Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend. I started sharing my thoughts regarding working from home in a series of Work from Home Diary posts. Feel free to share your work from home feelings in the comments section below. For today’s update, I wanted to let you know that Travel with Grant (the blog) turned 7 years old today! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since I started blogging in May 2013. Back then, I talked about Award Wallet, ITA Matrix, Credit Karma / Credit Sesame, using BA Avios to fly to Hawaii, converting Hawaiian Airlines miles to Hilton points, $500 Visa Gift Cards at Office Depot, and much more.
I thought about sharing my 7 favorite blog posts or top 7 most read blog posts, but thought I would share my thoughts on blogging and my continued goals as a blogger. Back when I started my blog, I was a ferocious reader of Frequent Miler (still am), Million Miles Secrets, The Points Guy, Frugal Travel Guy, Mile Value, and Travel Blogger Buzz (love you George). These were blogs that I looked up to and admired for their content and entertainment. I’m not a full time blogger (and never have been), but the dream of working on a secluded beach with a laptop on my lap and big floppy hat on my head always made me smile.
It took me a while to find my own voice, but I settled on 3 key rules that I promised to myself that I would follow everyday:
- Be the first to write about something
- Be the best to write about something
- Write what I would want to read
If I was the 10th / 50th / 100th person to write about something, why would anyone read my blog post? If my blog post was not better than any other blog post on the topic, why would anyone read my blog post? Lastly, If I wasn’t interested / passionate about a particular topic, would anyone else be interested in that topic (and would I be enthusiastic enough to write a post about something I didn’t care about)? Those 3 key rules gave me the freedom to write about whatever I wanted, not what all the other travel bloggers were writing about on any given day.
What I learned early on was that not every blog post was going to be popular, either in the short term (day of post) or the long term (months or years later). In fact, there are many blog posts that I wrote years ago that very few people read, but now get lots of traffic from Google every day. The funny thing about blogging is that you can spend hours writing a single blog post (ex: trip report, airline review, hotel review, etc.) that you think everyone will love, only for that post to only receive a handful of views and comments. On the other hand, some blog posts that I wrote in 20-30 minutes that I figured would not be interesting / popular with readers turned into some of my most popular posts. You never really know what is going to happen until you hit the publish button.
Another key rule that I have lived by during the last 7 years is to respond to every comment, email, Twitter tweet/DM, Facebook message, etc. If someone takes the time to send me a comment, I promised that I would make the time to read and respond to every single comment. Even if the comment was asked several times before, I would give them a genuine response and not say “read the post” or “I answered the question earlier.” I feel like that is the right thing to do and it takes just about the same amount of time to provide a genuine response that it does to say “read the post” or “I answered the question earlier.”
I also wanted to mention the importance of staying connected with other bloggers and readers. I love going to Frequent Travel University, Chicago Seminars, and local travel meetups. Nothing compares to talking to others face-to-face and it is such a great feeling to talk to people that have the same miles / points / travel obsessions that you have. When I cannot be face-to-face with others, I love reading blog posts from fellow bloggers, following other bloggers on Twitter (the really funny comments happen on Twitter, not in the blog comments), and listening to their voices on podcasts. The miles/points community is very entertaining and I learn something new every single day. I’m so glad I stumbled onto this community shortly after graduating college (with a solid credit score and plenty of sign up bonuses to go around).
Last but not least, I wanted to say a big thank you to my readers. Thank you for reading what I write, thank you for commenting and asking questions, and thank you for correcting me when I am wrong. If no one read or commented on my blog posts, I would have stopped writing years ago. Your curiosity and excitement keep me going day after day, and year after year.
If you have any questions about blogging, please leave a comment below. Have a great day everyone!
P.S. Stay tuned later this week for some good blog posts about retention offers and statement credits.