Mar 06, 2022
5 mins read
Guys, it's been 2 years of Veganhaven blog!
I'm in no mood to celebrate though. With all that's going on in the world right now - I'm trying to make sense of things. First covid with travel restrictions, and now this war in Europe with uncertainties surrounding us.
These last couple of years may not have been the best times for a travel blog but Veganhaven was a little light in the dark for me. Running a blog has it's own struggles, though. That's why I want to tell you more about the 'behind the scenes' of blogging and my experience of it so far.
I've learnt much in these 2 years. The website is the only proof of my work. I've put in long hours, promoted businesses, hotels and restaurants - all mostly for free (because I don't have ''enough followers'' on Instagram). Yes, it's more than just a hobby. I do love travel content creation, taking and editing photographs but doing it as a travel blogger is more work than people imagine. It takes effort to create quality content and share valuable info. Definitely not all fun & games.
I've been at this circus for 2 years now and I call it that because it sometimes feels that way - it's frustrating and lonely at times. Just spending a lot of time trying to share content and posts on social media, come up with entertaining stuff that people would like (anyone hear me!?).
Let's go to the beginning - so how did I get started on this?
It first started with an idea. Choosing a brand name, logo, the domain name. Then you need a website, so I looked into hosting plans as I didn't want to go with a limited free blog. I chose Dreamhost which had a shared starter with a promo offer website hosting service with WordPress integrated. Be sure you can afford the first two years at least, a website/blog is an investment. At the beginning of 2020, I had just graduated from uni and I didn't have a lot to invest in the blog. I spent most of my savings on travel. It was still a good idea to own a website and post articles and photos there. It's not a lot when you try to start a business - it may pay back one day. Dream big!
Make Voyages! Attempt them... there's nothing else. -Tennessee Williams
Content: Once I had the website set up, I began posting! One of the first real posts on the blog:
All the content & photos on the blog are original and taken by me. This means extra works with the photo editing etc. I don't take guest posts either at the moment. I want the experiences shown as authentic as possible.
SEO: This is where I had to learn a little something. I didn't have much idea how to 'optimize' my articles and content for web search (so they actually show up in google search first pages) at first. I had to go back and edit a lot of initial posts once I learned better. Plugins: Your website needs plugins to support many useful features. I use basic free plugins at the moment. They are basically like apps that have different purposes. You install what you need. Keeping the website running smooth is a priority.
Making money from blogging? Still a long way. Ya know all the pop ups and weird ads you see on most websites? I don’t want that stuff on mine so we’ve been completely ad-free. Zero ad revenue so far, which is how websites make some money. One thing that does work are affiliate programs. Affiliate links are not ads and are services or products I trust (more about this in my previous post here). The costs of hosting the website is unfortunately still more than it's profits in a year.
There are many great detailed blogs about blogging - I can't remember them all, but I read posts on sweetandsimplelife.com, neverendingfootsteps.com etc. These resources guided me on setting up a blog & website.
Social media marketing is where I actually spent most time - trying to promote posts here and there. Instagram has been where I spend the most of that and it's been the biggest pain of them all. With Facebook, I don't bother because I've lost respect for that platform (yes I know, Instagram is also 'Meta' but..). I post content on YouTube and Pinterest, too. I didn't believe Pinterest was for me at first and had no idea how to go about things there - it seemed like a place for food bloggers and handicraft enthusiasts. But after posting some pins now and then it seems to bring more traffic to my blog than Instagram ever has. I think the time has come once and for all that I need to give up on Instagram. It’s simply not for my content. It should be called Reelstagram 🤣 and fb is awful for business pages - soon they won’t show your posts to anyone if you don’t pay to promote. I've deactivated it due to constant notifications to 'boost' posts on my page.
In these 2 years, I've believed in doing something good with this blog. While sometimes I wonder what the heck am I even trying to do with this..? It's a sort of rollercoaster but it's definitely a proud moment when you hear someone read about this or that on Veganhaven. :)
In these 2 years, I'm grateful for my supporters, those who have found and read the blog, engaged on social media or collaborated. And J, who's supported this journey all along and dealt with me constantly planning the next trip, documenting the journey, taking photos, uploading stuff etc. (well, at least I haven't made him open an Instagram account yet :P).
My goals are to keep Veganhaven going another year, at least and see where it takes us! The dream would be to be able to do it full-time. I have a lot of content planned and travels in mind. Stay tuned!
These are a few details behind the scenes at Veganhaven. I hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any questions about the blog or blogging, drop your comments below!
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