FREE Book – WordPress Revealed: How to Build a Website, Get Visitors and Make Money (Even For Beginners) [Kindle Edition]

That’s a mouthpiece of a headline isn’t it?

Well, its the title of a new book, WordPress Revealed: How to Build a Website, Get Visitors and Make Money (Even For Beginners)
by Matt Wolfe, who runs an online Web site that teaches you how to use WordPress.

So what’s WordPress, its the software used to manage many blogs including this one.  It does make your life as a travel blogger much easier.  Even if you already know how to use WordPress, this is a free Kindle book for today (Dec., 13, 2012) only so don’t delay and get a copy.

Why Good Content Is Always King

Google Analytics

Top Three world's longest flights“Content Is Always King,” you hear this all the time, but is it really true?  Let’s see. I’m very big on what gets measured, gets managed.  Its a slogan that my ex-VP from a former company always told us in all her meetings with us.  As such, one of the first things I do when I create a new site is to add some sort of analytics tool as it helps me to see if my content is working.  My tool of choice is Google Analytics.

I like to see who is coming to my site and what they are doing, so I can tailor content for them, so I check my statistics all the time, but was a little delinquent in checking it lately for this site as I was traveling.  But I did for Cruisinaltitude.com a few days ago and holy cow, there was a huge spike in traffic on October 25, 2012!  See the image below.  At first I thought it was for another reason; i.e. I had done a review of Qatar Airways’ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, but the date of the activity was wrong.

October 25, 2012 traffic spike for Cruisinaltitude.com

So upon checking, I realized that it was for a post I did way back in 2009 about the world’s longest flights.  You see, Singapore Airlines had announced they were pulling their flight from Newark to Singapore which is the world’s longest flight and also the second longest from Los Angeles to Singapore.  So everyone and their mother was now searching for that keyword and my site ranks well for it, always have.

Yahoo SearchesI give you this background to say that “content is always King.” I know its cliche, but its true.  When I wrote the article back in 2009, I did a lot of research on it, ensured that it had the right keywords for what people are searching for and today it’s the post that garners the most hits on the site.  The majority of that is from organic google searches.  Although, this time the majority of the searches came from Yahoo.

Your Takeaways

  1. Ensure you have some sort of Analytics Tool installed, preferably Google Analytics; there are several plug ins to use, I use this one
  2. Write good content that matches the purpose of your site
  3. Ensure the keywords are what your users are using to search; use the Google Keyword Tool to help

Then life will take its natural course and your content will be found by people who want to read it.

What have you found in your writings? Any similar story to share?  Please leave a comment below.

Five Things I Never Knew Until TBEX Europe 2012 In Costa Brava

Cava

Girona Costa Brava WallTravel Bloggers, I can’t stress more about the need to attend conferences and interact with your peers.  You’d be amazed at how much more respect you receive once you’ve met someone in person whom you’ve communicated with online.  I did see/overhear a few people saying “Oh wow, I’ve “talked” with you online for almost two years, its so nice to meet you in person.”  Also, we got to meet the local host from the Tourist Board as well as PR professionals representing their clients whom we want to contact to further our goals.  TBEX Europe 2012 in Costa Brava provided such an outlet for this.

After over 16 years in the airline business, I know a few things about travel, well I thought I did until I experienced TBEX Europe 2012 in Costa Brava.  I thought I’d share them with you in an effort to whet your appetite and entice you to try to attend more conferences to bone up on your skills in the travel sphere. Here are a five things, in no particular order, I never knew until TBEX 2012 Europe 2012 in Cost Brava:

  1. TBEX sign in Girona Costa BravaWill Peach – I had no idea whom he was until I met him at the Equity Girona Hostel before TBEX officially started.  This hostel was home to a number of us during TBEX and if you ever head to Girona, I recommend staying there as its reasonably priced and centrally located.  They don’t have a laundry facility though, so ensure that you sort that out if you need to do some washing if staying there for long term.  The folks at the desk will help you find a place to wash though.But I digress from Will.  Apparently, it seemed that I was in the minority though of not knowing who is Mr. Peach, oops…  He’s a witty, very skinny, interestingly dressed young man with an apparently foul mouth.  No foul mouth at dinner that night though, but his TBEX Wrap up says it all; which was well written by the way.  This is expected though since that was the topic of his TBEX talk.  Which I missed, but he did tell us at dinner not to go :).One thing about TBEX though is that it appears the talks were not recorded, which is sad as there were many good sessions up against each other and I had to choose; sorry Will. I promise that the next time you speak and we are in the same building, I’ll come listen as long as I’m not speaking at the same time though as not sure my audience would appreciate that.
  2. One of Girona's Bridges in Costa BravaPastry of Girona Costa BravaGirona, Costa Brava – I had no idea where this place was, so that made it all the more intriguing to get there and explore it. Of course I had to log the airport (GRO) since I “collect” airports; don’t worry I give them back :-).  As it turns out, my Orthodontist is the only person I knew who had been to Girona; we always have a “travel session” before my appointments, and she was very excited to tell me about her visit.  Of course, she had a fantastic time on her trip.  I mean, what’s not to like about Girona?  The city is full of treasures and wonderful food.  I don’t think I’ve had that much pastry in a long time.  And sadly, I’m not a fan of cured ham, but you cannot go anywhere without seeing it some place.One thing you immediately see when you visit Girona is the colors of the  houses along the river that runs through the city.  You could just sit there all day and just watch it from one of the balconies overlooking the river.
  3. Andorra CenterShuttle to AndorraKerwin in Andorra at Bus StationAndorra – Its on the list of countries for me to visit in my quest to visit all the countries in the world at some point during my existence, but never contemplated when I’d visit it.  For the record, there is no Master Plan as to when to visit which countries, I just let life take its course and lead me to the next one naturally.  In the case of Andorra, I was so close, I had to and so I did.  Usually, I prefer to fly into the country so I could log the airport as well and if that country has an airline, I log that too if possible.  With Andorra, I struck out on both counts; you see it has no commercial airports is landlocked and has no airline of its own.  But, it was only a 3.5 hour bus ride away from Girona; what luck!The folks from our host, the Costa Brava Tourism Board, thought I was crazy and still think I am for just heading up there and back with a one hour layover (we were delayed about 30 minutes).  In fact, the lady at the bus station in Andorra thought I was nuts too when I showed her my return ticket after walking straight off the inbound bus from Girona.  But that’s my signature, I usually go in and out quickly the first time and then do a second visit spending more time; this is changing a bit though it seems.  I reckon you can drive through Andorra in less than an hour and be in France before you know it.  A very beautiful city though nestled in the Pyrenees Valley. Go visit.
  4. Narrow Street in Jewish Quarter in Girona Costa BravaThe Jewish Quarter of Girona – I had no idea at all that this existed until I had the walking tour of the city by Gloria, our distinguished tour guide.  She knows her stuff like no other.  She took us up and down the tiny streets pointing out things I would have missed had I done it all myself.  During the tour, we all wished we had more time to take more pictures.  A quaint part of this walk though is the Arabian Bath.  Girona continued to surprise me and teach me new things every step of the way.  Not only was I fascinated by the Arabian Bath, but by the spiral staircase at the entrance.  If you visited, I hope you did not miss it as its easy to do so since the Bath is so impressive.
  5. Mayors of the Bay of RosesBay of the Roses View From AfarBay of Roses FoodThe Bay of The Roses – Now you may not have known that this Bay was just given the distinguished honor of being the Best Bay of the Mediterranean by UNESCO.  So it was our surprise and delight when we boarded a catamaran and met the four mayors of the region to celebrate their award.  We wined, well Cavaed, ate anchovies and apples from the region as well as got interviewed and had great conversations with the locals celebrating this major event.  Thank you Costa Brava.I’ll tell you that I’m not a fan of anchovies, so it was a little awkward when I sat with one of the anchovy producers of the region to talk fish.  He’s a well mannered, quiet man who’s family has been in the business for a few generations.  I did not tell him I did not like anchovies for fear of insulting my host.  He must have noticed my demeanor as he persuaded me to try it and I did.  WOW!  It’s not like the anchovy in the U.S. at all.  He explained that its prepared differently.  By the end of the boat ride across the bay from the cities of Roses to L’Escala, I’d eaten too much of it served with tomatoes bread, that I needed lots of water.  How delicious.
  6. Now I could go on and on, but I said five and I think by now you get the point I’m trying to make; get out there, mingle and learn.
What did you not know until you made it to Girona? I hope you will make it to TBEX Toronto and expand your horizon and get your brand out there.  See you in Toronto.

