It is now six months since Flights And Frustration began so it is only fair to ask what have I achieved in six months?
Many bloggers reflect on the year just gone once the New Year starts yet this seemed inappropriate for such a new travel blog. However I feel now is a good time to reflect.
From humble beginnings
The idea of Flights And Frustration initially began as a thought for an e-book. It was during a moment of flying and waiting for a connecting flight that I penned my initial thoughts. I’d typed up a very basic structure for the book and some stories to share.
The inspiration was soon dented when the computer with this record broke before I had chance to make a back-up. Frustrated with my loss yet always full of inspiration I soon realised that a website would be a better portal for my experiences and of course rants.
Experiences will keep coming and this blog can keep going as long as I travel.
I began initially with a Blogger account for my site. However I’ve read many books and websites on blogging (and still have plenty of books to go!). Within a week I realised that Word Press was the much better option for numerous reasons. More control of my site was the main one.
Quick on the case I contacted my good friends at Pat-Host.net who provided me with a great web hosting deal and support. I was set up in no time at all.
If you are looking for web hosting with a personal service then I highly recommend Pat Host.net. Just tell them that you heard about them from me and you’ll get a great deal.
Articles of Interest
So here I was blog all set up, so what do I talk about? I began with my Airline Industry in Transition series which reflects how I saw the industry change over the last dozen years. Appropriate since I first began frequent air travel in 2000.
I then moved onto various reviews of hotels and experiences. I particularly enjoyed writing my Magic of Melbourne series. To be honest I could have written more for it but maybe I’ll save that for next time.
I even put up some videos, this one proved very popular.
Trying to keep up with the times, the announcement of the resignation of Pope Benedict prompted a swiftly written and published post.
My most popular articles and searches from Google tend to be related to Emirates, well I have flown with them a lot recently. By far my most popular article to date has been my most luxurious travel experience too!
It is quite amusing with the articles on Emirates. Quite recently I received an e-mail from a PA for some executive. Apparently her boss left his shirt after taking a shower in the Emirates Lounge in Johannesburg and wondered if I could return it to them! A quick e-mail response from me explaining the situation hopefully sent her in the right direction.
In my efforts to become an experienced travel blogger, (well I’m very experienced in travel) I’ve begun to embark on guest posting. This is also something I will seek to do more of going forward.
My first post elsewhere was on the Pro’s and Con’s of being an international business traveller.
I was then asked to collaborate on an article about how fellow travel bloggers can help each other.
More recently I was honoured to be the feature as I was interviewed for a fellow bloggers site.
Around Christmas time I was also approached to feature on a very exciting project in celebration of a great blogger.
Look out for me elsewhere as I have some further features on other sites pending for the near future!
On my site I’ve had the pleasure of other bloggers posting too.
The very first was Savannah Grace’s great article on Alkmaar.
This was followed by the honest review of flying with Etihad by Shane Todd.
Income and Expense from Blogging
Since I began my blog it is worth while to keep a tally as to whether it is worth it financially. I’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I have a full time job which actually sends me a abroad frequently, so I’ll rarely be short of material to write about. Unlike some full time travel bloggers who quit their job at home to travel the world.
As a result money is not a key issue for me. You hear stories of people who start a website and make a fortune. Well as someone doing this in my part time I don’t know the secret formula to that one.
To be honest I’ve yet to cover all my costs. Mind you my costs include:-
- Domain names (I bought various takes on the name with .com, .net etc so it all adds up). I made the mistake of buying flightsandfrustration.com rather than with an “s” on the end (flightsandfrustrations.com). So to correct my error I then bought the one with the “s” on the end to avoid any confusion. Also in light of my commitment to the website I bought the rights to the domain names for a number of years.
- Identity protection. Buying through GoDaddy or 1-2-3 reg I selected the option to protect my identity which added to the cost.
- Hosting. Well I’m no whizz on IT so this is where my good friends at Pat Host come in. Did I mention them before? Oh yeah, so I did. Be sure to check them out.
- Market Samurai. Keen to filter information for good keyword research I bought a programme which seems very impressive and complex. It should help me to perform better for SEO. I just need to use it more often!
So there are my costs, what about income?
Well advertisers only started approaching me after being established for 3 months. Thankfully since them I’m receiving quite a few enquiries now with a few posts going live. This is all helping to go towards my running costs and I’m sure I can break even and be in surplus before the year is out.
Dealing with advertisers can be a joy or a great pain. Some are fabulous and you agree the fee and terms pretty quickly and they turn out great content to publish. Others are frustrating to work with. Either they ignore what you say, push out poor quality draft articles or fail to research your website. Some of the recent requests have been from companies with absolutely no relation to travel whatsoever.
