500,000 bottles of sparkling wine mature in this section of the underground cellars at Cricova Winery just north of Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 3, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Want your own blog?

The young son of one of our best friends back in Ottawa is about to set out on his own travel journey and he had asked us about how to set up a blog. I've had several people ask that over the last month or so, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share publicly.

There are many reasons to set up a blog. Most blogs, such as ours, start out for personal reasons. We simply wanted a way to keep our friends and relatives back home informed about where we are, and what we're doing.

So, maybe you've thought about starting your own blog. Here's a very basic primer on how to go about it...

There are only two popular blog platforms...WordPress, and Blogger.

I've used Blogger since the beginning. Some people have used WordPress since the beginning. Not very many people have used both, which is why it's difficult to figure out if one is better than the other. It's almost like the PC vs Mac argument. They'll both get the job done, but one is going to cost you more money than the other! In the long run, I think Blogger is less expensive.

Blogger is owned by Google, so it's an easy thing to start up since most people already have a gmail account.

The first thing you want to consider is the name of your blog. Very important, since it''s very difficult to change afterwards, and you never know if your blog might become popular. Had we realized at the outset that ours would become even as popular as it is, we would have chosen a better name that www.travelwithkevinandruth.com! It's a kind of a mouthful.

Sometimes, something as simple as your own name...example www."johnsmith".com can be good...it gives you the flexibility to change what your blog is about over time...ours pretty much has to be related to our travel due to what we named it.

You don't have to have your own custom URL. With Blogger, your free URL would be similar to www.johnsmith.blogspot.com. But people who are serious about it normally pay the extra to have their own URL without the "blogspot" reference. For us, I think it's $10 a year that we pay.

It takes a lot of readership to actually make worthwhile money with a blog. We've been doing it for almost 8 years and the best month we ever had was $800. I think we probably made a total of about $4,000 over the last 12 months, so while it's good pocket money you're not going to get rich from one blog. I noticed that we passed the 2,500,000 pageviews mark the other day. We get about 60,000 pageviews per month and between 1,200 and 1,800 unique viewers per day depending on whether we're traveling or sitting in one place. It is these figures that prospective advertisers and sponsors look at to decide that your site is worth their while. There are many other travel blogs that are far more popular. And there are some travel blogs who simply don't bother with the extra income. It's all up to you.

The key is consistency, and writing about things that people want to read about. Usually, you find a niche so that you're not simply writing a diary about your life. Of course our major niche is RV travel and our minor niche is frugal travel. There are family blogs, mommy blogs, travel blogs, RV blogs, religious blogs...everything under the sun.

Anyhow...go to www.blogger.com and follow the instructions. Then, you can adjust your blog a myriad of different ways to personalize it. If you have any questions, just ask. There is a bit of a learning curve, that's for sure.

Today is Prime day at Amazon, and oh my...what a lot of fantastic deals, just as they promised. Man, if you're only checking in now, some of the great deals are already gone. But there are more deals being announced every ten minutes or so! How about this...

The Amazon Kindle e-reader is on sale for only $49...

Kindle, 6" Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi - Includes Special Offers

Deals are changing all the time...almost can't keep up!


And even Amazon.ca here in Canada is on on some deals today only...a Kindle for $49 CAD? Never been cheaper...


And I just bought a three pack of $10 Amazon.ca gift cards for $30 and got a $5 promo credit. Can't lose!


So, thanks for doing all of your Amazon shopping, both here and in the U.S. through our links and helping our travel fund.


14 comments:

  1. Good posting, we like blogger, have tried Word Press but don't care for it, but like you said each to their own. We have relatives and friends follow us and many other bloggers as well. If nothing else it is like an online journal for our own records

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    1. Yes, we are happy with blogger as well, it seems to suit our needs nicely. We also think of it as a diary of our travels as well.

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  2. I've used Blogger since the beginning. Earlier on, there were notifications or whatever to "monetize". I never took the bait. Good to see you're earning a bit of pin money from yours though.
    Your effort has (to me, anyway) morphed into pretty much a daily obligation. Something along the lines of work.
    Pardon my language.
    There have been times when I've gone back to do a search to see just where we were at whatever particular time. I've also cringed at some of the postings I've made but hey, good or bad, they're out there.
    Keep on bloggin'.

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    1. Even from the beginning we were doing it as a daily diary unless we couldn't get internet or we were sitting in one spot for any length of time, so really now is no different except that we do try to make the effort to post everyday about something even when we are here working at the campground.

      We also go back and read some of our old posts and have found that our writing style has changed a little over the time but not too much. We often look back to try and solve a disagreement on what happened or when something happened! ;-)

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  3. Great job of writing for a newbie to blogging. You may want to let them know that they can turn their blog into a book anytime they want. We use Blog2print. They do a super job.

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    1. That's a great idea too Paul and Marsha, thanks for mentioning it. I do remember you blogging about the book when you had it done.

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  4. Good tips for those folks who want to start a blog! I'm also a Blogger user - it works fine for me. Pretty simple to get started with. I wish I had thought thru the name of our blog when we first set it up. I probably would have gone with something more generic than The Cynical Sailor. But, what's done it done, so we work with it.

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    1. Kevin feels the same way about the name but I think Travel with Kevin and Ruth is fitting. It doesn't pin us down to just traveling in an RV but allows us to cover all types of travel.

      I like the name of your blog! :-)

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  5. I've wondered if you do have advertising and collect money, does that mean you are a commercial blog. I've heard people say you can post pictures of some things as long as they are for your own private use.

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    1. I guess in a technical sense it does and we have also heard about posting pictures of some places being a problem but I think it is very hard to find out exactly what places and things they might be. Europe was voting on bill that covered most building in Europe and even private people could get fined for posting to facebook because facebook it a commercial website. How do they monitor that?! I think that some of these places are more concerned with professional photographers selling pictures at big $ values as well as TV/documentaries and movies needing permission first.

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  6. I started with the Trip Journal website but that didn't last too long..then came on over to blogger..I use Live Writer to create my posts..for me its an online scrapbook..light weight and easy to transport!

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    1. Our first two years were with My Trip Journal but at $80 a year at the time we soon found blogger. I then transferred everything over to our Travel with Kevin and Ruth website. We have never tried Live Writer as Kevin has been totally happy with just using blogger but we have certainly heard that a lot of bloggers use Live Writer and really like it.

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  7. I used Live Writer all the time when I blogged. It's particularly great when you don't have Internet access. You can still write your Blog and have it ready to "Publish" when you do get Internet access.

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    1. We have always just used Blogger and it has worked well for us, so we will continue to use it. Over this past year Live Writer has shut down twice and we had heard a number of bloggers complaining about it and several had almost given up on writing but because we had always used the Blogger format it never affected us and we just continued on. It may take a little longer this way but we are totally used to it and I don't think it has affected our blog or our readership.

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