Sunday Night Thoughts #10 Taking advantage of new subtitle capabilities.

Chilling at home in Guadalajara after four nights in a small town near Ciudad Guzman, next to the Colima Volcano. It’s strange to be back in GDL, which after almost three months sort of feels like home. Emphasis on the “sort of.” There’s only one place that truly feels like home for me. It’s the Northwest corner of United States, and specifically the Northwest corner of the Northwest corner of the United States. I won’t give it away completely, but its name rhymes with “Preattle.”

A week from Tuesday I head to the South American capital of Lima, where my life, at least for the first couple weeks, will probably continue much like it has the last few months in GDL. I’ll do my Instagram job, I’ll teach online, I’ll walk around, I’ll go to cafes. But then after Lima I’m hoping to get off the beaten path a bit. So far the top two destinations in mind are Bolivia and Brazil. Brazil recently made their visa for Americans much cheaper, and much easier to get. Before it cost around $200 USD and you had to get it before leaving the country. Now it costs $44 and you can get it online. So, the Amazon?

I still really want this blog to be successful, and to do that I think I need to start doing more things worth writing about. Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” To be honest, I’ve been a bit frustrated with how slow the progress with this blog is going, and I’m not exactly sure what to do. A writer friend of mine said I should make a decision: Either make it super introspective, first person narrative, basically embracing the journal angle to the fullest, or write things that people might find useful, like travel tips, reviews, etc. So far Ordinary Nomad has been kind of a mix. When it comes to blogging, I don’t really know what I’m doing, despite having done it for a long time. I know what I’m doing when it comes to traveling. I know how to find the cheapest flights, good, cheap lodging, good restaurants and cafes, and I have an ability to get myself into interesting situations, in places most people don’t go. But so far it hasn’t translated to blogging success. And it’s frustrating.

I’m waiting for my pizza to come, which is sausage and black olive. This is my new Sunday tradition. I order a pizza and I sit watching an episode of Black Mirror, or YouTube chess videos. In El Fresnito I played a lot of chess, against the computer, because at night there wasn’t much else to do. And thank God there wasn’t much to do. The best moments this weekend consisted of lying in the grass and looking up at that clouds.

I hope this post finds all of you well, wherever you are in your corners of the world. I like to imagine where you are, you few readers, when you read this. New York? Seattle? Somewhere in the Philippines? This blog, weirdly, gets a small trickle of traffic from the Philippines. I have no idea why.

I awoke this morning full of hope for April and for the future, and that hope continues. It was right around the height of this hope that I took the picture featured on this entry, from a bus window, of the Nevado de Colima. I realize the horizon line is tilted. But I like this photo because it’s ordinary. Even if that’s something I don’t want this blog to be.

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How to Drive More Traffic to Your Travel Blog

The title of this blog post is a bit of a misnomer, because I don’t actually know how to drive more traffic to your travel blog. That’s why I’m writing this post, to hopefully get your help driving traffic to my travel blog, and also expound on the ways I’ve tried to do it in the past (without much success).

Here are some methods I’ve tried:

1) Facebook

Facebook is the easiest way to drive traffic to your blog, especially if you have a lot of “friends.” Note that I don’t have a lot of “friends” on Facebook, because I eliminated my account from 2009 to 2015 and thus my “friend” count, compared to a lot of my “friends,” is stunted. The good thing about Facebook is that you don’t have to feel bad about self-promotion. All Facebook is is self-promotion. People say Facebook is about community, about sharing stuff, but really all it is is each one of us throwing our proverbial pebbles in the proverbial pond, trying to get people to notice us. It’s wretched; I use it everyday.

2) Instagram, Google Plus, Pinterest, Twitter

Again, if you have a lot of “followers” or a lot of “contacts” or “friends,” these can be great methods. I personally don’t have a huge “presence” on any of these “sites.” But they’re good for the occasional grass roots marketing campaign, the occasional publicity.

3) Reddit

Spamming Reddit from time to time is a great way to generate short-term traffic spikes. My biggest ever traffic day on Where’s Wetzler came when I spammed a Seattle subreddit and got something like 500 views. Which is a bit annoying, because 500 views is not a lot. I got a message from the coordinator of that group saying that my post was in violation of their group rules. God, how I wanted to send her some kind of diatribe saying what a loser she was for caring about something like that, for devoting even a shred of her neuron power to such a meaningless issue. But then again that would’ve basically been like calling myself a loser.

4) Facebook Ads??????

The question marks are because I’m pretty sure this might be a decent way to generate traffic — and apparently not that expensive — but I’ve never tried it and thus don’t know. At some point I’ll have to ask myself why I’m so hellbent on generating traffic, though I already know the answer. To make money. To feel good about myself. To feel validated. Imagine if I ran a travel blog that got 10,000 unique views a day. First of all, that would generate a lot of revenue on Google AdSense and Patreon and PayPal, and also it would just make me feel good. It would make me feel like I was something. Would this feeling be entirely empty and probably just cause more blackness in my life? Obviously. Is this kind of validation the thing that every ancient sage said to strictly avoid seeking? Obviously. But I need to know for myself. And thus for now I will continue to seek it.

Friends, if you know any other ways to slam traffic into this blog like an out of control semi on a steep mountain road careening toward a barrier, let me know. You can email me. You can write something in the comments. You could even say, “Hey, Mark, I know how to do stuff in the header of your blog, like scripts and stuff like that, SEO stuff, and if you give me your login info I’ll do it for you.”

Until then, I’ll keep doing what I’ve always been doing, letting my fingers flit away, and posting passive aggressive messages on Facebook. If it’s not working, you’re not trying hard enough.


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