“We are a nation made strong by people like you.”
–Ruth Bader Ginsburg
While we were distracted by the world, Gallivance turned NINE this month. We can’t believe it! During that memorable September back in 2011 we were busy buying plane tickets, packing our bags, starting a blog, and relinquishing the keys to our Charleston apartment to embark on our second Round-the-World Trip. Oh how we long for that travel freedom again.
There’s always been something magical and mysterious about the number 9. It pops up in wide-ranging places like literature, religion, sports, and math – just to name a few. And leaves us wondering why:
- Does a stitch in time save nine?
- Someone is dressed to the nines?
- A cat has 9 lives?
- Dante created Nine Circles of Hell?
- Does happiness lead to floating on Cloud Nine?
- You can multiply nine by any number, then add up the digits of the answer, and get 9?
To celebrate the magic of 9 years of blogging we tried to figure out what we’ve learned. When we tackled this question for our 7-year blogiversary, we concluded that:
- We’ve changed … and so has the blog.
- Our goal is to find a unique angle for every post.
- It’s important to help other bloggers – there’s nothing more satisfying.
- We value comments – they’re the lifeblood of the blog.
- We’re inspired by other bloggers and celebrate their accomplishments.
- We strive to be authentic. Be honest.
- Our passion is telling stories, sharing the ups and downs of travel … and life.
And as we all know, learning is cumulative – you build on what you already know. So we’ve added 9 more lessons we’ve learned about blogging.
1. You’ve got to be nimble.
Who knew a Pandemic would rock our world and have such a devastating impact on our lives? With travel temporarily suspended, we decided to broaden the scope of our blog … and your reaction has been encouraging!
2. Predicting what will grab people’s attention is like throwing darts!
First and foremost we take your ideas and interests into consideration when creating a post. If we’ve aimed our dart correctly, then we’ll hit the bullseye. But if we’ve misjudged, we’ll miss the board entirely. So we think the best approach is to …
3. Write about your passions.
For years we’ve both had pet projects that we pursued. Terri yearned to write about Simplicity and revamp the blog; James wanted to explore geology out West and research the beginnings of human imagination. So these past two years we’ve made those dreams a reality … and those posts have become some of our most popular. We’ve learned that if we focus on a fascinating subject, do our research, and write it well, many of you will find it interesting too.
4. Help your readers find your best features.
When we renovated our blog we learned that no one would appreciate the fun features we’d created if they didn’t come in through our home page – so we created an incentive.
5. Life throws you curveballs.
There are times when life takes an unexpected turn, and blogging isn’t a top priority – your mind and energy are elsewhere. What we learned is that this blogging community we all belong to is supportive, understanding, and will embrace you when you’re ready to return.
6. Collaborate! You never know where great ideas will come from.
From the very beginning, we’ve brainstormed together to create our posts. Writing as a team keeps us on our toes. But we also take it to the next level and collaborate with other bloggers to come up with ideas to help readers. One of our most successful collaborations produced:
7. Readers (and bloggers) get blog fatigue.
As much as we all would like our followers to read each of our posts – that’s just not possible. People have busy lives and must choose where to put their energy. We decided that we would reduce our number of monthly posts so we could provide rich content – and you would know we gave it our all.
It’s not only readers who get blog fatigue – bloggers do, too. Since there are two of us blogging, we can often fill in for the other when one of us is just over it! But sometimes you need a break. So take it … we’ll be here when you come back.
8. Decide in advance how you will handle hot-button issues.
Today’s blogosphere can be a very opinionated place – a potential minefield waiting for the unsuspecting blogger to place a wrong foot. It seems that just about every topic these days can be a bone of contention. As bloggers, we try to anticipate hot-button issues and determine our priorities. With that in mind, we don’t shy away from sensitive subjects, but we try to focus on the human side of any story.
9. There’s no place like home.
And by “Home” we mean Gallivance – our “digital homestead.” Although social media offers opportunities to promote our brand, we prefer to let our blog do the talking. It’s the one place where we totally control the content – unlike social media that can change on a whim, advertise embarrassing products, or promote people we don’t support. Over the years we’ve been on just about every social media platform out there, but we’ve decided There’s No Place Like Home.
Now to you! First, let us thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your fantastic friendship and support these past 9 years. As we launch our 10th year of blogging, do you have a favorite post you’ve read over the last 9 years? Or something you’d like to see? Ask us anything!
Here’s to 9 more magical years!
Terri & James