After responding to as many questions on IG stories as I could, I decided to start this Q&A series so I could respond to more of your questions at length. I’d love to make this an ongoing series on the blog (maybe monthly?), so that I can answer the most common questions I get here and on the ‘gram. Here are 3 questions I received this round about blogging, and my answers:
Are there any resources out there to get connected with other bloggers?
Yes! There are a number of resources depending on what you’re looking for and where you’re based. For instance, the Professional Travel Blogger Association is a non-profit started by bloggers, for bloggers. Blogosphere is a UK-based media company that organizes networking events for influencers and bloggers. Sidewalker Daily is US-based and features this great round-up of conferences for travel bloggers (and they are also a great resource for networking with other influencers).
Personally, I’ve made the most connections just from ‘showing up’ on Instagram and engaging with others in the travel niche whom I admire. The travel community in particular is very welcoming and you’d be surprised by how open and collaborative people are. Collaboration over competition, always!
How do you come up with a good name?
When I was originally trying to come up with a name before we moved abroad in 2016, I knew I wanted something unique, catchy, easy to spell, and available on Instagram. Here’s the exercise I used to come up with Find Us Lost:
- Step 1: Grab a pen and paper and sit somewhere quiet, preferably outside. No distractions.
- Step 2: Set a timer for 10 minutes and right down every name that comes to mind. Every single one. No matter how much you dislike a name, if you think of it, write it down!
- Step 3: When your time is up, circle the names you like the most. I circled 3 or 4, but there is no right or wrong amount.
- Step 4: Check the names you like to see if they are available, and cross out any that aren’t.
- Step 5: Don’t look at the list again for a day or two! When you do, pay attention to which ones you keep returning to.
Step 2 is key, because so often we get caught up returning to a name or a string of words even if we don’t love it. Writing it down is like a release; putting it on paper acknowledges it and allows your mind to move on.
Keep in mind it’s nice to have a unique name, but you don’t want it to be restrictive. I originally thought @finduslost would just be something we used on Instagram and I attached both mine and Jacob’s name to it, and that changed earlier this year as we’ve grown it to be much more.
How do I start blogging?
There are three things you need to set up a blog: website hosting, a WordPress account, and a site theme. I personally use and love Flywheel for website hosting, since they’re incredibly user-friendly and have great tech support. (Trust me, this really matters if your site goes down, as I’ve experienced firsthand!). It’s important that you sign up for WordPress.org (not WordPress.com) if you want to monetize your blog at any point and have full control over it. Here is an article explaining the differences between the two. Lastly, you’ll want to install a free WordPress theme or purchase one. I love the sleek designs and features from 17th Avenue’s themes – I’m using the Vivienne theme.
Beyond that, I recommend brainstorming three concepts that inspire you for blog posts. They can be a place you’re traveling to, a list of books you like, a collection of photos you took, cafés you love from your hometown…anything! Get inspiration from other bloggers or posts on Pinterest. If you’re having trouble writing, try organize photos first and captioning them. The biggest hurdle is getting started, so don’t worry about what will ‘be successful’ or what you think others will like. Remember: blogging should be enjoyable, and you should be writing about what you’re passionate about — that’s the whole point!
P.S. you can find more questions and answers on my Instagram, under the ‘Blogging Q&A’ highlight in my stories.