Update 5/7/2016 at 11am PT: Here are the 3 winners I selected:
- Adam said “I actually was inspired by yours to have my own Amtrack train trip! Thought about it in the past, pulled the trigger after your reports ;)”
- Christina said “I love your blog and also I loved meeting you at in Chicago at FTU Advanced (you’re really a friendly and modest fella). Congrats on your anniversary Grant! I learned all about AmEx offers and Serve from you. I earned enough AA miles through MS to take my daughter to Paris this year. Thank you and keep up the good work!”
- Seth said “You had a contest one time to have people come up with the best weekend trip you could take for a single sign up bonus (or something like that). I actually ended up taking a trip very similar to the one I came up with, and I never would have thought of it without the great prompt and information from your site!”
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and for all the great interactions over the last 3 years. Happy Mother’s Day weekend everyone!
Good morning everyone, happy Wednesday! Oh, by the way, Travel with Grant turned 3 years old yesterday. Pretty crazy, right? I can’t believe it’s been 3 years already, time sure flies by. I sometimes get asked for advice about blogging and I always tell people the same thing: “Starting a blog is easy, but keeping it going day in and day out takes a lot of work.” During the first few months of blogging, you feel like no one reads your blog or cares about your blog. I used to get jealous of other bloggers who had tons of readers and received several comments on each post. Why was no one reading or commenting on my blog posts? Over time, I learned that readers like to read and not leaving a comment does not mean anything bad. If I had written something wrong/bad, I’m sure the commenters would have let me know right away.
Looking back at my first month of blogging, I had a total of 3,314 total pageviews, now I can (occasionally) pass that number in a single day of blogging. My blog traffic quickly climbed the first year during the golden age of MS (Bluebird, Serve, Vanilla Reload Cards, PayPal My Cash Cards, churning credit card, retention bonuses, etc.). My blog was off to a great start!
During the second and third year, traffic continued to grow as I moved from an independent blogger to the Prior2Boarding network to the BoardingArea network. As of today, I have just over 2.5 million pageviews, but my monthly traffic has decreased from my peak in February 2015 as the MS opportunities have slowly disappeared. Living in the Bay Area since December 2014, the MS opportunites have almost dried up entirely. Through and through, I always enjoyed writing blog posts and helping readers.
I have had a few guest posts scattered in throughout the years, but the vast majority of my posts have been written by me. How do I pick the topics that I write about? I have a few simple rules that I follow:
- I write about stuff that I would want to read about. If I don’t care about a topic, I am not going to write about it.
- Be the first to write about something. Everyone loves breaking news, but lately, it’s been all bad breaking news.
- Be the best at writing about something. If something has been written about 50+ times, there is no point for me to write about it too, unless I have something new to add.
With that said, I’ve written close to 900 posts, but here is the list of top blog posts/pages of all time. The PayPal My Cash Card post continues to get 50-100 pageviews everyday, it’s incredible!
Writing good content is great, but it doesn’t mean anything if no one can find/read your blog posts. Search engine traffic is my greatest source of traffic and represents 40% of my total pageviews (1M / 2.5M). Social media (Twitter and Facebook) are essential in the travel hacking space since information is so timely and can be easily shared with millions of people. Lastly, and most importantly to me, connecting with fellow travel bloggers is essential. There is no greater compliment than when another travel blogger links to your posts and tells their readers to read your post. Thank you to all the travel bloggers out there who have linked to my posts.
Long story short, Travel with Grant is 3 years old and I want to thank everyone who has read, commented, emailed, tweeted, or talked to me at a travel conference. You guys are awesome!
To thank you, I want to give away 3 $10 Amazon eGift Cards to readers. All you have to do is tell me what deal/trip over the last 3 years was the most important to you. Do you reminisce about the days when you could buy $5,000 of VRCs from Office Depot and CVS? Did that first class trip around the world on miles and points make the last 2 years of hoarding miles and points worthwhile? Did you get to see friends and family scattered around the world that you haven’t seen in years? Leave a comment below and let me know.
I will pick the winners Friday morning at 7am PT. Good luck to everyone who enters and cheers to the next 3 years of blogging!