13 Sep about blogging
Before starting my guest house blog I had planned to start a blog where a few guest house owners could share stories and recipes, but it turned out that I was the only one who ever posted!
Because I blog regularly I changed to a blog-based site, where my blog posts form an integral part of my website content. I have kept the blogspot blogging going even after the development of my new blog-based guest house website as it attracts a different readership – on average 250 page views per month.I am still humbled by the number of people who read my blog posts. My monthly unique visitors are on average 400.
I write from the heart, the way I speak and, as my mother tongue is Afrikaans, my grammar is not always perfect. I keep a post in ‘draft’ for a day or two to make sure that I am happy that the sentiments expressed are ready to go out on the world wide web. That also means that I will sometimes have two or three blog posts that I am working on and I always have something to post regularly every fortnight. You do not want to overdo it and have people trash your posts to junk mail because you post too often.
Another alternative is to blog around a theme. If you live in a quaint little arty town you could blog about local artists. You could blog about activities in your area, about a restoration project, about a charity project that you support, about pets. I know of two sets of guests who stayed with me because of a post that I did about Bull Mastiffs being such perfect guest house dogs – the one couple googled “bull mastiff” as they wanted to get a buddy for their elderly dog and my website came up amongst that of the breeders! They kept the details and a few weeks later decided to make use of a flight special and come to meet our Bull Mastiff.
My posts also go onto my facebook page and selected group pages. It is a constant surprise how often people will ‘like’ my blogposts and ‘share’ it with friends. I have found that the best time to post to social media is in the evening and weekends – that’s when people have the time to read, ‘like’ and comment on the posts. Or on a Tuesday – maybe because they have no time for social media on ‘blue Mondays’?
Blogging is forgiving in the sense that one can delete or edit posts as time goes by. Sometimes I will start off by just saving a recipe in draft and when I make that dish I will take photo’s and add that to the post. To finish it off I will write something personal about the recipe and there you are – ready to go! The most difficult posts are the ones where guests are involved – you do not want to infringe on people’s rights. On the other hand I do know that people enjoy reading my blog posts because of my honesty and ability to tell it as it is. By reading my website blog posts they get their questions answered: how do you handle difficult guests? Have you ever had guests who you did not want to stay? Do you not find it a terrible invasion of your privacy? Have you ever had stuff stolen? Have you had some funny incidents?
I notice that many web designers put a ‘blog’ link on guest house websites and then it will read: No Results Found. The page you requested could not be found. Rather ask them to remove the tab until you are ready to start posting.
I do think that people who stay in Guest Houses, opposed to Hotels, appreciate the personal aspect of a B&B stay and I therefor share personal anecdotes too. That calls for some funny moments – like when my husband came home and asked: ‘what on earth are you writing on your website? I had a friend phone me and he called me ‘lady Chatterley’s lover’.