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4 years of blogging

This marks the 4th year that I created Adventurous Miriam. 4 years of blogging. Can you believe it?

Here’s what I knew in 2013 when I started Adventurous Miriam:

Nada.

More accurately, I knew I wanted to be a successful blogger and someday make a living from it. I’ve never wanted to be the biggest, baddest blogger (I wouldn’t like the spotlight and responsibility that comes with it). But having a large, engaged and loyal group of followers – that was my dream, and you know what, guys? I’m living that dream ♥

Today I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned from blogging this far. If you have a blog, dream of having a blog one day or you’re simply interested in what I’ve learned about blogging – this post is for you!

Without further ado – things I’ve learned in my 4 years of blogging.

EVERYONE TAKES THEIR OWN PATH TO SUCCESS

I could also say don’t compare yourself to others because that’s the bottom-line. It’s so easy to get sucked into the competition surrounding blogging. You see other bloggers or Instagrammers who, seemingly, overnight got hundreds of thousands of followers, and you’re still stuck at 500 or 3.000. Or 20.000. The thing is, there is no magic formula to achieve Instagram success or blog success. It’s all about the path you take.

Read this list of 10 things I’ve learned from 1 year of blogging.

Some people have an easier path, while others have one that’s a bit rockier. While many bloggers have achieved more than I have in 4 years, it doesn’t really matter to me because their path isn’t mine. I can’t compare myself to them because we don’t have the same background and haven’t made the same choices.

That being said, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in my 4 years of blogging. Like I mentioned, I knew nothing when I started out, and now I have a blog with +65K amazeballs readers who stuck by me through the good and the bad times (I love you, guys!).

To me, that’s success.

SOME OF MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR ARE:

  • Traveling solo to more than 17 countries
  • Working with brands and companies I love
  • Getting picked to go on many really exciting press trips and meeting with other amazing travel bloggers
  • Reaching over 115.000 followers on social media, all organically
  • Keeping my integrity. Staying true to myself and my brand

INVEST IN YOUR BLOG

It’s strange, but until recently I would feel guilty spending money on my blog. Maybe because I didn’t earn much money from it so it didn’t feel right. But the thing is that in order to get some, you need to give some. And, well. The minute I started investing in my blog, my new passive income skyrocketed. In a week I’ve already made $250 with Mediavine and I’m like, why exactly did I not sign up for this earlier?!

BLOGGER COURSES

I recently invested in The Blogger Course (affiliate link), which besides signing up with Mediavine is the best thing I’ve done for my blog in years! I’m not saying you should buy every course you come across, but investing in the right courses (I’ll get to how in a minute) is key to improving and getting success with your blog.

In the four years I’ve been blogging, I have only invested in two major blogging courses: Travel Blog Success (now Super Star Blogging (affiliate link)) and The Blogger Course. As a new blogger, Travel Blog Success was perfect, especially their Facebook group where you can get tips and ask questions. Signing up was definitely worth the $267, but at the stage I am now, I needed a more advanced course that could take me to the next level.

And that’s when I heard about The Blogger Course.

The thing I love about The Blogger Course is that is goes into depth and makes you improve or even reinvent the vital stuff, like your brand, your niche and the way you work with other brands. You see so much fluffy advice out there that leaves out the real facts to succeed, but Monica, who’s behind this course, doesn’t hold back.

LOOK TO BLOGGERS YOU ADMIRE AND RESPECT

How do you grow your blog and find courses worth investing in?

You learn from bloggers whose businesses you admire. I heard about The Blogger Course from a fellow travel blogger, Heart my Backpack. I trust her advice and admire the way she blogs and runs her business.

If you hear other popular bloggers raving about a course or program, there’s probably something to it. That’s, btw, how I came to know about Mediavine.

As I move forward, I’ll probably need to invest in more courses, which I’m fully prepared to do.

4 years of blogging

TREAT YOUR BLOG LIKE A BUSINESS

Aside from spending money on blogging, I’ve learned that I need to treat my blog like a business. That means taking a good, hard look at my blog and asking myself this:

Does it add value? And does it answer people’s questions?

Does it, really?

FINDING A NICHE

I’ve spent the last year stressing about my niche and what to do with my blog. Until now it’s been revolving around solo travel (though without branding it as such because I don’t want to limit myself). But now that I’m a mom, I won’t be traveling solo for the foreseeable future. And I don’t want it to become a mommy or family blog either. So, should I find a new niche? What to do?

Yes, finding a niche is important, but you know what’s even more important? Focus.

Having a focus means that your blog revolves around a message or mission. What’s the meaning behind your blog? How can it add value to someone’s life? How can it answer the questions your readers have? Having a focus means you can blog about many different topics, as long as they all relate back to the overall message of your blog. 

