How to choose your position in Soccer?


Are you interested in playing soccer and eager to get into the game but not quite sure what position best suits you? Choosing the position that best suits you can make or break a player and will determine how successful they will be when they play. You want a position that will highlight your strengths and benefit the team as a whole. So put on your soccer cleats and let’s find out. You may also like article about “Best Soccer Cleats”

Soccer (or also known as Football outside the United States) is a game composed of 11 players per team. Each player has a designated role in which they can show their strength either in offense or in defense. Choosing must be done with careful consideration of what you can do on the field and consultation with coaches and trainers to see where you best fit.

Each team on the field is composed on defenders, midfielders, forwards and a goalkeeper. It is up to the coach’s decision on how to manage the team’s positions on the field and is mostly based on the coach’s tactics for a particular game.

Here are some suggestions in choosing your position in soccer:

If you’re strong, smart and composed then perhaps the best position for you is the defender. Defenders generally don’t get much glory as their role is really to defend as the name of the position suggests. They may not contribute to the scoring, but they win games. A good defender is able to assess and read their current game and come up with strategies to wrestle balls away from the opposing team. They can often come in and suddenly change the tide of a game.

If you have the endurance to keep running and are good at passing the ball, then perhaps midfield is the best position for you. Midfielders are the jack-of-all-trades in soccer. They are all around and must be able to do a bit of everything. But their most important role is to keep the whole team together, strategizing attacks, and passing balls from the back to the forwards. Midfielders typically run up and down the field, pass the ball as accurately as possible at both short and long distances, generally remains composed and calm.

Now, if you’re big, fast and loves to score goals, then being a forward is the way to go. Forwards (often referred to as strikers) have one job and that is to score. The best strikers are those who can move fast and is excellent at shooting the ball to the goal.

Goalkeepers on the other hand are those with excellent reflexes and great hand-eye coordination. Whatever it is on the field, their primary task is to ensure that not a single ball will get pass them. They need to be smart and confident, able to analyze movements of player so that they can actually predict where a ball may be headed and stop it before it even reaches our apartment.

However, the best way that will help in choosing the best position is trying out all the available positions in a team. By trying out the different positions, you can find your sweet spot and see what best works for you and hopefully make good use of those soccer cleats.

Welcome to Travel Blog Challenge

Welcome! It is really exciting to write this first post in what I hope will become a dynamic community of travel bloggers, ready to help each other succeed. Many of you may already know me as the author of Todds Wanderings. If you know me from there you might be asking yourself, what the heck are you doing creating another website? Dont you have enough to do with blogging, writing 3 books, and working full time for the United Nations?

Welcome to Travel Blog Challenge

While the danger of pulling myself in too many directions is certainly real, there is an even greater danger of just going in the wrong direction in general. Like many of you, I have heard (well, read) all the hype how we can earn money for traveling by blogging. How its possible to create a location independent lifestyle, travel the world and get paid to do it. Sounds nice right? Who wouldnt get caught up in this dream. It pulls at all the right emotional hooks, freedom, travel, escaping the 9-5 grind, becoming rich doing something we love. The question is, is it true? Is blogging, and more specifically travel blogging, a viable way to earn enough money to survive and support our travels?

What we are all about

The Travel Blog Challenge was created to answer this very question. It was created to shed some light and transparency on the travel blogging and lifestyle design worlds (yup, lifestyle designers are welcome too!). The Travel Blog Challenge was also created to help prejudge the answer, a place to gather together, network, to help each other out and succeed in an ethical way. Thats right, no spammers here, just a way to help travel bloggers develop sustainable online incomes.

1000-1000 Travel Blog Challenge

One of the main tools here on the TBC is the 1000-1000 Challenge. The aim of the Challenge (beside being the source of the blogs name) is to give everyone a goal to reach, as well as to help us create a standard in determining travel blogging success. This is how well be able to answer if travel blogging really is viable, and how to go about it.

Im not going to lie, this is not easy and will take a significant commitment, and a lot of time. But if youre willing to put in the effort then were willing to help you. Ill also be in it with you. To sign up for the challenge visit  the link above, but to see where it all started visit this post. I was amazed at the number of bloggers who thought it was a great idea, asked for my advice on building a successful blog, and were just stumbling around with no clear goal. In response I decided to expand the challenge to something greater than just my own personal goal.

Articles and Advice on Building a Successful Travel Blog

Besides tapping into our competitive spirits, TBC is also dedicated to furthering the Travel Blog world and finding the best ways to succeed. There is a lot written on the web about how to build a successful blog, from the nuts and bolts of web design, to finding an audience, to monetizing to the dreaded SEO. There is also a wealth of information floating around in other industries, such as marketing, public relations and tour companies. The TBC is dedicated to sharing the most useful advice on all of these topics and how they can help us all.

