While the life and job of a blogger may seem boring to most people, it all depends on what type of blogger you ask.
Personally, I do a lot more than blogging and I love my job. If you asked travel bloggers, I'm sure you would hear the same thing.
Gary Arndt is a travel blogger and he has quite a few online too, with over half a million followers on his social networks and he has quite a few blogs too.
I'm pretty jealous of all of the places Gary has been to, and after reading this Meet the Blogger interview, I'm sure you will be too!
1.) Please tell us something about yourself and how you got into blogging.
I started a personal blog in 1997. Back then it wasn't even called a blog, just my personal website.
When I decided to travel around the world, it was natural for me to start a website to document the trip. I had previously traveled around the world in 1999 and created a small website that people in my office could follow. I saw this as something like that.
2.) What is the main focus of your blog and why did you choose this niche?
My blog documents my travels around the world. I have been traveling the world without a break since March 2007. During this time I have visited over 140 countries and territories and all 7 continents.
Last month, I was named Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers and named one of the Top 25 Blogs on the Internet by Time Magazine in 2010.
3.) How are you currently monetizing your blog traffic?
My current monetization strategy is endorsement and sponsorship. This is a very different approach than most bloggers use.
I can do this because 1) travel and tourism is the largest industry in the world, with annual sales of $ 12 trillion worldwide, and 2) I have one of the largest personal audiences in the industry
When I decided to make a living from it in late 2007, I knew this was the option I wanted to pursue. There are mutliple reasons for this:
It takes less work.
Once you've established a relationship with a company, you're no longer in constant sales mode. You just have to continue that relationship.
I've been working with my main sponsor, G Adventures, for over 3 years. They are the world's largest adventure travel company and I travel with them many times a year. It is establishing itself as a premium brand. When I connect with reputable companies, I consolidate myself as reputable.
I can wait for it to travel.
I have an itinerary that would exhaust most people. I am always abroad and explore the world. That radically limits the time I need to create e-books, do SEO, or focus on affiliate marketing. Most of the traditional ways of blog monetization would be very difficult for me given my schedule.
I want to diversify my earnings in the near future. That could include a book, photo repair shops, and maybe another website.
4.) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started blogging?
Things have changed so much since I started that I'm not sure how much would still apply in 2007. I assumed I would have switched to certain social media platforms earlier than I did (and I was pretty early).
5.) Which three blogs do you visit almost every day?
- I have over 100 websites in my RSS reader. Some of my favorites are:
- Universe today. Science and astronomy in particular are my interests. I always try to visit related websites when I travel.
- PVPonline.com. Not a blog per se, but I'm a friend of Scott Kurtz and have been reading it for over 10 years.
- GigaOM. There is so much technological news that I cut almost everything down. However, I kept GigaOM in my reader.
6.) Can you give us three recommended tools / services that you use for your blogging?
I'm not doing SEO. I don't have any tools to manage social media with. There are a few services that I use to keep the blog going:
- Complacency. I use Smugmug to host 100% of my images. I can only recommend that users do not host their images on the same server that their blog is on.
- Web synthesis. They do dedicated WordPress hosting. Since moving to them earlier this year, I've had almost 100% uptime and things are going a lot faster. I'll pay more, but it was worth it.
- Cloudflare. Most people ignore DNS hosting. Cloudflare offers a Psudo CDN as well as an additional layer of security.
7.) What advice would you have for someone just starting their first blog?
Don't quit your day job.
8.) What is the best advice or tip you have come across since starting blogging?
If you want to be successful, you have to be there in the long run. I see too many people starting blogs and then expecting to be a success in 6 months. This will likely take years. You need to be able to keep going even if it looks like no one is paying attention. If you don't give up and keep trying to improve, something will eventually happen.
9.) If you only had $ 100 to start a new blog, how would you use it?
I would probably use the money to buy a domain, open an account with Aweber, and pay for hosting.
10.) How can readers of the blog get in touch with you?
I'm online everywhere. You can find me at:
Twitter: @ EverywhereTrip /
Thank you again Gary for taking the time to share your advice and story with the Blogging Tips community. If you are interested in learning more about other bloggers and how they succeed online, be sure to check out our blogger interview series.