Year 2015 is my 10th anniversary on blogging. When I reminisce the past, I’m amused by how much the world of blogging has changed over the last decade. After I quit my job in 2005, I was so excited to read from a magazine that said blog would be a world-changing platform, and bloggers could make a lot of money out of it.
Therefore, I started this travel blog (i.e. MySabah.com). Did you know that 80% of Malaysian bloggers write about either travel or food? At that time, there were a lot of bloggers jumped on the bandwagon too. To avoid stiff competition, I focused my niche topic on travelling in Sabah. We blogged almost every day about everything and placing ad banners all over our websites, wishing for thousands of clicks and tons of cash flowing in.
However, after many months, most of us received a cheque of only two digit earning. One by one, people stop blogging. I’ve seen many bloggers come and go, and some of them produced great content, which is sad.
Pic: The moment of truth. Is Blogging just a waste of time?
Every now and then I would hear marketer or consultant started their presentation with cliche opening such as, “There are over 2 billions Internet users, so you must sell on the Net.” It’s just a marketing gimmick, which is almost as silly as saying, “We have 7 billion people on earth so everyone must open a shop.” Well, you know I know, that is impossible to reach everyone online or offline. Anyway, cyberspace makes it easier provided that we know how to reach our target audiences.
Pic: If I was only after for money, I would have quit many years ago, after seeing no result from many months of hard-work. I believe most bloggers go through the same struggle in the beginning and share the same sentiment. Albeit the setbacks, I’m glad I didn’t give up.
There is a joke which says, “To become a millionaire travel writer, start with 2 millions.” Don’t get me wrong. Blogging does make money. However, majority of successful bloggers make money indirectly from their blog, for example, by writing sponsored posts, publishing book, providing training, consultancy and digital marketing services, selling products related to their blog, after they build their reputation and traffic online.
“The currency of blogging is authenticity and trust.” – Jason Calacanis
Luckily my passion on blogging is not solely driven by financial incentive, I always have the genuine interest to promote Sabah, my beautiful homeland a.k.a. the Land below the Wind. Now I have built a steady income stream from blogging and it’s still growing. Now my blog has over 800 articles (with millions of page views), 30,000 photos and 200 videos (over 4 million views), covering most destinations in Sabah. Some of my articles got over 10K shares on social media and my works are published on many books and magazines. I’ve been focusing my blog on introducing least-known attractions. If I blog more about popular destinations, I can triple or even quadruple my traffic (income), something I’m looking forward to do more this year.
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark
Pic: I always blog in late night. This is how I feel after clicking the “Publish” button. LOL
Nowadays it’s no easy task to be a travel blogger. Besides good knowledge in your niche, you also need to be good at HTML, writing, photography, SEO, social media, digital marketing, video making, etc. But the hardest of all is the time and level of self-discipline it takes. I have to turn blogging into a habit or even a lifestyle. But thinking of the positive side, even if your blog doesn’t do well, you still learn a lot of new things.
Pic: Asking for sponsorship? In early days, bloggers were not being highly appreciated. People thought we were amateur and air-headed attention seekers who blogged about something controversial or to complain about others.
Pic: The attitude of business owners have gradually changed today. More companies say Yes to bloggers. Blog is now making a comeback in business world and becomes a crucial component of Content Marketing. No matter how fast technologies evolves, people are always hungry for quality and useful content. Many businesses want to offer great content and blogging service is very desirable. I’m very sheepish in asking for sponsorship, so I’m very grateful to those who see my value and support me.
“The term ‘Professional Blogger’ is no longer an oxymoron.” – Luke Langford
Malaysia Social Media Week
Blogging has stood the test of time and is widely and formally accepted as a media in Malaysia. In Sabah, we have Best Online Media Award by Sabah Tourism Awards to acknowledge the best blogger. In national level, Malaysia also presents Bloggers and Social Media Awards to outstanding bloggers in Malaysia Social Media Week (MSMW) in various categories annually.
The coming Malaysia Social Media Week 2015 will be held on 21-25 Apr 2015 in Berjaya Times Square Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. I’ve joined it once and strongly recommend this grand event to aspiring bloggers and social media marketers. Companies are advised to participate too, as there are lot of ideas on digital marketing being shared. To users, your business does not exist if they can’t find your website, photos, videos and stories online. They google you before they buy from you.
Pic: presentation slide by Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun from Indonesia (www.Indohoy.com)
During the conference, you will see many international bloggers like you and me. It’s encouraging to know that they do the same thing like you and achieve great results. You could be the next one in spotlight. If you are a music lover, you should join a live concert at least once in a lifetime. Same to blogger, you should attend a conference if blogging is your passion.
Pic: David Hogan shared his blogging tips during MSMW conference. His Malaysia Asia website is one of the most successful blogs in Malaysia.
Pic: photo with Murni Amalia Ridha / Mumun (middle) and David Hogan (right)
You can even connect with your favorite speakers / bloggers and learn from them. Sometimes a small change in mindset and approach can improve our results significantly. Please don’t blog alone in your room. Meet other bloggers to get inspired.
Pic: Pham Hoang Mien (www.hanoigrapevine.com) from Vietnam
The conference and workshop of MSMW cover various topics in blogging and social media. Photography is also a hot topic. You would discover new tools, connection and opportunities for your platforms. Being diligent is not enough if we don’t have the right strategies.
MSMW is not only about blogging. Key players of online media, advertisers, technology corporations, etc. will come to speak at the summit. You may follow the Facebook of MSMW for update.
Pic: Blogie Robillo (Philippines) from www.dabawenyo.com. I really like his name. He has a travel blog about Mindanao.
Who knows you might find new meaning that reignites your passion and take your blog to next level.
Many give up right before the tipping point. Just keep blogging if you enjoy it, good things will definitely come along, money hopefully.
Photos taken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia