Welcome to Ask Alexa! This is a weekly Q&A episode that is aired on Friday of each week. If you have a question you’d like answered on an upcoming episode, simply head to https://breakintotravelwriting.com/ask-alexa/ to submit your question. I need the Q in the Q&A to continue this segment!
Today I have three great questions – focusing on SEO, how to take the first steps with travel writing and how to manage social media. Click here to listen to the podcast now!
[shadowbox]Question: From Jane [/shadowbox]
I’m 43, not that well travelled, quite poor and have never been very confident about showing anyone my writing. I don’t even have a blog. However, lately, after some life-changing events, I’ve had the urge to start travel- writing and I am already a trained photographer. I thought I could start just documenting places I go in the UK. Where do I even start showing my writing? Is a blog the first step. I’m naive in this area. Many thanks for accepting me into the FB group today.
My first suggestion, if you haven’t started yet, would be to take an article writing, blogging or travel writing course. When I started out, the first thing I did was take an article writing course at a community college. It was cheap and a great way for me to understand where to begin. It gave me the tools and confidence to start freelance writing for some local print and online publications.
When I realized I wanted to focus on travel writing I took an online course with Amanda Castleman. She is still teaching the same course and I highly recommend it. She is an award winning travel writer and I interviewed her on episode 24: entitled Travel Writer and Teacher Amanda Castleman Shares Her Top Tips to Take Your Writing to a New Level
When you feel you are ready I’d start by writing for a few blogs to start. In the aspiring travel writers facebook group there is a list of blogs that accept submissions. It’s in the files which is a tab right under the header.
My suggestion is to look for sites that have some traffic. Even though you are just starting out, it’s still better to write for sites that get traffic and will share your posts on social media. Plus, if you write for a site that has been around a bit, it will not only be a great for the portfolio, but you will be able to see how they edit your titles and article. You may get some feedback that will help. You never know, you could end up with a mentor.
I’d stay away from newer sites, as they probably don’t have the traffic or the experience to be able to showcase their writers or with constructive editing.
If you enjoy the writing. Really truly enjoy the writing then think about writing for examiner.com or tripitini as well as they outlets you found.
Give it a few months. Write and contribute as many articles as you have time for and then if you still love it, it would be time to start your own blog.
At this point you will have experience of writing for other publishers and know what it’s like to work on a deadline.
And, it will give you a bit of time to hone in on your nitche. What you think you want to write about today, could completely change. It did for me. I’ve told this story before, but I originally thought I wanted to foucs on spas and luxury experiences.
You will be so happy you waited to start your blog! For the full episode, you can click here to listen to the entire podcast now!
[shadowbox]Question: From Shivansh www.hypertrypsy.com[/shadowbox]
What are your suggestions to increase domain authority?
I’m not an SEO expert, but I am an expert researcher. My top source for anything about SEO is Moz, which I’ve mentioned on a few episodes to confirm what I’ve always thought… which is link juice.
The First thing I did was pop over to Moz look up domain authority & Let’s take a step back for anyone who doesn’t know what this means.
Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines.
Now, here is what Moz says about improving DA
Unlike other SEO metrics, Domain Authority is difficult to influence directly. It is made up of an aggregate of metrics (MozRank,MozTrust, link profile, and more) that each have an impact on this score. This was done intentionally; this metric is meant to approximate how competitive a given site is in Google.com. Since Google takes a lot of factors into account, a metric that tries to calculate it must incorporate a lot of factors, as well.
The best way to influence this metric is to improve your overall SEO. In particular, you should focus on your link profile—which influences MozRank and MozTrust—by getting more links from other well-linked-to pages.
Next I headed to a Facebook group I love which is the SEO FB Group and asked… https://www.facebook.com/groups/seofbgroup/
Just read a recent Moz article that says it is difficult to influence domain authority directly because of their aggregate of metrics.
Thoughts? Any tips that I can put into place to help with DA?
Within a few minutes I got these four answers from the group….
Thomas McMahon Why do you need to worry about DA? It’s a third party metric that’s good for competitive analysis but beyond that it’s not a great tracking metric. It’s almost entirely based on back links so link building is the best way to increase it… But that’s a slippery slope smile emoticon
Vasishta Chary the best way is to build backlinks
Vasishta Chary One thing you can do is get a backlink on a website having a strong DA, that’s something we help out clients do
Elvi Reyhan The best way is building backlinks and social signals, but Quality content also important Quality content is the key to any rankings in the SEO world When you write quality content, your tends to rank more which means more people will be linking to it.
Two other resources are two previous podcasts that focus on SEO….
Joe Robison who was my guest on episode 40: which was a q&a show called SEO 101 For Travel Bloggers with Joe Robison.
And – Episode 047: How to Master the Affiliate World with CJ Affiliate Biz Dev Manager Jessica Woodbury. On this episode Jessica and I spend about ½ the show talking about SEO tactics.
Tweetable: Great question from Shivansh @ via @writetotravel podcast http://bit.ly/1QSsBzj #travelblogger
[shadowbox]Question: from Noreen from WhatsinYourSuitcase [/shadowbox]
We hear so much of how we need to use social media to promote our websites and in my case, published articles. But, when we consider all the media out there- Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few, which are considered the most effective for this purpose? The task to keep up with all of these is daunting, and I feel, would take me away from that which I love the best- writing my articles, and photography.
Depends on goals. Is it………..
blog for pleasure?
monetize your site?
All of the above?
But, in saying this I do think it is truly a dilemma. As travel bloggers or writers it is part of our job to be active on social media. It’s part of the job as I see it. The reality is that you did just name a few platforms. There is also G+, Perisocope, Peach, Linkedin, Youtube and all the bookmarking sites like Stumblupon, Triberr, Digg and I could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned all the FB blogger group threads that could take up the better part of your day if you let it!
So, I know I don’t need to tell you that it would be so easy to spend our whole day working on social media.
Here is my advice. If you can, hire a Virtual Assistant for 5 or 10 hours a week to do some of the monotonous work. On episode 048: focused on How to Use Virtual Assistants, Interns and Salespeople to Grow a Blog Into a Business with Max Hartshorne
This would be a great eps for you to listen to if you are interested in going the route of a VA or even an intern.
If a VA is not of interest I would suggest choosing 2 platforms to focus on. Post minimally on the other platforms, so you have a presence, but really showcase two. That way you can show PR and marketing reps that you are active on most of the platforms but you really shine on at least two.
Which you choose will be up to what works for you and where you find most of your readers gravitating.
Of course another time saver is scheduling. Facebook makes it really easy, as we can schedule right into the site. If you sit down and schedule at least a week
Ask Alexa form to ask a a question
BITW Resources Page
Moz has a great article on DA https://moz.com/learn/seo/domain-authority
Seo Facebook Group
That is it for today! If you have a question about travel blogging, writing, photography or Social Media for travel blogging that you would like answered on my Podcast, simply submit your question and I’ll answer it on an upcoming episode.
Feedback on the Podcast If you have any suggestions for upcoming shows or a question for an upcoming episode, leave a comment below. If you enjoyed this podcast, I’d be extremely grateful if you would take a second and leave me a review and rating over on iTunes. Your taking a minute to do this allows me to help more people with this podcast, so I really appreciate it (once on that page, simply click on the “View in iTunes” button to leave your review — thanks very much!)