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Social media overhaul – update April 2015!

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Hi everyone,

So I’ve been having a bit of an overhaul on all of my social media accounts lately and thought I’d bring you an up to date tally of my current number of followers across the board. I last did something similar at the start of 2015 with my post New Year News so thought I’d write a comparison article so you can see how fast my blog is growing month on month. I’m aiming to bring you these reports every three-four months so it’ll be Summer by the time the next one’s here!

Trip Advisor

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I’ll start with the site that actually has my biggest audience and is where I get a lot of my readers from. My Trip Advisor account is hugely successful; with over 40,000 readers and a 100% score for helpful votes (all 68 of my reviews have been voted as ‘helpful’ by other reviewers!). I have also consistently been voted in the top 1% of reviewers across the whole of Oxfordshire- not bad for someone who just writes as a hobby! My monthly reviews from the site detail the number of readers I’ve had per post, along with notifications of any ‘helpful votes’ that my reviews have received from my readers. I use Trip Advisor every single time I book a break away and so far it’s never failed to help me pick the best hotels/restaurants for my holiday destinations! I’m constantly reviewing places that I’ve been to and often link these back on my blog posts to increase my readership. I’m aiming to have close to 50,000 readers by the end of 2015, so here’s hoping I can get to that milestone!

Twitter

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My other large following is on my personal Twitter account which I use to promote my blog and I currently have over 800 followers which is growing on a daily basis. I’ve had Twitter since 2011 and think it’s a great way to connect with fellow social media users. Hash tags are incredibly effective for enabling my blog to be seen by larger audiences and I use this wherever possible when posting new links. I’m aiming to reach a massive 1000 followers by the end of the year and that’ll be a huge break through for me.

Instagram

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I’ve only had my Instagram page since the end of December 2014 but already I’ve grown a substantial following of over 320 users. Like my Twitter page, my Instagram account is a personal one and so I sometimes post things that aren’t necessarily related to my blog. Although at times this may not seem totally professional, I feel that having a personal account can actually help to widen the audience for my blog as it can instantly be seen by my friends, family and existing followers who may have liked other things that I have posted about. It’s all about the visual effects on Instagram and I love how I can edit some of my best photos and share them with my audience. I take part in #tbt (Throwback Thursday) probably twice a month and always link this to my Throwback features whenever I blog about them. I’d love to get to 500 followers over the next nine months and I think that’s an achievable target for me.

Facebook

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My Facebook page is relatively new but I’m almost at 100 likes already (only one more to go!!). I like that Facebook lets me create a timeline of events and I’m always posting milestones that I’ve reached or big occasions that I’ve taken part in. Datewise, it’s handy to refer back to and it’s visually very appealing to lots of my readers. I do however feel that Twitter & Instagram allow me to reach a wider audience because of the power of hash tags, but as the majority of my readers have personal Facebook accounts I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to appear on their news feeds! I’d like to get to 200 followers by the time 2016 comes around.

LinkedIn

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This may not be an obvious choice for a social media account but, professionally, LinkedIn is by far the best out there. I’ve only had my account for a few months but already I’ve racked up close to 350 connections, had numerous job offers and am constantly being viewed by other users. The site is great for posting status updates and I upload photos and links to my blog whenever I have a new post to share. Although the audience is only as wide as the number of people that I’m connected to, it helps massively when getting new readers and LinkedIn is statistically one of the best referrers to my blog. I’m aiming for at least 500 connections by the end of the year.

WordPress

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Of course, where it all started! I wouldn’t have even set up my blog had it not been for WordPress and it’s brilliant free themes! I wanted to run a blog for free and WordPress gave me this opportunity so i grabbed it with both hands and have never looked back! In previous posts I’ve debated whether or not I should switch from my WordPress site to a more flexible self hosted site but for now I am completely happy with my blog and can’t see any reason to change it! My daily statistics give an in-depth insight into the number of readers I’m gaining as well as detailing information on which sites they were referred from so I can see where most of my traffic is originating. I’ve had over 3000 hits to my blog so far- I wouldn’t be where I am today without WordPress and for that I am eternally thankful!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this insight into the ongoing growth of my blog – thank you so much for your support as I’d be nowhere without you all! Please continue to like/subscribe to my posts and follow my social media accounts to keep up to date with everything that’s going on in the world of Journeys with Jessica!

Love Jess x

All about the stats!

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Happy Monday everyone!

I hope you’ve all had a good weekend?! I always like to take an extra day to catch up from my notoriously busy Saturday’s & Sunday’s so use Monday’s as a good opportunity to take stock of important things like blog updates & stat counts! When I logged in to WordPress this afternoon I was thrilled to receive a notification stating that my blog was attracting more traffic than usual.. Intrigued, i headed over to my stats section to see what had been going on..

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The weekend tends to be a good time to attract readers to my blog as people tend to be off work browsing the net and are likely to have more free time on their hands, and this weekend was certainly no exception. As you can see from the print screen below, my blog attracted 169 views with 5 visitors in just 24 hours yesterday (Sunday 29th March) – that’s 33.5 views per visitor! For me, that’s a massive achievement given that I’ve been very poorly lately and haven’t blogged in almost two weeks so haven’t had any new material to share with my readers.

