Q3 2009 Blogging Update

The last three months have brought about a lot of changes. I’ve come back to the United States, launched a new travel podcast, and have started a two month road trip through the American west.

The goals I set out for 2009 were as follows:

  1. 5,000 RSS subscribers. (5x increase)
  2. 7,500 Twitter Followers (2.5x increase)
  3. Average 100,000 visits per month (5x increase)
  4. Have a book published
  5. Get my podcast on a regular schedule and done in a quasi professional manner

Goal #1 is on track. If you look at my Feedburner numbers it is over 9,000 but that is mostly due to them adding FriendFeed numbers. If you substract the non-FriendFeed numbers, I’m still on track to easily get 5,000 by the end of the year. The RSS + email newsletter numbers are around 4,300 but I haven’t actually checked lately. With three months to go, I’m pretty confident about this.

Goal #2 has been demolished. Not much more to say about this. I have been putting more effort into Facebook than Twitter lately. Facebook is showing a higher rate of response from readers than Twitter. I think Facebook will be in my 2010 goals and Twitter will not.

Goal #3 is looking better but might still be difficult. This was always a long shot, but things have improved greatly in the last few months. In September I had 64,000 visits to my site and over 105,000 pageviews. 75,000 visits per month is easily in reach. Getting to 100,000 in December might require something I haven’t thought of yet. I am making some big changes, but I don’t know if they will kick in, in time. My Alexa and Complete rank should be below 50,000 when the dust settles. See below.

Goal #4 is in holding. I’m still going to do it, but I’ve been occupied with other things.

Goal #5 was achieved, but not in the way I thought. I launched This Week in Travel which is a podcast, and it is released in a consistent manner and is quasi professional. I was thinking in terms of something with video and about my travels when I made the goal. Nonetheless, I’m call it a win.

You may notice that none of my goals have dealt with money. I haven’t made monetizing the site a huge priority. I’ve been working on gathering an audience more than trying to make money off the site. The theory being that if you have an audience, you can always make money. Well, that time is now.

One problem I’m having is trying to get work done when I move every other day. It doesn’t lend itself to productivity. I’m going to take the first few months of 2010 and get an apartment, probably somewhere like Bangkok and work. I’m working on several new projects:

1) A massive SEO overhaul of my site. Most people who are regular visitors to will not notice a thing. Currently, my navigation to all the places I’ve been is just linking to the category page in WordPress. This is horrible. I’m creating landing pages with all the content I’ve created for each country, city and attraction. I have a list of over 250 already. I’m also going back and working on my internal links for all these landing pages. This is something I’ve never done, so I’ve never really harnessed the power of my content. I’ll be putting ads on the landing pages and not on the front page of the site. This should dramatically increase my targeted search engine traffic.

2) Finish the move to Smugmug. I’ve removed (as far as I know) all the links to images on my self hosted photo site. I’ve also mapped my own domain to my Smugmug accounts ( The next step is to remove all the Flick links from the blog. Once that is done, every photo on my site will be hosted under my own domain. I will also then work on reorganizing my photos into better sets and changing the layout of my photo page. I’m getting more traffic from Google Image search already and that should increase dramatically once this is all done.

3) I’m launching a new blog. I’ve been thinking about launching a multi-author blog but I didn’t just want to copy what other sites are doing. I thought about how I as an independent blogger would want to work with a multi-author blog and have come up with some unique things which should make it compelling to every independent travel blogger. If successful, it will drive traffic to their sites.

It will be interesting to see how the next three months pan out. I have a lot of work to do, but I’m moving in the right direction.

By Gary

3 dimples. 7 continents. 130 countries.

2 replies on “Q3 2009 Blogging Update”

I just discovered this blog and caught up with your 2009 goals and posts.

Your idea about creating landing pages to divvy up your blog content instead of using the categories is an interesting one. It makes complete sense from an advertising standpoint, and it’s not something I’d seen suggested anywhere else.

I look forward to seeing how it comes out, and might have to add that to my 2010 “to-do” list as well.

That is because SEO people aren’t involved with travel 🙂 It is a pretty specific thing that I’m not sure would apply to other types of sites.

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