We love following Facebook Pages dedicated to blogging. They provide some great networking opportunities and a lot of sharing goes on. We learn quite a bit about how to improve our blogging skills and about the technical side of blogging. One day as I was reading through the many posts, I came across one from a fellow travel blogger suggesting a service called Peek. In a nutshell, Peek offers a free service where you can have your website reviewed to test it’s usability. Peek’s tag line is – Get a peek into the mind of your users.
As a travel blogger, you typically will see your own site more often than any other one peson ever will. Between writing new posts and tweaking things when they break, you can sort of stop paying attention to what your blog actually looks like, and how it might look to others. That was us… We thought it was nice, provided information to readers, and of course had a lot of great photos. Until we got a ‘peek”…
About a week after we submitted our URL to peek, we received an email letting us know the review was done. I was pretty excited so I found Lisa and we were off to watch it together. We anxiously watched as an anonymous user went through our site to try to determine the primary function of our blog and overall what they thought of it. Pen and paper in hand, ready to take notes, we hit PLAY..
At first it wasn’t too bad – the reviewer thought we might be something like a Trip Advisor site, “maybe offering travel tips” she continued. Then she mentioned the site was sort of busy. This we knew and had been told that by another travel blogger, so we had planned on making some changes there anyway. She continued to try to figure our site out. “What Boundaries Travel? Strange blog name. Is it What Boundaries Travel! or What Boundaries? Travel!? It doesn’t seem grammatically correct” I am now taking notes, jotting down all we are hearing so we can work on it. This is great stuff!
Still trying to figure us out, she went to the About Us page. Good – now she will understand what we are all about! And then it went downhill very fast…
“Oh.. I see you are an advertising company? Is everything on your site a paid sponsorship? Now I am not sure I trust this site. You must be a PR firm. As a consumer I am skeptical now if this site is a bunch of paid postings. I would not trust this site now.”
WHAT?? That was not what What Boundaries Travel was about at all!!
In our minds What Boundaries Travel was a blog providing our readers with travel destination information, travel tips, and yes, a few tour companies provide us with a complimentary tour in return for a review (which we disclose on each of those posts). Our goal was to try to inspire our readers to live their dream and to really take a look at what boundaries might be putting those dreams off. Clearly we were not even close to our goal.
We watched the video 3 more times, because after the initial viewing we were still a bit shocked. I looked at Lisa and said “What should do?” We talked about why we started the blog in the first place. It was the way most travel bloggers probably start out – a way to share their stories with friends and family, sort of an online journal. We recalled how much we actually enjoyed it then. Not that we don’t enjoy it now, but certainly much less pressure!
We decided it was time for a serious facelift. Not just in design, but also in content. We wanted to get back to the basics of blogging, or at least OUR basics. Next step was outlining a new design and new message for our readers and we think we may have found it in this new format.
We hope you like it! We would love to hear from you, our readers: What do you think about the new look? What message do you get when you visit our page and read some of our posts? What would YOU like to see more of?
After a few weeks we may try our friends at peek again… if we can get our courage up!