I’m coming up on 3.5 years of writing online this month.
Crazy how fast it’s gone by.
During that time, my thinking has evolved on a great many things.
For example, when beginning a new project my first thought used to be,
“What topic can I write about that will make me the most money?”.
Now I think,
“Is this topic something I’ll want to be writing about 5 years from now?”.
There’s a Grand Canyon size difference between those two trains of thought.
The former is at risk of writing about anything, given they believe there’s enough money to be made.
For instance, they might start an entire website about fixing various home appliances just because they think ad rates will be high, even though they have zero real-world experience working on appliances and are bored to tears by the subject.
The latter, on the other hand, is likely to end up writing about something they’re genuinely interested in. Dare I say, passionate about.
For instance, they might start a travel blog with their wife because they love it and can see themselves enjoying writing about, and sharing their travel experiences for many years to come…
Stay New England
Stay New England was my wife Mackenzie’s idea.
She saw some of the success I was having with my first blog, and wanted to give it a shot.
Kenz had the right strategy from the get-go…start a blog about something you love!
And she (we) LOVE New England.
We were both born and raised in Massachusetts, and have spent countless weekends exploring the six great states that make up this region.
So when it came time to pick the next “project” to focus on, Stay New England was the obvious choice.
Here’s a list, in no particular order, of things I love about this site, or am just generally excited about.
WARNING: I may be just a bit biased! 😂
1) The url – StayNewEngland.com. It just works. It’s descriptive. Easy to remember. It’s a dot com. Leaves the door open to talk about anything and everything “New England”. Endless content possibilities. Kinda perfect. And we got it off GoDaddy for a ham sandwich.
2) The overall design – I used GeneratePress Premium to build this site. I spent over 20 hours learning how to use GP, and many more hours tinkering with it to get things formatted correctly. Overall I think it feels “credible”, and comes across as far more trustworthy than most traditional “niche sites”. There’s still more work to do, and I know it’s not going to win any UX awards, but I think it came out good – especially considering I’m a novice and was able to do 100% of it myself!
3) Google seems to be viewing it favorably so far. There are only 4 total posts live on the site (all written by Kenz) and those posts have done over 1,500 sessions in the last 30 days. A great sign.
4) Along those same lines, StayNewEngland is currently outranking TripAdvisor for 3 out of the 4 posts/keywords on mobile (again, all credit to Kenz and her writing!)
5) There are no personas being used. It’s just us. Our faces. Our writing. Links to our personal socials etc. We are proudly displayed/plastered all over the website. These days, I think that matters a lot. And it’s likely going to continue to matter a great deal. We stand behind the content, and it’s not hard to prove we are “real” people.
6) I think social, specifically Instagram, will end up being a really nice complement to this site. Kenz is going to be running the account, and posting often. Do me a favor and give us a follow! We are “@staynewengland”.You’ll find photos of us and our family on past and current trips across New England. Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest all strike me as possible future growth channels for this site as well…
7) Eventually, I think there is an opportunity for us to collect emails and grow a decent sized newsletter. Something along the lines of “Best things to do in New England this month”. Or maybe do a monthly itinerary for each individual state. Or perhaps we’ll review a different NE resort/hotel each month. Lots of interesting possibilities that I think can work…
So those are all the things that excite me about this site.
But now what?
Now we do the hard part – we publish.
And that’s going to be a challenge, because life has been busy lately.
Our daughter just turned 2 months old, and our son is about to turn 2 years old.
We’re in the middle of renovating our new home, and in the process of renting out our current home.
I recently went back to work after a 6 week paternity leave (yup, still have my 9-5!).
But that’s life.
The key is to never fully give up on your project.
Keep grinding away, whenever you can find the time.
Limit distractions – I’m talking to you folks “working” on 5 different projects at once!
Try not to get so easily discouraged.
My first niche site had just 43 total posts published in year one, and it went on to earn over 7 figures in profit.
…admittedly, part of my motivation in sharing our site publicly is accountability.
The public shame of this site failing, or not making any progress is just enough to get me off my ass.
On that note, it’s time to go to work.
Enjoy the weekend!
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