Additional information about Costa Brava

Get Your Virtual Pass for ProBlogger’s Event in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia seen from the Eureka Tower

Problogger Event 2012 Darren Rowse is a well known blogger from the very popular site ProBlogger.net.  I’ve met Darren in person at BlogWorld and he knows his stuff.  From 12 October to 13 October (Melbourne time), he is holding an event in Melbourne, Australia.  Sadly, the physical tickets are currently sold out, but he is offering a virtual ticket. You can find out more about how to attend this virtual blogging event from my affiliate link.  Hurry as the prices go up after 9 October, 2012.

From Darren’s site, the virtual pass delivers the following benefits:

  • Hear about techniques that successful bloggers have used to grow their blog’s readership
  • Learn about blog profitability
  • Be inspired to create content that engages current readers and draws in new ones
  • Up to date blogging approaches and trends
  • The ability to introduce yourself online to the bloggers in attendance.

Get Your Ticket Today.

The Importance Of Getting Out There And Meeting New People

Porto sunset with bloggers

Porto sunset with BloggersI recently attended Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Porto, Portugal.  The conference was well worth attending and the contacts and experiences I had were outstanding.  I can’t stress the importance of getting out there, meeting people and introducing your brand as well as sharing and learning from your peers plus building new experiences.

If you want to see what went on during the conference go to twitter and search for the has tag “#tbupor”.  But I’d like to share my own experiences in an effort to stimulate your interest in attending conferences and networking.

I arrived at TBU a day early just so I can go to the pre-arranged meet up at a local bar (La Boheme) in the city. This was great as I knew very few people who were attending the event.  Meeting folks pre-conference is recommended as it makes the conference itself go by quicker.  It was great to finally meet Keith Jenkins from Velvet Escape as we interact over on the facebook Group, Global Bloggers Network, but never met face-to-face.  I also met a number of other new travel bloggers and got to understand and interact with them a little more.

Porto-Palacio DabolsaThe next day, we had early morning tours setup with the Portugal Tourism Board; these were sensational as we all got an opportunity to experience Porto from a local Guide’s perspective. I went on a tour of the old Porto Stock Exchange as well as parts of  downtown Porto including the bookstore that J.K. Rowlins used at some point during her writing of the Harry Potter book series.

The Stock Exchange is magnificent, especially the Arabian room.  There was a bit of a commotion over photos, since photos were not allowed; but as we were with the local media, Publico, who were filming and interviewing us, it all went well in the end.

Traffic from Publicio's web site to Travelblogger101.comOur story made the local paper the next day, so that gave some of us additional publicity.  As it turns out my site Cruisinaltitude.com as well as this site, travelblogger101.com has increased traffic from Portugal as a result.  If you go to Porto, ensure that you see the Stock Exchange and see the Arabian Room; I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen anything like that before.  Its also the room where the Euro Treaty was signed.

That night, we were the guest once more of the Portugal Tourism Board for a welcome party at a local place called  the Pousada do Porto Freixo Palace Hotel.  Wine, food and music were all provide, plus we had a chance to meet other travel bloggers as well as members of the Tourism Board.  Plus, we did not just walk there, we took a sunset boat cruise down the Douro River to the venue.

