Looking Back: 2010 in Review

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You're probably already tired of reading year-in-review posts like this. But too bad. 2010 was a big year for me, especially as far as this travel blog is concerned, so I wanted to take a little time to look back at how far A Dangerous Business has come, recap my travel adventures over the summer, and highlight some of the things I've learned about travel and travel blogging in the past year.

Blog Beginnings

A Dangerous Business was created back in February 2010 as a WordPress-hosted blog. For the few few months, I had no idea what to do with it. I updated a handful of times per month, but didn't really have a direction in mind, or any goals. I struggled with calling myself a travel blogger when I wasn't really traveling, and I had trouble grasping the concept of marketing myself and my writing (especially when I had virtually no readers).

In April or May, however, I got inspired. I started reading some other travel blogs, and realized that this could be more than just a hobby to dabble in. I realized that people were actually turning their blogs into their careers. And they were happy.

So in early May, I decided to get serious. I started a Twitter account and began interacting with the travel blogging community. I picked a new theme for my blog, and commited to posting at least 5 or 6 days a week. And, slowly, my page views started to increase.

Building a Following

What the site looked like in July.

At the very end of July, I bit the bullet and purchased a domain name and moved my blog over to being self-hosted. I dove head-first into Twitter and started commenting up a storm on other blogs, making connections and forging relationships. I rolled out new features to highlight my fellow bloggers, and concentrated on churching out quality content 6 or 7 days a week.

It's been A LOT of work. But, honestly, I've loved every minute of it.

Recently, I've started a Facebook page, guest posted my ass off, tweaked my design a bit (including adding my awesome new custom header), and even drew up an advertising page in hopes of bringing in a little extra cash.

Even I am surprised at how far I've come. Today, I have over 850 followers on Twitter, and more than 110 “likes” on Facebook. My daily page view average has risen from about 3 in February to around 200 today, and my readers are actually sticking around and leaving me comments.

It just goes to prove that hard work really does pay off.

Travel in 2010

In Alaska

Of course a travel blog is supposed to focus on travel. 2010, however, wasn't a huge year for me travel-wise. A new job with very few vacation days and meager paychecks meant I just didn't have much opportunity.

But June took me out of Ohio at last. I tackled Seattle in two days, and then headed to Alaska and Canada on a cruise with my family.

I spent the rest of my travel time exploring places closer to home — like Pittsburgh, one of my favorite cities; Cedar Point, my favorite amusement park; and other odd things around my home state of Ohio — and playing around with making some travel videos.

I may not have hit up any exotic locations or far-off cities, but traveling closer to home forced me to become a bit more creative and resourceful as a travel blogger. And, in the end, I think that has only helped strengthen my writing and what A Dangerous Business has to offer.

Things I learned in 2010:

As a fresh-faced travel blogger just starting out, I had a lot to learn. I've had my ups and downs over the past year, made mistakes, and celebrated successes. Little has been very predictable and nothing has been easy, but I've learned a lot along the way.

A Little Honesty Goes a Long Way

Amidst photo-laden posts, travel guides, silly stories and top 10 lists, I've thrown in some really honest posts about my personal life, travel, and blogging within this crowded community. I've learned that these brutally honest, lay-everything-out-there posts resonate well with other bloggers and travelers.

The Travel Blogging Community is Great

The travel blogging community has been so supportive and welcoming to me over the past 10 months. Thanks to my fellow bloggers, I'm loving what I'm doing.

Blogging Can Be Unpredictable

Sometimes, I can predict when a post is going to be popular or generate a lot of conversation. But, most of the time, I have no idea what to expect. Some posts that I'm really proud of end up being duds, and some posts that I throw out there at the last minute or as fillers end up getting tons of page views and comments. I've just decided to stop worrying about it, and just let whatever happens happen.

Travel Blogging is Hard

Nothing in this industry is given to you on a silver platter. If you want to succeed as a travel blogger, you have to work at it, and work hard. It often means putting in a lot of hours, and getting back very little in return. Some days are downright frustrating. But, the key is perseverance.