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Surprisingly, my blog was viewed by readers in the US over 160 times yesterday as opposed to the minority of just 4 readers based in my home country of the UK which is where most of my audience are from. Although I don’t have the ability to see who my readers are or what area they live in, the country identifier is really handy and I’m always interested to know what parts of the world my blog is reaching out to. It’s incredible to think that my posts are being read internationally, and that’s something which I hope will continue for a long time to come. The table on the left also shows how many times previous posts were viewed, with some of my posts dating back to May last year, so it’s nice to know that people do still read them!

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Finally, referrals are a really important area for me to focus on and I’m constantly wanting to know whether people just happened to stumble across my site on Google or whether they follow me on social media and have linked to my blog via that avenue. Interestingly, most of the referrers in yesterday’s stat review were from WordPress itself which heightens my opinion that it’s best for me to stick with my current WordPress site rather than switching to a self-hosted page. (Read more about my dilemma on this matter here!) It’s also useful to know that Twitter & LinkedIn don’t feature on yesterday’s stat review although a lot of my posts are always shared on those sites. I’ve actually given up Facebook for lent so haven’t been expecting any traffic to come from that, but it’s good to know that at least one referral came from there yesterday!

As mentioned earlier in this post, I haven’t been very well at all lately and actually spent most of last weekend in hospital. I’ve used the past week to recover and focus on getting better which might explain why I haven’t been very active in the blogosphere lately! I’ve got some great posts coming up though, and lots planned for the Easter break which I’m very excited about. Thanks to my lovely readers, as always, for your continued support and I promise to be back to normal soon!

Love Jess x

NEW YEAR NEWS!

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Hey everyone,

As it’s a new year I thought I would change a few things on my blog but also bring you a round up of stats that I’ve collected over the past 8 months. Since my blog began back in May 2014 I’ve gained new followers, enjoyed a large social media presence and have continued to build it as much as I can in order to share my adventures with you all.

As a breakdown, my followers on each of my social media sites are as follows:

WordPress – 62 followers/ over 2000 hits

Facebook – 68 Likes

Twitter – 816 followers

Instagram – 161 followers (not bad considering I’ve only had it for two weeks!)

LinkedIn – 222 connections

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As you can see, I have quite a large social media following across the board which I am very grateful for but am keen to grow as much as possible in order to increase my audience. Some interesting stats and information on hits to my blog were detailed in my WordPress Review of 2014 which you can of course read separately!

On the more visual side of things I’ve been wanting to get to grips with changing the layout and design on my blog for a while now as I feel this is quite limited and doesn’t allow as much freedom as I’d like. I’ve opted to edit the theme, homepage and navigation tabs on my site and, although I’ve only made a few basic changes, I’m hoping this will make my blog look a little more appealing and will read better on screen whether it be via a standard desktop computer, or a sleek mobile site.

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The main alteration I’ve made is to have a front page section with a navigation panel on the left hand side so my readers can choose which posts they want to read, rather than scroll through them all from the most recent to the oldest. I’m hoping this presents my blog much more clearly and allows room for my About page to be viewed first before any other posts are read. I’ve also included my contact details on the front page which makes it even easier to get in touch so if you have any questions, comments or feedback to pass on to me then I’d love to hear from you!

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The great debate on my mind at the moment is whether I should continue using my current WordPress blog that provides me with a service free of charge, or whether I should take the plunge and switch to a self hosted site with more flexibility to create exactly what I want without any limitations. I’ve seen a few other travel bloggers ask the same question and also followed the thread closely to see what the general response is. As far as my initial research goes, most of my fellow bloggers advise paying for a self hosted website to allow the degree of flexibility to heighten as much as I want, but I am unsure of taking this step for a number of reasons…

Firstly, as much as I love my blog, I am yet to start making money from it as a business and very much think of it still as just a hobby as I’m only in the early stages of it’s creation. As I’m not generating any income from my blog I therefore don’t have any expenditure, so am reluctant to spend money on websites and themes if I’m not getting anything back other than a pretty display. Obviously appearance and professionalism is important to me, but my writing style is where my skills lie and is unique to my blog so therefore I can write in whatever format I like as long as people are continuing to read that’s the most important factor! Secondly, I’ve built up quite a large number of hits/followers/likes on my WordPress account and really don’t want to lose these if i switch over to a different site! I love interacting with fellow WordPress bloggers and enjoy the ease of the site, along with the basic features that an IT novice like me can deal with!

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If you have any comments on any aspect of this post or would like to pass on any feedback please please do get in touch. I’d also love to hear any suggestions or opinions on the debate that’s at the forefront of my mind at the moment, so whether you vote WordPress or self hosted I’d love to hear your thoughts!

In another news, it’s actually my 22nd birthday on Friday so I’ve got lots planned for the weekend and I’ll be sure to bring you an update on my adventures soon!

Love Jess x

NB. All images other than my profile photo & screenshots of edits to my blog are courtesy of Google images.

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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REVEALED: EXCLUSIVE NEWS!

Hey everyone,

I know I only posted yesterday but I have some exciting news to share with you all!!

I have recently carried out  an exclusive interview with the lovely Char from Taylor Hearts Travel and I am pleased to announce that I will have this published by the end of the week!

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Char very kindly agreed to do the interview with me via email whilst she was in between a couple of European trips; she’s definitely experiencing the jet setter lifestyle!

I am in the process of collating all my information and editing the piece before the finished product will be posted on my blog by the end of this week.

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www.taylorheartstravel.com

@TaylorHeartsTvl

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Be sure to look out for my post soon and, for those of you that don’t already know, my next trip is The Clothes Show in Birmingham this coming Friday so I’ve got plenty to be updating you with over the next few days!

Love Jess x