Knowing that we all have creative advice and hard earned experience to share, TBC is open to guest bloggers. So if you have useful tips or advice on anything related to increasing readership, monetizing, SEO, nuts and bolts, or cool things I havent heard about yet, check out how to write for Travel Blog Challenge.

TBC Network

One of the ultimate goals of the Travel Blog Challenge is to create a Network of successful travel bloggers that we can leverage to increase all of our online incomes. Ive been nothing but impressed with the willingness of the travel blog community to help each other out. Well approach advertisers and spread the wealth throughout the group. You wont have to wait until you complete the 1000-1000 Challenge to become a member. After all, the purpose of the TBC is to prove we can succeed, and to help you succeed. But you will have to commit to being a part of the group and helping others out. So to become a full blown member you have to do four things:

1) Start the 1000-1000 Challenge (click here to get started)

2) Register in the Forums and participate for 3 months (yes, Ill be able to tell)

3) Have an average visitor rate of 0ver 200/day for the past 2 month (as judged by Google Analytics)

4) Promote the heck out of your fellow travel bloggers

Once you have all four contact me and youll be added to the TBC Network List (yay, more promotion),  and youll be able to write a  Member Post to introduce  yourself and your blog. This way well ensure that Members are committed, and potential advertisers can be assured of our quality.

Commitment to Honesty and Transparency

Unfortunately, its very easy to trick people on the internet. The TBC is my answer to this trickery. We are not trying to employ emotional hooks, and promises of instant wealth with no work. What we are promising is complete honesty regarding what it takes to succeed as a travel blogger, if its even possible. I will be using Todds Wanderings as a case study and will share what has worked, what has failed, and where I stand with earnings and visitors. Anyone else who wants to do the same is free to post as well once they are a Member (although guest posting is welcome anytime).

I know, I know, this is a very ambitious plan for a new website. Thats OK, slow and steady is fine with me. and the site will evolve slowly as I add content, functions, and our membership grows. I have been blogging for the past 4 years and while Ive learned that quality takes time, Ive also learned that great things can happen quickly. If we succeed I have even more plans include: a space to promote travel and writing competitions, a jobs board to connect bloggers with those who need content and companies looking for reviews.

Excited? I am. Id love to hear what you think below in the comments.

*I would love for you to provide as much feedback, advice and even criticism as you can muster. This is a community site and it depends on its members to be successful, whether this if with guest posts or interaction in the forums, promoting each others sites, or suggesting new ways to grow. Leave your ideas below in the comments, or better yet get involved and help out. This is your site too.

1000-1000 Blog Challenge

Complete the 1000-1000

Welcome to the 1000-1000 Travel Blog Challenge. The Challenge is the competitive bedrock of the TBC and is the main tool we will use in our community experiment to answer the question: is travel blogging really a viable way to earn sustainable online income? It is also a fixed goal that we can use to motivate ourselves and each other.

What is the 1000-1000 Challenge?

The Challenge is simple. Build your travel or lifestyle blog to the point where it earns at least $1000 USD per month and gets an average of 1000 visitors/day.

Simple right? Well, maybe not that simple. In fact, we know accomplishing both can be difficult. Many people on the internet want you to believe that its easy to travel the world and get paid for it. They rely on the emotional hooks of freedom, travel and money to get you to part with your own money. The truth is, travel blogging takes time, dedication, and a plan of action. BUT you can succeed, and the Challenge is a way to help each other gain sustainable online income from travel blogging and build a legion of adoring fans (or just some really cool people).

We will do it together, and prove not only that succeeding at travel and lifestyle blogging is possible, but how to do it so others can follow in our footsteps.

How to Start the 1000-1000 Challenge

Starting the Challenge is easy and is the first step on your way to joining the Travel Blog Challenge (TBC) Network.

1) Register your site with Get Clicky so you can track visitor numbers and prove them to me and analyze where your traffic is coming from! (I switched this requirement from google analytics, because Get Clicky offers a much better user interface and is still free (there is a premium option if you want to track more than one site).

2) Install the TBC 1000-1000 Challenger Badge with pride (lots of sizes to suit your needs)

3) Write a post on your blog announcing you have joined the 1000-1000 Challenge

4) Leave a comment on this page with a link to your announcement (so I can add you to the list of challengers)

5) Write consistently, be creative and honest when earning money and building traffic

6) Selflessly promote the heck out of your fellow travel and lifestyle challengers

Why 1000-1000?

Before you send the inevitable barrage of e-mails bemoaning earning money from travel blogging, waxing poetic about all the other benefits such as social capital, engaging in a passion, and meeting new people, just take a deep breath and read some more.

There are many ways to measure success in the blogging world, and by no means am I saying that $1000/month and 1000 visitors/day is the only way to measure this. If you are happy blogging for the love of writing, great! If you are only interested in keeping a journal of your trip, go for it. If you are only interested in building a community but not monetization, this is still a great place for you.

