This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
If you asked me a year ago today if I would have been writing this post at this very moment.
I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. But, here I am, a year later, still writing, taking pictures and leaving my stamp on the world.
Third Eye Traveller officially turns 1 year today! My blogging birthday if you will :).
I guess I’m writing this as a reflection of my experience and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
The good, bad and the ugly of trying to make it as a travel blogger. Or, if you feel blogger is a dirty word, an influencer or creator.
Or, whatever the latest term is nowadays in this everchanging industry.
I’ve built my blog from nothing to a readership of 10,000 a month and a travel tribe of 24k on social media in just one year.
Although to some this seems quite slow, I’m pretty proud of my journey and what I’ve accomplished.
Before Third Eye Traveller
Third Eye Traveller wasn’t actually my first blog.
In fact, I started blogging 2 years or so ago when I started my solo female travel adventures.
I had a mind to create a network of other independent female travellers, as I set my sights much higher than my blog. An association of women who liked to travel solo. So, I called myself the Independent Female Traveller.
But, as you can probably tell, the name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Also, as the UK has a newspaper called the Independent, my blog was totally overshadowed by it in Search Engines and the SEO was hopeless.
I quickly realised that the blog was a flop, I had no idea what I was doing and life got in the way. I moved to India around that time and I guess I found that being abroad and content with that, I didn’t need my blog as a vice for my wanderlust. I was living it.
Third Eye Traveller was born
But, throughout my time in India, I never stopped taking photos, creating travel content and I was always buzzing with ideas of travel guides and posts I would like to write.
So, a year ago today, I decided to give my blog a new name. Rebrand it and make it more…me. So, Third Eye Traveller was born.
So, why Third Eye Traveller? I guess being in India, I saw my path in life and what I wanted to do and it almost hit me like a bolt of lightning.
I found that I wanted to chase my dream and my passion and found a purpose of where I wanted the direction of my life to go.
Ever since I have been travelling miles, bashing my fingertips to the keyboards, editing photos, filming content at all hours, engaging on social media (and, getting frustrated at social media), networking and living this life of a travel blogger.
Well, I can’t say that it has been an easy journey over the year but, what I can say is, it has been one hell of a ride!
Here, are some home truths about my year of blogging and what I’ve learned over this past year.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means, I am still learning every day to perfect my craft and am a baby blogger compared to others in the industry. But, my lessons may help you in your blogging journey too.
1. Every day is a school day
I don’t know why, but I always felt that when I had been doing something for a year, I’d be an expert in it by now.
But, the truth is, that I’m constantly learning, evolving and growing. I don’t think that I will ever be an expert in this field and I think that’s why I love it so much.
I’m never settled, never in a routine, I’m never bored. That’s why I’ve carried on this hobby as I find there’s a new challenge to overcome. My mind is stimulated. It’s refreshing!
2. You work longer and harder than a 9-5
I think that a lot of people see a travel blogger and think ‘Hey, I can write a blog and take some photos, it looks easy’. Well, they couldn’t be more wrong.
I would rather work 50-60 hours a week than a 35 hour week to keep my blog going. That’s dedication, that’s passion.
Travel blogging is far from the 9-5, in fact, it’s 3 am for that red-eye flight, 5 am for a sunrise photo or making sure you get there early so no one is in it.
It’s getting up at 1 am as your followers are most active at that time to post to Instagram.
It’s staying up at all hours to get that travel vlog edited and published. Trying to find a wifi connection, so you can actually engage with the outside world and reply to endless emails and comments.
3. SEO is your best friend
It’s important to remember that blogging is almost like broadcasting. But, if there’s no one listening than it can be frustrating to keep writing and creating content.
That’s why SEO is your best friend and can seriously boost your search engine analytics. I think the majority of my readers are found via Google and the rest through Pinterest. I have a smaller number that I source through my Social Media even though I have a high follower count. Although it isn’t too shabby, it’s not as high as you think it would be.
SEO means Search Engine Optimisation and basically, it’s all-around your site being found in search engines. It’s about ensuring your keywords are optimised in your posts. E.g. if you’re writing about Paris, you’d have Paris in the title, URL, description, Alt tags and the rest.
But using just Paris isn’t going to be fruitful since I bet there will be 1 million posts before you in the search results. So, using keyword search is a great way to find keywords that are less saturated for your posts to be found. I.e. Uber in Paris.
It’s a newer company and people will probably want to know how to use it for their next holiday. So, you could call your post ‘How to use Uber in Paris’. Your keywords are in the title, should be within the post, in your picture alt – tags and in the description.
Yoast SEO is a fantastic free plugin to use on your WordPress. It doesn’t automatically make your site more visible, but it does give you the tips you need to make your blog post higher in rank on Google.
