This month we celebrate our 5-year anniversary of blogging.
In this post, I share some of the benefits of expat blogging.
But first, here’s a little history.
Our Ecuador Expat Blog History
Just a few months after arriving in Ecuador we published our first post (November 2009).
Our first site was called Destination Ecuador.
We quickly changed it to GringosAbroad and just a few months ago we renamed our Ecuador blog: InsideEcuador which is published here on GringosAbroad. We explain the reasons for the recent change in this post.
While we did hope to make a little money from click ads, we never imagined what it would become.
- Today, we publish three weekly blogs under our media company: Gringos Abroad Publishing.
- We now make 100% of our income from blogging. We have successfully transitioned to full time (professional) bloggers (although we still don’t work full time.) 🙂
In this post, we share some of the benefits we’ve received from running an expat blog. And some reasons you should think about starting your own.
6 Ways We Benefit From Our Expat Blog
They really can be broken in two categories: what we get and what we give. Our blogs have always been free – we don’t offer any of our blog posts on a subscription model. We want everyone to have access to our information.
Here are six of the benefits we’ve received from our Ecuador expat blog:
- Blogging puts things in perspective: Just taking the time to sit and write it down often changes how we are feeling. It could be stress, fear or even anger. We’ve frequently written about hard situations. And both Dena and I have been helped by the simple process of writing it down. There is something about being forced to choose words for feelings that is very therapeutic. This can be especially helpful for new expats as they get settled into their new home.
- Create work opportunities: We have been offered more jobs and partnerships that I can count. Offers in marketing, management, education, and tourism. We did accept a job blogging for a Galapagos travel company for a few years – which we loved! I never dreamed that a blog could generate this quantity or quality of business proposals.
- Generate many press requests. We receive regular requests for interviews – both television and print. And while we’ve accepted two offers (a House Hunters International episode and a news piece with Reuters) we are really quite private people and the exposure doesn’t interest us. Two of Ecuador’s national television stations have contacted us for feature interviews, including Ecuavisa just last week. We have had numerous print magazine offers and countless blog interview requests. If someone likes the press and wants this type of exposure, there are lots of opportunities.
- Earn income: Not to be overlooked, is the regular monthly income that we generate on our sites – in spite of not selling anything. 🙂 We are working on some new products but until now we have generated our income without direct sales.
- Help other expats: The original purpose of our site was to help others relocate. We have been thrilled with the feedback from hundreds of expats who have successfully made the move abroad. Our sites have been read by more than 600,000 unique readers from just about every country of the world. Without a blog, it would be impossible to make that kind of impact. Reading comments of appreciation from other expats really gives us a sense of satisfaction.
- Shared stories with friends and family back home: A surprising number of family and friends still follow our site. Although we have some private channels (G+ and Instagram) for friends, our blog also allows us to share the details of our travels and adventures.
What do you think? Are you interested in starting your own expat blog?
How to Start an Expat Blog
Are you thinking about starting an expat blog? Congratulations! (Don’t worry – it isn’t that hard.) Here’s what you need to know:
Free Guide: We have created a detailed guide to help you setup your first expat blog. The guide is free and based on our experience of setting up dozens of blogs (for ourselves and clients). This is the best way to do this. Why not start it now?
- Use self-hosted WordPress: While you can get a free blog, it will be frustrating (if not impossible) to build an audience. A self-hosted WordPress blog costs less than $90/year (if you use HostGator) and you have full ownership of your domain and site content. This is how we run all our sites.
- Determine your niche: To be successful, you need to think about your angle. What makes you different from the other expat bloggers? Why should someone subscribe to your newsletter? Some examples could be: Ecuador for vegan retirees, a stamp collector traveling South America, or Cuenca for cycling couples. Of course, you need to make sure your niche appeals to a large enough segment of readers. Be careful not to go to broad. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will end up appealing to no one. Here is some help in choosing your niche.
- Post regularly: You don’t have to write long posts, but if you are going to build an audience you need to post regularly – a minimum of once a week is best. Worried you won’t have enough to say? Here’s a list of 73 blog post ideas.
- Check out BryanHaines.com: We created this site to share what we’ve learned with other expats and travelers. We write about how to make money with your blog, how to write a post and then format it, and even the tools we use to run our business.
So there you have it – not that bad, right?
The best advice I can give you is to: just get started. Set it up and start posting. You will learn what you need as you go along.
Are you thinking about starting a blog? Why do you want to become a blogger? What is holding you back? If you already have an expat blog, what tip can you share? Please share your url in the comment section as well.
We’ll see you in the comment section!