I chose $1,000 as the threshold as this is a nice side income, and it is also the minimum monthly income needed by most long term budget travelers.

I chose 1,000 visitors (or about 30,000 a month) as this seems to be the magic number between a small website and one that has developed a respectable following. Well, to be  honest, this one was more random and I went with my gut feeling. Of course we would all love over 100,000 visitors a month, but lets concentrate on one thing at a time.

These are the standards I hoping we can use to build up credibility. When we have enough bloggers who have completed the challenge we will have a powerful lobbying group to engage with advertisers, PR reps and marketers.

Ive Started the Challenge, Now What?

The challenge is a medium term goal. It is my hope that it does not take most challengers longer than 1 year to complete. In the meantime, poke around the Travel Blog Challenge for advice and guidance on how to build a better blog.

Sign up for the TBC Network (the 1000-1000 Challenge is the first step). See the TBC Welcome post for details.

Introduce yourself on the forums in the New Challenger Introductions thread.

Most importantly, network, promote others, and engage with the community here. This is your site too and the benefits for all of us will come through supporting each other and banding together.

Ive Complete the Challenge, Now What? How will you Know?

Fear not, Im not going to forget about you, or exclude you if you are already a popular blogger.

If you are already over the 1000-1000 threshold, then get in touch and we will work it out. This will most likely be through a 1,500-1,500 challenge, or something like it. In either case this is just the first step in getting involved with the TBC Network. See the full steps here.

How to Prove you finished the Challenge

Like joining the TBC Network I will rely on Get Clicky to show your average monthly visits. While I encourage these to be unique visits, for the time being we will just say visits.

Proving how much you earn from your blog can be trickier and since this is all for self development I am going to just take your word for it. You are free to be creative in how you earn money from your blog (adsense, private advertising, affiliate sales, selling your own products, entering competitions etc). BUT you should distinguish between what the blog helps you earn and what you earn through the blog. For example a paid writing assignment that has NOTHING to do with your blog does not count. But if you win a writing competition by promoting it through your blog that is OK.

Basically, Im asking you to use your common sense, be fair, transparent and honest. When you complete the Challenge Ill ask you to post an article with your tips, advice and a breakdown of the types of revenue you earn and where your traffic comes from. This will help everyone else who follows, plus its really cool to see how others succeed!

OK, enough chit chat, lets get on with it. Good luck with the challenge and I cant wait to meet you.

How to Spend Less Time Blogging and More Time Traveling

Travel and BloggingOne of the most important aspects of running a travel blog is being able to travel.  This can be a difficult task.  While many travelers start up a travel blog at the beginning of their first around the world trip, many fail or lose interest part way through their travels.

Running a successful travel blog takes a full time commitment and this can really cut into your quality time seeing the world.

How can a person travel and enjoy their time exploring the earth while running a successful travel blog?

It is much easier to keep up to date with everything when you are at home in the comforts of your living room, but on the road any situation can pop up.  You may be in the middle of the jungle for several days or climbing a mountain without Internet access. Many countries have terrible and slow connections and you may find that you cannot upload photos or even get into your site.

You have to be prepared for any situation and you never want to have a blog that hasn’t been updated for long periods of time.

We have developed a system that not only allows us to travel, but to go on multiday adventures without even looking at the Internet while still managing to post content 7 days a week.   While things are easier when we are not travelling, we have our greatest increase in traffic and interest when we are out exploring the world. So our goal is to be on the road as much as we can each year.

Here are the ways that we manage to stay on top of social media, post content regularly and manage to contribute to other blogs through guest posts and interviews regularly.

1. Schedule Posts

Before leaving on a trip, we have two weeks of blog posts already scheduled.  We stay two weeks ahead on our blog at all times. This gives us a cushion if we find ourselves in a situation where we can’t get to an Internet.  Even though we are not in the location that we are writing about at the time, nobody knows it.  Only our core group of friends and fellow bloggers know the truth about where we are, but they are not the audience we are writing for. We write for people searching for information on a location or people that are interested in our adventures and don’t know us personally. They still get the story, just two weeks later than when we were there.

2. Schedule Social Bookmarking Sites

It is extremely important not to fall out of the loop of social networks.  We receive a lot of our traffic from twitter, facebook and StumbleUpon. We learned early in our travels that if we didn’t tweet and share other people’s content, they would forget about us. We use a combination of Hootesuite and to schedule tweets.  Bloggers that we know who put out good solid content regularly are tweeted automatically from Hootesuite using their RSS/Atom application.   In doing so, we can instantly share their content and not even be online. is another great way to spread out our tweets and to post on facebook. We will spend a day scheduling people’s content to be tweeted and shared at different times throughout the week.  This allows us to add a human element to our scheduled tweets.  Autotweeting doesn’t allow any personality, but when scheduling tweets with your own little comments it allows you to engage with your audience.

We also use because it gives people an easy option to submit our posts to StumbleUpon.  It must work because we receive a lot of traffic from StumbleUpon.

