10 ways a blogging retreat changed me as a blogger

Today I want to talk about how doing a blogging retreat changed me as a blogger. Cause let’s be honest – 2 years ago none of you viewers had ever even heard of my little piece of the internet.

I attended a blogging retreat with the Institute of Code and the Blonde Abroad. The coolest thing about it is that I was being taught by two different women entrepreneurs, and I learned how to run a kick ass business. That’s right. Blogging is a business and I’ll punch you in the face if you tell me it’s not. Enough of that, here’s 10 things I learned that changed the way I blog.

1. Pinterest Rocks

Since my retreat I stated using Pinterest for more than just trip planning and my following has gone up a bit, but more importantly, my monthly views has gone from 100 to 10,000!!! GIRLS! (AND GUYS) Use Pinterest to your advantage. It is a miraculous way to grow your views.

  

2. Participate online

I don’t know why, but I thought viewers would just happen upon me even if i didn’t tell a single person that I blogged. Clearly I was an amazing blogger so people would just find me and BAM! Subcscribe. Basically my mom was my only subscriber for 2 years. There is an amazing community of people out there that actually want to follow along but they can’t if you don’t tell them about yourself. These are great groups you can participate in if you would like!!

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3. Read other blogs yo

I read all my friends blogs now, and share their posts and guess what! They share mine too. Blogging is a community and if you refuse to participate then people aren’t going to want to participate with you. Plus by reading other people’s blogs you can gather information about countries you haven’t yet traveled too and you can get inspired.

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4. Schedule everything out

Get a program and schedule everything. I haven’t been using twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest because I really felt like I had no time. However, you can and should be using them all. Sign up for a scheduling service and then a few times a week you can sit down and schedule all your posts.

5. SEO Matters

Yah I know………… I was stupid. Of course SEO matters!! I guess I just needed to hear it from the professionals. I haven’t been giving two craps about SEO and now I use it EVERYDAY and I have so many more page views that I feel actually successful people.

A photo of me standing in the rice paddies

6. Be Yo SELF

There are about 100 million travel bloggers and 600 million other bloggers out there. So being just like them ain’t gonna cut it. You have to be yourself and be unique so that your audience loves to hear what you have to say about a destination. They will want to tell their friends. They will want to read every week what you are up too. This is what you want in an audience. So make sure that you are being yourself so they can LOVE you.

7. Write Every day.

Yup it’s a lot of work to be a blogger. You really should be writing something down every day to keep those blogger juices flowing. An awesome mentor we had told us to start every day with some morning pages. This means that every morning you sit down undisturbed and free flow write everything that you have on your mind. I have actually come up with some awesome blog posts this way. Do it. Trust me.

8. Take a lot of photos and don’t apologize for it.

All those people that think you are weird for taking 100 thousand photos of yourself drinking coffee are just jealous that they don’t have the perfect coffee drinking photo. Ignore the haters, take all the photos that you want and need. People are very visual and they just love to scroll through beautiful photos on the internet when they are sad about their lives and the fact that they can’t travel. Give them something great to look at and don’t be embarrassed that it took you 59 tries.

9. Keep on Keepin’ on

Don’t give up. Blogging is hard. Everyone is struggling along so you just keep working hard at it. Image one of those inspirational posters that says “If Walt Disney quit after people trashed his theme park idea, there would be no DisneyLand.” If you want to win, treat your blog like the next Disney World. I am going to call mine Justyn World.

10. Have all the fun!!

Lastly make sure that you are having fun. Cause what’s the point of blogging if you aren’t having fun? If you hate what you do, do something new. Didn’t we all get into this field because we wanted to break away from that 9 to 5 and do what really excites us?! If blogging has stopped exciting you, then fight like hell to get that excitement back. Otherwise… Go work at the bank.

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But how has it helped me?

How does all this make me a better blogger? Well let me tell you my personal story. I have been blogging for over two years. That’s a long time. Two years ago when I started I thought for sure that by now, life would be golden. I didn’t realize that I was doing it all wrong. I didn’t realize the amount of hard work people were actually putting into all of this. So basically I spent two years getting no where. And now, just two months after my retreat! I am collaborating with brands here in Bali, I am writing more, getting loads of engagement and I am back to having a blast!! My page views has gone up more than 99% and my followers as doubled. In two months guys.

I can’t wait for the first TBA Retreats meetup and I really can’t wait to see how everyone has progressed with their goals!! You can read more about my experience at the retreat or other IOC retreats as well!

So not everybody needs a blogging retreat to kick it in gear and become the blogger they always wanted to be, but I would say if you get the chance DO IT. Because not only will you become a better blogger, but you will also become part of a community that rocks. Institute of Code worked very hard to partner with the best in the industry not only at sharing tips to do with blogging but inspiring us all, and encouraging us to have tons of fun. Huge thanks to IOC for that, and the BlondeAbroad and everyone here in Bali that helped make the best retreat ever. I can’t wait to see what’s next for them, and for all the girls I got to meet along the way.

I hope you all subscribe so you can follow along my adventures and get updates as to what’s new all around the world. xxx

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  • carrie
    August 26, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve been so curious about blogging retreats and whether they actually help. Seems like just for the additional motivation alone, it’d be worth it. Thanks for sharing your experience, that’s super helpful!

    • justynjen
      August 27, 2017 at 12:47 am

      I was the same way! I didn’t think it was worth it and then I just decided to go for it and I am so glad that I did!!

  • Carrie
    August 26, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Good advice. I definitely need to make Pinterest more of a priority.

  • Cristina
    August 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I’ve always been curious about blogging retreats and about what people actually do there so this post was interesing! And it’s great to hear that you’re doing so much better now!
    You’re right, sometimes we just have to hear it from somebody who’s quite succesfull.

  • Tasha Amy
    August 26, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Love it! I have always wondered about these retreats and whether they are worth it. How did you manage to find out about the one you partook in? Would love to do something similar. Though its hard when you work fulltime and blog

  • Christina
    August 26, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Justyn you kinda wanna make me cry cause I know Seo is important and I know Pinterest can do the magic and I’m like wtf am I doing I’m so tired haha. So thanks for the little kick in the butt and cheers to a lot of upcoming co working hours and rocking this travel blogger life!

    • justynjen
      August 26, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Yes! I can’t wait to cowork!!!

  • Tracy
    August 26, 2017 at 11:38 am

    What a great post. This is super helpful and something I needed to read today.

    How did you first find the retreat?

    • justynjen
      August 27, 2017 at 12:48 am

      I found it through the Blonde Abroad but Institute of Code is running another one in November! You should inquire for more information with them!

  • Harmony, Momma To Go
    August 26, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Ive really wanted to do a retreat! I need to go back and better SEO my posts and pins. It is alot of work but I love it!

  • thealmostkiwi
    August 26, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Awesome post, I think you’re completely right. Blogging is hard work but everyone is struggling along in their corner of the internet.

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