2014 ROUND UP!

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Hi everyone, So as we are nearing the end of this year I thought I would round up my highlights of the last twelve months and showcase how much my blog has grown since I started my brand Journeys with Jessica. As many of you know, my blog has only been active for the last six months and I run it alongside my full time job as an estate agent so unfortunately cannot give it my undivided attention although I do try my absolute best to update it as much as I possibly can!

I’ve been on some brilliant trips this year and have loved sharing my adventures with you all, so long may it continue and here’s to more success in 2015! There have been so many to choose from, but my top three highlights of 2014 are as follows:

1) Family holiday to Majorca

2) Winter city break to Reykjavik

3) Summer city break to Barcelona

Please click on the relevant links to view my blog posts for the separate trips! As well as growing my blog I’ve also updated my Trip Advisor account to Senior Contributor with currently over 30,000 readers and have been voted in the top 1%  in Oxfordshire. Please click here to view my Trip Advisor account and to view my travel map!

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I have grown my social media outlets this year and have a record number of followers on Twitter, Facebook and WordPress so that’s all down to you lovely lot! Thank you so much for choosing to keep up to date with all my latest adventures, I hope you continue reading and enjoy my posts – I can’t wait to bring you more in 2015! My current plans for next year are a bit up in the air at the moment, but I am hoping to go interailing around Europe over the summer and will squeeze in lots of city breaks so that I have tonnes to write about whilst getting my latest travel fixes!

Finally, I have made some wonderful friends in the blogosphere over the past 6 months and am excited to take this to the next level when I start attending travel conferences next year. I cant wait to meet some of the people that I have been interacting with recently! A big thanks to you for all your tips, friendly messages and helpful words of advice. Special mentions must go to the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel and to the brilliant Jess from The Travelista as you two have been particularly helpful to me – can’t thank you enough!

That completes my round up for 2014 – it’s been a blast! I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and fun-filled 2015… speak soon!!

Love Jess x

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EXCLUSIVE: INTERVIEW WITH AWARD NOMINATED BLOGGER TAYLOR HEARTS TRAVEL!

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Hi everyone,

As mentioned on a few of my previous posts I am delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with Char from the award nominated blog Taylor Hearts Travel which was carried out recently! Char has been blogging for the past year and has already built up an impressive social media following as well as being shortlisted as Best Female in lowcostholidays Best Blogger Awards 2014. You can view Char’s website here:  http://taylorheartstravel.com/

It was an absolute pleasure to interact with Char, she was very professional but extremely down to earth and gave me a real insight into her exciting life; I even picked up a few blogging tips for my own site! So here’s the interview in full.. enjoy!

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Q1)      Hi Char! When did you know you wanted to start travel blogging, and how did you take that first big step? Did you work in the travel industry previously or have a completely different job? I note that you have a full website for Taylor Hearts Travel rather than just a WordPress or Tumblr blog – are there larger benefits for doing this? Did you have a small blog to start with and then grow it from there?

A) It was just after I returned from Peru. I’ve always, always loved travelling and friends have often said I should work in travel. The idea of a travel blog pinged into my head and I decided to do it! There are no major costs in starting a blog, it can fit in alongside a full time job and it’s a great way to document travels. It was a no brainer for me – I had nothing to lose. My memory isn’t the best, so I love being able to keep track of my favourite travels and recommendations. I work in the sport industry, so it’s very different to travel. I started my contacts list from zero and have really enjoyed meeting fellow like-minded travellers. I started on a WordPress hosted site and then moved over to a self hosted one after a year or so. To be honest I wish I had started on the self hosted one, but at the time I had no idea how long I’d be blogging for or what would come of it. If you host it yourself you have more say in terms of creativity and advertorials.

Q2)      How important is social media for generating interest on each of your blog posts? I can see that you are using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc and I wondered whether or not this was the single most powerful way to grow your online presence? I’m thinking of getting an Instagram account for my own blog so I’d love to hear your thoughts on this particular app.