Use Facebook Effectively – Start a fan page and use networked blogs to syndicate your content on facebook. It will automatically pull your feed from your blog and post your content onto facebook as soon as it is published.  This lets your fans instantly know when your new post is up.  You can also schedule facebook status updates through Hootesuite.

3. Photos

We host our photos on SmugMug and Flickr. This allows us to mass upload photos to be used on the website.  SmugMug houses our more professional travel photos while Flickr hosts our snapshots. Both types of photos are just as important to further the story of a post.  These sites are useful because it is quick and easy to upload several photos at once rather than inserting one photo at a time to the blog.  All we have to do once we write the article is to link the photos to the post where we want them. This saves valuable time online.

4. Write posts ahead of time

There is a lot of down time when traveling. You can spend hours on a bus or sitting in an airport. Use that time to do work.  Pre write your post on your laptop and sort and choose your photos for uploading. When you have an Internet connection all you have to do is copy and paste your content into the site. And when it comes to your photos, all you have to do is upload the album that you have already made.

I even pre write my tags and the excerpt for my post so that I don’t waste time having to think about anything at the Internet.  The less time I have to spend online, the more time I have to enjoy my travels.

5. Keep a Journal

When you are out on a tour jot down some notes. This will help you write a post faster than trying to remember details or having to look up information.  I brainstorm ideas all the time in my journal and keep it close by for quick reference.

6. Buy an iPhone or Blackberry

We always carry an iPhone to answer emails.  Advertisers contact us daily and we would hate to miss out on a business opportunity because we can’t get on the Internet.  We buy a SIM card and data plan in each country as soon as we enter. Our iPhone has become one of our most important items because its an excellent way to stay connected.   We can send out tweets and facebook updates and moderate comments on our blog all while stuck in transit.

7. Enjoy your travels

We travel hard and then we work hard. We will go for several days at a time unplugged but nobody knows it. By doing all the legwork, we stay connected and have posts coming out regularly while we are off enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.  Once we are finished our adventure, we then settle in for a couple of days to catch up on our work and write our next round of posts.

Take advantage of the many times that you will be stuck waiting for boats, trains, planes and buses to get your work done. There is nothing else to do in a waiting area but wait; you might as well do your blogging so that you don’t have to work when you arrive at your destination.

We like to immerse ourselves in our travels.  We aren’t a type of traveler that sits in one place for months on end. We take part in adventures; we go on treks and move around a lot.  The last thing we want to do is spend too much time on the Internet.

Anyone Can Monetize A Blog How Much Youll Make Is A Different Story

Create Blog Plan to Make MoneyBefore we get to Anils great post, I want to have my say on this topic. Yes, Im entitled to! Its my blog after all! What you are about to read is really true. There are a lot of people peddling the get paid to travel line but not everyone comes and tells you how hard it is, how you need to have a plan, how you actually need to work at it. No one is going to throw money at you in real life, so why would they in the blogging world. You need to EARN your money. I hope its possible to earn that money doing what I love, sipping cocktails on the beach, and dodging bullets and clingy groupies.

Here at the TBC we are trying one of these unique ways to add value (i.e. $$$, fame, world domination) collectively to our travel blogs. It takes creativity, and a willingness to work hard when youre not on the beach. No one ever said doing what you love is not hard work. It just doesnt feel like work.

Ok, now without further ado here is our great guest post by Anil.

How Much Money?

There isnt a single blog or blogger out there that cant make money by the end of this week with their site. Making money with a blog is easy, but if thats where your goal stops you wont be able to pay for a beer in Thailand, let alone your travels.

Without goals and a plan to achieve them, youll fail. There is no single way to make money with a blog just as theres no single way to make money from a business. Henry Ford didnt wake up one day and say I want to make money, let me figure out how. The idea came first. He monetized a dream and wasnt dreaming about monetizing.

Those of you serious about making money from your travel blog need to have some idea of how much you want to make…and how often. Monetizing isnt just turning your blog into a cash machine, in reality its converting it into a business. You need to treat it as such.

Have A Travel Blog Plan

There are two ways to go about making money online; either try and make a million dollars out of one thing, or make 1 dollar a million ways. Somewhere in between the two you need to diversify your income. Experiment, and keep track of where your money comes from and how. Talk to businesses in your field (aka. other specific travel blogs youve singled out) and see whats working for them and how.

Starting to sound like a business? Remember, it is if you have a figure in your head you want to make. Otherwise its just a hobby, and thats fine too. The biggest mistake you can make is getting caught somewhere in the hazy gray area of the two and end up frustrated with the goals you never created, realized, or achieved.

Wear Your Business Hat

While I cant make a business plan for you, I can help you get started but asking you, why should anyone give you money? Ask yourself (and your travel blog) the same question. (Dont worry, I wont look as you talk to your computer screen.)

