Today it’s a day of celebration because exactly one year ago, this website saw it’s first light. It’s the official birthday of Unnavigated. I also want to wish you all the best for 2018. For myself and this blog, it will be a new year full of prosperity. The main motto of 2017 was ‘how to make a difference in the travel blogging industry’, the motto of 2018 won’t be different. This article gives a short review of the last year and explains how Unnavigated is doing at the moment. At the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to find out what I have planned for 2018.
Table of contents
A review of the past year 2017
It was a bumpy ride to keep this website on track, taking into account that starting a blog is not an easy thing to do. There is a lot of online competition and some quality bloggers have been around for more than ten years.
Trying to combine writing, editing photos, optimizing the website and working hard for my other jobs, has not been the easiest thing. I had a constant struggle to find a good balance between work, life, this website and saving money for travel. Even though it was a tough year, Unnavigated has made some good progress.
2017 was bumpy but very fruitful and it gave me the chance to build a good base for my blog. I learned a lot!
Learning the art of blogging
Learning how to write articles for a blog takes a lot of time as you only really learn by doing it consistently. In the beginning of this year, I reviewed and rewrote some of my articles over 5 times because I really wanted to produce quality content.
Even now I still rewrite some of my articles now and then whenever I find it necessary to do so.
As a blogger, you need to have knowledge and skills in a quite a few subjects in order to produce quality content. Optimizing your content for SEO, or getting your photography right are two other things you only learn best by experimenting with them.
Organizing, researching and trying to be consistent
First thing I learned about blogging is that as a blogger, you must organize yourself. Working on a content calendar for planning your articles really helps because it gives a good overview of what’s coming up in the near future. I had to organize myself over and over again because I didn’t miss out anything important. Having a detailed overview of my to-do list helped me with staying relaxed.
The second thing I learned is that frequent research is a must. Following other blogs and looking up best practices online is needed for keeping up with the competition. You’ll want to produce quality content that is unique and therefore you must do some research at least a few times a week.
Last important thing I learned is to be consistent with your content. It’s a key thing in blogging because you either want your followers and Google to trust you with posting frequent content. The most important thing that kept me going on consistency was that I planned to post something on a specific date in my content calendar. I tried to be very disciplined because I felt that is was a lot harder to keep up with expanding my website if I didn’t post new content consistently.
Getting my first rankings in Google
It can take a while before you start to rank in Google’s search results. I learned this the hard way because it sure took a while. But, when I started to get my first rankings in Google, it sure gave a good feeling.
Go ahead, try it.
I Migrated to a complete custom made website
In 2017, I started blogging using a standard WordPress template as a base for my website. It was the easiest way to start up blogging with this website.
As Unnavigated was growing, the feeling of offering something unique became a lot bigger. I decided to build my own WordPress template from scratch after that.
Luckily I also know a thing or two about web development, which made me able to develop my own template and do the while migration by myself.
To be honest, we are doing pretty well, reaching 700 unique visitors a month on this recently migrated website.
The content and quality on this website has been growing and it’s starting to get somewhere. I am constantly looking for improvements.
Building a blog takes (a lot) of time, but now the time has come that my traffic from Google really starts to pick up.
Getting to 700 unique visitors a month isn’t a huge amount, but it’s an exponential improvement towards the future.
20K followers on Instagram
On Instagram, I very recently reached 20K followers, which is another reason to celebrate this anniversary. A lot of hard work went into building my Instagram channel. Keeping up with posts of quality content and trying to be consistent has been asking for a lot of work.
What’s planned for 2018?
In 2018, I will start off with putting more focus on my Pinterest channel. My mission on Pinterest is to offer a lot of unique and interesting content in order to gain traffic to my website. Other than that I will also keep investing a lot of energy in growing the rest of my social channels.
On the Unnavigated website, I plan to expand my list of travel destinations from six to eleven (!!). These travel destination guides will all hold articles about South-Africa, Normandy (France), Malta and I’m going back to India at the end of August. Other than that I will also focus on writing about my home country (Belgium) in the coming year.
2018 will be a year when I will be working hard on improving the brand and the business plan of Unnavigated. It’s all going to be about offering more unique quality content.
Thanks for the love and support.