Thanks for the Post Block, Facebook

Thanks for the Post Block, Facebook

25189661963_d329310ae0_o
Peace begins with a smile‘ by Neda Andel. Image via Flickr Creative Commons

Several days ago, I got banned from posting, commenting, or messaging anyone on FB because I made a snarky, tongue-in-cheek comment about the opposite gender to which some mal-adjusted individuals living in their mothers’ basements felt the need to report to the Big Zucc. Boom: 7 days in FB jail.

During this time, I’ve been withdrawing from a very dangerous social media addiction that has plagued my life for years. I finished reading Outliers, which one of my best friends let me borrow. I began re-reading The Great Gatsby, engaged more with my Snapchat friends and rapidly-growing Twitter following, and thought up this blog post.

Now that I’m allowed to post again, I’ve been keeping my time on the platform short. Facebook has become boring and Zuckerberg’s antics aren’t worth dealing with. Hordes of netizens have expressed discontent at his handling of Instagram since it was bought out by Facebook. The ongoing censorship issues and privacy issues have me siding with Gen Z on using Snap, Twitter, and TikTok more than other platforms.

I’m breathing. I’m learning. Most importantly, I’m not on Facebook right now.

To Miami ✈️

To Miami ✈️

73460564_806775479774609_6881842651184758784_n
Waking up bone ass early isn’t usually my jam. There’s a reason I’ve spent most of my 20s working the 2nd shift. I’m more creative and energetic at night. Anyway, my friend, Kay, posted about a last-minute trip on FB. As I felt the frosty rain pelt my flesh I thought: why the hell not? But, working my old job for less pay means taking the cheapest route from Albany to Miami.
22653332039_d0982d916b_o
Image via Flickr. ‘Miami’ by Kent Wang
I’m looking at more than 12 hours of travel time. First, I gotta get up at 4am. Then I gotta get some cheap ass road food to eat on the Uber going to the Amtrak station in Rensselaer. After getting off at Penn Station, I gotta take the LIRR to Ronkonkoma then Uber to the airport.
72438502_806775476441276_7630129265291296768_n
After I arrive in Florida, I’ll pick up my rental car in Fort Lauderdale and drive 45 minutes Southwest until I reach Miami Beach. It’ll all be worth it to travel with my #1 G. 👠✈️🌴👌💰💁‍♀️🍻🙏🧜‍♀️
 
How to Become a Travel Blogger in 2019

How to Become a Travel Blogger in 2019

34985826154_bf852a11ed_o
Image via Flickr [Tim Vrtiska]
keywords: travel blog, how to start a travel blog, best travel blogs, top travel blogs, female travel blogs, travel blogger jobs, how to be a travel blogger, how to make money as a travel blogger, black travel bloggers

Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.
—William Shakespeare

 

World Class Adventurer celebrated its three year anniversary this month. During this time, I transitioned from ESL teacher in China to KTV girl to ESL teacher in Japan to a full-time writer. I’ve been creating web content on and off since 2009 and a decade later, not only has the entire global economy shifted but internet trends are coming and going faster than ever. If you want to make money as a travel blogger, you’ll need to stay up to date on the latest movers and shakers in your niche.

Step 1: What’s in a Name?

When I started writing web content, I was taught to create evergreen niche articles in an area I had a lot of knowledge and experience in. Unfortunately, what no one told me was that the nitty-gritty of content creation is a lot more…well, complicated. The same applies to your blog name.

While having a niche, in this case—travel—is the first step to knowing what you want to write about, if your blog name’s too detailed, you’ll limit your options. Even if you’ve only traveled to a few cities on one continent, naming your travel blog something like danasadventuresinnorthamerica.com isn’t gonna help you when it’s time to go abroad.

For example, I haven’t yet been to Europe or Australia but I’ve been all around North America, Asia, and Central America. Even though the majority of my focus lies in Asia, I may branch out to other locations in the future. Also, World Class Adventurer is a name that holds deep sentimental meaning to me.

My advice: Take an afternoon to jot down ideas and bounce them off of a few trusted friends before purchasing a domain name.