You may have an audience that others would like to advertise to, an expertise others are willing to pay and learn from, or travel photography worthy of posting on living room walls. And probably many other things nobody has thought about or done in the same way before.

Blogs dont make money, everything associated with them does, indirectly. How much theyll make on the other hand is mostly up to you. Remember that you cant financially succeed or fail if you dont have goals to measure that success against.


Write for TBC

Thanks for your interest in writing a guest post for Travel Blog Challenge.

Travel Blog Challenge is a community site that relies on the experience, creativity, and insight of its readers to create and share content. Basically, wed love to get you involved. After all the Travel Blog Challenge is all about helping each other.


We are hoping to get a lot of requests and while we would love to feature everyone, quality content that is relevant, well written and above all useful is a must. While we will consider everything, you have a better chance if your guest post:

  • speaks to the travel blogging community (if you didnt read the About, you are out)
  • presents a unique and creative perspective
  • is written so that the beginner as well as the advanced blogger can use the advice easily

What does this all mean? Basically that we may politely decline to use your article if it is not well written  is not relevant to our readers or the theme of the TBC, fails to present information in a new way, we have already covered the topic, or we have too many posts. I know, it sounds strict but we arent so bad. As long as you are eager, honest, and passionate Im sure youll do fine.


As you may have noticed, Travel Blog Challenge is dedicated to helping the travel blog community succeed. This falls into two basic topics- building readership and making money. Of course this can cover a lot of ground and were are relying on your creativity to expand our knowledge and the possibilities in travel blogging. But just so we are all on the same page here are some of the topics the we cover:

  • Increasing traffic and find a readership
  • How to make money
  • Building and optimizing web sites (the nuts and bolts)
  • Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media
  • Tools
  • Writing compelling content
  • Efficiency and how to spend less time blogging and more time traveling

Yeah, thats a lot and Im open to more so suggest away.


Here are a few guidelines and suggestions that will make both of our lives easier and will hopefully increase the chances we can feature your post. So, before you hit send make sure your submission:

  1. is clear, concise and follows a logical progression. Basically, make sure the advice is useful and is written with Travel Blog Challenge members in mind
  2. includes all the information you want presented and in the appropriate areas, text, links, pictures etc
  3. infringes on NO copyrights laws either with text or images
  4. includes a title, body text, your byline, and an image


Your post can be as long as it needs to be to cover your topic of choice. There are lots of rules floating around the internet about how posts for the web should be short to retain our attention. That may be true but at the end of the day content and quality is king. Write well, write in a compelling voice, add value and youll keep attention to the end.

Those are the rules. Now you may be wondering what you get out of it all.

What you get

Travel Blog Challenge is all about promoting others and helping each other master the 1000-1000 Challenge. Feel free to include links in the body of your article, but make sure they are relevant (abuse it and well remove them or reject completely). At the end of every guest post we will include your byline with up to two links to promote your blog, service, product or whatever you think is relevant. We love to promote!

Remember, the more useful the content the more likely people will click through to your blog to see what else you have to say.

– See more at:

8 Tips for Going Viral With StumbleUpon

8 Tips for Going Viral With StumbleUponHave you ever wondered how some posts go viral with 100,000+ hits on StumbleUpon and others only get 23?  Or why two of your posts of equal strength and style differ in the amount of traffic you receive by several orders of magnitude?

When using StumbleUpon, there are many tips throughout the internet that are designed to help you maximize your ability to get stumbles.  The sad truth to this is that StumbleUpon is as elusive as figuring out Google or other large SEO factors.  The amount of metrics that go into determining what is good and what is bad make it impossible to decipher.

After years of playing with StumbleUpon, having an account blocked, and another become successful, then lose that success only to regain it again, Ive figured out a few things that should be looked at loosely when trying to send traffic to blog posts.

1) Account Strength is the Beast

StumbleUpon lets you share many posts, make friends, and even have reviews of your account.  The more of these you have over more random sites, the higher your account will be rated.  This is simple; StumbleUpon trusts the views of users with hundreds of shares and a pattern of quality submissions than a spammer who only has a few dozen.  I did not even begin getting 100+ views on a stumble until after 50 unique reviews, and that is a modest count.

Try this: A great way to strengthen your account is to stalk sites that you know will get many reviews on StumbleUpon like Matador Network.  Be the first to review a post immediately after it is live, and let the people behind you fill it with likes.  Your account gets stronger significantly from this.

2) The Friendship Double Edged Sword

Having friends on StumbleUpon is a great way to strengthen your account.  Your stumbles get a boost because people are friends with you, who in turn make you appear to be a trustworthy source.

Sharing recently stumbled articles with your friends, unfortunately, does absolutely nothing to get a post viral.  StumbleUpon cares more about organic likes than your friends liking a post just because you are connected.  With this, a post that gets 20 thumbs up and 5 reviews from friends may be stuck at only 50 views.

