TravellingK is now a year old! Hard to believe it's been that long already.
I was following more and more travel bloggers and thinking to myself, 'I can do that'. I was feeling creatively frustrated at work as a graphic designer in the travel industry. I was realising it would take all my money and all fun out of my life to try and buy a house on my own in Auckland. The idea of owning a caravan was starting to take shape. I wanted to try something new and exciting. All of this lead me to starting the blog. A place to write about my past travel experiences and document what living permanently in a caravan in New Zealand was really like. A creative outlet and something that challenged me.
I started 'The Fundamentals of Travel Blogging' course through Travel Blog Success. I'd heard about the course through the different travel bloggers. This course helped me set-up the blog correctly, right from the start. Their Facebook group is amazing for keeping me motivated. I've now met other bloggers in New Zealand and we talk about our blogging uncertainties and successes.
It's been a steep learning curve. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a natural writer. I'm more confident with photography and the visual element. But through practice, I'm improving, which has honestly surprised me.
I've found that blogging has taken over my weekends and evenings which has affected my social life. I've started avoiding my past excessive weekend drinking, because hangovers are not helpful with writing and making videos!
Buying the caravan in October 2015 felt like my blog was finally officially starting. I've enjoyed documenting the experience and want to pass on what I've learnt along the way. I'm now wanting to show people that owning a caravan and towing are do-able. It's not that scary. Plus, I enjoy showing all the beautiful spots we have in New Zealand... once you get away from Auckland traffic.
You really can't do everything. There is never enough time to write that amazing blog, edit photos, make a video, post it once a week, share on social media platforms, send out an email, make a pin for Pinterest, post every day on Instagram and interact on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube. Whew!
Then there are plenty of other social media platforms I should not forget about. What about Twitter, Google+, Flipboard and Stumbler?
Through trial and error, I've learnt that Facebook loves it when you upload videos directly to their platform rather than just a YouTube link. This allows auto play and does well when boosted.
Videos do well, but sometimes people just want a good sunset photo.
I currently have 51 posts (missed posting once) and 30 videos. I have a very small number of followers, which I'm hoping to grow (know any friends who would like this?). But I've been able to learn a few things from you - my followers.
My most read post on my website by far is 'Tips for moving to Auckland, New Zealand', which is surprising! Nearly 50% of my traffic comes from Social Media and Pinterest is currently beating Facebook. I'm going to guess that my Pin about moving to Auckland is doing very well on Pinterest. Note to self - do more work on Pinterest.
My most watched video on YouTube is 'Hunt for the Karavan - Part 1' but this is because I was experimenting and paid money for it to be boosted, so I wont count it.
The second most viewed video is 'Travelling around North India' but it has been on YouTube for 2 years, so I'm not counting this one either.
My third most viewed video is 'How to reverse a caravan', which I think will pass my India video in view numbers soon. I've read that people love 'How To' videos and that YouTube is just a big search engine. Something to consider for my future videos.
Facebook is a different beast! Looking into my data on Facebook. The post with the most engagement is my very first vlog - 'Travelling K: My 1st Karavan Vlog'. I think this is because it was novel - I'd never done anything like this before and friends watched it, which meant other friends saw it. Engagement means people click on the post to get the sound, clicked on a link or liking it.
The second and third most viewed post is when I started searching for the caravan. Again, I think it's because it is something new.
The most viewed video (which means people didn't click on it, just watched) was about the landslide I managed to record. People love a bit of natural disaster, haha.
Waihekei Island Alternative video took multiple days to film. I feel like it's the right balance between talking to the camera and footage of the Matakana sights. I'll been very happy if all my videos turned out like this.
The Karamea video is another favourite. It gives a good overview of the area and happy with the beautiful and scenic spots I found.
I have days where I wonder why I'm putting all this effort into this blog. But another part of me is curious to see where this will take me. I've already learnt so many things this last year. I've dramatically improved my writing and videos skills. I have learnt a lot about how social media works. And it's been a great motivation to get out and see the best of New Zealand. What will the next year bring?