Step 2: Hosting, Hosting, Hosting

With so many hosting options out there, it can be hard to choose. Back in the day, I used GoDaddy. These days, I’m all about HostGator. I like that their website is simple and easy to navigate.

1&2- Select Your Plan

Also, the customer service rocks and I don’t say that about many Internet companies! Signing up is a piece of cake. Just follow this quick set-up guide.

3-Choose a Domain

You can register a new domain or transfer one you already own.

4-Confirm Your Hosting Plan

Choose a hosting plan that’s right for you. They offer tons of discounts so you’ll never get stuck spending too much on web hosting.

5- Account Information

I also like that they have a PayPal option for those of us who aren’t comfortable putting credit card info online or who live in China where payment systems remain insular.

6- Processing Your Order

That’s it! You should see this page when you’re all done.

Step 3: WordPress

Now, this is where it gets a little tricky for new-comers but don’t worry! The actual WordPress platform is incredibly user-friendly. Here’s mine:

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 2.41.32 PM

As you can see, the navigation bar on your left is pretty straightforward. The tabs on the homepage tell you about traffic data, insights, and ads. These ads are provided by Google Adsense. I wouldn’t recommend using them since Adsense revenue ain’t what it used to be.

Also, I’d advise staying away from ads until you get at least one piece of content that’s consistently getting decent traffic from search engines. If you’re interested in monetization, this article provides excellent tips for blogs that aren’t generating a ton of traffic.

Step 4: Themes, Plug-ins, and Coding! Oh my!

Again, don’t freak out! There’s a lot to learn about WordPress. While the front end’s user-friendliness appeals to us writer-ly types, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. First, choosing a theme can be a daunting task because there are so many options out there.

  • Should I choose a free or paid theme?
  • Should I hire a web designer or use a WYSIWYG editor?
  • What even are plug-ins and how can my blog benefit from them?

These are all questions you’ll need to ask yourself during the design process. In my opinion, the best travel blog themes are minimalist because travel blogs usually have a lot of visual content within posts. Too much going on in the header and sidebars gets distracting for your readers.

The bottom line is you don’t need to be a programmer to run a successful WordPress blog but a little bit of surface knowledge about HTML and CSS can go a long way. If you’re interested in the development side of WordPress to increase your blog’s success and job prospects, check out this article on IndigoThemes.

Step 5: Content is King

Yes, I know it’s cliché but it’s true. Your blog’s content needs to be consistent, on-topic, evergreen and fresh at the same time in order to run a successful blog. Some people don’t have time to post every day, once a week, or even twice a month. That’s perfectly understandable and I’ve been there!

While I can’t tell you how often to post new content, as a general rule of thumb, bloggers who post twice a week seem to see the most success. If you’re like me, wearing a million different hats and running around like a chicken with your head cut off, so burnt out by the middle of the week that you can’t even answer your Facebook messages let alone write a blog post, don’t worry. You’ve got options.

First, you could create your content ahead of time and post on a schedule. This is an especially important tactic for travel bloggers since traveling costs money and we don’t always have it. Or, like in my case, sometimes you’ve gotta spend six months back in your own country taking care of unforeseen circumstances.

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 3.13.26 PM.png

When you create a new post, there should be a drop-down menu on the right side of your screen. Click Post Settings –> Status then choose a date and time. WordPress will automatically post it on your schedule. How cool is that?

The easier option, if you’ve got the cash, is to outsource your content. Sites like UpWork and Freelancer make it easy to find freelance writers to collaborate with. The only downside is that quality content is expensive and you don’t have total control over elements such as grammar, word choice, and style.

Step 6: Fly, Social Butterfly, Fly!

Yep, this one’s all about social media. While the biggies like FB and Twitter are still important, Instagram, YouTube, and SnapChat are the most relevant social media sites for the younger generation in 2019. Video streaming sites such as Twitch and YouNow also have vast numbers of hungry eyeballs waiting to devour content.

“Oh no!” you exclaim. “But I’m an introvert. That’s why I became a writer. Please don’t make me go in front of the camera!”