3) Organic Likes are Better

An organic like is someone who thumbs up or reviews your page that you are not connected with.  In order for this to happen they must stumble upon your site either by the toolbar or reading your site on their own.

When they thumb up your post or review it without any encouragement, the benefits are more substantial as this is a sign of an actual quality post.  It is possible for you to get one thumb up after a post from someone you dont know who has a strong account, and end up with 600 or more views.

Remember: You can only get organic likes from your initial discovery if people are actually around to read your post, so submission time is key.

4) Submit Your Post at the Right Time Staying in the Cycle is Key

When traveling Asia, I would submit posts at the equivalent of 3am, 4am, 7am EST time.  My StumbleUpon returns were low.  Why is that? No one is using StumbleUpon at that hour.  A post cant be looked at if no one is clicking the Stumble button. Better hours are between 5 and 10pm EST when more people are at their computer.

When you submit, you get an initial boost of shares based on the post criteria (through means that are still unknown) and the strength of your account.  The rest of the traffic you get is from people that the post is shared with, and how many thumbs up you get.

If you get zero thumbs up, the post will fall out of the StumbleUpon sharing, and may never get traffic until someone boosts it in the future from reading your site.  If you continually get thumbs up and reviews from this initial burst, the sky is the limit and you will stay in the network for some time – the key to being viral.

5) What Posting Criteria is Good?

It is hard to say on this one. Since StumbleUpon is so secretive, everything is always purely speculation.  My best articles are always authoritative and not personal stories, making the use of the program even harder against us travel bloggers.  List posts also seem to do well as a site is deeming the Best of with authority and are generally easier reads.

The other major topic that youll see from time to time is photos.  We all have amazing photos, and it is important to showcase them front and center in any post you want to get stumble traffic from.  A post without photos is meant for certain doom.

Try this: You can get a feel for this by selecting the travel topic and stumbling 20 or so posts just to see what comes up.  Here are the first few that I got:

Mondays are for dreaming: Ten dream-worthy moments

7 Epic Journeys in SE Asia

Hohenzollern Castle photos

Top 10 Man-Made Wonders: Amazing Monuments

Ultimate Guide to Packing Lists: 45 Tips for How to Pack Light

Mopeds in Mykonos photo essay

Thailand Travel Photography

See the trend?

The Pitfalls of StumbleUpon

Even with all of these tactics, there are a few thoughts you should keep in mind when submitting to StumbleUpon.  A few pitfalls will mean certain doom to a post and you will never get traffic to it again no matter how hard you try, unless a major player likes your page.

1) Review a post if you are the first thumbs up.

If you get a prompt for a review when you thumbs up a post, for the love of everything good, review it! A post with a like and no review is like the kiss of death and it takes a really strong SU account to bring a post back from this.  Ever see a post of yours stuck at 1 and no more, only to take 8 likes and 4 reviews to get it to boost to 50? This might be one of the reasons for the problem.

2) Small photos have an equally bad effect.

This may be a stretch, but from what I can tell, StumbleUpon really likes photos.  When you submit a post, a photo should be large enough that it gets grabbed by the thumbnail image on the SU discovery page.  If it is too small, the photo will be a generic image of your blog or blank.  That does not give a lot of credibility to your post, and seems to have a negative effect.  Ive found that bigger than 240x300px does the trick, but this is an estimate.

3) Dont Over Promote and Remember to Actually Stumble!

It is easy to say do not over promote your own pages, as a history of repeatable behavior is the sign of a spammer.  Break things up by actually using your SU toolbar and stumbling for posts, liking them, and giving reviews.  Forgetting these may flag your account and reduce your potency.  But even though using the toolbar is great, you still have to vary your discoveries from many sites in order to keep the appearance of being random!

With these thoughts in mind, your StumbleUpon account can become very powerful.  But with that power, it is only as good as your organic likes let you become.  If you continually submit a string of posts that do not get likes, you will stop getting the critical initial traffic.  Be sure to balance the amount of discoveries you have from powerhouse sites and our independent blogs to ensure that your account gets ideal traffic on both ends.  Remember It takes both an initial boost from your account and continual boosts from random users to go viral, and balancing that is very, very tricky.

For more great tips on using Stumble Upon check out Go, See, Writes How-to Guide on driving traffic using Stumble Upon.

What is your secret trick to get traffic from StumbleUpon? Help us out and submit below!

10 ways SEO can make your travel posts and blog Better

SEO tips and tricksMany things are said about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) a good many of them wrong and misinformed. The most common of the critiques is that there is a trade-off between writing for your readers and writing for Google. A compromise between having a blog focused on content, readability and character, and a blog that is optimized to be scanned, indexed and searched.

Not only is this untrue, but more often that not good white-hat SEO tactics will make your blog better. Better for your readers, better for you, and better for the people that want to find what youre producing be it a product, information, or entertainment.