The next day was the first full Conference Day where we got to listen to our peers educate us on different aspects of the business.  I think everyone came away with some task from these sessions.  Our day started with a keynote talk from Deb & Dave from Planet D talking to us about our Passions and how to use them as the basis for our businesses.  I had a great talk with them after about their passion and their life and business.

The folks from World Travel Market were also on hand encouraging us to attend their conference.  I’ll also do the same again as its an excellent conference to meet the Tourism Boards from almost 200 countries worldwide all in one place.  WTM is also treating us as journalists so we get full access to the event.  Chek out more details at WTMLondon.com.

One of my best takeaways is that I went to a talk about 10 SEO Tips by Scott McLay and learned that the plugin I use on all my sites was not exactly as friendly as I was led to believe.  So Scott helped me to get rid of it and installed one from Yoast, the WordPress for SEO from Yoast.  I’ll now update the other sites to suit.  Scott also answered a few other questions that I had as well. He’s just a simply brilliant guy especially in the SEO world.

I attended a WordPress Advanced Talk and met Chris Richardson who runs RTWLabs.com.  Chris has a lot of knowledge and will take care of your site while you go away and blog for what I think is a nominal monthly fee.  His task is to take the worries out of the tech.  I loved his talk as I have a few things to implement as a result.  Check out his site and tell him I recommended him.  He is also a fellow traveler blogger known as The Aussie Nomad.

The afternoon of the second Conference Day was an Unconference.  if you don’t know, an “Unconference” is where the attendees write down topics they’d like to present and then other attendees sign up.  I’ve never been to a conference where this never turned out well and TBU was no exception.  I learned what a “jogger” is (U.K. term for a journalist) from Sarah Lee from LiveShareTravel.com, who is a jogger herself and also a blogger; Craig Martin from Indie Travel Podcast talked about Affiliate programs and Rachelle Lucas from TheTravelBite.com told us all about video editing using iMovie which spawned into learning Animoto.  A great afternoon of learning.

Kash and Kerwin at Gallery HostelThe night was capped off by a meetup organized by the guy with the most energy from the Conference Kash from BudgetTraveller.org; he blogs about luxury hostels, yes, there is such a term :-).  Of course we met up at a luxury hostel, the Gallery Hostel in the center of Porto.  We had a great meal sponsored by the hostel which included chicken, beef, rice and of course wine.  Afterall, we are in Porto.  A great end to the main part of the conference.

TBU Porto Destinology Travel Bloggy AwardsThe Bloggy Awards was the event that capped off Saturday night.  The event was held on the banks of the Duoro River at the Communications Museum, transformed into a dinner venue just for us.  This was the perfect place to see the Porto sunset.  Here I took the opportunity to add my entry to Mario’s Web site SomeoneOnceToldMe.com.  This site let’s you submit a picture of you and something that someone once told you. I was thrilled to make my entry.

Helena, Kerwin and Felipe at TBUPerhaps the best part of the event was visiting the Douro Valley with a local tour guide.  This event was organized by the Portugal Tourism Board and lasted two days and was basically, eating, drinking and experience nature and the vineyards and restaurants of the Douro Valley.  The tourism team of Filipe, Rui and Helena just did an incredible job of organization the local Visit Portugal events, so thanks to everyone once more.

Main House in a Vineyard in the Duoro ValleyGroup Photo on a boat in the Douro ValleyWe were a small group of 16 people who were randomly thrown together as we had to pick our tours beforehand.  I was delighted to meet everyone and get to understand why they blog, what they blog about and learn some tips and also share my knowledge as well.  The group was varied in sex, age ethnicity and experiences so it all worked well.

So the bottom-line is that you should be seeking out these conferences and attend the ones that suit your budget.  The next Travel Bloggers Unite Conference is not yet scheduled, but hope on over to the Web site and the details will be posted soon.

TBU Porto  Business CardsNow, my work begins, here’s the stack of cards from the event.  Here’s a list of some travel bloggers blogs whom I met, please support them by checking out the blogs:

 

What was your take on the event? Please leave a comment below if you attended.

