Welcome to the new look of my travel blog
I started my first travel blog in 2005/06 when I was on my first trip to India. This photo, above, was taken at my friend’s place in South Delhi on my birthday, March 8, 2006. Who knew that India would become my second home, my muse and my passion? And who knew that the casual blog I wrote, on Travelblog.org, would grow into Breathedreamgo? In the latest stage in the evolution … I worked with WordPress wizard and all-around awesome guy, Michael Tieso of The Art of Travel Blogging and The Art of Backpacking, on upgrading and refreshing the site. To find out why I needed to upgrade and why I chose Canvas by WOO Themes, continue reading.
The Breathedreamgo story
I started travel blogging in 2005 — which makes me a pioneer, I guess, though I didn’t feel it at the time. I was getting ready to go on my “trip of a lifetime” to India for six months, and decided, almost as an after-thought, to set up a blog on Travelblog.org. You can read about why I went to India in the first place here, in My Story.
On that first trip (and the two subsequent ones) I blogged religiously on Travelblog.org, twice a week, keeping my friends, family and colleagues up-to-date about my adventures on the subcontinent. To my surprise, strangers started following me and interacting via the comments. I was delighted! I loved the interaction and I was encouraged by the positive comments about my travel writing.
It took a couple of years and several more trips to India, and a few blog iterations, before I finally launched Breathedreamgo.com on August 23, 2009 (Ganesh Chaturthi). I couldn’t have done it without Jennifer Johannessen of lowtotheground.ca, who has been my blog angel for the past three years.
I consider Breathedreamgo.com to be my “professional” blog, but I have not made any money directly from it so far. I have thought of it more as a platform for my travel writing. That’s changing now, though, as Breathedreamgo continues to grow, and attract awards, recognition and followers. It’s also changing because the industry is changing: there are many companies starting to work with travel bloggers now. Making a good income is now, finally, a possibility for this profession.
Upgrading the whole kit
So, it was time for me to upgrade to the next level. In the past month, I traded in my old Macbook for a Macbook Pro, and two older-model cameras for a Canon Rebel T3i, which shoots HD video. I’ve been taking a course at a local college in how to use Final Cut Pro X, and I invested in this software too — which I love!
And the last piece was to hire Michael Tieso to help upgrade Breathedreamgo. It outgrew the old template, as WordPress advancements continue to evolve. I need Breathedreamgo to be as up-to-date as possible to ensure that it loads quickly, is SEO friendly and can handle all the social media, blogging, photography and video-making I am doing.
That’s why I chose Canvas by WOO Themes: as long as you know how to modify it, it’s a very flexible, sophisticated theme, and probably one of the best themes on the market. Lucky for me, I bought it at half-price ($42) when WOO Themes was having a birthday sale.
Michael moved Breathedreamgo to Host Gator, and when I ran into some trouble, I found Host Gator to have absolutely excellent customer service. (My site was hacked and they fix it in about an hour, and sent a very thorough and comprehensive follow-up email).
I have also hired Michael Tieso to manage the technical side of Breathedreamgo (he offers blog management as a service — check the various programs you can subscribe to here). So for a reasonable fixed rate per month I have peace-of-mind knowing that the site is being backed-up and monitored.
Back to the drawing board
During the past few months as I was gearing up for this “new era,” I also went “back to the drawing board” and have been assiduously reading sites like Travelllll.com and Problogger; looking at travel blogs I admire like ThePlanetD.com, LegalNomads.com and UncorneredMarket.com; very actively participating in forums like the Global Bloggers Network and attending TBEX 12 — all to learn more about what it takes to be a successful travel blogger.
This blog grew very organically, and although I have a BA in Journalism and lots of experience as a copywriter and a freelance writer, learning to be a blogger has been a steep climb — for one thing because I am not that technically inclined; and for another, I needed to find my voice, and stayed away from the community and even looking at other blogs for a long time, while I did it.
Now, though, I am at the stage where I need to learn from others and I am so happy there are so many generous people out there, and great resources available.
So here it is, the new-and-improved Breathedreamgo! I will be adding new features to it regularly, and getting it all ready for an upcoming lengthy blogging trip to India and South Asia that I am planning for fall and winter 2012/13.
Love to know what you think! And also, what content or features would you like to see on Breathedreamgo?
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