Gemma Armit is the owner of the travel site Two Scots Abroad, which publishes ridiculously useful travel guides and packing lists. Set for a new challenge, she has just launched the friendly Edinburgh resource for locals and visitors, Everything Edinburgh. Gemma also co-owns the SEO network for bloggers, Make Traffic Happen. Follow Gemma across social media: Facebook, Instagram, and her Everything Edinburgh Facebook group.
What inspired you to start blogging?
An 18-month career break to travel the Americas and Europe! During a month-long trip to Australia back in 2009, I used a community forum to keep family and friends up to date as I backpacked up the East Coast. When my friend, Andy, heard I was leaving Scotland on a bigger trip he suggested I created my own travel site to document it. Obviously, my initial reaction was, I don’t have the tech skills to do that.
Luckily, some friends helped me purchase a domain and a host then I discovered the University of YouTube and supportive Facebook groups. In the beginning, the site was mostly based on storytelling with a bit of helpful advice thrown in. In 2006, I worked out how Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) could help increase my traffic and that tweaked my style of content, publishing ridiculously useful travel guides and packing lists for those looking to take similar affordable travel trips.
What are your blogging and travel plans for the next 12 months?
It is likely that we will be sticking around Scotland for the majority of the year. We plan to see our home country in a campervan and spend more time in the capital, Edinburgh.
Blogging wise, I will eventually get around to updating older guides on Two Scots Abroad while also writing new content on my latest venture, a destination niche site called Everything Edinburgh.
Where is your happy place? Your favourite destination in the world?
Ooo, so many for different reasons! I love Canada and can see us spending more time there in the future. I fell in love with the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia when we stayed there for two months.
Our chillout trip is always Tenerife for the pretty much guaranteed good weather. The last time we visited we hired a car and drove around the island. It’s so much more than the party strips.
I’m in my happy place, swinging on a hammock and reading a good book or up a hill with friends and away from technology!
Can you share any tips for newer bloggers who would love to set up a travel blog?
- Choose a profitable niche that isn’t saturated. It’s not enough just to be a generic travel blogger today as the market is very competitive.
- Streamline your main messages and ensure they are visible on your website homepage, through your newsletter and on your social media channels.
- Treat your blog as a business from day one. Create a business plan and be ready to invest cash into the business. Too many bloggers want success without seriously considering that every business requires time and money.
- Learn Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) from the start and optimise your website and blog posts.
Network with people in the industry (LinkedIn, events and conferences) and fellow content creators (Facebook and Instagram).
- Create communities to improve engagement and to provide a place where you can learn about your customer aviators – free market research!
If you could go back in time to when you first set up your blog would you do anything differently?
Starting a second travel site has been a breeze in comparison to site one! While I am very strict about some areas (niche, design, building backlinks), I am far more relaxed about others in comparison to how I was with Two Scots Abroad. For example, we only have one social media channel, Facebook, and a Facebook group running and I’m cool with that. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint and I know we’ll get into the others eventually. I prioritised the newsletter and Facebook group over Instagram and Twitter because those funnels are more important at this stage of brand building.