Get 40% Off Web Hosting From HostGator

MacBook Pro

Web Hosting from HostGatorIf you’re going to build a travel blog, you need web hosting.  I’ll have a new post dedicated to this topic pretty soon, but for now, I wanted to tell you that the hosting company I use, Hostgator.com is having a 40% off deal until 11:59 PM CST Friday, August 31st 2012.

Note: This discount will apply to your first invoice (it will renewed at the normal, non discounted rate). This promotion applies to new HostGator customers only.

Just go here for details and to sign up.

Once there Click on the SIGN UP NOW button and use  “40OFF” as the coupon code when you choose your respective plan.

Are You Attending World Travel Market 2012 in London This Year?

WTM - ExhibitorsA big part of becoming a Travel Blogger is networking and when you think you’ve done networking, network some more.  The World Travel Market being held in London, England at the Excel Center from 5-8 November, 2012 is an excellent place to do this.

I first went to WTM last year (2011) on a suggestion from Gary Arndt from Everything-Everywhere.com whom I’d met at BlogWorld in Los Angeles and he was also heading there.  I went online and looked up the details, contacted my friend who lives in London and got it all worked out.  Prior to that I had no idea it all existed.

WTM 2011 was one of the better conferences I’ve ever attended.  The networking was intense (more about that later) and it had really good sessions albeit in somewhat small rooms so the lines were pretty long to get in.  Also, you had to stalk out your space as the interest in some of the sessions was insane.  But all with good reason as this conference  delivers.  And guess what its free!  Just fill out a detailed registration form and you are in.  Here is a list of the travel blogger-related sessions you don’t want to miss this year.  I’m an airline geek, so I’ll try to attend some of the airline sessions hoping they won’t conflict wit the travel blogger sessions.  The full list of event can be seen here.

It also has exhibits from countries all over the world.  Its sheer craziness.  I certainly did not even have time to visit all the exhibitors, but I sure tried.

In addition toWTM - Janice Waugh from Solotravelerblog.com all this, there are parties after the daily activities where you can mingle and meet other travel bloggers and influencers.  It was great to meet people whom I’d only read about online and just also met for the very first time.  It was there that I met Nomadic Matt, Janice from Solo Traveler and Travel Bloggers Unite’s Oliver.

There was also a number of other parties where we all got a chance to hang out with each other and got to know bloggers a bit more.  It was all a lot of fun and totally worth it.

One of my fond memories of the event though is the scavenger hunt that was put on by Travel Trails.  This was a special event and I really enjoyed it.  I got special mention as I did the hunt without a smartphone to guide me and still finished it.  The pot of gold was at a bar in the ShoreWTM - Travel Panelditch area where you got to meet and mingle with other travel bloggers.  I made many contacts there which I have to this day.

If you don’t have a friend to stay with, you will need a place to stay.  Here are some Affiliates for you to choose from; two (9flats.com and Enjoy Bed and Breakfast) of them I met last year at WTM:

In case you need one you may use these links.

  1. 9flats.com finds places in locals homes (met at WTM 2011)
  2. Airbnb.com finds places in local homes
  3. hotels.com – finds all kinds of accommodations worldwide
  4. Enjoy Bed and Breakfast – finds bed and breakfasts worldwide (met at WTM; not an affiliate link).

Register Today.

Plugin Recommendations from WordCamp UK in Edinburgh, Scotland

I’m decompressing in Nottingham, England with two great friends after WordCamp U.K.  It was such a great learning, givinTravel Blogger 101 WordPress pluginsg and networking event.  I was just looking at the #wcuk twitter feed and saw something I have to tell you about from one of the attendees.

In WordPress, there are some little things called Plugins.  From the WordPress.org site you can find the following definition:

Plugins are tools to extend the functionality of WordPress…Plugins offer custom functions and features so that each user can tailor their site to their specific needs.

These little gems make your life easier when you set up your blog.  There’s always a lot of conversations about what plugins to use, which ones are better, etc.  We will talk about plugins some more in our upcoming travel blogger 101 course.

