I still feel like a little sardine in a sea of sharks, but always learning something everyday. Here’s 7 things I didn’t know about blogging when I started six months ago.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. One thing you might not know about me is that I used to have a blog a few years ago. I wrote about everything it came to my mind, focusing on technology, science and everyday random curiosities. I was still in the university, had loads of free time, so it was a hobby that worked for me.

6 months of Geeky Explorer | 7 things I didn't know about blogging | Geeky Explorer
A sample of 6 months of Geeky Explorer.

GeekyExplorer.com is completely different. I’ve been running this baby for little more than 6 months now – actually 7 – so I thought it was a good time to look back and see what I’ve learned. First of all, since day one, I always have seen it like a huge mountain waiting for my climb. And the more I walk in its direction, the bigger it seems. It’s seriously overwhelming and can’t be done without perseverance. I keep telling myself this is a marathon, not a sprint, and if you have the passion, good things will happen.

Even though I didn’t dedicate as much as time I wanted for this blog, comparing to the time of my first post, so many things have changed. I don’t feel embarrassed about my English (that much) anymore. I feel my posts come across a bit more polished and are aligned with my vision. I doubt I even had the latter before. There were just too many things I didn’t know about blogging!

6 months of Geeky Explorer | 7 things I didn't know about blogging | Geeky Explorer

1 | THE COMPETITION IS MASSIVE

There are loads of people wanting to be bloggers, much more than I imagined in fact. Considering vloggers as well, we are talking of a number in the order of millions. Nowadays, everyone and their mother wants to be a blogger, it’s the coolest job you can have in the 21st century. From those, at least dozens of thousands are travel bloggers and the number keeps rising. There’s only one way to thrive in the EXTREMELY competitive blogging world: stand out and dare to be different enough.

 

2 | THE AMOUNT OF COPYCATS IS TOO HIGH

Copycats | 7 things I didn't know about blogging | Geeky Explorer

Speaking only about the travel blog niche, I follow and read some other travel bloggers which deliver really engaging and interesting content. But others just follow the most common of stereotypes of a travel blog: they market themselves as generic global nomads with “no destination” and almost criticizing who doesn’t follow their way of living. Some of them have serious success (good for them, honestly!), but the Internet is full of them and I try hard not to be just another one.

 

3 | A BLOGGER IS NOT ONLY A BLOGGER

I feel I need to be a web designer, a social media strategist, a SEO specialist, a web marketing guru and an amateur photographer at the same time. Of course I don’t need professional proficiency on all those, but I definitely can’t suck at any or I will be doomed. Additionally, I tend to be specially careful with user experience of my website – I see so many travel blogs with poor navigation and more ads than actual content – so I spend extra time on that as well.

With no one to teach me any of this, you can imagine the LOADS of work! Which leads me to the following point.

 

4 | THE TIME SPENT WRITING IS ONLY A SMALL FRACTION OF THE TOTAL

The amount of time I spend in the tasks I mentioned in the point above is WAAAY higher than I expected. It’s all about code, configurations, photo editing and other time-consuming duties.

Additionally, there’s the time spent I spend promoting my website. I’ve read multiple times well-established bloggers giving the advice to write as much as possible and at least 3 times/week. Initially I tried doing that and while it was useful to perfect my writing and find my voice, after some time became to feel counter-productive. I’m starting to realize there is no point in generating tons of content if you don’t spend at least an equal amount of time promoting that content.

 

5 | MY BLOG IS A MONSTER

I still don’t dedicate all my time to my website as I am still attached to a job, which means all my blog work comes directly from my free time. And by free I mean social time or sleeping time. On one side, I want to keep a decent social life and don’t want to turn in some caveman as well as sleep my 7 hours/day (you don’t imagine how grumpy I can become…).

But on the other side there’s GeekyExplorer.com. And this bastard is basically a sneaky monster which feeds on my time. And it’s getting hungrier. Every. Single. Day. Either days suddenly get bigger than 24 hours or someday the rope will break.

 

6 | IT CAN BE UTTERLY FRUSTRATING

Frustration| 7 things I didn't know about blogging | Geeky Explorer

Bloggers always seem to have a happy tone on their writing like their lives are amazing like a ray of sunshine. But they are real. I understand negative feelings should be avoided in the blog as basically no one cares if you can’t align your sidebar using HTML code. Or when your analytics look terrible. It’s just that in some days it’s deeply frustrating to invest a huge amount of time in my blog only to see it fail miserably.