Good SEO tactics the kind of SEO that you could proudly append to the bottom of any post, describing to your readers what you did and why you did it can make your blog more readable, accessible, and just plain better.

Heres how.

1. Focus.

Write posts that are detailed and thorough yet sharp and well defined. Posts that could be mistaken for entries in the encyclopedia. Great stories that have a distinct theme and subject. This is what readers want and its also what search engines want.

Search engines dont like long unfocused and rambling posts (they dont know how to index them) and neither do your readers (they find them vague and usually boring). And even you the blogger benefit on this one. One of the biggest challenges bloggers face is thinking up enough interesting topics to write about. When you go throwing 3 or 4 different subjects into a blog post, not only are you confusing your readers, but youre also blowing off what could have been 3 or 4 different posts. Stay focused and everyone wins.

2. Conciseness

Similar to focus but more concerned with word choice as opposed to themes and topics. Trim the extra words from your posts and make sentences crisp, clear, and streamlined. Computers are not as smart as people when it comes to deciphering meaning so if your readers are having trouble with passages then so is Google. Make sentences short, easy to understand and memorable.

Also watch your use of pronouns, hackneyed phrases, and generic verbs.

Lets look at 2 example sentences:

A. When we got there everyone was waiting impatiently.

B. When we got to the hotel all the other guests were waiting to check-in.

Theyre both describing the same scene but the first one assumes the reader knows what youre talking about (and some might not). The 2nd one is not only more clear but also has a number of keywords that people might actually be searching for. Hotel, guests, and check-in are certainly much more commonly searched than everyone and impatiently.

This might seem like writing for Google, but it will often make your writing more clear and easy to read. Remember as well: not everyone reading a travel blog has English as their first language.

3. Use headings and sub-headings within a post

Common SEO advice is to use keywords and keyphrases in headings and subheadings; and bold them in a couple of key sections throughout the text. Sounds like common tactics in the print industry long before Google was founded.

Headings, blockquotes, and bolded text grab peoples eyes and arrest their movement down the page when theyre starting to scan. They also make it easier for search engines to determine the main topics of a post or page.

4. Use a diverse array of media

People love posts with images, charts, and videos and so do search engines so use them. If you make videos embed them on their own page within your website and be sure to transcribe the audio into text that will appear below the video. This is good for Google and Bing it tells them what this video post is about but also good for readers. It allows them to quickly scan the content to see if they want to watch it, and also allows visitors with a slower connection to consume this information even if theyre not able to stream the video.

5. Post ideas

Do you want to know what topics search engines are interested in? Use a keyword tool to find out what words and phrases are being searched for.

Do you want to know what topics people and your potential readers are interested in? Use a keyword tool to find out what words and phrases are being searched for.

These are not separate ideas. As a blogger you should be interested in solving some demand an answer to a question, a desire to be entertained, a need to feel motivated and inspired and search engines are in the business of solving these demands by finding you.

Obviously youre doing your readers a disservice if youre writing posts just because they appear in a keyword tool. So stick to what you know.

But using a keyword tool is akin to emailing your friends and asking If you were writing a post on mountain climbing what topics would you want covered? Keyword research tells you what the answer would be if you had 2 billion friends.

6. Load Time

Google has stated clearly that load times are one of the signals they use to determine quality of a page. Readers undoubtedly like fast loading pages as well. [Todd here, we have a very helpful discussion in the forums on how to increase the speed of your site with some simple WordPress plugins]

7. Use descriptive names and tags for images

Though search engines have made huge strides with image recognition software they most definitely are not using it on all images on the web. By using keyword rich file names, employing descriptive alt and title tags, and making smart use of captions search engines will have a pretty good idea what the image is about. Clearly humans are not as dependent on these hints but a good caption and title tag (the text that shows when you mouse-over an image) will give readers a much richer understanding about the context, location, and details of an image.

8. Use a descriptive URL and directory structure

Google likely uses URLs and directory structure to attempt to understand the subject of a post and so do readers. The URL string can often be the link text for a post and the only thing a reader sees when making a guess regarding a posts subject.

9. Have an easy to navigate website

Google doesnt index everything on a site so attempting to have the majority of your posts 1 to 3 clicks away from your homepage can make it more likely that all of your posts will be found by search engines. Readers like this too, and few things are more annoying or will have users clicking away from your site faster than making content hard to find.

10. Make awesome resource pages.

Google and people both love resources pages. If youre planning a trip to India theres nothing better than a list of high quality links to good information. The trouble is, resource pages are hard to do well. To the uninitiated resource pages can seem an easy and thoughtless attempt at attracting links but theyre not. To do them well requires a lot of legwork, regular updating, and a keen eye for knowing what people are interested in.

What SEO tactics do you use that also benefit your readers? Are there any SEO tactics that you think come at the expense of readers?

The Power of Building Relationships

Free Hugs NetworkingOne of the most overlooked parts to your success, not just online, but in any field is networking.

