some of your most pressing questions in a series of upcoming posts.

  • Specifically, what is your burning question about your travel blog or travel blogging in general?

Over the next few weeks I’ll take your questions and give you my best answer and opinions – while inviting you to do the same. I look forward to hearing what’s on your mind from the nuts and bolts of a blog to less tangible things like article content and photography.

[photo by: sobriquet.net (thinking man)]

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