What! Its a year already??? Seems like it was just a few weeks back that I clicked that button and took it live.Whoa! Ladies and gentlemen! India Backpack Motorbike is officially One year old!! Whoo!! ( Hoots, Whistles, Claps.) To tell you the truth I hardly believed that I would in the game for this long. Considering the lazy ass that I am I never thought that I would stay devoted enough to carry this venture long enough to celebrate its launch anniversary.
What started as medium to share my travel stories and experiences after being inspired by these bloggers, I feel proud that I stayed committed to it if not regular. I remember the couple of week’s before launch of this blog and how I had this awesome bunch of folks who helped me launch. And then that month or two post launch when I wrote some really terrible posts. Posts not just terrible in terms of editing or content but at times highly over-ambitious in evaluating what I thought I could do and what I would really do. To say that I am embarrassed by over zealous commitments I made to myself would be an understatement. I am not saying my posts these days are fantastic but at least reading them does not make me wish for earth to crack open and gobble me up. And after a year of blogging it has become some kind of habit and I can’t wait to see how the blog shapes up in 2013.
Although the blog is still unknown and unheard of even today it beginnings were further humble. The starting few months had me overwhelmed by the amount of work that goes into maintaining a blog. Inspite of the fact that I discovered that content scheduling is a must but having done that was not enough. I mean even after writing, editing and scheduling, lets say a 3 weeks worth of content, there was a lot that went post the post went (that sounds weird) live. Checking if the post was up on time and seeing that there are no technical glitches, promoting the content on social media there was a lot that needed to be taken care of. And it has to be accepted that there is only a so many activities of scheduling that one can do.
However what made it easy for me was the clarity that I had in my mind. Inspite of the fact that during the first 6 months of 2012, I posted a bit less than 2 posts a week, I wanted to spend my energies on travelling rather than blogging. I was not sure if I wanted to take the blog to a professional or commercial level ever and therefore I found it wiser to concentrate more on my fulfilling my wander lust rather than focusing on promoting my blog. Most of the times I had my post written and scheduled at least a couple of weeks in advance. And I would do that not while I was traveling but for a week or two that I’d be home in between. This left me free to explore a place instead of sitting in a hotel room writing away. And it takes me lot of time to write and I am not skilled enough to dash of 1000 word post within a few hours. And then I have sudden impulses to cook myself something when I am writing and once the cooking and eating is done I am no longer in the ‘right mood’ to complete that post. And somehow I managed to take my blog through the first 6 months.
The Next Level
After the first six months I was sure that I wanted to continue the blog. I was enjoying sharing tips and writing my experiences. I was still not sure if I wanted to make it commercial enough to make it a source of additional income . Having reading enough about making money through a blog I discovered that although there is money to be made but its not good enough to earn you a living or fund your travels. Until and unless you were ready to put in every ounce of energy to make it big. And I was not willing to make that deal. At the same time however I wanted people to hear about the blog, read it and leave an occasional comment or two. Reading articles and blog post had one common piece of advice regarding making your presence online. Connect with other travel bloggers. That put me in a dilemma. Why would I need to connect to other travel bloggers? Shouldn’t I be concentrating on getting more readers rather than making friends with the best blogger out there? But later I realized it was akin to working in a corporate office. As a sales guys would you just say that your job is to just sell a car or a shampoo. Would you not work together with your peers, subordinates or bosses or would you just be an arrogant ass working aloof in some corner. Yes, connecting with other bloggers was important. So I began sharing other bloggers content, participating in twitter chats, commenting on other blogs and the usual that everyone recommends. However I made it a point to share something only if I found the articles worth it. Not that you share my content and I share yours business. And finally the results showed up. The number of visitors went up along with other statistics. Although I have never lost sleep over the fall in visitors on a certain day or if they shot up way above average on some other I wasn’t ecstatic. But having said its good to see that visitors are now in thousand or two per months versus a couple of hundred a month in say April or May earlier this year.
The Present and The Future
As I said earlier, I am really excited about having completed a year of travel blogging. Also over the past month or two people have started recognizing my blog and my work. Recently someone sent me a small hand written post card. A friend’s friend came up to me during a recent wedding I attended and said he heard a lot about me through some common friends and loved my blog. And on the first day of CELTA, during the introduction sessions one of girls in my batch said. ” Oh its you! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now”. Its always a good feeling to hear a positive review. Even if they are few in number. I may not posses the numbers that many may have achieved in a year’s worth of blogging due to their dedication and efforts, but I am really overwhelmed with this personal touch of recognition that I’ve been getting recently.
Where do I go from here? For beginners yes, I definitely want the blog to do better, get some more subscribers and have a more personal touch to my posts. I wish to do a few guests posts or do an interview and make my presence felt in the ‘community’. But most of all I want to enjoy running this blog more than ever before. Thanks for taking your time, reading and support India Backpack Motorbike. Really, this means a lot to me!