I started blogging back in 2012 right after I bought my first RV. I had retired a few years earlier and decided that I wanted to start traveling and living my dreams. Starting a blog was a way to keep a journal of my travel adventures and to share the experiences with others.
The traveling has been great. I don’t keep track of the miles or days on the road but for the past few years, I’ve been spending about 6 months of the year traveling and living in my RV. I’ve seen and experienced some great places but I realize I’ve only just scratched the surfaces of great places to visit. For me, the “sometimer” RV lifestyle is working best because I still like having a home base. I hope to keep doing this more several more years.
Starting a Blog
Blogging has also been an adventure. I’ve always liked to write and it comes very easy for me. But, I found out that there’s a lot more to blogging than just writing. There’s been a whole set of new technical skills to learn to be able to build and manage a web site. Web design, content management software, themes, plugins, web security, c-panel, domain registration, and HTML coding have all been new things to challenge my 62 year-old brain. Being an old computer programmer, much of this came easy for me. But, I had to learn many new things and have enjoyed the challenge.
Then there’s promoting and marketing my website. The “build it and they will come” strategy doesn’t work too well if you want to get your web site or blog noticed by others. For a travel blog, you need to get listed on RV and travel directories and establish connections to search engines. You also need to leverage social media and build pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. And you need to seek out other bloggers and join communities.
Learning how to write and structure good content for the web so it will get picked up by Google searches has been another thing to learn. How to pick catchy titles for a post, how to pick good key words, how to use SEO (search engine optimization), and when to use H tag subheadings.
Finding my Voice
Lastly, I had to find my voice and style for my writing. Once I started following other RV travel bloggers, I learned that there are lots of different styles of writing. For example, there’s the diary writers (e.g., Saturday, June 11 – I got up, took the car in for an oil change, then drove to 11.7 miles to a trail head, hiked 7.4 miles, then had a beer). There’s the descriptor writers (e.g, the mornings first golden rays of sunshine peeked through cracks in the worn curtains of my small RV window like soft butterscotch welcoming me to start of a fresh new day). The hucksters blogging for bucks (e.g., the incredible 15 ft kink-free indestructible sewer hose from XYZ company works so well when I dump my tanks). And the story tellers (e.g, One of the most famous persons in Salida’s history was Laura Evans, the owner and madame of the towns largest brothel).
I found that I liked writing about my travels as stories. I didn’t want to write boring stuff like a diary writer. And, I didn’t want to use the blog as a public service and write about products, favorite recipes, or campground reviews.
I wanted my blog articles to take you on the trip with me. To share what I saw and learned. Stephen King once said that a good story should transport the reader to a different place. That’s what I try to do in my blog. I also like to show my personality in my writing. I have a sense of humor and like to display that in my writing.
As a story-teller, I also wanted to use pictures and video to help tell my stories. They help show and covey the feeling of a place. That got me more into photography and video creation – two new skills that the Dawg had to learn. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that I could discuss on these subjects, but I’ll just say it’s been fun learning how to take better pictures and to create and edit video’s.
Time to Say Thanks
Which gets me to the point of this post. I’ve been blogging for 4 1/2 years but really just got serious about it in the past 18 months. In that short time, I’ve produced 209 blog posts and had over 212,000 page views. I just got my 100th email subscriber to my blog (Yeah!) and I wanted to say thank you to all my followers. For J. Dawg Journeys, there’s:
- 100 email subscribers
- 42 RSS subscribers
- 61 Facebook likers
- 68 Google+ followers
- 51 Twitter followers
- 18 Pinterest followers
- 72 YouTube Channel subscribers
- 168 followers for my RV Journeys Flipboard Magazine
My blog is by far not the biggest or the best one out there. These numbers are puny compared to many other travel blogs. There are some incredible writers and photographers out there in the RV travel blog sphere with thousands of followers that I admire and get inspiration from.
But even if my followers are small in number, I want to thank all of you who take the time to read my posts, look at my pictures, and watch my videos. I have to confess that I don’t have this blog to make a buck or to chase page views and viewers. I create all of this content because it pleases me. It’s something I enjoy doing and it’s become my creative outlet. And if it pleases you, entertains you, or helps you in some way, then that’s even better. It wouldn’t be much of a blog without blog followers.
So again, Thank you, Gracias, Merci, Danke, Grazie, Arigato . . . . .