 

7 | YOU LEARN SOMETHING EVERYDAY

So if it is so demanding, time-consuming and sometimes even frustrating, why keep doing it?

Short version, because I’m constantly learning. For instance, my first posts have TERRIBLE SEO quality. SEO was like that very distant cousin in the family you barely know. These past months, I have been reading a lot about it, both online and offline, and I feel a lot more confident now, even though it’s a very broad and complex topic. But at least we are not strangers anymore!

And the same applies to affiliate marketing, storytelling or social media planning tools. And don’t even get me started on travel-related info. There is a never-ending stream of information in the online world waiting for me. And I love it!

Notice how all of this is interrelated: every step I take will affect the next one. These 6 months have been quite of a ride, but were just the foundations of something I want to be much, much bigger. Overall, I feel I embarked in a one-way journey which is both a huge challenge and a massive opportunity. It sure takes a lot of my free time and brain fuel, but hopefully one day I’ll look back and see it was worth it. 

NUMBERS @ GEEKYEXPLORER.COM

  • MONTHS ACTIVE: 6+
  • VISITORS FROM 110 COUNTRIES
  • TOTAL POSTS: 33
  • TOTAL COMMENTS: 342

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35 comments

  1. You captured my experiences exactly! I’ve been blogging nearly 6 months, and I’m worried my family thinks it has taken over my life!

  2. The copycats drive me crazy – or the really cookie cutter bloggers, with almost identically style pictures. Great post – totally sums up blogging!

  3. YES I FEEL YOUR PAIN! This was a great post! You totally captured everything I am going through right now. Number 3 especially makes me nod my head! I find it especially annoying when I have a question about performing any of my new numerous skills that I don’t even have anyone to ask. I spend hours googling tutorials and how-to blogs just to find the answer to one simple small question! For example, I linked my blog to Mail Chimp and I thought MailChimp would automatically send out my new posts. It’s not! How do I get my blog to send out my new posts to my handful of subscribers? So frustrating. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone. Have you considered or attended any travel blogging conferences. I wonder how truly helpful those are?

    1. Thank you for feeling my pain, good to know I’m not alone!
      I remember trying to automate new posts with a newsletter email and googling for the solution, but eventually gave up the idea.

      As for conferences, I’ve considered attending TBEX Europe, I just feel I might be “too new” which would turn out to be a waste of money. What about you?

  4. You’ve done a great job so far Bruno! I completely agree that there are so many travel blogs out there doing the same thing – it’s hard to differentiate sometimes! You just have to settle in and find your own rhythm and then you’ll be good to go 🙂 It’s taken me 3 years to find a niche, writing style, and schedule that I’m happy with.

    1. I know, keep telling myself this is a marathon, not a sprint… I read a lot of other travel blogs, but only a few really inspire me and you’re one of them! Thanks again for your words!

  5. I am with you on all of these lessons learned! I am a year into blogging (though only seriously for 7 months) and there is so much to do! I also work a full time job, and running my blog is like my second night time job. The thing about blogging is that I love it! I really enjoy writing and formatting pictures and learning the ins and outs of how to run a successful blog. You are right, I learn something new everyday!

    1. Geeky Explorer really does feel like my second night time job. I know I could be bigger right now if I hadn’t a day job and somedays it’s just too tiring. But I’m with you, I feel good after learning something different everyday. I can’t see myself doing something where I just don’t learn anything.

  6. I feel you! 🙂 . It does take a lot of time for sure. I love it though. I decided to write just for me , and hope others like it. Number 6 is especially frustrating 🙂 as l believe l am writing pearls of wisdom..not!!! It almost feels like if you are not living in Chang Mai, you should not blog. I like slow travel, l am too old and tired to go galavanting to a different country every week.

    1. I’m glad we don’t all blog all the same stuff, how boring would that be?! The secret is making your vision interesting to the others I guess.

  7. I can totally relate to all of your points in this post. Yes blogging can be frustrating and time consuming- I know that’s what I feel like most of the time – but if you love it and it’s a passion then it’s never a chore and hopefully many good things will come out of it! You’re blog looks great and I love the content on here, so you’re obviously doing something right 🙂

    1. Aww thanks so much Emma!
      To combine full time work with blogging is HARD WORK but to know there’s someone out there actually reading and enjoying my website makes it all worth it.

      Happy Travels!