I also get the cheeky request for a free link exchange. I’m happy to do this for fellow bloggers as I love the blogging community. However they have been recent ones where they suddenly want a link exchange to a clearly commercial only website.
I’ve started putting up some banner ads as well since these may be of interest to visitors. I’ve also run google ads for a while yet there are very few clicks on these at the moment so it is a slow burn with those. I can’t ask visitors to click on them so I won’t ask.
Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
Hmm, that old saying of “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics” is something I find very appropriate when trying to measure the success of Flights And Frustration.
Like all bloggers I want a good and increasing audience who will keep returning. As a result I monitor my site viewing figures yet become very confused by 4 different measure of the audience.
Firstly the industry standard seems to be Google Analytics. Okay I signed up a little late to this but this reports a disappointing 5,560 visits over this period (to Sunday 24th March 2013) with 20,008 page views.
Jetpack Site Stats is something I use inside my WordPress login. This reports total visitor numbers of 8,966. Averaging 86 a day in March.
Site counter (which you can see on the right hand panel of this site) shows a more healthy 14,191 and currently coming in well over 100 visitors a day.
C-Panel is my favourite, well it has the highest numbers. This C-Panel is what my hosting company use to monitor traffic and see where the bandwidth is going. When I log into C-Panel (Sun 24th March) I see that in total since day 1 there have been 42,781 visits! As well as many more than 100,000 hits but that is mostly just computer crawlers and not real people.
So which is most important? Well Google seems to be the industry standard setter. However, C-Panel is what my host uses and he monitors my bandwidth (which has been increasing frequently). In fact, my host tells me that even though I’ve only been going for 6 months I get more traffic than any other website hosted by that company, and they host a lot of websites!
Right, smug face off now for some more facts.
My Alexa rank (as of 24th March) is 315,326. I’ve been gradually watching this improve and I’m loving the way it keeps improving.
My current Google page rank is 2. Is that good for six months? I suspect so.
So how do I want to develop the site? Well over the next six months I want to make it bigger and better.
I have lots of ideas for articles. Some classic rants to get off my chest so be prepared!
I’ll keep doing the reviews of flights and locations as well as hotel reviews. Is this something you’d like to see?
I also need to play around more with my theme. I want the images at the bottom of the page to be a lot tidier than they currently appear. For some reason they are off centre.
I’m striving to increase all number of people who follow this site.
I currently have 67 Likes on my Facebook page.
I have 1,286 followers on Twitter.
However, all these followers is not really what I want. Twitter and Facebook feeds soon scroll by, if you are not there at the time then you’ll miss it.
What I’d really like are e-mail subscribers, currently I have 42 and counting. If you follow me on twitter or facebook then please consider the free e-mail subscription at the bottom of the page. Sign up takes seconds and it guarantees that you’ll never miss a post. They’ll be there waiting in your inbox for you as soon as you are ready. I’ll never spam either, honest.
Now it is your turn. Please use the comments box below to tell me what you’ve enjoyed over the last six months. What didn’t you like? What would you like to see from me in the future?
Don’t be shy, leave a comment.
So all this success hasn’t come alone.
I’ve already attributed thanks to my great web host.
I’ve also really enjoyed my time so far in the blogging community. There are some great people out there who you should check out.
One of the first people to find my site and comment and is now a regular visitor and commentor is the fabulous Phil Holtberg. You should check out his fabulous web site.
Thanks to the wonderful Savannah Grace. The first person to write a guest post on Flights And Frustration which proved what a great writer she is.
Agness and Cez, two very experienced travel bloggers have followed this site from early on and also assisted me with some queries as I start to find my feet. They are great people who I hope to meet some day.
Shane Todd of Travel Infographics was very kind to suggest to do a Guest Post exchange. His review of his flight with Etihad caused quite a stir with even the customer service department of Etihad responding. Well done Shane!
I also collaborated with Andy Andersen on an article for his fabulously well written travel blog.
More recently the delightful Sam Starling featured an interview with me on her great travel site. She is soon to embark on a big trip so be sure to check her out.
Also, I’ve received quite a boost of visitors each time I avail myself of Suzy Stumbles on the excellent site from Suzy Guese.
Like every Academy Award winner there are many more people who’ve supported me, too many to mention here. So thank you all for your support.
Last but no means least a very special mention. Many thanks to my bride-to-be. She was very excited when I told her about my travel blog and she reads every post almost as soon as they are released. She’s not quite got into blog commenting but she often has great feedback for me so thank you.