I told you in the “have you ever been to a WordCamp” post that I missed the Plugin Talk by Michael Kimb Jones at WordCamp U.K. in Edinburgh, Scotland, as I opted to go to the How To Create A Web Magazine” Talk instead.  Kimb have just tweeted about it as he’s posted the list on his blog (scroll down to the last entry).

I met Kimb after his WOW Plugins Talk and the guy is very personable and promised that he’d give a list of the Plugins and he has indeed in that post.  Apparently, he’s been doing this since WordCamp UK 2009 and have now created a Website called WOWPlugins.com to showcase them.  This is a must view Web site in your arsenal once he gets it going.  Go check it out and let me know what you think and which plugins are you currently using or have heard others talk about.

From his list, I am currently using only two of the ones mentioned (you can use the search feature from the Dashboard in WordPress).  Are you using any of them?
  1. CTravel Blogger 101 - Contact 7ontact Form 7 – I use this one to handle my contact us page unless the theme I’m using has its own Contact us page that handles it. I’m actually using it for this blog. It’s very simple to use, just define the fields you want, it gives you a line of code to past into the Contact Us page you create and you are done.  There are some additional options as well, but you don’t have to get sophisticated at all.
  2. WP-Table Reloaded – I love this one as it heTravel Blogger 101 - WP-Table Reloadedlps me to create tables easily and also helps me to manage them.  Just say the number of columns and rows et voila.  Plus you can import a table from Excel which makes it so much easier to use.  It saves you from having to do all the html to format the table.  It even does the alternating colors for you ;-).

Resources

 

Have You Ever Attended A WordCamp Conference?

Wordcamp Edinburgh Castle with Olympic Rings

I’m currently at WordCamp UK in Edinburgh, Scotland, so its appropriate to write about why its important to attend your local WordCamps or one either close to you or in a city you are visiting.Entrance to WordCamp Edinburgh, Scotland

I’ve been going to WordCamps for a few years now, showing up in Boston, MA; San Francisco, CA and Victoria, BC Canada plus a local WordPress meetup in Portland, OR.

So how does one get started?  Start your WordCamp search at the Wordcamp Central Web site.  This is where all the Camps that are being held worldwide are listed.  The destinations are as diverse as the Australia, South Africa, Sweden and the U.S. plus more.  So perhaps you can incorporate a WordCamp in your next trip.

At the current Conference I am attending in Edinburgh, Scotland I’ve met some very passionate people who helped me out.  As it turns out my Hosting Company had turned off my Website (too much traffic they say and I’m on a shared offering) and the local UK folks at the Camp were able to help me make the site load faster and now more efficient.  Totally WordCamp Edinburgh's  Happiness Barunexpected at the Happiness Bar.  I’ve also made some great contacts who knows where to get travel advice if they ever need it and now I’ve got some WordPress resources as well.

They also had a session that deconstructed your Web site (Site Doctors); so they basically look at your site and tell you what they think you can adjust to improve it.  Very, very useful as everyone can learn from this one.

I also got a chance to take Megabus.com’s uncomfortable overnight bus from London Victoria Coach Station to Edinburgh, spend a 26 GBP night in a local Hostel, the Caledonian Backpackers [affiliate link], see one of my favorite cities again, check out two local pubs with the WordCamp Delegates (fun, fun, fun) and spend a night with a friendMega bus to Edinburgh from London of mine who is a local.  The sessions were also quite good and very diverse.  There was a conflict with two of the better sessions I attended; one on creating a magazine online and another about awesome WordPress Plugins.  So you get an idea of how cool this conference was; You can get a flavor of it all by going to the hashtag #wcuk on twitter.

All this directly related to attending a WordCamp.  Put one on your next trip calendar.  Off to the Standing Order for drinks with my new WordPress friends in the U.K.

Have you ever attended a WordCamp? If so, please let us know what you thought of it?  Or maybe you plan on attending one coming up.

Resources