This course is aimed at people who blog but consider themselves writers. (That’s an important distinction).
There are plenty of sites like problogger.net and copyblogger.com that offer generic advice on blogging and writing. However, many of these authors have gotten so big that they no longer can relate to the everyday questions and concerns a smaller blogger might have. There are also dozens of travel blogging programs that specialize in the technical and marketing aspect of blogging: upselling in a newsletter, building a large social network, using stumbleupon to create viral waves of traffic and so on. As far as I know, there is no course, anywhere, that focuses on the writing and photography aspects of travel blogging, while still giving you the solid (not spammy) technical and marketing advice to grow more quickly.
I wrote about this topic further, and how I came to creating this course here.
The topics included start at the basics — from setting up your metrics to finding a storyline arc — and grow more intensive and advanced as the course continues. There are real life examples from Christine’s own blog (including a peek into her stats from different perspectives to illustrate concepts) and case studies of what has worked (and hasn’t) for other travel bloggers. The course covers a wide spectrum of information but is based on the principles of excellent writing, storytelling and photography. Writers don’t need to sacrifice smart business practices, so this course also explains the options for growing your site more quickly and the relative merits of each approach. Whenever possible all ideas are backed up with real life examples. This isn’t a theory class, this is coffee with an experienced mentor — everyday — for as long as you’re a member.
We cover some of the not-so-obvious basic blogging set ups like how to set up tracking in Google Analytics for specific goals, how to really read your blog stats (hint: total visitor or total pageviews is the least important data point), how to make sure your site is fast enough and more.
The Big Picture
This is all about long-term strategy, the mental aspect of being a creative (and how we can self-sabotage or focus on things that aren’t productive), the different ways your life and career goals will change how and why you blog and more.
This course includes access to premium themes (free for members!) and other tools. There are so many plugins, analytics, web hosts, writing guides, books, courses, and so on, we try to highlight tools and resources that are extremely effective.
This is our bread and butter. We talk about how to tell a story — your life story — over the course of your blog, which is a challenge not faced in a book or a single magazine article. You will have narrative arcs and conflict (we hope, right?) and from week to week you’re serving two masters: your readers who have been invested in your story since the beginning and those people new to your site.
Video is a big bad boogeyman to a lot of bloggers but it’s actually much easier than you’d think. iPhones will take web-quality footage, Youtubes offers some great tools (seriously, they have improved so much) and basic editing tricks like timelapses are extremely easy to set up.
Photography will set your blog apart. Fantastic photography will erase a whole host of sins. Fantastic photography plus great writing means your work as a blogger is pretty effortless — you’ll never have to hustle for readers. Photography is THAT IMPORTANT. Every member of the course gets a free copy of Bethany Salvon’s Getting Out of Auto Ebook plus our articles on taking better photos, using Lightroom and more.
There’s three ways to make money passively on your blog: Ads, Affiliates, and Sponsorships. For most bloggers these three things pay a pittance. So how do you make money online? It’s all about diversification: from having a product to using your blog as a platform for other projects to traditional forms of advertising. We talk about all of it, from what works, what hasn’t worked, things to try and ways to monetize your site without alienating your audience.
I offer every member a critique of their blog (one per month) done on video (it’s private to the group). I also occasionally review other bloggers who have been successful to talk about what I think they’ve done well.
Blogging can be a big stepping stone to many different opportunities. From fiction to memoir writing to cookbooks to speaking gigs, to consulting to being hired as a social media manager. We talk about all the ways you can leverage your blog in other spheres.
Every week I post as least one new article plus a weekly challenge. I’m available to answer questions all week. The course is self-paced so when you start, you’ll likely want to go back and read through all the content, and ask questions as you go! I’m always here, but I don’t pressure anyone to participate above what they feel comfortable with. This is your course, and how you use it is up to you.