We have now said farewell to 2019 and welcomed in a new year.
If you were wondering why we have been MIA for much of the last month or two, don’t worry – you aren’t the only one. While we haven’t been personally affected by the devastating bushfires that have plagued the nation, both Al and I have been battling the mother-of-all illnesses which has taken it’s toll on our mental capabilities. But we are now on the road to recovery and plan to be back in force for 2020.
2019 has been a huge year for Need Time Away. Seven months ago we made the decision to registered our domain and start a travel blog. And what a whirlwind of a time it has been! I always thought of myself as being computer (and website) literate, but this venture required a new level of coordination, development and promotion that kept me second guessing what the “next step” should be. But we have come this far, and although we are still bumbling our way along, we feel like we are now on the right direction.
So how did it all begin?
I had been mulling over the idea of a blog for some time. In the past I have had several failed attempts in other niches, both a personal travel blog and a work related blog. Both failed due to lack of motivation on my part – I would be lucky to remember to add two posts a year! The will was there but the time wasn’t. So what was I thinking when I suggested a travel blog? Not only that, but a blog one of the most competitive niches’ around. I must have had rocks in my head.
Yet Al thought it was a great idea and Need Time Away was born.
We would love to do Need Time Away full time, at the moment we are enjoying the rollercoaster ride of owning a blog. After all, it is a great way to document our travels. Right from the beginning our aim was to include our tips, tricks, modifications and transformations that have made our travels easier. We have so many blog posts half finished – we want to get them just right before sharing. So stay tuned.
If you are interested in the technical aspects of our journey to blogging, keep reading. Otherwise skip down to here….
The name for our blog was a no brainer – Al had been running a “needtimeaway” email for many years and it always makes people smile when they hear it. Registering the domain was a different matter. Not being very ‘html’ savy with the technical terms for the internet, it was a bit of a “lets try this and see if it works” process. But we seemed to have come through the other end with everything working so I’m assuming we did it correctly.
And what’s a blog without a cool logo to go with it. We always knew we needed one, but due to our busy work schedules we decided to outsource the design. This was a massive failure. The designs we received back did not convey the image that we were after. They felt flat and lifeless. So we paid for the work that had been done and decided to move on with our own ideas. Al went back to the drawing board, took to the computer and created our own. Being a signwriter and graphic designer in a past life, this was definitely up his alley. And I think he did an excellent job at it :-). We are really happy with the way it turned out, from the small decals to the merchandise that will be available on our website soon.
After registering the domain and creating a logo, the next step was finding a suitable hosting plan. We always knew we wanted to use WordPress, but how to choose a hosting agent? Reading through some of the reviews we settled on SiteGround. SiteGround won us over as it received great reviews for customer service (something which, with my limited knowledge of this side of things, I was betting I would need). So we signed up for a two year hosting plan. I figured if we can sustain it for two years we’ll have made it.
SiteGround had fantastic documentation on how to set up a WordPress site on their servers and how to install a basic WordPress theme. The free themes were not very adaptable (or pretty) so we decided to splurge and buy one – City Logic. We set up most of the configurations and page structure using this theme, but it didn’t resonate with us so we ended up changing to Enfold (one that I was familiar with from past use). Now I felt in my element and my learning curve for html, css, and all the nuts and bolts sky-rocketed. I felt we was going somewhere.
We knew we needed some basic pages (homepage, about us, our gear and a contact page), but we also wanted to celebrate the various local businesses that have helped us get to where we are. Seriously, we wouldn’t be here without their assistance and expertise, so we created an ‘Our Supporters‘ page.
The initial blog content came over from Blogger, my old personal travel blog. WordPress has the functionality to import Blogger backup files. I was really excited when I saw this as we had a series of about six posts that would be perfect as ‘foundation’ posts in our new blog. However when I imported the content it became apparent that they would need some serious fixing before they could be read properly. Each post needed reformatting, images needed re-uploading and adding, SEO, categories and tags needed adding….it was a task that took longer than expected. But we got there in the end.
Then, Need Time Away was ready to release.
We did a ‘soft’ release to family first, anxiously waiting for any feedback (and praying that it wouldn’t be negative). When we felt a bit more comfortable, we released it to some friends. We started a Facebook page and invited some of our friends to join it. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube quickly followed, even though we didn’t know exactly what we were doing with all these social media accounts. We just knew that we needed them. Seven months on, we have found that Facebook and Instagram are great, Twitter less so, and Pinterest is still a mystery. YouTube is fantastic for our video footage (which we are still learning the best way to edit).
So what did 2019 bring us?
- The start of our new venture, Need Time Away
- Travelled to Alice Springs, north-east Queensland, central NSW, and lots of local travel in south-east Queensland
- Travelled to the Big Red Bash in Birdsville in June/July – an awesome experience that anyone who yearns for an outback adventure must do at least once in their lifetime
- Explored new campgrounds – see our review on Kookaburra’s on Curra and Wolvi Grove Farm Camping, to list a couple
- We got to play with some seriously cool new toys that we wouldn’t have normally had – GoPro, DJI drone and electric bikes
What will 2020 bring?
As we head into 2020, we do so with a feeling of excitement. We aim to explore more, see more, and of course, post more. We even have our own merchandise line coming, so stay tuned for that.
As always, we welcome feedback on anything, or suggestions for places to see and experience. You could travel around this country for years and years, and still not see it all. So any tips as to what should be top of our list is very welcome.
We wish you a great New Years, and an adventure filled 2020.
See you on the road!