To which I respond: Silly goose. It’s all about hybrid media these days. Let me explain. Yes, visual content is on the rise and people don’t read as much as they used to, sadly. But that doesn’t mean the written word is dead. Far from it, in fact. From book vloggers on YouTube to teen Instagram models to Twitch eSports players, there’s always one common denominator: the ability to influence. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those influencers and ask them for a little mention in exchange for promoting them. Bartering FTW.

Step 7: Follow (and copy) the Pros!

Look, we all wanna be one step ahead of the hottest trends in our industry but the fact of the matter is, most of us won’t be. I’m here to give you practical advice about how to start out and make it as a small to mid-level blogger. If you see something blowing up on Instagram, hop on that bandwagon. You gotta follow until you can lead.

Check out Natasha’s and Matt’s excellent travel blogs for ideas on how to get started.

This post contains affiliate links and has been included as an entry into a giveaway/sweepstakes.

China is for Lovers

China is for Lovers

3320409558_b76279dd55_o
Image via Flickr [Iselin]
Three months back in the U.S., the place my mother birthed me. The country I’d called home for twenty-three years. I think about China every day. Amid these ponderings, I realized what life in the states is missing: 人情味 (rén qíng wèi). Though I know what it means on a visceral level, Pleco’s definition, “human touch; human interest; empathy” doesn’t capture the true meaning of the word. There’s no decent English translation because this concept doesn’t exist in Anglo societies.

人情味 is your neighbor asking if you’d eaten around lunch time. It’s your friends sending you reminders to dress for the weather as the seasons change. It’s a shop owner you met once on a business trip asking about your children. It’s the three-hour buffets followed by a night of drunken karaoke with your coworkers. It’s the police officer you feel comfortable approaching to ask for directions because you know he won’t get aggressive for no reason. It’s the ability to easily forgive others for the sake of communal harmony. The list goes on.

Recently, I made a Facebook post that triggered a ton of backlash. I’d said I don’t like people from other countries who take on the negative traits of Americans. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of things I like about my country: the fresh air, beautiful scenery, down-to-Earth people, and organization, just to name a few. However, I also dislike the view of humans as a commodity, being measured by our productivity, and my generation’s lack of commitment. People aren’t held–and don’t want to be held–to higher standards and that can make for a pretty sucky society to live in at times.

I dislike that life in America is mainly about convenience. Fast food, most people looking for hookups instead of relationships, having to hold down more than one job because the wages aren’t enough to live off of unless you’re a doctor, lawyer, celebrity, or engineer. With increasingly limited options, it’s easy to see why millennials and Gen Z have become despondent. It’s difficult to care about anything in a society that kicks you when you’re down until you can’t get back up.

I like to carry the warmth of China in my heart. My friends continue to wait patiently for my return. What a joy to have experienced 人情味 in this lifetime.

The World Keeps Turning

The World Keeps Turning

5247387590_e21bfa3a65_o.jpg
Image by Flickr [Andra Brinzaniuc]
I’ve had this blog for almost three years. And while it’s brought me a lot of personal fulfillment, it hasn’t actually earned me a cent. In fact, I lose out on the web hosting fee every year. I’ll admit this is my fault. With my SEO and content writing skills, I could have monetized this blog a long time ago if I had the motivation. Well, I’ve got it now.

I came back to the states and for the most part, everything and everyone stayed the same for better or for worse. Unlike in China, things move very slowly. People I’d drifted apart from grew closer and people who I’d been close with might as well exist in another galaxy.

I’m trying to look at this period of time as a chance at self-improvement. I had a lot of distractions back then that I won’t have for the next six months. This is a healing journey, not just for myself but for the relationship between me and my family as well as some of the people I grew up with. This is a chance to finally leave a place without having burnt every single bridge on the way out.

No one knows what’ll happen tomorrow. Everyone’s busy making plans for the future. Potential mates and employers might inquire about where you see yourself in five years. I’m tired of thinking that far ahead. If I can get through the day, it’s nothing short of an accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated with the most robust bottle of rum in my cabinet.

Cheers!