When you think of a blogger, especially a travel blogger, you envisage lazy days on white sand beaches, adventures up mountains and afternoons at luxury hotels. Well, I hate to break the illusion, but whilst us bloggers do get to shape our lives around travel, the reality is that we are all working whilst on the road. And if blogging is a full-time career then that means we are working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
So what are we working on? Well there are a myriad of things to do, one of which is of course our websites where we share all of this wonderful travel information with you! And whilst the majority of bloggers are using WordPress themes for their sites, as competition increases in the space, making yourself stand apart is becoming more and more important. That’s where knowing how to build your own custom website, create micro sites or simply knowing how to make bespoke changes to the website theme you are working with comes in.
In this post I share 5 reasons why I think learning to code, or at least having a basic working knowledge of coding is absolutely essential if you want to take your blogging career seriously.
1. YOUR BLOG IS YOUR BRAND
Ok, so first things fist when you become a blogger you are creating a brand and you are that brand. What comes with that is a consistency of the message you portray, your style of writing or photography and the emotions you want to evoke when people see your blog or social media.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to encapsulate that individual brand you envisage in an off the shelf WordPress theme. Having the ability to design and build your own customised website, means you have the absolute freedom to create a space to fully represents who you are and your brand.
You are unique – so why shouldn’t your blog be?!
2. YOU WON’T BE RESTRICTED BY YOUR THEME
Starting with a WordPress theme is a great place to begin, but you may very quickly find yourself restricted by the capability of the theme. Not being able to customise a page layout in the way that you want can be incredibly frustrating, believe me.
If you plan to take your blog beyond just your blog articles, to have pages with your testimonials and examples of work, your services etc, you may find that these look a bit ‘home-made’ on a theme. For WeAreTravelGirls.com we began with the idea of a travel blog written by women in the community, but in 9 short months we have grown our company to also be about the community, our events and our trips and our current simple blog theme does not permit us to present our company offering in the way we want to.
Coding gives you the flexibility to go beyond the theme and create something totally custom and unique.
3. SAVE MONEY AND TIME ON HIRING DEVELOPERS
Well here is the real reason that I wanted to learn to code. When I first decided to set up a blog I wasted six months, yes six months working with a developer who was custom coding over a WordPress theme to create a site for me. The amount of custom code he wrote over the theme was totally ridiculous and it would have been better for him to create a site from scratch. In the end nothing worked on the site and I totally scrapped it and started again myself using a simple theme to get started.
I wasted a large amount of money and time and in the end I didn’t get the final product I wanted. Having spent so much time on it, I was quick to use basic themes for BeckyvanDijk.com and WeAreTravelGirls.com just to get something up. Unfortunately, those themes are now used by hundreds of bloggers and as with point 1 this means we are not unique. (Something we are working to change!)
Whilst you may not want to entirely build a site from scratch, knowing coding means you won’t have to hire someone at an expensive hourly rate to make simple changes and adjustments for you on the theme you are working with.
4. POTENTIAL TO UPSELL CLIENTS WITH ‘MICRO-SITES’
If you are using your blog to make an income then it is likely you will be looking to work with brands. Well, guess what so is everyone else and many of them are doing it for free, writing a blog post and taking a few Instagram snaps in exchange for a free watch or a dress.
Why not, aim higher and reach out to clients who have a larger marketing budget to spend on promotions and pitch them how you will create a custom campaign just for them. To go along with the standard blog posts and social media exposure, you could offer custom ‘micro-websites’ about specific campaigns. A micro-site is a mini website that you build from scratch and host on a sub domain. The site will have a unique design and engaging content that meets the clients needs and brings a fresh approach to your audience.
Micro-sites could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars of revenue to a single campaign, and with a bit of practice, you can be building them in just a few days.
5. CODING COULD MAKE YOU SOME EXTRA INCOME
I started this post saying that us bloggers are working harder than the average reader or follower may think. So it may be that you do not have time to turn coding into a side-hustle, but if you do then this could be a valuable source of additional income that you can earn from the road! Travelling is also a great place to meet clients and find freelance work when you are connecting with so many people and small businesses.
If I have convinced you that learning to code is an important part of growing your online business and blog then you still have time to join me at the Institute Of Code – Blogger Edition on the 4th May for a 10 day immersive coding retreat.
IOC are offering my followers US $500 off the course cost + FREE 3 Day Instagram Tour Of Bali after the retreat. Mention Becky van Dijk or We Are Travel Girls when you enrol to be eligible.
Read More About Coding
Pin For Later