My advice: If you don’t have a narrow niche other than adventure (like me) or luxury or style, don’t stress over it.

You don’t need to blog about just one thing in order to be successful. There are so many bloggers out there who are making it and they aren’t putting themselves in a box. They embrace who they are and use their passions and strengths to help others.

THE POWER OF BRANDING

A vital point to growing your blog is branding. For a long time I actually thought I was doing it right. And I was… kind of. But after going through the Blogger Course, I’ve learned that branding is so much more – and also really, really important if you want to work with brands.

Your brand is your blog, and the number one tip to branding your blog for success is to be consistent. You need to ensure consistency across your blog. Your post graphics, tone of voice, photographs, logo, font, colors need to be aligned. So for instance when you create a pin, you need to use to same font and colors and stick to it for consistency so people recognize your brand.

LOOK AND ACT PROFESSIONAL

If your blog is a business, it has to look like a business. You need a Work With Me page so brands know who you are, who your readers are, and what they’ll gain from a collaboration. My advice is to feature your blog & social media stats (and/or media kit) and your purpose or mission statement. Make business cards, a logo and a media kit (you’ll need it when working with brands). You can make all three things for free in Canva or spend $30 to get someone else to make it for you (Craigs list or Etsy).

4 years of blogging

USE PREMIUM HOSTING FOR YOUR BLOG

At some point, you’re going to have a problem with your blog. It’ll get hacked or slow down or just disappear mysteriously, and you won’t know what to do.

If you have a cheap host, you’ll be on your own, and you’ll waste days, sleep (and possible income)  trying to get it to work. After months or maybe even years, you’ll realize how foolish it was to skimp on hosting and move to a premium host like Siteground (affiliate link) who helps you when it breaks.

My first hosting provider was not great at all. Every now and then when their servers crashed and my site went down for the ten millionth time, they would say: “But.. But it’s not our fault!”

* strangles hosting provider *

Think of it like this. Website hosting is the backbone of your business, and if you pick the wrong hosting provider your business could break down any minute. Trust me, you don’t want that.

Since I switched to Siteground, I haven’t spent a nanosecond worrying about the technical side of my blog. These guys are da bomb! Just the other day, my site went down because of a theme error, and Siteground jumped in and helped (even though it wasn’t related to my hosting). What’s more, they got it up and running within 15 minutes – and that’s not the only time they’ve helped a girl out. I’m sure there are other great hosting providers out there, but mine is pretty awesome.

UP YOUR SEO GAME

If there’s one thing I wish I’d done earlier, it’s SEO. I’ve always used the Yoast Plugin, but it only helps you so far. Yoast doesn’t say if your keyword is relevant or how competitive it is. You could write the best blog post in the world and take the prettiest photos, but if no one is reading then it doesn’t really matter.

INVEST IN KEYSEARCH

I recently invested the monthly $17 for KeySearch, which is a keyword research tool to rank better on Google and drive more traffic to your site. Since I started using it, several of my blog posts moved to page 1 in Google and I get loads more traffic (14.000 extra visitors per month) – especially from this post about Istria, Croatia (which ranks higher than Lonely Planet and Wikipedia), and this one about Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach in Iceland or this one about food in Slovakia.

If you want to know more about KeySearch, you can read about it in this article by two fellow travel bloggers. Their blog is really helpful in boosting your blog traffic, I wish they had been around when I started blogging.

Btw, for 20% off KeySearch use the code: KSDISC – click here to sign up (affiliate link).

WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER

After becoming a mom I realized that my time is valuable. I only have a few hours each day to work on my blog and my business, so I don’t want to waste that time. Why should I spend hours scheduling social media when I could be spending my limited time improving my brand or making important decisions on the future of my site?

OUTSOURCING

I think back on the countless hours I spent scheduling social media, and I kick myself. I could’ve just used Tailwind (for Pinterest) or Facebook planner, and they would do it for me.

The trick is to outsource the small things, or the stuff you know you can’t do yourself. And then focus your time on the big things that will really improve your business. Once I started doing that, I saw the results I wanted.

GOALS FOR 2018

  • Double my income
  • Earn $1,600 a month through affiliate marketing by the end of 2018
  • Grow my Instagram
  • Attend blogging conferences (definitely WTM London in November)
  • Do more weekend trips in Europe (I already have a few lined up)

4 years of blogging

THANK YOU, LOVELIES ♥

A huge and heartfelt thank you for your support and engagement. Whether you’ve been here since the beginning or just found me, none of this is possible without you. I always brag that I have the best followers because you are all such a positive, supportive and encouraging group of people, and I hope to keep those good vibes going. You are the best. Truly.

xo Miriam