It all started in 2007 as some kind of an experiment, a test project in the field of online advertising. At that time quite a few people were starting new blogs and blogging was already quite popular abroad. The question was can one earn a living blogging in Slovenia? How much can one actually earn? How important is the number of visitors and how many clicks on just the right links can one expect from them? What do advertisers want? Marko, interested in information technology, was thinking about the content that would be the best for his blog. He was afraid to run out of ideas before the experiment even started. So, he combined his favourite hobbies: travelling and photography. The result is Travel Photo Blogging, where he describes his adventures in English. Marko revealed some results of his experiment that has grown into a hobby over the years, gave some tips on how to start a blog and shared some interesting travel experiences. You can find many more beautiful images, exciting adventures and crazy trips on his blog www.travel-pb.com.
You have been writing a blog about your travel for almost seven years now. Why did you decide for blogging, how did you get this idea?
I have information technology background and this blog was a kind of a test project. I noticed a lot of people had their own blogs and websites, so I decided to do an experiment in online advertising. At the same time, quite a few of my friends moved to different corners of the world. Maintaining connections with them was hard and emails proved to be a bit awkward. That is when I saw an opportunity in blogging as a way of communication. You could say everything started as writing for myself, my personal archive and for my friends abroad. After a while I was also exploring online marketing and I was wondering whether it is possible to earn anything from a blog in Slovenia. I quickly realized you need a vast number of visitors to get anything out of it – that is why I started blogging in English instead of Slovene.
So is it possible to earn your crust with a blog?
You can make a living with blogging, if you would treat it as a full-time job. As such, you should have like ten blogs and if every blog would bring you, let’s say 100 euros per month, it would be quite OK. However, preparing content for 10 blogs is not as easy as it sounds. One way around that is to find a way to attract others to publish content. Obviously you also have to offer something in return. There is actually quite a bit of science behind it.
You are blogging about your travel experiences. Where do you draw the line between privacy and what is still acceptable to write about?
This line is highly variable. When I started, I posted about several topics, not just travel. But after I studied various online search engines (i.e. SEO), I found out that you have to be focused on a specific topic if you wish to achieve reasonably high rankings. So if you stay in focus, you rank better in search engines and therefore get more traffic to your blog. With such an approach you're also more attractive to advertisers. Personally... I decided not to publish too personal things, yet those who know me, probably know what I wanted to say. Eventually, I realised that social networks today are linked to the extent, that if someone wants to find and learn things about you, you have to really make an effort to keep your identity hidden. This is a lot of effort that in the end I do not think has any effect. I decided not to worry about that. I have however set some limits, for example, I rarely post photos of myself and my travel buddies.
What do you think about travel? What is that reason that keeps you ‘on the road’?
I would say that travelling is one of my favourite hobbies. It is usually referred to as the ‘travel bug’. Once this creature bites you, every now and then you feel this irresistible itch to pack your bags and hit the road for a while. Although there are obligations that keep me from doing it more often, whenever I find some time, I set off. No matter if it is Slovenia, a quick hop across the border or somewhere far away. I try to take advantage of every journey. I never understood people who come to Slovenia for three days and do not know what to do. I feel I could spend months travelling around Slovenia (or any other similar country) and not get bored. It's all in the approach.
Would you share an interesting adventure with the readers of Globetrotter?
Always something interesting happens on my trips. For example, when I was travelling around Morocco with my girlfriend we were relying only on local transport. At one point we were forced to take a Grand Taxi. So the taxi driver agreed to take us to the destination, and then... we did not move. After we were already waiting for a while the driver explained the car must be full to head off. Since we found the price of empty seats too high we agreed to wait some more... When two more passengers finally arrived the car still did not move. In the end, we have huddled with two other people in the back of the old Mercedes, two were sitting in the front seat plus the driver – that’s 7 people in a car meant for 5. When we finally departed, I’ve noticed a same type of taxi is driving in front of us. On the front seat sat two passengers with a chicken in their lap and from the rear seat a goat was peeking. In a blink of an eye we agreed our taxi was not that bad at all. This was an experience you can hardly witness anywhere in Europe.
What does your blog means to you? In fact, could we say, it is a kind of a collection of memories (and advice) you’ve experienced during travels?
Yes, the blog also serves as my personal travel archive. I’ve noticed that years ago we used to develop photos, put them in photo albums, and even write notes next to photos. Now, we are not too eager to develop digital photos any more. An ordinary hard drive failure can easily result in a loss of years of photo memories. Since memories also fade with time this is even more important. From this perspective, a blog is a very useful thing. Furthermore, blogging grew into another hobby of mine. After years of blogging Travel Photo Blogging has won some recognition in the travelling sphere. This means that people often contact me, asking for advice on travel. I must say I am always glad to offer a friendly advice to fellow travellers.
You sometimes also write about blogging itself. Could you give advice on how to start a blog, how to write, etc? What advice would you give to young travellers who would like to start a blog?
Whatever theme they might choose, Slovenian market is too small to earn some serious profit. Of course it is a different matter if you are a top blogger but there is only enough room for a few of them with a large base of regular visitors in Slovenia. So, if you only want to record your adventures and memories, writing in your native language is not a problem. You can also choose among Slovenian blog platforms – some of them are actually quite good and user friendly. Otherwise, English is a necessity on the road to a larger audience. Of course, it is also necessary to select an appropriate platform. Among the most commonly used are for example Blogger
, which allow a lot of personalization and you can also use them for free. There are also many new platforms popping up every day – one of those worth checking out is called Blookist (https://blooki.st/
). These are the initial things. It is also essential to choose a familiar blog topic, so that you don’t run out of content – consistent blogging, perseverance and focus on SEO is the only way to a good rating and eventually a successful blog.
What do you think about Hostelling International Slovenia?
I am familiar with the online newspaper Globetrotter
and your hostels. I got a very positive first impression of the web site and the attitude of people working there. A lot of effort is invested in providing up-to-date information to guests, hospitality and also in building connections with the local environment. Hostelling International
is a global organization that you should always consider when looking for accommodation.
Hotel or hostel?
When I travel all I expect from an accommodation is a place to sleep. Hostels are great because I am looking for a genuine contact with people and in hostels you certainly get that. So I usually choose a hostel.
What would be your advice to all the youngsters that cannot decide to go abroad?
A quote comes to mind that says: ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.' Travel broadens one’s horizons. People who have travelled the world, learned about different cultures, traditions and met different people are usually more open-minded. On trips you are always forced to adapt, you learn how to be more tolerant. About travel… well, there are just so many positive things linked to it. So anyone who hesitates, my advice would be: ‘Just go!’ And once you try it, I believe that it will not end with just that one trip. While you're young, you can afford to wander around the world. All too soon a job, a family and other obligations will make it quite a bit harder for you. Therefore, once again: ‘Just go!’