I Love What I'm Doing

Travel blogging has become a huge part of my life, but a part of my life that I adore. Even though running this blog has turned into a second job (albeit one I don't really get paid for), I don't mind it at all. It doesn't feel like work. I've found something that I'm passionate enough about to keep doing even when it's not very fun, which is rare, I think.

My Favorites of 2010

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite posts from the past year that haven't already been mentioned somewhere in this recap:

All in all, 2010 has been a good year for A Dangerous Business. What began in February on a whim has grown into a product that I am truly proud to put my name on.

I can only hope for even better things in 2011!

Check back next week to find out what I'll be up to in the new year!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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27 Comments on “Looking Back: 2010 in Review

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  1. Congrats on a successful first 10 months! I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through your writing and look forward to more great stuff from you in 2011.

      Thanks Matt! Your blog was one of the first travel blogs I ever started reading, so it’s been great getting to know you (my fellow Midwesterner) too!

    I’m glad you put in all the effort in 2010 towards your blogging or else I wouldn’t have found it! I’m looking forward to all the adventures 2011 will bring you!

      I’m glad I did, too! It’s been such a rewarding experience so far, and I only hope it keeps getting better from here!

    Great wrap up – love your blog and can’t wait to see what travel adventures 2011 brings for you! All the best 🙂

      Thank you, Lynda! I won’t lie – I’m excited to see what 2011 brings, too!

    I love reading these end of year posts! I hope people aren’t tired of them too because mine comes out tomorrow. It sounds like you had a fantastic year, and congratulations on how far you’ve come with blogging. Happy New Year!

      I like them too, Laura. I, at least, am not tired of them yet! I like seeing how a blog has evolved over a year. Happy New Year to you, too!

    I’ve just recently stumbled across your blog. Can’t believe that you just started out this year. Lots of great content already. Cheers for even a greater 2011!

      Well I’m glad you stumbled this way! I kind of can’t believe how far I’ve come this year, either, but I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished. Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the support!

    I’m glad you started Amanda…and sorry that I found you only so recently! Here’s to 2011 being even better! Cheers!

      I’m glad I started too, Gillian! And so glad to have such great readers and supporters like you!

    Congratulations on achieving so much in 2010 Amanda!

    The way you’re pumping out awesome content at the moment, 2011 will be even better! 🙂

      Hopefully I can keep up this pace! Haha. But thanks so much! It’s crazy to look back and see how far this blog has come in less than a year. It makes everything so worth it.

    What a great year! It’s so inspiring that you’ve developed such a great following for your blog – particularly as you say you haven’t travelled very much. It shows that you’ve definitely got some great content and are working very hard. I only hope that my blog can follow the success of yours!

    All the best for 2011!

      Thanks so much for the well wishes, Rebecca! Luckily I’ve traveled a lot in the past, and so had plenty of material to fall back on this past year when I wasn’t really traveling very much. I hope you have great success in 2011, too!

    Keep rocken it out, I have a feeling that 2011 wil be a big year for you.

      Thanks, Nick! I sure hope you’re right about 2011!

    Rock on Girly!!!! Congrats on your successful blog. We’re all behind you.

      Thanks so much, Jenny! It means a lot to have so many other great bloggers supporting me!

    You’ve been working so hard, and I’m so glad it’s paying off for you! 2011 can only get better and better!

      Thanks so much, Emily! And yes, I’m hoping for an even better 2011!

    Good job on the hard work and congrats on seeing it paid off. I’ve definitely enjoyed your posts on New Zealand… the country has been on my radar for awhile but it’s been too expensive for us to visit. Someday for sure…

      Thanks, Jill. It’s been a pleasure having you as a reader! And I still have plenty of New Zealand content to put out in the new year, too, so keep an eye out!

    I hope people aren’t tired of 2010 review posts yet as mine is coming out January 1!

    Blogging is a crazy rollercoaster but I’m so addicted to it. I’m also surprised like you when I write a post that I’m not crazy about but people really gravitate toward it. I guess I’m not good at judging what people will find interesting about me.

      I actually really like reading all the year-in-review posts. It’s fun to see how far other bloggers have come in the past year. And everybody tackles the review differently, too, which I like.

      And I’m completely addicted to blogging, too, Ayngelina… maybe we should start a support group.

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