4. Social media is frustrating but rewarding
I love using Social Media, we all do, but when it comes to your brand – it can be a long journey to get to where you want to be. I remember when I had 3 followers on my FB page, both were my parents and my personal account (lol). Now, I have over 13,000 followers.
Everyone has to start from somewhere. But, when it pays off, it pays off in many ways, more than just a number. I’ve built up a loyal support group, a network of amazing travel bloggers and influencers and a way to partner with brands.
The best thing I can advise if you’re starting out on your social media journey; don’t give up. Keep trying, keep engaging, keep going and make sure you track your progress.
My numbers are nowhere I want them to be but, sometimes it’s not just the number. It’s the connections you make. And whether you have 4 followers or 4 million. Provide a purpose. Why are people following you? Give them a reason to follow along your journey.
5. It’s not all glamour and travel
Travel blogging always seems (from the outside) to be girls in designer dresses, five-star hotels, business class flights and full-time travel. But the reality is far from it. Especially when you’re just starting out.
A lot of the time, you’ll work for free. You’ll travel as cheap as you can so you can travel longer. You’ll work as much as you can to save. You work all hours under the sun to create content, to work with brands and work full time.
I still live with my parents, as I travel so much I just couldn’t afford rent and travel. I work, I work 9-5 and then I blog in the evenings. I work on the weekends to create content for brands and I make very little from it at the moment.
But, I know that it’s the start of a journey and hopefully, when my blog is better established, I can make my dream my career.
6. Like anything, growing takes time
The analytics of my blog when I first started was shocking. Most of them were probably me. My posts weren’t picked up in search engines and my social media was barely attracting any reach.
I had absolutely no idea of what to do with Instagram and all but gave up on it early this year. But, then I joined Christina Galbato’s IG Boot Camp which was a turning point for me.
I had not a clue how to engage with brands, how to use Adobe LightRoom, how to make sure my stories engaged an audience.
All of this came with time.
So, don’t worry if you don’t feel like your progress is where you want it to be. Every journey is different. But, know that anything worth having takes time. Part of learning is making mistakes, embracing them, and growing.
7. You’ll love each and every second
I’ve gotten to the point where I love the frustrating travel plans, the social media confusion, the challenge of editing videos, the writer’s block, the endless photo editing, and the prospect of more to come.
I truly feel that blogging is my passion and I intend to keep going for as long as I can. I hope that Third Eye Traveller has many more birthday’s and continues to grow and I with it.
But I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done all of this and worked so hard if I didn’t love to travel. That’s important. To really love it. Travelling is my ultimate vice, my escapism, my addiction I suppose. That’s the most important lesson, if you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work.
If I had written a letter for myself a year ago for me to read now, it would say;
Don’t give up as the best is yet to come!
I can’t wait to see what another year with Third Eye Traveller brings. Here’s to many more!
Wednesday 1st of May 2019
I launched my travel blog today! Yay! I'm trying to get in as much research as possible about how best to approach things and grow an audience, as well as find cool and profitable opportunities! This article was really inspiring and made me even more keen to put my all into this - who knows if and where this will take me but I have nothing to lose by giving it a shot :)
Happy blog-birthday - here's to many more! xx
Friday 3rd of May 2019
Hi Jen, that's awesome! A big welcome to the blogging community. It is a lot to take in at first but once you get going you'll find your groove. My biggest advice is just to keep writing as much as you can to find your 'voice', niche down your content, find unique things to write about and the biggest point is to not give up :) I wish you every success on your journey. Thanks for your support. Sophie x
Emily Rose- The Wanderlust Rose
Friday 1st of March 2019
Happy blog birthday!!! I just came across your site through Pinterest and I really have enjoyed reading your articles! My blog is only a couple months old and I found this article super helpful :) Thanks girl! Keep rocking it!!
Sunday 10th of March 2019
Ah Thank you so much Emily! That means a lot. Your blog will grow in no time! Thanks for dropping by and your support! Sophie x
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
Well done Sophie. You have a great blog and I enjoy reading it! Sounds like you’re making fab progress and your stats sound great if you ask me! Nice one girl. Keep up the good work!
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
Thanks so much Tilly, your words are really kind. Yes, they're getting there! Sophie x
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
Happy Birthday :) Wishing you many more.
My husband and I would love to start a travel blog. I have blogged about so many things, but travel would be the ultimate dream for me. I'm glad you didn't make it sound all rainbows and lollipops, but I totally believe the effort would be worth it. What a meal with those elephants!
Tuesday 19th of June 2018
Thanks so much ! I would definitely say if you want to blog about travel, do it! It's an amazing subject that really opens the mind and educates people about countries beyond the IG reel. Yes, I hope so. If you ever start your travel blog, link it here and I'll check it out :) sophie x