Carlo and Florence are a digital nomad couple from Ireland. They left home in 2013 and have been travelling the world since using their blog and online businesses to sustain their life of travel.
Please tell us something about yourself. Is travel blogging your profession or just a hobby?
Hi. We are Carlo Cretaro and Florence Murphy and we’re both from a town called Boyle, which is located in the mid-west of Ireland. Back in June 2013 we packed our bags and moved to Thailand on a one-way ticket. Our goal was to build an online business that would allow us to travel and work anywhere in the world. Thankfully, our plan has worked out(so far), as we’ve lived and travelled in over 12 different countries across Asia and South America over the past two years.
Travel blogging is a mixture of a profession and hobby for us. We make some money from our blog in the form of sponsorship, however the bulk of our income comes from our content production company that we created.
When did you get an idea to launch your own blog and how important is it for you to be online?
Back in 2009 we went to East Africa for three months on an independent volunteer trip where we worked in orphanages and schools in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. We wanted to have an online journal of that trip, so we started up a free blog account over on blogger. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that I moved things over to wordpress and bought the domain name – NextStopWhoKnows.com
It’s very important for us to be online – without having access to the Internet we wouldn’t be able to run our businesses. While travelling, it can be a challenge to combine work and play so we try and find a nice balance between then two.
Did you have someone help you make the website or did you do it by yourself?
I got a web designer to help me with the website. It’s definitely not the finished product by a long shot – more of a work in progress. Finding the time to sit down and work out how exactly we want the blog to look like is proving more difficult than we imagined ☺
The right domain name is important. How long did it take you to come up with the domain name for your blog?
Back in 2011, when we moved our blog over to wordpress we sat down one night and brainstormed for about three hours. We put all the names onto a big sheet of paper and went from there.
We wanted a name that wasn’t going to be confined to the travel niche solely. NextStopWhoKnows.com is a good mixture, as it can mean the Next Stop on the road of life, or the next stop when it comes to travel. It has a ring of a lifestyle blog as well as a travel blog. This was an important factor for us as we didn’t want to regret the name down the line.
What kind of Theme do you use on your blog and what are the “must have” plugins for a blog?
The theme we’ve currently installed is called “Graphene” and while it does the job, we’re not completely happy with the look of the blog at the moment.
Regarding plugins, the less the better (for the sake of speed). I like Social Profiles Widget plugin, Optinskin and WP Super Cache. Each person has different tastes and ideas when it comes to plugins for their websites, so I guess it’s a relative choice.
What CMS (Content Management System) do you use on your blog? How hard is it to navigate within your CMS (making a new post, inserting images, moderating comments, etc.)?
WordPress is what we use and it’s by far the easiest and robust CMS out there in our opinion. The initial learning curve can be a little daunting, but once you get to grips with it, then it’s a piece of cake – it really is. Everything runs smoothly and as long as you don’t go messing with any code (unless you know what you’re doing), then all should be fine.
How much time do you spend blogging?
Not as much as we used to, and certainly not as much as we should be. We’re just back home after a 7 month trip in South America, so we’re planning our next blogging adventure which will be back to Thailand in March, followed by a trip to India and Nepal for the rest of the year. So we’ll be blogging a lot more once we’re on the road again.
How do you promote your blog? Do you use social media channels to attract more visitors to your blog?
Yeah, social media is where it’s at these days when it comes to any sort of marketing. We use Facebook, twitter, Instagram and Google+ for our social media promotion. You only need one good source of traffic to see a big increase in stats on your site. We find Twitter and Facebook the best for us in terms of bringing visitors in.
Is there a way to monetize (make money) through a blog?
Definitely! Affiliate marketing seems to be the most popular with bloggers. It’s pretty simple to do, but like anything else, you need to put in the effort to make it work. Sponsored posts are also another method of making some money through your blog. These are just two methods, but there are plenty more avenues to explore.
Would you encourage other people to make their own blogs?
Hell Yeah! 100%. If we didn’t start blogging back in 2009 then I can honestly say that we wouldn’t be able to live the location independent lifestyle that we currently enjoy. Having a blog has opened so many doors and opportunities for us since then. You’ve got to have a digital footprint online these days – apart from a facebook profile of course!
Please give us some advice for new bloggers and for people who are still not sure if they need a blog of their own?
If you’re starting out in the blogging world, then take things slow. T one step at a time and learn something new everyday. With the rapid growth of all things digital, systems are always changing and evolving. Don’t try and rush things when it comes to your blog. Build it slowly and the results will come. The worst thing that can happen people starting out in the blogging world is that they burn themselves out after a very short period. This happens everyone at some stage, but preventing it from happening at the start can be the difference between success and failure.
Photos ©: Next Stop Who Knows