A) I think social media is really important. It allows me to share my posts to my audience, but also a wider one if I use hashtags or someone shares/retweets it. It all moves very, very quickly and I love that aspect of it. I’m quite a visual person and people often comment on my photos, so for me Instagram is a dream. I love seeing other people’s pretty pics and again, using hashtags, it allows me to meet more people.

Q3)      Are you blogging full time and getting paid for it, or do you have another job on the side as your main source of income? Many bloggers I have spoken to simply blog as a hobby but I’d love to know the percentage of bloggers who actually get paid to travel and review their trips as this is the sort of industry I would like to start getting in to. I currently have over 27000 readers on my Trip Advisor account and was voted in the top 2% in Oxfordshire so I’d like to put that to good use!

A) Like most, I currently have a full time job, as well as another full time job (my blog!). I probably spend more time than most on mine, but that’s just down to my personality. If I’m going to do something, I do it 110%. I really go for it. I have no patience whatsoever, so I’d rather do it, than spend years planning it or worrying about what-ifs. I’ve made a lot of contacts in the industry and have worked with some amazing brands. Sometimes they might approach me and other times, I pitch to them. I think it’s all about being professional, committed and reliable. If you deliver what you set out to do, then chances are people will notice and existing clients will come back again. One of my favourite quotes is ‘Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground’. Well done re your readers on TripAdvisor! I was also really into that site and wrote loads of reviews, earning the badge of being in the top 3% on the site. Now that I document my trips on my blog I don’t really write as many for TripAdvisor, as I don’t have time, but also because as far as I understand you’re not supposed to write a review if you have a business relationship with the company.

Q4)      How often are you posting updates to your blog and social media outlets? I try to aim for once or twice a week with a few tweets/status updates in between but I realise that perhaps this isn’t enough. Do you also have any tips on the best times/days to publish posts so I can increase traffic to my blog?

A) Again, I’m probably in the minority here, but I aim to publish a new post at least four – five times a week, if not every day. I try to write the blog that I like to read. I hate it when I go to one of my favourite blogs they haven’t updated it, so I like to keep mine fresh and varied. I don’t think there is any right or wrong approach though. If there was, we’d all be doing the same and then that’d be boring! I think if you have an editorial schedule that works for you, then go with it. Don’t be distracted by what everyone else is doing (though it’s obviously helpful to learn from others). You can look at the analytics within Facebook/Twitter etc to find out what time of day most of your audience is online. Once you’ve worked that out, aim to share your info then. I think it’s also important to not run away with pre-programmed stuff. Yes, it’s helpful and time saving, but people also want to talk to a real person and see interactions. Keep it real!

Q5)      Finally, where are you currently blogging from at the moment? Are you all cosy back at home in the UK or are you on the move again?

A) I’m at home at the moment after returning from a weekend break in Paris and then one in Madrid. It’s only for a few more days though, as I’m off to San Francisco very soon. I’m manically trying to wash and repack everything! I note that your most recent trip was Madrid so I’d love to hear a short summary on the city – I was thinking of heading there earlier on this year but ended up in Barcelona instead! I’m sure Madrid would have been just as good though! Do you have any immediate plans for your next upcoming trip?I’d heard mixed reviews before I went, with the majority being quite negative. However, I absolutely loved Madrid. There are so many pretty cafes and restaurants, like the gorgeous ones you always see on Pinterest. Two days was definitely not enough – Madrid, I’ll be back. If you get the chance to visit, you should. The flights from the UK are so unbelievably cheap.

So there you have it, my interview with the wonderful Char from Taylor Hearts Travel in full – I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Love Jess x

 

Hello!

Hi everyone – welcome to my first ever blog!

I have decided to create a travel blog as I absolutely love visiting places and would love to share my experiences with other people and asnwer questions about my trips! I have been to lots of places in Europe and am planning on going to America for the first time next year on a month long expedition to take in the sights of the famous West Coast.

Creating this blog will keep all my memories and will allow my friends and family to see what I get up to while I am away on my big summer break next year! I’ll also be posting reviews on places I’ve already visited this year and will be asking questions on area that I plan to visit later on in 2014 so look forward to interacting with lots of you!

Happy reading!

Jess 🙂 x

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