  8. I totally agree with you, especially since I’m still on FT job, have family and love to blog… at night 🙁 but it has brought to many fresh energy!!
    let’s go on, the marathon is a longer run!!

  9. Oh my goodness number six had be laughing out loud!! I totally see myself in the whole list. It is frustrating because I dont want to just be a blogger like everyone else. I want to stand out and that is difficult when you are standing with millions of the same people doing similar things but hopefully it pays off.

  10. Really nice post Bruno – I share a lot of the frustrations with you, when I started I had NO IDEA there were so many travel bloggers and that this thing would take up so much time. I still enjoy it though 🙂 here’s to your next 6 months!

  11. Love number 2 and number 6! With number 2, really agree that some bloggers seem to be a little too narcissistic and self-entitled, criticizing those who don’t live the life they do. Great honest and refreshing post 🙂

  12. Totally agree, and recognize a lot in this! I did not have a blog myself, just wrote guest articles for some other blogs. Mainly because of what you say: I wanted to write. With guest writing, somebody else would do all the other stuff 😉
    Since just two weeks ago I started a vlog though.
    I don’t have a complete overview of how many travel vloggers there are. How quality and competition is there. But I keep saying to myself: you do this to learn and you do this for fun 🙂

    Well, keep up the good writings! And the fun of course!! Thanks for the article 🙂

    1. Guest posting it’s a really smart way to write without the boring part, well done! 😀

      Vlogging is a whole another layer of work. You need a rough script of what are you about to say (or not). What’s your channel on Youtube? Would love to watch some videos!

      Blogging or vlogging, the important is to keep keep having fun!

  13. I definitely agree with #4. When I first started blogging, I used to think of it as just publishing my writing, but it’s so much more than that. You have to interact with people and other bloggers, follow trends, listen to what your audience wants. I think this was the hardest thing for me to get my head around and something I still struggle with sometimes.

    Great post!

  14. Blogging is difficult, especially if you do it for.. success. You can be easily disappointed. As you said, so many of them on the market, difficult to earn money through it. That’s why a lot of them disappeared after a few months. I blog, but it’s mainly to share my travels with my family. We are all living in different countries, and my mum doesn’t use Facebook, so she likes looking at our little getaways.

    Your blog is so clean and well designed, it’s amazing. Easy to navigate ! That’s the nice thing about being self-hosted I suppose, you can customize everything the way you want, but it also means you have to know how to do it !!
    Have you thought about putting a wordpress pluggin so wordpress user (like me) don’t have to enter details each time they comment on your blog ?

    1. You made a great point! If you lower your expectations and just use your blog as a communication tool and basically everything that comes from beyond that is profit. However, I have to confess I created this blog with two clear intentions in mind: one to write and “share experiences” but also to be successful, which adds loads of layers of complexity and pressure. Maybe that’s an error I am doing from the beginning, but that is my long-term goal…

      Thanks for the compliments, I am glad you like the design! I now feel it’s time to change and actually I’m currently doing some research to revamp it completely in the following weeks, stay tuned! 😀

      As for the comment plugin, no I haven’t think about it. Will have a look, thanks for pointing that out!

  15. Definitely relate.

    I would add that I don’t see other blogs as competition but more as inspiration, both good and bad.

    Being a blogger, especially with a full-time job (I’m also in IT) is hard work. Plus, one needs to be able to master a bit of everything, including dealing with frustration.

    Cheers!

    1. I definitely see many (not all) blogs as an inspiration. But in the end of the day. they are competing by the same audience as you. It’s a big cake we all have to share.

      Combining a full-time job with blogging is challenging, much more than I anticipated. But hey, if there’s anyone able to do it it’s the IT guys 🙂

      Cheers mate!

  16. Thank you for this overview. I’m currently finishing the last details on my renewed blog (after having had a break from it for nearly two years). And while taking the break, I’ve learned about so many things such as Social Media techniques and webdesign.. I can’t wait to dive into it fully again.

  17. Everything you said is spot on! I totally agree with you on the whole nomad thing, whenever I find a blog like that, I feel like closing the tab immediately! If there’s one thing I’ve learned is to be patient and not compare yourself to others. After all, every snowflake is different, right? 😉

    1. 5-10 years ago travel blogging was a “new” thing and you didn’t had to dare to be different that much. Now you definitely do. And by comparing yourself with others you’re doing just the opposite of that, which is WRONG! That’s actually a pretty god tip mate!