Like it or not, “Its not what you know, but who you know” is a very real reality.

Some people think that this is not fair and spend forever moaning and griping about it. For me, Id rather just understand the reality of this, become an entrepreneur, and do what successful people do.

Networking is the fun part to your business. It is the part that I find is the easiest and can produce the greatest rewards.

Networking is simply building relationships. Relationships cannot just be beneficial to you from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective as well.

Networking Purpose

There are two very important points I want to make before I go any further. What I am outlining are strategies specifically to address how building relationships can benefit your businesses. We never ever build relationships with people purely for personal or financial gain. The rewards that come from networking are a side bonus. We build relationships with others because we love meeting and interacting with people. We always bring the attitude with us that we have the opportunity and ability to offer something of value as well.

The second important thing is these networking strategies apply just as much to the online world as it does to the physical world. Dont believe for a second you can hide behind your avatar on the computer. Everything you do must be backed by authenticity and sincerity or else your success with networking will be short-lived. If you are networking in the online world, these strategies will be applied through your online communication.

Get to know the other Person

After spending a whole day listening to entrepreneurs talk at a conference, we worked up the courage to approach our favourite speaker for the day after the seminar. We introduced ourselves, asked him if we could buy him a drink and then proceeded to talk about surfing, Australia, the US and travel. We spent the remainder of the evening into the early hours having a blast with him. Not once did we ask him anything business related or pester him for his million dollar secrets. The next day he found us to say goodbye, and spoke of the fantastic time he had with us. He gave us his personal details and said, “If you need any help with anything, give me a call.” That was a solid relationship building evening.

If you are meeting someone who you look up to in your chosen field for the first time, make sure you do not bombard them with questions as to how they can help you. First, get to know the real person. Make general conversation. They will appreciate it so much as they are used to so many people wanting to learn their magic secrets.

Make people remember you

In business, people are interacting and networking all the time. How is someone going to remember who you are? One of the best things you can do is have your photograph on your business card. This makes it so much easier for the person who is sifting through hundreds of them to remember you. Carry your business card everywhere and hand it to each new person you meet. Let them know how you can connect again and that you would love share ideas sometime. Make it casual.

Be bright, happy and positive. Smile lots, make jokes and light-hearted conversation. This is really the best way to ensure someone remembers you. In reality there really aren’t a lot of happy friendly people around so if you can be this way you will stand out.

Dont be afraid to share your story with others. There is a very fine line here between bragging and sharing. Speak confidently about what you do, allow your passion for it to shine through.

Let the person know you, know something about them and appreciate what they do. Without sounding stalkerish, mention a recent post of theirs you read, or tell them how helpful you found their latest book. Make it short and sweet.

Lose your arrogance

Im sure we have all met the person who thinks they are so far above you that you are not even worthy a look down their nose. These people stink and have no idea about building relationships. When their walls come tumbling down they will find no one around to help build them back up.

I dont care how big or how successful you are there is no one who is not worthy of your time. Besides, how do you know the success these people may have in the future?

The more success you have the harder it is to devote enough time with others who want to get to know you. It is like when you get married, the evening finishes and you feel really rude because you did not get a chance to speak to your hundreds of guest. Do the best you can. Always offer a smile at least, and a nice to meet you. People will understand you are busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them with respect and leave a good impression.

When talking with others always ensure that you spend time getting to know them. Ask them about their life and what they do. Do not spend the whole time talking about how wonderful you and your product, website or blog is.

Follow Up

The fortune is in the follow up. Allocate time in your busy schedule to follow up with those you have recently met and would like to build a relationship with. Send them a quick email, facebook status update or even a tweet.

Let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and you look forward to meeting them in the future. If you spoke about any particular topic, mention it with perhaps an answer, a website, or a link you can send their way with helpful information.

Always be sure to pass on your gratitude and appreciation for anything that people have taken the time to help you with. I know it is easy to forget sometimes, but you must make this a habit. I have had people contact me via email for help before, and I have taken time out of my busy schedule to help them out. Sometimes I never hear from these people again, not even a one sentence thank you. It always amazes me as that is a prime opportunity for relationship building lost. I’m less likely to help that person in the future.

Start connecting with your new friends online. Join their social communities, comment on their work and share it. This all helps to cement a deeper relationship with these people.

Entrepreneurs are always happy to network and share. They understand the power that comes from building relationships. You just never know where that relationship may lead.

Never be afraid to approach people. You are worthy of their time and you have a lot to offer. If you approach your networking from this perspective, with an open mind for learning and sharing you will build strong and positive relationships with others.

People help open up doors that you never had the clear vision to see. You also have the ability to help open these doors for others.

Caz and Craig Makepeace have been living and travelling the globe since 97, both solo and as a couple and now with a three year old. They believe life is all about the memories and their travel tips and stories at yTravel blog and their fanpage aim to inspire and teach others how to make their life a story to tell.